Mayflower sets sail







On this day in 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England. It carried pilgrims to the New World to escape religious persecution.

xMayflower pilgrim



Star-Spangled Banner

xStar Spangled Banner

On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer, author, and amateur poet, from Georgetown, Washington, D.C., wrote the lyrics to the United States’ national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

During the War of 1812, Key, accompanied by a British Prisoner Exchange Agent, dined aboard a British ship as guests. They were there to negotiate the release of prisoners but were not allowed to return to their own sloop because they had become familiar with the strength and position of the British units and with the British intent to attack Baltimore. Thus, Key was unable to do anything but watch the bombarding of the American forces at Fort McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore on the night of September 13-14, 1814.

At dawn, Key was able to see an American flag still waving and reported this to the prisoners below deck. Back in Baltimore and inspired, Key wrote a poem about his experience, which was soon published. A music publisher adapted it to the rhythms of composer John Stafford Smith’s “To Anacreon in Heaven,” a popular tune Key had already used as a setting for an earlier song.

Though somewhat difficult to sing, the song became increasingly popular, competing with “Hail, Columbia” (1796) as the de facto national anthem by the Mexican-American War and American Civil War.  More than a century after its first publication, the song was adopted as the American national anthem, first by an Executive Order from President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 (which had little effect beyond requiring military bands to play what became known as the “Service Version”) and then by a Congressional resolution in 1931, signed by President Herbert Hoover.  (from Wikipedia)

9/11 Anniversary

Poster for National day of Remembrance with September 911 memorial

Today is the 17th anniversary of the September 11 attacks (also referred to as 9/11), a series of four coordinated terrorist attacks by the Islamic terrorist group called al-Qaeda on the U. S. on the morning of September 11, 2001. The attacks killed 2,996 people and injured over 6,000 others

Four passenger airliners—all of which departed from airports in northeastern states bound for California—were hijacked by 19 al-Qaeda members. Two of the planes, American Airlines Flight No. 11 and United Airlines Flight No. 175, were crashed into the North and South towers, respectively, of the World Trade Center complex in New York City. Within an hour and forty-two minutes, both 110-story towers collapsed, with debris and the resulting fires causing partial or complete collapse of all other buildings in the World Trade Center complex, including the 47-story World Trade Center Tower, with significant damage to ten other large surrounding structures. A third plane, American Airlines No. 77, was crashed into the Pentagon, headquarters of the U. S. Department of Defense, in Arlington County, Virginia, leading to a partial collapse of the building’s western side. The fourth plane, United Airlines Flight No. 93, initially was steered toward Washington, D.C., but crashed into a field in Stoneycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, after its passengers tried to overcome the hijackers. It was the deadliest incident for firefighters and law enforcement officers in the history of the United States, with 343 and 72 killed respectively.


The destruction of the World Trade Center and nearby infrastructure caused serious damage to the economy of lower Manhattan and had a significant effect on global markets, closing Wall Street until September 17 and the civilian airspace in the U.S. and Canada until September 13. Cleanup of the World Trade Center site was completed in May 2002, and the Pentagon was repaired within a year. On November 18, 2006, construction of One World Trade Center began at the World Trade Center site. The building was officially opened on November 3, 2014. Numerous memorials have been constructed, including the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, partially pictured above, as well as the Pentagon Memorial in Arlington County, Virginia and the Flight 93 National Memorial in a field in Stonycreek Township near Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The day is also becoming known as Patriot’s Day or Remembrance Day.

(from me and Wikipedia)

Star Trek premieres!

xStar Trek

Star Trek is an American science fiction entertainment created by Gene Roddenberry that first appeared this date in 1966. The first series, now referred to as The Original Series, ran for three seasons. It followed the galactic adventures of James T. Kirk and the crew of the starship Enterprise, a 23rd Century exploration vessel. In creating the first Star Trek, Roddenberry was inspired by Westerns such as Wagon Train. In fact, the original series was originally described as Wagon Train to the Stars. These adventures continued in six feature films and four spin-off television series.

In 2009, the film franchise underwent a “reboot” set in an alternate timeline, titled simply Star Trek. This film featured a new cast portraying younger versions of the crew from the original show. A sequel to that film, Star Trek Into Darkness, premiered on May 16, 2013. A thirteenth film feature and sequel, Star Trek Beyond, was released in July 2016, to coincide with the franchise’s 50th anniversary. A new Star Trek TV series, titled Star Trek Discovery, premiered in January 2017 on the digital platform CBS All Access.

Star Trek has been a cult phenomenon for decades. Fans of the franchise are called Trekkies. The series has its own full-fledged constructed language, Klingon.  And it’s responsible for the ubiquitous slogan: “Beam me up, Scottie.”

 Star Trek is noted for its influence on the world outside of science fiction. It has been cited as an inspiration for several technological inventions, including the cell phone and tablet computers. The franchise is also noted for its progressive civil rights stances. The Original Series included one of television’s first multiracial casts. (from me and Wikipedia)


There she is….Miss America

The Miss America pageant was first held in Atlantic City in 1921 and will be televised this Sunday.

xMiss America Pageant

Originating as a “bathing beauty revue,” the contest is now judged on competitors’ talent performances and interviews in addition to their physical appearance. This will be the first year where contestants do not wear bathing suits as the competition aims to evolve with our current cultural revolution.  Miss America travels about 20,000 miles a month, changing her location every 24 to 48 hours, touring the nation and promoting her particular platform of interest.

The origins of the Miss America Pageant lie in a 1920 event entitled The Fall Frolic. Held on September 25 in Atlantic City, NJ, the event was designed to bring business to the Boardwalk: “Three hundred and fifty gaily decorated rolling wicker chairs were pushed along the parade route. Three hundred and fifty men pushed the chairs. However, the main attractions were the young ‘maidens’ who sat in the rolling chairs, headed by a Miss Ernestine Cremona, who was dressed in a flowing white robe and represented ‘Peace.'”

The event was so successful that The Businessmen’s League planned to repeat it the following year as a beauty pageant beauty or a “bather’s revue” (to capitalize on the popularity of newspaper-based beauty contests that used photo submissions). Thus, newspapers as far west as Pittsburgh and as far south as Washington, D.C., were asked to sponsor local beauty contests. The winners would participate in the Atlantic City contest. If the local newspaper would pay for the winner’s wardrobe, the Atlantic City Businessmen’s League would pay for the contestant’s travel to compete in the Inter-City Beauty Contest.” Herb Test, a “newspaperman,” coined the term “Miss America” for the winner. (from me and Wikipedia)

Continental Congress

The Continental Congress, also known as the Philadelphia Congress, was a convention of delegates called together from the Thirteen Colonies, which became the governing body of the United States during the American Revolution.

The Congress first met this date in 1774, then twice more. The first call for a convention was made over issues of the blockade and the Intolerable Acts penalizing the Province of Massachusetts, which enabled Benjamin Franklin to convince the colonies to form a representative body. Much of what we know today comes from the yearly log books printed by the Continental Congress called “Resolutions, Acts, and Orders of Congress,” which gives a day-to-day description of the debates and issues.

Although the delegates were divided early on as to whether to break from Crown rule, the second Continental Congress on July 2, 1776, passed a resolution asserting independence, with no opposing vote recorded. The Declaration of Independence was issued two days later declaring themselves a new nation: the United States of America. It established a Continental Army, giving command to one of its members, George Washington of Virginia. It waged war with Great Britain, made a militia treaty with France, and funded the war effort with loans and paper money. (from Wikipedia)