Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Special Fathers Day Tribute

Today, as I celebrate my 34th (Thirty-fourth? Am I really that old?) Fathers Day, I wanted to take a minute to wish every Dad in the United States, all ex-pat Dads overseas and, most importantly, the brave Dads in all branches of the US Military, a Happy Fathers Day.

I also wanted to  express my deepest gratitude to God for giving me a chance to be a Dad. Twice. Opportunities that...

Read the rest... Warning: Rated PG-13 for naughty words.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Flag Day - Celebrating the "Stars & Stripes"

Today is Flag Day. A set aside to honor the Stars and Stripes, the banner that has represented the United States since 1777 when the Second Continental Congress passed a resolution adopting an official flag for the new country. Coincidentally, the United States Army celebrates it's 237th birthday today, so there is plenty of cause to rejoice on this historic occasion.

This is my small contribution to the celebration.

Flag Day History 

Using my Super Human Google Fu in searching for info on Flag Day I found this history of the American Flag: The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America's birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as 'Flag Birthday'. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as 'Flag Birthday', or 'Flag Day'. 

You can

The Flag Throughout the Years 

 The most famous US Flag in the history of the country has to be the Betsy Ross Flag. Many Americans are under the impression that this was the first "official" flag of the new United States. That is not the case. Elizabeth Griscom Ross (1752-1836), was a Philadelphia seamstress, married to John Ross, an upholsterer who was killed in a munitions explosion in 1776. She kept the upholstery shop going and lived on Arch Street, not too far from the State House on Chestnut, where history was being made almost every day. According to most historians, she has been incorrectly credited with designing the first Stars and Stripes. The story has enormous popularity, yet the facts do not substantiate it. Lets begin with the legend itself. The Legend and the facts can be found here.
From On June 14, 1777, in order to establish an official flag for the new nation, the Continental Congress passed the first Flag Act: "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." 

A Forgotten Verse

As a school child in the 1960s, this was something we often recited in class.

The American's Creed

"I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable; established upon those principls of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.
I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it; to support its Constitution; to obey its laws; to respect its flag, and to defend it againest all enemies." 

Where Did "Old Glory" Come From?  

Funny you should ask... This famous name was coined by Captain William Driver, a shipmaster of Salem, Massachusetts, in 1831. As he was leaving on one of his many voyages aboard the brig CHARLES DOGGETT - and this one would climax with the rescue of the mutineers of the BOUNTY - some friends presented him with a beautiful flag of twenty four stars. As the banner opened to the ocean breeze for the first time, he exclaimed "Old Glory!"
This cool story continues....

Our National Anthem  

We pick up in mid-story, Waiting in the predawn darkness, Key waited for the sight that would end his anxiety; the joyous sight of Gen. Armisteads great flag blowing in the breeze. When at last daylight came, the flag was still there!
Being an amatuer poet and having been so uniquely inspired, Key began to write on the back of a letter he had in his pocket. Sailing back to Baltimore he composed more lines and in his lodgings at the Indian Queen Hotel he finished the poem. Judge J. H. Nicholson, his brother-in-law, took it to a printer and copies were circulated around Baltimore under the title "Defence of Fort M'Henry". Two of these copies survive. It was printed in a newspaper for the first time in the Baltimore Patriot on September 20th,1814, then in papers as far away as Georgia and New Hampshire. To the verses was added a note "Tune: Anacreon in Heaven." In October a Baltimore actor sang Key's new song in a public performance and called it "The Star-Spangled Banner".

Don't remember the story of Francis Scott Key and what would become our National Anthem? Take a moment to refresh your memory.   

I Pledge Allegiance to the Flag... 

God bless the United States of America.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Captain Dan Luckett: Georgia Boy & American Hero

On this blog, you are likely to learn a tremendous amount of stuff like the history of and happenings in the Lower 48 (Plus 2) States that make up this incredible place we call America. While that is a major focus of The Lower 48 (Plus 2), it's not the sole purpose of it. I also want to feature some ordinary Americans who have done extraordinary things. I'm sure you know someone like that. If you don't, you will by the time you finish reading today's post.

I came across this information a couple of years ago and I wanted to share it with you today. It is the type of tale that is timeless. 

This is the story of a young man whose courage and determination in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds are a testament to the character of an individual of whom all Americans can be proud. His name is Captain Dan Luckett, a Son of Norcross, Georgia who has served his country far beyond the call of duty. I"ll post the first few lines of the article. Please take a moment to click the link and read it. It's well worth the time.

(Associated Press) When a bomb exploded under Dan Luckett's Army Humvee in Iraq two years ago — blowing off one of his legs and part of his foot — the first thing he thought was: "That's it. You're done. No more Army for you."
But two years later, the 27-year-old Norcross, Georgia, native is back on duty — a double-amputee fighting on the front lines of America's Afghan surge in one of the most dangerous parts of this volatile country.

I am more convinced than ever that the future of the United States is in very capable hands with young men like Captain Dan Luckett leading the way.

God bless Captain Luckett - an ordinary American who has done extraordinary things in service to his country.

And may God continue to bless America.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Virginia, Tennessee & Funny Town Names!

Howdy, Y'all!

I found some material that I had tucked away in the archives of one of my other blogs. I think it will fit nicely on The Lower 48 (Plus 2).

I hope this will give you a certain appreciation for the history of the two featured states, VIrginia and Tennessee, as well as a good chuckle at some of the odd names of some towns around the the Lower 48 (Plus 2)
  • Virginia - This post was originally published way back on June 18, 2010. It's a really good piece on a state that has given this country some of its greatest heroes and leaders. I, personally learned a helluva lot just doing the research for the post. I consider it a must read. It's that good.
  • Tennessee - As a Texan, I am eternally grateful to the people of Tennessee for the men from their great state that played such a defining role in the Texas Revolution. These men will forever be remembered as heroes as long as there is a Texas. The post goes into more detail on the contribution of these immortal Tennesseans/Texans. God. Bless. Tennessee. 
  • Funny Town Names Around the Country - Posts with funny town names have been some of the most popular ones every time I publish one. From back in September, 2010, here are some flat funny monikers from small towns all over the United States. Coffee Spewing Alert! Do not have a swallow of any liquid in your mouth when you read this! It may end up coming out of your nose when you bust a gut reading this stuff. 
Remember that you can order FREE travel guides from Virginia and Tennessee! These publications are nice to have on hand for vacation planning or for just learning stuff about The Lower 48 (Plus 2). If you'd like to receive a travel guide from any stat in the Union, simply click the link in the right sidebar. They are all FREE except for the guide from the Communist State of Washington. They want a shipping and handling fee.

Have a great weekend and we'll do some more exploring next week on The Lower 48 (Plus 2)! 

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D - Day

Howdy, y'all!

Image from Library of Congress

Today is D-Day. In memory of what has been called the single most important military engagement in the history of Man, today we'll explore a little bit about D-Day, its history and significance. I will provide you with links to materials from those far more knowledgeable on the subject than I. 

Library of Congress

As with any story about American History, the Library of Congress is the ultimate resource. The link I provided will take you a page that is the beginning of a boat load of contemporary news stories on D-Day. You'll feel as the Americans of 1944 felt as the events of this brutal battle unfolded.

Operation Neptune

The Normandy landings, codenamed Operation Neptune, were the landing operations of the Allied invasion of Normandy, in Operation Overlord, during World War II. The landings commenced on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 (D-Day), beginning at 6:30 am British Double Summer Time (GMT+2). In planning, D-Day was the term used for the day of actual landing, which was dependent on final approval.

Get more on D-Day from Wikipedia.

Snoopy & D-Day

One of my Twitter friends posted a link to a blog I had never read before. On the landing page from the link was this cartoon:  

There's a great story behind this panel and lots of informative links at the website, archeolibris.

U.S. Army

The United States Army site has a very sobering photo history of D-Day. Don't just look at it, observe it. Amazing stuff.

God bless America.