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.
In the first flight of its kind, American aviatrix Amelia Earhart departs Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a solo flight to the North American mainland 88 years ago on January 11, 1935. Hawaiian commercial interests offered a $10,000 award to whoever accomplished the flight first. The next day, after traveling 2,400 miles in 18 hours, she safely landed at Oakland Airport in Oakland, California.
Two years after her Hawaii to California flight, she attempted with navigator Frederick J. Noonan to fly around the world, but contact with her plane was lost on July 2, 1937, somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island in the South Pacific. Radio operators picked up a signal that she was low on fuel.
As many readers of this blog have seen here previously, ALL evidence points to Amelia Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan being captured and taken to the Pacific island of Saipan where they were eventually executed and buried in shallow graves there. For more information on this famous aviatrix and navigator, click on the excellent web log at Mike Campbell’s Earhart Truth web log and his third published book on the subject at: Amelia Earhart: The Truth At Last.
I missed an important anniversary this past Saturday on November 19, 2022. That was the 159th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, presented by President Abraham Lincoln.
The famous address by the 16th President of the United States was given to consecrate the newly designated National Cemetery at Gettysburg, PA. One of the most famous battles of the Civil War, the Battle of Gettysburg, was fought just four months earlier: July 1 – 3, 1863. This three-day battle left almost 8,000 men from both sides dead and laying in the fields at the little town of just 2,500 people. Faced with quickly disposing of the dead, a designation of a national cemetery outside the little town was quickly put together and dignitaries were invited to speak at its dedication. The main speaker was to be a great orator of the time, Edward Everett, who spoke for two hours that day. President Lincoln, whose invitation was almost an afterthought since it was believed he would not attend, spoke for just two minutes, giving a 272-word speech that has lasted the ages and is considered one of the most famous speeches ever given by anyone.
In addition to the more than 3,500 Union soldiers buried there, the cemetery contains the remains of American soldiers and dependents from the Civil War to the Vietnam Conflict.
According to the www.abrahamlincolnonline.org website, “There are five known copies of the speech in Lincoln’s handwriting, each with a slightly different text, and named for the people who first received them: Nicolay, Hay, Everett, Bancroft, and Bliss. Two copies apparently were written before delivering the speech, one of which probably was the “reading copy.” The remaining ones were produced months later for soldier benefit events. Despite widely circulated stories to the contrary, the President did not dash off a copy aboard a train to Gettysburg. Lincoln carefully prepared all his major speeches in advance; his steady, even script in every manuscript is consistent with a firm writing surface, not the notoriously bumpy Civil War-era trains. Additional versions of the speech appeared in newspapers of the era, feeding modern-day confusion about the authoritative text.
“Ever since Lincoln wrote it in 1863, this version has been the most often reproduced, notably on the walls of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. It is named after Colonel Alexander Bliss, stepson of historian George Bancroft. Bancroft asked President Lincoln for a copy to use as a fundraiser for soldiers. However, because Lincoln wrote on both sides of the paper, the speech could not be reprinted, so Lincoln made another copy at Bliss’s request. It is the last known copy written by Lincoln and the only one signed and dated by him. Today it is on display in the Lincoln Room of the White House.”
The Bliss Copy of the Gettysburg Address:
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.
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.