July Days to Celebrate

julius ceasurJuly is the seventh month of the year (between June and August) in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars and the fourth of seven months to have a length of 31 days. It was named by the Roman Senate in honor of Roman general Julius Caesar, it being the month of his birth. Prior to that, it was called Quintilis, being the fifth month of the 10-month calendar.

It is on average the warmest month in most of the Northern Hemisphere, where it is the second month of summer, and the coldest month in much of the Southern Hemisphere, where it is the second month of winter. The second half of the year commences in July. In the Southern Hemisphere, July is the seasonal equivalent of January in the Northern hemisphere.

July is National Ant-Boredom Month. With COVID-19 shutdowns, re-imposed shutdowns, and many diversions like swimming pools or summer camps closed, boredom is an everyday problem for many of us. How will you combat boredom?Sleeping dog and cat

July was selected, according to the founder Alan Caruba, because after July 4th, there’s not much going on and it’s the hotter part of the summer break from school. That’s no excuse to experience boredom during July, though.

 

Dog Days of  Summer  “Dog days” are considered to begin in early July in the Northern Hemisphere, when the hot sultry weather of summer usually starts.     They were historically the period following the heligacal rising of the star system Sirius, which Greek and Roman astrology connected with heat, drought, sudden thunderstorms, lethargy, fever, mad dogs, and bad luck.

 

July 4th is American Independence Day.

From https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th:  American Flag on the PentagonOn July 2nd, the Continental Congress voted in favor of Lee’s resolution for independence in a near-unanimous vote (the New York delegation abstained, but later voted affirmatively). On that day, John Adams wrote to his wife Abigail that July 2 “will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival” and that the celebration should include “Pomp and Parade…Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other.”

On July 4th, the Continental Congress formally adopted the Declaration of Independence, which had been written largely by Jefferson. Though the vote for actual independence took place on July 2nd, from then on the 4th became the day that was celebrated as the birth of American independence.

July 8 is Video Game Day.

NATIONALTODAY NATIONAL VIDEO GAME DAY SURVEY

video gamerInfo gained from a top Portland PR Firm (Survey of 1,000 Americans)

What’s the best gaming console?
#1: Playstation (38%)
#2: Xbox (38%)
#3: Nintendo (21%)

What’s the best video game franchise?
#1: Super Mario (47%)
#2: Call of Duty (21%)
#3: Donkey Kong (19%)
#4: Grand Theft Auto (19%)
#5: Pokemon (16%)
#6: Zelda (13%)
#7: Sonic the Hedgehog (13%)
#8: Final Fantasy (9%)
#9: Halo (9%)
#10: Crash Bandicoot (7%)

How often do you play video games?
#1: Everyday (31%)
#2: Rarely (31%)
#3: 2-3x a week (23%)

When do mobile gamers like to play games on their phones?
#1: Whenever I’m bored (66%)
#2: When I’m watching TV (41%)
#3: Before I go to sleep (39%)
#4: When I’m on the toilet (34%)
#5: During my breaks at work (21%)
#6: Whenever I’m eating (20%)
#7: Before I leave for work (12%)
#8: On my commute to work (8%)

National Kitten Day is July 10.

According to the American Humane Society, 95.6 million cats were owned, while 83.3 million households owned a dog. There is certainly nothing wrong with dogs, but a tiny kitten is irresistible!

Bastille Day is July 14.

Bastille Day is the common name given in English-speaking countries to the national bastille dayday of France, which is celebrated on 14 July each year. In French, it is formally called Fête nationale (pronounced [fɛt nasjɔnal]; “National Celebration”) and commonly and legally le 14 juillet (French pronunciation: ​[lə katɔʁz(ə) ʒɥijɛ]; “the 14th of July”).

The French National Day is the anniversary of Storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, a turning point of the French Revolution, as well as the Fête de la Fédération which celebrated the unity of the French people on 14 July 1790. Celebrations are held throughout France. The oldest and largest regular military parade in Europeneeded] is held on 14 July on the Champs-Élysées in Paris in front of the President of the Republic, along with other French officials and foreign guests

National Moon Day is July 20.  It celebrates the 51st anniversary of man’s first step on the moon.

apollo11

On July 20, 1969, Apollo 11 carried the first humans to the moon. , Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin, stepped foot on the moon. Six hours after landing, Armstrong stepped onto the lunar surface. The astronaut spent two and a half hours outside the spacecraft. Soon to follow, Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the lunar surface. After joining Armstrong, the two collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material.

After joining Armstrong, the two collected 47.5 pounds of lunar material. Their specimens would be placed onto Apollo 11 and brought back to Earth to be analyzed.

In the command module, a third astronaut waited. Pilot, Michael Collins, remained alone in orbit until Armstrong and Aldrin returned.

July 31 is Harry Potter’s Birthday.  Harry will be 40 this year.

For more information about the Wizarding World click here.

Harry Pottter's friends birthday

 

Taking Books to the People, Pt XIII , Something to Drone on About

Christiansburg to Roanoke

In the Christiansburg Montgomery County School District  Virginia (south of Roanoke and near Virginia Tech ), middle school librarian, Kelly Passek, had been filling book requests for her students via school bus as long as the busses continued to deliver school meals.  Once the Montgomery County Schools closed last March because of COVID-19, she knew that it was important for her students to continue to read

The school bus option ended when the school year was over.  Kelly thought about the drone delivery service that her family had been using: Wing, a drone service from Google’s parent company Alphabet, delivered essentials straight to their door.

Mark Mier, the School Superintendent thought it was a good idea.

“Montgomery County Public Schools will be the first public school system in the world to use Wing to deliver library books to our students,” Passek said. “We are thrilled for this opportunity to have a really unique way to deliver resources to our students and do it practically on demand.”

  • Students request library books using an online form.
  • Passek
    • fulfills the requests,
    • provides the GPS delivery coordinates,
    • packs the books up in special delivery boxes,
    • drops them off at Wing.
  • Wing handles the drone deliveries.

The first book, Erich Maria Remarque’s World War I classic All Quiet on the Western Front, was delivered by drone on Thursday, June 15.  Now, students in Montgomery County can choose from the library’s more than 150,000 titles, and have their books delivered right to their front yard.  Students will return the books when they come back to school in the fall.

The 10-pound Wing aircraft, which carries up to three pounds, is quieter than a car or truck.  Packages are lowered about 23 feet to a person’s yard via a rope. The drone can travel more than 70 mph.

Ship’s Bells

Bells have a centuries-long tradition of varied use in the navies and merchant fleets of the world.

  • Signaling,
  • keeping time,
  • sounding alarms

are important in a ship’s routine and readiness. Their functional and ceremonial uses have made them a symbol of considerable significance to the United States Navy.

Carl Snow’s sea story:  I was on a ship (USS Lockwood, FF-1064) when we pulled into port and couldn’t find the quarterdeck bell. The watch was set and one of the cooks brought up the blade from the bread mixer, which was hung in the quarterdeck shack and a large serving spoon from the galley was used to strike the blade. It worked very well until the XO noticed that the “bell sounds different” and wanted to know why. In less than a half-hour, the bell was found and mounted in its proper place.

Carl Snow is the Scuttlebutt editor in chief for the USS Midway (CV-41)  Research Library and sea storyteller par excellence.

From the Encyclopedia Britannica

Ship’s bell, bell used as early as the 15th century to sound the time on board ship by striking each half hour of a watch. The mariner’s day is divided into six watches, each four hours long, except that the 4:00 to 8:00 pm watch may be “dogged”; that is, divided into the first and second dogwatches, each two hours long, to allow men on duty to have their evening meal. Through the 18th century, time was ordinarily measured on board ship by using a 30-minute sandglass. The quartermaster or ship’s boy turned the glass when the sand ran through, and it became customary for him to strike the bell as he did so. Eight times in each watch the glass was turned and the number of strokes on the bell indicated the number of half hours elapsed after the men came on deck. These strokes are sounded in pairs, with an interval following each pair.

Ship's bells chart

A series of rapid, successive strokes on the bell is used as a warning during fog, and, at other times, this is a fire signal.

In 1798, Paul Revere cast a bell weighing 242 pounds for the frigate Constitution.

ship's bell--USS Constitution
In 1798, Paul Revere cast a bell weighing 242 pounds for the frigate Constitution.

From the US Naval History and Command Center:

It is of interest to note that the use of a ship’s bell contributed to the richest single prize captured by the American Navy during the War of Independence. While a Continental Squadron under Commodore Whipple lay-to, wrapped in Newfoundland fog in a July morning in 1779, the sound of ships’ bells and an occasional signal gun could be heard a short distance off. When the fog lifted the Americans discovered that they had fallen in with the richly-laden enemy Jamaica Fleet. Ten ships were captured as prizes, which – together with their cargo – were valued at more than a million dollars.

Other uses for the bell:

Originating in the British Royal Navy, it is a custom to baptize a child under the ship’s bell; sometimes the bell is used as a christening bowl, filled with water for the ceremony. Once the baptism is completed, the child’s name may be inscribed inside the bell. The bell remains with the ship while in service and with the Department of the Navy after decommissioning. In this way, an invisible tie is created between the country, the ship and its citizens.

I Will Follow Him

I will follow him, follow him wherever he may go
There isn’t an ocean too deep
A mountain so high it can keep me away
I must follow him (follow him), ever since he touched my hand I knew
That near him I always must be
And nothing can keep him from me
He is my destiny (destiny)
Lyrics from I Will Follow Him by Peggy March
Deadheads may be one of the largest groups of rock devotees in the last century.
deadheads

A Deadhead or Dead Head is a fan of the American rock band the Grateful Dead.[1][2][3][4][5] In the 1970s, a number of fans began travelling to see the band in as many shows or festival venues as they could. With large numbers of people thus attending strings of shows, a community developed. Deadheads developed their own idioms and slang.

Much Deadhead-related historical material received or collected by the band over the years is housed in the Grateful Dead Archive of UC-Santa Cruz. Archive founding curator Nicholas Meriwether, who has also written extensively about the culture and its impact on society, predicted, “The Grateful Dead archive is going to end up being a critical way for us to approach and understand the 1960s and the counterculture of the era… It’s also going to tell us a lot about the growth and development of modern rock theater, and it’s helping us understand fan culture.”[6]

michael is innocentI was first taken with the idea of someone giving up their life to follow a celebrity during the Michael Jackson in 2005. The “criminal trial held in Santa Barbara County Superior Court in Santa Maria, California, in which American singer Michael Jackson was charged with molesting Gavin Arvizo, a cancer patient in remission who was thirteen years old at the time of the alleged abuse.” Several ardent fans had given up their jobs and lives to camp out in front of the courthouse to show their support for Michael as he went in and out of court, flashing a victory sign from the sunroof of his SUV when he was acquitted.

 

This past week, one of the cable news channels interviewed a  Trump supporter who was camped in front of the BOK Center in Tulsa, Oklahoma.  He said he was there to show support for Donald Trump.

Trump rally

TULSA –

President Trump’s arrival in Tulsa for a rally at the BOK Center is now just three days away.

People continue to camp out waiting for the president to arrive at the BOK Center.

According to President Trump’s campaign, there has been more than 1 million ticket requests.  https://www.newson6.com/story/5ee9ed1b9fd9c30ab0effb21/people-line-up-at-tulsas-bok-center-days-before-president-trumps-rally

Two thousand years ago, twelve men gave up their lives to follow a rabbi who taught a radical new theology. Several died for Him, one forsake Him, and the group changed history.

last supper

I am not equating any of these groups but I do wonder what would make someone give up friends, family, and a livelihood to follow someone they admire.

Base Names–Changing is not New

As a military librarian, I was in libraries at Ft Eustis, Ft Story, Ft  Ord, Ft  Myer, and Ft McNair.  All of them have changed names.

Army Library

Ft Eustis-Fort Eustis, located in Newport News, Virginia, was established in 1918, and has served a number of purposes, including an Army training facility for artillery and artillery observation, a prison, and a work camp. Beginning in the World War II era, the primary mission of Fort Eustis has been Army transportation training, research and development, engineering, and operations, including aviation and marine shipping activities.The 2005 Base Realignment, Allocation and Closure (BRAC) Act resulted in the greatest change in the look of Fort Eustis by relocating the Army Transportation School headquarters to Fort Lee in 2010.  The Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Headquarters replaced it in 2011.  The BRAC decision consolidated adjoining bases of different services, referred to as joint basing. Resultantly Fort Eustis and Langley Air Force Base were consolidated under the responsibility of the Air Force 633d Air Base Wing as Joint Base Langley-Eustis in 2010.

Ft Story- Joint Expeditionary Base-Fort Story, commonly called simply Fort Story is a sub-installation of Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, which is operated by the United States Navy. Located in the independent city of Virginia Beach, Virginia at Cape Henry at the entrance of the Chesapeake Bay,[1] it offers a unique combination of features including dunes, beaches, sand, surf, deep-water anchorage, variable tide conditions, maritime forest, and open land. The base is the prime location and training environment for both Army amphibious operations and Joint Logistics-Over-the-Shore (LOTS) training events.

Ft OrdFort Ord is a former United States Army post on Monterey Bay of the Pacific Ocean coast in California, which closed in 1994 due to Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) action. Most of the fort’s land now makes up the Fort Ord National Monument, managed by the United States Bureau of Land Management as part of the National Conservation Lands, while a small portion remains an active military installation under Army control designated as the Ord Military Community.

Ft MyerJoint Base Myer–Henderson Hall is a Joint Base of the United States military that is located around Arlington, Virginia which is made up of Fort Myer (Arl), Fort McNair (SW DC), and Henderson Hall. It is the local residue of the Base Realignment and Closure, 2005 process. It is commanded by the United States Army but has resident commands of Army, Navy, & Marines. Most conspicuous is the Arlington National Cemetery Honor Guard.   As an Army base, Ft Myer was first called Ft Cass, then Ft. Whipple and finally Ft. Myer.  It was formed from the Arlington estate owned by Martha Washington’s great-granddaughter, Mary Custis Lee, wife of Robert E. Lee, who was the custodian of the estate until it passed to his son Custis Parke Lee.

Ft McNair-Fort Lesley J. McNair, on the point of land where the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers join in Washington, D.C., has been an Army post for more than 200 years, third only to West Point and Carlisle Barracks, Pennsylvania, in the length of service. The military reservation was established in 1791 on about 28 acres of what then was called Greenleaf Point. Maj. Pierre C. L’Enfant included it in his plans for “Washington, the Federal City,” as a major site for the defense of the capital. An arsenal first occupied the site in 1801; earthen defenses had been there since 1791.

Land was purchased north of the arsenal in 1826 for the first federal penitentiary where the conspirators accused of assassinating President Abraham Lincoln were imprisoned in 1865; after a trial found them guilty, four were executed there by hanging. Among them was Mary Surratt, the first woman to be executed under federal orders.

The post was renamed in 1948 to honor Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair, commander of Army Ground Forces during World War II. McNair, who had been headquartered at the post, was killed in Normandy, France, July 25, 1944.

Happy Flag Day–June 14

Flag Day (United States) … In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress.

Some flag trivia from the National Archives.

50-Star Flag Designs

Two of the proposed designs from the Archives article

In 1958 two U.S. territories, Alaska and Hawaii, were poised to become America’s 49th and 50th states. A federal law dating from 1818 required that a star be added to the U.S. flag on the Fourth of July following a new state’s admission. However, the law failed to describe how a new pattern for the stars should be configured. As the probability of Alaska’s and Hawaii’s admission to the Union increased, thousands of citizens, especially school children, sent their suggestions for a new flag design to the White House. In response to this interest, President Dwight Eisenhower appointed a committee to advise on the new design. After examining many creative and fanciful submissions, the committee recommended a design similar to the existing 48-star flag. It would contain seven rows of seven stars in a slightly staggered arrangement. On January 3, 1959, President Eisenhower issued an Executive order changing the design of the flag. When, a few months later, Hawaii became a state, the committee recommended a similar layout, and President Eisenhower issued another order describing that design. This exhibit contains two flag designs selected from the many designs submitted for consideration.

Other Names for the Flag

  • the American Flag;
  • the Stars and Stripes;
  • Old Glory;
  • the Red, White, and Blue;
  • the Stars and Bars;
  • the Star Spangled Banner.

Flag Facts from the Smithsonian Institute

Until the Executive Order of June 24, 1912, neither the order of the stars nor the proportions of the flag was prescribed. Consequently, flags dating before this period sometimes show unusual arrangements of the stars and odd proportions, these features being left to the discretion of the flag maker. In general, however, straight rows of stars and proportions similar to those later adopted officially were used. The principal acts affecting the flag of the United States are the following:

  • Flag Resolution of June 14, 1777 – stated: “Resolved: that the flag of the United States be made of thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.”
  • Act of January 13, 1794 – provided for 15 stripes and 15 stars after May 1795.
  • Act of April 4, 1818 – provided for 13 stripes and one star for each state, to be added to the flag on the 4th of July following the admission of each new state.
  • Executive Order of President Taft dated June 24, 1912 – established proportions of the flag and provided for arrangement of the stars in six horizontal rows of eight each, a single point of each star to be upward.
  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated January 3, 1959 – provided for the arrangement of the stars in seven rows of seven stars each, staggered horizontally and vertically.
  • Executive Order of President Eisenhower dated August 21, 1959 – provided for the arrangement of the stars in nine rows of stars staggered horizontally and eleven rows of stars staggered vertically.

 

Personal Note:  This is my 1,000 Blog Post.

Eye Witness Account of What Happened at St. John’s Episocopal Church in DC by the Church Rector

This is not hearsay nor is it a chain email.

Rev Gerbasi

 

From Rev. Gini Gerbasi:
“Friends, I am ok, but I am, frankly shaken. I was at St. John’s, Lafayette Square most of the afternoon, with fellow clergy and laypeople – and clergy from some other denominations too. We were passing out water and snacks, and helping the patio area at St. John’s, Lafayette square to be a place of respite and peace. All was well – with a few little tense moments – until about 6:15 or so. By then, I had connected with the Black Lives Matter medic team, which was headed by an EMT. Those people were AMAZING. They had been on the patio all day, and thankfully had not had to use much of the eyewash they had made. Around 6:15 or 6:30, the police started really pushing protestors off of H Street (the street between the church and Lafayette Park, and ultimately, the White House. They started using tear gas and folks were running at us for eyewashes or water or wet paper towels. At this point, Julia, one of our seminarians for next year (who is a trauma nurse) and I looked at each other in disbelief. I was coughing, her eyes were watering, and we were trying to help people as the police – in full riot gear – drove people toward us. Julia and her classmates left and I stayed with the BLM folks trying to help people. Suddenly, around 6:30, there was more tear gas, more concussion grenades, and I think I saw someone hit by a rubber bullet – he was grasping his stomach and there was a mark on his shirt. The police in their riot gear were literally walking onto the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with these metal shields, pushing people off the patio and driving them back. People were running at us as the police advanced toward us from the other side of the patio. We had to try to pick up what we could. The BLM medic folks were obviously well practiced. They picked up boxes and ran. I was so stunned I only got a few water bottles and my spray bottle of eyewash. We were literally DRIVEN OFF of the St. John’s, Lafayette Square patio with tear gas and concussion grenades and police in full riot gear. We were pushed back 20 feet, and then eventually – with SO MANY concussion grenades – back to K street. By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John’s, Lafayette Square. I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN’S – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!!
I am deeply shaken. I did not see any protestors throw anything until the tear gas and concussion grenades started, and then it was mostly water bottles. I am shaken, not so much by the taste of tear gas and the bit of a cough I still have, but by the fact that that show of force was for a PHOTO OPPORTUNITY. The patio of St. John’s, Lafayette square had been HOLY GROUND today. A place of respite and laughter and water and granola bars and fruit snacks. But that man turned it into a BATTLE GROUND first, and a cheap political stunt second. I am DEEPLY OFFENDED on behalf of every protestor, every Christian, the people of St. John’s, Lafayette square, every decent person there, and the BLM medics who stayed with just a single box of supplies and a backpack, even when I got too scared and had to leave. I am ok. But I am now a force to be reckoned with.”

Shipping Them Home at the End of WWII

Like to dream, yes, yes
Right between the sound machine
On a cloud of sound, I drift in the night
Any place it goes is right
Goes far, flies near
To the stars away from here
Well, you don’t know what
We can find
Why don’t you come with me little girl
On a magic carpet ride
Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf

From a forwarded email:

Can you imagine the logistical and administrative challenges involved in this operation?!! And, all before any computers! Staggering! AND, once they were in the US, getting them to out-processing stations and eventually home!

Remember what Eisenhower said at the end of the war, “Take pictures of the dead Holocaust Jewish people, a generation or two will never believe it happened”!!!

 Returning the troops home after WWII was a daunting task….

The Magic Carpet that brought everyone home.

  In 1939, there were 334,000 servicemen, not counting the Coast Guard.

  In 1945, there were over 12 million, including the Coast Guard.

At the end of the war, over 8 million of these men and women were scattered overseas in Europe, the Pacific and Asia.

   Shipping them out wasn’t a particular problem but getting them home was a massive logistical headache.

  Army Chief of Staff General George C. Marshall had already established committees to address the issue in 1943.

Soldier returning home on the USS General Harry Taylpor in August 1945

   

Soldiers returning home on the USS General Harry Taylor in August 1945.

  When Germany fell in May 1945, the US. Navy was still busy fighting in the Pacific and couldn’t assist.

  The job of transporting 3 million men home from Europe fell to the Army and the Merchant Marine.

  300 Victory and Liberty cargo ships were converted to troop transports for the task.

  During the war, 148,000 troops crossed the Atlantic west to east each month; the rush home (east to west) ramped this up to 435,000 a month over 14 months.

Hammocks crammed into available spaces aboard t he USS Intrepid

 Hammocks crammed into available spaces aboard the USS Intrepid

 In October 1945, with the war in Asia also over, the Navy started chipping in, converting all available vessels to transport duty.

 On smaller ships like destroyers, capable of carrying perhaps 300 men, soldiers were told to hang their hammocks in whatever nook and cranny they could find.

 Carriers were particularly useful, as their large open hangar decks could house 3,000 or more troops in relative comfort, with bunks, sometimes in stacks of five welded or bolted in place.

Bunks aboard the Army transport SS Pennant

Bunks aboard the Army transport SS Pennant

 The Navy wasn’t picky, though: cruisers, battleships, hospital ships, even LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) were packed full of men yearning for home.

 Two British ocean liners under American control, the RMS Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth, had already served as troop transports before and continued to do so during the operation, each capable of carrying up to 15,000 people at a time, though their normal, peacetime capacity was less than 2,200.

 Twenty-nine ships were dedicated to transporting war brides: women married to American soldiers during the war.

Troops performing a lifeboat drill on board the Queen Mary in December 1944 before Magic Carpet Ride.

Troops performing a lifeboat drill on board the Queen Mary in December 1944, before Operation Magic Carpet

  The Japanese surrender in August 1945 came none too soon, but it put an extra burden on Operation Magic Carpet.

The war in Asia had been expected to go well into 1946 and the Navy and the War Shipping Administration were hard-pressed to bring home all the soldiers who now had to get home earlier than anticipated.

  The transports carrying them also had to collect numerous POWs from recently liberated Japanese camps, many of whom suffered from malnutrition and illness.

 US soldiers recently liberated from Japanese POW camps

U.S. soldiers recently liberated from Japanese POW camps

 The time to get home depended a lot on the circumstances. USS Lake Champlain, a brand new Essex-class carrier that arrived too late for the war, could cross the Atlantic and take 3,300 troops home a little under 4 days and 8 hours.

  Meanwhile, troops going home from Australia or India would sometimes spend weeks on slower vessels.

Hangar of the USS Wasp during the operation
Hangar of the USS Wasp during the operation

 There was enormous pressure on the operation to bring home as many men as possible by Christmas 1945.

Therefore, a sub-operation, Operation Santa Claus, was dedicated to the purpose.

Due to storms at sea and an overabundance of soldiers eligible for return home, however, Santa Claus could only return a fraction in time and still not quite home but at least to American soil.

 The nation’s transportation network was overloaded, trains heading west from the East Coast were on average 6 hours behind schedule and trains heading east from the West Coast were twice that late.

Crowded flight deck of the USS Saratoga

The crowded flight deck of the USS Saratoga.

The USS Saratoga transported home a total of 29,204 servicemen during Operation Magic Carpet, more than any other ship. Many freshly discharged men found themselves stuck in separation centers but faced an outpouring of love and friendliness from the locals. Many townsfolk took in freshly arrived troops and invited them to Christmas dinner in their homes.

 Still others gave their train tickets to soldiers and still others organized quick parties at local train stations for men on layover.

A Los Angeles taxi driver took six soldiers all the way to Chicago; another took another carload of men to Manhattan, the Bronx, Pittsburgh, Long Island, Buffalo and New Hampshire.  Neither of the drivers accepted a fare beyond the cost of gas.

Overjoyed troops returning home on the USS Texas

Overjoyed troops returning home on the battleship USS Texas

All in all, though, the Christmas deadline proved untenable. The last 29 troop transports, carrying some 200,000 men from the China-India-Burma theater, arrived to America in April 1946, bringing Operation Magic Carpet to an end, though an additional 127,000 soldiers still took until September to return home and finally lay down the burden of war.

  Father GOD, BLESS THE GREATEST GENERATION (Above) and the Generations that have served this Great Nation since WW II !

  A Veteran-whether active duty, retired, served one hitch, or reservist is someone who, at one point in his or her life, wrote a blank check made payable to “The Government of the United States of America”, for an amount of “up to and including their life.” That is honor, and there are too many people in this country who no longer understand it -Author unknown.

 

Kakistocracy

I just learned a new word which seems quite applicable today.

kak·i·sto·cra·cy
/kakəˈstäkrəsē/
noun
  1. government by the least suitable or competent citizens of a state.
    “the danger is that this will reduce us to kakistocracy”
    • a state or society governed by its least suitable or competent citizens.
      plural noun: kakistocracies
      “the modern regime is at once a plutocracy and a kakistocracy”

Days of Outrage and Sorrow

 

 

angel kneeling in a borrowed tombIt’s  been a week
Since they took a knee
and closed their ears
to his dying plea,
“I can’t  breathe.”

It’s been a week
of protests and prayers
and arsonist looters
whose disregard scares
“I can’t breathe.”

It’s been a week
of virus spread
increasing the total
of those lying dead
“They can’t breathe.”

It’s been a week
Of political spin
as headlines aim
for a November win
“We can’t breathe.”

It’s been a week
let’s take two knees
heads bowed in prayer
with heartfelt pleas
“Please help us breathe.”

What Would Hoover Think?: Another Attempt to Slow Down Enterprising Squirrels

Since we moved to Central Virginia,  we have had an ongoing struggle making our bird feeder more squirrel proof.  We are on our third feeder and the squirrels have outwitted us every step of the way.

Jean Marie Oliviere sent me a link to the Ninja Warrior  Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder.  Mark Rober put a lot of thought and effort into building his squirrel proof feeder and documenting the success or lack  thereof of his attempts.

If you enjoy watching cheeky tree rats  engage in a battle of wits with humans, then you will love the four squirrels in this Building A Perfect Squirrel Proof Bird Feeder.

 

Memorial Day–A Bit of History

Flag Planting at Arlington Cemetary
A soldier from the 3rd US infantry (The Old Guard) laying a flag on a grave in Arlington Cemetery.  The Old Guard lays flags on each grave in the Cemetery to celebrate Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day.

Memorial Day is an American holiday, observed on the last Monday of May, honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. Memorial Day 2020 occurs today,  Monday, May 25.

Memorial Day sprang out of remembrances of the millions of Americans who died during the Civil War (1861-1865).   So many Americans died that the first federal cemeteries were established.

The federal government designated Arlington as a national military cemetery in 1864.

It was not an accident that Arlington was designated as the first national cemetery.

Arlington Estate was established by George Washington’s adopted grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, to be a living memorial to the first president. Custis’s daughter, Mary, married U.S. Army 1st Lieutenant Robert E. Lee in 1831. When he died, Custis left the estate to his daughter Mary Custis Lee for the duration of her life, and upon her death, her eldest son would inherit the property. Robert E. Lee served as the executor of his father-in-law’s will and never owned the property

After the Lees abandoned the property at the start of the Civil War, the U.S. Army seized Arlington Estate on the morning of May 24, 1861 to defend Washington, D.C. From the property’s heights, rifled artillery could range every federal building in the nation’s capital. The estate was seized not to punish the Custis-Lee family, but rather for its strategic value. Three forts were built on the property during the Civil War: Fort Cass/Rosslyn, Fort Whipple/Fort Myer and Fort McPherson (currently Section 11 of the cemetery). Beginning in June 1863, a large Freedman’s Village, established for freed and escaped slaves, was established in what today are Sections 3, 4, 8, 18, and 20.

On May 13, 1864, the first military burial was conducted for Private William Christman. Brigadier General Montgomery Meigs, Quartermaster General of the U.S. Army, who was responsible for the burial of soldiers, ordered Arlington Estate used for a cemetery.  He wanted to ensure that the Lees would never be able to resume living on the estate. The existing D.C.-area national cemeteries (Soldiers’ Home and Alexandria National Cemeteries) were running out of space — both closed on the day that burials began at Arlington.

Following the death of his mother, in 1873, Lee’s oldest son, Custis, brought suit against the U.S. Government in hopes of gaining compensation for Arlington after its seizure during the Civil War. After a long court battle, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Arlington had been illegally seized and Custis regained title to the property. Knowing that he could not live at Arlington and operate it as a plantation estate, he sold the title back to the U.S. Government for $150,000.

Grandbirdie update–Where Have All the Birdies Gone?

From the Audobon site on Carolina Wrens.

Incubation is by female only, 12-16 days; male may feed female during incubation. Young: Both parents bring food for nestlings. Young leave nest about 12-14 days after hatching. 2 broods per year, or 3 in south.
We should have realized last week when the birds were not squawking or moving and what I think was a grown bird in the nest that something was not right.
When  Bob went to water the fuchsia, no bird flew out of the nest and we heard no chirps from baby birds demanding to be fed.  By now we should have seen baby bird exercising their wings,  in preparation of fledging.
When Bob took the plant down, the nest was empty.
Grandbirdies--The Nest is empy

I really hope that we were not part of the problem. The plant is thriving. Maybe the Carolina Wrens will try a second clutch in that same plant.

Fuschia plant where the nest is.

Niche Libraries

This link is courtesy of JeanMarie of JeanMarie Writes.

Persian Manuscript
Excerpt from classical Persian poetry. The Rare Persian-Language Manuscript Collection includes beloved poems of the Persian poets Saadi Shirazi, Hafez and Jami, along with works of the poet Nizami Ganjavi.

Did you know that there are libraries for:

  • sourdough starters
  • centuries of Persian manuscripts
  • Samandal, ” a comic collective that publishes an eclectic zine in various shapes and sizes, and has incubated a new movement of young Lebanese artists and graphic talent”

To read about these and four other odd or different libraries, click here.

Why the Moon Gave Me a Smiley Face

It’s probably a once in a lifetime event but today I exceeded any expectations that I ever had about views.  It generated over 9,000 views but only 26 likes and 11 comments.

Smley FAce stats

I think people were hoping to actually see where and how they would find the smiley face moon which would have been caused by a crescent moon mouth with eyes by Jupiter and Venus.  Such a phenomenon is called an occultation.

smiley face moon

Unfortunately, the planets did not align correctly and were located in different parts of the heavens.

It might have been exactly what we needed to cheer us up during a pandemic.

What do you think?

One-Liners that may Make You Think

I merely forward these.  I didn’t write any of them.

I’m on two diets. I wasn’t getting enough food on one.

A cold seat in a public restroom is unpleasant. A warm seat in a public restroom is worse.

Apparently RSVP’ing to a wedding invitation “Maybe next time” isn’t the correct response.

Don’t irritate old people. The older we get the less “Life in prison” is a deterrent.

Have you ever listened to someone for a minute and thought “Their cornbread ain’t done in the middle.”

Aliens probably ride by earth and lock their doors.

I asked my wife if I was the only one she had been with. She said yes, all the others were nines and tens……

I really don’t mind getting older, but my body is taking it badly.

It turns out that being an adult is mostly just googling how to do stuff.

I miss the 90’s when bread was still good for you and no one knew what kale was.

Do you ever get up in the morning, look in the mirror and think “That can’t be accurate.”

I want to be 14 again and ruin my life differently. I have new ideas.

As I watch this generation try to rewrite our history, one thing I’m sure of….it will be misspelled and have no punctuation.

I thought getting old would take longer.

I told my wife I wanted to be cremated. She made me an appointment for Tuesday.

Confuse your doctor by putting on rubber gloves at the same time he does.

My wife asked me to take her to one of those restaurants where they make food right in front of you. I took her to Subway.

Me: Sobbing my heart out, “ I can’t see you anymore…..I’m not going to let you hurt me again.”

Trainer: “It was one sit-up. You did one sit-up.”

I went line dancing last night. OK, it was a roadside sobriety test…same thing.

Picked up a hitchhiker. He asked if I wasn’t afraid he might be a serial killer?  I told him the odds of two serial killers being in the same car were     !!!!extremely unlikely.