Thursday, March 27, 2014

Creation Of The US Navy

On this date in 1794, Congress authorized the creation of a permanent United States Navy and the construction of six frigates. The US Navy today is the most powerful on the planet, deploying almost 300 ships, including 10 aircraft carriers, around the world.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death

On this day in 1775 at Saint John's Church in Richmond, Virginia, Patrick Henry made his speech before the House of Burgesses pressing for the need to mobilize to respond to the British. The end of Henry's speech is popularly known as:

"Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!"

No one is exactly sure what Henry said that day, as the speech was written decades later based on oral histories, but the final line as reported remains one of the most well-known lines in American history. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

Siege Of Boston Ends

On this day in 1776, the Siege of Boston ended following the withdrawal of British troops by sea. The Continental Army had surrounded Boston to prevent the British from advancing for almost a year. Finally, Henry Knox's "Noble Train of Artillery" arrived with cannon captured from Fort Ticonderoga in early 1776. After Washington's army fortified Dorchester Heights with the cannon, the British realized their ships were threatened, finally withdrawing after failed attempts to destroy or capture the Continental position.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

James Madison

Today is the birthday of James Madison, 4th President of the United States, author of the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights, who also served in the House of Representatives and as Secretary of State to Thomas Jefferson. He was the last survivor of the Founding Fathers, passing in 1836.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Old Hickory And Maine Statehood

Today is the birthday of Andrew Jackson, 7th President of the United States and general during the Battle of New Orleans. It is also Statehood Day for the state of Maine, the 23rd state in the Union (formerly part of Massachusetts). For today, we raise the 24-star flag (used during Jackson's terms as President) and the 23-star flag along with the Maine flag for Maine's statehood.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Reagan's Wisdom

I'm convinced that today the majority of Americans want what those first Americans wanted: A better life for themselves and their children; a minimum of government authority. Very simply, they want to be left alone in peace and safety to take care of the family by earning an honest dollar and putting away some savings. This may not sound too exciting, but there is something magnificent about it.
-Ronald Reagan

Monday, March 10, 2014

Alexander Hamilton's Federalist Papers

It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood: if they be repealed or revised before they are promulged, or undergo such incessant changes, that no man who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow.

-Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 62

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Battle Of The Ironclads

On this date in 1862, the first naval battle between two ironclad ships took place as the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia fought to a draw over the course of three hours in the Battle of Hampton Roads near Chesapeake Bay. The battle changed naval warfare practices around the world almost immediately, as naval powers started constructing ironclad ships and incorporating other advances seen in the battle into the new ships in their navies.

Friday, March 7, 2014

US Forces Enter Nazi Germany

On March 7, 1945, the first soldiers of the United States Army captured and crossed the Ludendorff Bridge, one of the few remaining bridges over the Rhine, entering Germany for the first time during World War II. The bridge withstood numerous attempts by German forces to destroy it until March 17, when it collapsed suddenly into the Rhine. By then, American forces were moving over other pontoon bridges steadily into their established bridgehead in Germany.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

The Alamo Falls

The Battle Of The Alamo took place on March 6, 1836, following a siege which began on February 23rd. In the battle, which lasted less than an hour, 189 Texas defenders inflicted more than 600 casualties (dead and wounded) on General Santa Anna's army before finally being overrun and eventually killed. "Remember the Alamo" was the battle cry as Texas avenged the defeat later in the year and eventually gained their independence. Today we honor the memories of the brave men who defended the Alamo and inspired a nation.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address

With malice toward none, with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan — to do all which may achieve and cherish a just, and a lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.
-Abraham Lincoln, 2nd Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Vermont Statehood

On March 4, 1791, Vermont became the 14th state of the United States, the first to be admitted to the Union which was not one of the original 13 colonies. Following Kentucky's admission as the 15th state in 1792, the flag was changed for the first time in 1795, adding two stripes and two stars. The flag was later returned to 13 stripes to represent the 13 original colonies, making Vermont one of only two states (besides the original 13) to ever have been represented by both a star and a stripe on the United States flag.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Star Spangled Banner and Florida Statehood

On this day, March 3, 1931, the Star-Spangled Banner was officially adopted as the national anthem of the United States, more than 100 years after it was first written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812. Today, we raise the 15-star flag used in the Battle of Fort McHenry which was the inspiration for Key's poem and eventual anthem.

We also honor Florida, which became the 27th state in the Union in 1845, after being purchased from Spain in 1819.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Sam Houston

Born on this date in 1793, Sam Houston was governor of Tennessee, president of the Republic of Texas twice, and later senator and governor of the state of Texas, and a leader in the war of independence between Texas and Mexico. Today we raise the flag of Texas in his honor.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Two States Join The Union

Today, we honor Ohio and Nebraska, the 17th and 37th states to join the Union. Ohio was granted statehood in 1803, while Nebraska was admitted in 1867 following the Civil War. Today, we raise the unique flag of Ohio and the flag of Nebraska in their honor.