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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:

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

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:


Friday Nov 13, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

In the spirit of the first Thanksgiving, we bring you this account from

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.

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.

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:


Wednesday Jul 15, 2009

Great Monument to our First President

Great email I received from a friend:


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 like:

an automotive emergency kit: Safeguard Emergency Kits Emergency Preparedness Kit, 2 Person, 3 Day Supply

a barbecue griddle:Stainless Steel Griddle for BBQ Grills  - Half Size

fishing accessories: 10 Bobber Package

cool sunglasses:

AO Eyewear Flight Gear - Original Pilot Sunglasses

a Zippo lighter: Zippo Sapphire, Allegiance

a tool box:

 Armstrong Tools Steel Cases and Tote Trays


Wednesday May 20, 2009

Remembering Our Heroes

Memorial Day Home Page
Spanish Translation (by Bablefish)   French Translation (by Bablefish)   Hungarian Translation (by Veronika Nagy)    
Memorial DayHistory

Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in our nation's service. There are many stories as to its actual beginnings, with over two dozen cities and towns laying claim to being the birthplace of Memorial Day. There is also evidence that organized women's groups in the South were decorating graves before the end of the Civil War: a hymn published in 1867, "Kneel Where Our Loves are Sleeping" by Nella L. Sweet carried the dedication "To The Ladies of the South who are Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead" (Source: Duke University's Historic American Sheet Music, 1850-1920). While Waterloo N.Y. was officially declared the birthplace of Memorial Day by President Lyndon Johnson in May 1966, it's difficult to prove conclusively the origins of the day. It is more likely that it had many separate beginnings; each of those towns and every planned or spontaneous gathering of people to honor the war dead in the 1860's tapped into the general human need to honor our dead, each contributed honorably to the growing movement that culminated in Gen Logan giving his official proclamation in 1868. It is not important who was the very first, what is important is that Memorial Day was established. Memorial Day is not about division. It is about reconciliation; it is about coming together to honor those who gave their all.

General John A. Logan
Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, [LC-B8172- 6403 DLC (b&w film neg.)]
Memorial Day was officially proclaimed on 5 May 1868 by General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic, in his General Order No. 11, and was first observed on 30 May 1868, when flowers were placed on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery. The first state to officially recognize the holiday was New York in 1873. By 1890 it was recognized by all of the northern states. The South refused to acknowledge the day, honoring their dead on separate days until after World War I (when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war). It is now celebrated in almost every State on the last Monday in May (passed by Congress with the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 - 363) to ensure a three day weekend for Federal holidays), though several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19 in Texas, April 26 in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10 in South Carolina; and June 3 (Jefferson Davis' birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee.

In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms.Michael and when she returned to France, made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children's League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help. Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans' organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their "Buddy" Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.

Traditional observance of Memorial day has diminished over the years. Many Americans nowadays have forgotten the meaning and traditions of Memorial Day. At many cemeteries, the graves of the fallen are increasingly ignored, neglected. Most people no longer remember the proper flag etiquette for the day. While there are towns and cities that still hold Memorial Day parades, many have not held a parade in decades. Some people think the day is for honoring any and all dead, and not just those fallen in service to our country.

There are a few notable exceptions. Since the late 50's on the Thursday before Memorial Day, the 1,200 soldiers of the 3d U.S. Infantry place small American flags at each of the more than 260,000 gravestones at Arlington National Cemetery. They then patrol 24 hours a day during the weekend to ensure that each flag remains standing. In 1951, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts of St. Louis began placing flags on the 150,000 graves at Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery as an annual Good Turn, a practice that continues to this day. More recently, beginning in 1998, on the Saturday before the observed day for Memorial Day, the Boys Scouts and Girl Scouts place a candle at each of approximately 15,300 grave sites of soldiers buried at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park on Marye's Heights (the Luminaria Program). And in 2004, Washington D.C. held its first Memorial Day parade in over 60 years.

To help re-educate and remind Americans of the true meaning of Memorial Day, the "National Moment of Remembrance" resolution was passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans "To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to 'Taps."

The Moment of Remembrance is a step in the right direction to returning the meaning back to the day. What is needed is a full return to the original day of observance. Set aside one day out of the year for the nation to get together to remember, reflect and honor those who have given their all in service to their country.

But what may be needed to return the solemn, and even sacred, spirit back to Memorial Day is for a return to its traditional day of observance. Many feel that when Congress made the day into a three-day weekend in with the National Holiday Act of 1971, it made it all the easier for people to be distracted from the spirit and meaning of the day. As the VFW stated in its 2002 Memorial Day address: "Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed greatly to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day."

On January 19, 1999 Senator Inouye introduced bill S 189 to the Senate which proposes to restore the traditional day of observance of Memorial Day back to May 30th instead of "the last Monday in May". On April 19, 1999 Representative Gibbons introduced the bill to the House (H.R. 1474). The bills were referred the Committee on the Judiciary and the Committee on Government Reform.

To date, there has been no further developments on the bill. Please write your Representative and your Senators, urging them to support these bills. You can also contact Mr. Inouye to let him know of your support.

Visit our Help Restore the Traditional Day of Observance page for more information on this issue, and for more ways you can help.

To see what day Memorial Day falls on for the next 10 years, visit the Memorial Day Calendar page.

Monday May 04, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Mother's Day celebrations can be traced back to the spring celebrations of ancient Greece in honor of Rhea, the Mother of the Greek Gods. During the 1600's, England celebrated a day called "Mothering Sunday". Celebrated on the 4th Sunday of Lent. "Mothering Sunday" honored the mothers of England.

As Christianity spread throughout Europe the celebration changed to honor the "Mother Church" - the spiritual power that gave them life and protected them from harm. Over time the church festival blended with the Mothering Sunday celebration . People began honoring their mothers as well as the church.

In the United States Mother's Day was first suggested in 1872 by Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the words to the Battle hymn of the Republic) as a day dedicated to peace. Ms. Howe would hold organized Mother's Day meetings in Boston, Mass ever year. In 1907 Ana Jarvis, from Philadelphia, began a campaign to establish a national Mother's Day. Ms. Jarvis persuaded her mother's church in Grafton, West Virginia to celebrate Mother's Day on the second anniversary of her mother's death, the 2nd Sunday of May. By the next year Mother's Day was also celebrated in Philadelphia.

In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the official announcement proclaiming Mother's Day as a national holiday that was to be held each year on the 2nd Sunday of May.


Wednesday Apr 08, 2009

Happy Easter!

Easter Traditions in USA

Easter is a major religious festival of Christians that is celebrated in a grand manner with a big party time celebration. Every nation has its own way of celebrating a particular festivity. Every country has some peculiar traditions and customs. For example it is the tradition of America to conduct special Easter parades, where men and women flaunt their special costumes and colorful bonnets. The person who leads the parade can be spotted holding an Easter candle or cross in his/her hand. It is interesting to explore facts about Easter traditions in USA. Read further to know about Easter celebration in America…
Here are some USA Easter customs:
  • In the New Orleans, it is a trend of conducting an annual pre-Easter carnival called 'Mardi Gras', which features lot of fun activities like parade, jazz music bands and a bumper party.
  • A must play Easter game for American kids is Easter egg roll.
  • A special dish for Easter springtime in USA is baked ham, potatoes and vegetables. Another most demanding recipe is hot cross buns.
  • It was in the early 1700's, when for the first time, eggs were dyed in America and the credit for starting this practice can be attributed to Pennsylvania Dutch (German) settlers.
  • As a part of Easter traditions in the US, sunrise services are held and the prime motive is to include various Christian religious groups in this event.
  • Painting the Easter eggs and then conducting Easter egg hunt games for the kids is what most American parents do on the Easter week.

Easter Traditions Around the World:

In England, as a part of Easter tradition, people eat hams. So as to glorify the resurrection of Lord Jesus, people in Britain host special parades. Churches are adorned with lovely lilies. As a part of party time celebration, dance performances take place for which the Morris dancers are invited. In small town, pancake races are held. People dance to the tune of Easter springtime songs and enjoy themselves.
The history of Greece traces back far past the beginnings of Christianity, but from the very earliest days of the Christian faith the Islands of Greece and the Greek people have embraced these beliefs and made them part of the Greek heritage. Of all the Christian feast days, Easter is the greatest time for foods, feasting and celebration to people in the Greek Orthodox faith. At midnight the church bells toll as the priests announce Christós Anésti...Christ is Risen! Fireworks are set off, in some areas gunshots are fired and the each person in the crowd answers with the joyous responses of Alithós Anésti - Truly He is risen and Alithinós O Kírios - True is The Lord. The people leave the churches and crowded squares and make their ways to homes of friends and relatives. The candles they carry are placed in each home and burn through the night to symbolize the Light returned to the world. Celebrations continue with the cracking of eggs and The Resurrection Table. Each person takes an egg and challengers attempt to crack each others' eggs. The breaking of the eggs is meant to symbolize Christ breaking from the Tomb. The person whose egg lasts the longest is assured good luck for the rest of the year.
In Germany, Easter commences on the Good Friday with the draping of cross. It is on this day, people eat fish as a part of a fast.  In the menu of special Easter lunch on the Easter Sunday, colored Easter eggs and lamb shaped cake acquire prominent positions. In the sweets, people relish the cookies and chocolate candies.  To give a warm welcome to the spring season, there is a tradition of burning the old Christmas trees in a specially chosen venue.  Green colored Easter eggs are used on the Maundy Holy Thursday. In the Oberammergau town of Germany, passion play is held which is based on the life of Jesus Christ. It's a play in which about 1200 villagers participate and the play is a real long one, extending up to six hours.  Before the start of Lent season, a special carnival called Fasching is held. Its major attractions include a parade in which people showoff their masks. Kids light huge bonfires on the Easter eve. German people prepare a special recipe called Cruller, which is a kind of thick doughnut. 

Australia has a different style of celebrating the Easter festivity. There are certain things that are specific to Australia. To say for example, in major part of Northern hemisphere, Easter bunny has a special importance related to Easter festivity. In fact, it is considered to be one of the most important symbols of Easter. But in Australia, Easter bunny is said to have a bad history of destroying the vegetable crops and owing to this, the Aussie people have found another alternative Easter symbol, namely Bilby. Easter traditions in Australia are truly unique. In Australia, Easter is celebrated in the autumn season unlike other Northern hemisphere countries, where Easter falls in the springtime. The specialty of Easter in Australia lies in the hosting of a unique agricultural show in Sydney known as "the Royal Easter Show", where the nation's best produce is exhibited. It also consists of displays of farm animals. Other highlights include firework, hosting of parades, joy rides, delicious food and other fun activities for kids. In Australia, instead of the rabbit, Bilby is considered to be one of the major symbols associated with Easter festivity. The reason of bunny rabbit being replaced by Bilby is that, the bunny rabbit is reported to have destroyed agricultural crops.

Tuesday Mar 17, 2009

Air Force Jet Heralds Fifth Generation of USA Made Fighters

F22 Raptor
photo courtesy US Air Force
Texas Govenor, Rick Perry states it well: "The F-22 program is an important economic engine for thousands of good paying, highly skilled jobs......".  "This F-22 is a model program; efficient, on-budget and ahead of schedule.  The F-22 Raptor is capable of defeating any enemy or surface-to-air missle that threatens our forces or our allies."
This video by Lockheed Martin tells that story:
Boeing and Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor Engine 2x Pratt & Whitney F119-PW-100 approx. 35,000lbs each Top Speed Mach 2 plus (estimated) Weight around 31,670lbs empty Wingspan 44 ft 6 inches Length 62 ft 1 inch Weapons AMRAAM, AIM9 Sidewinder and AIM120 air to air missiles, 20 mm gatling cannon. Country USA Crew One

Friday Jan 23, 2009

Happy Independence Day!

Fun Presidential Facts for the Fourth:

US Presidential Seal

from the book Facts About the Presidents by Joseph Nathan Kane et. al.:

 Q. Who was the first President not born a British subject?
A. Martin Van Buren

 Q. What were the closest elections?
A. Six elections have been extremely close. The 1880, 1884, 1960, and 1968 elections were won with margins of less than 1% of the popular vote. The 1888 and 2000 elections had similarly narrow margins but in those elections the winner of the popular vote lost the vote in the electoral college and so did not become president.

 The 1824 and 1876 elections were also close, in the sense that they were thrown into the House of Representatives when no candidate won in the electoral college. Again, the popular vote did not determine the outcome.

 Q. How many bachelors have been elected President?
A. Two: James Buchanan and Grover Cleveland. Buchanan never married; Cleveland married while he was president.

 Q. Was any President an only child?
A. Franklin D. Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, and William Clinton were the only children of their parents' marriages. However, Ford and Clinton grew up with younger half-brothers from their mothers' second marriages, and Roosevelt had an older half-brother from his father's first marriage.

 Q. Which Presidents never exercised the veto?
A. John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, John Quincy Adams, Martin Van Buren, William Harrison, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, and James Garfield.

 Q. Who delivered the shortest inaugural address?
A. George Washington, at his second inauguration—135 words.

 Q. Which sons of Presidents fought in the Civil War? On which side?
A. Union: Robert Todd Lincoln (served in a noncombatant position), Frederick Dent Grant, Charles Johnson, and Robert Johnson.
Confederacy: David Gardiner Tyler, John Alexander Tyler, Tazewell Tyler (army surgeon), and Richard Taylor.

 Q. Which First Lady danced the polka in the White House?
A. Julia Gardiner Tyler, a famous belle

 Q. Who was the first President to use the Internet?
A. William Clinton

 Q. How many Vice Presidents have there been?
A. Richard Cheney is the 46th Vice President. (p. 689-692)

 Q. How many Presidents didn’t attend college?
A. Eight: George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren, Zachary Taylor, Millard Fillmore, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Johnson, and Grover Cleveland.

 Q. How many Presidents were left-handed?
A. Six: James Garfield, Herbert Hoover, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, and William Clinton.  Update: make that seven; President Obama is a leftie.

 Q. Who was the tallest President?
A. Lincoln—at 6 feet, 4 inches.

Wednesday Nov 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!



     Gwa!   Gwa!   Gwa!
     Now the time has come!
          Hear us, Lord of the Sky!
     We are here to speak the truth,
          for you do not hear lies,
     We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

     Now begins the Gayant' gogwus
          This sacred fire and sacred tobacco
     And through this smoke
          We offer our prayers
     We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

     Now in the beginning of all things
          You provided that we inherit your creation
     You said: I shall make the earth
          on which people shall live
     And they shall look to the earth as their mother
     And they shall say, "It is she who supports us."
     You said that we should always be thankful
     For our earth and for each other
     So it is that we are gathered here
     We are your children, Lord of the Sky.

              Now again the smoke rises
              And again we offer prayers
              You said that food should be placed beside us
              And it should be ours in exchange for our labor.
              You thought that ours should be a world
              where green grass of many kinds should grow
              You said that some should be medicines
              And that one should be Ona'o
              the sacred food, our sister corn
              You gave to her two clinging sisters
              beautiful Oa'geta, our sister beans
              and bountiful Nyo'sowane, our sister squash
              The three sacred sisters; they who sustain us.

              This is what you thought, Lord of the Sky.
              Thus did you think to provide for us
              And you ordered that when the warm season comes,
              That we should see the return of life
              And remember you, and be thankful,
              and gather here by the sacred fire.
              So now again the smoke arises
              We the people offer our prayers
              We speak to you through the rising smoke
              We are thankful, Lord of the Sky.

              (Liberally translated)
              Chuck Larsen, Seneca            

This beautiful prayer was found on a Native American site which includes many Thanksgiving related articles including the first Thanksgiving Proclamation and some native recipes.  Click on this link to enjoy:

Monday Sep 29, 2008

Does Your Dollar Make "Sense" To You?

Received this fascinating email from a friend:
On the rear of the One Dollar bill, you will see two circles.  Together, they comprise the Great Seal of the United States.

The First Continental Congress requested that Benjamin Franklin and  a group of men come up with a Seal.  It took them four years to  accomplish this task and another two years to get it approved.
If you look at the left-hand circle, you will see a Pyramid.  Notice the face is lighted, and the western side is dark. This country was just beginning.  We had not begun to explore the west or  
decided what we could do for Western Civilization.  The Pyramid is uncapped, again signifying that we were not even close to being finished.  Inside the capstone you have the all-seeing eye, an ancient symbol for divinity.  It was Franklin's belief that one man couldn't do it alone, but a group of men, with the help of God, could do anything.

'IN GOD WE TRUST' is on this currency.

The Latin above the pyramid, ANNUIT COEPTIS, means, 'God has favored our undertaking.'
The Latin below the pyramid, NOVUS ORDO SECLORUM, means, 'a new order has begun.'
At the base of the pyramid is the Roman Numeral for 1776. (MDCCLXXVI)

If you look at the right-hand circle, and check it carefully, you will learn that it is on every National Cemetery in the United States. It is also on the Parade of Flags Walkway at the Bushnell, Florida National Cemetery, and is the centerpiece of most hero's monuments. Slightly modified, it is the seal of the President of the United States, and it is always visible whenever he speaks, yet very few people know what the symbols mean.

The Bald Eagle was selected as a symbol for victory for two reasons:  
First, he is not afraid of a storm; he is strong, and he is smart enough to soar above it.  Secondly, he wears no material crown. We had just broken from the King ofEngland. Also, notice the shield is unsupported. This country can now stand on its own. At the top of that shield you have a white bar signifying congress, a unifying factor. We were coming together as one nation. In the Eagle's beak you will read,'E PLURIBUS UNUM' meaning,'one from many.'

Above the Eagle, you have thirteen stars, representing the thirteen original colonies, and any clouds of misunderstanding rolling away.
Again, we were coming together as one.

Notice what the Eagle holds in his talons. He holds an olive branch and arrows.  This country wants peace, but we will never be afraid 
to fight to preserve peace.  The Eagle always wants to face the olive branch, but in time of war, his gaze turns toward the arrows.

They say that the number 13 is an unlucky number.  This is almost a worldwide belief. You will usually never see a room numbered 13, or any hotels or motels with a 13th floor. But think about this:

13 original colonies,
13 signers of the Declaration of Independence,
13 stripes on our flag,
13 steps on the Pyramid,
13 letters in, 'Annuit Coeptis,'
13 letters in 'E PluribusUnum,'
13 stars above the Eagle,
13 bars on that shield,
13 leaves on the olive branch,
13 fruits, and, if you look closely,
13 arrows.

And finally, if you notice the arrangement of the 13 stars in the right-hand circle you will see that they are arranged as a Star of 
David.  This was ordered by George Washington who, when he asked Hayyim Solomon, a wealthy Philadelphia Jew, what he would like as a  
personal reward for his services to the Continental Army, Solomon said he wanted nothing for himself but that he would like something 
for his people. The Star of David was the result. Few people know that it was Solomon who saved the Army through his financial contributions but died a pauper.

I always ask people, 'Why don't you know this?' Your children don't know this, and their history teachers don't know this. Too many 
veterans have given up too much to ever let the meaning fade. Many veterans remember coming home to anAmerica that didn't care. Too  
many veterans never came home at all.

Wednesday Aug 06, 2008

All American Cowboy

"Cowboy and Sunset" Print

Take a walk down memory lane and revisit iconic cowboys from film and TV who epitomized the image of the tough, fair American.  Paste this link to your browser and enjoy:

Thursday Jun 19, 2008

Celebrate the 4th; Celebrate the USA!



received this email from a friend:

You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if:   It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, "One nation, under God." 
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if:  You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.  
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You still say "Christmas" instead of "Winter Festival."   
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You bow your head when someone prays. 
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem. 
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You treat Vietnam vets and all our military with great respect, and always have. 
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You've never burned an American flag. 
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening. 
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You respect your elders and expect your kids to do the same.   
You might be a TRUE AMERICAN if: You'd give your last dollar to a friend. 
God Bless the U S A !!!!!!! 

As a final treat, click here to hear our National Anthem sung by 5 young ladies between the ages of 6 and 8 at a Texas Tech University basketball game:







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