Thursday, July 12, 2012

"Don't throw firecrackers under horses!"

Hey, everybody knows you shouldn't throw firecrackers under horses….but I bet it's been a while since you thought you really should mention it to the kids…

About a hundred years ago this reminder was top-of-mind on the 4th of July, at least it was in Bethlehem, PA, in 1908.

My local weekly newspaper, the Bethlehem Press, offers "This Week in Bethlehem History" each week in a chatty column that does a retrospective on people and places in the city in days gone by. I read it every week, it's remarkably interesting most of the time, it's instructive and humbling to know how folks used to do things and how hard they worked, and it's stimulating to retrieve some insight into what they thought was important in their lives and important for the life of the city…

Anyway, last week our esteemed columnist, Jason Rehm, dug up microfilm of the Bethlehem Globe newspaper from 1908 to get a quick take on how the denizens of our proud city did their duty on the 4th when Theodore Roosevelt was president.

Lots of community events, church-going, speeches, rattling good excitement for kids and grownups alike, parades, celebratory shooting of cannons and sidearms, the whole works…and, of course, the newspaper's prudent advisories on not throwing the M-80s under horses and, oh yeah, this one:

"Don't give revolvers to youngsters."

That last item still rings true….

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