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Thursday Nov 11, 2010

Remembering Our Veterans

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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.

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.

Monday Oct 18, 2010

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite!

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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!

Wednesday Aug 18, 2010

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.

Sunday Jun 27, 2010

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!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MtdIO23MKM

Friday Jun 18, 2010

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

Presidential Firsts

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…

Monday May 24, 2010

Remember Our Heros this Memorial Day

To too many people Memorial Day is a time for a picnic, a boat ride or some other outing.  That is great when with your family, but please don't forget those who made it possible.  Seek out a Veteran and thank him or her.   You will both appreciate that very much.........it is a great habit to get your kids into also.
 
 
 
 

It is the VETERAN,
not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.



It is the VETERAN

who salutes the Flag,

It is the VETERAN
who serves under the Flag,

 

It is the VETERAN,
not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.

It is the VETERAN,
not the reporter,
who has given us freedom of the press.

It is the VETERAN,
not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.


It is the VETERAN,
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is the
VETERAN,
not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.

 



ETERNAL REST GRANT THEM O LORD,

AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON THEM.

Monday Mar 29, 2010

Toxic Seafood Warning

Wow, Americans, just received this information from a friend and it is scary.  As someone who loves to order seafood when I dine in restaurants, the thought that 80% of our seafood is imported from foreign countries and loaded with toxins is scary, indeed.  Here's the ABC News clip from You Tube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0F8x4i5GYE&feature=related   Remember, you are what you eat!

Monday Feb 22, 2010

PT 658 Seaworthy Once Again

pt

Hello Americans,

We want to share this moving story of a group of veterans who resurrected an old PT boat brought out of San Francisco Bay and painstakingly restored over 15 years.  Of the original 12 vets who began work on the boat, only half are still alive.  Click here to see the story of this boat brought back to life: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7693407296698216570&ei=3mPQSMCOIKO6gAP&cgsC

Friday Jan 15, 2010

Happy St. Valentine's Day!

valentines_day

Valentine's Day in US

http://www.stvalentinesday.org/valentines-day-in-us.html




Valentine's Day is an extremely popular festival in United States of America. People in US observe a holiday on this day to honor St Valentine and to express love to dear ones. Taking opportunity of the festival people express gratitude and love for sweethearts, spouse, teachers, parents or any other person close to them.

Valentine's Day History in US
Valentine's Day is said to have imported to North America in the 19th century by British settlers. First mass-produced Valentine's Day card with embossed paper lace are said to have produced in United States shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland (1828-1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts.

In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of giving gifts along with cards became popular. Roses and chocolates were the most commonly exchanged Valentine's Day Gifts and were usually given by man to the woman. Around 1980's diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion to gift fine jewelry. Today, the day has come to be associated with a generic platonic greeting of "Happy Valentine's Day."

Valentine's Day Celebration in US
Valentine's Day festival has been commercialized to a great extent in US. It is estimated that Valentine's Day is the major card and gift giving festival in US. Days before the festival markets wear a festive look to lure consumers. Popular gifts exchanged on the day include cards, fresh flowers- mainly rose, chocolates and candies. These days, people also complement these with other gifts of love to express affection and love.

Valentine's Day dinner and dance parties are organized all over the country to celebrate the occasion. Many couples hold private celebrations in homes or restaurants. Another interesting part of Valentine's Day in US is the celebrations organized by kids. Several schools organize Valentine's Day programmes where children perform songs, dance, skits and plays. Children also gift handmade gifts and cards to their friends and teachers.

To those staying in different cities, Valentine's Day greetings are exchanged with the help of e-cards and by sending gifts through online Valentines Day gift shopping sites.

Sunday Dec 20, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to All!

As we near Christmas, we thought it would be interesting to examine a history of how the holiday has been celebrated in the United States.  This comes compliments of this site: http://www.thehistoryofchristmas.com/ch/in_america.htm

In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebratedearly american christmas - winter holiday in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday. 

The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.

An outlaw ChristmasAfter the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.

Washington Irving reinvents Christmas
It wasn’t until the 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas. Americans re-invented Christmas, and changed it from a raucous carnival holiday into a family-centered day of peace and nostalgia. But what about the 1800s peaked American interest in the holiday?

The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. During this time, unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot. This catalyzed certain members of the upper classes to begin to change the way Christmas was celebrated in America.

In 1819, best-selling author Washington Irving wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent., a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. The sketches feature a squire who invited the peasants into his home for the holiday. In contrast to the problems faced in American society, the two groups mingled effortlessly. In Irving’s mind, Christmas should be a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status.

Irving’s fictitious celebrants enjoyed “ancient customs,” including the crowning of a Lord of Misrule. Irving’s book, however, was not based on any holiday celebration he had attended—in fact, many historians say that Irving’s account actually “invented” tradition by implying that it described the true customs of the season.

Before the Civil War
The North and South were divided on the issue of Christmas, as well as on the question of slavery. Many Northerners saw sin in the celebration of Christmas; to these people the celebration of Thanksgiving was more appropriate. But in the South, Christmas was an important part of the social season. Not surprisingly, the first three states to make Christmas a legal holiday were in the South: Alabama in 1836, Louisiana and Arkansas in 1838.Early Christmas & Santa engraving

In the years after the Civil War, Christmas traditions spread across the country. Children's books played an important role in spreading the customs of celebrating Christmas, especially the tradition of trimmed trees and gifts delivered by Santa Claus. Sunday school classes encouraged the celebration of Christmas. Women's magazines were also very important in suggesting ways to decorate for the holidays, as well as how to make these decorations.

By the last quarter of the nineteenth century, America eagerly decorated trees, caroled, baked, and shopped for the Christmas season. Since that time, materialism, media, advertising, and mass marketing has made Christmas what it is today. The traditions that we enjoy at Christmas today were invented by blending together customs from many different countries into what is considered by many to be our national holiday.

Thursday Dec 10, 2009

Terry Bradshaw and the FOX NFL Sunday Team in Afghanistan

photo courtesy of libnot.com

Terry Bradshaw and the FOX NFL Sunday Team including Curt Menefee, Howie Long, Michael Strahan, Jimmy Johnson and Jay Glazer traveled to Afghanistan during Veterans' Day week to visit our troops in Bagram Air Field.  While there, in addition to visiting wounded troops in the hospital and speaking with everyone from pilots to technicians who keep the explosive disposal robots running, they participated in an airdrop and inspired all present with this heartwarming rendition of God Bless America.  Click on this link to view:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YiO6Ofm_l4

 

Friday Nov 13, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the spirit of the first Thanksgiving, we bring you this account from http://holydays.tripod.com/thanks.htm

The Thanksgiving Story

The feast

 

Though it was not called Thanksgiving at the time, what we recognize as the first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated in 1621 by the pilgrims of the Plymouth colony along with about 90 Wampanoag Indians. The Pilgrims had suffered through a devastating winter in which nearly half their number died. Without the help of the Indians, all would have perished.
pilgrims

After the first harvest, Governor William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer to God. The food, which was eaten outdoors, included corn, geese, turkeys, ducks, eel, clams, leeks, plums, cod, bass, barley, venison and corn bread. The feast lasted 3 days. Though the exact date is unknown, the feast clearly took place in late autumn.
cornucopia

In 1623, a period of drought was answered by colonists with a proclamation of prayer and fasting. This prayer and fasting was changed to another thanksgiving celebration when rains came during the prayers. Later that year, Governor Bradford proclaimed November 29 as a time for pilgrims to gather and "listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings." George Washington

Throughout American history, there were many thanksgiving proclamations and celebrations. In 1789 George Washington proclaimed a National Thanksgiving Day on the last Thursday in November, in honor of the new United States Constitution. Thomas Jefferson, the third president, later discontinued it, calling it "a kingly practice." Abraham Lincoln

In 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale, the author of the poem "Mary Had a Little Lamb," convinced Abraham Lincoln to proclaim Thanksgiving a national holiday. For the date she chose the last Thursday in November because of Washington's proclamation. In 1941, it was officially changed to the fourth Thursday in November.

Since Abraham Lincoln's proclamation, it has been a custom that all presidents of the United States make Thanksgiving proclamations every year. One of George W. Bush's proclamations came just two months after the September 11 tragedy. He stated that In thankfulness and humility, we acknowledge, especially now, our dependence on One greater than ourselves.

All of the early Thanksgiving celebrations had one thing in common. The thanksgiving was directed toward God. It did not matter that many had very hard times. The people knew that God was their creator and provider and that all good things ultimately came from Him.

Saturday Oct 10, 2009

Celebrate Columbus Day!

Hello Americans,

I came across this great site today which has different fun activities you can do with your kids to commemorate Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas.  The egg cup ships are my favorite.

Here's the link: http://holidays.kaboose.com/columbus-day/

 

Wednesday Jul 15, 2009

Great Monument to our First President

Great email I received from a friend:

LAUS DEO

Do you know what it means?
 
One detail that is never mentioned is that in Washington, D.C., there can never be a building of greater height than the Washington Monument.
The Washington Monument in Washington, DC
 
With all the uproar about removing the Ten Commandments, etc., this is worth a moment or two of your time.  I was not aware of this amazing historical information.

On the aluminum cap, atop the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., are displayed two words: Laus Deo.


No one can see these words.  In fact, most visitors to the monument are totally unaware they are even there and for that matter, probably couldn't care less.
 
 
 
Once you know Laus Deo's history, you will want to share this with everyone you know.  These words have been there for many years; they are 555 feet, 5.125 inches high, perched atop the monument, facing skyward to the Father of our nation, overlooking the 69 square miles which comprise the District of Columbia, capital of the United States of America. 

Laus Deo!  Two seemingly insignificant, unnoticed words. Out of sight and, one might think, out of mind, but very meaningfully placed at the highest point over what is the most powerful city in the most successful nation in the world.

 
So, what do those two words, in Latin, composed of just four syllables and only seven letters, possibly mean?  Very simply, they say 'Praise be to God!'

Though construction of this giant obelisk began in 1848, when James Polk was President of the 
United States, it was not until 1888 that the monument was inaugurated and opened to the public.  It took twenty-five years to finally cap the memorial with a tribute to the Father of our nation, Laus Deo 'Praise be to God!'

From atop this magnificent granite and marble structure, visitors may take in the beautiful panoramic view of the city with its division into four major segments.
 
From that vantage point, one can also easily see the original plan of the designer, Pierre Charles l'Enfant - a perfect cross imposed upon the landscape, with the White House to the north, the Jefferson Memorial to the south, the Capitol to the east, and the Lincoln Memorial to the west.
 
 
A cross you ask?  Why a cross?  What about separation of church and state? Yes, a cross; separation of church and state was not, is not, in the Constitution.  So, read on. How interesting and, no doubt, intended to carry a profound meaning for those who bother to notice.

Praise be to God!  Within the monument itself are 898 steps and 50 landings.  As one climbs the steps and pauses at the landings the memorial stones share a message. 
  • On the 12th Landing is a prayer offered by the City of Baltimore ;
  • on the 20th is a memorial presented by some Chinese Christians;
  • on the 24th a presentation made by Sunday School children from New York and Philadelphia quoting Proverbs 10:7, Luke 18:16 and Proverbs 22:6. Praise be to God!
 
When the cornerstone of the Washington Monument was laid on July 4th, 1848 deposited within it were many items including the Holy Bible presented by the Bible Society. Praise be to God!  Such was the discipline, the moral direction, and the spiritual mood given by the founder and first President of our unique democracy 'One Nation, Under God.'

I am awed by 
Washington's prayer for America
!   Have you ever read it? Well, now is your unique opportunity, so read on!

' Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation.  Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.' 
 
 
When one stops to observe the inscriptions found in public places all over our nation's capitol, he or she will easily find the signature of God, as it is unmistakably inscribed everywhere you look. You may forget the width and height of 'Laus Deo ', its location, or the architects but no one who reads this will be able to forget its meaning, or these words: 'Unless the Lord builds the house its builders labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchmen stand guard in vain.'  (Psalm 127: 1)

Tuesday Jun 09, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

Fathers Day Gift Guide

First a little history...

Sonora Dodd, of Washington, was one of the first people who had the idea of a "father's day." She thought of the idea for Father's Day while listening to a Mother's Day sermon in 1909. 

Sonora wanted a special day to honor her father, William Smart. Smart, who was a Civil War veteran, was widowed when his wife died while giving birth to their sixth child. Mr. Smart was left to raise the newborn and his other five children by himself on a rural farm in eastern Washington state.

Even before Dodd, however, the idea of observing a day in honor of fathers was promoted. Dr. Robert Webb conducted what is believed as the first Father's Day service at the Central Church of Fairmont, West Virginia in 1908. It was Dodd's efforts, however, that eventually led to a national observance.

President Calvin Coolidge, in 1924, supported the idea of a national Father's Day. Then in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father's Day.

After Sonora became an adult she realized the selflessness her father had shown in raising his children as a single parent. It was her father that made all the parental sacrifices and was, in the eyes of his daughter, a courageous, selfless, and loving man. Sonora's father was born in June, so she chose to hold the first Father's Day celebration in Spokane, Washington on the 19th of June, 1910.

This Father's Day, wow him with gifts from www.USAb2c.com like:

an automotive emergency kit: Safeguard Emergency Kits Emergency Preparedness Kit, 2 Person, 3 Day Supply http://www.usab2c.com/product/americanmade_Automotive_Products/MOT_SGSK003

a barbecue griddle:Stainless Steel Griddle for BBQ Grills  - Half Size http://www.usab2c.com/product/AB2C_gas_grill_mats/GQ120

fishing accessories: 10 Bobber Package http://www.usab2c.com/product/fishingaccessories/BIG_S10

cool sunglasses:

AO Eyewear Flight Gear - Original Pilot Sunglasses http://www.usab2c.com/product/American_Made_EYE/AOeyewear_FlightGear_OriginalPilot

a Zippo lighter: Zippo Sapphire, Allegiance http://www.usab2c.com/product/American_Made_LIG_/MOT_ZI21190

a tool box:

 Armstrong Tools Steel Cases and Tote Trays http://www.usab2c.com/product/American_TOOLSTORAGE/ARM_16635

 

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