Memorial Day – a day/weekend set aside in the United States to remember and give thanks for those who gave life and limb so we might have the freedom to enjoy what our Founding Fathers called “self evident inalienable rights” which had been bestowed on us by The Creator. In times of peace and abundance it is easy to forget the great cost that was paid by so many – that others might be free. It is with thin in mind I was struck by a March 20, 1861 issue of the Western Christian Advocate from Cincinnati, Ohio which provided details of General George Washington’s famous “Prayer at Valley Forge” (see below). The link above provides access to the full text of the article. Please enjoy (and appreciate) a blessed Memorial Day Weekend.
The start of each new year typically brings a sense of promise – a certain newness of hope and expectation which drives us to peel off bad habits and at least seek to develop new ones. Of course this new refreshed outlook is often quickly squashed once we grab the morning paper and allow the events all around us to cast a wet blanket on our hopes and dreams for the new year. Perhaps a bit jaded – but all too true.
Of course, it doesn’t need to be this way. I’m convinced part of the antidote is for us to practice counting our blessings throughout the year – day-in and day-out. Sound like a plan? For those of us who are “all in”, let’s put our resolution for 2016 to the test and look through the news reports of the first week of January through time and see if we can come out the other end with a sense that life is truly good – after all, we could be living in the past when technology, medicine, the average standard of living, and life-expectancy were not what they are today: 1st Week of January thru Time
It is not uncommon to read a History’s Newsstand post which takes us on a walk through time. Historic newspapers are all about placing ourselves in the shoes of those who experienced history – first hand. However, such strolls often dig deep – going back 150, 200, 250, or as many as 300 years into the past. This time we’d like to take a more nostalgic approach by focusing on a day some readers may actually remember themselves: New Year’s Eve, 1965.
Vietnam, Jackie Kennedy, The Sholbergs (?), Edward Brooke, Billy Graham, Sean Connery, Audry Hepburn, Soupy Sales, Jimmy Brown, Vince Lombardi, Lassie and more all managed to find their way on to the pages of the last newspaper printed by The Detroit Free Press in 1965. Use the following link to enjoy a series of images which tell of time in the not-to-distant past:
Many are quite familiar with President Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation of October, 1863. However, few have read or heard of his similar proclamation from a few month’s prior which helped build the foundation for his famous October proclamation. The Star of the West, July 25, 1863 contains the text (see images below) of this earlier declaration calling for a day of thanksgiving and prayer – words which are apropos as we prepare (in the U.S.) to celebrate Thanksgiving. Note: We’ve included the text of this famous proclamation below.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defense, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquility and Union.
In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.
By the President: Abraham Lincoln
William H. Seward,
Secretary of State
As Thanksgiving (U.S.) rapidly approaches, we thought we’d bring everyone’s attention to various Thanksgiving-themed posts from the past. Please enjoy:
As I began preparing this post I realized with a degree of angst that the date for the post is October 31st – Halloween. To say this is not a holiday I embrace is a gross understatement. Thanksgiving, Easter, and Christmas are certainly more in my wheel-house. So, what to do??? As fate (?) would have it, the very next issue I picked up contained an article more than suitable for this infamous day: “The Dancing Ghosts – A Chippewa Legend”. Was this just an eerie coincidence, or something more? Please enjoy (to view the entire article, go to: National Intelligencer (September 11, 1849):
“I love you!” Why is this so hard to say to those whom we love? The old adage goes that when I seasoned relic from the mid-20th century school of cold-knocks was asked why he never tells his wife he loves her, he replied, “I told her I loved her the day we married. If anything changes I’ll let her know.” While a bit humorous, one can’t help but hear the sad sound of little-girl dreams gone unrealized. Valentine’s Day has certainly served its role in helping to remind us to say the things that often go unsaid. Chocolates, flowers, and cards are great tokens of our love, but they pale in comparison to the very words themselves: I love you!
The following historic newspapers, like the February 16, 1861 issue of Harper’s Weekly (shown to the right), provide a chronological look through time at how the holiday has been viewed: Newspapers with Valentine’s Day coverage.
The New-York Observer (August 14, 1856) has a report which seems right out of a Hollywood Halloween-Thriller script (or crypt?). Was this a bogus story? Perhaps the blockbuster “Ghost” (1990) wasn’t fiction after all. I’ll save the “being married to a dead-beat” jokes for another post.