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Abraham Lincoln's Thanksgiving Proclamation
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.
No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.
I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
Remembering Our Veterans
From the US Department of Veterans' Affairs, http://www1.va.gov/opa/vetsday/vetdayhistory.asp
History of Veterans Day
World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”
In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…"
The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades and public meetings and a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.
The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:
Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, and far reaching war in human annals and the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, and
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving and prayer and exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will and mutual understanding between nations; and
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 and inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools and churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.
An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" and inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.
Later that same year, on October 8th, President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the first "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper and widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, and the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, and which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments and agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible."
President Eisenhower signing HR7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. From left: Alvin J. King, Wayne Richards, Arthur J. Connell, John T. Nation, Edward Rees, Richard L. Trombla, Howard W. Watts
On that same day, President Eisenhower sent a letter to the Honorable Harvey V. Higley, Administrator of Veterans' Affairs (VA), designating him as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee.
In 1958, the White House advised VA's General Counsel that the 1954 designation of the VA Administrator as Chairman of the Veterans Day National Committee applied to all subsequent VA Administrators. Since March 1989 when VA was elevated to a cabinet level department, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs has served as the committee's chairman.
The Uniform Holiday Bill (Public Law 90-363 (82 Stat. 250)) was signed on June 28, 1968, and was intended to ensure three-day weekends for Federal employees by celebrating four national holidays on Mondays: Washington's Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day. It was thought that these extended weekends would encourage travel, recreational and cultural activities and stimulate greater industrial and commercial production. Many states did not agree with this decision and continued to celebrate the holidays on their original dates.
The first Veterans Day under the new law was observed with much confusion on October 25, 1971. It was quite apparent that the commemoration of this day was a matter of historic and patriotic significance to a great number of our citizens, and so on September 20th, 1975, President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations and the American people.
Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.
Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!
THIS WAS SENT TO ME AND I THOUGHT PARTICULARLY WORTH PASSING ON TO THOSE OF YOU WHO LIKE TO SHOP
Bed Bug Epidemic
Hi All: A bit of information that you might like to know about. We
have friends here in our community and one of their sons is an
entomologist (insect expert), and has been telling them that there is
an epidemic of bed bugs now occurring in America.
Recently I have heard on the news that several stores in NYC have had to close due to bed bug problems, as well as a complete mall in New Jersey.
He says that since much of our clothing, sheets, towels, etc. now comes
from companies outside of America, (sad but true), even the most
expensive stores sell foreign clothing from China, Indonesia, etc. The
bed bugs are coming in on the clothing as these countries do not
consider them a problem. He recommends that if you buy any new
clothing, even underwear and socks, sheets, towels, etc. that you bring
them into the house and put them in your clothes dryer for at least 20
minutes. The heat will kill them and their eggs. DO NOT PURCHASE
CLOTHES AND HANG THEM IN THE CLOSET FIRST. It does not matter what the price range is of the clothing, or if the outfit comes from the most expensive store known in the U.S. They still get shipments from these countries and the bugs can come in a box of scarves or anything else for that matter. That is the reason why so many stores, many of them clothing stores have had to shut down in NYC and other places.
All you need is to bring one item into the house that has bugs or eggs and you will go to hell and back trying to get rid of them. He travels all
over the country as an advisory to many of these stores, as prevention
and after they have the problem.
Shop safely, America!
US - China Relations
STRATFOR, August 11, 2010
NEW POINTS OF FRICTION IN U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS
An expected visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to the U.S. in Sept. is "highly unlikely,"
according to the South China Morning Post, citing Chinese diplomats who claimed that
lower-level negotiations in preparation for the visit have not finished on time and no
further talks had been planned. Of course, Hu's trip was not set in stone and rumors
have suggested it may be canceled due to running disputes between the two states.
Nevertheless, the latest indications after the G-20 meeting in Canada in late June
suggested the meeting would be held, and now that expectation has been put into doubt.
A failure by Hu to visit the U.S. in Sept. -- which could result in no visit this year despite
U.S. President Barack Obama's invitation in Nov. 2009 -- would be representative of the
widening rifts between the world's two largest economies.
These rifts split the two countries across a range of economic, political and military
policies. The trade relationship is a perennial source of ill feeling, and longstanding v.
disputes in this area are set to heat up again following the latest economic statistics
out of China. In July, the Chinese trade surplus grew by 170 percent compared to last
July, reaching nearly $29 billion, the highest level since Jan. 2009, on robust exports
and lower-than-expected imports. While the outlook for China's domestic economy is
darkening for the second half of the year, the immediate snapshot shows a China that
continues to benefit from surging exports.
This comes at a time when the U.S. has suffered another round of negative news,
including a reinforcement of high unemployment levels. Washington sees the trade
imbalance with Beijing as a contributing factor to its economic pain and a result of
mercantilist policies, and has demanded that Beijing address the problem by at the
very least allowing its tightly controlled currency to fluctuate more freely. Beijing
signaled in June that it would do so, prompting the U.S. to refrain from criticizing
China in a key report, but in the nearly two months since, the yuan has not risen as
much as a full percentage point against the U.S. dollar. Needless to say, Washington
senses that it has become a dupe to empty assurances at a time when President Obama's
popularity is suffering, and U.S. congressional representatives -- many facing elections
in Nov. -- need concrete results to show voters they are stopping Chinese policies from
hurting American jobs. Therefore, the July news will provide U.S. politicians with
more ammunition to bring against China, while heightening China's own economic
anxieties and likely making it more reactive to U.S. demands.
Military tensions have also worsened, beyond the current freeze on military-to-military
talks or spats over U.S. arms sales to Taiwan. If Hu does not visit Obama this year, it
will be reminiscent of the fact that in June China canceled a planned visit by U.S.
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Military friction has risen as the U.S. has sought
to bolster its alliances in the Asia Pacific region following heightened security risks on
the Korean peninsula, and has reached out to old and new partners as part of its
re-engagement policy with Southeast Asia, including an offer to mediate disputes over
boundaries in the South China Sea.
"Over the past few months it became apparent to Washington that China had even less
intention of cooperating with the U.S. in handling North Korea than in handling Iran."
By issuing numerous diplomatic protestations and conducting a series of military
exercises in its neighboring seas, the Chinese sought to deter the U.S. from moving
forward with what it considered provocative actions, namely deploying the USS George
Washington nuclear aircraft carrier in the Yellow Sea, the maritime approach to China's
capital city and strategic core. China's harsh reaction to the U.S. plan initially appeared
to gain China a symbolic victory. The U.S. appeared eager to avoid confrontation,
whether it feared offending China or merely wanted to let regional tempers cool. But in
recent weeks the U.S. redoubled its response, declaring that it would in fact send the
aircraft carrier to future exercises in the Yellow Sea, and then, on Aug. 8, sending it on
a separate visit to Vietnam to commemorate the restoration of U.S. - Vietnamese ties in
1995, followed by a round of exercises between the USS John McCain and the
Vietnamese navy that began on Tues. Enhanced U.S. cooperation with Vietnam has caused
deep consternation in China, since Vietnam is a traditional rival and the most aggressive
opponent to Beijing's expanding claims of authority in the South China Sea.
The U.S. has accelerated its involvement in Southeast Asia and has sought to build
credibility for this policy with states that fear favoring the U.S. will expose them to
hostility from China while not providing them with compensatory guarantees. While the
U.S. claims the policy merely consists of reaching out to natural partners, maintaining
normal bilateral relations and asserting the U.S. Navy's right to sail on international
waters, China sees it as a siege strategy and an attempt to constrain China's national
security and regional influence. It also views the policy as an early attempt to stop
China from securing its advantage in the region before the U.S. frees up more room
for maneuver by withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. Most alarming for Beijing
has been the rapidity with which the U.S. has begun to implement the policy. The last
thing China needs, as it heads into a generational leadership transition in 2012, is
intensified pressure on its periphery from the global superpower.
The U.S. has long planned to revamp its policy in Southeast Asia, after effectively
washing its hands of the region after the end of the Cold War. But aside from
increased counterterrorism cooperation with a number of states following 9/11, U.S.
plans have repeatedly been deferred in the face of more pressing matters in the
Middle East and South Asia. There is no shortage of reasons for the U.S. to advance
this policy now, regardless of Chinese objections, since the U.S. foresees a range of
economic benefits and security advantages arising from greater ties with the
Association of Southeast Asian Nations states.
But China's uncompromising response to the ChonAn incident in particular seems to
have given the U.S. greater impetus. Over the past few months it became apparent to
Washington that China had even less intention of cooperating with the U.S. in handling
North Korea than in handling Iran. The U.S. became aware that if it failed to make a
strong show of alliance solidarity, the credit would go to China for deterring it, which
would reverberate throughout the region to the detriment of Washington's engagement
policy and broader interests. The U.S. thus appears to have chosen not only to bulk up
its existing alliance structure but also to speed up the Southeast Asia push that was
already under way. This is adding new points of friction to the U.S. - China relationship,
even as longstanding disagreements show no sign of abating.
Copyright 2010 STRATFOR.
Happy Birthday America...Sealed with a "Kiss"
Here's Gene Simmons of the Rock group Kiss leading a rousing salute to our armed forces. Bet you can't watch without singing along!
Celebrate the Fouth of July with Fun Presidential Facts
These come to you thanks to IPl2 Librarian: http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/POTUSFARQ.html#question16a
- Q: Who was the youngest president? Who was the oldest?
- A: The youngest elected president was John F. Kennedy at 43. The youngest president to be inaugurated was Theodore Roosevelt at 42, following the assassination of William McKinley. The oldest president is Ronald Reagan, who was 77 years old when he left office.
- Q: Who was the tallest president? Who was the shortest?
- A: Tallest: Abraham Lincoln. Shortest: James Madison.
- Q: Who was the heaviest president? Who was the lightest?
- A: Heaviest: William Howard Taft, who weighed more than 300 lbs. He was said to have installed a special bathtub in the White House that could fit four normal sized men.. Lightest: James Madison at about 100 lbs.
- Q: Which presidents were related?
- A: There have been two sets of presidents who were father and son: John Adams and John Quincy Adams, and George Bush and George W. Bush. Other presidents who were related: William H. Harrison and Benjamin Harrison (grandfather and grandson); James Madison and Zachary Taylor (second cousins); and Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt (fifth cousins).
- How tall was each president, or what is the height of each president?
- Go to the "Presidential Biographies" page on White House Kids (http://www.whitehouse.gov/kids/presidents/). Click each president's name and look under "Personal" for that president's height.
Death and the Hereafter
- Q: How many presidents have died in office?
- A: Eight presidents have died in office (four by assassination):
- William Henry Harrison, 9th president (1841), died April 4, 1841 from pneumonia.
- Zachary Taylor, 12th president (1849-50), died July 9, 1850 from food poisoning or cholera.
- Abraham Lincoln, 16th president (1861-65), died April 15, 1865 by assassination.
- James Abram Garfield, 20th president (1881), died September 19, 1881 from blood poisoning resulting from doctors probing for an assassin's bullet with non-sterile instruments.
- William McKinley, 25th president (1897-1901), died September 14, 1901 by assassination.
- Warren G. Harding, 29th president (1921-23), died August 2, 1923 from either a heart attack or a stroke depending on the source. Harding's wife refused to allow an autopsy to be performed.
- Franklin D. Roosevelt, 32nd president (1933-45), died April 12, 1945 from a cerebral hemorrhage.
- John F. Kennedy, 35th president (1961-63), died November 22, 1963 by assassination.
- Q:Who would become president if the president and the vice-president both died?
- A: The Presidential Succession Law of 1947 deals with what would happen if both the president and the vice-president were simultaneously disabled. Under the law, the Speaker of the House would succeed to the Presidency. For a complete list of the order of succession, see Infoplease's Almanac's Order of Presidential Succession. (http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0101032.html).
- Q: Has any president ever died inside the White House?
- A: According to the Political Graveyard (http://politicalgraveyard.com/death/white-house.html), two presidents have died in the White House: William Henry Harrison died there in 1841, and Zachary Taylor died there in 1850.
- Q: Which president is buried in Washington, D.C.?
- A: Find-A-Grave's US Presidents and Vice Presidents page (http://www.findagrave.com/php/famous.php?page=ctf&FSctf=3) indicates that Woodrow Wilson is the only president buried in Washington, D.C. He is buried at the Washington Cathedral.
- Q: Which president was not a citizen of the U.S.A. when he died?
- A: The one president who was not a U.S. citizen when he died was the 10th President, John Tyler. A native of Virginia, he died in that state on Jan. 18, 1862 as a citizen of the Southern Confederacy. This information comes from the 1997 Information Please Almanac, edited by Otto Johnson, Houghton Mifflin, Boston & New York, 1997, p. 660.
- Q: Does anyone haunt the White House?
- A: Haunted Places: The National Directory, a book by Dennis William Hauck contains a section devoted to this topic. It cites William Henry Harrison and Abigail Adams as ghosts who haunt the president's home. You can see a list of these and other ghosts who are said to haunt the White House on this web page: http://theshadowlands.net/places/dc.htm
- Q: Who was the first president to fly in an airplane?
- A: The first president to fly in an airplane while in office was Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1943. The first ex-president to fly in an airplane was Theodore Roosevelt, who flew as a passenger in a 4-minute flight in one of the early Wright biplanes on October 11, 1910, a year after he had left office. Both of these answers, as well as more facts about presidents and air travel of all sorts, appear under the heading "PRESIDENT (U.S.)" in Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane. 4th ed. H.W. Wilson Company. 1981.
- Q: Who was the first president to get a pilots license?
- A: The first president to get a pilots license was Dwight Eisenhower. According to Famous First Facts, his pilots license was issued on 11/30/39.
- Q: Who's the first President to appear on television?
- A: The first president to appear on black & white television was Franklin Delano Roosevelt on April 30, 1939 at the opening ceremonies for the World's Fair. But, Harry S. Truman was the first president to give an address from the White House on October 5, 1947. The first president on color television was Dwight D. Eisenhower on June 6, 1955, when he appeared at his 40th class reunion at the U.S. military academy at West Point.
FYI: Warren G. Harding was the first president to give a speech over radio. This happened on June 14, 1922, when he spoke at the dedication of the Francis Scott Key memorial at Ft. McHenry, Baltimore, Md. on station WEAR.
This information was found at Infoplease's Ask the Editors: Presidential Firsts (http://www.infoplease.com/askeds/presidential-firsts.html) and the book Facts about the Presidents by Joseph Nathan Kane (H.W. Wilson Company, 1981) and Famous First Facts, by Joseph Nathan Kane. 4th (ed. H.W. Wilson Company, 1981).
- Q: Who was the first president to be born in a hospital?
- A: Jimmy Carter was the first president to be born in a hospital, which was the Wise Clinic in Plains, Georgia. This information was found at the Jimmy Carter Library & Museum webpage (http://www.jimmycarterlibrary.org/).
- Q: Who was the first president to have electric lights at the White House?
- Q: Who was the first president to have a Christmas tree in the White House?
- A: The first president to have electric lights in the White House was Benjamin Harrison in 1891. Fascinated and afraid of the new technology, First Lady Caroline would not turn the new lights on or off herself for fear of being shocked. To allay their fears, President Harrison asked Irwin "Ike" H. Hoover, the electrician who had installed the lights, fixtures, and wiring, to stay on and operate it. Hoover worked at the White House for 42 years and eventually became Chief Usher. The first Christmas tree also went up during Harrison's presidency in 1889. It was lit with candles. First Lady Frances Cleveland would be the first to hang electric lights on the tree.
This information was found at…
- "The Electric Career of Ike Hoover" - The White House Historical Association - Timelines - 1890s (http://www.whitehousehistory.org/05/subs/05_workers_11.html)
- "Death of Hoover", Time Magazine, Sep. 25, 1933 (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,882188,00.html)
- The White House's White House Tree webpage (http://www.whitehouse.gov/president/holiday/whtree/)