Category: history

D-Day Remembrance

picture of cemetary in France with American War Dead Graves
Thousands of American Soldiers Are Buried At Normandy

Today is June 6, 2012. Sixty eight years ago , over 6,000 American soldiers became casualties at Normandy, and about 2,500 of those died. That’s a lot of soldiers, but that is not the whole story.  About 3,000 other Allied troops died that day. They were from England and Canada.

Around 19,000 French civilians were killed in the bombardments leading up to and during the Normandy invasion. The Germans lost around 80,000 soldiers. Casualties are usually lighter on the winners side, but the blood shed for the future generations of Europeans, Englishmen, Canadians, and Americans was very high. I believe we improved the future for the German people, too.

Today is a day to be remembered. It was the beginning of the end of Nazi Germany, one of the most egregious and cruel regimes in modern times. Their legacy was genocide, and we can never forget.

Even today, there are entire nations and religions that deny the evils perpetuated by the Nazi’s. Islamic leaders in Iran deny the holocaust because they hate Jews. Indeed, they are dedicated to finishing the extinction of the Jewish people. How others overlook this documented goal of an entire nation is a sign of danger in itself.

Today, we are faced with some of the same choices that the German people faced. Do we move our government into a socialist entity like Nazi Germany (National Socialism), or do we strive to keep free markets and free people as our goals. Do we rob ourselves of free speech by instituting a fairness doctrine, or do we insist on our sacred rights of being able to say anything about anything?

Our choices diminish daily with the arrogance and ignorance exhibited by our leadership in Washington, DC. We need to make the choice for freedom, now, or we will learn the meaning of the words written by Frederich Hayek:

Perhaps the fact that we have seen millions voting themselves into complete dependence on a tyrant has made our generation understand that to choose one’s government is not necessarily to secure freedom.

Honor freedom and make your choice for freedom while you have the chance. Maybe we will not have to fight another World War II to get it back if we pay attention, now.

Friday 13 – A Bad Day?

To begin, we woke up late. Rush, rush for my lovely wife to get to work. Dang! I should have set both alarms. I never hear just one, anyway.

While driving my valuable spouse to work, Moby In The Morning let us know that the date was, indeed, Friday 13th! Wait, Moby In The Morning? Moby is on a country music station. When did my wife start listening to country music? Is there something else going on, here?

picture of a four leaf clover
Four Leaf Clover - Good Luck, Today!

Friday 13th. This could work out to be a bad day, after all.

Apparently, the dog’s constitution is in full alignment with the Friday 13th meme. The fifteen year old pooch unashamedly did his thing in the house. Some creatures deserve untimely departures from this physical realm. I must be careful, though. He could still testify against me in front of St. Peter at that heavenly court when my time comes around.

According to popular legend, the Knights Templar chose Friday 13th to let King Phillip IV of France murder them, and take all their money. You see, the Knights Templar virtually invented modern banking, and the French King was deeply in debt to them. Friday 13th turned out to be a bad day for the Knights, but the King kept his head, his Mercedes, and the money. That’s what kings do.

I don’t plan on any trips, and I am not going to work in the yard. You can never tell when a lawn mower will go crazy on you, or one of those cursed pine trees will live up to their reputation as a widow maker.

Nothing doing, here. I think I will go back to bed. What can go wrong?

The Holy Book

picture of an old, illustrated BibleWhat is it that makes a book holy?  Wikipedia says a holy book is text or scripture considered sacred by a religion. That can cover a lot of territory, but it will do for my little article.

As Christians, we have the Holy Bible which is divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. We view the Bible as the story of the relationship between God the Creator, and mankind. It starts with poetic words in the first chapter of Genesis in the Old Testament, and ends with apocalyptic words in Revalations, the last book of the New Testament.

In between we read of how God favored one people over another, and how this relationship waxed and waned throughout history. With the New Testament, God gives us a new deal in the person of His Son, Jesus. We are given salvation through the act of Jesus sacrificial death, and all we have to do is believe.

Salvation is the gift of God.

Throughout history, Christianity has been under attack. So has the Holy Bible. People deface the Bible, call it fraudulent, drag up inconsistencies in the texts, and generally try to discredit this work. There have been attacks upon attacks.

With all the attacks, the Bible still stands as God’s Word. We Christians take offence to the defacing of the Bible, but we are smart enough to know that the Bible is just a book made up of paper and other materials necessary to present the text. The important stuff is the Word of God.

The Word of God cannot be destroyed. The Word of God is much more than just words. As the New Testament Book of John says in its very first verse, ” In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Argument after argument is posed that there are inconsistencies, and contradictions in the Bible. One of the most egregious readings was done by none other than Carl Sagan, dead scientist, astronomer and talk-show publicity hound.

In Sagan’s book, Contact, he takes a shot at there being two contradictory creation stories in the first chapter of Genesis. He is correct, there are two stories. However, there is only one way you can read a contradiction into the text, and that is to not understand the context. Sagan decided to take the accounts in an ultra-literal way, thereby establishing different orders for the creation of mankind, animals, and the earth.

There is danger in reading a text that was written in older languages in times when things were different. Context can be everything, and Sagan chose to ignore this. This is called the Fallacy of Contextualism. The link takes you to a scholarly article on this very subject.

In spite of all the seeming contradictions, we still hold to our beliefs. God’s Word does not need our defense. Our job is to spread it.

This brings me to the reason for my writing this article. Christians should defend, and spread the Word of God. However, just burning a Bible, or defacing a Bible has no effect on the power and longevity of God’s Word.

We don’t need to riot, kill, and generally go insane because some people deface or defame our Christianity or the Holy Bible. Jesus and the Bible are stronger than this, and we know that the story of Jesus, and God’s Word cannot be stamped out with a few book burnings.

Happy Who Dat Day!

Why do we have a President’s Day holiday?

picture of New Orleans Saints "Who Dat" fan
Who Dat?

Why should we celebrate the existence of all past leaders of our nation? So many were mediocre leaders, or just objectionable characters. Some of those Presidents we admired in our youth have turned out to be nothing short of trashy people.

A case in point was John F Kennedy, a man who was shot down in the prime of his event filled life. With formerly confidential information coming out, it is evident that Kennedy was a womanizer of the first order. His historic affair with Hollywood beauty Marilyn Monroe would have been laudable if it were not for his cheating on one of the most popular, and attractive, first ladies in history, Jackie Kennedy. There were many more JFK dalliances in the Whitehouse, and the Secret Service did their job, well.

Then, there was Bill Clinton. I think you get the idea.

You can go down the list of Presidents. From Washington to Lincoln, FDR to JFK, and Bush to Bush. These men were good men with the best intentions for our nation. Out of all these men, only two of them merit serious consideration for a national holiday.

George Washington and Abraham Lincoln stand out from the crowd. Both of these men lived in times when their principled actions made the difference between a free nation, or no nation at all.

Two great men deserve highest honors, and therein lies the problem. The idea of a single President’s day grew out of a conflict in the wish to honor both Washington and Lincoln, each on their birthdays. The solution became obvious to our Congress.

Congress established President’s day to honor all of those  rascals who had ever served. In other words Congress did what they do best. They established a meaningless holiday fit only for retail sales targeted towards a populace ignorant of why there should be a holiday, at all.

President’s Day? We have no idea who we are honoring. Why not enlist the linguistic abilities of our Cajun friends in New Orleans, and co-opt their Super Bowl slogan.

Let’s rename President’s Day, “Who Dat?” day. It makes more sense that what we have now.

Whence Cometh The Figs

From my earliest memories, my mother always had homemade fig preserves in the pantry. She would serve them at breakfast, along with her delicious, fresh, hot, homemade biscuits. Mmmmmmm…..

Fig Newtons were my favorite commercially available cookie, and were undoubtedly responsible for much of my adolescent obesity.

I also remember standing watch at our fig tree in the side yard, shooing the birds away from my future breakfasts. We all did our part. Mom would pick the figs everyday when in season. She would prepare them by trimming the stems and bad spots.

Then, she would put them into a big boiler and pour several cups of sugar over them. They would sit overnight as the natural juices were drawn out of the fruit combining with the sugar, creating a most heavenly elixir. The next day mom would cook the figs in their magic sugar bath until they were submerged in a light syrup.

My mother always had a fig tree in her yard. I took it for granted that everybody had figs, but learned the hard truth when I grew up. Not everybody likes figs, and very few people look forward to the tasks of growing, protecting and harvesting this Biblical, fruit.

When asked about her fig trees, mom said she would take a cutting from a fig tree, stick it into the ground and it would grow. She was like that. My mother could coax life out of a dead leaf if she tried.

Later, I learned that my mother would take a cutting off her old tree when moving to a new location, and “stick” the cutting into the ground. It took a while but I finally realized that she had been doing this for fifty or more years, and it is probable her original cutting came from my paternal grandfather’s fig tree in Mississippi.

This is the way families grow, and this is the way traditions are born. This is the way nations are made.

You start with something good, and perpetuate it throughout following generations. I can follow the lineage of those fig trees back for more than a hundred years, and it is possible that early cuttings were carried in the migration of my ancestors from North Carolina to Mississippi in the 1840’s in their quest for cheap, fertile land for themselves and their children.

As we have just observed an anniversary of 9/11, contemplating something that was done to us, we can take comfort in knowing who we are, where we are from, and what we are about.

God bless figs, and God Bless the United States of America.