Ahhh Thanksgiving! Eating turkey, giving thanks for friends and family, and passing out on the couch like a football-watching beached whale. That’s fine, but personally I want more days centered around Americans being badass and climbing up flagpoles.
Ok ok, allow me to explain. When Lincoln created Thanksgiving in 1863, (there’s nothing Lincoln can’t do), Evacuation Day became obsolete as a holiday and faded by the turn of the 20th century. Before its untimely demise, Evacuation Day celebrated the end of the Revolutionary War: George “Gallant Stroll” Washington took back Manhattan and evacuated the last British troops from the island on November 25th, 1783. This is my appeal to bring back Evacuation Day because it’s crazy as fuck:
- The last shot of the war was apparently fired on this day when a smelly redcoat shot a cannon into a jeering crowd on Staten Island.
- By the time George Washington reached the Battery, (now Battery Park), British soldiers had nailed a British flag to a flagpole at the Battery and then greased the pole, proving their douchiness. The scrappy Americans nailed some wooden cleats to the pole and John Van Arsdale was able to switch out the Union Jack for the stars and stripes before the British fleet had sailed away.
- A woman named Mrs. Day similarly raised the American flag over her tavern. But stupidface British Captain William Cunningham told her to take it down, since the Brits held New York until noon on the 25th. In response, Mrs. Day beat him up with a stick, bloodied his nose, and gave “the Captain such lusty blows as made the powder fly in clouds from his wig.” BAMF.
- Since the British were really not cool when they greased up that flagpole, pole-climbing contests became a popular tradition in the 1800s during Evacuation Day. Wikipedia also informs me that on Evacuation Day was also celebrated with “adult revelry and corresponding beverages.” I’m liking the sound of that, though someone would have to inform me what cocktail “corresponds” with British evacuation from NYC.
Evacuation Day also commemorates the deaths of American prisoners of war, who were taken and held on decommissioned British ships anchored in the East River. Around 11,500 died on the disease-rampant ships — more than all American deaths from the battlefield of the Revolutionary war COMBINED. I know, I buzzkilled it. But that means Evacuation Day is even more important to resurrect! Let’s climb some flagpoles! Let’s celebrate freedom! AMURRICAH!