This Day in History… September 9, 1776

The “United Colonies” Become “United States” 

U.S. #1543-46 commemorates the First Continental Congress, which met in 1774. The Second Continental Congress convened the following year to manage the war effort and declare independence, among other things.

On September 9, 1776, the Second Continental Congress declared that the United Colonies would now be known as the United States.

Richard Henry Lee may have been one of the first people to officially refer to America as the “United States.” On June 7, 1776, he submitted a resolution to Congress stating “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.” Congress approved his resolution on July 2 – a date future president John Adams believed would be one of the most celebrated in American history. However, the adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence two days later received that honor.

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This Day in History… September 8, 1892

Pledge of Allegiance First Published 

U.S. #2593 was issued in Francis Bellamy’s hometown of Rome, New York, which is less than 20 miles from Mystic’s home in Camden.

On September 8, 1892, Francis Bellamy’s Pledge of Allegiance was published in The Youth’s Companion magazine to promote patriotism among children.

Francis Bellamy was raised in Rome, New York, where his father, David, was the pastor of the First Baptist Church. In 1885, Bellamy accepted a position with the Dearborn Street Church in Boston. While in Boston, Bellamy was part of a national committee that formed to foster patriotism in schools in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. James Upham of The Youth’s Companion magazine also saw the event as an opportunity to realize his goal – of placing flags in every school in America.

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This Day in History… September 7, 1797

First USS Constellation Launched 

U.S. #3869 honors the second Constellation, built in 1854 with some materials salvaged from the original ship.

Ordered by a Congressional Act in 1794, the first American ship to be christened the Constellation was launched on September 7, 1797.

Designed by naval constructors Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, the Constellation was the first ship commissioned into the United States Navy and the first put to sea. As such, it received the most esteemed name – Constellation, in honor of the ring of white stars against a blue background that was once featured on the American flag.

The Constellation was quickly pressed into service the following year, convoying merchantmen before traveling to the West Indies to protect American commerce in the Quasi War against France. The ship first saw battle on February 9, 1799 in the waters near Nevis. There it captured France’s fastest ship – the L’Insurgente – making it the first U.S. boat to capture an enemy vessel. Over the next few months, the Constellation seized two more French privateers. Amazed by its ability to travel 13 knots while sailing under nearly an acre of canvas sails, French sailors nicknamed it the “Yankee Racehorse.”

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This Day in History… September 6, 1757

Birth of Marquis de Lafayette – “Hero of Two Worlds” 

U.S. #1010 – George Washington had such an impact on Lafayette that he named one of his children after him.

On September 6, 1757, Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier de Lafayette, better known as the Marquis de Lafayette was born in Chavaniac, in Haute Loire, France to a wealthy family.

Born into one of France’s oldest families, with ancestors who’d fought alongside Joan of Arc, Lafayette developed an early hunger for military glory. Orphaned at a young age, he became one of the richest people in France, but had no interest in court life.

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This Day in History… September 5, 1997

World Bids Farewell to Mother Teresa 

U.S. #4475 – Mother Teresa bought her sari (outfit) for just $1.

After decades of serving the poor in the harshest conditions, Mother Teresa passed away on September 5, 1997.

Mother Theresa was born Agnes Bojaxbiu in what is today Macedonia. When she was 18 years old, she left her home country in Southeastern Europe to join the Sisters of Loreto in Dublin, Ireland. This was her first journey to a distant land with customs and a language that were new to her.

In 1928, she took the name Sister Mary Teresa and began her service to others. She was sent to Calcutta, India, where she taught for many years, eventually becoming headmistress of St. Teresa’s School. She enjoyed the time she spent teaching but felt that she should be doing more. Mother Theresa believed she was “to give up even Loreto where I was very happy and to go out in the streets.” In order to answer her calling, this dedicated woman once again left the security of what she knew to travel to the unknown.

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This Day in History… September 4, 1886

Geronimo Surrenders, Ending Major Indian Wars 

U.S. #2869m

After nearly 30 years fighting the Americans and Mexicans that invaded his home, Geronimo surrendered on September 4, 1886.

Born in 1829, Geronimo was known to his Apache people as Goyaalé, or, “the one who yawns.” In the 1850s, a group of Mexican soldiers attacked his village while he was in a nearby town trading. Geronimo returned home to find his mother, wife, and children among those killed that day. From then on, Geronimo and his followers killed any Mexicans they crossed paths with out of revenge. Continue reading

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