June Days to Celebrate

GLBT Book MonthJune is GLBT Book month. From the website:

Starting in 2015, the American Library Association will mark GLBT Book Month™, a nationwide celebration of the authors and writings that reflect the lives and experiences of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community.
Originally established in the early 1990s by The Publishing Triangle as National Lesbian and Gay Book Month, this occasion is an opportunity for book lovers and libraries with the very best in GLBT literature.
GLBT Book Month™ is an initiative of the American Library Association, and is coordinated through its Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services and the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table.

June 6, is the 75th anniversary of D-Day,  when the Allies came ashore in Normandy.  (The first day of any operation is D-Day, but this one was the largest  amphibious landing in history.)  The 50 anniversary in 1994 was huge.  This one is expected to be the last big one with actual survivers from the  battle .

 

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From the National D-Day Memorial in Bedfod, Virginia

 

June 10 is Ballpoint Pen Day.  Although the webpage could not find who originated Ballpoint Pen Day, “This particular day commemorates the ballpoint pen and marks the ballpoint pensanniversary of the patent filing on June 10, 1943.”  Interesting that it was invented during WWII.

Summer Soltice is June 21. “The summer solstice, also known as midsummer, occurs when one of the Earth’s poles has its maximum tilt toward the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere. For that hemisphere, the summer solstice is when the Sun reaches its highest position in the sky and is the day with the longest period of daylight.”–From Wikipedia

Helen KellerJune 27 is Helen Keller’s birthday. She was born in 1880 in Tuscombia, AL and died on June 1, 1968 in Easton, CT.  She was the first blind and deaf person to earn a BA degree.  Her teacher Annie Sullivan taught her to sign when Helen was young.  Once she learned how to communicate there was no stopping her.  She even learned how to speak.  Her life story has been both a stage play and a movie, “The Miracle Worker.”

Do you blog, Facebook, Snapchat, Pinterest, Whatsapp or some other form of social media?  If so, then Happy Social Media Day on June 30.  If your going to be socially active then remember to protect your privacy and those with whom you interact.

Turning Points that Capture the Imagination

Since the first settlers landed in the 16th and 17th centuries, the United States has participated in dozens of named and unnamed wars.    Even the more familiar wars like the

  • American Revolution
  • War of 1812
  • Mexican War
  • Civil War,
  • Spanish- American War
  • World Wars I and II
  • Korean War
  • Vietnam War
  • Persian Gulf War
  • Wars in Afghan and Iraq

have countless known and unknown battles

Many of those wars have battles that stand out in people’s imaginations:  Valley  Forge, Gettysburg, San Juan Hill, Pearl Harbor, Midway, Guadalcanal, and D-Day.  Which battles stand out in your mind?

Why do these battles stand out in our collective consciousness?

The U.S. Army still has staff rides of Gettysburg for new senior officers and students at some of the senior service colleges like the National Defense University in Washington, DC.  My husband was on a staff ride with some NATO officers and recounted that a Norwegian officer pointedly told a German officer that “We re-use our battle fields in Europe.”

I had an opportunity to do a couple of staff rides to Gettysburg.  On one occasion we re-enacted Pickett’s Charge.  By walking the battle field we experienced how the troops appeared and disappeared from sight by the lifts and dips of the terrain as we plodded up the hill.  (And we did not have to contend with the thick smoke of artillery fire.)

Many Americans are planning to visit Normandy for the 75th anniversary of D-Day on June 6.  Some have already been to Omaha and Utah beaches.  Others will go on or after the actual anniversary date.  What is about these battle grounds that stir our imagination and call us to view them for ourselves?

My friend and shipmate from the USS Midway Carrier (CV-41) Museum library, Phil Eakin (Commander,  USN ret) recently toured France.  One of the highlights of his trip was touring Omaha and Utah beaches.   He was showing the Midway flag by carrying his Midway Magic on the Road sign.

What battlefields have you visited?  Which ones would you like to visit and why?

One Town, Thirty-Four National Guards Men, Nineteen Killed in One Day…

DSC00510.JPGOne Memorial = One town, thirty four National Guardsmen with nineteen killed in a single day plus four more killed during the rest of the Normandy campaign.

That is how the National D-Day Memorial came to Bedford, Virginia.  Bedford, a small town near the Blue Ridge Mountains in central Virginia,  had a population of about 3,200 then. (Population has doubled to slightly over 6,000 today).  Bedford proportionally lost more of its population than any other town.

Known as the Bedford Boys, Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment was part of the 29th Division.  Most of them had joined the Guard to earn extra money during the Great Depression.   They were mobilized into the Army for what was initially supposed to be one year on February 3, 1941.

They spent most of 1941 training at Ft Meade in Maryland.  After Pearl Harbor, they relocated to Camp Blanding, near Jacksonville, Florida.  From Camp Blanding, they went to Manhattan before embarking on the Queen Mary for Scotland and England.

They spent almost two years in Great Britain, training for the probable invasion of Europe.  Even though the troops did not experience combat before D-Day, they were among the best-trained soldiers and were selected to head the first wave of attack on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944.

To read more about the Bedford boys, I highly recommend,  The  Bedford Boys:  One American’ Town’s Ultimate D-Day  Sacrifice by Alex Kershaw.  Cambridge, MA:  Da Capo Press, 2003.  ISBN 0306811677

Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Bedford-Boys-American-Ultimate-Sacrifice/dp/0306813556 Variety of editions and prices

Barnes and Noble https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bedford-boys-alex-kershaw/1100267057#/ Variety of editions and prices

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Just Showing Up is Not Enough

Buttom Line Up Fron (BLUF):  Just showing up is not enough.  You also need to do your job.

On Memorial Day, my husband and I took a roadtrip to our favorite crab shack in Southern Maryland.  We had lunch at the bar at Stoney’s Seafood House on Broom Island.  Stoney’s wife, Jeannie, was  working the busy bar by herself.  (She was serving drinks, taking food orders,  and serving food without missing a beat.)  She had time to chat with each customer as well as checking to see what the busy restaurant was out of (being the 4th day of a holiday weekend that began on Friday afternoon.)

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Jeannie Stone at the outdoor bar at Stoney’s Seafood House on Broome Island, MD.

Jeannie pointed out a highschool student who hurried past carrying  a large, heavy pail of ice to pour into one of the sinks at the outdoor bar. “That kid just started working on Saturday.   Sunday he was our only bus boy.  For someone that had only worked one day, he did phenomenally.  Last night (about  1 am), I sat up the bar by myself for today.  He asked why I had not asked him to help me.   I told him that he had already done so much I couldn’t ask him to do anything else.”

This was in contrast to some of the highschool girls we found later in the restaurant who spent more time chatting with each other than they did waiting on the customers.

Jeannie is an extremely hard worker and never asks anyone to work harder than she works herself.  So a compliment of that nature from Jeannie means that this kid is really something special.

Her comment about the young busboy reminded me of an IT contractor who worked the Help Desk at NDU about ten years.  Let’s call him Seth (not his real name.)  When  I was still a systems librarian at the National Defense University, I found that our library intranet web page was not accessible one morning.  (Since it contained all of our electronic resources, this was a very big deal.)   I started calling the Help  Desk at 0630, when it was supposed to be manned for telephone calls. (Walk in help was supposed to be available at 0700.)  No one answered the phone.

At 0700 (7 am), I walked over to the Help Desk.  No one was there.  I walked behind the desk and started looking for anyone who might have come in but was not physically sitting at the Help Desk.  I found Seth,  with his head down on his desk.

“Hey Seth, why aren’t you answering the phone?  The library intranet is down and we need it back up.”

“I’m sick. I came in anyways because nobody else is here.”

“Seth,  you’re not answering the phone and your not doing anything.”

“You don’t understand.  I’m sick and came in anyways.”

What Seth did not understand, was  that he although he was physically at work, he was providing no value added.  Being there served no purpose but allowed him to feel like his presence made a difference.

“Seth, can you please tell whoever comes in later today that we have a problem?”

Seth neither confirmed or denied that he would be willing to even pass on the message.  He just laid his head  back on the desk. “Nobody appreciates that I showed up even though I feel horrible.”

He never did understand that if he came to work, people needed him to do his job.   At a minimum, he could have passed the message on to somebody else who would have been able to help.

No one was disappointed or surprised when Seth’s contract was not renewed.

 

 

Did D-Day Hasten the end of World War II?

Did D-Day hasten the end of World War II?  T or F

This was actually a question on a history test I had in my freshman year at Radford (back in the olden days when it was still a single sex college.)

Most of us answered True.   Dr. Jervey had envisoned the answer as false.

World War II started on September 1, 1939 when Germany invaded Poland.  It ended in Europe on VE Day when the German High Command surrendered unconditionally to the Allies on May 8, 1945.  (Japan surrendered on August 14, 1945.)

Once the Allies launched the long awaited invasion of Fortress Europa, the war in Europe lasted less than a year.  True, the  Germans launched a strong counterattack at Bastogne (Battle of the Bulge) in December 1944, but compared to the almost 5 years since the war started, it was much shorter period of time.

We were able to convince the history professor that our response should be the correct one.  (I think it was our numbers rather than the brilliance of our argument that helped us change his mind.)

What do you think?  Did D-Day hasten the end of WWII?  Why or why not?

 

Answers to the Andrew Jackson/Andrew Johnson Quiz

Answers to this short quiz to see how well you are able to distinguish the two President Andrews.  Answers in Bold.

1) Which one was from Tennessee?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson
c)  Both men

2) Who was the first President that was neither an Adams from Massachusetts or a plantation owner from Virginia?

a) Andrew Jackson  President no. 7
b) Andrew Johnson

3) Who was a slave owner?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

4) Who served as a mayor, congressman, senator, military governor, and vice president? Bonus question: Who’s vice president was he?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson–he became the 17th president when Lincoln was assassinated.

5) Who was the first President to be impeached? Bonus question. The impeachment vote failed by one vote. Who cast the vote that saved him from being impeached?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson — SEN Edmund Ross, a Kansas Republican, cast the deciding vote that ended the impeachment proceedings against President Andrew Johnson.

6) Who served as an Army general, a congressman, and a senator?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

7) Who sought to advance the rights of the “common man” against a “corrupt aristocracy”?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

8) Who was the only senator from a succeeding Southern state who did not resign his Senate seat?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

9) Who was the only president to completely pay off the national debt?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

10) Who did not support equal rights for African-Americans?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson
c) Both men

Quiz: Andrew Johnson or Andrew Jackson

After hearing the Reverend Al Sharpton discussing President Andrew Jackson on his television show this evening, it quickly became apparent that he was confusing President Andrew Jackson with President Andrew Johnson.  It made me wonder who else may be confusing the two men.

Take this short quiz to see how well you are able to distinguish the two President Andrews.

1) Which one was from Tennessee?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson
c)  Both men

2) Who was the first President that was neither an Adams from Massachusetts or a plantation owner from Virginia?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

3) Who was a slave owner?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

4) Who served as a mayor, congressman, senator, military governor, and vice president? Bonus question: Who’s vice president was he?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

5) Who was the first President to be impeached? Bonus question. The impeachment vote failed by one vote. Who cast the vote that saved him from being impeached?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

6) Who served as an Army general, a congressman, and a senator?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

7) Who sought to advance the rights of the “common man” against a “corrupt aristocracy”?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

8) Who was the only senator from a succeeding Southern state who did not resign his Senate seat?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

9) Who was the only president to completely pay off the national debt?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson

10) Who did not support equal rights for African-Americans?

a) Andrew Jackson
b) Andrew Johnson
c) Both men