The Declaration of Independence finally arrived in London on this date in 1776. Although the British public was aware of the ongoing rebellion in the Colonies, most believed the belligerent factions would eventually be brought under control. Imagine their flabbergast upon reading the mutinous treatise. British newspapers were quick to reprint the document and few withheld scathing editorial commentary. According to the British Newspaper Archive’s website, the publication Scots Magazine was particularly acidic in its criticism, writing that the authors of the Declaration had no idea of the meaning of the words they used. The editorial noted “but to say that a man with life hath a right to be a man with life, is so purely American, that I believe the texture of no other brain upon the face of the earth will admit the idea.” Isn’t it funny how one person’s words uttered in criticism can be construed by others as the highest of praise?
Ah, the timelessness of classical music. On Aug. 10, 1787, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed “Eine kleine Nachtmusik.” Translated as “A Little Night Music,” the joyful, uplifting serenade is one of the composer’s most famous works and still is one of the the most frequently performed classical compositions. Typically performed in orchestral arrangement, the piece was originally intended as an evening song for courting couples. By the end of the 18th century, however, it was being used as chamber music for all sorts of social events. The iconic, lively tune not only continues to be widely performed, it also is one of the most downloaded ring tones on mobile phones.
Hard work paid off for Andrew Sergent, winner of the 2019 Stihl Collegiate Timbersports Championship. The tool company’s annual competition highlights lumberjacking skills — considered by many to be one of the first “extreme” sports. The series tests the speed, endurance and accuracy of individuals in a variety of wood chopping and sawing events. The contest is held annually in Milwaukee during the city’s German Fest celebration. Sergent, a Mechanicsville resident and Lee-Davis High School graduate, currently attends West Virginia University. His victory in Milwaukee has earned him a spot on the U.S. Timbersports collegiate team that is heading to the World Championships in Prague this November. The Richmond region is known for many things, but logging contests aren’t one of them. We wish our local lumberjack the best of luck.
Congratulations also are in order for LCPL Chesty XV on his recent promotion. The 2-year-old pedigreed English bulldog has been serving with the Marine Corps at the historic Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., since 2018, when he relieved the retiring Sgt. Chesty XIV. The pup’s new rank was pinned on during a ceremony held last week. “He was happy to get promoted. It was a long time coming,” said Staff Sgt. Alexander Spence, assistant drill master and noncommissioned officer in charge of Chesty’s handlers.
The Corps’ mascot has been stationed at the Washington barracks, the Marines’ oldest active post, since 1957. Bulldogs have served in the role since World War I. During that conflict, a German report referred to the U.S. Marines as “teufel-hunden,” or Devil Dogs — a vicious wild dog of German folklore. Soon afterward, a recruiting poster for the Corps featured a snarling, helmet-wearing English bulldog chasing a fleeing dachshund. The Marines and the American public quickly embraced the image.
The first bulldog was recruited back in 1921. Sgt. Maj. Jiggs, as he was known then, was enlisted (well, adopted actually) by Brig. Gen. Smedley D. Butler, then-commandant of the Marine Corps and two-time Medal of Honor recipient. Although the mascot’s name has changed since then, his duties have remained essentially the same . Today, he participates in Friday evening parades held during the summer at the base, greets visitors to the Marine Barracks and represents the Corps at special events.
The current line of mascots are named in honor of Lt. Gen. “Chesty” Puller Jr., the most decorated Marine in history. A 30-year veteran of the Corps, Lewis Burwell “Chesty” Puller was born in West Point, Va., on June 26, 1898. He entered the military as an enlisted man and rose to one of the highest ranks in the military. He served in World War II and in the Korean War. He died on Oct. 11, 1971, and is buried next to his wife at the Christchurch Parish Cemetery.
We salute the young mascot on his promotion and are confident he will live up to his lofty namesakes.
— Robin Beres