Remember the Reason For Memorial Day
May 30, 2011

tombofunknown

Revolutionary War 1775 to 1783 4,435 US dead

War of 1812 1812 to 1815 2,260 US dead

Mexican War 1846 to 1848 1,773 US dead

Civil War 1861 to 1865 approx. 600,000 USA/CSA dead

Spanish Amer. War 1898 2,446 US dead

WWI 1917 -1918 116, 516 US dead

WWII 1941-1945 405, 399 US dead

Korean War 1950-1953 36, 914 US dead

Vietnam War 1958-1973 58, 167 US dead

War on Terrorists 2001 to present nearly 3000 sept 11, 2001

Iraq/Afghanistan approx 5900

Normandy Cemetery

Normandy Cemetery

Today, we hear on TV that Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer more than we hear of it’s original meaning.  According to this article concerning The history of Memorial Day, it’s origins go back to the close of the Civil War, though in what many may consider an unexpected manner: 

“Yale University historian David Blight places the first Memorial Day in April 1865, when a group of former slaves gathered at a Charleston, S.C., horse track turned Confederate prison where more than 250 Union soldiers had died. Digging up the soldiers’ mass grave, they interred the bodies in individual graves, built a 100-yd. fence around them and erected an archway over the entrance bearing the words “Martyrs of the Race Course.” On May 1, 1865, some 10,000 black Charleston residents, white missionaries, teachers, schoolchildren and Union troops marched around the Planters’ Race Course, singing and carrying armfuls of roses. Gathering in the graveyard, the crowd watched five black preachers recite scripture and a children’s choir sing spirituals and  ‘The Star-Spangled Banner.'”

 To be sure, there were Memorial Day activities for both the soldiers of the Union and the Confederacy in both the North and South. Eventually, the individual events were combined and in the 20th century became recognized as a day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in their service to our nation. In your time of barbecue, family gatherings and fun…take a moment to remember those who have made it possible for you to have such a holiday. It is not just a day off from work, but instead is a day of remembrance and thanks to the men, women and families who laid such a sacrifice on the altar of liberty. Snow White and I have attended the services at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery. I don’t know anyone who has died though we did visit the final resting place of her uncle’s cousin who lost his life on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor. He was just 19. No, we went to pay our respects for all of those in our American brotherhood whose graves remind us that our freedom was paid for by others. We should not take it for granted nor as something that is a right or something that is perpetual. It is a privilege and must be fought for to maintain. Lest we forget….

A Wild Life and Death For President Zachary Taylor
July 9, 2010

Old Rough and Ready's Military Success Made For a Good Campaign Poster

On This Date in HistoryZachary Taylor was in interesting president.  He had been a very successful general in the Mexican War  and “Old Rough and Ready,” as his soliders called him, became a national war hero.  As a career military man, he had never been involved in politics, though some thought he was most associated with the Whigs.  I”m not sure that there is any record of his ever voting.  So, no one knew with certainty which political party he as aligned.  Northerners liked him because of his military background while  Southerners loved the fact that he owned about 100 slaves.  In the 1848 election, the Free Soil Party arose with their pure anti-slavery position and they nominated former President Martin Van Buren whose nicknames were “The Little Magician” and “Old Kinderhook.”   The Democrats nominated Lewis Cass while Taylor was the choice of the Whig Party.  Taylor won the 3 way race as his battlefield prowess proved sufficient to propel him to the Presidency.  Taylor’s came a few months after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that ended the Mexican War and he assumed the Presidency by taking the role as Commander in Chief very seriously and literally. 

Taylor's Aggressive Style As A General Spilled Over Into His Role As Commander In Chief

During the Mexican War, he consistently showed aggressiveness of command.  The objective of the United States in the Mexican War was simply to get the Mexican government to negotiate a resolution to the question over the border of Texas.  So, when Taylor was victorious at Matamoras, he waited for the Mexicans to back off.  They didn’t so he invaded Mexico.   Then he occupied Monterrey and negotiated a truce.  That truce was rejected by Washington.  A new truce was not consumated, but instead,  Taylor went on the offensive again resulting in more victories.  President Polk realized that Taylor was getting pretty popular at home and did not want him getting any more glory because Polk feared Taylor as a potential Whig candidate for President.  So, he took away Taylor’s best soldiers and ordered them redeployed to General Winfield Scott’s Army.  With a force of just 5000, Polk figured Taylor would be unable to foray deeper into Mexico, thus denying him more publicity at home.  But, Mexican President Santa Anna got wind of Taylor’s weakened force and attacked him with 20,000 men a Buena Vista.  Old Rough and Ready guided his men to another big victory.  Polk had made Taylor an even bigger hero than he had been before.

Taylor's Military Record Could Also Be Spun Against Him In An Election Year

When Taylor took office in March 1849, the slavery issue was getting pretty serious.  There was talk of secession in several Southern States.  By February 1850,  many Southern leaders called for a convention of secession.  Taylor responded by telling many of those Southern leaders that he would personally lead an army to put down any rebellion and that anyone “taken in rebellion against the Union, he would hang … with less reluctance than he had hanged deserters and spies in Mexico.”  Seems he liked the Union more than he liked the radical approach to slavery which seems at odds with his position as a slaveholder.  Around the same time,  there was a border dispute between New Mexico and Texas in which Texas claimed a chunk of New Mexico was Texas territory, including the capital of Santa Fe.  By early summer, the dispute got so heated that the governor of Texas ordered state soldiers be sent to gain control of Santa Fe.  Taylor did not agree with the claims of the Lone Star State and ordered his military commander in New Mexico to order troops to resist any Texas troops.  The commander refused.  So, he told the Secretary of War to sign such an order.  He too refused.  Taylor responded by saying, “then I’ll sign the order myself!”  Once again, he threatened to personally lead an army to the region and hang anyone he found to be in rebellion against the Union.  Taylor decided to advise Congress of the situation, but he never  got around to it. 

Texas Territory Claims Went Beyond Santa Fe to Wyoming; Taylor Would Have None of It

On July 4, 1850 President Taylor attended Independence Day festivities on a hot day in Washington DC and for some reason ate a bunch of cherries and washed them down with milk. He returned to the White House and drank a bunch of water. On This Date In History President Taylor promptly died. The cartoon at the top suggests it was from lemonade which I cannot find suggested anywhere else. I had read that he died from eating too many sweet potatoes but that story seems to have gone by the wayside. There was talk in modern times, though surprisingly not in his day, that he was poisoned because he was a staunch unionist and threatened to personally lead a military attack against any state that tried to secede. In 1991, some of these conspiracy theorists convinced the Taylor family that they needed to dig up the former President from his resting place in Louisville to solve a crime. The DNA results were negative. Imagine that.

At Least They Really Didn't Need to "Dig Up" Zach; They Just Had to Take Him From His Room

So, scholars were back to the original cause of death, which was described as gastroenteritis, which sounds like one of those general terms that doctors assign to cases in which they really have no answer.  Some official websites simply assign the cause of death of the 12th President of the United States as illness.  While Taylor is a rather obscure figure to most Americans today, some folks have posted postulations regarding the death of Zachary Taylor.   Many say that Taylor succumbed to Cholera, probably ingested through the milk or water.  Speculation also leads to a typhoid hypothesis which is associated to the cherries that he ate. Then there is the argument that Taylor suffered from heat stroke that led to other complications.   Regardless, he died on this date in 1850 and you can visit him in Louisville at the Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.   Snow White and I have done so a few times. If he had not passed away as President, we may never have heard of his successor, Millard Fillmore. Well…maybe it made no difference because not too many people have heard of Millard Fillmore.   As it was, after Taylor’s death, cooler heads prevailed and Congress did what it had always done regarding slavery: it kicked the can.  Fillmore signed the Compromise of 1850 that brought California into the Union as a free state and settled the border dispute between Texas and New Mexico by awarding New Mexico the land while Texas the federal government agreed to pay some of Texas’ debt.  Hostilities were delayed and the war that Taylor had threatened against anyone in rebellion became a reality 11 years later.  Had Taylor not died of a stomachache, the Civil War may have taken place before it actually did and how it would have concluded with “Old Rough and Ready” agressively and personally leading the armed forces of the United States is left to speculation.

Weather Bottom Line:  Thursday afternoon produced a lot of noise at my house but not much rain.  Those scattered thunderstorms were in advance of a frontal system that by Friday will produce more general rainfall.  We need the rain and we could use some heat relief.  We will get both but probably not as much of either as most of us would like.  Saturday’s highs will be in the upper 80’s and will probably push 90 on Sunday.  Overnight lows will be running generally in the upper 60’s so a decrease in humidity will at least make summer heat more bearable.  Maybe the most significant aspect of this front is that it represents a change in the long wave pattern in which a big fat ridge in the East will break down to allow more activity to get going in the afternoons.  So, while it will remain fairly hot, the prospects for rain will most likely be higher  for next week on a daily basis more than we’ve seen for the last few weeks.

Aussie Psychiatrists Detect 1st Case of “Climate Change Delusion”; How did Zach Die?
July 9, 2009

Global Warming delusional?

Global Warming delusional?

There are those who claim that proponents of anthropogenic global warming are lunatics. The word lunatic has actually become a catch all phrase for anything from people with wild ideas, to those who disagree with us to those who are actually mentally ill. It actually arises from early times when it was thought that mental illness had something to do with the phases of the moon, thus the latin root usage of luna.

Call Bob Hartley!

Call Bob Hartley!

It would seem now that researchers have in fact found a psychiatric condition related to global warming though it is not for the proponents but instead for some who may have developed a deep seeded fear of the phenomenon that is so widely talked about in the press and other media. Here is a story about it from the Melbourne HeraldSun, the actual article and a commentary. You can make of it what you will.

However, I will say that if this condition is true for this young man, then it would be evidence that perhaps there needs to be more responsible reporting and discussion on the topic and stop the hyped up stories and just give the facts without scaring people literally out of their minds.

Melbourne Herald Sun-Doomed to a Fatal Delusion over Climate Change

Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry report cited by HeraldSun

Commentary From related science blog Regarding Report

deniersNow, before someone starts labeling me a “global warming denier”, let me assure you that I am not.  In my view, there are many questions to be answered as I believe from my experience in science that man sometimes tends to lose all humility and think he has all of the answers when in fact, he has just scratched the surface in many areas of science, not just atmospheric and climate research.  Scientific “fact” is often replaced by new “facts” that seem to render the old “facts” obsolete.  In this case,  a quick search did not find any other credible sources beyond a couple of doctors from the Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital that wrote in  the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry that refer to global warming delusions, but did find this somewhat less than credible source.    So, while the newspaper sources made the reports, one must remember that just because it’s on tv or in the paper and certainly on the internet, that it is true.  However, there is at least one fairly credible source and it should not be thrown out just because it doesn’t fit your world view, just as it’s true that any data that comes out regarding global warming, one way or another, should not be dismissed out of hand.  It should be scrutinized and put through the peer review process, which at least one Physics organization and  many other have suggested that parts of the IPCC report did not go through

Sell Me San Francisco or Else!

On This Date In History: Explorers wandered up and down the Pacific Coast for years before someone decided to snoop about an inlet in what is northern California. In 1769, the Spanish found it and saw it as a strategic asset. In 1776, while the colonists on the other side of the continent were in rebellion, the Spanish founded San Francisco de Asis, which means St. Francis of Assisi. The outpost was the northern most in the Spanish empire and later was the same with Mexico. In 1835, US government made the Mexicans an offer that they should not have refused. Uncle Sam offered to buy the settlement and the Mexicans refused. I believe it was Santa Anna who turned down the Americans generous offer. I guess he was too busy putting down a rebellion in Tejas to consider such real estate deals. By 1846, the Mexicans found themselves in a war with the United States over the southern border of what by that time was the state of Texas.

San Francisco March 1847

San Francisco March 1847

Not long after hostilities commenced on this date in 1846, Captain John Montgomery sailed his US warship into San Francisco bay, dispatched a group of marines and promptly took San Francisco de Asis without firing a shot. The Americans must have thought the name was too long and shortened it to simply San Francisco. In 1848, the Americans dictated terms of the end of the war with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo that not only forced Santa Anna to turn over San Francisco, but also about 55% of his territory which included all of California, Nevada and Utah, most of Arizona and parts of Colorado, Wyoming and New Mexico. Santa Anna did get $15 million for his trouble. But Santa Anna just had bad luck. Not long after he made the deal, gold was found in California which yielded many many more millions than he got. Gold, silver and other precious metals and natural resources were later found in the entire region. He should have taken the San Francisco deal to begin with.

It just so happens that a big shot general in the Mexican War was Zachary Taylor who used his battlefield prowess to propel him to the Presidency. He was elected a few months after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in November 1848. On July 4, 1850 President Taylor attended Independence Day festivities on a hot day in Washington DC and for some reason ate a bunch of cherries and washed them down with milk. He returned to the White House and drank a bunch of water. On This Date In History President Taylor promptly died. The cartoon at left suggests it was from lemonade which I cannot find suggested anywhere else. I had read that he died from eating too many sweet potatoes but that story seems to have gone by the wayside. There was talk in modern times, though surprisingly not in his day, that he was poisoned because he was a staunch unionist and threatened to personally lead a military attack against any state that tried to secede. In 1991, some of these conspiracy theorists convinced the Taylor family that they needed to dig up the former President from his resting place in Louisville to solve a crime. The DNA results were negative. Imagine that.

So, they were back to the original cause of death, which was described as gastroenteritis. Now, many say that Taylor succumbed to Cholera, probably ingested through the milk or water. Regardless, he died on this date in 1850 and you can visit him in Louisville. Snow White and I have done so a few times. If he had not passed away as President, we may never have heard of his successor, Millard Fillmore. Well…maybe it made no difference because not too many people have heard of Millard Fillmore.

boring

Weather Bottom Line:  Boring weather.  Upper 80’s today.  Maybe an isolated t’shower.  Friday and Saturday, low 90’s and much more humid.  Again, isolated t’storm…probably better chance on Saturday.  A front sneaks down Saturday night or Sunday which will raise the prospects of more numerous storms.

Put Down the Beer and Barbecue and Remember the Meaning of Memorial Day
May 25, 2009

tombofunknown

Revolutionary War 1775 to 1783                      4,435          US dead

War of 1812  1812 to 1815                                       2,260         US dead

Mexican War 1846 to 1848                                    1,773         US dead

Civil War   1861 to 1865                approx.   600,000 USA/CSA dead

Spanish Amer. War 1898                                      2,446           US dead

WWI  1917 -1918                                                 116, 516          US dead

WWII 1941-1945                                                405, 399         US dead

Korean War 1950-1953                                      36, 914         US dead

Vietnam War 1958-1973                                   58, 167          US dead

War on Terrorists  2001 to present           nearly 3000 sept 11, 2001

                              Iraq/Afghanistan               approx 4900

 

Normandy Cemetery

Normandy Cemetery

Today, we hear on TV that Memorial Day is the unofficial start of summer more than we hear of it’s original meaning.  The history of Memorial Day began at the close of the Civil War.  There were Memorial Day activities for both the soldiers of the Union and the Confederacy.  Eventually, they were combined and in the 20th century became recognized as a day to remember those who made the ulitmate sacrifice in their service to our nation.  In your time of barbecue, family gatherings and fun…take a moment to remember those who have made it possible for you to have such a holiday.  It is not just a day off from work, but instead is a day of rememberance and thanks to the men, women and families who laid such a sacrifice on the alter of liberty.  Snow White and I attended the services at Zachary Taylor National Cemetery.   I don’t know anyone who has died though we did visit the final resting place of her uncle’s cousin who lost his life on December 7, 1941 at Pearl Harbor.  He was just 19.  No, we went to pay our respects for all of those in our American brotherhood whose graves remind us that our freedom was paid for by others.  We should not take it for granted nor as something that is a right or something that is perpetual.  It is a privelidge and must be fought for to maintain.  Lest we forget….