Friday, November 28, 2014

“Remember the Alamo” was the Texan’s rallying cry during their war with the Mexicans.  The Mexicans laid siege on the small Texan mission and eventually massacred everyone inside.  This lack of mercy served to unite the Texans against the hated Mexicans, justifying any act of retribution they could deliver.

“Remember the Maine” was the American rallying cry during the Spanish-American War.  The Spanish unexpectedly attacked a battleship, the USS Maine, in the middle of the night, sinking it and killing many of the sailors on board.  This act of treachery served to unite the American people against the hated Spanish, justifying any act of retribution we could deliver.

“Remember the Lusitania” was the American rallying cry during World War I.  The Germans sank an unarmed British ocean liner full of American citizens in the Atlantic Ocean, killing many on board.  This act of barbarism served to unite the American people against the evil Germans, justifying any act of retribution we could deliver.

“Remember Pearl Harbor” was the American rallying cry during World War II.  The Japanese launched a surprise attack on the United States Navy’s Pacific Fleet, sinking several war ships and killing thousands of Americans.  This act of aggression against a neutral nation served to unite the American people against the hated Japanese, justifying any act of retribution we could deliver, including the use of two atomic bombs on two Japanese cities.

In many parts of the world, people continue to hate their neighbor for acts of treachery committed centuries ago.  They never forget!  Even after many generations have passed, the hate is still strong enough that there is little chance that these people will ever speak civilly, let alone become friends.  When one of these groups becomes powerful enough, they take the first opportunity that presents itself to seek retribution for all the past injustices.  By perpetuating the violence, the hate lives on and becomes greater than either of the nations involved.

That is not the way Americans have traditionally treated their enemies, however.  If you look at our current relationship with Mexico, Spain, Germany, and Japan, you will notice that they are now considered our allies.  We have gotten to the point where there are very few lingering strands of hatred remaining.

I realize that I’m perhaps oversimplifying this entire scenario, but I do believe Americans have a short memory for acts of treachery leveled against them, and that’s a good thing.  Maybe it’s because we were able to achieve some level of retribution for these terrible deeds, but whatever the reason may be, it’s quite remarkable.

Today I’ve heard many references made about December 7th being “Pearl Harbor Day” as I’m reminded to “Remember Pearl Harbor!”  Most of us know what happened on that day 73 years ago, and some of us feel hatred towards the Japanese all these years later.  However, Japan is currently one of our strongest allies, and when you consider how recently our two nations were at war, it is amazing.  Japan robbed me of the three best years of my life from age 17 through 20, reminds me of how proud I am to be an American!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Holiday

On this day in 1863, expressing gratitude for a pivotal Union Army victory at Gettysburg, President Abraham Lincoln announces that the nation will celebrate an official Thanksgiving holiday on November 26, 1863.

The speech, which was actually written by Secretary of State William Seward, declared that the fourth Thursday of every November thereafter would be considered an official U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving. This announcement harkened back to when George Washington was in his first term as the first president in 1789 and the young American nation had only a few years earlier emerged from the American Revolution. At that time, George Washington called for an official celebratory "day of public thanksgiving and prayer." While Congress overwhelmingly agreed to Washington's suggestion, the holiday did not yet become an annual event.

Thomas Jefferson, the third president, felt that public demonstrations of piety to a higher power, like that celebrated at Thanksgiving, were inappropriate in a nation based in part on the separation of church and state. Subsequent presidents agreed with him. In fact, no official Thanksgiving proclamation was issued by any president between 1815 and the day Lincoln took the opportunity to thank the Union Army and God for a shift in the country's fortunes on this day in 1863.

The fourth Thursday of November remained the annual day of Thanksgiving from 1863 until 1939. Then, at the tail-end of the Depression, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, hoping to boost the economy by providing shoppers and merchants a few extra days to conduct business between the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, moved Thanksgiving to November's third Thursday. In 1941, however, Roosevelt bowed to Congress' insistence that the fourth Thursday of November be re-set permanently, without alteration, as the official Thanksgiving holiday.

Lord, a joyful, thankful heart,
I bring to Thanksgiving table
a soul forever grateful
for all that, You are able.

You make my plate complete,
when from Your Word I reap
the full bounty of Your grace
in Your kindness I do steep.

You fill me with such peace,
Your tender mercies overflow
Your love fills me to the brim
Your compassion in me grows.

You supply all my needs,
bless me with even more
You fulfill my every dream
with promises of life ~ evermore.

Lord, a joyful, thankful heart,
I bring to You ~ not just for today
a soul full of hope and gratitude
for all You’ve done along the way!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Veterans Day - November 11

Veterans Day Ceremonies at VA National Cemeteries

National Veterans Day Ceremony

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery . The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans' organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

Download the National Ceremony Visitor Information here.