On September 1, 1939 Adolf Hitler invaded Poland setting off the beginning of World War II. The war that would define a generation and result in several innocent men and women to die based on who they are. Two weeks after the invasion Poland would fall to Nazi Germany, right after they would face the brutal hardships that the Germans bestowed upon them. Many Polish people had lost their lives due to starvation, children were kidnapped and sent to Germany for “Germanization”, and others were forced to work like slaves, among the destroyed houses and ruined families. World War II started today, with history changing forever from this day forward in 1939.
Fifty-two years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., gave his famous “I Have a Dream” speech to over 250,000 people. They were in Washington D.C., to participate in what would be one of the largest political rallies in the United States of America. The call for civil and economic rights for African-Americans was strong with several people arriving by chartered buses, trains, and airplanes to attend the event. Several of celebrities had participated in the march to show the need for change. Marlon Brando, Charlton Heston, James Baldwin, Harry Belafonte, Joan Baez, Bob Dylan were just among some of those who, like many other Americans, took time to go. Planned in only two months by Bayard Rustin with a limited budget, the march was a success and the call for change happened. Although, it did not happen over night, fifty-two years ago today many Americans traveled to show support for the civil rights for all American citizens regardless of who they are.
If you have been following me for a while, then you might guess that one of my biggest inspirations is Winston Churchill. The man who was prime minister in the United Kingdom during World War II. He kept his head up high while living in an underground bunker for five to six years. Knowing the Britons looked up to him every day in ensuring the safety of their country and live in liberty he gave a speech on this day seventy-five years ago. Honoring the brave men who were pilots during the Battle of Britain against the German Luftwaffe had inspired many.
During the time of this great battle, Hitler was planning on invading and taking over the United Kingdom. The men of the Royal Air Force had successfully held them at bay. At the time this speech was given, the battle was still going on. None the less, the Luftwaffe in a battle that would cause them to leave. In this speech Churchill reminded the citizens of the United Kingdom, not just to look up to him, but to the men and women who were in arms fighting to protect them from an unimaginable future. In doing so, Winston Churchill inspired everyone in his country knowing that there were hard times to come. However, Churchill had faith in the armed forces and reminded everyone to have faith in them too.
On August 18th, 1920 the 19th Amendment was passed. This historic law made it legal for women to vote in the United States of America. Looking back on how far we have come as a country that has allowed women to vote makes me feel proud. In the past, I have read and heard that in many countries the right for a woman to vote is not possible. In fact, a couple of years ago I remember a story about a ninety year old woman who just cast her first vote. She was unable to vote in her own country due to laws. When she moved here and she became an American citizen she was given the privilege of casting a vote. After hearing many stories around the world, I don’t take my right to vote for granted. Many women and men in the past had fought for women to have this right. Today, women in America are able to vote. They are able to vote in other countries, like Canada and the United Kingdom. But, they are not able to vote in other countries. The 19th Amendment paved the way for women to get involved in politics, voice their opinion, and be more involved in their own country. I am blessed to have the right and privilege to vote. However, many woman around the world are not as lucky as I am in the United States and some other countries.
On July 20, 1969 history was made! Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon with the famous quote “That is one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Buzz Aldrin became the second man on the moon. Both of these men had taken the brave flight on Apollo 11 with the one dream that many people do and it became a reality for many. A truly great day in history that will be remembered for all time. After all the time and effort it took, there was a great risk that had come with going to the moon. These two men knew the risk and still had the dream of going into space and landing on the moon.
One of the greatest mystery stories that has fascinated me is the story of Anastasia, Grand Duchess of Russia. Born into Russian royalty of Tzar Nicholas II and Tzarina Alexandra, she had three older sisters: Olga, Tatiana, and Maria and one younger brother Alexei. She and her family were all supposedly assassinated on July 17, 1918. In the midst of the Russian Revolution one of the greatest mysteries was born. Throughout the years, many women have come forward claiming to be her. The most famous of those woman being Anna Anderson who has convinced many that she is/was Anastasia.
After many years of searching they found the graves of the Romanovs. The graves were dug up and two of the bodies were missing. One of the bodies was identified as being of Tsarevich Alexei, Anastasias younger brother, and another female. Many automatically assumed that it was the body of Anastasia. However, later it was proven that it was her older sister Maria, who was missing. The mystery of what happened to the missing Romanovs lives on.
Although, this is a day late, the Romanovs are a royal tragedy that has interested me for a long time. From the moment I watched the 20th Century movie Anastasia to now. I will admit the movie is made up, but it adds interest into what happened. Throughout his reign, Nicholas II made several mistakes by trusting in Rasputin to make disastrous choices during World War I for him. Several of these decisions resulted in death and suffering to the Russian people. Unfortunately, for him this resulted in leading to a revolution where he and his family would lose their lives.
Before the war, Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto had gripped the revolutionaries leading to communism to rise in Russia. I will admit there was Nicholas II was not the best ruler in the world by laying trust into the wrong people and blatant ignorance. Due to his families royal blood the revolutionaries feared that the powers of Europe would put Alexei, because he was male he was the only one would could legally claim the throne, in power. As history would tell this meant that they all had to pass in their eyes. Even though Nicholas II had abdicated the throne due to pressure, that was not enough.
After the abdication the family had gone into hiding. On the night of July 17, 1918 they were called to move to another place. Assuming it was to another safe house from the revolutionaries they willingly complied. Once they got to their location they were informed that they were all going to perish there. After being informed they were assassinated in a hail of bullets. Once killed they were taken and buried in the woods of Russia.
After they were killed, Vladimir Lenin, the head communist had claimed responsibility for Nicholas II death. But, he as well as everyone else knew that the powers of Europe and many others would not tolerate the deaths of an innocent woman and children. Therefore, they kept their secret until one day, a photograph was found and their remains discovered. Admittedly, many had figured out that they were all killed that night. Due to fearing backlash, no one wanted to claim responsibility.
The Romanovs have since been canonized in the Russian Orthodox Church and are remembered for their brutal death. There are memorials and plaques with their names. The family that had perished in a gruesome way are now at peace. I will admit Nicholas II reign was marred by stupidity and ignorance at his own hand. But, the mystery of what happened to two of the missing Romanovs just adds a mystery that I can’t help but enjoy to read up on.
As part of the tour of Pearl Harbor on the 4th of July was to the U.S.S. Missouri. This battleship had been used in World War II and was where the Japanese had surrendered. This fantastic ship was used all the way to 1992, is now a museum. This beautiful ship serves as a reminder as to why America is the country it is today.
While I was away, I was reminded of the horrible bombings that happened on July 7th, 2005 in London. I remember hearing about these horrible bombings that happened on that morning. The bombings that happened were resulted in fifty-two deaths and seven hundred plus injuries. The three bombs that went off in quick succession in London on 7/7 is something that will never be forgotten. My prayers on that day were with those who had lost loved ones, as well, as those who were affected on the morning of 7/7/2005.
On the 4th of July I visited the Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. Words cannot express the amount that I was able to learn from walking around the beautiful white memorial and reading the names of those who had perished on December 7th, 1941.
When I looked below the memorial I was able to see the sunken U.S.S. Arizona which had become a tomb for the men who were not as lucky as their fellow men. While at the memorial, I was able to walk into the museum explaining what had happened. From the moment you walk in they show you the faces of those who had survived and those who had perished. The ones who had perished, names are forever immortalized in stone at the memorial.
Learning more about what had happened on December 7th, 1941 will remain with me forever. What was supposed to be a peaceful and calm Sunday turned into a day filled with terror and dread. The surprise attack and events that happened at Pearl Harbor will not be forgotten.
A beautiful memorial for the men who wished to be with their fellow men.
The Tree of Life represents renewal to inspire contemplation as they walk into the memorial. Designed by architect Alfred Preis, this memorial is part of the original U.S.S. Arizona.
This upcoming weekend is a holiday down here in the United States. The Fourth of July is the day that Americans celebrate to commemorate out independence from the United Kingdom. The Declaration of Independence was written on the July 4th, making it a momentous day and time of celebration for all Americans. I am going to be a way from my computer on the 4th of July celebrating with family in the time of remembrance as to how United States of America became free from the King of England and unjust taxes that were imposed.
The United States of America became a country by angry men and women who had become frustrated with the laws that were being declared from across the sea. Many people were getting fed up, not just with taxes, but with laws and declarations that made things unfair to people living in the colonies. Eventually, Thomas Jefferson (who later became the third President of the United States) wrote the Declaration of Independence. Fifty-six people signed this historic document in Philadelphia as part of the Second Continental Congress. Some of those famous names include: John Hancock (who was the president), Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and Samuel Adams.
The men who signed on this document knew the risk of what it would mean by doing so. They knew that they were putting their families at risk, as well as, the possibility of a war, which did happen. But, they knew that by declaring their independence that America would become the country that they had dreamed of. A country that is able to govern itself within it’s own rights and laws that. Even though, there have been a few bumps in the road between disagreements and attempting to decide what is right from wrong, America has become a great country that I can be proud of.
I hope of on the 4th of July all of my fellow Americans, like I, will sit back and watch the fireworks; as we remember the significance of this day. The 4th of July is a momentous day in American history for on that day in 1776 the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in order to make America the free nation it is today.
Here is a copy of the full Document of the Declaration of Independence:
IN CONGRESS, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
The 56 signatures on the Declaration appear in the positions indicated:
Thomas Heyward, Jr.
Thomas Lynch, Jr.
Charles Carroll of Carrollton
Richard Henry Lee
Thomas Nelson, Jr.
Francis Lightfoot Lee
Robert Treat Paine
Here is the website: http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/charters/declaration_transcript.html