Veterans Day – Nov. 11, 2015

Poppy wreaths at a tombstoneRemembrance Day (also known as Poppy Day or Armistice Day) is a memorial day observed in Commonwealth countries since the end of World War I to remember the members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This day, or alternative dates, are also recognised as special days for war remembrances in many non-Commonwealth countries.

Remembrance Day is observed on 11 November to recall the end of hostilities of World War I on that date in 1918. Hostilities formally ended “at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month,” in accordance with the Armistice, signed by representatives of Germany and the Entente between 5:12 and 5:20 that morning. (“At the 11th hour” refers to the passing of the 11th hour, or 11:00 am.) World War I officially ended with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28 June 1919.

The day was specifically dedicated by King George V on 7 November 1919 as a day of remembrance for members of the armed forces who were killed during World War I.

The Initial or Very First Armistice Day was held at Buckingham Palace commencing with King George V hosting a “Banquet in Honour of the President of the French Republic” during the evening hours of 10 November 1919. The first official Armistice Day was subsequently held on the grounds of Buckingham Palace on the morning of 11 November 1919. This would set the trend for a day of Remembrance for decades to come.

The red remembrance poppy has become a familiar emblem of Remembrance Day due to the poem “In Flanders Fields.” These poppies bloomed across some of the worst battlefields of Flanders in World War I, their brilliant red colour an appropriate symbol for the blood spilled in the war.

World War I Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada's First Brigade Artillery, penned "In Flanders Fields."
World War I Colonel John McCrae, a surgeon with Canada’s First Brigade Artillery, penned “In Flanders Fields.”

D-Day: Did You Know?

The following information can be found on PBS.org/American Experience.

The invasion of France on June 6, 1944 was a triumph of intelligence, coordination, secrecy, and planning. The bold attack was also a tremendous risk. Ultimately it succeeded because of individual soldiers’ bravery in combat. Learn some of the basic facts about D-Day.

The Meaning of the “D”
Ever since June 6, 1944, people have been asking what the “D” in “D-Day” means. Does it stand for “decision?” The day that 150,000 Allied soldiers landed on the shores of Normandy was certainly decisive. And with ships, landing craft and planes leaving port by the tens of thousands for a hostile shore, it is no wonder that some would call it “disembarkation” or “departed.”

There is not much agreement on the issue. But the most ordinary and likely of explanations is the one offered by the U.S. Army in their published manuals. The Army began using the codes “H-hour” and “D-day” during World War I to indicate the time or date of an operation’s start. Military planners would write of events planned to occur on “H-hour” or “D-day” — long before the actual dates and times of the operations would be known, or in order to keep plans secret. And so the “D” may simply refer to the “day” of invasion.

D-Day’s Impressive Numbers
Convoy of ships crossing the English ChannelAn invading army had not crossed the unpredictable, dangerous English Channel since 1688 — and once the massive force set out, there was no turning back. The 5000-vessel armada stretched as far as the eye could see, transporting over 150,000 men and nearly 30,000 vehicles across the channel to the French beaches. Six parachute regiments — over 13,000 men — were flown from nine British airfields in over 800 planes. More than 300 planes dropped 13,000 bombs over coastal Normandy immediately in advance of the invasion.

War planners had projected that 5,000 tons of gasoline would be needed daily for the first 20 days after the initial assault. In one planning scenario, 3,489 long tons of soap would be required for the first four months in France.

By nightfall on June 6, more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were dead or wounded, but more than 100,000 had made it ashore, securing French coastal villages. And within weeks, supplies were being unloaded at UTAH and OMAHA beachheads at the rate of over 20,000 tons per day.

Captured Germans were sent to American prisoner of war camps at the rate of 30,000 POWs per month from D-Day until Christmas 1944. Thirty-three detention facilities were in Texas alone.

Tuning in to D-Day
In the pre-television era, Americans got their breaking news from their radios. London-based American journalist George Hicks made history with his radio broadcast from the deck of the U.S.S. Ancon at the start of the D-Day invasion. “…You see the ships lying in all directions, just like black shadows on the grey sky,” he described to his listeners. “…Now planes are going overhead… Heavy fire now just behind us… bombs bursting on the shore and along in the convoys.” His report, including the sounds of heavy bombardment, sirens, low-flying planes, and shouting, brought Americans to the front line, with all its chaos, confusion, excitement, and death.

An American Noah
Allied landing craftLouisiana entrepreneur Andrew Jackson Higgins first designed shallow-draft boats in the late 1920s to rescue Mississippi River flood victims. Higgins tried for years to sell his boats to the U.S. military, but he was rejected repeatedly. At last, the Marine Corps selected the flat-bottomed landing craft for troop landings on Pacific beaches. Higgins, who had paid heavily out-of-pocket to promote his boats, finally landed the government contract — and his factories produced 20,000 of the versatile craft for the war effort — including D-Day.

Happy Birthday Mr. President – JFK

10 Facts about President John F. Kennedy

May 29, 2014 by NCC Staff

On the occasion of President John F. Kennedy’s birthday, here’s a look at one of the most documented figures of the 20th century.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, on May 29, 1917, and died while in office on November 22, 1963. He spent a good portion of his life as a public figure, from one of the wealthiest, most well-connected families in New England. After his tragic death, most of his life has been written about in great detail.

From among the wealth of knowledge about President Kennedy, here are 10 interesting facts about the 35th president.

1. His family was very, very rich.

The Kennedy family

Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., is shown surrounded by his family. Clockwise, from bottom left: Robert, Eunice, John, Kathleen, Joe Jr., Rosemary, wife Rose, Teddy, Patricia and Jean. (AP Photo)

President Kennedy was the richest president ever, based on the estimated value of his family’s fortune. In fact, his part of that fortune may have been worth $1 billion at the time of Kennedy’s death. His father, Joseph Kennedy, was involved heavily in Wall Street and other investment opportunities.

2. His father was near a terror attack just after JFK was born.

Joseph Kennedy escaped the infamous 1920 Wall Street bombing. An unknown group of anarchists planted a bomb in a wagon full of lead weights on the street. The explosion killed 38 bystanders on Wall Street. The elder Kennedy was thrown to the ground by the blast, but was unharmed.

3. He grew up partly in the Bronx.

The stereotype of Kennedy is that he was a born-and-bred Bostonian. In reality, Kennedy spent the first 10 years of his life in Brookline, in suburban Boston, until his family moved to the Bronx. The future president spent his middle-school years in the Bronx area until his family sent him to private school in Connecticut.

4. President Kennedy played the role of movie producer.

Warren Beatty almost played Kennedy in the movie PT-109, which was based on the sinking of Kennedy’s boat in the Solomon Islands. President Kennedy wanted Cliff Robertson to play a young Lieutenant Kennedy in the war movie, but the first lady wanted Beatty. The president’s choice wound up appearing in the 1963 movie, which also features a lot of familiar faces who wound up on baby boomer TV shows. Kennedy also helped pick the movie’s director.

JFK receives the purple heart

War Hero: June 12, 1944 – The presentation of the Navy and Marine Corps medal for Gallantry in Action to Lt. John F. Kennedy during a simple ceremony at Chelsea Naval hospital in Massachusetts. Jack had also received the Purple Heart. Later in June, he underwent his first back surgery, but would suffer lifelong discomfort.

5. He was the only president to win a Purple Heart.

Kennedy was awarded the Purple Heart for his service in the Pacific during World War II. Two recent presidential candidates, John Kerry and John McCain, were Purple Heart recipients.

6. Kennedy wasn’t the youngest president ever.

That title goes to Theodore Roosevelt, who was a little more than nine months younger than Kennedy, at the age of 42 years, 10 months, when he succeeded William McKinley as president in 1901. However, Kennedy was the youngest person elected president, at the age of 43 years, seven months, when he became president in 1961. Bill Clinton was the third youngest president, as 46 years of age.

7. Kennedy was an experienced politician at a young age.

In 1946, Kennedy ran for the House of Representatives at the age of 29 and won. His older brother had been expected to be the family’s political standard bearer, but he was killed in action during World War II. Kennedy was elected three times to the House and two times to the U.S. Senate before becoming president, and he had more national political experience than our two most recent presidents. Health problems did keep Kennedy from attending Congress for some periods.

8. Kennedy’s popular vote win over Richard Nixon was very, very narrow.

Kennedy defeated Nixon in the 1960 election when votes were counted in the Electoral College, by a margin of 303 to 219. But in the popular vote, Kennedy won by 112,000 votes out of 68 million cast. Also, arguments persist to this day about vote-counting in two states: Illinois and Texas. If Nixon had won those two states, he would have defeated Kennedy by two votes in the Electoral College.

9. JFK recorded conversations in the White House.

Actually, Kennedy wasn’t the first president to record private conversations in the White House (that was President Franklin D. Roosevelt). One theory for the Kennedy taping system was that the president had already written two books and wanted the tapes for when he wrote his memoirs after leaving office. Many of the tapes have been declassified over the past decades.

10. Kennedy almost died twice before he became president.

Not including his run-in with a Japanese ship on the PT-109, Kennedy long suffered with health problems. Today, those health issues are well-documented, and two incidents resulted in a priest giving Kennedy last rites in a hospital. In 1948, when Kennedy was in Great Britain, his health looked dire after he was diagnosed with Addison’s disease, according to author Robert Dallek. And in 1954, Kennedy nearly died from an infection after back surgery.

 

Happy Birthday, Mr. President from Marilyn

In Remembrance – William Shakespeare

Perhaps the most prolific and influential writers in the world, William Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon. birth date is not known, but was baptised on April 26, 1564.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (April 1564 to April 23, 1616)

He was an English poet, playwright, and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world’s pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England’s national poet and the “Bard of Avon.” His extant works, including some collaborations, consist of about 38 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, of which the authorship of some is uncertain. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

Shakespeare was born and brought up in  At the age of 18, he married Anne Hathaway, with whom he had three children: Susanna, and twins Hamnet and Judith. Between 1585 and 1592, he began a successful career in London as an actor, writer, and part-owner of a playing company called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He appears to have retired to Stratford around 1613 at age 49, where he died three years later. Few records of Shakespeare’s private life survive, and there has been considerable speculation about such matters as his physical appearance, sexuality, religious beliefs, and whether the works attributed to him were written by others.

Shakespeare produced most of his known work between 1589 and 1613. His early plays were mainly comedies and histories and these works remain regarded as some of the best work produced in these genres. He then wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608, including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, and Macbeth, considered some of the finest works in the English language. In his last phase, he wrote tragicomedies, also known as romances, and collaborated with other playwrights.

Many of his plays were published in editions of varying quality and accuracy during his lifetime. In 1623, John Heminges and Henry Condell, two friends and fellow actors of Shakespeare, published the First Folio, a collected edition of his dramatic works that included all but two of the plays now recognised as Shakespeare’s. It was prefaced with a poem by Ben Jonson, in which Shakespeare is hailed, presciently, as “not of an age, but for all time.” In the 20th and 21st century, his work has been repeatedly adopted and rediscovered by new movements in scholarship and performance. His plays remain highly popular today and are constantly studied, performed, and reinterpreted in diverse cultural and political contexts throughout the world.

Shakespeare died at the age of 52 on April 23, 1616.  He was buried in the chancel of the Holy Trinity Church two days after his death. The epitaph carved into the stone slab covering his grave includes a curse against moving his bones, which was carefully avoided during restoration of the church in 2008:Shakespeare's grave

Good frend for Iesvs sake forbeare,

To digg the dvst encloased heare.

Bleste be  man  spares thes stones,

And cvrst be he  moves my bones.

(Modern spelling: Good friend, for Jesus’ sake forbear, / To dig the dust enclosed here. / Blessed be the man that spares these stones, / And cursed be he that moves my bones.)

Sometime before 1623, a funerary monument was erected in his memory on the north wall, with a half-effigy of him in the act of writing. Its plaque compares him to Nestor, Socrates, and Virgil. In 1623, in conjunction with the publication of the First Folio, the Droeshout engraving was published.

Shakespeare has been commemorated in many statues and memorials around the world, including funeral monuments in Southwark Cathedral and Poets’ Corner in Westminster Abbey.

(source: Wikipedia.org)

Check out Swide’s Top 10 best Romeo and Juliet movies ever.

Happy National Oreo® Cookie Day!

Oreo cookie in milk

March 6 is National Oreo Cookie Day!

Be ready to celebrate and have your glass of milk handy as it is National Oreo® Cookie Day. This day is recognized, across the nation, each year on March 6th.

The Oreo® sandwich cookie is made up of two disks containing a sweet cream filling and is loved by millions. Since its introduction, the Oreo® cookie has become the best selling cookie in the United States.

The National Biscuit Company (today known as Nabisco) first developed and produced the “Oreo Biscuit” in 1912 at its Chelsea factory in New York City. Today, that block on which the factory was located is known as “Oreo Way”.

Fun Facts

  • The name “Oreo” was first trademarked on March 14, 1912.
  • The first Oreo® cookies in the United States sold for 25 cents a pound in clear glass topped novelty cans.
  • In 1912, the Oreo Biscuit was renamed to “Oreo Sandwich”.
  • In 1948, the Oreo Sandwich was renamed to “Oreo Creme Sandwich”.
  • William A. Turnier, the man who designed the Oreo cookie

    William A. Turnier, the man who designed the Oreo cookie. (Photo courtesy of the Turnier family as published in Indyweek, Aug. 24, 2011)

    William A. Turnier developed the modern-day Oreo design in 1952 to include the Nabisco logo.

  • Nabisco’s principal food scientist, Sam Procello, developed the modern Oreo cookie filling.
  • In the 1978 Clint Eastwood film Every Which Way But Loose and its 1980 sequel Any Which Way You Can, Philo Beddoe’s mother – Ma, played by Ruth Gordon – is involved in a long running battle with Clyde the Orangutan who continually hides her Oreos® from her
  • In the 1998 movie Rounders, the main antagonist Teddy KGB (played by John Malkovich), is well known for his love for Oreo® cookies, which he regularly eats even during poker games. Eventually, this habit would prove to be his downfall as protagonist Michael McDermott (Matt Damon) figures out a tell and decisively beats him.
  • In the 2012 animated movie Wreck it Ralph, Oreo® cookies serve as royal guards in King Candy’s castle.
  • The DC Comics character, Martian Manhunter has been shown to have a well known love for Oreo® cookies.
  • The 2014 film Transformers: Age Of Extinction features an Oreo-themed Transformer that was destroyed by the Autobots in the KSI factory.
Oreo Cookie Birthday Pie

Oreo Cookie Birthday Pie

 Oreo® Birthday Ice Cream Pie

Yield: 10 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 20 OREO Cookies, divided
  • 1 container (1-1/2 qt.) BREYERS® Cookies & Cream with OREO® Ice Cream, softened
  • 1 cup thawed COOL WHIP Whipped Topping
  • 2 tsp. multi-colored sprinkles

Instructions:

  1. Chop 6 cookies; set aside. Cover bottom of 9-inch pie plate with remaining cookies.
  2. Spoon ice cream into pie plate; freeze 3 hours or until firm.
  3. Sprinkle chopped cookies around edge of pie just before serving. Garnish with COOL WHIP and sprinkles.

Recipe Tips:

Make Ahead
Pie can be stored, tightly covered, in freezer up to 1 week before topping with chopped cookies and garnishes as directed.

Nutrition Information
Nutrition per serving:
Calories 290, Total fat 11 g, Saturated fat 6 g, Cholesterol 5 mg, Sodium 180 mg, Carbohydrate 44 g, Dietary fiber 1 g, Sugars 27 g, Protein 3 g, Vitamin A 6 %DV, Vitamin C 0 %DV, Calcium 6 %DV,Iron 6 %D

For more Oreo® Cookie Recipes, go to Oreo.com