I am a Christian grandfather, married to a wonderful woman since February 2, 2002 (that’s 02/02/02), and yes, we were married at 2:02 p.m. I have two wonderful sons and daughters-in-law, a step-daughter and her husband, and a step-son and his wife. These four families have blessed me with 16 grandchildren. I retired as a Senior Chief Journalist August 31, 1987, after 22 years of active service in the US Navy. During my naval career, I was stationed in Adak, Alaska; Okinawa, Japan; Pensacola, FL; Syracuse, NY; Indianapolis, IN; Naples, Italy; and Washington, DC. Lest someone think I was “shorebound,” I also served temporary duty on various ships, including: HMS Hermes, a Royal Navy Aircraft Carrier; and the USS Ticonderoga, a US Navy Aegis Cruiser; among others.
Although the national flag of Scotland is the blue and white ‘Saltire’ (aka the St. Andrews Cross flag) there is also a second, quite different, flag which is called the ‘Lion Rampant’.
The ‘Lion Flag’ is often considered the unofficial national flag and referred to as the ‘Royal Flag of Scotland’.
The ‘Royal’ term applies because this flag historically, and legally, belongs to the monarchy (or royalty) – more specifically to a King or Queen of Scotland.
The Scottish Lion Rampant flag today:
Officially (and historically) the ‘Lion’ Flag is only allowed to be flown by a monarch, and today it is traditionally flown at royal residences when the Queen, or now King, is NOT in residence.
According to an Act of Parliament, passed in 1672, it is an offense for any private citizen or corporate body to fly or wave this flag, so they’re not a part of the every-day Scottish scenery.
Unofficially though, it’s often thought of as the ‘Second National Flag of Scotland’ and you’ll generally see hordes of them in the hands of sports fans at national (and international) football and rugby games.
They can also sometimes be seen on Scottish merchandise such as mugs, t-shirts and so on.
Lion Rampant flag at football games
Although this is technically illegal, there doesn’t seem to be any official objections to these displays of patriotism because King George V gave permission for Lion Rampant flags to be waved by the public during his Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1935.
BUT, if anyone wants to fly one from a flagpole or building they do still need to get special permission!
The cortege of Queen Elizabeth II departed Balmoral Castle at 4 a.m., CDT, USA, Sunday, September 11, 2022, on its final journey to London, accompanied by her daughter, Princess Anne.
The Queen’s oaken casket was carried by six games keepers from Balmoral Castle’s ballroom to the hearse to begin its six-hour journey on the first day of its trip to London. The Queen had specified that these six beloved games keepers who often accompanied her on hikes through the Highland countryside be her pall bearers for this first leg of her trip. The hearse, draped in the Royal Standard yellow “Rampant Lion” flag of Scotland, began its first 175-mile journey Sunday through Scottish towns and the Highlands countryside to Holyroodhouse palace in Edinburgh. There, it will rest for two days so the Scottish people can pay their respects. It passed through Aberdeen and Dundee, Scotland, on its way to Edinburgh. Traveling south along the A90, it stopped in Dundee at about 2 p.m., Scottish time for a short rest before continuing on to Edinburgh.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and other party leaders in Scotland observed the coffin as it went past the Scottish Parliament.
From there it was taken into the Palace of Holyroodhouse, where it remained for the night.
A procession up the High Street and Royal Mile on Monday took her to St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh for a “Service of Thanksgiving,” followed by HRH King Charles III; his younger sister, Princess Anne; and his younger brothers: Prince Andrew, and Prince Edward, all four of whom walked behind their mother’s casket down the Royal Mile to the Cathedral. There is where she will remain for 24 hours, allowing the public to pay tribute.
On Tuesday, the coffin will be flown to London where it will Lie in State at Westminster Hall for four days. Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral will be Monday, September 19, 2022, at Westminster Abbey.
Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain died today at her beloved Balmoral Castle near Aberdeen, Scotland. She was 96 years old and the longest serving British monarch, at more than 70 years, in history.
She ascended to the throne at age 25 on February 6, 1952, upon the death of her father, King George VI. Her official coronation was held June 2, 1953. She has served as Queen during the service of 15 British Prime Ministers, 14 US Presidents, and seven Popes. Her first Prime Minister was Sir Winston Churchill. She is not only the Head of State of the United Kingdom, but is also the titular head of the Anglican Church of England.
Elizabeth Alexandra Mary became Queen Elizabeth II upon the death of her father, King George VI. She was married to her beloved husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, for 73 years. She says she fell in love with him upon their second meeting when she was 13 years old and he was 18. They had four children during their marriage. He passed away April 9, 2021, at 99 years, two months shy of his 100th birthday. During World War II, Princess Elizabeth served in the Auxiliary Territorial Service where she trained as a driver and mechanic and was given the rank of honorary junior commander. Following the end of the War, she and her younger sister, Margaret, mingled incognito with young people celebrating in the streets of London.
Her eldest son, Prince Charles, ascended to the British throne upon her death and will undergo coronation later at historical Westminster Abbey in London. His son, Prince William, moves up to second in line in succession to the throne.
It is presumed Queen Elizabeth II will be buried beside her beloved husband, Prince Philip, in the Royal Vault of St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle in the near future.
We stand united with our British friends in this, their time of grief, for the passing of their Queen.
He was one of America’s most popular presidents — handsome, charismatic, a war hero. He believed a strong military was the best guarantor of peace; he explained that cutting taxes was the best way to grow the economy; he firmly opposed racial quotas, and was horrified by the idea of unrestricted abortions.
He was not a Republican
When he was elected president in 1960, Kennedy’s views were considered mainstream in the Democratic Party. But while the Kennedy name is still revered by the Democrats today, the policies he espoused are not.
Ronald Reagan, America’s 40th president, who was a Democrat much of his life, famously said, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”
So, if Kennedy were alive now, which party would he belong to? It’s impossible to know, of course. But we can compare his political positions to those of today’s Democratic Party.
JFK disliked the idea of using racial preferences and quotas to make up for historic racism and discrimination. Today, affirmative action is Democratic Party orthodoxy, but Kennedy thought such policies were counterproductive.
“I don’t think we can undo the past,” Kennedy said. “We have to do the best we can now…I don’t think quotas are a good idea…We are too mixed, this society of ours, to begin to divide ourselves on the basis of race or color.”
Kennedy was an ardent proponent of across-the-board tax cuts, believing that more cash in the hands of all Americans, including the so-called wealthy, and a lighter footprint from the IRS would grow the economy. “A tax cut means higher family income and higher business profits,” Kennedy said in an address to the nation shortly before his death. “Every taxpayer and his family will have more money left over after taxes for a new car, a new home, new conveniences, education and investment. Every businessman can keep a higher percentage of his profits in his cash register or put it to work expanding or improving his business.”
On foreign policy:
Kennedy was very firm about his red lines. When the Soviet Union built missile sites in Cuba, leading to what is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis, Kennedy threatened a decisive military response. The Soviet Union backed down. JFK believed, as Ronald Reagan did, in peace through strength, not strength through peace. In his inaugural address, Kennedy made the case for a strong U.S. military. He saw this as the only way to deter America’s enemies. “Only when our arms are sufficient beyond doubt,” he said, “can we be certain beyond doubt that they will never be employed.”
On gun rights:
Kennedy was one of eight U.S. presidents who was a lifetime member of the NRA. Here’s what he said about the Second Amendment: “We need a nation of minutemen – citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life, and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”
Kennedy was assassinated a decade before the landmark Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade. Abortion was not a major issue during his administration.
But we do know that he nominated Justice Byron White, a Democrat, to the Supreme Court. White was one of two justices who dissented in Roe v. Wade. We also know that Kennedy abhorred Japan’s post-WWII use of abortion as a means of population control, saying: “On the question of limiting population: As you know, the Japanese have been doing it very vigorously, through abortion, which I think would be repugnant to all Americans.”
Today, if a Democrat advocated the positions on race, taxes, foreign policy, guns and abortion that our 35th president once did, he wouldn’t be a Democrat. He’d belong to that other party.
Sixty-five years ago today, an American phenomenon went national. American Bandstand with “America’s Youngest Teenager,” Dick Clark at the helm, changed from a local Philadelphia show into a national, coast-to-coast hit sensation.
In the late 1950s, when television and rock and roll were new and when the biggest generation in American history was just about to enter its teens, it took a bit of originality to see the potential power in this now-obvious combination of television, rock and roll, and teenagers.
The man who saw that potential more clearly than any other was a 26-year-old Utica, New York, disc jockey named Dick Clark, who transformed himself and a local Philadelphia television program into two of the most culturally significant forces of the early rock-and-roll era. His iconic show, American Bandstand, began broadcasting nationally on August 5, 1957, beaming images of clean-cut, average teenagers dancing to the not-so-clean-cut Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” to 67 ABC affiliates across the nation.
The show that evolved into American Bandstand began on Philadelphia’s WFIL-TV in 1952, a few years before the popular ascension of rock and roll. Hosted by local radio personality Bob Horn, the original Bandstand nevertheless established much of the basic format of its later incarnation. In the first year after Dick Clark took over as host in the summer of 1956, Bandstand remained a popular local hit, but it took Clark’s ambition to help it break out. When the ABC television network polled its affiliates in 1957, for suggestions to fill its 3:30 p.m. time slot, Clark pushed hard for Bandstand, which network executives picked up and scheduled for an August 5, 1957, premiere.
Renamed American Bandstand, the newly national program featured a number of new elements that became part of its trademark, including the high school gym-like bleachers and the famous segment in which teenage studio guests rated the newest records on a scale from 25 to 98 and offered such criticisms as “It’s got a good beat, and you can dance to it.” But the heart of American Bandstand always remained the sound of the day’s most popular music combined with the sight of the show’s unpolished teen “regulars” dancing and showing off the latest fashions in clothing and hairstyles.
American Bandstand aired five days a week in live national broadcasts until 1963, when the show moved west to Los Angeles and began a 24-year run as a taped weekly program with Dick Clark as host.
Dick Clark suffered a stroke in December, 2004, and died eight years later on April 18, 2012, following prostrate surgery.
Two Navy ship disasters’ anniversaries in two days: Yesterday it was the USS FORRESTAL (CV 59) and today it is the heavy cruiser USS INDIANAPOLIS (CA 35). I knew this one was coming; it’s been on my calendar all year.
On this day 77 years ago, July 30, 1945, USS INDIANAPOLIS is sunk by Japanese torpedoes. The few survivors would float in the ocean for days before they were found.
Of the nearly 1,200 men on board the ship, about 900 men survived the initial explosion and went overboard into the water. The ship sank 12 minutes later, taking 300 to their watery graves. Almost 600 Sailors died in the water of dehydration, saltwater poisoning, and the worst of all: shark attacks while stranded in the open ocean with few lifeboats and almost no food or water. Those surviving in the water would not be rescued for days. The Navy only learned of the sinking four days later, when survivors were spotted by the crew of a PV-1 Ventura on routine patrol. Of the 1200 original crew, only 316 Sailors survived the tragedy.
There was just one silver lining, if there was one, to the tragedy. INDIANAPOLIS had already performed the most critical part of its mission: It had successfully carried parts for the “Little Boy” atomic bomb across the Pacific before it was sunk. American bombers would soon carry “Little Boy” toward Hiroshima. Along with the bomb “Fat Man” dropped on Nagasaki, “Little Boy” would ultimately force an end to World War II.
My landlord was one of those 316….
Several years ago, my landlord was one of those 316 INDIANAPOLIS survivors. During World War II, Lieutenant (Junior Grade) Charles McKissick served in INDIANAPOLIS and survived the sinking. We used to sit and talk in McKinney, TX, about our times in the Navy and he would talk about the hellish days and nights he spent in the water after the sinking before being rescued. Every year, Charles would travel to Indianapolis, IN, each July 30 for the ship’s reunion. When he returned, he would tell me that many more of his shipmates were missing that year. The numbers continued to dwindle down at each annual reunion after that. This was in the early 1990s. LTJG Charles McKissick is also gone now. Rest In Peace, Sir. You and your Shipmates earned your reward. “Rest your oars, Lieutenant. We have the Watch, now.” God bless these brave men and God bless America.
After 77 years, only two confirmed survivors of the sinking of the USS INDIANAPOLIS now remain: Cleatus Lebow, who at 98 is the oldest survivor, and Harold Bray, Jr., who is 95 years old.
Sheriff Pat Garrett shoots Henry McCarty, also known as William H. Bonney and popularly known as Billy the Kid, to death at the Maxwell Ranch in New Mexico 141 years ago today on July 14, 1881. Garrett, who had been tracking the Kid for three months after the gunslinger had escaped from prison only days before his scheduled execution, got a tip that Billy was holed up with friends. While Billy was gone, Garrett waited in the dark in his bedroom. When Billy entered, Garrett shot him to death.
Back on April 1, 1878, Billy the Kid ambushed Sheriff William Brady and one deputy in Lincoln, New Mexico, after ranch owner John Tunstall had been murdered. Billy had worked at Tunstall’s ranch and was outraged by his employer’s slaying-vowing to hunt down every man responsible. Sheriff Brady and his men, who had been affiliated with rival ranchers, were involved with the gang that killed Tunstall on February 18. Billy’s retaliatory attack left Brady and Deputy George Hindman dead. Although only 18 years old at the time, Billy had now committed as many as 17 murders.
Following his indictment for the murder of Sheriff Brady, Billy the Kid was the most wanted man in the West. Evading posses sent to capture him, he eventually struck a deal with the new governor of New Mexico: In return for his testimony against the perpetrators of the ongoing ranch wars in the state, Billy would be set free. Although he kept his word about the testimony, he began to distrust the promise that he would be released and so he escaped.
Once a fugitive, Billy killed a few more men, including the gunslinger Joe Grant, who had challenged him to a showdown. Legend has it that Billy managed to get a hold of Grant’s gun prior to the fight and made sure that an empty chamber was up first in the man’s revolver. When it came time to fire, only Billy’s gun went off and Grant was left dead.
Legendary Sheriff Pat Garrett finally brought Billy the Kid in to stand trial. The judge sentenced Billy the Kid to hang until “you are dead, dead, dead.” Billy reportedly responded, “And you can go to hell, hell, hell.” Two weeks before his scheduled execution, Billy escaped, killing two guards in the process.
Garrett mounted yet another posse to bring in the Kid. After tracing him to the Maxwell Ranch, Garrett shot him to death. No legal charges were brought against him since the killing was ruled a justifiable homicide.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Rumors of Billy the Kid escaping death that night in New Mexico abound. One of the most notable comes from Texas where “Brushy Bill Roberts” claimed to be Billy the Kid until his death, December 27, 1950, in Hico, Texas.For more info on this claim, see this article onWikipedia.
Today is a significant anniversary in American flight history. “Eighty-five years ago today on July 2, 1937, the Lockheed aircraft carrying American aviatrix Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan left Lae, New Guinea. The pair were attempting to fly around the world when they lost their bearings during the most challenging leg of the global journey: Lae, New Guinea, to Howland Island, a tiny island 2,227 nautical miles away, in the center of the Pacific Ocean.
The U.S. Coast Guard cutter Itasca was in sporadic radio contact with Earhart as she approached Howland Island and received messages that she was lost and running low on fuel.” (The History Channel)
Throughout the almost one century since Amelia and Fred were declared lost, various hypotheses have been offered, most of them eventually proven as either false or unlikely.
The most likely answer to the flight is offered up by Mike Campbell, a world-renowned Earhart researcher and expert. His three books on her last flight all detail her ditching her Lockheed Electra 10E airplane in the Marshall Islands near the Mili Atoll, where she was captured by the Japanese and taken to the island of Saipan.
More than 100 eyewitnesses, including US Army and Marine Corps military members and many Saipan natives, have detailed Amelia and Fred’s imprisonment in Garapan Jail on Saipan and their subsequent execution by beheading by Japanese soldiers. Her aircraft, which was seen by Soldiers and Marines on Saipan, some of whom eventually rose in the ranks to General, was eventually burned and it and Amelia and Fred were buried under what is now a large airport tarmac there.
The conclusion to their flight was even revealed to a world-famous CBS reporter, Fred Goerner, by no less than US Navy Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz. The cover-up of her final flight by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the US Government is greatly detailed in Mike’s blog and books.
For much more on the final flight of Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan that began eighty-five years ago today, see Mike Campbell’s web blog:earharttruth.wordpress.com and his excellent most recent book, Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last. That book is more than 400-pages long with hundreds of footnotes, photographs, and eyewitness accounts to the end of this daring pair of aviators.
(Editor’s Note: The following was posted on Facebook by Paul Harrington, but it has been around in many different forms, including a book, for years. It is NOT an original post)
Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile. Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands. He was captured and spent six years in a communist Vietnamese prison. He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!
One day, when Plumb and his wife were sitting in a restaurant, a man at another table came up and said, “You’re Plumb! You flew jet fighters in Vietnam from the aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk. You were shot down!”
“How in the world did you know that?” asked Plumb.
“I packed your parachute,” the man replied. Plumb gasped in surprise and gratitude. The man pumped his hand and said, “I guess it worked!” Plumb assured him, “It sure did. If your chute hadn’t worked, I wouldn’t be here today.”
Plumb couldn’t sleep that night, thinking about that man. Plumb says, “I kept wondering what he had looked like in a Navy uniform: a white hat; a bib in the back; and bell-bottom trousers. I wonder how many times I might have seen him and not even said, ‘Good morning, how are you?’ or anything because, you see, I was a fighter pilot and he was just a sailor.” Plumb thought of the many hours the sailor had spent at a long wooden table in the bowels of the ship, carefully weaving the shrouds and folding the silks of each chute, holding in his hands each time the fate of someone he didn’t know.
Now, Plumb asks his audience, “Who’s packing your parachute?” Everyone has someone who provides what they need to make it through the day. He also points out that he needed many kinds of parachutes when his plane was shot down over enemy territory — he needed his physical parachute, his mental parachute, his emotional parachute, and his spiritual parachute. He called on all these supports before reaching safety.
Sometimes in the daily challenges that life gives us, we miss what is really important. We may fail to say hello, please, or thank you, congratulate someone on something wonderful that has happened to them, give a compliment, or just do something nice for no reason. As you go through this week, this month, this year, recognize people who pack your parachutes.
I am sending you this as my way of thanking you for your part in packing my parachute. And I hope you will send it on to those who have helped pack yours!
Sometimes, we wonder why friends keep forwarding jokes to us without writing a word. Maybe this could explain it: When you are very busy, but still want to keep in touch, guess what you do — you forward jokes. And to let you know that you are still remembered, you are still important, you are still loved, you are still cared for, guess what you get? A forwarded joke.
So my friend, next time when you get a joke, don’t think that you’ve been sent just another forwarded joke, but that you’ve been thought of today and your friend on the other end of your computer wanted to send you a smile, just helping you pack your parachute.
On this date, 80 years ago, the Battle of Midway, a turning point in the war against Japan, ended. The Japanese fleet was limping back toward Japan, licking its wounds, as the US Pacific Fleet celebrated the victory with the first triumphant reply to Japan’s surprise ambush against US Forces at Pearl Harbor, six months earlier.
Admiral Isoruku Yamamoto, Japan’s architect of the war against the United States, had planned to feint an attack against the Aleutian Islands, strung out from Alaska. He planned to hide his four carriers near Midway Island in the Pacific and when the US diverted its forces and answered the false attack against the Aleutians, he would invade Midway Island.
(PERSONAL ASIDE: I was stationed with the US Navy at Adak, Alaska, in the Aleutian Islands from December, 1966, to December, 1967. When I was there back then, quonset huts dotted the island, left over from World War II. The Quonset huts were constructed for American troops to hunker down in during the expected Japanese naval attack that never came. The Quonset huts there on the island were still usable. Many of the naval departments on the island “homesteaded” a hut for department parties and just to get away from one of the five bases still on the island).
Unfortunately for Admiral Yamamoto, the United States had just secretly broken the Japanese JN25 military code and learned of the false attack. When Yamamoto attacked Midway Island, the US was ready and waiting on June 4, 1942.
When the smoke cleared four days later on June 7, the battle was over and Japan had suffered 2,500 casualties and lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft. The US Pacific Fleet lost one carrier (the behemoth USS YORKTOWN (CV 10), one destroyer escort (USS HAMMANN…DE 131) 145 aircraft, and 307 casualties. Japan’s losses brought them down into parity with the US.
In August, 1942, the US pushed its counter-offensive at Guadalcanal, eventually leading to Japan’s surrender three years later.