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This is from Atlas Obscura.

I cannot imagine the horrors of this cross country trip.


The whole convoy (Photo: Edward J. Mandel Collection/Eisenhower Archive)

Dwight D.Eisenhower , contrary to popular belief, did not build the federal highway system for the sole purpose of evacuating cities in the event of an atomic war. But there was one key military endeavor that did influence Eisenhower’s support for giant, smoothly paved roads. In 1919, he traveled with the military in a motor convoy across the country, from D.C. to San Francisco, in “the largest aggregation of motor vehicles ever started on a trip of such length,” the New York Times reported.

This was one of the first major cross-country road trips, and it planted the idea in the Eisenhower’s mind that the federal government could and should make improving U.S. highways a priority. Soon, driving from coast to coast would become mythologized as one of the key American experiences. But in 1919, it was a terrible, torturous endeavor.

In 62 days, more than 80 trucks, cars and motorcycles made their way along the planned route of the Lincoln Highway, one of the first cross-country highways ever built. They crossed plains, mountains and deserts on roads that, up until Nebraska, were surprisingly well made. But once the convoy hit the West, the trucks started getting stuck in ditches, sand and mud, for hours at a time. By Utah, the conditions of the roads were so bad, it almost stopped the convoy altogether.

Some personnel (Photo: Eisenhower Collection)


This was a pivotal point in the way Americans thought about the geography of their country. Traveling across the country was no longer a life-threatening ordeal–transcontinental railways had reached the Pacific in the mid-1800s, and in 1876, an express made it from New York to San Francisco in just 83 hours. But it wasn’t fun, either.

The idea of crossing the country on a lark was just taking hold: Eisenhower and a colleague joined the convoy at the last minute, basically because they thought it would be exciting. And the trip did immerse the military men in a cross-section of American life, at concerts, big city dances, chicken dinners, rodeos, barbecues, and ranch lunches. Most days, though, the reality of the road was less romantic: before the convoy reached California, its personnel would be forced to camp on twisty mountain roads, ration water and spend hours pushing their vehicles along otherwise impassable stretches. Like the oxen of western pioneers, the cars and trucks often died. But the mechanical beasts, at least, could be brought back to life.

In 1919, the military had just returned from the Great War in Europe, where War Department motor units had helped secure victory, and military leaders wanted to show their machines off. But any network of roads that these trucks might travel on was still, for the most part, imaginary. Since the late 19th century, the Good Roads Movement had been advocating for upgrades to the dirt and gravel tracks that connected cities to one another, and forming associations to finance and build them. One of the purposes of the 1919 convoy was to support this movement: a Zero Milestone marker would designate the spot from which it set off, in D.C.’s Lafayette Square, and in one early conception, that marker was to be decorated with a map of golden highways—the longed-for system of perfect American roads.

(Photo: K.C. Downing Collection/Eisenhower Archive)


The route the convoy would take was mostly along the Lincoln Highway, the first major transcontinental motor route. The more than 80 vehicles carried 24 officers and 258 enlisted men, and they left D.C. at 1 p.m., on July 7, 1919. It took the convoy the rest of the day to reach Frederick, Maryland, where Eisenhower joined the group. In seven and a half hours, they had traveled 46 miles, a drive that today would take just about an hour.

From the very beginning of the drive, the convoy encountered problems. On that first afternoon, the convoy’s Trailmobile Kitchen broke a coupling, and an observation car broke a fan belt. The Militor wrecker winch, a towing vehicle, started work that first day. On the second day, the convoy was delayed for two hours, mostly due to wobbly bridges too dangerous to use or covered bridges that the trucks wouldn’t fit through. To avoid these, sometimes the convoy took a detour; sometimes it simply forded whatever body of water the bridge was meant to cross.

One truck was stuck in the mud. The roads, though, were excellent, according to the convoy’s daily log. They covered 62 miles, in 10 and half hours.

That pace—about 6 miles an hour—is what the convoy would average in its crawl across the country. No day was without difficulty, and though drivers had all claimed experience with trucks, Eisenhower’s impressionwas that they’d lied. “Most colored the air with expressions in starting and stopping that indicated a longer association with teams of horses than with internal combustion engines,” he later recalled.

For the first half of the trip, though, whatever car trouble the convoy had was “easily overcome,” young Lt. Col. Eisenhower would report. And while paved roads more or less disappeared between Indiana and California, the convoy stayed on schedule through Illinois and Iowa. It was in Nebraska that the trouble started.

(Photo: Eisenhower Collection)


Eisenhower’s report on this section of the trip is brief, but telling. “In Nebraska, the first real sand was encountered,” he wrote. “Two days were lost in western part of this state due to bad, sandy roads.” The convoy’s time in the state started out nicely enough: a number of vehicles were outfitted with new tires, the officers were allowed use of the “beautiful new Omaha Athletic Club,” and the Packard Motor Car Co. sponsored a dinner. The official observer even got to go up in a balloon.

But soon, as they pushed west, the roads started deteriorating. When it rained, the vehicles got stuck in soft spots on the roads, up to their hubs, and the men had to push them out. Outside of Lexington, the roads got so slippery that trucks started sliding into ditches by the side of the road. The Militor itself, up until this point the savior of all damaged and mired vehicles, skidded into a ditch, and it took two hours for the crew to extract it. On that day, 25 trucks in all skipped into the ditch. The next, all 12 engineers’ trucks needed to be towed at once. The Militor slid into a ditch again. The day after that, it took seven hours to pull all the trucks through 200 yards of quicksand.

“Liberty turned over” (Photo: Edward J. Mantel Collection/Eisenhower Archive)



This, though, was nothing compared to Utah. Out on the Salt Lake Deserts, the heavy trucks could barely pass through the tracks of sand and crystallized alkali. “From Orr’s Ranch, Utah, to Carson City, Nevada, the road is one succession of dust, ruts, pits and holes,” wrote Eisenhower. At points, the convoy was 20 miles from any source of water—and 90 miles from the nearest railroad. On August 21, the first day on the stretch that Eisenhower described, ten miles from their starting point, the convoy had to remove a sand drift: that took a whole hour. But that was the easy part of the day. Soon, the convoy had to leave its planned path, to detour around an impassable cut-off, and by 2 p.m., almost every vehicle they had was stuck in the sand. Getting them out “required almost superhuman efforts of entire personnel from 2 p.m. until after midnight,” the daily log reported. That day, the group went 15 miles—in seven and a half hours.

The next day, the convoy was running low on water. Each person got just one cup to last through supper and over night. Fuel was running low, too, and so supper itself was cold baked beans and hard bread. Finally, a new supply of water showed up, having been brought from 12 miles away, by a team of horses. The entire team was exhausted, but because they were now behind schedule, their Sunday rest day was canceled. Finally, on Aug. 23, they made it through Utah and into Nevada, which wasn’t much better. It wasn’t until Sept. 3, after days more tedious progress, that they finally made it over the Sierra Nevada range and onto the “perfect roads” of California’s farmland, speeding through groves of peach, almond, orange and olive trees.

Through Nebraska (Photo: Eisenhower Collection)


The convoy made it to San Francisco six days behind schedule. The trip, overall, was a triumph, and the governor of California threw a celebratory dinner featuring clam chowder, salmon, fried chicken, sweet potatoes, Turkish melon, and cigars. The commemorative program noted that it was impossible to think of the convoy without remembering the “hardship, privation, discouragement, and even death” that the Forty-Niners had gone through just a few decades before to accomplish the same goal. Traveling across the country was no longer such a crazy idea.

But by the end of the trip, the official observer reported later, “the officers of the Convoy were thoroughly convinced that all transcontinental highways should be construed and maintained by the Federal Government.” As Eisenhower put it, “there was a great deal of sentiment for the improving of highways,” and on that point, “the trip was an undoubted success.”

At the time, the Townsend Highway Bill, which would create the first Federal Highway Commission, was under consideration in Congress, and the convoy’s experience would help convince legislators to pass it. It would be decades before America’s road system could actually ferry cars quickly across the country, and the real road trip era would begin. But this was a start.

Salt Lake City (Photo: Eisenhower Collection)




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This is from Warrior Scout.

I would have rated Ike higher than ninth.



Many such lists have been compiled, each subjective to one degree or another. A look at 10 of the best generals in American history.

*Author’s note: In creating this list, the over-arching question posed was: Whom would I want commanding my Army were I the president of the United States? Also, if these men faced each other on a neutral battlefield, who would come out on top?
10. Winfield Scott

Scott Rose to fame as the man who defeated Mexico in a brilliant amphibious campaign far ahead of its time, followed by an audacious march on Mexico City. He also devised the “Anaconda Strategy” that helped to strangle the Confederacy and help the Union win the Civil War. A bold, clear-sighted and creative strategist, “Old Fuss and Feathers” too often gets overlooked when such lists as this are compiled. In his day, no less an expert than the Wellington called him the greatest living general.Above photo: Wikimedia Commons.
9. Dwight D. Eisenhower

Disparaged by the flamboyant MacArthur as “the best clerk I ever had”, Ike was the archetype of the modern “political general” in the age of coalition warfare. Never forgetting that his primary mission was to keep the various allies happily working in concert, he nevertheless orchestrated a massive campaign against the Axis in Europe and North Africa that brought total victory. No general in history has commanded a larger force on land, sea, and air. While he often had to allow his British allies to take the bit in the teeth– and to put-up with the vainglorious and barely competent Montgomery–he managed to win the war with minimal casualties and no major defeat (though several severe embarrassments). In all, he was the consummate professional soldier. Above photo: Getty Images.
8. Nathan Bedford Forrest

Perhaps the most feared general in American history, “that Devil Forrest” was the prophet of mobile warfare. His campaigns were (allegedly) studied by German proponents of the blitzkrieg and compare favorably to those employed by Rommel and Guderian. Though often considered a “cavalry leader” (he was probably the finest in American history), his task forces were actually well-balanced mobile arms teams of cavalry, mounted infantry, and horse artillery. He also has the distinction of being the “fightingest” general in American history, personally killing with his own hands some 30 union soldiers (and losing 29 horses in the process!). Forrest was dubbed “The Wizard of the Saddle,” but he was in truth a wizard of modern warfare.Above photo: Wikimedia Commons.
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7. Douglas MacArthur

Even more theatrical than Patton (Eisenhower, who served as his aid in the 1930s, once quipped, “I studied dramatics under MacArthur”), MacArthur was the epitome of the general-hero at a time when America needed one. He successfully led the southern theater of the Pacific Campaign, and presided over the surrender of Japan. In Korea in 1950, his audacious strategy of landing massive forces behind the North Koreans at Inchon was a masterpiece. He drove the North Koreans out of the South and back to the Chinese border. But for that country’s intervention against his forces, the war would have ended in 1950 with MacArthur acclaimed the greatest general of the 20th century. As was, he succeeded in extricating his army intact, and after appointing Ridgeway to lead 8th Army stopped the Chinese advance, stabilizing the line. His disagreement with the Joint Chiefs and President Truman over how to deal with the Chinese situation led to his sacking. Above photo: MacArthur’s landing on Leyte, Getty Images.
6. Ulysses S. Grant

The model for the modern American general, Grant was fearless, aggressive, and determined. He understood better than any of his contemporaries (except Sherman, perhaps) the war he was fighting and waged it to a successful conclusion where less men had failed. Grant was a determined, dogged commander who never lost heart in the face of the enemy, despite hideous casualties. After taking a beating during the first day at Shiloh, he merely shrugged and said, “We’ll lick ’em tomorrow”— and he did. There was a move to relieve him after this most sanguine battle; but Lincoln overruled Grant’s detractors: “’I can’t spare this man; he fights.” Grant was the ultimate pugnacious combat commander, a pit bull who would never let him go once he had sunk his teeth into an enemy. Above photo: Wikimedia Commons.
5. William T. Sherman

Hated in the South to this day for the devastation he brought them, Sherman stands out as the most clear-sighted strategist of the Civil War. He understood that to break the Confederacy’s indomitable will he had to make war too terrible to bear. His concept of “tough war” presaged the “total war” concept unleashed in the 20th century. Sherman achieved his famous “March to the Sea” by an advance that constantly threatened multiple objectives, keeping the Confederate defenders off balance. Only Jackson and Forrest marched armies faster, and no one marched one further than Sherman. Unlike Grant, he seldom threw his men away attacking heavily defended places or entrenched enemies; instead obtaining his objective by maneuver. He made war hell for his opponents, not his own soldiers. Above photo: Wikimedia Commons.
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4. George Washington

This list could not exist had Washington failed. He was a master of guerilla warfare, using maneuver and audacity both to preserve his inferior army and to defeat British forces where possible. His ultimate victory over the greatest power of the age presaged that of Nguyên Giáp, the North Vietnamese generalissimo who defied America in the Vietnam War. He was an inspiration to his troops, sharing their terrible privations and always placing himself at the point of maximum danger in battle. Tactically he was solid if not overly imaginative. But as a strategist, he ran circles around nearly every commander the British sent against him. His boldness was perfectly matched with prudence, a combination necessary for a general fighting with limited resources against an enemy with control of both the land and the sea. Despite the odds against him, he seldom lost a battle and always succeeded in extricating his army to fight another day. In the end, he understood how to win the war he was fighting, and in so doing birthed the United States of America. Above photo: Wikimedia Commons.
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3. Robert E. Lee

Often placed at the top of lists like this, Lee’s legend benefited from dying soon after the war. He made grave tactical and strategic mistakes (particularly at Gettysburg), and was greatly aided by the help of such able sub-commanders as Jackson and Longstreet (who often gets little credit). Lee was also an inspiring commander, a bold strategist, and a tactical innovator who came very close to winning an unwinnable war. His dauntless energy and aggressiveness during the Seven Days Battle are particularly striking when compared to the performance of his adversary, the over-cautious McClellan. His two invasions of the North were well-conceived and had every chance of succeeding. The first was thwarted in part by lost orders falling into his enemy’s hands, resulting in McClellan being able to concentrate his forces against Lee’s at Antietam. At Gettysburg, a campaign which was initially even more successful, he may have been suffering from a mild heart attack (this would explain his lethargy and lack of imagination during the battle). Had anyone else been in command of the Confederate war effort in the last two years, the war would have ended much sooner than it did. Above photo: Wikimedia Commons.
Robert E. Lee: A man of honor and a Virginian
2. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson

His reputation for solidness on the battlefield earned him the name “Stonewall.” But this nickname belies the aggressiveness and rapidity of movement that became his hallmark on the battlefield. During the Valley Campaign, Jackson marched his infantry brigades so quickly and covered so much ground that they came to be known as Jackson’s “Foot Cavalry.” Brave, eccentric, religiously upright, and bold, Jackson was at his best when given independent command, perfectly complimenting his commander-in-chief, Lee, as a Corps commander. His crowning glory at Chancellorsville cost him his life when he was wounded coming back from an evening reconnaissance by his own sentries. It can be argued that the Battle of Gettysburg (and the Civil War) was lost the moment those shots echoed in the woods at Chancellorsville.
1. George S. Patton, Jr.

No general was more controversial—or effective—during WWII than old “Blood-and-Guts.” The only American commander admired and feared by the German high command, Patton was the ultimate progenitor of mobile combat. Like Forrest, he was a prophet of mobile warfare and advocated using every vehicle in his Third Army—artillery caissons to supply trucks to the backs of tanks—to transport his infantry so that they could keep up with the relentless pace he set for his armor. The ultimate warrior, he was the U.S. Army’s Master of the Sword and an Olympic competitor (1912, in the Military Pentathlon). As a young cavalry officer, he chasedPancho Villa into Mexico. (During this campaign, he got into an Old West style gunfight with two of Villa’s lieutenants, killing them both!) He created and led America’s only armored brigade during the First World War. Before the Second World War, he was the primary exponent of armored warfare and quickly became America’s foremost “tank man” during the war. In Sicily at the head of 7th Army and in Europe leading 3rd Army he consistently displayed a boldness and aggressiveness that are the hallmark of great commanders throughout history. He combined the fearlessness of Grant with the aggressiveness of Jackson, and created in Third Army a force as mobile as that of Forrest’s. Even more theatrical than MacArthur, he is the general against which nearly every American general since has measured himself and sought to emulate. Above photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Eisenhower’s Final Correspondence

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This is from Mental Floss.

This is something I never knew about Ike.


On March 24, 1969, Dwight D. Eisenhower was sequestered at Walter Reed Hospital, dying of congestive heart failure. Against his doctor’s wishes, Eisenhower used some of his final moments to dictate his last correspondence. The letter wasn’t to a family member or political ally, but to a man who had been a constant in Eisenhower’s career since his days as a general: Irving Berlin.

In the letter, Eisenhower mentions that Berlin’s music was a constant during his stay in the hospital, bringing him pleasure during “expert treatment by attentive doctors and nurses.” But Ike and Irving go way back—Berlin actually wrote a song called “They Like Ike” for his musical Call Me Madam starring Ethel Merman, a tune Eisenhower adopted as his 1952 campaign song. The song may have been the origin for the “I Like Ike” slogan that was so hugely successful during Eisenhower’s run.

Perhaps as a thank you, Eisenhower awarded Berlin the Congressional Gold Medal in 1955 for writing “God Bless America” and other patriotic songs. Fourteen years later, in his final letter, Eisenhower thanked Berlin for the “wonderful melodies,” and seemed to know that the end was near, writing, “I hope all is well with you and yours—please do not bother to respond.” He died just four days after this fond farewell to his favorite musician.

Here’s the text in its entirety:


Stacy Conradt


America’s 5 Greatest Hunting Presidents

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This is from OutDoorHub.

I am going to try to post a few things to give us a break from current events.



                                    Theodore Roosevelt.

It should come as little surprise that a great many of our presidents are and were avid sportsmen, even though only about six percent of the American public hunts. In fact, by some reports more than half of the men in the Oval Office over the past 50 years were hunters—but the history of great hunting presidents stretches far beyond that. From the days of the original 13 colonies to the modern era, America has always carried the spirit of a frontier nation and it is an ideal embraced by many of our presidents. Here is our list of the five US presidents who were most likely to be found in the woods with a boomstick of some kind in hand.

1. Theodore Roosevelt

There is perhaps no more famous hunter in the history of the Oval Office than Theodore Roosevelt. Considered by many to be the “Father of Conservation,” Roosevelt was the iconic American sportsman and left behind a legacy that continues to guide conservationists and hunters today. Aside from his other contributions that raised America to the global stage, Roosevelt was fundamental in the formation of the United States Forestry Service and protecting more than 230 million acres of land for wildlife. Even his nickname, Teddy—which he is said to have despised—arose out of a hunting trip on which Roosevelt refused to shoot a young bear cub.

“The wildlife and its habitat cannot speak, so we must and we will,” Roosevelt is often quoted as saying.

Roosevelt first began to explore the outdoors as a young child to combat his asthma. Rigorous exercise and clean air eventually allowed him to overcome the illness, and in time Roosevelt became a renowned traveler. Indeed, the former Rough Rider hunted throughout North America and spearheaded a legendary hunting expedition into Central Africa on behalf of the Smithsonian Institution. His first experiences in hunting were in the backwoods of Maine, where he viewed the pursuit as an opportunity to learn about wildlife. As an adult, he loved the untamed wilds of the West.

“In hunting, the finding and killing of the game is after all but a part of the whole,” he wrote in The Wilderness Hunter. “The free, self-reliant, adventurous life, with its rugged and stalwart democracy; the wild surroundings, the grand beauty of the scenery, the chance to study the ways and habits of the woodland creatures—all these unite to give to the career of the wilderness hunter its peculiar charm. The chase is among the best of all national pastimes; it cultivates that vigorous manliness for the lack of which in a nation, as in an individual, the possession of no other qualities can possibly atone.”

2. George Washington


It is commonly known that George Washington had a keen interest in hunting dogs and hunting in general, but it is less known that the great general may have once called a cease fire during the American Revolutionary War to return a hunting hound. In an anecdotal story often repeated by dog breeders, American troops found a small dog wandering between the lines during the Battle of Germantown in 1777. The canine was picked up and presented to General Washington, who was told that it probably belonged to the British General William Howe. Washington’s advisers suggested that he keep the dog as a trophy, or to lower Howe’s morale, but Washington instead ordered the dog to be washed and cleaned. He then ordered a ceasefire and formally returned the dog to Howe in the middle of the battle.

Unfortunately for Washington, the Battle of Germantown ended in a solid British victory, but it did not detract from his show of sportsmanship. Before and after his military career, Washington was an avid waterfowler and fox hunter. It is suspected that he owned several dozen hunting dogs throughout his lifetime, although his time hunting from horseback was cut short after a bad fall later in his life.

3. Dwight D. Eisenhower


Born in Texas and raised in Kansas, Dwight D. Eisenhower was a well-known hunter and angler. As a young boy, Eisenhower would often walk the seven miles from his home to a local creek to fish, and later discovered a love for hunting birds. As Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during WWII, Eisenhower oversaw the liberation of France and the invasion of Germany, yet the general also made time to go on a partridge hunt in North Africa. A lull on the Italian front allowed Eisenhower to take a rare day off, which he spent roaming around looking for birds with his chief-of-staff, General Walter Smith.

“There are three (sports) that I like all for the same reason—golf, fishing, and shooting—because they take you into the fields,” Eisenhower was quoted as saying once. “They induce you to take at any one time two to three hours, when you are thinking of the bird or ball or the wily trout. Now, to my mind, it is a very healthful, beneficial kind of thing, and I do it whenever I get a chance.”

4. Grover Cleveland


Grover Cleveland hunted just about everything and fished just about everything. According to some sources, the outdoors became an obsession to him, which he wholeheartedly admitted in his writings.

“There can be no doubt that certain men are endowed with a sort of inherent and spontaneous instinct which leads them to hunting and fishing indulgence as the most alluring and satisfying of all recreations,” he wrote in his book Fishing and Shooting Sketches. “In this view, I believe it may be safely said that the true hunter or fisherman is born, not made. I believe, too, that those who thus by instinct and birthright belong to the sporting fraternity and are actuated by a genuine sporting spirit, are neither cruel, nor greedy and wasteful of the game and fish they pursue; and I am convinced that there can be no better conservator the sensible and provident protection of game and fish than those who are enthusiastic in their pursuit, but who, at the same time, are regulated and restrained by the sort of chivalric fairness and generosity, felt and recognized by every true sportsman.”

Whether it was camping, fishing, or hunting a vast array of species, Cleveland was in his element outside. According to some sources, the president even assigned names to his individual rifles.

5. Jimmy Carter


Before his term in the White House or as Governor of Georgia, Jimmy Carter was a peanut farmer raised in rural Georgia. Carter once commented that he had a fishing pole and rifle in his hand since he could remember, and spent the majority of his youth hunting and fishing near Plains, Georgia. Those habits didn’t change once Carter took office, nor after.

“I have used weapons since I was big enough to carry one, and now own two handguns, four shotguns and three rifles, two with scopes,” he wrote in an op-ed toThe New York Times in 2009. “I use them carefully, for hunting game from our family woods and fields, and occasionally for hunting with my family and friends in other places. We cherish the right to own a gun and some of my hunting companions like to collect rare weapons. One of them is a superb craftsman who makes muzzle-loading rifles, one of which I displayed for four years in my private White House office.”

Carter spent much of his vacation time during his term out hunting or fishing, despite taking only 79 days off the job—the least of all modern presidents.

As always, this list is just our opinion, so feel free to chime in with your opinion as well. Who do you think should count among the greatest hunting presidents?

All images in public domain

How Americans fought to restore Veterans Day to November

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This is from Yahoo News.

The American people come together to stop the

lunacy of Congress and restored Vetrans Day.

So why  the Hell won’t they come together and stop

the lunacy known as Obamacae?


This Monday, millions of Americans will take time out to honor our military on the traditional time of 11:11 a.m. on November 11. But there was a time when Congress tried to move the holiday, only to face several years of strong public resistance.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kleynia R. McKnight via Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kleynia R. McKnight via Wikimedia Commons

You may recall from history or civics class that the holiday was first called Armistice Day. It was established after World War I to remember the “war to end all wars,” and it was pegged to the time that a cease-fire, or armistice, that occurred in Europe on November 11, 1918. (World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919 in France.)

A year later, President Woodrow Wilson said the armistice anniversary deserved recognition.

“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,” he said.

Armistice Day officially received its name through a congressional resolution that was passed on June 4, 1926. By that time, 27 states had made Armistice Day a legal holiday.

Then, in 1938, Armistice Day officially became a national holiday by law, when an act was passed on May 13, 1938, that made November 11 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.”

After World War II, the act was amended to honor veterans of World War II and Korea, and the name of the holiday was changed to Veterans Day in 1954. President Dwight D. Eisenhower marked the occasion with a special proclamation.

However, controversy came to the universally recognized holiday in 1968, when Congress tried to change when Veterans Day was celebrated as a national holiday, by moving the holiday to a Monday at the end of October.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act was signed on June 28, 1968, and it changed the traditional days for Washington’s Birthday, Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and Columbus Day, to ensure that the holidays fell on a Monday, giving federal employees a three-day weekend.

The bill moved Veterans Day, at least on a federal level, to the last Monday in October, with the first observance of the new date in 1971.

Veterans groups moved quickly to oppose the date switch, and two states refused to switch their dates in 1971. By 1974, there was confusion over the two dates and most states took a pass on commemorating the holiday in October.

In a typical editorial of the era, the Weirton, West Virginia Daily Times explained why the holiday switch wasn’t working.

“Congress has no choice now but to enact legislation restoring Nov 11 as Veterans Day. The majority of the states have spoken and the Congress should heed their preference. There’s too much confusion over the two dates,” says an editorial from October 28, 1974.  “All veterans organizations retain the original date.”

A few months after that editorial ran,  46 of the 50 states decided to ignore the federal celebration in October, by either switching back to November 11 or refusing to change the holiday.

By the middle of 1975, Congress had seen enough, and it amended the Uniform Monday Holiday Act to move Veterans Day back to November 11. President Gerald Ford signed the act on September 20, 1975, which called for the move to happen in 1978.

That November, the Carroll Daily Times Herald in Iowa said it was about time Congress did the right thing.

“[Veterans] deserve to be honored on their special day, not as an adjunct to a weekend holiday as Washington tried to force on us,” the newspaper commented.


The United States of the Offended

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This is from Girls Just Wanna Have Guns.

It seems being offended has become a cottage industry in America.

I consider it a good day if I have pissed some off and offended some

half witted liberal.


Air Force chaplain Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes recently caused quite a kerfuffle for writing about faith on his website, titled ‘Chaplain’s Corner.’   Lt. Col. Reyes is assigned to Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson.  His article told the story of the phrase, ‘There are no atheists in fox-holes,’ a paraphrase of an older statement that dated to WWII and which was re-stated by President Eisenhower in 1954.


Shortly after the piece was published, numerous atheists railed against the chaplain and contacted the powers that be, complaining about how offended they were.  The chaplain was accused of being bigoted, of writing an ‘anti-secular diatribe,’ and engaging in ‘faith-based hate,’ by members of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Thanks to swift, decisive and spineless action by Col. Brian Duffy, Lt. Col. Reyes’ CO, the article was taken down and due apologies made as secular Air Force members asked for the chaplain to be subject to further punishment.  (It is not clear at this time if crucifixion is on the table, or if a good sound lashing will be sufficient to make the Christian watch his mouth.)

It doesn’t really matter how many individuals were not offended; that would be the denominator. What matters is that the smaller numerator of the offended won the day. And by now, we all know that there is no earthly power like offense.  A chaplain, whose responsibility is the spiritual welfare of the troops in his unit, should apparently know better than to openly discuss matters of the spirit.

And yet, what happens if offense flows the other way? I mean, we can drill this down pretty deep.  What about all of the people who were offended by the removal of the post?  What about those who were, we might say, offended by the offended?  When will they rise up and rattle their sabers so to speak?  There’s no end to the madness, really, when our highest goal is to be spared from offense or offending.

Of course, the idea of offense isn’t limited to the military and it certainly isn’t limited to letters of apology.  Just ask Baronelle Stutzman, owner of Arlene’s Flowers in Richland, Washington. She is facing a Washington State consumer protection lawsuit and a lawsuit from the ACLU for refusing to provide flowers for a same-sex marriage.  She said that she has no problem with homosexual individuals but disagrees with same-sex marriage on religious grounds.  We could say on some level that she is offended by the idea of same-sex marriage, and on another that both state and ACLU are offended that she dare to disagree.

The thing is, I don’t even want to address the idea of atheism here.  I have treasured friends who are atheist and/or agnostic.  But they are not offended by my faith, nor am I offended by their secularism.  And I don’t even intend to unpack the same-sex marriage issue either.  This may well become the law of the land.  I have known and continue to know, and care for, wonderful members of the lesbian and gay community.

My point here is the culture of offense and the tyranny of ideas.  I would never complain about an atheist website, or ask that an atheist column be taken down because it offended me.  In fact, I don’t know any Christians who would!  (Despite popular caricatures to the contrary.)  And if someone is LGBT, I don’t have any desire to oppress or harm them.  Furthermore, if a gay couple owned a flower-shop and a right-wing conservative sued them for failing to provide flowers to a traditional marriage rally, I would cry foul!

What’s missing from all of this mess is the marketplace of ideas.  The explosive evolution of thought in many directions, both to new ideas and treasured traditional paradigms. The diversity of opinion that can still make American great.  The unity that makes Americans like a family, which has arguments but still stands for one another even in disagreement.

If we accept offense, or the lack of offense, as the standard for all discourse and dialogue, then our intellectual development as a nation is dead.  And if we bully and sue in an attempt to force others to accept our opinions, then we are all petty dictators of thought.

Sadly, that’s no way to win the hearts and minds of your detractors.  But then again, if you can crush them with rules, laws and censure, who cares about their hearts and minds?

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This is from Breitbarts Big Peace.

More attacks on Christianity.

The attacks seem to be tolerated and promoted by Obama .

Why are we allowing atheist to bully Christians?

As Christians we need to stand up for our free speech rights.

A Christian chaplain in the military is being officially censored for engaging in free speech, and anti-Christian activists are demanding he be punished.

Lt. Col. Kenneth Reyes is a Christian chaplain currently serving in the U.S. Air Force. He is stationed at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson in Alaska. As an ordained clergyman whose duties are to provide religious instruction and spiritual counseling, he has a page on the base’s website called “Chaplain’s Corner.”

Reyes recently wrote an essay entitled, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Chaplains Gave All in World War II.” This common saying is attributed to a Catholic priest in World War II, made famous when President Dwight D. Eisenhower said during a 1954 speech: “I am delighted that our veterans are sponsoring a movement to increase our awareness of God in our daily lives. In battle, they learned a great truth that there are no atheists in the foxholes.”

As reported by Fox News’s Todd Starnes, when Reyes referenced this famous line in his essay, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) contacted the base commander, Col. Brian Duffy, demanding he take action on Reyes’s “anti-secular diatribe.”

MRFF’s letter says that by Reyes’s “use of the bigoted, religious supremacist phrase, ‘no atheists in foxholes,’ he defiles the dignity of service members.” They accuse him of violating military regulations.

My legal research on this issue uncovered no regulation prohibiting Reyes’ speech, which looks like expression protected by the free speech and religious freedom provisions of the First Amendment. Military leaders did not respond to Fox’s inquiries asking the Air Force to identify any such rules.

Nonetheless, only five hours after MRFF’s complaint, the essay was removed from the website. Duffy has profusely apologized to MRFF for not stopping this religious leader from sharing religious thoughts.

But this response—which again appears to be a violation of Reyes’s First Amendment rights—is insufficient for MRFF. They said, “Faith based hate, is hate all the same,” and, “Lt. Col. Reyes must be appropriately punished.” (Emphasis added).

So MRFF is saying that the coercive power of government must be used to punish a military officer, who is also an ordained Christian minister, for making ordinary religious references consistent with his faith.

Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council—one of the leaders of a new religious liberty coalition for the military—responded, “A chaplain has been censored for expressing his beliefs about the role of faith in the lives of service members… Why do we have chaplains if they aren’t allowed to fulfill that purpose?”

MRFF is activist Mikey Weinstein’s organization. He calledobservant Christians “fundamentalist monsters” seeking to impose a “reign of theocratic terror,” and he described sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ in the military as an act of “spiritual rape” that makes believers “enemies of the Constitution” who are committing an act of “sedition and treason” against this nation.

The Obama-Hagel Defense Department and Air Force have met with Weinstein and MRFF over a period of four years and recentlytold Congress that there are no problems with suppressing religious speech in the military. However, because this growing wave of anti-Christian extremism has been exposed to the public, the U.S. House has inserted new religious liberty protections for military members in pending legislation.

President Obama threatens to veto the legislation. Reyes’s story makes it more likely that Congress will stand its ground and fight to protect the religious liberty of him and countless others in the military, as those service members continue risking their lives to fight for all Americans.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (Ike) D-Day Message

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This is from Kansas

Click on the speech image  to enlarge


[photograph: General Eisenhower 'Ike' D-Day message handed out to D-Day troops. Courtesy: Gary Ames.

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have
striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The 
hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. 
In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on
other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war
machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of
Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well
equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of
1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats,
in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their
strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home
Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions
of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men.
The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in
battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory! 

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great
and noble undertaking.

                                            SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower


10 Things You Didn’t Know About the American Flag

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This is from Fox News Magazine.

 It is always nice to learn about The American Flag.


In honor of Flag Day, we’ve decided to take a break from our normal Flag Day traditions to examine the American Flag itself.

Surprisingly, there are a lot of fun facts surrounding Old Glory, and most of it isn’t in our history books. Some of it is interesting, some is surprising, and the one concerning “Gilligan’s Island” is downright haunting.

So bone up on your Flag Day trivia below, and use it to impress your friends and neighbors:

1. Betsy Ross is widely credited with designing the first American flag, but there is almost no evidence to support that claim. The only records of Ross’ involvement came from her own grandson in 1870, when he presented the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia with affidavits from his own family members as evidence. Instead, many historians believe that Francis Hopkinson deserves the credit, because early journals from the Continental Congress are said to explicitly name him as the flag’s designer.

2. Karen Burke of Walmart’s Corporate Communications revealed that Walmart stores sold around 115,000 American flags on September 11, 2001, as compared to 6,400 flags on the same date in 2000. In the year following 9/11 (September 11, 2001, through August 19, 2011), they sold 7.8 million American flags as compared to 2.5 million the year before.

3. A 17-year old student designed the flag as it appears today. In anticipation of Alaska and Hawaii becoming states, Robert G. Heft created the 50-star flag as part of a history project (for which he received a B-) before submitting it to Congress for consideration. In August of 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower chose Heft’s design over 1,500 other applicants and informed him of the news over the phone. (Heft’s teacher also changed his grade to an A).

4. During the opening sequence (about 22 seconds in) of first-season episodes of “Gilligan’s Island,” the U.S. Flag can be seen flying at half-staff off in the distance. This is because the show’s pilot episode finished filming on November 22, 1963 — the same day that President Kennedy was assassinated.

5. Despite the harsh temperatures and conditions of the moon’s atmosphere, five of the six flags that were planted during the Apollo missions are still standing. According to Buzz Aldrin, the one that fell was blown over by the exhaust from Apollo 11 during its liftoff from the moon’s surface.

6. According to the U.S. Department of State, the names of the flag’s official colors are old glory red, white, and old glory blue. Their HTML codes and Pantone equivalents can be found on the Department of State’s style guide.

7. Flag Day isn’t technically a federal holiday, and it’s not a state holiday outside of Pennsylvania and New York. Furthermore, New York’s official observance of Flag Day isn’t June 14, but rather the second Sunday in June.

8. Richard Williams, the animation director for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit,” said that he modeled the title character’s colors after Old Glory (red overalls, white fur, blue tie). “It looked like an American flag — subliminally speaking — so everybody liked it.”

9. There are federal regulations governing the handling and display of the flag (the U.S. Flag Code), including restrictions on using the flag’s likeness for advertising, or printing it on anything intended “for temporary use or discard,” like cocktail napkins or paper plates. Under the Flag Protection Act of 1989, there are also federal laws that call for criminal penalties for certain forms of flag desecration, although the Supreme Court found this act to be unconstitutional under the First Amendment in 1990.

10. Old Glory was actually the nickname of a specific U.S. Flag, namely, the one owned by sea-captain William Driver. He was previously given the flag by the women in his hometown of Salem, Massachusetts, but he only named it Old Glory upon seeing it flying on his ship’s mast in 1831. The name later went on to become synonymous with any American flag.

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Hotels where presidents have slept

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This is from Fox News.

A little presidential trivia.



It’s only natural for the president to rest their heads at some of the best hotels. These luxurious hotels haven’t just served as a White House away from home for some commanders-in-chief, but they’re places where history –and scandals –were made.

Inn at Crossroads
Charlottesville, Va.

This historic inn, which opened in 1820, was visited by Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Franklin D. Roosevelt. In the 1930’s Roosevelt gave a speech from the front porch of the inn to the local townspeople during his presidential campaign.

Hale Springs Inn
Rogersville, Tenn.

The Hale Springs Inn was built during the mid-1820’s, and provided shelter for Presidents Andrew Jackson, James Polk and Andrew Johnson. The inn has three presidential suites all named after them.

Historic Rosemont Manor
Berryville, Va.

Rosemont was once the estate of Virginia Governor and U.S. Senator Harry Flood Byrd, Sr. Over the years, it hosted Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Lyndon B. Johnson and John F. Kennedy.

The Brown Palace Hotel

This famous Colorado Hotel has been visited by every U.S. president since Theodore Roosevelt, except Calvin Coolidge and Barack Obama. The club located on the hotel’s second floor served as President Eisenhower’s campaign headquarters prior to his election, and the dent his miscalculated golf ball made in the fireplace mental of the Eisenhower Suite can still be seen today.

The Greenbrier Resort
White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.

The Greenbrier has hosted 26 U.S. presidents, and you can see memorable moments from their stays at the Presidents’ Cottage Museum. It was also the location of a secret underground bunker for Congress in the event of nuclear war.

Waldorf Astoria
New York

Every president since Herbert Hoover has either stayed at or, in the case of Hoover, lived at this palatial Park Avenue hotel. Barack Obama has stayed in the property’s four-bedroom Presidential Suite—along with every U.S. president since Herbert Hoover. George H. W. Bush reportedly was a big fan of the Waldorf’s cuisine and the hotel served up culinary specialities, minus the broccoli.

Carlyle Hotel
New York

This luxurious Upper East Side hotel has been a favorite of presidents and world leaders since the 1930’s. President Harry Truman, the first U.S. president to say at the Carlyle, was reportedly known for bolting out of the hotel on his “morning constitutionals.” Legend has it that JFK spent the night with Marilyn Monroe in his hotel suite after she sang “Happy Birthday, Mr. President.”

The Homestead
Hot Springs, Va.

The Homestead, which opened in 1766, has been visited by 22 presidents. It is said that Jefferson stayed at the hot spring resort for 30 days in 1818, at the cost of $2.12.

The Jefferson Hotel
Richmond, Va.

Twelve presidents have stayed at The Jefferson since it opened in 1895: Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, William Howard Taft, both Roosevelts, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, both Bushes and Barack Obama.

The Willard

Washington, D.C.

Called the “residence of presidents,” every president since Franklin Pierce has either slept in or attended an event at the hotel. Ulysses S. Grant used to be a frequent quest and had the habit of visiting for a drink and cigar in the lobby.  There he would be swarmed by those loitering around hoping to seek favors with the president–and thus the term “lobbyist” was born.

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