Category: The History Files

Patriot’s Day

The History Files

Twenty years ago, America was a different nation, not just because George Bush was president or Tony Blair UK’s Prime Minister. We traveled freely without security checks, walked people to their gates at airports as they departed, and greeted them at their gates as they arrived. Tickets and photo ID’s weren’t required for entry to the gates, laptops were’t checked, liquids weren’t restricted nor metal dectors used to screen passengers.

We did not live in a surveillance state, calls were’t hacked nor written communications filtered. There was no such thing as the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), or The Patriot Act. There was no war in Afghanistan or heated tensions in the Middle East. Things were different in America.

What changed things so drastically? September 11, 2001 did.

On that beautiful, clear, and sunny Tuesday, the unthinkable was about to happen to America.

September 11, 2001 was the day that nineteen terrorists of Al Qaeda hijacked four airplanes and used them as guided missles in their plot against America. Two airplanes were flown into the Twin Towers in NYC, one into the Pentagon in Washington DC, and one in the fields of Pennsylvania.

At 8:45 AM EST, a Boeing 767, with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel, crashed into the North tower at the 80th floor, creating a hole to the 110th floor.

Most watched in horror as they considered this unbelievable accident that must have just happened, for a plane to veer off course and mistakenly hit this tall landmark in Manhattan.

Eighteen minutes later, the South tower was hit at the 60th floor. It was now clear, that this was NOT an accident.

America was under attack.

WTC site after collapse

At 9:45 AM EST, the Pentagon was hit on the West side. While this was burning, fifteen minutes later the South tower of World Trade Center collapsed due to the heat of the jet fuel.

The Pentagon attack

At 10:30 AM, the North tower fell. Only six in the towers at the time of their collapse lived.

In flight at this time was the fourth plane, which was hijacked after leaving New Jersey bound for San Francisco. Because of it’s later take off delays, passengers aboard Flight 93 were receiving calls and texts from loved ones telling them what was going on. Although on board, they were told that their flight had turned around and was returning to the airport, passengers knew differently.

So they planned to overthrow the hijackers. It is believed they stormed the cockpit in an effort to abort the evil attack that had been planned for this guided missle. As they did, the plane flipped and sped to the ground at a speed of 500 mph. It crashed in the fileds of Shanksville, PA at 10:10 AM. Fourty-four on board will killed. It is believed the intended target was the White House, or the Capital.

Shanksville, PA

In NYC, the casualities were enormous. 2,763 died at the WTC, including 343 Firefighters and Paramedics, 23 NY police officers, and 37 Port Authority Police Officers. Citizens of seventy-eight countries were employees of the Towers and lost their lives that day.

At the Pentagon, 189 were killed. 125 were killed on the ground and 64 on the plane.

Nearly 3,000 innocent’s died that day.

Flag of Honor, I fly, listing the names of all those lost.

President Bush led America’s response by initiating Operation Enduring Freedom, a US led coalition to oust the Taliban and destroy Osama Bin Laden’s network, on October 7, 2001. Two months later, the Taliban was removed from operational power in Afgahnistan.

Osama Bin Laden, the money and brain behind the attacks was tracked down and killed on May 2, 2011.

Additionally, The Department of Homeland Security was formed as a Cabinet post, the TSA was formed and the Patriot Act was passed, allowing for surveillance of citizens and others.

The impact of that day was far reaching.

The “Pile” of rubble that remained in NYC took 9 months to remove. From its burning fumes and toxic particles, the first responders and people working and living in Manhattan were exposed to cancer causing elements. By 2018, 10,000 people were diagnosed with 911 related cancers.

The “pile” & workers

A 911 Victim’s Compensation Fund was formed and funds set to stop in 2092.

In December, 2001, Congress approved a bill calling for September 11 as Patriot’s Day.

Since that horrific day, memorials have been built at each site. They are each well worth visiting.

Pentagon Memorial
Firefighters wall of memorial

At The World Trade Center site, two reflecting pools were built with 152 engraved, bronze panels, surrounding the pools with the names of those lost that day. It is called, “Reflecting Absence”.

Reflecting Pool with names

On September 11, 2011, the museum opened up, taking you a level below ground to view the violent distruction that tore our hearts that day. It’s power rivals only that of the Holocaust Museum. It is heartwrenching.

Scenes from inside WTC museum

In November of 2014, The Freedom Tower, at One World Trade opened, standing proudly at 1,776 feet tall!

Freedom Tower

THIS day in American history, was MY Pearl Harbor!

Some of those brave patriots lost on 911

In Honolulu, on December 7, 1941, they lost 2,403.

Both have changed America and the world.

It is my sincere hope, that we will never forget September 11, 2001, not out of vindictiveness, but out of a call for remembering truth and the patriots who gave themselves in that pursuit. Most of them unknowingly that day.

Pins given to me by NYC firefighters

We know and we must never forget. THAT is the duty and privilege of a partiot.

Cheers,

Debbie

Why Do We Have Labor Day?

The History Files

On June 28, 1894, President Grover Cleveland signed into law and act that made Labor Day a legal, federal holiday. Why? What’s the story behind it?

During the 1800’s, at the height of the Industrial Revolution in the US, the average American worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week to eke out a basic living. Kids as young as 5 worked in mills, mines and factories across the country, earing a fraction of what the adults were making, yet still, working to help support their family.

Conditions for these work places were unsafe, there was no fresh air, sanitary facilities or even breaks allowed. As manufacturing replaced agriculture, the labor unions increased, seeking to provide better conditions for the American worker.

Strikes were organized, rallies and protests promoted and the workers stirred to speak up for better hours, waged and conditions.

Riots broke out in various places, such as the Haymarket Riot of 1886, in CHicago, where several police officers and workers were killed. (Some things never change in Chicago..)

Or the protest of 10,000 workers in NY who marched for their rights.

But it was on May 11, 19894, that the Pullman Palace Car strike changed things. After the American Railroad Union called for a boycott of this RR, (June 26) traffic was crippled nationwide and riots broke out. Federal troops were dispatched and there were more than a dozen deaths.

On June 28, 1894, President Cleveland signed the act of having a “working holiday” into law. It has since been called Labor Day.

None of us can appreciate the unbelievable sacrifices, long hours, unhealthful, and even brutal conditions of these early workers. There was no such thing as working 9-5, with required 15 minute breaks, PTO, benefits, and a break room with food and drink.

Today, we have the US Department of Labor, which was formed on March 3, 1913 and (grudgingly) signed off by President William Taft to protect our rights and privilidges as an American worker or employer. Formed to help workers, job seekers and retirees by creating standards for occupational safety, wage, hours and benefits, we all have benefitted from it’s oversight.

But it wasn’t always so. Like most things we enjoy today, someone else, before us, paved the way for us. They have paid a price and sacrificed. They lived a harder life and we have learned and grown and improved from their experiences.

So, the first Monday of September, we celebrate Labor Day. A day when we remember the American worker and their progress, advancement and hard work. We take “a working holiday” and say good bye to summer as we may BBQ, and enjoy the privilege of working in America.

Cheers to working America.

Debbie

Happy 245th Birthday, America!

The History Files

On July 4, 1776, it was an unusually mild, mid-summer day in Philadelphia. Thanks to Thomas Jefferson’s detailed weather journals we know that the temperature was a pleasant 76 degrees at 1:00 PM, a normally hot and humid time of the year.

What seemed to be a pleasant day was far from it. This summer was raging with a full scale war that began at Lexington and Concord, MA, with “the shot heard around the world”. In April of 1775, when the British marched to Concord to seize arms, Paul Revere and others rode to sound the alarm, but with that shot The Revolutionary War had begun.

The Brits, over spent securing new territories in the new world for the Crown, and in particular, The French and Indian War of 1754-1763. This war, between France and Great Britian in North America was for control of the colonial territory. Great Britian having “won” the war, now looked to recoup their finincial losses by taxing their 13 colonies.

The Stamp Act, Townsend Act, Tea Act, (to name a few) were met with colonial protest, due to lack of representation in Parliament (in England). In responses to the grievences, George Washington, John and Sam Adams, Patrick Henry, John Jay along with others met in Philadelphia in September of 1774 to give voice to their grievences and denounce the taxation and quartering of troops without consent. They issued a declaration that included the statement that the rights due to every citizen include life, liberty, property, assembly and trial by jury. They voted to meet again in May of 1775.

Battles were fought, lives were lost, properties were seized and taxes continued through the ensuing months.

In May of 1775, when this body met again, The Second Continental Congress, they voted to form a Continental Army and appointed George Washington Commander. Included in this second meeting were the notable Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.

The month following Washington’s appointment, the Congress issued “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms”. Congress sent this along with an olive branch to King George III asking him for help in resolving their differences. Needless to say, the request was ignored.

The Battle of Bunker Hill was the first major battle for the colonial forces, and they inflicted heavy losses on the Brits. Although it ended in a British victory, it encouraged the cause for revolt. The colonists were being stirred by writers too, like Thomas Paine, who were writing pamphlets like “Common Sense”. In it reasons are listed for the need to separate from Britian – it was only common sense! From this, the population developed a convincing arguement for independence.

In the spring of 1776 requests were being made of congress to draft a declaration of independence. On June 7, Richard Henry Lee complied. Congress postponed the final vote until July 1 and appointed a 5 man committee to draft the final document. It consisted of Benjamin Franklin and John Adams but the document was mainly the work of Thomas Jefferson.

In it he included the natural rights of all people and charged the Parliament and the King of depriving the Americans of these God given rights. He also included an article on the institution of slavery, which was later removed.

On July 2,1776, Congress voted in favor of independence, and 2 days later, delegates from the 13 colonies adopted the Declaration of Independence. Congress then ordered it to be sent to the printer where 200 copies were made. Today, 26 copies remain.

John Hancock was the first and largest signer, he said, he wanted the King to be able to read his name clearly. (Amazing, because he was committing treason). Following John Hancock, another 55 brave men signed their treasnous document of independence.

The Declaration was sent to various battle fronts, where it was read to the troops. Additionally it was read in large cities and hamlets throughout the colonies. When George Washington read it to the troops in New York, a riot broke out, tearing down a statue of George II. The statue didn’t go to waste tho’, it was melted down and made into 42,000 musket balls.

This is where we, in this modern day stop thinking. Independence! Yay! We’re free. Not so fast, tho’.

This day, marked a line in the sand for the colonists. They were now at war with the most powerful empire of the day! Their lives, homes, possessions, families, reputations, and yes, their sacred honor were at stake.

Consider just the signers of that declaration:

  • 5 were captured, tortured as traitors before they died
  • 12 had their homes ransaked and burned
  • 2 lost their sons in the war fight
  • 2 others had their sons captured
  • 9 of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war

These were ordinary men living in an extraordinary time demonstrating unbelievable courage and passion for what they believed in. OUR FREEDOM!

They were lawyers, merchants, farmers, plantation owners and men of means and education, but they signed the Declaration knowing full well their lives were on the line. They had security, but they valued liberty more.

The Revolutionary War waged on through ebb and flow, losses and gains, setbacks, traitors, and British occupation until Great Britian formally surrendered on September 3, 1783, in what is known as The Treaty of Paris.

American Battlefield Trust estimates that during The Revolutionary War 6,800 Americans were killed in action, 6,100 wounded and more that 20,000 taken prisoner. Add to those the deaths due to disease, or who died while prisoners of war another 8,000-12,000.

On June 14, 1777, during this war, Congress approved the design of the national flag. It’s red, white and blue forever speak of those who fought for it, even before it came into existence. Those who in purity stood up for independence with bravery and courage, paying unmentionable valor and spilling immeasurable blood, those who united as 13 independent colonies with a cause against tyranny, injustice and freedom for all.

Don’t allow anyone to tarnish or dampen the cost and value of that freedom, or to shame you for your patriotism.

This is the history of The United States of America and we can stand tall, proud and very partiotic.

Happy 245th birthday, America.

Debbie

What is Juneteenth?

The History Files

You’ve probably seen it appear on your calendar, heard about it on the news and now seen it signed into law as a national holiday. So, just what exactly is Juneteenth?

Short for “June 19”, it basically memorializes the end of slavery in the United States.

June 19, 1865 marks the day when federal troops showed up in Galveston, Texas to seize control of the state (Texas was a southern, Confederate state in the Civil War that had just ended two months earlier) and see to it that the enslaved people were indeed freed.

The Civil War had raged from 1961-1865, until Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered in Virginia, in April of 1865.

During that time, President Abraham Lincoln had signed The Emancipation Proclamation that freed all enslaved peoples in the Confederate south. (They were already free in the Northern states, that was a big reason for the Civil War.) This freedom was not enacted however, due to obvious disagreements.

When the war ended, two and a half years after the Emancipation Proclamation, enslaved peoples were still relatively unaffected. It was then, that General Gordon Granger entered Galveston, Texas and read General Orders No. 3:

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free.”

General Orders No. 3

From that day, Texas’ 250,000 enslaved peoples were free. In some places celebrations broke out immediately, in others, even that news was withheld until after the harvest. Nonetheless, Juneteenth had been born.

Early Juneteenth celebrations

It was in December of 1865 that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution was adopted that formally and forever abolished slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth, also called Jubilee Day, is celebrated with barbques, parades, prayers, music and other activities.

Texas became the first state to make Juneteenth an official holiday and today, President Joe Biden signed it into law marking Juneteenth a national holiday.

Cheers to you.

Debbie

The Red, White and Blue

Why we celebrate Flag Day, June 14
The History Files

It was first carried into battle at the Battle of Brandywine on September 11, 1777, and first saluted by foreign naval vessels February 14, 1778 when John Paul Jones arrived in the French port.

Brandywine Flag

Since then, it has sailed around the world, gone to the moon and Mars, flown on fields of battle and marked resting places.

Our Old Glory is the most recognized and respected flag in the world.

In June of 1775 the Continental Congress had gathered together to form a unifying continental army and needed a unifying symbol, because our fight for liberty began with each colony fighting under their own flag. That led to the creation of the first American flag, “The Continental Colors”. With it’s 13 red and white altering stripes and Union Jack, it was too similar to the British flag, and George Washington realized it was not good.

George Washington did not approve

On June 14, 1777 a resolution was passed stating that the US flag would be one of 13 red and white stripes, with the union being a blue field with 13 white stars.

Although Betsey Ross has traditionally been credited with making our first flag, there is lack of evidence to support it.

Flag Day recognizes and celebrates the adoption of our flag by the Continental Congress on June 14, 1777.

There have been 27 versions of the flag, but the colors have remained, red, white, and blue. The colors selected by our founding fathers were chosen to not just be visually nice but meaningful.

  • Red- hardiness, valor (not blood)
  • White- purity, innocence
  • Blue- vigilance, perseverance, & justice

It was a Wisconsin school teacher, Bernard Cigrand that originated the flag day celebrations at his school in 1885. He also was the first to petition Congress to call for national celebration of flag day.

President Wilson, in 1916 along with President Coolidge in 1927 issued proclamations asking for June 14 to be observed as National Flag Day. It was not until August 3, 1949 however, when Congress, under President Truman signed it into law.

Since that time, Congress has passed The Flag Protection Act of 1968 which states that it is illegal to burn or deface the flag. Additionally, there is a Flag Code which spells out rules for proper handling and displaying of the US flag. The overwhelming context presents that “the American flag shall be shown no disrespect and should not be dipped.” (Lowered)

America is one of 195 countries on the planet, each with their own flag, history and traditions. But this is the story of my flag, our American banner of freedom, honor, courage, pride, and patriotism.

Long may she wave, long may we see her proudly standing through the rockets red glare. Long may her beauty and freedom inspire generations toward patriotism, unity and service.

Long may our Red, White, and Blue stand “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.”

Cheers to you.

Debbie

What is D Day?

This will be the first in a new Category of blogs I will write and I will call them The History Files.

My heart aches for the loss of understanding and knowledge of our American history and events that have made us who we are. Loving history and teaching, this is my attempt to bring those two together and help inform or remind the reader of important events in our history.

June 6, 1944

WWII was raging as Hitler’s Nazi’s were advancing through and occupying Western Europe. But the Allied forces of UK, US, Canada and France had something up their sleeves.

Together, the Allies had been planning for years a massive invasion of Normandy, France and as their “D day” approached Operation Bodyguard went into action. This plan was to keep the Germans guessing as to the exact day and location of the suspected invasion.

On that “D day”, morning weather conditions were so bad that the attack had to be pushed back a day.

So, on the morning of June 6, 1944 Operation Overlord, or code name Operation Neptune began the largest seaborne invasion in history. General Dwight D. Eisenhower was the Commander of 156,000 Allied troops, 5,000ships and landing crafts, 50,000 vehicles and 11,000 planes.

Paratroopers began the assault by landing behind enemy lines by the thousands to blow up bridges and roads. At 6:30 AM the beach landings began.

Hitler thought he was ready, but his defenses focused in the wrong place. In 1942, the Germans began construction of the Atlantic Wall, a 2,400 mile network of bunkers, pill boxes, etc. on the French coastline. Normandy was less defendable.

Even tho’ it was less defendable, there were plenty of Nazi soldiers in place along the shores of Normandy to cause the battle to be a bloody one.

Things didn’t go as planned for the Allies. Despite the set backs, the troops pushed forward.

As the tanks carrying soldiers prepared to open their gates in the water, those ramps that were their shields would be dropped and so too would be the soldiers defense from a flurry of bullets. Soldiers, all young, we’re killed instantly. Bodies fell everywhere and those that didn’t had to find a way out, maneuvering those courageous and gruesome sacrifices.

By the end of that day the Allies had taken the beachhead but at a very high price. It is estimated that 4,400 Allied soldiers lost their lives that day with another 9,000 wounded or missing.

This day though, became the turning point for WWII in Europe.

Hero’s abounded that day, and stories, books and movies are written about them. But I would list each and every soldier who prepared and was there that day as a hero.

Eisenhower was told in advance that the paratrooper deaths could reach 75%. Other leaders were well aware of the cost and the soldiers themselves were too.

These men, from the lower in rank and age to the more seasoned professional military minds, all took an oath, and then, their oath took them. Some from this life and some to another phase of this life. They gave their all, not only that day but in the days leading up to and following it.

Just 11 months later, WWII ended in Europe on May 7, 1945 when the Allies accepted the full and unconditional surrender of Nazi Germany. This is called VE Day- Victory in Europe day, when all hostilities in Europe ended.

A few months later, on September 2, 1945 documents were signed on the USS Missouri by the US and Japan that put an official end to WWII.

The importance of what they did for the world cannot and should not be understated. It changed the future of countries as well as families. They won more than battles and wars, they won influence and perception.

The deadliest of all wars had ended, with an estimated 3% of the worlds population having died in it, approximately 60-80 million people. Among them, those young men who bravely and selflessly turned the tide in Europe on the beaches of Omaha, Juno, Hold, Utah, and Sword.

May we carry their tenacity to fight for truth and along with them win the battle for influence and perception.

That is why we remember D Day. every June 6.

Let’s remember our history.

Debbie

Washington’s Cruiser Flag

From The History Files

It was 1775 and General George Washington had personally outfitted seven ships in an attempt to drive the British from New England. He believed it was important to be able to attack the British from sea as well as land. Having already surrounded Boston and trapped the British army inside, his mission was to prevent British ships from delivering supplies to the army in Boston.

These seven ships or floating batteries as they were called, in order to be identified as “friendly” to one another, were flying a flag of white, with a pine tree in the middle and the motto, “Appeal to Heaven”; this also became known as Washington’s Cruiser Flag.

This fleet sailed before the first US Navy had even been commissioned, and was also known as “Washington’s Secret Navy”. These schooners captured many a British ship, including the British Brigantine named the “Nancy” that was carrying over a years worth of supplies. This capture is considered the greatest capture of the entire Revolution and it also inspired the birth of the American Navy as we know it today.

In April of 1776, the State of Massachusetts adopted this flag for its own navy as well as ordered the colors of the uniforms of the officers to be green and white. They sailed twenty-five ships in defense of America and were eventually absorbed into the US Navy.

Why this motto – “Appeal to Heaven”?

I’ll attempt to reel in my US History teacher bend and summarize it like so.

John Locke, one of American’s foremost political philosophers argued that

“When all other political and individual methods of resisting tyranny are exhausted, only “an appeal to heaven” remains.”

Second Treatise of Civil Government – John Locke

In summary, he contended that “no man had inherent power to regulate or restrict divine arbitration in civil affairs. Even in dire circumstances, natural rights transcended the political process.”

It was clear to our founding fathers that “God governs in the affairs of men”, and Benjamin Franklin clearly, and unapologetically stated that. It therefore held true, that in all things, Locke’s motto- appealing to heaven, should inspire the citizenry to work to the bitter end to achieve a remedy.

Locke maintained “people should be diligent to oppose egregious acts through political action. Rather than a tactic of last resort, an appeal to heaven was warning sign.”

Though today, Locke’s motto may be overlooked, it appears to me, it represents the very place we again find ourselves standing. It indeed is our focus, battle cry and our course of action.

I join with Washington, the founding fathers, and other revolutionaries who on behalf of a nation lift an appeal to heaven against all tyranny, foreign and domestic. If not now, when?

Won’t you join us in this appeal to heaven?

Cheers to you.

The Electoral College (and more)

From The History Files

Election season is usually the time that we brush up on what the electoral college is and now more than ever, I believe that refresher course is needed.

America’s form of government and how it works is built upon the the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution determines how our government is set up, run and changed as needed.

The Constitution is not a political document, in fact it is the compass for politics, (if there must be politics). It is the guiding force of our nation, providing structure, certainty, safety and direction. It tells us how to do what needs to be done.

All Federal employees, officers, workers, and many State as well, when assuming their jobs, take an oath of office, “to uphold the Constitution of the United States”. The Constitution is our most prized and protected document, for within it we find our foundations.

In Article Two of our Constitution we find our guidelines for “The Presidency”. The four sections of that Article lay out for America, how she is to select the President of the United States. All the details are there.

In Article 2, sections 2,3, and 4 we read about the “Electors”. This is the collection of people that we, today call “The Electoral College”. I will explain more, in a minute.

Let me first say a word about why the framers designed it that way they did to choose our President.

You’ll remember, our original 13 colonies were a collection of small and big states.

From the very beginning of our nation, there has always been heated discussions between the large and small states. Both accuse the other of not understanding their state’s needs or need for power.

As early as 1787, at the Constitutional Convention, the large state of Virginia was fighting with the small state of New Jersey about representation.

Virginia believed their governmental representation should be based on population – because they were big, had a large population, they would have more status and power.

New Jersey believed that each state should have equal representation in their government and therefore equal power. (Just cuz they were small didn’t mean that they didn’t matter, right?)

They were at a stalemate and moving no where fast.

The founding fathers realized that both the big and small states must be represented in our United States, in our government and especially in our elections.

What came of it was what they called, “The Great Compromise”. One in which the states would be represented by population in the House of Representatives (the Lower House) and the states would also be represented equally in the Senate (the Upper House).

This is what has worked for 233 years, and what we call Congress, The Legislative Branch of our government.

Now, this is important and affects our presidential elections too.

Why? Because the founders had no intention of having the popular vote determine the outcome of the presidential election. They knew the large states could easily overpower the smaller states by the shear size of their voting blocks.

Therefore, in writing the Constitution they fleshed out a plan based on “electors”.

How does it work?

Rather than have a candidate win only large states, and thus not truly represent ALL Americans, the candidate would need to earn the electors from many states, thus representing a cross-section of Americans.

The popular vote of a state would determine who would receive those valued electors.

Each state would then hold their national election and it’s outcome would determine how their electors would be assigned.

How many electors does each state get?

They receive the number equal to their representatives in Congress. For example, I live in California, and CA has 55 electors – the same number that represent us in Washington DC.

The electors are people, who are selected to attend a meeting, after the general election; at which time they will cast their assigned vote, based on their states popular vote (except Maine and Nebraska) for President and Vice President. This process is called “The Electoral College”.

What this provides for is the representation of all states in our election. Candidates must work to relate to many states and their people’s needs, many differing ideas and ways. The majority, therefore represents the majority of electoral votes and not the majority of popular votes. Whoever receives 270 electoral votes, receives the majority and thereby represents a broad swath of American ideals.

This is how the Founders designed our system to work. It is not perfect, but for over 200 years it has worked, even in turbulent elections (1800, 1824, 1836, 1872, 1876, 1888, and 2000).

Now here’s the deal, our 2020 electoral college is scheduled to meet on Monday, December 14, at which time, the electors should be casting their votes.

However, because the state legislatures must certify their elections prior to the electors voting, and because that is currently NOT the case in every state, there is the possibility that the December 14 date may be affected.

Additionally, the idea of “safe harbor” – or that safe zone for disputed election results is looming today.

To be clear though, the “safe harbor” ruling says that, “if an election dispute is not resolved by the State by the safe harbor deadline, Congress has discretion over the disposition over the State’s electoral votes.” THAT is a wide open statement in my humble opinion.

Wait, what… whadoyamean?

What I mean is this – the Constitution of the United States has provided direction and guidance for us through very sketchy times, for a very long time. It is the law of the land, and it is working.

However, still to play out are the disputes and contestations – they actually have more time to evolve and will probably be sorted out by some mix of The Supreme Court and Congress. (again, in my opinion)

To close, I am a Constitutionalist, I dearly believe we need it (AND the Electoral College) to be the America we love. I also believe our current election is far from over. There are still unaddressed and contested outliers yet to be adjudicated.

I pray that all of my readers find themselves on the side of the Constitution, regardless of what side you may be on politically.

My continued prayer is God, please Bless America.

Cheers to you.

American Values

The History Files

There’s alot to think about on this election day.

For me, at the hub of my thoughts is who America is, who she is meant to be, and who she is to become. For me, it boils down to American values; what are they, what are we doing with them, are we defending them?

Let me share this acrostic that developed in my mind last night.

American

V ote

The bedrock of our nation is that it is a REPUBLIC. We the People hold the power to willingly elect our leaders to represent us and legislate on our behalf. Our voice and choice is expressed via our vote. This can never be diminished or voided. For if it is, our nation will cease to exist.

A rticles & amendments

The document that allows for our republic to function as such, and provides the basis for structure, covering and balance in our governance is the Constitution. That document, its seven articles and twenty-seven amendments protects us as a nation. It sets us apart from other nations. It is clear and specific in its vision of American government and what it must be.

This is why every civil service employee and military candidate must “swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic” prior to taking their place of employment.

L aws

We are a nation of laws. They are laws to be followed by all. Lady Justice is blind, and all are bound by her laws of the land.

A society without laws and governmental control is called anarchy. A society without a moral code will rarely survive for any length of time. America is bound to something greater than anarchy.

U nited

From thirteen loosely knit colonies forged from the heat of revolution into a nation; we have grown into fifty states, one federal district (Washington D.C.), five major territories ( Samoa, Guam, Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico & U.S. Virgin Islands), and nine unpopulated territories.

E Pluribus Unum – our national motto, “Out of many one”. Our national name – UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. We are one nation with many people. We are different but united. The Civil War didn’t divide us nor the World Wars, and area conflicts that followed.

We are a people united. May our name continue to define us. U.S.A.

E quality, exceptionalism

Because of the exceptionalism of this nation, from its inception there have been struggles for equality. Because of our exceptionalism, I believe there will continue to be cries for equality, and justice for all. Because America does value all of its citizens and those seeking to be such, she will continue to rally for the poor, the downtrodden, the marginalized, the disenfranchised, and the weak.

But she will also push back against those in power who hoard their power, abuse their power, and misuse their power over the masses. Equality means all are treated the same. Rich and poor.

S tars and stripes

Our flag, Old Glory, The Stars and Stripes, is our ensign.

Its thirteen, equal, stripes of red and white represent those thirteen original colonies who declared independence from, fought and won that independence against Great Britain. The red forever reminding us of the cost of freedom in blood from the valiant who, through the years have fought for it. The white speaking of the purity and singleness of that commitment.

Fifty, five pointed stars, on a field of blue – the union, forever aligned to demonstrate our commitment to and pride in our fifty, united, states. And just like the people in the nation are different, so too, are the states in this union. All different, beautiful, strong and united.

Long may it wave, and may patriots all over this great nation forever honor and cherish The Stars and Stripes.

American Values

May we not loose sight of who we are or who we are intended to be. May we be as courageous as those who gave their all, as we seek to preserve our precious American values.

May we speak out, stand up, and defend this great nation. She is not perfect because we are not perfect, people are not perfect.

United we stand, divided we fall.

God Bless America.

Cheers to you.

Silent Sentinels

The History Files

Strong armed by four men and two women, who strapped her to a chair, her arms and legs secured with leather lashes, they then forced her mouth open while one woman straddled her holding it so against her protestations.

A rubber tube was then inserted into her nose and pushed into her stomach. Blood ran from her nose while abrasions and bruises began to appear on her body.

Raw eggs and milk were then poured into the tube which then landed directly into her stomach. She later described the pain as “a ball of lead in my stomach”.

Against her will, she was being force fed.

This happened three times a day.

On one night, the superintendent of the prison ordered many to be severely beaten. These were mid to upper class women, who were beaten by the guards, all of whom were hurt, some to unconsciousness.

This night is referred to as The Night of Terror, November 14, 1917. Lorton, Workshouse for Women, VA, 20 miles southwest of Washington D.C.

These women, arrested and charged with trivial charges like “obstructing traffic”, were given the choice to pay a fine or go to the workhouse, where they would serve six months in prison.

Not all were force fed. But Alice Paul, one who was sentenced to seven months for obstructing traffic was treated so roughly and fed only bread and water, decided to go on a hunger strike. Again, the superintendent decided he would have no one “die” on his watch, and ordered her to be torturously force fed three times a day.

Her crime? Those women’s real crime?

Silently marching outside the White House, protesting the lack of women’s voting rights. Those women were called, “Silent Sentinels”.

News leaked about the night of terror and abuses within the workhouse and two weeks later the women were released.

Three years later, August, 1920, the 19th Amendment was passed assuring women as citizens and providing them the right to vote.

“The right of citizens to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the U.S. or any State on account of sex.”

The 19th Amendment

The right to vote has been passionately fought for. Not only for women, but for many disenfranchised citizens. Our nation has a rich history of many such battles, protests, and yes, finally victories.

The right to vote, the freedom to vote, as with all freedoms, is not free. It has not come without a high cost and sacrifices. Many there be with stories like the Silent Sentinels, who stood their ground amid persecution and abuses and thereby won the freedoms we enjoy.

In 2019, two billion people in fifty countries voted.

Next week, in America, citizens will again vote. (or like me, perhaps have already voted by mail.)

My prayer is that you will be one who takes your freedom and responsibility seriously and with your ballot and voice be that sentinel keeping watch over America and her values.

Cheers to you and to America.