One Nation Under God: Reflections on the 4th of July

The 4th of July, also known as Independence Day in the U.S. is arguably the most important day in this great country’s history. On this day we celebrate with fireworks, barbeques, parades, friends and family. We honor the bravest men and women who fought for our freedom over 240 years ago and those who are fighting to protect our freedom today. On the 4th of July one can’t help but enjoy the sound of rhythmic music, children playing, and the thunderous fireworks which light up the sky with contours and colors that compel us to stop what we are doing and be thankful for what we have.

While we stop to embrace everything we are thankful for it is ever so important that we also turn to the One who is most responsible for our freedom. God Almighty has granted us with true blessings of freedom both in heaven and on earth. In fact, John Adams, the primary author of the Declaration of Independence praises the Most High when he so elegantly wrote, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

John Adam’s faith in The Lord was made extremely evident here. He was one of the first of many to turn to God with thanks and praise when the newfound relief of freedom settled in over our great country. Celebrating 242 years of freedom by the signing of the Declaration of Independence, we remember and praise those who have bestowed this great amenity to our united nation. Lastly, thank you to all of our veterans and current servicemen and thanks be to The Lord! Let freedom ring!

4th of July blog pic

Prayer for America

Dear God, we thank you for the bountiful blessings you have bestowed on us. Guide us in being good stewards of these gifts. Let us care for all of your beautiful creation, from the redwood forests to the gulfstream waters. Make us instruments of your peace in order to put an end to rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air. Help us to love and care for all of our neighbors -locally and globally- so that we might be truly crowned with brotherhood from sea to shining sea. Amen.

Prayer source: https://www.pinterest.com/source/franciscanmissionservice.org/
Post written by: Antonio Vuyancih

Cleveland History: The Influenza Epidemic of 1918

The year is 1918—entertainers such as Harry Houdini and Charlie Chaplin are amazing the world with their talents, and the end of World War I is close at hand. The golden age of what would later be called “The Roaring 20’s” is approaching, and it seems as if the last four years of wartime might be replaced with growth and stability. How could anyone have known that a disease was brewing– one so large that it would take more lives than the Great War ever would. Killing over 50 million people world-wide, the Influenza Epidemic of 1918 would eclipse the 16 million lives taken by World War I– making the strain of influenza one of the deadliest world events in recent history, second only to World War II.

 

influenza hospital
Makeshift hospital used to treat influenza patients in 1918

 
At first, the killer strain of influenza seemed mild. In the Spring of 1918, there were several reported cases of what was then called “3 Day Fever.” While this first strain certainly took a remarkable amount of lives, its patterns were typical with other flu outbreaks at the time, and therefore it didn’t draw much attention from the public. It wasn’t until the early Fall of 1918 that the second strain would first be reported. The second strain was much more severe, and resulted in millions of fatalities.

 

787px-Spanish_flu_death_chart

 

As an airborne illness, the disease spread rapidly, particularly in the trenches of World War I and highly populated areas. Also, contrary to most illnesses, it seemed to target previously healthy young adults, as opposed to the usual groups such as infants or the elderly. Seeing as penicillin would not be discovered for another 10 years, it is clear that the world was at a loss for how to handle and treat this mysterious illness.

 

Cleveland, OH received its first warning about the disease in September of 1918. Dr. Harry Rockwood was the City Health Commissioner at the time, and seeing as how the war effort was still underway, he was hesitant to enforce any isolation measures at first. However, by October 1918 Rockwood understood the drastic impact of the pandemic and decided to enact an isolation policy. All of those exhibiting symptoms were required to be admitted to the contagious ward at their local hospital. Employers and teachers were encouraged to report anyone showing symptoms as well.

 

 

police during epidemic
Police officers wearing protective masks to prevent the spread of the disease

 

 

By mid-October Rockwood placed a complete gathering ban. All public gatherings were prohibited, resulting in the temporary closings of movie theaters, restaurants, schools, and offices. The city of Cleveland was on lockdown, having reported thousands of cases of the disease and hundreds of deaths. It wasn’t until mid-November that Rockwood would lift the ban, and life in Cleveland began to slowly get back to normal. In all, an estimated 24,000 Cleveland residents contracted the disease, and nearly 4,000 would find the disease fatal. Calvary Cemetery in Cleveland, OH buried 985 of these causalities, and on November 4th, 1918 the cemetery reported burying 81 people on a single day!

 

The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 will forever go down as one of the most destructive pandemics in modern history—Cleveland was no exception to its destruction, and it’s important that we remember those who lost their lives to such a tragic occurrence.

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Post written by Katie Karpinski