November 29th, 2004

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Last Thursday was NYC Evacuation Day

On November 25, I posted a "This Day in History" about the British leaving New York City at the end of the revolution in 1783.

Clyde Haberman wrote an interesting article on the historical event, called "Lest We Forget? Oh, We Already Have" for the New York Times:

http://www.nytimes.com/2004/11/26/nyregion/26nyc.html

My favorite parts:

"Historians tell of a Mrs. Day who got ahead of herself that Nov. 25, flying the American flag from her boardinghouse on Murray Street before the redcoats set sail. When a British officer yelled at her to take it down, she bloodied his nose with a broom."

"As a parting ill-will gesture, the British nailed their ensign to a flagpole, then greased the pole and cut its halyards. Americans who tried to yank that banner kept sliding down, until a sailor named John Van Arsdale saved the day by putting on cleats and climbing to the top with the Stars and Stripes."

Apparently, in 1883 New Yorkers enthusiastically celebrated the centential. In 1983, the city mostly yawned.

Boston has its own Evacuation Day, but it is more easily recalled, as it falls on March 17th, St. Patrick's Day.