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During his July 4th speech, President Trump had a few historical inaccuracies. USA TODAY

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President Donald Trump's gaffe during his July 4 speech that colonial Americans fighting for freedom from British rule "took over the airports" during the Revolutionary War has unleashed Twitter to do what it does best.

We're talking about grassroots joke binges. In this case, the collection of tweets is is organized under #revolutionarywarairports. It was the top trending item Friday morning.

Trump's historical error happened during a seemingly garbled portion of the speech where he stated, “Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do ..." 

There were no airports or planes, of course, in the 1770s.

He said Friday that the mistake happened when his teleprompter went off unexpectedly. By then, social media already had proven, in 2019, everyone is a comedian.

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There were jokes playing on common patriotic references, like writer Mark Harris's take-off on lyrics from "The Star-Spangled Banner" that "manned proof thru the night / that our airports were there."

U.S. Rep. Tom Malinowski, a Democrat representing New Jersey's 7th District, turned a portion of the Declaration of Independence into an airport parking tutorial by advising, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that the red zone has has always been for loading and unloading..." and so on.

There were visual puns that needed no further explanation, and proved again that Photoshop is the tool of the humor gods.

And there were mock letters from weary Revolutionary War participants dealing with modern-day airport hassles.

Dedicated Twitter jokesters will recognize the format as a familiar one, used notably in 2018 with #secondcivilwarletters. With that Twitter craze, people vied to create the funniest missive written in the style of the letters home from soldiers popularized by the Ken Burns documentary, "The Civil War."

If you think that Twitter — or would-be comedians — only target Trump's foibles, think again. As The Atlantic noted in a 2015 essay on Twitter jokes and the philosophical origins of humor, "Twitter often showcases classic philosophical theories of humor in action. In other words, the platform is new but the narrative structure is ancient."

Contact Detroit Free Press pop culture critic Julie Hinds: 313-222-6427 or jhinds@freepress.com.

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