Long Remembered- Lincoln at Gettysburg

Lincoln thought he failed November 19, 1863…  obligatory applause from a damp crowd in Gettysburg offered him little consolation.  Lincoln had just followed a masterful two-hour speech from America’s greatest orator, Edward Everett.  The President sat down in his seat and commented to his friend, Ward Lamon, that the speech wouldn’t “scour” (would fail to clear away.)  He left Gettysburg believing the bad press that followed the ceremony. 

The Chicago Times recorded, “The cheek of every American must tingle with shame as he reads the silly, flat and dishwatery utterances of the man who has to be pointed out to intelligent foreigners as the President of the United States.”

Edward Everett put the ceremony in the proper perspective:

“Permit me also to express my great admiration of the thoughts expressed by you, with such eloquent simplicity & appropriateness, at the consecration of the Cemetery. I should be glad, if I could flatter myself that I came as near to the central idea of the occasion, in two hours, as you did in two minutes.

Borneo – a world forgotten / Lt. Gen. E.M. Flanagan Jr.

Pacific Paratrooper

Australians landing on Borneo

Part of the wider Borneo campaign of the Pacific War, was fought between 10 June and 15 August 1945 in North Borneo (later known as Sabah). The battle involved a series of amphibious landings by Australian forces on various points on the mainland around Brunei Bay and upon islands situated around the bay. Japanese opposition to the landings was sporadic initially, although as the campaign progressed a number of considerable clashes occurred and both sides suffered relatively significant casualties. Ultimately, however, the Australians were successful in seizing control of the region.

Codenamed Operation Oboe Six, the battle was part of the second phase of the Allied operations to capture the island of Borneo. Previously in May a brigade-sized force had been put ashore on Tarakan. A total of 29,000–30,000 men were committed to the operation by the Allies, with the majority of the ground forces being…

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Review: American Princess

Amy's Scrap Bag: A Blog About Libraries, Archives, and History

American Princess: A Novel of First Daughter Alice Roosevelt by Stephanie Marie ThorntonCover: American Princess

As a history major, I always knew that is was said Alice Roosevelt was a wild child.  I did not know until reading this novel that was an understatement and that Alice also had a keen mind for politics.  In fact, some of her stunts were to promote political ideas, like women’s rights!

The novel opens just as Alice’s father, Theodore, finds out about President McKinley‘s imminent death and his own rise to the presidency.  From that point, it follows Alice throughout her white House years.  Alice made it a point to stand out from the crowd and not bee meek. She cruised around town in a car, chewed gun in public, and played poker.  Her name was almost always in the newspaper, causing her to be dubbed the “american princess.” Then Alice used the…

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Jefferson Gave Warning- 2019 Abuse of Power

“Nor should [a legislative body] be deluded by the integrity of their own purposes and conclude that… unlimited powers will never be abused because themselves are not disposed to abuse them. They should look forward to a time, and that not a distant one, when corruption in this as in the country from which we derive our origin, will have seized the heads of government and be spread by them through the body of the people, when they will purchase the voices of the people and make them pay the price… The public money and public liberty, intended to have been deposited with three branches of magistracy but found inadvertently to be in the hands of one only, will soon be discovered to be sources of wealth and dominion to those who hold them; distinguished, too, by this tempting circumstance: that they are the instrument as well as the object of acquisition.

Notes on the State of Virginia- 1782

Book Review Classics- Jon Meacham

Meacham, Jon, Thomas Jefferson; The Art of Power, Random House, New York, 2012.  ISBN 978-0679-64536-8

     Pulitzer Prize winner Jon Meacham is …swept away by the flood of shoddy Jefferson scholarship in his book, Thomas Jefferson; The Art of Power.   Meacham promises a bold new look at Jefferson’s mastery of political power, but his study falls prey to the same flimsy scholarship lesser studies are built upon.  The result fails to show what kind of study Meacham wanted this book to be.

“It was a world of desire and denial…sex between owner and property…The strange intermingling of blood and affection and silence suffused the world of the Forest that Jefferson came to know in 1770…”    Meacham explains how Jefferson learned the proper way of keeping a slave concubine from his Father-in-law John Wayles.   A strange beginning to a study of Jefferson’s political prowess.   But, thus is the state of Jefferson scholarship in 21st century;  political correctness dictates a scholar must reconcile Jefferson the icon, with Jefferson the flawed man- in this case, sex fiend.  Meacham wastes considerable print on the sexual proclivities of our third President, when more effort was needed in the analysis of Jefferson’s troubled Virginia governorship( this period receives a scant 7 pages.)   In the same breath, Meacham gives us the idyllic Jefferson, ” loved his family; he loved Virginia; he loved his nascent nation;”  and the sexual predator “self-evidently an ardent lover…”  Jefferson’s desires kept the women close to him pregnant- vital analysis of the statesman we thought we knew.

Meacham is unsure of the book he intended to write….  A new perspective on Jefferson’s wielding of political power would have been a welcomed edition.  Unfortunately, Meacham wants it both ways; he wants to analyze Jefferson’s diplomacy in France and deduce the likelihood of a sexual encounter with Maria Cosway.  Several passages show commendable  restraint from the author, especially the misunderstood Embargo of 1807 and Jefferson’s failed attempts at abolishing slavery.  If only he had invested more energy in Jefferson’s artistic use of power, rather than pondering whether Sally Hemings resembled Martha Wayles Jefferson.   Studies such as this insure Fawn Brodie’s brand of authoritative conjecture will live on and continue to malign the good name of Thomas Jefferson.  There is a book to be found in Meacham’s efforts, sad it escaped him this time.

Little Mac Says Goodbye

George McClellan said goodbye to his beloved… Army of the Potomac on November 11, 1862.  He cared deeply for their well being(much too deeply it turned out) and they repaid him with unwavering affection.  Lincoln had to make the decision- The “Young Napoleon” was fighting like the war could go on for decades.  But to his troops, he would forever be “Little Mac.”  He left them with this thought….

“In parting from you I cannot express the love and gratitude I bear to you. As an army you have grown up under my care. In you I have never found doubt or coldness. The battles you have fought under my command will proudly live in our nation’s history. The glory you have achieved, our mutual perils and fatigues, the graves of our comrades fallen in battle and by disease, the broken forms of those whom wounds and sickness have disabled—the strongest associations which can exist among men—unite us still by an indissoluble tie. We shall ever be comrades in supporting the Constitution of our country and the nationality of its people.”

Veterans Day 2019

Pacific Paratrooper

For each and every veteran – Thank You!!

For All Our Todays and Yesterdays

Armistice Day Becomes Veterans Day

World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, had ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.  Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

For their loyalty

War Dog Memorial on Guam.

US Military dog insignia

The Things That Make a Soldier Great

The things that make a soldier great and send him out to die,

To face the flaming cannon’s mouth…

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