Happy Fourth of July.
A couple weekends ago, while filing a lot of copy, I was engrossed in the 12-part History Channel documentary called America: The Story of Us.
It reminded me of what the History Channel does best. In a world where the access to information is endless, the context of that information was powerful.
I found myself wildly following up for greater detail on a handful of historical happenings that weren’t connected enough to my understanding of how we came to be.
- How von Stueben helped Washington develop a serious Revolutionary army
- The loss of so many powerful animals, like the Grizzly and bison
- The incredible shaping of our land, like making farmland out of a forested Indiana
- How whale oil was largely used before the modern discovery and understanding of crude oil, and how it’s still used today on the Hubble telescope
- How the Civil War’s collision of new technology (the mini ball bullet) and old combat techniques (line up a fire, and poor hygiene) resulted in unheard of death, to the tune of 620,000 on both sides
- Why the Rocky Mountain locust and the Dust Bowl were incredible, sudden and destructive forces in the American Midwest
I will say that, being an obsessive or not, I was a little disappointed by how little Philadelphia was referenced. Despite its role as major manufacturing hub and, of course, foundational historical setting, just one mention of Philadelphia came up in the 12 hour-long episodes. Of course, New York City, where the History Channel is based, was the perspective through which all urban stories were told. Ugh.
Here it is, the lone mention of Philadelphia, a passing call to its place of the writing of the Declaration of Independence.