The deadly chain of events on set that led to Alec Baldwin being handed a gun with live ammunition and accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins have become clearer after it emerged last night the actor fired a live round, believing it to be a blank. The tragic accident came days after Baldwin's stunt double also fired off bullets on the production's set on Saturday after being told the gun was 'cold', a phrase used to signal to cast and crew the gun is not loaded with live or blank ammunition and is safe to fire for the scene. New details of safety issues on set emerged as the production's armorer was named by a search warrant released on Friday as 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, the daughter of legendary Hollywood armorer and firearms consultant Thell Reed, and revealed she was leading firearms on a film set for only the second time. Baldwin accidentally killed Hutchins when he aimed and fired towards a camera operated by the cinematographer, striking her in the chest and director Joel Souza in the shoulder. After firing the shot, Baldwin was heard saying: 'In all my years, I've never been handed a hot gun.' Experts yesterday told DailyMail.com safety on set is usually extremely tight with live bullets never used in filming and it remains unclear why a firearm loaded with live ammunition was on the Rust set at all.
Audio recordings from the 911 calls made from the set of Rust have shown panicked attempts to get ambulances on the scene. A cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins (top right), was killed and the film's director Joel Souza (bottom right) injured when the star of the film, Alec Baldwin (top left) pulled the trigger. Baldwin has said he is devastated by the accident. In the 911 calls, Mamie Mitchell, a script supervisor, urgently asks for an ambulance. She then blames the assistant director for his handling of the guns.
Jul 1776 – IS AMONG the most important and surprising events in history. On July 2, 1776, Congress met to consider the adoption of that immortal document penned by Thomas Jefferson;—the Declaration of Independence. It was generally understood that a final decision was to be made on the fourth, and thousands eagerly waited to hear the words written and signed by the Continental Congress. The Fourth of July is American, but the roots of the day are ancient. Some scholars believe that it was on this same exact date in history that Persia destroyed Solomon's Temple!
The Declaration of Independence itself has become one of the most admired and copied political documents of all time. It was written by Thomas Jefferson and revised by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Jefferson.
The Declaration of Independence is a justification of the American Revolution, citing grievances against King George III. It is also a landmark philosophical statement, drawing on the writings of philosophers John Locke and Jean Jacques Rousseau. It affirms that since all people are creatures of God, or nature, they have certain natural rights, or liberties, that cannot be violated.
Following its adoption, the Declaration was read to the public in various American cities. Whenever they heard it, patriots erupted in cheers and celebrations.
In 1777, Philadelphians remembered the 4th of July. Bells were rung, guns fired, candles lighted, and firecrackers set off. However, while the War of Independence dragged on, July 4 celebrations were modest at best. Written on the Liberty Bell are these words: "Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the Land unto all the inhabitants thereof" (Leviticus 25:10), yes words from Leviticus. Our forefathers knew who we really are!
When the war ended in 1783, July 4 became a holiday in some places. In Boston, it replaced the date of the Boston Massacre, March 5, as the major patriotic holiday. Speeches, military events, parades, and fireworks marked the day. In 1941, Congress declared July 4 a federal holiday.
The second president, John Adams, would have approved. "I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival," he wrote his wife, Abigail. "It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations from one end of this continent to the other..."
John Hancock, the president of the Second Continental Congress, was the first to sign the Declaration. With its ornate capitals, Hancock's sprawling signature is prominent on the document. Since then, when people are asked for their "John Hancock," they are being asked to sign their names.
All 56 men who ultimately signed the Declaration showed great courage. Announcing independence from Great Britain was an act of treason, punishable by death.
Jul 4, 1826 - The 4th of July, 1826, will long be memorable for one of the most remarkable coincidences that has ever taken place in the history of nations. It was the fiftieth anniversary—the "JUBILEE"—of American independence ! Two of the greatest Americans, who helped author the document and lead the nation through the war were friends that became bitter enemies. Though friends in their youth, disagreements separated Thomas Jefferson and our second President John Adams in later years. They were eventually reconciled toward their twilight years and though they never saw each other again after Adams left the White House to be replaced by Jefferson, in the last 14 years of their lives they exchanged 156 letters, some of them quite warm. This correspondence is generally regarded as the intellectual capstone to the achievements of the revolutionary generation and the most impressive correspondence between prominent statesmen.
They both died on the same day, July 4th, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence, two of the last three signers. At the age of 91 John Adams collapsed in his favorite reading chair and died that afternoon, his last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still lives.” But Jefferson would have said “wrong, as usual.” In his last days his health had failed and he passed in and out of consciousness. On the 4th of July, 1826 just a few hours before Adams died — in his home in Monticello, Virginia — surrounded by his daughter and some special slaves, shortly after noon, at the age of 83, Thomas Jefferson died. His last words were, “Is it the 4th?”
On July 4, 1863; a national tragedy also begun. The battle of Gettysburg, where our nation went to war with each other, and emerged a union gain! Then on the same day in 1876, the 100th anniversary of the signing, the nation was shocked again to learn of the Custer massacre at the Little Big Horn!
The Declaration and the American Revolution have since inspired freedom-seekers the around the world. The fourth of July has been a day of blessings, sorrows and “signs”. It is our national day! Celebrate it, be proud of it, and LEARN from it.
This is an updated version of an older story on just why America is so special (along with Great Britain and Canada). It's a story of our national identity
Someone once asked me, "Bob how can you say in one breath that God has little to nothing to do with this world, yet then say that the USA one of the lost nations of Israel? In addition, that if we do not obey God, our nation will be destroyed by him? Which scenario is it, God involved or Satan’s world?"
I am quite sure that many have asked themselves the same question and let me assure you that there is an easy answer! God was totally involved in our world in the days of Adam and Eve. He (One of the divine Godhead that became Jesus) personally walked with them, talked with them and instructed them how to live in a godly lifestyle and have life forever. God had every intention to be involved in our lives from the start, just as any human parent has those same plans with their children.
Then sin entered the world through Adam and Eve’s disobedience of God’s Laws. Remember there is only one biblical definition of sin. "Sin is the transgression of the law." (1 John 3:4) Without the law, one cannot sin! (Romans 3:20 and Romans 7:7) When Adam and Eve broke God’s laws, they sinned. The Bible also gives us another term: "The wages (or penalty) of sin is death." ( Rom 6:23) Therefore breaking the laws of God, brings death! Therefore, Adam’s sin brought death to mankind.
Don't believe the hype of liberal supporting billionaires who want higher taxes... They want them for YOU- not them!
WASHINGTON (AP) — The rich really are different from you and me: They’re better at dodging the tax man.
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos paid no income tax in 2007 and 2011. Tesla founder Elon Musk’s income tax bill came to zero in 2018. And financier George Soros went three straight years without paying federal income tax, according to a report out Tuesday from the nonprofit investigative journalism organization ProPublica.
Overall, the richest 25 Americans pay less in tax — 15.8% of adjusted gross income — than many ordinary workers do, once you include taxes for Social Security and Medicare, ProPublica found.
An anonymous source delivered to ProPublica reams of Internal Revenue Service data on the country’s wealthiest people, including Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Rupert Murdoch and Mark Zuckerberg.
ProPublica compared the tax data it received with information available from other sources. It reported that “in every instance we were able to check — involving tax filings by more than 50 separate people — the details provided to ProPublica matched the information from other sources.’’
Using perfectly legal tax strategies, many of the uber-rich are able to whittle their federal tax bills down to nothing or close to it. Soros went three straight years without paying federal income tax; billionaire investor Carl Icahn, two, ProPublica finds.
The findings are sure to heighten the national debate over the vast and widening inequality between the very wealthiest Americans and everyone else.
ProPublica reports that the tax bills of the rich are especially low when compared with their soaring wealth — the value of their investment portfolios, real estate and other assets.
Corporate raider Carl Icahn, who is ranked the 40th wealthiest American with an estimated fortune of $14.9 billion, did not pay any federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. The 85-year-old's tax records were included in the trove of confidential IRS records that was made public on Tuesday by ProPublica. Icahn says he paid the taxes he owed and that he registered losses because interest on his loans was higher than his income. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos paid no income tax in 2007 and 2011, while Tesla boss Elon Musk's income tax bill came to zero in 2018. Investor George Soros went three straight years - between 2016 and 2018 - without paying federal income tax. Law enforcement and the IRS are now investigating the leak. ProPublica say they don't know who provided the data and acknowledged the possibility it could have come from 'a state actor hostile to American interests'.
Christian Jacobs' (top right) celebrated his father, Sgt Christopher James Jacobs (bottom left), who died in 2011 when Christian was just eight-months-old at Arlington National Cemetery this MemorialDay.
Memorial Day History
Memorial Day, originally called Decoration Day, is a day of remembrance for those who have died in service of the United States of America. It's difficult to prove the origins of this day as over two dozen towns and cities lay claim to be the birthplace. In May 1966, President Lyndon Johnson stepped in and officially declared Waterloo N.Y. the birthplace of Memorial Day.
Regardless of the location of origins or the exact date, one thing is crystal clear – Memorial Day was borne out of the Civil War (which ended in 1865) and a desire to honor our dead. On the 5th of May in 1868, General John Logan who was the national commander of the Grand Army of the republic, officially proclaimed it in his General Order No. 11.
Part of the history of Memorial Day will show that in the Order, the General proclaimed, “The 30th of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” Because the day wasn't the anniversary of any particular battle, the General called it, The date of Decoration Day.
On the first Decoration Day, 5,000 participants decorated the graves of 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers buried at Arlington Cemetery while General James Garfield made a historic speech.
New York was the first state to officially recognize the holiday in 1873. It was recognized by all northern states by 1890. Differently, the South refused to acknowledge the day and honored their dead on separate days. This went on until after World War I when the holiday changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.
Honor. Remember. Never forget.
Each year on Memorial Day Americans pause to remember the fallen and honor their sacrifice. Military.com pauses to remember the sacrifice of members of the Army, Air Force, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Navy.
First established as Decoration Day after the Civil War, the holiday was set aside for families and friends to visit and decorate the graves of troops lost in the conflict.
As time went on, the observance instead became known as "Memorial Day," until 1971, when Congress declared it an official holiday set to fall annually on the last Monday in May. Read more about the history of Memorial Day.
Memorial Day vs. Veterans Day
Service members, veterans and their families know there is a big difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. While Veterans Day, Nov. 11, is a day set aside to celebrate all veterans, Memorial Day is a somber holiday dedicated to honor military fallen, with a special focus on those killed during military service or through enemy contact.
Both holidays often include parades, ceremonies and celebrations. But although Memorial Day also traditionally marks the beginning of summer with picnics and parties, many in the military community believe that at least a portion of it should be spent to mourn and honor the fallen.
With the Congressional passage of the National Holiday Act of 1971 (P.L. 90 – 363), it is now observed on the last Monday in May by almost every state.
This helped ensure a three day weekend (Memorial Day Weekend) for Federal holidays. In addition, several southern states have an additional separate day for honoring the Confederate war dead: January 19th in Texas; April 26th in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and Mississippi; May 10th in South Carolina; and June 3rd (Jefferson Davis’ birthday) in Louisiana and Tennessee .
History of Memorial Day: Red Poppies
In 1915, inspired by the poem “In Flanders Fields,” Moina Michael replied with her own poem:
We cherish too, the Poppy red That grows on fields where valor led, It seems to signal to the skies That blood of heroes never dies.
She then conceived of an idea to wear red poppies on Memorial day in honor of those who died serving the nation during war. She was the first to wear one, and sold poppies to her friends and co-workers with the money going to benefit servicemen in need. See more on the significance of the Red Poppy.
Later a Madam Guerin from France was visiting the United States and learned of this new custom started by Ms. Michael. When she returned to France she made artificial red poppies to raise money for war orphaned children and widowed women. This tradition spread to other countries. In 1921, the Franco-American Children’s League sold poppies nationally to benefit war orphans of France and Belgium. The League disbanded a year later and Madam Guerin approached the VFW for help.
Shortly before Memorial Day in 1922 the VFW became the first veterans’ organization to nationally sell poppies. Two years later their “Buddy” Poppy program was selling artificial poppies made by disabled veterans. In 1948 the US Post Office honored Ms. Michael for her role in founding the National Poppy movement by issuing a red 3 cent postage stamp with her likeness on it.
National Moment of Remembrance
Memorial day history couldn't be complete without the birth of the the “National Moment of Remembrance”, which was a resolution passed on Dec 2000 which asks that at 3 p.m. local time, for all Americans “To voluntarily and informally observe in their own way a Moment of remembrance and respect, pausing from whatever they are doing for a moment of silence or listening to ‘Taps.”
The name you seek may not be under the city you expect.
The state index pages are based on each casualty's Official Home of Record. The home of record may be the place the person entered military service or that person's residence at that time. The home of record is not always that person's birthplace, home town, or place of high school graduation. If you don't find the name where you expect, please also look under nearby larger cities or see the index pages by last name.
We don't have the authority to change the official home of record that was recorded 40 years ago, but we can correct spelling errors in information we display. More about Home of Record.
Click on a state name to see the names of casualties from that state.
No Greater Glory: The Four Chaplains and the Sinking of the USAT Dorchester
Written By: Command Sergeant Major James H. Clifford, USA-Ret.
In the early morning hours of 3 February 1943, First Sergeant Michael Warish nearly gave up hope as he floated helplessly in the freezing waters of the North Atlantic. Just minutes earlier, he and the almost 900 others aboard the USAT Dorchester were near safe waters when a German torpedo slammed into the engine room. Soon, the Dorchester began to slip under the waves.
Warish accepted his fate, fully aware that life expectancy in these cold waters was about twenty minutes. Surrounded by hundreds of his equally doomed shipmates, the blinking red lights of their life preservers reminded him of Christmas lights. Other than a burning sensation in his throat from swallowing oil-fouled salt water and some minor pain from wounds suffered when the torpedo hit, he mostly felt numb.
Resigned to losing consciousness and freezing to death shortly thereafter, his thoughts turned to the courageous and selfless acts of the four Army chaplains he witnessed just before abandoning ship. These four chaplains, according to Warish and other eyewitnesses, remained calm during the panic following the attack, first distributing life preservers and assisting others to abandon ship, then giving up their own life preservers and coming together in prayer as the ship disappeared beneath the surface.
The story of these four chaplains, a Catholic, a Jew, and two Protestants, stands out among the countless stories of commitment and bravery that make up the pantheon of the U.S. Army, as one of the finest examples of courage to God, man, and country. Each, John P. Washington, Alexander D. Goode, George L. Fox, and Clarke V. Poling, was drawn by the tragedy at Pearl Harbor to the armed forces. Each wanted more than anything else to serve God by ministering to men on the battlefield. Each felt great disappointment at being relegated to service in a rear area, in this case the airfields and installations of Greenland. Yet, each, when the moment came, did not hesitate to put others before self, courageously offering a tenuous chance of survival with the full knowledge of the consequences.
Though the chaplains had vastly different backgrounds, their similar experiences brought them together on the deck of the Dorchester. Each was tested at a young age and came to the realization that his would be a life of service to God and man. John P. Washington, born in Newark, New Jersey, on 18 July 1908, was eldest of seven children. He was the product tough of Irish neighborhoods, where he almost lost his sight to a BB gun accident, nearly died of fever, and then lost his sister Mary to a sudden illness. By the age of seven, John was on the path to the priesthood. After attending Catholic elementary and high schools, he entered the seminary in Darlington, New Jersey, and was ordained on 15 June 1935.
After short stints in two parishes, he moved to St. Stephen’s in Arlington, New Jersey. Father Washington was initially turned down by the Navy after Pearl Harbor because of his poor eyesight. Disappointed but not defeated, Washington went to the Army. This time, when it came to the eye test, he covered up his bad eye both times when reading the eye chart, correctly assuming that the doctors would be too busy to pay much attention. He hoped that God would forgive his subterfuge.
In May 1942 Father Washington left for training at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. After a month, he was posted to Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. Eager to serve overseas, he applied for a transfer. In a letter to Army Headquarters dated 23 September 1942, he wrote, “Once more may I ask you to consider my application for overseas duty. If I am being too fresh in requesting it, then slap me down.” The requests finally worked when, in November 1942, he was transferred to Camp Myles Standish in Taunton, Massachusetts, to await overseas deployment. There he met fellow Chaplains Fox, Goode, and Poling.
Alexander D. Goode was born on 10 May 1911, the son of a rabbi. When he was young, his parents divorced. He went to Eastern High School in Washington, DC, where he earned medals in tennis, swimming, and track, and was an excellent student. From his earliest days, he planned to follow in his father’s footsteps as a rabbi. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati in 1934, followed by a degree from the Hebrew Union College in 1937. Virtually penniless as a college student during the Great Depression, Alexander contemplated quitting school and giving up on his dream to become a rabbi, but he believed that it was God’s plan for him to pursue a religious vocation. For much of his youth, he served in the National Guard to help make ends meet. In 1935, he and his childhood sweetheart, Theresa Flax, daughter of a rabbi and niece of the singer and motion picture star Al Jolson, were married. His first assignment as a rabbi was in Marion, Indiana. Later, he moved to the Beth Israel synagogue of York, Pennsylvania, where he excelled in ecumenicalism, crossing the divide between religions.
In January 1941, the Navy turned down Rabbi Goode’s application to become a chaplain, but the Army Air Forces accepted him after Pearl Harbor. After training at the Harvard Chaplain School, along with classmates Fox and Poling, he was assigned to Seymour Johnson Field in Goldsboro, North Carolina, where he served until October 1942. In November 1942, he was reassigned to Camp Myles Standish.
George L. Fox was born on 15 March 1900 in Lewiston, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Altoona in a Catholic family. His rough childhood under the tyranny of an abusive father shaped him. Determined to escape, he enlisted to serve in World War I before finishing high school. He also abandoned Catholicism due to his inability to reconcile the church’s teachings with the abuse he received at home and a desire to leave his past behind. His gallant service in the Great War as a medic earned him the Silver Star, several Purple Hearts, and French Croix de Guerre.
At the end of World War I, Fox held several jobs before entering Moody Bible Institute in Illinois in 1923. Before graduation, he became an itinerant Methodist minister. While holding a student pastorate in Downs, Illinois, he entered Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, graduating with his Bachelor’s degree in 1929. While holding another student pastorate in Rye, New Hampshire, Fox enrolled in the Boston University School of Theology, graduating with a Sacrae Theologiae Baccalaureus (Bachelor of Sacred Theology) and was ordained a Methodist minister on 10 June 1934. He assumed the pastorate of a church in Waits River, soon moved on to Union Village, then Gillman, all in Vermont. By this time, he was married and had a son; a daughter followed in 1936. While in Vermont he joined the American Legion and would become state chaplain and historian.
As with the other chaplains, Pearl Harbor drew him back to the military. In July 1942, he was appointed as an Army chaplain and returned to active duty at the age of forty-two on 8 August, the same day that his son Wyatt entered the Marine Corps. After training at Harvard, he joined the 411th Coast Artillery Battalion (Antiaircraft-Gun) at Camp Davis, North Carolina, until he was ordered to Camp Myles Standish.
Clark V. Poling was born into a prominent family that had produced six generations of ministers. His father was a well-known radio evangelist and religious newspaper editor. Born on 7 August 1910, Poling was educated in Massachusetts and New York. In high school, he played football and was student body president. There was never any doubt that he would become the seventh generation of his family to enter the ministry.
After studying at Hope College in Michigan and Rutgers University in New Jersey, he entered Yale University’s School of Divinity, after which he was ordained a minister in the Reformed Church of America. His initial posting was at the First Church of Christ in New London, Connecticut, for a short time until he became pastor of the First Reformed Church in Schenectady, New York.
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, Reverend Poling volunteered to become a chaplain. Before departing for the service, his father, Dr. Daniel A. Poling, reminded him of the high casualty rate of chaplains in World War I. The younger Poling downplayed the danger, confident that God’s will was to keep him safe while he served others. He was appointed a U. S. Army Chaplain in 10 June 1942 and reported to the 131st Quartermaster Truck Regiment at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, on 25 June. Later he went on to Harvard and then to Camp Myles Standish. In November 1942, the four chaplains were all together for the first time.
The Dorchester was as austere and dank as any of the tubs ferrying troops to and from the war zone across the North Atlantic—a suitable venue for one to suffer the dreaded anxiety of an uncertain future in war or to blissfully contemplate the safety, comforts, and familial joy of home.
Originally commissioned the SS Dorchester on 20 March 1926, it was one of three identical vessels built by the Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company for the Merchants and Miners Transportation Company. As a cruise ship, it plied a regular coastal route between Miami and Boston with its crew of ninety and up to 314 passengers. She weighed in at 5,649 tons, was 368 feet long by 52 feet wide, with a 19 foot draft.
With war looming, the U.S. government requisitioned the Dorchester and had the Atlantic, Gulf and West Indies Steamship Company in New York convert her into a troop transport. Stripped of its original cruise ship luxuries, the USAT Dorchester was outfitted to carry 750 troops, with a complement of 130 crew and twenty-three Navy armed guards.
On 29 January 1943, the Dorchester departed St. John’s, Newfoundland, for its fifth north Atlantic voyage, hitting bad weather almost as soon as it entered open water. In addition to the Dorchester, the freighters Biscaya and Lutz, escorted by U. S. Coast Guard cutters USCGC Tampa, USCGC Escanaba, and USCGC Comanche comprised convoy SG 19. Its passengers included 597 soldiers and 171 civilians bound for airbases in Greenland. In its holds were one thousand tons of equipment, food, and cargo. Merchant Marine Captain Hans Danielsen skippered the ship while Army Captain Preston S. Krecker, Jr., commanded the troops. First Sergeant Warish was the senior noncommissioned officer aboard.
Warish, as the ship’s first sergeant, warranted a stateroom. As he was settling in, Father Washington, his next door neighbor, paid him a visit. As a lapsed Catholic, he was ambivalent about making the acquaintance of the priest but recognized the value of having chaplains on board during the perilous voyage. After exchanging small talk, Warish excused himself to inspect the ship.
While on his rounds, he observed the chaplains in a “football huddle” engaged in an animated discussion. Seeing Warish, they asked for his help in getting the message out about religious services and plans for an amateur talent contest, which they hoped would serve as a useful diversion for the troops who had nothing to do except worry while transiting through “Torpedo Junction,” as the stretch of dangerous waters was known.
Despite heavy security, there were few secrets in St. John’s. German authorities had become aware that convoy SG-19 was bound for Greenland, so four U-Boats took up stations along its route. One of those was U-233, on her maiden voyage, commanded by twenty-six-year-old Lieutenant Commander Karl-Jürg Wächter. In the fog and darkness of 3 February, U-233 floated on the surface as Wächter, binoculars raised to his eyes, studied the dark silhouettes of SG-19 passing in the distance.
Earlier, U-233 survived a depth charge attack brought about by the sonar indications of the escorts. When submerged, U-boats could be detected by sonar, but when on the surface, the escorts were blind to their presence because they lacked radar. As a result, Wächter used that advantage, along with the haze and darkness, to keep pace with the convoy.
All the ships of SG-19 knew that a U-boat was in the area. The evening before Captain Danielsen of the Dorchester announced over the ship’s public address system, “Now here this: This concerns every soldier. Now here this: Every soldier is ordered to sleep in his clothes and life jacket. Repeat, this is an order! We have a submarine following us…If we make it through the night, in the morning we will have air protection from Blue West One, which is the code name for the air base in Greenland, and of course, we will have protection until we reach port.”
Between the known presence of a submarine and the rough weather that necessitated cancelling the talent show, there would be little sleeping on the Dorchester that night. The weather abated enough within a few hours that the chaplains quickly threw together an impromptu party in the main mess area. Many of the soldiers attended, remaining until about 2330. First Sergeant Warish skipped the party, choosing instead to share the hardship of soldiers assigned to lookout positions out on the open deck in the thirty-six-degree weather.
The chaplains bid good night to the men by reminding them of Captain Danielsen’s warning about wearing all their clothes, including boots and gloves, along with life jackets to bed. After the party, three of the chaplains made the rounds of the ship in an attempt to raise men’s spirits. Meanwhile, Father Washington said mass in the mess area that was attended by men of many faiths.
Earlier that night, Captain Krecker had called his men together in the hold. He repeated Captain Danielsen’s earlier warning. “This will be the most dangerous part of our mission,” he said. “We’re coming through the storm and now we’re in calm waters. And they can really spot us out here.” He finished with the admonition to wear life jackets, telling the men that they were not in a “beauty contest.”
As the clock ticked past midnight, many began to breathe easier with the knowledge that they were near safe waters and would soon be under an umbrella of protection from Greenland-based planes. Warish was making the rounds among the troops. Aboard U-233, torpedo man Erich Pässler prepared to fire three torpedoes. Within minutes, the three deadly fish were in the water heading toward the shadow creeping past at a distance of 1,000 yards.
Warish had just looked at his watch when, at approximately 0055 hours, one of the torpedoes ripped into the Dorchester’s starboard side. The ensuing explosion rent a hole near the engine room from below the waterline to the top deck. The lights went out, steam pipes split, and bunks collapsed like cards one on top of another. The sounds of screaming and the smell of gunpowder and ammonia filled the air. The initial explosion killed dozens outright, and a wave of cold water entering the ship quickly drowned dozens more. Nearly one-third those aboard died in the first moments of the disaster.
Men, many of whom had disobeyed Captain Danielsen’s orders to wear their clothes and life preservers, wandered through the darkened and mangled passageways searching for their clothes. Warish lay trapped under some bunks that pinned his leg to the deck. Within a minute, the ship listed thirty degrees to starboard. Panicked men rushed topside, but many never made it through blocked passageways. Others were overcome by ammonia fumes. Those who did emerge into the freezing night faced tough choices. Several life boats could not be deployed due to the Dorchester’s dramatic list. Many others were so fouled by ice that they could not be freed before the ship went under.
In the middle of the confusion on deck was Roy Summers, a Navy gunner stationed on the Dorchester. A few months earlier, he had survived the sinking of the Dorchester’ssister ship, the Chatham, and he believed that he would survive this attack. Resigned to abandoning ship, he ran aft toward the stern, but thought better of it when he realized that jumping there would bring certain death from the still turning propellers, which had already breached the surface and claimed the lives of several who had already jumped. Turning around, he witnessed two of the chaplains handing out life vests and assisting soldiers as they slid down ropes to the sea below. One hysterical soldier grabbed a chaplain as if to choke him. Summers wrestled the soldier away from the chaplain and watched the soldier run down the deck toward the rising water and probably to his death. Summers then climbed over the railing and went down a rope into the ocean.
Elsewhere on the top deck, Father Washington gave absolution to soldiers as they went over the side. Private First Class Charles Macli, a former professional boxer, unsuccessfully urged Washington to go over the side with the men. Instead, Chaplain Washington remained aboard as Macli slid into the cold water. Another soldier, Walter Miller, saw knots of men in seemingly catatonic states bunched against the railings of the listing ship. Too afraid to jump into the sea, they awaited the inevitability of being swallowed by it. Over the din, he heard a terror-filled plaintive voice repeating, “I can’t find my life jacket.” Turning toward that voice, Miller clearly heard Chaplain Fox say, “Here’s one, soldier.” Then Miller witnessed Fox remove his life jacket and put it on the soldier. At the same time, Navy Lieutenant John Mahoney cursed himself for leaving his gloves in his quarters. Chaplain Goode stopped him from returning for the gloves, saying, “Don’t bother Mahoney. I have another pair. You can have these.” Goode then removed the gloves from his hands and gave them to Mahoney. Mahoney later realized that a man preparing to abandon ship probably would not carry a second pair of gloves.
Many of the survivors reported similar encounters with one or more of the chaplains. They seemed to be everywhere on the deck until the very end. Many survivors reported that the four chaplains locked arms and prayed in unison as the ship sank. Whether this part is accurate is unimportant, for the truth is that these four Army chaplains sacrificed themselves for the soldiers and the God that they served.
First Sergeant Warish freed himself after a ten-minute struggle. He dragged himself through the passageways and over the side in time to see the Dorchester sink below the waves just twenty-five minutes after being struck by the torpedo. After some confusion, the Coast Guard began rescue operations, saving 230 of the nearly 900 aboard and losing one Coast Guardsman in the process.
In the aftermath of the disaster, the story of the Four Chaplains garnered popular notice. Many thought that they should be awarded the Medal of Honor. Instead, on 19 December 1944, they were each awarded the Purple Heart and the Distinguished Service Cross. In 1948, the U.S. Post Service issued a commemorative stamp in their honor, and Congress designated 3 February as “Four Chaplains Day.” Twelve years later, Congress created the Four Chaplains’ Medal, which was presented to their survivors by Secretary of the Army Wilber M. Brucker on 18 January 1961 at Fort Myer, Virginia.
Today, one can find memorials to the Four Chaplains all across the nation. Several organizations exist to further their memory, including the Chapel of the Four Chaplains in Philadelphia and the Immortal Chaplains Foundation in Minnesota. Chapels, bridges, memorials, and plaques honoring the Four Chaplains are found in so many locations, including a stained glass window in the Pentagon, that it is impossible to list them all here.
First Sergeant Warish was rescued. He recovered from his injuries enough to continue serving the Army, although he suffered chronic pain for the rest of his life. He rose to the rank of sergeant major before retiring in 1963. In 2002, he was injured in a car accident and for the remaining year of his life he could only move with the help of a walker. He died in September 2003.
U-233 escaped after firing the fatal torpedo. About a year later, it was sunk by British destroyers with the loss of most of its crew. One survivor, Kurt Rosser, was interned in a Mississippi prisoner of war camp, where he picked cotton and sandbagged levees against flooding. In 2000, the Immortal Chaplains Foundation brought him and the U-233first officer, Gerhard Buske, to Washington, DC. There they attended memorial ceremonies, toured the Holocaust Museum, and visited with Theresa Goode Kaplan, widow of Chaplain Goode, who reluctantly accepted the visitors’ expressions of respect for her husband and regret for her suffering. Four years later, Buske spoke at the foundation’s sixtieth-anniversary ceremony, saying, “we ought to love when others hate…we can bring faith where doubt threatens; we can awaken hope where despair exists; we can light up a light where darkness reigns; we can bring joy where sorrow dominates.” Those words, as well as any, represent the lessons of the Four Chaplains
About The Army Historical Foundation
The Army Historical Foundation is the designated official fundraising organization for the National Museum of the United States Army. We were established in 1983 as a member-based, charitable 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. We seek to educate future Americans to fully appreciate the sacrifices that generations of American Soldiers have made to safeguard the freedoms of this Nation. Our funding helps to acquire and conserve Army historical art and artifacts, support Army history educational programs, research, and publication of historical materials on the American Soldier, and provide support and counsel to private and governmental organizations committed to the same goals.
From Reversespins.comNote from Bob Barney: Isn't it strange how everything we do is awash in paganism? We can't follow God's holidays, but somehow we can find every way to observe a bunch of witch doctors holidays-- and then call it Christian!
Secret Sun, March 17 is the day generally believed to be the death of St. Patrick, the British-born missionary who is credited with converting Ireland to Christianity. And as I wrote in one of my first posts on this blog:
In Egyptian mythology, Osiris was killed on the 17th day of Athyr, the third month of the ancient calendar.
3/17 is also the date of a Masonically-created holiday, St. Patrick’s Day. The story has it that the holiday was established by high level Freemason, George Washington, allegedly to reward Irish soldiers in the Continental Army. But “St. Paddy’s” has traditionally been a very minor Saint’s day in Ireland. Considering that the day has become America’s defacto Bacchanal (which takes us back to Osiris) it’s worth noting some of the parallels of this day with Solar mythology.
• Osiris was believed to be the source of barley, which was used for brewing beer in Egypt.
St. Patrick preaches to the Celtic High King of Ireland. Stained glass, St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Macon, GA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
St. Patrick kept Saturday as the sabbath. During the first century the Roman Empire did not extend into Scotland and Ireland. The Roman Empire made several attempts to conquer Scotland to no avail. The Romans eventually build a wall between Scotland and England called Adrian Wall. Remnants of that wall are still present today. Therefore the beliefs of the early Catholic Church did not get infiltrated into Scotland and Ireland until must later in History. Below are 4 Historical references proving that Saturday not Sunday was kept as the day of worship in Ireland and Scotland.
1) Historian A. C. Flick writes: “The Celts used a Latin Bible unlike the Vulgate, and kept Saturday as a day of rest, with special religious services on Sunday.” The Rise of the Medieval Church, page 237, Flick.
2) “It seems to have been customary in the Celtic churches of early times, in Ireland as well as Scotland, to keep Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath, as a day of rest from labor. They obeyed the fourth commandment literally upon the seventh day of the week.” The Church in Scotland, page140, James C. Moffatt, D.D.
3) “In this latter instance they seemed to have followed a custom of which we find traces in the early monastic church of Ireland by which they held Saturday to be the Sabbathon which they rested from all their labours.” Adamnan Life of St. Columba, page 96), W.T. Skene
4) From the Catholic historian, T. Ratcliffe Barnett, on the Catholic queen of Scotland: “In this matter the Scots had perhaps kept up the traditional usage of the ancient Irish Church WHICH OBSERVED SATURDAY INSTEAD OF SUNDAY AS THE DAY OF REST.”
The history of God's faithful people during the ages of Rome's supremacy are written in heaven, but they have little place in human history books. Rome endeavors to write history to show herself in the best light. But the stories can still be found.
Here is the story of St. Patrick and the Christianity he and his converts established in Northern Briton.
The Irish "Celtic" people trace their conversion to Christianity to Patrick, who came to them early in the fifth century:
It all began when the great empire of Roman declined and its legions were withdrawn from the defense of the British Continent. From the north the Irish, then called Scots, began swooping down on the English coast, sailing up the rivers, raiding the settlements, and carrying off plunder and slaves. Among those captured was a young man named Patrick. So Ireland's patron saint was not Irish! Patrick had been reared in a Christian home. His father was a deacon. Yet Patrick did not take religion serious until he was captured and sat as a swineherd in a foreign country. Here he began to pray for his freedom. His conversion dates from this captivity. "The Lord opened to me the sense of my unbelief," he says. After six years he managed to escape and found his way to the coast where he boarded a ship carrying a cargo of hounds.
He would have gladly remained in England had he not had a dream one night in which the babies of Ireland pleaded with him to come back to their country and tell them about Christ. Patrick decided to return, but first he had to learn more about Christianity. Ordained a priest, at length he was sent out, to be a missionary to the people among whom he had once been a slave. He was appointed, sometime after 431A.D., as successor to St. Palladius, first bishop of Ireland.
From this point we have only legends. We know, however, that a century later the entire structure of the church in Ireland was monastic. Presumably, the monastic community, maintaining itself on the land, fitted the agricultural communities of the Celts better than the parish-church system, which was more common elsewhere.
We also know that Ireland became the base for the evangelization of Britain. In fact one historian (Thomas Bokenkotter, A Concise History Of The Catholic Church, p. 94), says that "these Irish monks were the leading missionaries of the age, and they carried their monastic ideal across the length and breadth of Europe in the sixth and seventh centuries."
Then in the 6th century the Roman pope sent Augustine (of Canterbury) to evangelize the Anglo Saxons. So the missionaries from Rome were working up from the south, while the missionaries from Ireland and Scotland were working from the north. As they worked, the papal missionaries and their converts met the primitive Christians from the north. There was a striking contrasted between them. The northern Christians were simple, humble, while the papal representatives manifested the pomp and arrogance of popery. The later demanded that these Christian churches acknowledge the supremacy of the sovereign pontiff. The Britons meekly replied that they desired to love all men, but that the pope was not entitled to supremacy in the church, and they could render to him only that submission which was due to every follower of Christ. They acknowledged no other master than Christ.
According to Merle D'Aubigne, in History of the Reformation of the Sixteenth Century, b. 17, ch. 2, the Roman missionaries said, "If you will not unite with us in showing the Saxons the way of life, you shall receive from them the stroke of death."
Did you know that Patrick may very well have been a Seventh-day Sabbath keeper.
In 45 B.C., New Year’s Day is celebrated on January 1 for the first time in history as the Julian calendar takes effect.
Soon after becoming Roman dictator, Julius Caesar decided that the traditional Roman calendar was in dire need of reform. Introduced around the seventh century B.C., the Roman calendar attempted to follow the lunar cycle but frequently fell out of phase with the seasons and had to be corrected. In addition, the pontifices, the Roman body charged with overseeing the calendar, often abused its authority by adding days to extend political terms or interfere with elections.
In designing his new calendar, Caesar enlisted the aid of Sosigenes, an Alexandrian astronomer, who advised him to do away with the lunar cycle entirely and follow the solar year, as did the Egyptians. The year was calculated to be 365 and 1/4 days, and Caesar added 67 days to 45 B.C., making 46 B.C. begin on January 1, rather than in March. He also decreed that every four years a day be added to February, thus theoretically keeping his calendar from falling out of step. Shortly before his assassination in 44 B.C., he changed the name of the month Quintilis to Julius (July) after himself. Later, the month of Sextilis was renamed Augustus (August) after his successor.
Celebration of New Year’s Day in January fell out of practice during the Middle Ages, and even those who strictly adhered to the Julian calendar did not observe the New Year exactly on January 1. The reason for the latter was that Caesar and Sosigenes failed to calculate the correct value for the solar year as 365.242199 days, not 365.25 days. Thus, an 11-minute-a-year error added seven days by the year 1000, and 10 days by the mid-15th century.
The Roman church became aware of this problem, and in the 1570s Pope Gregory XIII commissioned Jesuit astronomer Christopher Clavius to come up with a new calendar. In 1582, the Gregorian calendar was implemented, omitting 10 days for that year and establishing the new rule that only one of every four centennial years should be a leap year. Since then, people around the world have gathered en masse on January 1 to celebrate the precise arrival of the New Year.
Forward By Bob Barney: The Bible makes it clear that God's New Year starts in the springtime and so, the first month of God's calendar begins in the springtime, probably on or near the spring equinox. The January 1st date comes from Caesar and Rome. There is nothing inherently wrong with it, but it isn't "Christ's" circumcision date! We should be aware of "why we do what we do!"
The celebration of the new year on January 1st is a relatively new phenomenon. The earliest recording of a new year celebration is believed to have been in Mesopotamia, c. 2000 B.C. and was celebrated around the time of the vernal equinox, in mid-March. A variety of other dates tied to the seasons were also used by various ancient cultures. The Egyptians, Phoenicians, and Persians began their new year with the fall equinox, and the Greeks celebrated it on the winter solstice.
Early Roman Calendar: March 1st Rings in the New Year
The early Roman calendar designated March 1 as the new year. The calendar had just ten months, beginning with March. That the new year once began with the month of March is still reflected in some of the names of the months. September through December, our ninth through twelfth months, were originally positioned as the seventh through tenth months (septem is Latin for "seven," octo is "eight," novem is "nine," and decem is "ten.
Most nations around the world hold that the New Year begins on January 1. This wasn’t always the case. In fact, for centuries, other dates marked the start of the calendar, including March 21 (The spring Equinox- which, according to God's Calendar, is the true New Year's Day!) and December 25. So how did January 1 become New Year’s Day? Well you can thank the pagan Romans first, and the equally pagan Catholic Church next!
The first mention of using this date goes back to the Roman king Numa Pompilius. According to tradition, during his reign (c. 715–673 BC) Numa revised the Roman republican calendar so that January replaced March as the first month. Notice, even at this time, the entire world was still following Go's calendar, with March being the New Year! It took the evolution of paganism (Satanism) to replace God's true calendar with that of pagan gods... It was a fitting choice, since January was named after Janus, the Roman god of all beginnings; March celebrated Mars, the god of war. (Some sources claim that Numa also created the month of January.) However, there is evidence that January 1 was not made the official start of the Roman year until 153 BC.
In 46 BC, Julius Caesar introduced more changes, though the Julian calendar, as it became known, retained January 1 as the year’s opening date. With the expansion of the Roman Empire, the use of the Julian calendar also spread. However, following the fall of Rome in the 5th century CE, many Christian countries altered the calendar so that it was more reflective of their religion, and March 25 (the Feast of the Annunciation) and December 25 (Christmas) became common New Year’s Days. They chose March 25th, because that calendar was off by 4 days a year. They had the equinox on March 25th, and the winter solstice (now Dec 21st) on December 25th.
In designing his new calendar, Caesar enlisted the aid of the Alexandrian astronomer, Sosigenes, who advised him to do away with the lunar calendar and follow the solar year, as did the Egyptians. The year was calculated to be 365 and 1/4 days, and Caesar added 67 days to 46 B.C., making 45 B.C. begin on January 1, rather than in March. He also decreed that every four years a day be added to February, thus theoretically keeping his calendar from falling out of step. Shortly after Caesar was assassinated in 44 B.C., Mark Anthony changed the name of the month Quintilis to Julius (July) to honor him. Later, the month of Sextilis was renamed Augustus (August) after his successor.
The true Christian Church, that was founded by Jesus and the Apostles frowned upon these pagan rituals, and that church stayed with the TRUE CALENDAR ordained by God! A great false Christian Church, which started in Rome, was a pagan church, originally worshippers of the God Mythra! This false church created the ecclesiastical calendar that we follow today. Scholars know that Jesus wasn't born in December, even the Biblical account of shepherds watching over their flocks in the fields – which would not have happened in winter – make a winter birth unlikely. But celebrating Jesus birth’ during the time of the existing pagan celebration of the solstice was convenient and the Church usurped the holiday.
It later became clear that the Julian calendar required additional changes due to a 4 day miscalculation concerning leap years. The cumulative effect of this error over the course of several centuries caused various events to take place in the wrong season. It also created problems when determining the date of pagan Easter. Thus, Pope Gregory XIII introduced a revised calendar in 1582. In addition to solving the issue with leap years, the Gregorian calendar restored January 1 as the start of the New Year. While Italy, France, and Spain were among the countries that immediately accepted the new calendar, Protestant and Orthodox nations were slow to adopt it. Great Britain and its American colonies did not begin following the Gregorian calendar until 1752. Before then they celebrated New Year’s Day on March 25.
Over time non-Christian countries also began to use the Gregorian calendar. China (1912) is a notable example, though it continued to celebrate the Chinese New Year according to a lunar calendar. In fact, many countries that follow the Gregorian calendar also have other traditional or religious calendars. Some nations never adopted the Gregorian calendar and thus start the year on dates other than January 1. Ethiopia, for example, celebrates its New Year (known as Enkutatash) in September.
So this is why January 1 is the New Year! Once again, the so-called modern world continues to follow the traditions of the pagan world of antiquity.... Think about that......
Yes you read that right! A Nativity Scene that predates the human form of Christ by 2500 Years! Christmas is NOT a Christian Holiday--- IT IS A PAGAN ONE, complete with the fertility symbols of mistletoe, evergreen trees decorated with symbols of human balls!
Ancient cave art in the Egyptian Sahara desert depicts two parents, a baby and a star in the east.
Here is the story:
Italian researchers have discovered what might be the oldest nativity scene ever found — 5,000-year-old rock art that depicts a star in the east, a newborn between parents and two animals.
The scene, painted in reddish-brown ochre, was found on the ceiling of a small cavity in the Egyptian Sahara desert, during an expedition to sites between the Nile valley and the Gilf Kebir Plateau.
"It's a very evocative scene which indeed resembles the Christmas nativity. But it predates it by some 3,000 years," geologist Marco Morelli, director of the Museum of Planetary Sciences in Prato, near Florence, Italy, told Seeker.
Morelli found the cave drawing in 2005, but only now his team has decided to reveal the amazing find.
"The discovery has several implications as it raises new questions on the iconography of one of the more powerful Christian symbols," Morelli said.
In the early 17th century, a wave of religious reform changed the way Christmas was celebrated in Europe. When Oliver Cromwell and his Puritan forces took over England in 1645, they vowed to rid England of decadence and, as part of their effort, cancelled Christmas. By popular demand, Charles II was restored to the throne and, with him, came the return of the popular holiday.
The pilgrims, English separatists that came to America in 1620, were even more orthodox in their Puritan beliefs than Cromwell. As a result, Christmas was not a holiday in early America. From 1659 to 1681, the celebration of Christmas was actually outlawed in Boston. Anyone exhibiting the Christmas spirit was fined five shillings. By contrast, in the Jamestown settlement, Captain John Smith reported that Christmas was enjoyed by all and passed without incident.
After the American Revolution, English customs fell out of favor, including Christmas. In fact, Congress was in session on December 25, 1789, the first Christmas under America’s new constitution. Christmas wasn’t declared a federal holiday until June 26, 1870.
THIS IS AMERICAN HISTORY TV, EXPLORING OUR NATION'S PAST EVERY WEEKEND ON C-SPANTHREE. NEXT, THE CLARA BARTON MUSEUM HOSTS DOCENT BRAD STONE FOR A LOOK AT CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS FROM THE COLONIAL ERA THROUGH THE CIVIL WAR. MR. STONE ALSO TALKS ABOUT THE POLITICAL ROLE OF CHRISTMAS IN AMERICA. AT 8:00 P.M. EASTERN, ITS LECTURES IN HISTORY. WE VISIT THE IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY CLASSROOM OF PROFESSOR CARMEN BAINES TO LEARN ABOUT WOMEN'S WORK ON FAMILY FARMS DURING THE 20TH CENTURY. AND AT 10:00 P.M. ON "REAL AMERICA," A FILM ABOUT ARTIST NORMAN ROCKWELL -- ON "REEL AMERICA."
The information on this 54 minute program is for those readers wishing to know why we do what we do! There is ignorance of our history, that the liberal schools want! They don't want you to know the Plain Truth and facts of history.
This video will...
explain why Washington picked Christmas Day to attack the British...
Why most patriots abhorred "British Christmas"
and exactly where modern Christmas "traditions" began....
10 Hear ye the word which the Lord speaketh unto you, O house of Israel:
2 Thus saith the Lord, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them.
3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.
4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.
Yes, those words are in every Bible printed, even your copy! Be honest with yourself when you read the following Plain Truth Article about Christmas!
Christmas is celebrated on December 25 and is both a sacred religious holiday and a worldwide cultural and commercial phenomenon. For two millennia, people around the world have been observing it with traditions and practices that are both religious and secular in nature. Christians celebrate Christmas Day as the anniversary of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, a spiritual leader whose teachings form the basis of their religion. Popular customs include exchanging gifts, decorating Christmas trees, attending church, sharing meals with family and friends and, of course, waiting for Santa Claus to arrive. December 25–Christmas Day–has been a federal holiday in the United States since 1870.
How Did Christmas Start?
The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.
In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.
In Rome, where winters were not as harsh as those in the far north, Saturnalia—a holiday in honor of Saturn, the god of agriculture—was celebrated on December 25th. Beginning in the week leading up to the winter solstice and continuing for a full month, Saturnalia was a hedonistic time, when food and drink were plentiful and the normal Roman social order was turned upside down. For a month, slaves would become masters. Peasants were in command of the city. Business and schools were closed so that everyone could join in the fun.
Also around the time of the winter solstice, Romans observed Juvenalia, a feast honoring the children of Rome. In addition, members of the upper classes often celebrated the birthday of Mithra, the god of the unconquerable sun, on December 25. It was believed that Mithra, an infant god, was born of a rock. For some Romans, Mithra’s birthday was the most sacred day of the year.
So when Christianity became the official religion in a sense, in Rome, they were able to fix this date. ... There's a little discrepancy about it but there's no question that the fact that it was celebrated in Rome as an important day with gift giving, candle lighting, and singing and decorating houses really cemented Christmas as December 25."
Another custom we can thank the pagans for? Christmas trees. Historian Kenneth Davis explained that the evergreen trees signaled the "return of life" and "light" as the winter solstice meant the days were starting to get longer.
"They started to hang an apple on it, so little red balls on green trees — get the picture here? ... So all of these things celebrate the idea that life and light are coming back into the world, which is essentially what Christmas means to Christians around the world."
Mistletoe, though, that was started by the Druids, who believed it was an all-powerful healing item from the sacred oak tree.
The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
Christmas hasn't always been a popular holiday: In the Middle Ages, it was overshadowed by the Epiphany, which commemorates the visit of the three Wise Men. It gained prominence after 800 A.D., when Charlemagne was crowned emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas Day. In 17th century England, the Puritan government banned Christmas outright for 18 years, claiming it was a wasteful, sinful festival which went against true Christian values. Christmas mass was a punishable offence, as were hanging holly, dancing and feasting.
In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Oden, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people, and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.
"If you met someone in the forest you gave them the sign of peace under the mistletoe so people started to hang mistletoe above their doorways as a symbol of peace. This was such a powerful symbol of paganism that English churches actually banned the use of it," Davis said.
Davis also pointed out that the very first instance of a "war on Christmas" actually dates back to the Puritans in the mid-17th century.
"They knew all of these things, the date, the traditions, were pagan ideas. The Puritans banned Christmas for 20 years in America before the celebration became just too popular."
In fact, most of America never celebrated Christmas at first, not just the Puritans. It wasn’t until the 19th century that Americans began to embrace Christmas. Americans re-invented Christmas, and changed it from a raucous carnival holiday into a family-centered day of peace and nostalgia. But what about the 1800s piqued American interest in the holiday?
The early 19th century was a period of class conflict and turmoil. During this time, unemployment was high and gang rioting by the disenchanted classes often occurred during the Christmas season. In 1828, the New York city council instituted the city’s first police force in response to a Christmas riot. This catalyzed certain members of the upper classes to begin to change the way Christmas was celebrated in America.In 1819, best-selling author Washington Irving wrote The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon, gent., a series of stories about the celebration of Christmas in an English manor house. The sketches feature a squire who invited the peasants into his home for the holiday. In contrast to the problems faced in American society, the two groups mingled effortlessly. In Irving’s mind, Christmas should be a peaceful, warm-hearted holiday bringing groups together across lines of wealth or social status. Irving’s fictitious celebrants enjoyed “ancient customs,” including the crowning of a Lord of Misrule. Irving’s book, however, was not based on any holiday celebration he had attended—in fact, many historians say that Irving’s account actually “invented” tradition by implying that it described the true customs of the season.
Also around this time, English author Charles Dickens created the classic holiday tale, A Christmas Carol. The story’s message-the importance of charity and good will towards all humankind-struck a powerful chord in the United States and England and showed members of Victorian society the benefits of celebrating the holiday.
The family was also becoming less disciplined and more sensitive to the emotional needs of children during the early 1800s. Christmas provided families with a day when they could lavish attention-and gifts-on their children without appearing to “spoil” them.
Although it outlasted the Puritans, Christmas remained frowned-upon for decades in some parts of America, and didn't become a legally recognized federal holiday until 1870. By that time, the Victorians had revolutionized the yuletide season, steering it away from bawdy revelling towards gift-giving, with many of the recognizable symbols and rituals we know today.
As Americans began to embrace Christmas as a perfect family holiday, old customs were unearthed. People looked toward recent immigrants and Catholic and Episcopalian churches to see how the day should be celebrated. In the next 100 years, Americans built a Christmas tradition all their own that included pieces of many other customs, including decorating trees, sending holiday cards and gift-giving.
Although most families quickly bought into the idea that they were celebrating Christmas how it had been done for centuries, Americans had really re-invented a holiday to fill the cultural needs of a growing nation.
Is Christmas Really the Day Jesus Was Born?
In the early years of Christianity, the birth of Jesus was not celebrated. The Bible offers few clues: Celebrations of Jesus’ Nativity are not mentioned in the Gospels or Acts; the date is not given, not even the time of year. Why did the early Catholic Church adopt the pagan holiday of Christmas? Tertullian railed against the entire season as a time of wholly heathen practices. In the fourth century, church officials decided to institute the birth of Jesus as a holiday. Unfortunately, the Bible does not mention date for his birth (a fact Puritans later pointed out in order to deny the legitimacy of the celebration). Although some evidence suggests that his birth may have occurred in the spring (why would shepherds be herding in the middle of winter?), but The Plain Truth believes that Christ was born during the seventh month. Either the Feast of Trumpets, Day of Atonement, or during the Feast itself.
Pope Julius I chose December 25. It is commonly believed that the church chose this date in an effort to adopt and absorb the traditions of the pagan Saturnalia festival. First called the Feast of the Nativity, the custom spread to Egypt by 432 and to England by the end of the sixth century.
Santa or Satan- Is it just in the spelling?
The popular-culture perception of Santa Claus typically involves images of elves, reindeer and the North Pole. However, the white-bearded figure associated with Christianity’s major holiday has pagan roots.
For those unfamiliar with the origins of Santa Claus, here are five influences associated with the folk figure:
Santa Claus is primarily linked to St. Nicholas, the Greek bishop of Myra, a Roman town in Turkey. St. Nicholas lived during the third and fourth centuries; Between 1200 and 1500, gift-giving celebrations took place on St. Nicholas’ Day, Dec. 6. After the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic saint lost prominence, but the tradition continued. This time, the gift giving was attributed to baby Jesus. Since the infant could carry only so many presents, he was given a helper who encouraged good behavior from children -- and threatened them with kidnappings or whippings otherwise.
St. Nicholas is commonly linked to Odin, the ruler of Asgard, one of the major gods in Germanic mythology who was depicted as a white-bearded man with magical powers. However, Odin’s ties to Santa Claus may be more pronounced. The winter solstice, also known as Yule, was a time when Odin led a hunting party, known as the Wild Hunt, in the sky with an eight-legged horse named Sleipnir. The 13th century Poetic Edda said the mythical horse could leap great distances -- a trait reindeer possess. Children would leave their boots by the chimney filled with carrots and hay to feed Sleipnir. Legend has it that whenever Odin flew by he would leave gifts by their boots, as About.com noted.
After Christianity took hold, this practice was later adopted in relation to St. Nicholas. Children would leave their shoes on the windowsill or bedroom door on the evening of Dec. 5 for the saint to reward them with nuts, fruits and sweets, as CatholicCulture.org pointed out.
Santa Claus Has the Habits of a Pedophile
In America, people are constantly on guard against the sexual violation of children. Yet, when it comes to Santa Claus, we soften our defense. When we listen to the song Santa Claus is Coming to Town, several red flags are set off. Consider the following lyrics: “he sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake”. The question is: from where is Santa watching?! From outside our children’s bedroom window in a ski mask? Or did he place a small camera inside a teddy bear – and he is watching from a white van around the block?
The entire profile of Santa Claus would merit a criminal investigation if it belonged to anyone else. After all, he is a grown man who devotes all of his vigor to other people’s children. Does that sound normal to you?! Go ahead: try going to a playground and handing out “gifts” to random youth. It will take all but 2.5 seconds before their parents intervene and suspect you of being a pervert. So why is that we teach our children that a strange man slides down the chimney in the middle of the night to distribute presents?! In a roundabout way, we are normalizing the foreign surveillance of children in the name of ‘discipline’.
Some complain about the war on Christmas—an attempt to remove the holiday from its Christian roots. But in reality, Christmas it is a celebration that has snowballed from our earliest cultures, gathering new meanings and rituals as it's travelled across the world and through time. That might alarm some, but it shouldn't—after all, not even the hard-grafting Puritans could stop the irresistible pull of the holiday. Christmas' popularity around the globe has given us a common language and a sense of shared identity. Even pre-Christian winter festivals celebrated coming together, the emergence of new life and the triumph of light over darkness.
Regardless of fond memories or whether "everyone does it," a true Christian will reject Christmas, not only because of the commercialism, the pagan influence, and the impossibility of Jesus being born mid-winter, but more fundamentally because Christ refuses to have any part with idolatry (2 Corinthians 6:15–16). Christ was never part of Christmas and He will not be "put back" in Christmas. In reality Christmas should be called X-MASS!
God commands us to "learn not the way of the heathen" (Jeremiah 10:2, KJV), reveals that pagan celebrations are abominations to Him (Jeremiah 10:3–4; Ezekiel 8:13–14), and tells us not to change what was taught through Christ and the Apostles (2 Thessalonians 2:15). Once this truth is understood, a true Christian will shudder at the idea of celebrating Christmas, realizing that these winter solstice celebrations are indeed Satan's celebrations.
On the evening of Oct. 5, 1843, things were looking bleak for 31-year-old Charles Dickens. Even though he was the superstar author of the wildly popular “The Pickwick Papers” and “The Adventures of Oliver Twist” – and that evening’s keynote speaker at an important charitable event – inside the man was in turmoil.
As young celebrities often do, Dickens (the father of five) had overspent. After a string of successful books, the great writer suddenly seemed to lose his way. He produced a couple of duds – and then slipped into debt.
Debt was a particularly horrifying prospect for Dickens. As a boy he watched his father go to jail for unpaid bills, a searing experience of which he would write, “I never afterwards forgot, I shall never forget, I never can forget.”
By 1843, Dickens was mired in woes. “[H]is marriage was troubled, his career tottering, his finances ready to collapse,” writes Les Standiford. The fabled author was even asking himself if he should give up fiction writing.
What happened next seems a kind of Victorian-era Christmas miracle.
After making his speech, Dickens wandered disconsolately through the dark streets of Manchester. But as he walked, an idea for a story suddenly came to him. If he could quickly turn that story into a book – a Christmas story in time for the season – perhaps he could earn £1,000. Such a sum, he reckoned, might extricate him from debt.
So, as Standiford recounts in The Man Who Invented Christmas: How Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ Rescued His Career and Revived Our Holiday Spirits, in just six weeks Dickens sat down and wrote a classic of Western literature.
There are so many Christmas traditions in the US! Where did they all come from? America is often called a “melting pot” and its Christmas traditions can be seen the same way! It is a country of immigrants from all over the world who each brought their culture’s unique traditions to the New World. Read on to find out how Americans came to celebrate with Santa Claus, stockings, trees, gifts and more!
We are all familiar with at least a portion of the mysterious mistletoe's story: namely, that a lot of kissing under the mistletoe has been going on for ages. Few, however, realize that mistletoe's botanical story earns it the classification of "parasite." Fewer still are privy to the convoluted history behind the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. And its literary history is a forgotten footnote for all but the most scholarly.
Here were kept up the old games of hoodman blind, shoe the wild mare, hot cockles, steal the white loaf, bob apple, and snap dragon; the Yule-clog and Christmas candle were regularly burnt, and the mistletoe with its white berries hung up, to the imminent peril of all the pretty housemaids.
So Washington Irving, in "Christmas Eve," relates the typical festivities surrounding the Twelve Days of Christmas, including kissing under the mistletoe (Washington Irving, The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon, Gent). Irving continues his Christmas passage with a footnote:
"The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases."
We moderns have conveniently forgotten the part about plucking the berries (which, incidentally, are poisonous), and then desisting from kissing under the mistletoe when the berries run out!
Yesterday, Dec. 7, 1941 - a date which will live in infamy - the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.
The United States was at peace with that nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with the government and its emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific.
Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in Oahu, the Japanese ambassador to the United States and his colleagues delivered to the Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. While this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or armed attack.
It will be recorded that the distance of Hawaii from Japan makes it obvious that the attack was deliberately planned many days or even weeks ago. During the intervening time, the Japanese government has deliberately sought to deceive the United States by false statements and expressions of hope for continued peace.
The attack yesterday on the Hawaiian islands has caused severe damage to American naval and military forces. Very many American lives have been lost. In addition, American ships have been reported torpedoed on the high seas between San Francisco and Honolulu.
Yesterday, the Japanese government also launched an attack against Malaya.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Hong Kong.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked Guam.
Last night, Japanese forces attacked the Philippine Islands.
Last night, the Japanese attacked Wake Island.
This morning, the Japanese attacked Midway Island.
Japan has, therefore, undertaken a surprise offensive extending throughout the Pacific area. The facts of yesterday speak for themselves. The people of the United States have already formed their opinions and well understand the implications to the very life and safety of our nation.
As commander in chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense.
Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces - with the unbounding determination of our people - we will gain the inevitable triumph - so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.