MILLEDGEVILLE — This week always brings back some unpleasant memories. I know that Independence Day evokes thoughts of America’s newly won freedom for most people but for me it is a reminder of a different war that was bitterly contested on American soil in the 1960’s. Sadly it was brother against brother and friend against friend.
History is dotted with numerous tales of human conflict. Many of these had colorful names and others just kind of told you how long they lasted. For example there was the Hundred Years’ War that actually lasted 116 years and then there was the Seven Weeks’ War started up by Otto Von Bismarck in 1866 as well as the even shorter Six Day War of 1967 in the Middle East.
On the colorful side there was the War of Jenkins’ Ear. This fracas was so named when the captain of a British merchant ship exhibited his severed ear to Parliament after losing it when his vessel was boarded by Spanish coast guards in 1731. Then there was the Whiskey Rebellion. Mess with a guy’s alcoholic beverage of choice and you’ll always have a revolt on your hands.
The war I’m referring to however has subsequently been named by historians as the Annual Single Day Bottle Rocket War of Morgan County and I was surprised to see that it was not listed as one of the major conflicts of global warfare in Wikepedia.
Let me give you the particulars.
In the years between 1964 and 1970 right around the Fourth of July there always seemed to appear a goodly supply of fireworks (the bulk of which were bottle rockets) at our house. These armaments provided the ammunition for the combatants in our annual fracas.
The reason that these hostilities broke out on a yearly basis was simple. It was set aside as the time when all brotherly disputes of the previous year could be settled in a fair and gentlemanly fashion. Kind of like dueling. The loser was required to pay homage to the winning sibling in the form of absolute servitude for a week. It was a bitter pill to swallow when your brother ordered you to shine his shoes before church or go pick his quota of butterbeans. As you might imagine it was quite competitive.