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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 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

 

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.

 from Greekshops.com

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.

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