Thursday, February 27, 2014

Theodore Roosevelt

If we lose the virile, manly qualities, and sink into a nation of mere hucksters, putting gain over national honor, and subordinating everything to mere ease of life, then we shall indeed reach a condition worse than that of the ancient civilizations in the years of their decay.

-Theodore Roosevelt, "The Law of Civilization and Decay", The Forum (January 1897), reprinted in American Ideals (1926), vol. 13 of The Works of Theodore Roosevelt, national ed., chapter 15, pp. 259–60.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Battle Of The Alamo Begins

On February 23, 1836, the siege and battle at the Alamo began, as 189 men defended the mission from the 1800-strong Mexican Army during the Texas Revolution. The small Texas force, including Jim Bowie, William Travis and Davy Crockett, would hold against the Mexican Army for 13 days and eventually cause as many as 600 Mexican soldiers to be killed or wounded in the battle before falling. The defense of the Alamo would become a rallying cry for Texas, leading to the Mexican Army defeat at the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21 and ending the Revolution with Texas becoming an independent nation.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Washington's Birthday

Today is the birthdate of George Washington, first President of the United States, general of the Continental Army and president of the Constitutional Convention of 1787. On this date, we raise Washington's Commander-In-Chief flag, the flag of Washington's Army command. Following his death, Washington was eulogized by Congressman Henry Lee:

First in war—first in peace—and first in the hearts of his countrymen, he was second to none in the humble and enduring scenes of private life; pious, just, humane, temperate, and sincere; uniform, dignified, and commanding, his example was as edifying to all around him as were the effects of that example lasting.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Iwo Jima

On this day in 1945, the five-week-long battle of Iwo Jima began with the invasion of the island by the United States Marine Corps. This would be one of the bloodier battles in the Pacific theater, with more than 6,800 Americans dying and over 19,000 wounded. In their honor, we raise the Corps flag on the anniversary of the first day of battle.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Your Flag and My Flag

Your flag and my flag,
And how it flies today
In your land and my land
And half a world away!
Rose-red and blood-red
The stripes forever gleam;
Snow-white and soul-white-
The good forefathers' dream;
Sky-blue and true-blue, with stars to gleam aright-
The gloried guidon of the day, a shelter through the night.
-Wilbur D. Nesbit, Your Flag and My Flag

Monday, February 17, 2014

The 36th Ballot

On this date in 1801, the fourth presidential election in the United States' history was finally decided. Presidential electors (which at that time could vote for two candidates) had cast 73 ballots each for Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. This caused the election to be decided in the House of Representatives, which cast 36 ballots in 6 days. For the first 35 ballots, Jefferson won 8 states - one short of the required 9. Finally, on the 36th ballot, representatives from Maryland and Vermont changed their votes, giving Jefferson 10 states and the win. The Constitution was amended in 1804 to change these rules so electors would distinctly select and president and vice-president with their votes.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Corregidor Liberation

On this day in 1945, the battle to liberate Corregidor Island began. Lasting nearly 2 weeks, Corregidor was finally recaptured by American and Phillipine forces.

"I see that the old flagpole still stands. Have your troops hoist the colors to its peak and let no enemy ever again haul it down." -General Douglas MacArthur at the flag-raising ceremony following the end of the battle.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Remember The Maine!

On this date in 1898, the battleship USS Maine exploded in the harbor near Havana, Cuba. The explosion killed most of her crew that night, and also served as one of the catalysts for the Spanish-American war later that year. We raise the state flag of Maine in honor of the ship and her crew on this anniversary.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Lincoln's Birthday

Born in Kentucky in 1809, our 16th president.

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow, this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.  - Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg Address (Bliss copy)

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Thomas Paine's Birthday

Born on this date in 1737, Thomas Paine was one of the great voices of the American Revolution, stirring patriots to action with his words in Common Sense (1776) and The American Crisis (a series published 1776-1783). He later was involved in the French Revolution in the 1790's. Paine's words concerning the American Revolution continue to resound today.
Not a man lives on the continent but fully believes that a separation must some time or other finally take place, and a generous parent should have said, "If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace;" and this single reflection, well applied, is sufficient to awaken every man to duty.
-The American Crisis No. I

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Ronald Reagan's Birthday

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
-Ronald Reagan

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

George Washington Elected

February 4th marks the anniversary of the first meeting of the United States Electoral College in 1789, which voted unanimously to elect George Washington as first President of the United States.

Monday, February 3, 2014

The Four Chaplains

February 3rd is remembered in honor of The Four Chaplains. On February 3, 1943, the USAT Dorchester was torpedoed while transporting approxomately 900 men across the Atlantic. The Four Chaplains - Methodist Reverend George L. Fox, Reform-Rabbi Dr. Alexander D. Goode, Father John P. Washington and Reformed Church Reverend Clark V. Poling - helped organize the evacuation of the ship, then gave up their life vests when the crew ran out of vests for the men. They were reportedly seen praying, arm in arm, as the ship went down. 230 men were eventually rescued from the frigid water that night.