This month in history – The Observer


Show our children that their past is a prelude to their future

by John Grimaldi and David Bruce Smith

June 16 to June 30

“Let one of you shoot only after seeing the whites of his eyes!” said American General William Prescott to his ragtag squad of amateur soldiers; June 17, 1775; they were about to confront a squad of British professional armed forces at the base in Bunker Hill, MA. When the Redcoats were about 120 feet away, they “went loose with a lethal barrage of musket fire,” according to

The English, commanded by the experienced and battle-worn General Thomas Gage, were caught off guard; they withdrew and reconstituted themselves; attacked again and withdrew.

General Gage, who was not about to surrender, led his troops into a third confrontation. At this point, Prescott’s revolutionaries—out of ammunition—were forced to hold their ground and engage the enemy in hand-to-hand combat. The rebels were adamant in the face of staggering odds, and although the Americans lost the Battle of Bunker Hill, it “boosted American morale, convincing them that patriotic devotion could defeat superior British military power”, as reported

For more information, the Grateful American Book Prize recommends Patriots, A Story of Bunker Hill for Young Adults by Gregory T. Edgar.


Legendary mountaineer Joe Meek did not live passively. Born in 1810 in Virginia, he “was a friendly young man of relentless good humor, but he had too much exuberant energy to do well in school,” according to; he became a pioneer who trapped and hunted across the western territories.

Mountaineers used to gather each year at various locations in the “wild west” to exchange information and tell stories of their wilderness adventures. Their stories were “…often exaggerated,” says Meek was a spinner born of half-myths, and better than most at amplifying his feats, such as how he “battled off an attacking grizzly bear with his bare hands.”

Eventually he settled in the Willamette Valley in western Oregon, became a farmer and a political activist. In 1847 he led a delegation to Washington, DC, seeking territorial status for Oregon. The self-appointed envoy/minister/plenipotentiary of the Republic of Oregon [traveled] in the Court of the United States” and got what he wanted.

Meek died on June 20, 1875.

The Grateful American Book Prize recommends Stanley Vestal’s Joe Meek: The Merry Mountain Man.


America won the war; now all it needed was a constitution to flourish. The Articles of Confederation had freed the country from British rule, but a better plan was needed for the future.

So, as described it, “Congress approved a plan to write a new constitution, and on May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Convention met at Independence Hall in Philadelphia. On September 17, 1787, after three months of debate moderated by convention president George Washington, the new American constitution, which created a strong federal government with a complex system of checks and balances, was signed by 38 of the 41 delegates present. at the conclusion. of the agreement. As dictated by Article VII, the document would not become binding until it had been ratified by nine of the 13 states.

On June 21, 1788, New Hampshire voted—the ninth in favor of ratifying the U.S. Constitution—making it the law of the land.

The Grateful American Book Prize Recommends Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787-1788 by Pauline Maier.


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