Tag: history

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