Category Archives: Historical

How to Rate Our Presidents?

I just ran across an article published earlier in February that ranks the U.S. presidents according to a survey of 91 presidential historians as reported by C-SPAN.  This updates the last C-SPAN survey compiled in 2009. The best and the worst haven’t changed since that previous survey.  These historians consider the top presidents to be

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The Second Great London Fire

I recently ran across a news item that on December 29, 1940, the German Luftwaffe bombed London on the 114th straight night of “The Blitz” during World War II.  The results were devastating, setting off what some called the “Second Great London Fire” (the first being in 1666).  Almost a third of the  city was

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The Scottish Rebel in “Hail to the Chief”

When this nation was founded, everything started at zero, including a personal song for the president.  George Washington was partial to “Hail, Columbia”, probably because it included the lines “Let Washington’s great name/ring through the world with loud applause”, but that never caught on.  Thomas Jefferson tried “Jefferson and Liberty”, but it didn’t survive past

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What Else is Christmas Famous For?

I hope everyone had a joyous Christmas.   Of course, life goes on during a holiday season, and I started wondering what else has happened at Christmas throughout history.  Here are seven noteworthy events.  Pope Leo III crowned Charlemagne “emperor of the Romans” during a ceremony at St. Peter’s Basilica (800).  This event restored the Western

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Memorializing the Unthinkable

One of the most profound parts of my visit to Berlin in September, 2015 was seeing the “Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe”.  At first glance it seems like a great expanse of concrete blocks.  But start walking, and the smaller blocks on the periphery become larger and larger as you find yourself descending

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Racism in the Legal System

Have you ever heard of the legal case Batson vs. Kentucky? Few people have.  Yet this was a major legal landmark in the legal system; this case determined that a prosecutor cannot use peremptory challenges to remove a juror from a jury pool based on race. A bit of explanation — potential jurors are examined

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Pearl Harbor and Virtual Reality

Today is December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day, the “Day That Will Live in Infamy”.    I’ve just learned of a new way to remember how we entered World War II.  There is a virtual reality app, Remembering Pearl Harbor, being advertised by Life VR.  My technical expertise is pretty limited, so all I can tell you

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What Was the First Thanksgiving Like?

Sometimes we assume holidays have always been the way we experience them, but Thanksgiving is a good example of how you can’t view historical events through a contemporary lens.  I took time out from eating and football-watching to check my email, and I found details about that first celebration on today’s Time magazine News Brief. 

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