Friday, November 11, 2016

Honoring our military men and women



Arlington National Cemetery on Veterans Day





Soldiers of the 353rd Infantry near a church at Stenay, Meuse in France,
wait for the end of hostilities.
This photo was taken at 10:58 a.m., on Nov. 11, 1918,
two minutes before the armistice ending World War I went into effect.



The 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 a.m.

President Dwight Eisenhower signed House Resolution 7786, changing Armistice Day to Veterans Day. An act approved in 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 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 on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.


(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Christopher Muncy/Released)


Today we honor America's military men and women for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.  Several of my family members have served, including my father, both of my uncles, and my nephew.  I am proud of them all.  Always remembering the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.


How important it is for us to recognize and
celebrate our heroes and she-roes!
~Maya Angelou~


As we express our gratitude, we must never forget
that the highest appreciation is not to utter words,
but to live by them.
~John Fitzgerald Kennedy~






Monday, April 04, 2016

Birthday wishes to a member of blogging royalty

April 5 is SAJ Shirazi's birthday.  I've crowned him "King for the Day."  If you're new to the blogging, you may wonder why I'm singling him out. Shirazi is one of the most talented online writers in the blogosphere. 
He publishes several sites, including his cornerstone blog, Light Within, and sajshirazi.com.  He's the go-to expert on all things about blogging. Shi, as I fondly call him, has taught me a great deal on blogging best practices.

In the early 2000s, Shi emerged as one of the premier English bloggers in Southeast Asia. Little did I know when we discovered his site nine years ago that we'd become great online friends. 

Through Shirazi, I have met other outstanding bloggers.Over the years, Shirazi has developed a strong online presence.  Even so, he's a pretty humble guy.  He's caring, resourceful, and incredibly smart.  He's my blog crush.

SAJ Shirazi has fame and legends of fans.  His contact list is a who's who of blogging and business.  His colleagues hold him in high esteem, and he has a beautiful, loving family.  

Everyone likes a good celebration, even Shi. :-)

Friday, January 15, 2016

A man without borders




Remembering Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


This year marks the 30th anniversary of the federal Martin Luther King Jr. holiday, first observed on January 20, 1986. Were he alive today (January 15), King would have celebrated his 87th birthday. During the coming holiday weekend, millions of Americans will remember the civil rights leader and human rights advocate.

King was a husband, a father, and a preacher. He was also the preeminent leader of a movement that continues to transform America and the world. One of the twentieth century's most influential men, he lived an extraordinary life.

To truly understand King, this writer believes that one should read his writings. Scholars and casual researchers can now gain access to these important jewels of history. Two years ago, for the first time, a major portion of King’s papers went public.

Computer access to the documents, which have been digitized and cataloged, are available at the Robert W. Woodruff Library of the Atlanta University Center. Click here to gain access the collection.

The documents include many of King’s speeches and personal writings from 1946 to 1968.
Journalists, historians, legislators and community leaders continue to examine whether King's appeal for peace with justice is as relevant today as it was when he was alive. A few years ago, an editorial in the Houston Chronicle attempted to place King's philosophy into present-day perspective. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

Although he rose to national prominence fighting racial segregation in the South, many of the issues roiling the United States 38 years after his assassination would be very familiar to Martin Luther King Jr.

Before his death, the Baptist minister had denounced America's involvement in the Vietnam War, a daring stance that fueled the growing opposition to the carnage in Southeast Asia. He was bitterly criticized in the media and by government officials for venturing beyond the sphere of civil rights, as if that were the only area in which he was entitled to an opinion.

With the country now split by the bloody, open-ended struggle in Iraq and by the mistaken justification for going to war, it's not hard to predict where King would stand on the matter.

Americans debate the revelation that their government is conducting warrantless surveillance of Americans inside the United States. King had plenty of experience on that score. He was relentlessly wiretapped and trailed by the FBI. Then FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was convinced that King was a communist sympathizer.

Just as he stood with refuse workers in Memphis in the last days before an assassin's bullet struck him down, King would championed the dispossessed evacuees of Hurricane Katrina, potent symbols of a race-based economic underclass that persists as a legacy of slavery and discrimination. The New Orleans nightmare that Katrina exposed indicates that the vision King enunciated in his "I Have a Dream" speech is not yet realized.

Like his role model for nonviolent protest, Mohandas K. Gandhi, King grew to be a world figure by embracing universal humanitarian concerns that surmounted ethnicity and religion. As he once said, "Evil is not driven out, but crowded out ... through the expulsive power of something good."
That's why the celebration of his life today cannot be limited to a single community or issue. African-Americans are justly proud that he rose from their ranks, but his life is significant to all Americans.
It's been four decades since King's death in 1968. For years, many scholars have suggested that King faced the same fate that has befallen many a historical figure - being frozen in a moment in time that ignores the full complexity of the man and his message.

Seven years ago, Barack Obama took over as the country's chief executive officer. At the time, many believed that with this historic presidency came the "thawing" of the King legacy.



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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Merry Christmas




Remembering the Christmas miracle and the treasure of friendship
During this joyous occasion, I remember the prophesy of peace - and the reason for the season of Christmas. It is also a time to be thankful for friends.


A FRIENDSHIP PRAYER

Dear Lord,
Thank you for a special gift,
one that cannot be bought
for any amount of money.

Thank you for a gift wrapped in beauty,
that is wonderful in all seasons and times.

Thank you for a gift that is always near
in times of need
and brings great joy.

Thank you for the gift that sparkles
with freshness every day.

Thank you for my friend.
May I never take this gift for granted.
Amen.

(by John C. Maxwell)


M E R R Y
C H R I S T M A S !



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Monday, December 07, 2015

Remembering that infamous day


December 7 is the 73rd anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor by Japan.  Pearl Harbor survivors have met at the site every five years for four decades. But they're now in their 80s or 90s.  Many of the survivors aren't able to participate in a 73rd reunion. Still, others have made every effort to report for one final roll call.



Illustration of Doris "Dorie" Miller defending the fleet at Pearl Harbor
Miller after being awarded the Navy Cross

Many military personnel risked their lives that day.  Among them was Doris "Dorie" Miller, a Navy cook. Miller was unfamiliar with handling anti-aircraft machine guns.  However, after he was given instructions and someone else loaded a starboard gun with ammunition, Miller fired the gun until he was out of ammunition.  He then helped to move injured soldiers.  For his heroism, Miller was awarded the Navy Cross.
 

The shocking air raid destroyed or heavily damaged 21 ships and 320 aircraft. The attack killed two-thousand, 390 people, wounded nearly 12-hundred others - and plunged the U.S. into World War II.


Related: Photos at About.com, After Pearl Harbor


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Wednesday, November 25, 2015



I awoke this morning with devout
thanksgiving for my friends,

the old and the new.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ~
 

There is a special place in my heart
for my blogging buddies.

You have showered me with a generosity of spirit and
friendship that knows no boundaries.
I will always remember your kindness.
HAPPY THANKSGIVING