THINK ON THESE: The historic month of July

July is the seventh month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and one of seven months with the length of 31 days.

Previously, July was called Quintilis in Latin, since it was the fifth month in the ancient Roman calendar, which traditionally set March as the beginning of the year before it was changed to January at the time of the decemvirs about 450 BC. The name was then changed by Augustus to honor Julius Caesar, who was born in July. In the ancient Roman calendar the ides of July fell on the 15th day of the month.

July’s birthstone is the ruby which symbolizes contentment.  Its birth flowers are the Larkspur or the Water Lily. The Zodiac signs for this month include Cancer and Leo.

Until 1962, the Philippines celebrated Independence Day on July 4; today it is known as Filipino-American Friendship Day.  Of course, the United States considered the Fourth of July as its Independence Day.

Other countries which celebrates Independence Day in July include Somalia (July 1), Belarus (July 3), Algeria (July 5), Argentina (July 9), Bahamas (July 10), Colombia (July 20), Belgium (July 21), Maldives (July 26), Peru (July 28), and Vanuatu (July 30).

Several histories were recorded in the month of July.  On July 1, 1847, the first adhesive postage stamp was offered for sale. On July 2, 1881, American President James A. Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at the Washington Railroad Station; in 1937, on the same day, Amelia Earhart and her airplane were lost in Pacific Ocean.

July 4 was very historic day for the United States.  In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was approved.  American Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died in 1826; James Monroe died five years later.  Calvin Coolidge was born in 1872.

On July 5, the bikini bathing suit made its debut in Paris, France in 1946.  In 1885, on July 6, Louis Pasteur successfully tested an anti-rabies vaccine on a boy bitten by an infected dog.  On July 7, 1922, the Reader’s Digest was founded; several years earlier, in 1898, the United States annexed Hawaii.

Several historical events happened on July 16:  General Ulysses S. Grant was named commander-in-chief of all the Union armies (1862), the first atomic bomb was detonated in New Mexico (1945), and John F. Kennedy, Jr., 38, and his wife Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, 33, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, 34, were killed when the Piper Saratoga Airplane he piloted crashed off the coast of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts (1999).

On July 22, 1796, the city of Cleveland was founded by General Moses Cleveland. In 1893, on the same day, Katharine Bates wrote America the Beautiful. The Beatles US album, Introducing The Beatles, was released in 1963, also on July 22.

On July 29, 1863, Queen Victoria restated British neutrality.  Painter Vincent van Gogh died in Auvers, France on July 29, 1890.  The first telephone conversation occurred from New York to San Francisco on July 29, 1914.

The Philippines has its shares of famous historical events that happened in July.  On July 1, 1973, San Juanico Bridge with a span of 2,162 meters was inaugurated. The bridge linked the islands of Samar and Leyte. On July 5, 1945, General Douglas MacArthur announced the liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese Forces.

On July 16, 1990, the great earthquake damaged Baguio City and many areas of Central Luzon.  On July 27, 1914, Iglesia Ni Cristo was established in Sta. Ana, Manila.  Also on July 27 (1946), the remains of President Manuel L. Quezon arrived in Manila from the United States where he passed away.  Only July 28, 1963, twenty-four Filipino Boy Scouts and Senior Scout delegates perished in an airplane crash in the Arabian Sea en route to the 11th World Jamboree in Greece.

July was also a historical month for Jose Rizal.  On July 3, 1892, he established La Liga Filipina, a civic movement aimed at reuniting Filipinos to act together for reforms and autonomy from the unjust administration of the Spaniards.  Four days later, he was captured and exiled to Dapitan in Mindanao.  Also on July 7, 1892, Andres Bonifacio, Teodoro Plata and Valentin Diaz established the “Katipunan,” a revolutionary movement aimed to fight for freedom against Spain.

More than a hundred famous celebrities were born on July 13: American actor Harrison Ford (1942), best known for his performances as Han Solo in the original Star Wars trilogy and as the title character of the Indiana Jones film series.; Briths actor Patrick Stewart (1940), most famous for his roles as Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the starship Enterprise in Star TrekThe Next Generation, and as Professor Xavier in the X-Men films; American actress Ashley Scott (1977), noted for her roles in the television series Dark Angel, Birds of Prey, and Jericho; French filmmaker Catherine Breillat (1948); Academy Award winning American writer and film director Cameron Crowe (1957); and French structural and civil engineer Eugene Freyssinet (1879).

Other famous people who shared the same birthday on July 13 include American music singer Louise Mandrell, French film actor Michel Constantin, Hungarian inventor Ernő Rubik, and Russian-Armenian singer Eva Rivas.

The following celebrities were also born on the month of July: French actress Leslie Caron,  French president Georges Pompidou, Grammy Award-winning composer and band leader Doc Severinsen, Pulitzer Prize winner Walter Kerr, English writer Ann Ward Radcliffe, John Wanamaker, Swedish film director Ingmar Bergman, American author Erle Stanley Gardner, naturalist Gilbert White.