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Christmas 1914: When the shooting stopped

Ninety-nine years ago this Christmas soldiers of the British, French, and Belgian Armies were facing each other across no man’s land. It was first year of World War One and the beginning of a long period of trench warfare that would last four more years. Already, since the war began in August, as many as a million had already died.  Leadership was in question, and more than a few soldiers, on both sides of no man’s land, that minimal stretch of territory between the lines, wondered if it was all worth it. In the long term, for the cause of the Allies, it probably was, but right at that moment, in the midst of battle, it wasn’t fighting that broke out, but rather it was Christmas.

Read more: Christmas 1914: When the shooting stopped

A legacy of forgiveness and friendship

High school subjects are familiar to most of us. There is algebra, a foreign language, P.E., history, and government, to name a few. However, in 1974, my high school added one called “Modern World History.”  It was an examination of selected topics from World War I until the present. Our teacher was Colonel (Ret) Gordanier and he had been to just about all the places he taught about and that perhaps is why he gave special attention to South Africa. It had left a strong impression on him.

Read more: A legacy of forgiveness and friendship

The man who saved Christmas

The annual complaints about Christmas are almost always the same.  It’s too commercialized, it’s too much money, it’s too glitzy and it’s just too much.  I don’t agree with this, I am a big fan of Christmas, and I would remind these 21st century Scrooges that there was a time, not so long ago, when Christmas was hardly celebrated at all.  The warmth, cheer, and magic so many of us associate with the holiday, had faded away years before.

Read more: The man who saved Christmas

The unsung Thanksgiving hero

He gets the passing mention in the Thanksgiving Day story as he is often credited with helping the Pilgrims survive their early winters in the harsh New England climate.  But that doesn’t begin to do justice to the story of Squanto.  Historians, given some latitude for the lack of records, believe that Tisquantum, better known to our history as Squanto, was born between 1585 and 1592.  History offers the Squanto story as that of a good natured Indian who humbly helped the Pilgrims in their early days in America.  That’s true, as far as it goes, but there is a lot more to the tale of Squanto than most people realize.

Read more: The unsung Thanksgiving hero

Kennedy’s words still inspire

Most of the people reading this column, or for that matter, most who might watch a TV program or a remembrance about the anniversary of John Kennedy’s assassination 50 years ago, don’t remember the former President or his tragic death.

Read more: Kennedy’s words still inspire

Why was the election so close?

The TV ads are gone, the robo-calls have stopped, the morning mail is lighter without all the fliers, and slowly the signs on our roads are starting to disappear. Election 2013 is over. There were elections for everything from the Board of Supervisors to the House of Delegates. They each had their twists and surprises, but the contest that got the most attention was the race for Governor. These things never go quite the way the pundits predict and this year was no exception.  

Read more: Why was the election so close?

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