Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Have a Blessed Fourth!



I found this marvellous video clip from the HBO mini-series, John Adams. It captures the signing of the Declaration of Independence.





I wish all of you a blessed Fourth of July with this DaySpring.com Fourth of July Greetings: America's freedom story


Photo from Wikipedia Commons: John Trumbull's painting, Declaration of Independence

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Fathers are so important!



As Father's Day is coming, I stumbled upon this information in the newsletter from the advocacy group, Fathers for Life.

The following statistics reveal these grim figures of a child's life without a father.

Children from fatherless homes are:
* 4.6 times more likely to commit suicide,
* 6.6 times to become teenaged mothers (if they are girls, of course),
* 24.3 times more likely to run away,
* 15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders,
* 6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions,
* 10.8 times more likely to commit rape,
* 6.6 times more likely to drop out of school,
* 15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenager.

A father's positive influence in the family is very important for the well being of children and society. For the fathers - and those who are a father to the fatherless - who care in numerous ways for the kids in your life, you well deserve our thanks and respect for soldiering on.

On a lighter note, this commercial honoring a dad's life (as well as selling soap), played during Super Bowl XLIV.



Photo from everystockphoto: Parallel worlds

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Story Behind the Star Spangled Banner


For years, I have sung the National Anthem, "The Star Spangled Banner," at sporting events and not given much thought to the words I was singing.

As Flag Day comes upon us this June 14, I stumbled on this terrific video clip of the historical and heart-felt meaning behind those words:



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Lyrics, by Francis Scott Key:

First Verse
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say, does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Second Verse
On the shore dimly seen, thro' the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines in the stream;
'Tis the Star-Spangled Banner, Oh long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Third Verse
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.



Fourth Verse
Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation!
Blest with vict'ry and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Pow'r that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto, "In God is our trust"
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

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For timeline of the Star Spangled Banner: click here

The Star Spangled Banner was born in the crucible of the American Revolution and the War of 1812, in which we fought the British. Since then, the United States and the United Kingdom have become strong allies.

Almost 200 years after the War of 1812, after the 2001 attack of 9-11, the British gave this moving tribute, playing the Star Spangled Banner at Buckingham Palace:




photo from Wikipedia Commons: Star Spangled Banner

Friday, June 4, 2010

Remembering D-Day - June 6, 1944



In June of 1944, the World War II Allies launched the Invasion of Normandy, then the largest amphibious invasion of all time, which commenced on a day we know as D-Day.



Many great movies have been made about D-Day or have included it in their larger story. Among them:

The Longest Day (1962)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Band of Brothers (2001)


General Dwight D.Eisenhower relayed these words on June 6, 1944:

"Soldiers, sailors and airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force. You are about to embark upon the great crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hope and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you."
(from Department of Defense, The Passing of the Torch)

So on the beaches of Normandy, France, more than 100,000 soldiers began the march across Europe to fight Nazi Germany. And this was over 60 years ago.

I think these words from Sir Winston Churchill say it best:

"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few."


Photo from Wikimedia Commons: National D-Day Memorial