Happy January 8 – An Expired National Holiday

Chalmette Monument
Chalmette Monument

For many years, January 8 was a national holiday.

The day was supposed to be bigger than any other holiday, except maybe for July 4.

So what happened on January 8? The Battle of New Orleans… on Chalmette Battlefield, outside of New Orleans.

You know the song

In 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip

The Battle of New Orleans, January 8, 1815, was the last significant battle of the War of 1812. That’s the war we’ve almost forgotten in the U.S. but not in Canada. We declared war on Great Britain partly so we could conquer Canada and get rid of the British north of us. The Brits burned Washington DC but we prevailed in New Orleans.

The war did seal our fate as a country. The United States was going to last. We weren’t going to revert to a colony. As the website says, American democracy triumphed over the old European ideas of aristocracy and entitlement. So January 8 became a big, important day.

So what happened? Why aren’t we still celebrating January 8? Some folks are, such as the Hermitage in Nashville and Jean Laffite National Historical Park and Preserve still are. But after Andrew Jackson death’s and the horrors of the Civil War, the day seemed less important. But Happy January 8, anyway.

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