Today is Nat’l Winnie the Pooh Day

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today is National Winnie the Pooh Day. January 18th commemorates author A.A. Milne’s birthday in 1882.

Milne brought the adorable, honey-loving bear to life in his stories, which also featured his son, Christopher Robin. Milne’s lovable Pooh Bear, as he was fondly called, is a fictional bear inspired by a black bear named Winnie. Winnie lived at the London Zoo during World War I. The author’s son, Christopher Robin, would visit the bear often. Christopher named his own teddy bear after her and a swan named Pooh. (Thanks to National Day Calendar)

Happy National Winnie the Pooh Day and happy birthday to A.A. Milne.

Ten things you didn’t know about Winnie the Pooh:

1. Winnie the Pooh author A. A. Milne named the boy in his stories after his son, Christopher Robin Milne.

2. The original Pooh bear was purchased at Harrods department store in London and given by A. A. Milne to Christopher Robin on his first birthday. At first, the toy was named Edward (proper form of Teddy) Bear.

3. Later, Christopher Robin changed the name of the toy to Winnie, after a real-life bear he saw at the London Zoo.

4. Real-life Winnie was a female black bear that belonged to Harry Colebourn, who was from Winnipeg, Canada. He brought her to England, where he served during World War I. Winnie’s permanent residence became the London Zoo. That’s much different from the fictional Winnie the Pooh, who is golden, male and British.

5. The fictional Hundred Acre Wood was based on the real Five Hundred Acre Wood in Ashdown Forest in Southeast England. Milne lived on the edge of the forest and took his son there.

6. The original manuscripts for “Winnie the Pooh” and “The House at Pooh Corner” are held at The Wren Library at Trinity College at the University of Cambridge in England, A. A. Milne’s alma mater.

7. You can visit some of the real stuffed animals that inspired beloved Pooh characters. Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, Piglet, Kanga and Tigger are on display at The New York Public Library in New York City.

8. Jim Cummings, an American voice actor, has been voicing Pooh since 1988, when the animated series “The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” began. He is the current voice of Tigger, too.

9. Pooh got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2006, joining other Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse, Snow White and Donald Duck.

10. The most recent Pooh movie was the live-action “Christopher Robin,” released in August 2018. It starred Ewan McGregor and grossed more than $197 million in worldwide box office sales, according to Box Office Mojo.

(Thanks to USA TODAY newspaper)


‘American Pie’ Hits #1 On Billboard Charts 50 Years Ago Today

From The History Channel

Fifty years ago today: January 15, 1972, “American Pie,”, an epic poem in musical form that has long been etched in the American popular consciousness, hit #1 on the Billboard charts.

“The story of Don McLean’s magnum opus began almost 13 years before its release, on a date with significance well-known to any American who was alive and conscious at the time. Tuesday February 3, 1959, was the date of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J.P. “the Big Bopper” Richardson—a date that would be imbued with transcendent meaning by Don McLean when he labeled it ‘the Day the Music Died.’

“One might reasonably point out that the baby-boom generation has since invested its entire rock-and-roll experience with transcendent meaning, but don’t blame Don McLean for starting the trend. “American Pie” wasn’t written to be a generation-defining epic; it was written simply to capture McLean’s view of ‘America as I was seeing it and how I was fantasizing it might become.’

“When asked to explain what exactly he was trying to say with some of his more ambiguous lyrics, McLean generally declined. Many others applied themselves to the task, however, and even today the Internet bristles with exhaustively reasoned interpretations of “American Pie” and its web of lyrical references to the youth culture of the 1950s and 60s. The meaning of the Stolen Crown and Marching Band may be of interest only to the most obsessive of baby boomers, but almost all of us know the chorus of “American Pie” better than we know our own national anthem, and the chances are good that our great-grandchildren will, too. Which isn’t bad for a song that was written and recorded by a struggling folk singer who merely hoped that it would “earn two or three thousand dollars and make survival for another year possible.”


Explosions Kill 27 Sailors Aboard USS Enterprise 53 Years Ago Today

From The History Channel

Fifty-three years ago today on January 14, 1969, 27 Sailors were killed aboard the USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65) when the aircraft carrier was rocked by an explosion of an onboard rocket. More than 300 others were injured in the ensuing fire.

The History Channel explained it this way:

“An explosion aboard the aircraft carrier USS ENTERPRISE killed 27 people in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, on January 14, 1969. A rocket accidentally detonated, destroying 15 planes and injuring more than 300 people.

“…the first ever nuclear-powered aircraft carrier….”

THE HISTORY CHANNEL

“The ENTERPRISE was the first-ever nuclear-powered aircraft carrier when it was launched in 1960. It had eight nuclear reactors, six more than all subsequent nuclear carriers. The massive ship was more than 1,100 feet long and carried 4,600 crew members.

“At 8:19 a.m. on January 14, a MK-32 Zuni rocket that was loaded on an F-4 Phantom jet overheated due to the exhaust from another vehicle. The rocket blew up, setting off a chain reaction of explosions. Fires broke out across the deck of the ship, and when jet fuel flowed into the carrier’s interior, other fires were sparked. Many of the ENTERRISE’s fire-protection features failed to work properly, but the crew worked heroically and tirelessly to extinguish the fire.

“In all, 27 sailors lost their lives and another 314 were seriously injured. Although 15 aircraft (out of the 32 stationed on the ENTERPRISE at the time) were destroyed by the explosions and fire, the ENTERPRISE itself was never threatened.

“The USS ENTERPRISE was repaired over several months at Pearl Harbor and returned to action later in the year.”

The USS ENTERPRISE (CVAN 65) was the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and the eighth United States naval vessel to bear the name. Like her predecessor of World War II fame, she was nicknamed “Big E”.  She was inactivated December 1, 2012, and decommissioned February 3, 2017.


Rocker Ronnie Spector: Dead at 78

by HB Auld, Jr.

The 1960s iconic rock and roller, Ronnie Spector, lead singer of The Ronettes, died today.

Mark Kennedy of The Associated Press said it best in The Washington Post obituary: “Ronnie Spector, the cat-eyed, bee-hived rock ‘n’ roll siren who sang such 1960s hits as “Be My Baby,” “Baby I Love You” and “Walking in the Rain” as the leader of the girl group The Ronettes, has died. She was 78.

“Spector died Wednesday after a brief battle with cancer, her family said. “Ronnie lived her life with a twinkle in her eye, a spunky attitude, a wicked sense of humor and a smile on her face. She was filled with love and gratitude,” a statement said. No other details were revealed.”

Rest In Peace and thanks for all the great memories, Ronnie Spector.


My Father-in-Law, JB Kattes, Joined the US Army 80 Years Ago Today

by HB Auld, Jr.

Today, December 11, 2021, is the 80th anniversary of the enlistment of my father-in-law, JB Kattes, in the US Army.  JB, at just 22 years old, left his family farm in San Saba four days after Pearl Harbor and traveled to Dallas, Texas.  There, he and other young men raised their right hands and swore “…to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic….”  He left behind his parents, his three older sisters, a younger sister and a younger brother (Hugh Kattes, who would also serve later) 80 years ago today.

Like other young men across the US, JB joined the US Army to fight against Imperial Japan after Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor.  He and many others headed for Camp Roberts, California, the military’s largest Army training facility in the US.  There, he and thousands of other new enlistees underwent 17 weeks of military training, learning how to be Soldiers, before heading overseas.  My own father, HB Auld, Sr, had undergone his own 17 weeks of training there at Camp Roberts just seven months before JB did, back in May of 1941.  Both he and JB went from Camp Roberts to Fort Lewis, Washington, for further processing and training for Pacific Theater operations.  JB and his fellow Soldiers were sent on to the US Territory of Alaska (18 years before it became a US state); my dad headed off to fight in New Guinea.

“…Jennie mailed him a small wooden washboard….”

JB spent the first part of World War II at Elmendorf Base at Anchorage.  While there, he advanced to Sergeant.  He and his men lived in ramshackle, cold, wooden buildings and he washed his clothes in a wash tub.  He wrote to his sweetheart, Jennie Alford, and told her how hard conditions were there.  Jennie mailed him a small wooden wash board to scrub his uniforms and make washing his clothes a little easier.  JB said he “rented” his washboard out to other Soldiers for a quarter each.  That little washboard memento now hangs on the wall of his daughter, Susan Jones, in her home.

From Anchorage, JB transferred to Fort Benning, Georgia, to train Army Airborne officers.  While stationed in Georgia, he went back to Texas on leave and married Jennie Alford, then took her back to Georgia with him.  My wife, Jannie, was born 11 months later, just before World War II ended.

Thank you, US Army Sergeant JB Kattes, and all the other brave men of The Greatest Generation who served in World War II to ensure we live in freedom from tyranny today.  JB’s Army enlistment began 80 years ago today.  God bless him and God bless America.  


Pearl Harbor Ambushed in Sunday Morning Attack 80 Years Ago Today

by HB Auld, Jr.

Eighty years ago today on December 7, 1941, Imperial Japan attacked the neutral United States with a surprise Sunday morning ambush on naval bases at Pearl Harbor, HI.

During the unprovoked assault on the United States, aircraft from the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service killed 2,403 US citizens and injured 1,178 others. It also sank four battleships and damaged four others, damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one minelayer. Additionally, 188 aircraft were destroyed and another 159 planes were damaged.

“…a date which will live forever in infamy….”

PRESIDENT FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT

The following day, US President Franklin D. Roosevelt appeared before Congress and declaring the previous day “…a day which will live forever in infamy….” requested that Congress declare war against Japan. Congress quickly complied and the United States entered World War II hostilities against Japan.

My own father, HB Auld, Sr., was already serving in the US Army when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and spent the remainder of his military service fighting the Japanese on the island of New Guinea.

My father-in-law, JB Kattes, enlisted in the US Army on December 11, 1941, four days after the surprise attack, and served in the US Army in Washington, Alaska, and Georgia until the end of the War.

God bless all of the men and women who served and all of those who gave their lives in Pearl Harbor and elsewhere in the War.

ALWAYS REMEMBER: THAT DAY IN DECEMBER: God bless America!


Beatle George Harrison Died 20 Years Ago on November 29, 2001

by HB Auld, Jr.

Remembering “the quiet Beetle,” George Harrison who died 20 years ago today, November 29, 2001, of non-small cell lung cancer which spread to his brain. George Harrison was 58 years old.

George Harrison was born in Liverpool, England, on February 25, 1943. He met Paul McCartney on a bus on the way to school and bonded over music. Later, he auditioned for John Lennon with Paul who played as “The Quarrymen,” a skiffle group. John turned George down as being too young at 15. Later, he re-auditioned for John on the top of a double-decker bus. He wound up playing for The Quarrymen as a guitar fill-in when needed.

When The Beatles broke up in 1970, George Harrison released his “All Things Must Pass” album, which included his hit single, “My Sweet Lord.” George was sued by The Chifons in 1971, claiming his My Sweet Lord was plagiarized from their “He’s So Fine.” George denied consciously plagiarizing their hit, but lost in US court when the judge judge ruled that he had done so subconsciously.

In 1971, George joined Ravi Shankar in the live The Concert for Bangladesh at Madison Square Garden to raise money and awareness for the starving refugees of the Bangladesh Liberation War.

In 1988, George formed The Traveling Wilburys with Jeff Lynne, Roy Orbison, Bob Dylan and Tom Petty and recorded “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 1.” After Roy Orbison’s death in 1988, the group recorded their second album as a quartet. George came up with the prank idea to name it “Traveling Wilburys Vol. 3.” just “…to confuse the buggers.”

George and his wife, Olivia, attacked in their home.

George and his wife, Olivia, were attacked in their home in Friar Park on December 30, 1999, by Michael Abram, a 34-year old suffering from mental illness. George was stabbed 40 times, including once which punctured his lung. Abrams later expressed remorse for the attack.

In May, 2001, George underwent lung surgery to remove a cancerous growth from one of his lungs. In November 2001, he began radiotherapy at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City for non-small cell lung cancer that had spread to his brain. When the news was made public, Harrison lamented his physician’s breach of his privacy, and his estate later claimed damages.

George Harrison died on private property belonging to Paul McCartney on Heather Road in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, CA. At his death, he was surrounded by his wife, Olivia; his son, Dhani; his friend, Ravi Shankar; and others. After George died, his ashes were scattered, according to Hindu tradition, by his close family in a private ceremony in the Ganges and Yamuna rivers near Varanasi, India.

His final words before he died were to Olivia and Dhani: “Everything else can wait, but the search for God cannot wait, and love one another.”


Today Marks the 100th Anniversary of Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

by HB Auld

Today, Veterans Day 2021, is the 100th anniversary of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The three Unknown Soldiers from World War I, War II, and the Korean War, represent all of those who were killed in the service of our Nation.

Today is also Veterans Day, a day to express our gratitude to all current and former military men and women who serve and have served in the US Military. Veterans Day, formerly called “Armistice Day,” was established to be always celebrated on November 11 each year because the armistice ending the fighting of World War I went into effect at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918. Traditionally since then, Americans have paused at 11:00 a.m. each November 11th to remember Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, and Guardsmen who served in all wars. A formal peace agreement was reached when the Treaty of Versailles was signed the following year.

The following description of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was published by the Association of the United States Army on February 2, 2021:

“In November, events will include a ceremony during which visitors may place flowers onto the tomb plaza. “This will be the first time in many years that the public will be allowed to walk across the tomb plaza and honor the unknowns at their gravesite,” said Charles Alexander, superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery.

“On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, there will be a full honors procession and a wreath-laying ceremony. 

“Congress approved the burial of an unidentified American soldier from World War I in the plaza of Arlington National Cemetery on March 4, 1921, according to the cemetery’s website. US Army Sergeant Edward Younger, a World War I veteran who was wounded in combat, chose the Unknown Soldier from among four identical caskets.

“The tomb, which stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, has since come to symbolize the sacrifices of all U.S. service members. 

“Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

UNKNOWN SOLDIER TOMB INSCRIPTION

“Its white marble sarcophagus, which stands above the grave of the Unknown Soldier of World War I, depicts three carved Greek figures representing peace, victory and valor. Inscribed on the back of the tomb are the words: “Here rests in honored glory an American soldier known but to God.”

“To the west of the sarcophagus are the crypts for an Unknown Soldier from World War II and the Korean War. A crypt designated for the Vietnam Unknown was dedicated on Sept. 17, 1999.

“In 1926, Congress established a military guard to protect the tomb, and since July 2, 1937, the Army has maintained a 24-hour guard over the tomb. Sentinels from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) assumed those duties on April 6, 1948, and they have maintained a constant vigil ever since.

“Congressman Hamilton Fish, who in 1920 proposed the legislation to create the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, said, “It is hoped that the grave of this unidentified warrior will become a shrine of patriotism for all the ages to come, which will be a source of inspiration, reverence and love of country for future generations.”

For more information about the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier centennial commemoration, visit www.arlingtoncemetery.mil.”

— Association of the United States Army


General Colin Powell Laid to Rest

by HB Auld

General Colin Luther Powell, US Army, Retired, was honored today as he was laid to rest following his funeral service in the National Cathedral in Washington, DC.

He was eulogized by his son, Michael K. Powell, as General Powell’s wife of 59 years, Alma, and friends and family, as well as three past and current Presidents and their wives, looked on.

General Powell passed away October 18, 2021, at the age of 84.


TV Show ‘I Love Lucy’ Debuted 70 Years Ago Tonight: October 15, 1951

by HB Auld and AMAC Magazine

One of America’s favorite television shows of all time premiered 70 years ago tonight.

“The beloved sitcom, “I Love Lucy,” starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, debuted on CBS television on October 15, 1951. The series, which aired from 1951 to 1957, was the most popular show in America for four if its six primetime seasons.”

“The storyline centered on the lives of Lucy Ricardo and her bandleader husband, Ricky, who lived on Manhattan’s Upper East Side and later in Connecticut.

In the show, their best friends, Fred and Ethel Mertz, were former vaudevillians who were often involved in the Ricardos’ shenanigans. Ricky was played by Lucy’s real-life husband. The program won five Emmy Awards during its six-year run.” — The AMAC Magazine, October, 2021

The program, with its homespun “family-at-home” storyline, went on to be the formula for many of America’s family sitcoms, including “The Jeffersons,” “All in the Family,” “The Donna Reed Show,” “Father Knows Best,” and many others.

Even though the four primary actors, Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, William Frawley (Fred Mertz), and Vivian Vance (Ethel Mertz) have all passed on, the show, “I Love Lucy,” lives on in DVDs, in reruns, and in the hearts and memories of those who lived through the 1950s.