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Today, June 19, is a day to mark the emancipation of slaves in 1865.  Why June 19?  President Lincoln signed the preliminary Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862.  He signed the second, immediately effective (on its face), on January 1, 1863.  So why June 19?

The Union Army entered Galveston, Texas, where the celebration began, on June 18, 1865.  General Gordon Granger read an order announcing emancipation on June 19.

A declaration of freedom means nothing by itself.  It took a military victory to transform the promise of freedom into the reality of freedom.  The people who praise liberty and sneer at the military would do well to remember that.
Meanwhile, Vice President Biden continues to provide entertainment.  Aaron Blake reports for the WaPo:

Speaking at a ceremony unveiling a statue of [Frederick] Douglass in the U.S. Capitol, Biden talked about how Wednesday's Juneteenth holiday honors the day Texas became the last state to learn the Civil War -- and by extension, slavery -- was over.

"Today, we celebrate the anniversary, as Speaker Pelosi pointed out, of the victory over slavery is June 13th," Biden said, appearing to mix up his dates. "Finally, the message got to Texas."
June 13?  Well, per Animal House, "Forget it.  He's rolling."  But what's that dig at Texas?  Did he really mean that?

Biden then caught himself as someone in the audience appeared to react negatively to his choice of words.

"I didn't mean it the way that sounded. It just took time. It took a long time to get to Delaware too," he said.

Actually, Mr. Vice President, emancipation took six months longer to get to Delaware.  The Emancipation Proclamation, by its terms, only applied to states in rebellion on January 1, 1863.  While the emancipated former slaves in Galveston were celebrating, the slaves in Dover were still slaves.  They remained so until the requisite 3/4 of the states ratified the Thirteenth Amendment on December 6.  The 3/4 did not include Delaware, which symbolically ratified in 1901.

I'll take Mr. Biden at his word that he didn't mean it that way.  Let's both hoist a glass today to the Great Emancipator and, every bit as importantly, the gallant soldiers who transformed the Proclamation into reality.  And let's stop elbowing each other over the sins of people long dead.

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