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The  VANGUARD --   2014

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History is a gallery of pictures in which there are few originals and many copies -- Alexis de Tocqueville

Slowly rocking the Max Schmeling Halle -- Craft Beer in Italy

Language is not an abstract construction of the learned, or of dictionary makers, but is something arising out of the work, needs, ties, joys, affections, tastes, of long generations of humanity, and has its bases broad and low, close to the ground. Quote from Noah Webster, US writer & lexicographer (10/16/1758 – 05/28/1843)

Some French Cities HERE (and Belgium)
German and Swiss City links

Images of 1916 coinage, Early Roman Emperors, later Roman era, Byzantine Coinage

Maclet -- A Mystery of Art -- Baseball Cards
More Art -- Sunsets -- Cumberland Falls

The past screams to us, but will we listen ???
The article's oldest link (and comments): HERE

Tour de France -- 2012 -- A Paris Page -- Some Mountains in Southern France -- Austrian Wines -- German wine growing areas: Rheingau Wine region -- Ahr Wines -- Bad Schussenried

Stamp Link -- Engelberg -- Bremen, Hamburg und Hanover -- (Fall 2014)

I was glad when they said unto me, We will go into the house of the Lord
[ from Psalm 122 ] .

All the paths of the Lord are mercy and truth unto such as keep his covenant and his testimonies [ Psalm 25:10 ].

If you are on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; and in that use, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. — C.S. Lewis

A modern hymn -- Truth is heavy; therefore, few wear it. -- Midrash Shmuel on Avot: 4


Beloved, we are now the sons of God, but it doth not yet appear what we shall become;
however, we know that, when He shall return, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is
[1 John 3:2].

Placez-vous sur les chemins, regardez, Et demandez quels sont les anciens sentiers, Quelle est la bonne voie; marchez-y, Et vous trouverez le repos de vos âmes !
As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias [40:3] the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, “Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; and all flesh shall see the Salvation of God.”

“Behold, I will send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me: and the LORD, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to His temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant, in whom ye delight: behold, He advanceth, saith the Lord of hosts.” [ecce ego mittam angelum meum et præparabit viam ante faciem meam et statim veniet ad templum suum dominator quem vos quæritis et angelus testamenti quem vos vultis ecce venit dicit Dominus exercituum] Malachi 3:1 {“And, who can endure the day of His advent? Who can stand when He appears”}
First Reading for the day (18th) (
- Behold, the days advance, saith the LORD, when I will raise unto David a (just) righteous Branch, and [as] a King, [He] shall reign and [His Nation] prosper {some translate 'deal wisely'}, and He shall execute judgment and justice on the earth.
- In His days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and, the name by which they shall call Him: "The LORD [is] our Righteousness."
- Now therefore, behold, the days advance, saith the LORD, no more shall be said, "As the LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel out of [bondage in] the land of Egypt;"
- But, "as the LORD liveth, which brought and led ... the house of Israel out ... from all countries into which He had driven them; and, they shall [then] inhabit their [own] land [Jeremiah 23: 5-8].
Canticle: A Song of Wisdom {come teach us the way of prudence}
Wisdom freed from a nation of oppressors
a holy people and a blameless race.
She entered the soul of a servant (prophet) of the Lord,
withstood dread rulers with wonders and signs.
To the saints she gave the reward of their labors,
and led them by a marvelous way;
She was their shelter by day
and a blaze of stars by night.
She brought them across the Red Sea,
she led them through mighty waters;
But their enemies she swallowed in the waves
and spewed them out from the depths of the abyss.
And then, Lord, the righteous sang hymns to your Name,
and praised with one voice your protecting hand;
For Wisdom opened the mouths of the mute,
and gave speech to the tongues of a new-born people
[Wisdom 10:15-19,20b-21].

O Sapientia (O Wisdom) -- (technically the Aniphon for December 18th is "O Adonai" -, which is about being led in the wilderness) - O Sapientia (O Wisdom) is the first of the series sung on the 17th.

O Come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

Gaude, gaude, Emanuel.
Nascetur pro te, Israel.

Le 19 décembre 1154: Henri Plantagenêt devient roi d'Angleterre -- Henri d'Anjou (21 ans) et sa femme, Aliénor d'Aquitaine (32 ans) ceignent la couronne d'Angleterre le 19 décembre 1154. Leur couronnement à Westminster est le résultat d'un incroyable concours de circonstances. Henry II, King of England turns out to be a direct descendant of the Ealhmund (First King of England), Odin of Æsgard, Thor, King Priam of Troy, Abraham (Genesis fame) and, of course, Adam (ex-Eden). More HERE

December 20, 1046: Under Henry III the medieval Holy Roman Empire probably attained its greatest power and solidity. By the Synod at Sutri in Italy (and Rome), German King Henry III dismissed Pope Gregory VI, Benedictus IX & Silvester III (3 rival claimants) and named Bishop Suidger of Bamberg as Pope Clemens II (the only Pope buried north of the Alps and the first of four German Popes Henry would select, including his cousin Leo IX, né Buno d'Eguisheim-Dagsbourg). Want to know the broader context of this decision ? GO HERE

December 20, 1576: Edmund Grindal, Archbishop of Canterbury, declined to enforce certain orders of Queen Elizabeth I as head of the Church in England. In part, she wanted him to instruct preachers throughout England to stop speaking so much during services. Elizabeth, Defender of the Faith by the Grace of God, felt three or four sermons per year were sufficient. Archbishop Grindal's refusal earned him house arrest and a long talking to.

According to John Knox, Grindal distinguished himself from most of the Court preachers in 1553. He denounced the worldliness of courtiers and foretold the evils that would follow the King's death. For this reason, Grindal at that time did not become a Bishop. Moreover, he did not consider himself bound to await those evils in England. On the accession of Queen Mary, he made his way to Strasbourg. From there he proceeded to Frankfurt, where he tried to settle the disputes between those who regarded the 1552 Book of Common Prayer as the perfection of reform, and those who wanted additional simplification. He returned to England in January 1559, after Elizabeth had come to the throne, was appointed to the committee to revise the liturgy, and was one of the Protestant representatives at the Westminster conference.

December 20, 1606: The Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery set sail from London. Their destination was America. Captain Christopher Newport commanded the three tiny ships for the royally chartered Virginia Company. On April 26, 1607, after just over four months aboard the confines of these three small ships, 104 winter-weary English colonists laid eyes upon the shores of Virginia. They landed first at Cape Henry, later founding Jamestowne, Virginia, the first permanent and successful English settlement in America. Interestingly, the second Cape Henry Lighthouse was commissioned into service on December 15, 1881.

December 20, 1803: The Stars and Stripes was raised over New Orleans as the United States took formal possession of the territory of Louisiana, an area of nearly 900 thousand square miles, nearly doubling the size of a new nation, not yet 20 years old. The territory had been purchased from Napoléon's France for approximately $15 million. Only a few years earlier, the region, which had for a while belonged to Spain, was secretly transferred back to France. President Jefferson was trying to assure the Nation's navigation rights on the Mississippi when he authorized the purchase without first consulting Congress. Years 2004-06 mark the 200th anniversary of the Lewis and Clark expedition into the uncharted regions of this purchase, and beyond to the Pacific. Clark was already at Cahokia (getting prepared) on this date in 1803.

December 21st: A silver Tetradrachm of Vespasian struck in Alexandria, Egypt, the coin measures 26 mm, and weighs 12.65 grams. ΑVΤΟΚ ΚΑΙΣ ΣΕΒΑ ΟVΕΣΠΑΣΙΑΝΟΒ (Greek for Augustus Cæsar Despot Vespasian), laureate head right with the date LB = regnal year 2 (69/70 CE) / Nike advancing left, symbolizing a Roman victory.

The watershed event for the rest of the Roman Empire, came in the year 69AD, in the aftermath of Nero’s suicide. The Year of the Four Emperors (68-69) [actually 5 if you count Nero] saw the advent of civil war over the control of the imperial office. As one of the four of the so-called "ambitious governors" competing to fill the vacuum of leadership, Vespasian turned his nearly-completed military affairs in Judea over to his eldest son (and future emperor, Titus). Going Rome to eliminate his rivals (Galba, Otho and Vitellius) and establish a new imperial house (Nero having been the last of the Julio-Claudian emperors, with no bloodline successors), Vespasianus was declared ruler by the Senate on December 21, 69AD. More pictures HERE.

December 21, 1620 -- Why all the fuss: According to information released by the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism, tourists spent $384 million in Plymouth County in 2004. Not satisfied that all of the relevant market is being captured, city fathers have tried several ways to lure would-be history buffs to pull off the main highway to visit the olde country, before they move on to spend big bucks at the Cape of Cod. Highway signs will be installed on Route 3 encouraging drivers to tune to the radio (1620 AM Dial) in order to discover see and do in Plymouth. The station's programming will be recorded and broadcast 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The radio station, funded through a state grant, will be great for Plymouth's tourism industry, according to Paul Cripps, executive director of the Plymouth County Development Council Convention & Visitors Bureau. One might say that Plymouth Rock was the first tourist attraction in the United States, being the first place the Pilgrims stepped on December 21, 1620. Although this date and place has been much discredited (There are no contemporary references to the Pilgrims' landing on a rock at Plymouth) and disclaimed (We didn't land on Plymouth Rock; Plymouth Rock landed on us, ...), the place remains a cultural icon.

Historians have always considered Jamestown more important because it was established more than a dozen years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock, the first permanent English settlement in the New World. Until recently, the Virginia site has never quite been the attraction that the one up north has been. Now that new features have opened for the 400 year celebration at Jamestown in 2007, the situation could change. But of course we would not sing O beautiful for Jamestown's Swamp, and cold forgotten waste -- but rather -- O beautiful for pilgrim feet whose stern impassioned stress; A thoroughfare for freedom beat across the wilderness ! Moreover, on the 200th anniversary of the landing in 1820, Daniel Webster a noted icon for everyman said: Let us rejoice that we behold this day ! We have come to this Rock to record here our homage to our Pilgrim Fathers. (link revitalized -- use Web.Archive for other dead links)

Yet, if the landing on Plymouth Rock is indeed a myth, it is no more a myth than that the Stone of Scoon once served as Jacob's pillow and no more a myth than the Blarney Stone's gift of eloquence. It is the meaning behind the myth that is important, not the myth itself. And that meaning in our case is that people who came, are coming and will come to America to seek a better life are one and all the sons and daughters of the Pilgrims of 1620.

Of the 102 passengers who arrived on the Mayflower, only 52 survived the winter. The ship sailed back to England in the spring of 1621. Despite the privations of the winter, none of the Pilgrims returned with the vessel. On February 12, 2003, the 108th Congress passed Resolution 38, expressing the approbation of the U.S. Congress for the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock on December 21, 1620. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Josh. 24:15).
December 21, 1864: In his memoirs, Gen. Sherman recorded the following:

"[T]oward evening of December 21st we discovered, coming toward us, a tug, called the Red Legs, with a staff-officer on board, bearing letters from Colonel Dayton to myself and the admiral, reporting that the city of Savannah had been found evacuated on the morning of December 21st and was then in our possession . . . General Hardee had crossed the Savannah River by a pontoon-bridge, carrying off his men and light artillery, blowing up his iron-clads and navy-yard, but leaving for us all the heavy guns, stores, cotton, railway-cars, steamboats, and an immense amount of public and private property." Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Marching Through Georgia: William T. Sherman's Personal Narrative of His March Through Georgia (New York: Arno Press, 1978), pp. 177-178.

So concludes Sherman's infamous March to the Sea. The journey had taken about forty days, beginning with the roasting of Rome. Troops had set Atlanta ablaze, but the citizens of Atlanta were already rebuilding under a southern flag before he reached the sea. At Savannah, he took up residence in what is now the Parish House of St. John's Episcopal Church.

December 22, 1696 Georgia leader James Edward Oglethorpe, tenth and last child of Theophilus and Eleanor Oglethorpe, was born in London, England. The Oglethorpe family estate lay in Godalming, located in County of Surrey (some 40 miles SW of London). The Oglethorpe family lived in a London townhouse during the winter months.

Lady Eleanor Wall Oglethorpe (James' mother) was born in 1661 in Ireland, but at age 17 became a maid to Madam Carwell in the court of Charles II of England. In 1680, Eleanor -- or Ellen, as she was known -- became head laundress to the king. In her new post, she was given lodging at the rear of the palace -- opposite the quarters of a young major in the Dragoons, Theophilus Oglethorpe. Before year's end, the two were married. Their union produced a series of ten sons and daughters beginning with Lewis in 1682 and ending with James Edward in 1696. After the death of Charles II and the Glorious Revolution of 1688, Theophilus and Ellen went to France to be with the deposed James II. By 1696, however, they reconciled with England's new monarchs -- William and Mary

On and off, James Oglethorpe was in Georgia from 1733 to 1743. In 1736, he was given the rank of colonel and a British regiment to defend the colony from Spain. Oglethorpe lived the last six years of his stay in Georgia on St. Simons Island, where he built Fort Frederica. Here, in 1742, his forces turned back a Spanish invasion, for which Oglethorpe was promoted to brigadier general in the British Army. Oglethorpe returned to England in 1743, where he became less and less involved in the affairs of Georgia because of his opposition to the Georgia Trustees abandoning such key cornerstones of the colony as the prohibition on slavery. He married and lived his final four decades divided between London and his wife's inherited estate in Cranham. James Oglethorpe died at age 88 on June 30, 1785. More HERE

Gadsen December 22, 1775 King George III gave his approval to the "Prohibitory Bill," which stopped all legal trade and commerce with the thirteen American colonies. During debate in the House of Commons, Edmund Burke and others had unsuccessfully attempted to have Georgia exempted from the act's provisions on the grounds that Georgia, unlike other colonies, had never shown open rebellion and defiance against the King and Parliament.

December 22, 1842: Although the town of Marthasville would not be incorporated for another year, the U.S. Post Office Department designated a new Marthasville Post Office for the village that was initially known as Terminus. Sam Mitchell, who had deeded the land for the southern terminus of the Western & Atlantic Railroad, had initially wanted to name the growing village Lumpkin or Lumpkinsville (after then-governor Wilson Lumpkin). Lumpkin thought it improper, so Mitchell then picked the name Marthasville (after Lumpkin's daughter, Martha). Apparently, the name came into use around July 1842. [NOTE: The city was first incorporated on December 23, 1843]

December 22, 1864: While en route from Atlanta to Savannah, Sherman had had no opportunity for direct communication with the leadership in Washington. On Oglethorpe's Birthday, the day of his arrival in Savannah, General Sherman wrote this brief missive to President Lincoln:

"I beg to present you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about 25,000 bales of cotton."

Source: U.S. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: A Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies (Washington: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1893, reprinted by The National Historical Society, 1971), Series I, Vol. XLIV, p. 783.

La Chapelle du Collège des Jé:suites Le 23 décembre 1588: Le 23 décembre 1588, le duc de Guise, dit le Balafré, est assassiné (au château de Blois) sur ordre du roi Henri III. La mort du puissant chef du parti catholique amène le roi à se rapprocher de son cousin et successeur potentiel, le protestant Henri de Navarre, futur Henri IV. Sans que les Français s'en doutent, les guerres de religion qui ont mis à mal le pays pendant deux décennies se rapprochent de leur terme.

The Royal Château de Blois is located in the Loir-et-Cher département in the Loire Valley, in France. The residence of several French kings, it was also the place where Joan of Arc went in 1429 to be blessed by the Archbishop of Reims before departing to drive the English from Orléans. In 1391 it had come into the possession of Louis, duc d'Orléans, brother of Charles VI; after Louis' assassination, his widow, Valentina Visconti, retired to Blois. The château was inherited by his son, Charles d'Orléans the poet-prince, who was taken prisoner by the English at Agincourt and spent twenty-five years as a hostage in England. Charles' son became King Louis XII.

December 23, 1739: The Georgia Colony's secretary to the Trustees, William Stephens, recorded two acts of piracy, one which resulted in a gift to a church!

". . . a Sloop Privateer which came from Providence Island, that anchored at Cockspur last Night: Their Business was with the General, to get their Commission approved and strengthened by him; but missing him here, they would lose no Time in going to find him at St. Simon's: They had taken some small Prizes from the Spaniards (as they said) which they sent home; but they told us of a privateer belonging unto Rhode-Island had the good Fortune lately, though but a small sloop with forty Hands, to take a rich Spaniard [ship] lately on the Spaniards' own Coast, with such a Quantity of Silver aboard, that they shared four hundred dollars apiece, besides solid Plate for the Use of a Church . . . ."

Source: William Stephens, A Journal of the Proceeding in Georgia ([no city cited]: Readex Microprint Corporation, 1966), Vol. II, p. 228. from


December 23, 1776: The Crisis is a collection written by Thomas Paine during the American Revolution. The following is from his first entry. It reflects disaster upon disaster, during the previous year's campaign; but, General Washington found the first essay so inspiring that he ordered it to be read to the Continental Army at Valley Forge:

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country ... Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered ... What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly ... There are persons, too, who see not the full extent of the evil which threatens them; they solace themselves with hopes that the enemy, if he succeed, will be merciful. It is the madness of folly, to expect mercy from those who have refused to do justice; and even mercy, where conquest is the object, is only a trick of war; the cunning of the fox is as murderous as the violence of the wolf, and we ought to guard equally against both ... [We have] by cowardice and submission, the sad choice of a variety of evils — a ravaged country — a depopulated city — habitations without safety, and slavery without hope — our homes turned into barracks and [worse].


December 23, 1964: Radio London ( joined Radio Caroline ( and Radio Atlanta (later known as Caroline South and North). It arrived off Frinton (northeast of London) this day. The new ship/station brought a team of Americanized DJs, experienced in the art of selling themselves as much as the music. With catchy jingles and contagious slogans like Wonderful Radio London, the Big L soon became well-known in the British Offshore Broadcasting scene (often called pirate-radio). Before these stations arrived, the only other way to hear modern popular music was to tune to Radio Luxembourg. It was the only cross-border broadcaster to the UK that resumed operations after the war (probably because it had been employed by the Germans for propaganda, and when captured by the English, used for the same purpose). The Radio Luxembourg signal could only reach the UK after dark when propagation conditions improved. Even then, it faded in and out for long periods of time due to day-to-day changes in the ionosphere. see also

Immaculate Reception-December 23, 1972: Franco Harris, Bradshaw -- another moment in history of which nothing more needs to be said. Forty years in the wilderness ended. A week later the Steelers would become the sixteenth victim in the Dolphins' perfect 17-0 season, but the team had taken the first step toward four Super Bowl victories. Like many from Pittsburgh in that era, I remember where I was during the last 22 seconds of this playoff game, held at the new Three Rivers Stadium. The stadium is already gone but this moment still lives in American Football history. Sour Grapes Department: John Madden, the Raider coach at that time, has always sworn that the ref went and called the stadium security office. As Madden tells it, the ref said, How many guards to do you have to get me out of here, if I call an incomplete pass ? When told that there were but three, he hung up the phone, ran back onto the field, and signaled touchdown, from

Le 24 décembre: Le Réveillon de Noël est constitué par la soirée du 24 décembre qui précède Noël. Il est l'occasion d'organiser un repas festif au sein des familles, car Noël restant un instant magique pour les enfants, le réveillon doit y contribuer. Ce repas est souvent constitué d'une dinde de Noël et terminé par une bûche de Noël en France. Il peut aussi s'agir d'une oie ou de foie gras. Il est souvent précédé d'un plat de fruits de mer (huîtres, etc.). Il existe aussi une tradition dite des Treize desserts, en souvenir de Jésus et de ses douze apôtres. Cette tradition vient de Provence.

Enfin pour les catholiques, le réveillon de Noël est suivi ou coupé par la messe de minuit qui reste encore très populaire dans l'esprit collectif, même si elle est plus souvent dite en début de soirée qu'à minuit. Au retour de la messe ou à minuit, il est de tradition qu'un enfant ajoute le personnage de l'Enfant Jésus dans la crèche pour signifier qu'il est né. Au cœur de la nuit, on célèbre le passage des ténèbres à la lumière. Le texte d’Isaïe (9:1-6) annonce la naissance d’un enfant « qui fera se lever une grande lumière sur le peuple ». Il sera appelé « Prince de la paix ». L’Évangile selon Luc (2:1-14) raconte la naissance de Jésus et l’annonce des anges aux bergers. C’est pourquoi la célébration proprement dite commence souvent par une veillée dans l’église, où l’on met en scène la Nativité et où une statue de l’Enfant Jésus nouveau-né est apportée en procession dans la crèche. La proclamation de l’évangile se termine souvent par le chant du Gloire à Dieu.

December 24, 1818: Church organist, Franz Grüber, composed a melody on guitar at Nicole Kirche (St. Nicholas Church) in Oberndorf, Austria, for a poem. That poem, Stille Nacht, written earlier by pastor Joseph Möhr, was sung for the very first time that evening. The song reached Royal Court Choir of Berlin some years later, where "Silent Night" had become the favorite of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV of Prussia. He researched the origins of the carol and traced it first to Salzburg in 1854. Later the full story became known. see

Stille Nacht! Heil'ge Nacht!
Hirten erst kundgemacht
Durch der Engel Alleluja,
Tönt es laut bei Ferne und Nah:
Jesus der Retter ist da !
Jesus der Retter ist da !
Silent Night! Holy Night!
Shepherds first saw the sight
Of angels singing alleluia
Calling clearly near and far:
Christ, the saviour is born !
Christ the Saviour is born !

December 25th: Most people do not even know that the day of celebration of the Birth has fluctuated ! Christmas was once a movable feast celebrated many different times during the year. The choice of December 25 was made by the Pope Julius I in the fourth century AD because this coincided with the pagan rituals of the Winter Solstice (Return of the Sun). The intent was to replace the pagan celebration (cult of Sol Invictus) with the Christian one. Today the season of Christmastide begins, of course, on December 25th. This season lasts 12 days, ending with Epiphany on January 6th.

December 25, 336: This is the earliest known year that Jesus' nativity was celebrated on the 25th, as mentioned in the Philocalian Calendar of A.D. 354. By the 400s most of the other Eastern denominations like the Western, Roman Catholic, church had accepted December 25th. In 496 (December 25th) Clovis, the first French King (who was really of a german tribe called the Franks), baptized himself. In 800, Pope Leo III crowned Charles the Great (Charlemagne), Holy Roman Emperor. In 1046, Pope Clemens VI, crowned German King Henry III Holy Roman Emperor, perhaps the most powerful in this line of the German Kings. In 1066, William the Conqueror was crowned king of England at Westminster by Aldred, Archbishop of York. In 1223, Saint Francis of Assisi assembled one of the first Nativity scenes, in Greccio, Italy; the ACLU promptly sued. In 1582, Zealand/Brabant adopted the Gregorian calendar. In 1758, Christmas day was celebrated with a recorded sighting of Halley's Comet by Johann Georg Palitzsch. Not to be outdone, on this date late in the evening in 1776, George Washington crossed the Delaware River with troops and surprised and defeated 1,400 Hessians under British employ. Yankee Clara Barton, the founder of the American Red Cross (1882), was born in North Oxford, Massachusetts in 1821. In 1865, General Evangeline Cory Booth, (Salvation Army, 1904-34), was born.

December 25, 1931: Missionary radio station HCJB, run by World Radio Missionary Fellowship, Inc., begins broadcasting the Gospel from Quito, Ecuador, unto eastern Asia. HCJB has served the World in the years since that first night -- you may still hear it today.

Noël 2005 -- What we did not read in the USA: A Bagdad, les chrétiens ont été privés de messe de minuit pour raisons de sécurité et ont célébré discrètement l'office de Noël samedi après-midi, priant pour "la paix en Irak, la paix dans le monde". L'office a été concélébré par Mgr Emmanuel Delly, patriarche de Babylone, chef spirituel de la principale communauté chrétienne d'Irak, les Chaldéens, qui représentent moins de 3% de la population du pays. "Nous sommes vraiment tous les membres d'une seule famille, c'est pourquoinous les chrétiens, avec nos frères musulmans, devons travailler ensemble pour le bien de l'Irak, chacun selon sa religion", a estimé Mgr Delly. Lumières de Noël, espoirs de paix: {Isabelle de GAULMYN, à Rome}. Le pape s'adresse aux milliers de fidèles rassemblés sur la place Saint-Pierre de Rome, avant la bénédiction urbi et orbi, dimanche 25 décembre -- a médité sur la vraie signification de Noël.

December 26, 1845: On Saint Stephen's Day, a small town going by the name of Marthasville (then in DeKalb, now mostly in Fulton County) was changed into Atlanta. Saint Étienne est l'un des sept premiers diacres choisis par les apôtres du Christ, à Jérusalem. Il prêche avec ferveur, ce qui lui vaut d'être arrêté en 36 de notre ère et lapidé. Parmi les persécuteurs de ce premier martyr figure un certain Saul de Tarse, qui deviendra plus tard.

My English translation follows: 26 décembre (Saint Etienne) homélie pour la fête

Hier, nous avons célébré la naissance temporelle de notre Roi éternel ; aujourd'hui, nous célébrons la passion triomphante de son soldat. Hier, en effet, notre Roi, revêtu de notre chair, sortant du palais d'un sein virginal, a daigné visiter notre monde ; aujourd'hui le soldat sortant de la tente de son corps, est parti pour le ciel en triomphateur.

Notre Roi, alors qu'il est le Très-Haut, est venu vers nous dans l'humilité, mais il ne pouvait pas venir les mains vides. Il apportait à ses soldats un don magnifique, non seulement pour leur confier une richesse considérable, mais pour les rendre absolument invincibles dans le combat. Car il leur apportait le don de la charité qui conduirait les hommes à partager la vie divine. Ce qu'il apportait, il l'a distribué ; mais lui-même n'y a rien perdu car, s'il a transformé en richesse la pauvreté de ses fidèles, lui-même est resté comblé de trésors inépuisables. La charité qui fait descendre le Christ du ciel sur la terre, c'est elle qui a élevé saint Etienne de la terre jusqu'au ciel. La charité qui existait d'abord chez le Roi, c'est elle qui, à sa suite, a resplendi chez le soldat.

Etienne, pour obtenir de recevoir la couronne que signifie son nom, avait pour armes la charité, et grâce à elle il était entièrement vainqueur. Par l'amour de Dieu, il n'a pas reculé devant l'hostilité des Juifs ; par l'amour du prochain, il a intercédé pour ceux qui le lapidaient. Par cette charité, il leur reprochait leur erreur, afin qu'ils se corrigeassent ; par cette charité, il priait pour ceux qui le lapidaient, afin que le châtiment leur fût épargné. Fortifié par la charité, il a vaincu Saul qui s'opposait cruellement à lui et, après l'avoir eu comme persécuteur sur la terre, il a obtenu de l'avoir pour compagnon dans le ciel. Sa sainte et persévérance charité désirait gagner à lui par la prière ceux qu'il n'avait pu convertir par ses avertissements. Et voici que maintenant Paul partage la joie d'Etienne, il jouit avec Etienne de la gloire du Christ, il exulte avec Etienne, il règne avec lui. Là où Etienne est allé le premier, mis à mort par la lapidation de Paul, c'est là que Paul l'a suivi, secouru par les prières d'Etienne.

Yesterday we celebrated the birth of our eternal King; today we celebrate the triumphant passion of one of his first soldiers. Yesterday, dressed in our flesh, leaving the palace of a virginal womb, our Eternal Sovereign has deigned to visit our world. Today, the soldier leaving the tent of his earthly body, goes to heaven in triumph.

Our King Most High, comes to us in humility, but he would not come empty-handed. He brought his soldiers - a great gift not only for their considerable wealth, but for absolute invincibility in battle. This because he brought them the gift of love, which leads men to share the divine life. He brought, he distributed, but of himself is nothing lost, because he has turned the poverty of his faithful into wealth [of Spirit}, while he remains filled with inexhaustible treasure. Charity, which Christ brought down from heaven to earth, Charity who raised St. Stephen from earth to heaven. Charity radiated first in our King. It was Charity who thereafter, shone in the soldier.

Etienne, having received the crown [of martyrdom] so signified by his name, had Charity as his weapon, and with it he was completely victorious. For the love of God, he did not shrink from the hostility of the time. For the love of neighbor, he interceded for those who stoned him. In Charity, he reproached them their error, for this Charity, he prayed for those who raised stones, so that the punishment would be spared them. Fortified by Charity, he defeated Saul who opposed him cruelly; and, after being [Stephen's] persecutor on earth, he became a companion upon death. His perseverance and Holy Charity enabled him to win with prayer, those he could not convert with his warnings. And now Paul [because of Stephen's sacrifice] shares the Joy of Stephen; with Stephen he enjoys the Glory of Christ. He rejoices with Stephen, he reigns with him. Where Etienne was the first put to death by stoning under Paul, this is where Paul followed, helped by the prayers of Stephen. [ed. note: The English word "Charity" derives from the Greek root Charis, which means "Grace" and which is associated with gifts of the Spirit and the Agape love of God.]

December 27, 537: A church not dedicated to Santa Sofia was consecrated in Constantinople. The Hagia Sophia, meaning holy wisdom in Greek, the second person of the Trinity, was built by Emperor Justinian (Isidoros and Anthemios architects) in just five years. On Tuesday, May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmet the Conqueror entered the vanquished city late in the afternoon and rode to Hagia Sophia. He was amazed at its beauty and decided to convert the Cathedral into his imperial mosque. Today, it is a mosque still in use in Istanbul. (link restored -- pictures) voi aussi Inauguration de Sainte-Sophie (français); (good recitation of history in English with links to other topics -- “the Fountain of Purification standing in the Hagia Sophia courtyard is inscribed with a palindrome that you can read from left to right or right to left, which says, Wash your sin not only your face.” ["Niyon anomhma mh monan oyin").

How was it built, or more clearly why? It was built because of a riot, something like what occurs between fans of competing soccer teams, only more so. On or about January 18, 532, Emporer Justinian and his wife Theodora attend festivities at the Hippodrome, a stadium for athletic competition. Team rivalry escalated from individual insults to a mob rampage. In the end Constantinople lay in ruins. Called the Nika uprising, about 30-40,000 citizens died. Justinian proceeded to rebuild the city with extensive emphasis on religious art and architecture, including the Hagia Sophia. Pope Benedict XVI visited the structure, as well as other Christian sites around Turkey during the last week of November 2006; no riot was reported. Pope Benedict prayed alongside an Islamic cleric in Turkey's most famous mosque Thursday the 30th (Blue Mosque) as a gesture of peace to Muslims. November 30th, 2006 - the feast of St Andrew, may go down in history as the high point of Pope Benedict XVI's papacy. Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday (Advent-3rd) that his recent trip to Turkey was an "unforgettable" experience that he hoped would lead to dialogue with Muslims; however, there were some Islamic leaders who claimed he had not sufficiently made amends for his September remarks which they felt tied Islam and violence too closely together. Washington Post (link no longer available)

On that day he took part in two events which can only mean better relations between east and west. His visit to Istanbul's Blue Mosque - a highly symbolic building in Christianity and Islam - and a joint declaration with the Orthodox archbishop of Constantinople supporting a rapprochement between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches bolstered ties not only between the two churches but also between Christianity and Islam. -- bizim icin dua et

Global Warming -- December 27, 1978: At the height of the Cold War (threat of nuclear winter) and in the middle of summer, the highest recorded temperature occurs this day at the South Pole -- a sweltering +7.5°F (-13.6°C) in the glare of the noonday sun. Meanwhile, the Grateful Dead and Devo are in concert in northern climes, oblivious -- oblivious to the record shattering heatwave down south. Devo appears in Atlanta at the Agora Ballroom, while the Dead's venue is Golden Hall, Community Concourse@San Diego, California. The Dead's performance can be seen at: They appeared at the Winterland for New Year's eve with the Blues Brothers and the New Riders of the Purple Sage (NRPS). Speaking of classic performances, try Verdi Un Ballo in Maschera which was performed in London on December 27, 1978, at:
House of OrangeDecember 28, 1688: William of Orange made a triumphant march into London as James II fled. The "Glorious Revolution" was complete. William and his Queen, Mary (she was one of the daughters of James II) would rule as joint sovereigns until her death exactly 6 years later at age 32, when she died of complications from smallpox. So in 1688 James II was deposed because the birth of his new son led to fears that England was going to be ruled by a dynasty of Catholic monarchs. During 1689 and 1690 James II operated a military campaign in Ireland from where he hoped to mount an invasion of England. During this time he melted down cannons and other sources of metal to mint base-metal coins to pay his troops. Today the coins are known as gun money. Gunmoney carried James II’s legends and titles. On the reverse they show the date and even the month of striking, as well as a statement of value. XXX indicates 30 pennies (half-crown), XII indicates 12 pennies (shilling), VI 6 pennies. The coins are rare in the better grades, but are otherwise common. James was defeated at the Battle of the Boyne in July 1690. He ceased to produce coins by the autumn of that year and in 1691 they were demonetized.

On James II's flight in December 1688, London's Guildhall was chosen as a stronghold from where the men of the new power consortium could prepare the Declaration of Allegiance to the Prince of Orange. The City welcomed Prince William. Indeed, the Lord Mayor, aldermen and 50 representatives of the common council were all invited to this assembly, which was called upon his arrival. With his wife, Queen Mary, he favoured Hampton Court as his chief Royal Residence. It was much rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren but, luckily, the general lack of cash (and revenue) meant that much of his grandiose scheme had to be abandoned. Thus, the older Tudor buildings survived. The couple also bought Nottingham House from their Secretary of State and turned it into Kensington Palace. These two palaces became favorites of Queen Anne. from

Upon William's death in 1702, Queen Anne restored to favor John Churchill, making him Duke of Marlborough. As captain-general of the British army, Marlborough (Winston Churchill's forebear), won a series of victories over the French in the War of the Spanish Succession (this is not the conflict in which France was forced to cede Louisiana to Spain, that happened after the French-Indian War (Seven Years War)).

During Queen Anne's reign the kingdoms of England and Scotland were united (1707), contributing to Scottish and later Scottish-Irish immigration to the Colonies. She died in London on August 1, 1714. A German cousin, George, Elector of Hannover, followed Queen Anne, as King George I of Great Britain, by the terms of the Act of Settlement, passed by Parliament in 1701. It secured the succession of the English crown to members of the House of Hannover of the Protestant faith, unless Queen Anne, the last of the Protestant Stuarts, provided a suitable heir. Anne's husband died in 1708 without living issue.

Thoroughly German in tastes and habits, George I never learned the English language. George I divorced on this date (December 28th) in 1698, so that he could become an heir to the British throne. The British Proprietary Colony (the town of Savannah founded in 1733), named after this German speaking father of thoroughly English King George II, was established in part to hold the Spanish in check. As an aside, John Wesley, as he recounts in his diary (1736), began to perfect his method of evangelism by holding Protestant services each Sunday in at least three languages with English, German and French settlers at Savannah. He soon wore out and left. George III was the Grandson to George II.

December 29, 1737: An important source of labor for the Georgia Colony were European emigrants who had agreed to serve as indentured servants in return for the Trustees paying the cost of transportation to this outpost in the New World. In his journal, Salzburger minister John Martin Boltzius noted the arrival of one such group from Germany:

"A few days ago a boat full of Germans from the Palatinate [a region of Germany stretching from Heidelberg to the French border] came to Savannah, the passage for whom was provided by the Honorable Trustees, in return for which these people and their children are bound to work as servants for a number of years. . . .

"In the coming week, Mr. Causton desires to speak to these people through my offices, so as to offer some proposals as to how their children, of whom there are many among them, should attend school while pursuing their work. . . ."

Source George Fenwick Jones and Renate Wilson, Detailed Reports on the Salzburger Emigrants Who Settled in America . . . Edited by Samuel Urlsperger, Volume Four, 1737 (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1976), p. 227.
December 29, 1778:  Savannah fell to a British force of 2,000 soldiers under Colonel Archibald Campbell. General Robert Howe and a force of 700 patriots had defended the road into the city, but a black slave named Quamino Dolly led the British on a path through the swamp so that they were able to surprise the Americans from the rear. The patriots were routed and fled. Meanwhile, a British fleet sailed up the river, capturing eleven American vessels. By the end of the day, over 100 patriots had been killed, and the British flag flew over Savannah for the first time in two years. from

For the encouragement and support of the Loyalists in the interior, and to awe the Republicans in that quarter after the fall of Savannah, Colonel Campbell, who commanded at the siege of that city, was ordered by General Prevost to advance with about two thousand regulars and Loyalists [Jan., 1779.], upon Augusta. Already he had sent emissaries among the South Carolina Tories to encourage them to make a general insurrection; and he assured them that, if they would cross the Savannah and join him at Augusta, the Republicans might be easily crushed, and the whole South freed from their pestilential influence. Thus encouraged, about eight hundred Loyalists of North and South Carolina assembled westward of the Broad River, under Colonel Boyd, and marched along the frontier of South Carolina, toward the Savannah. Like a plundering banditti, they appropriated every species of property to their own use, abused the inhabitants, and wantonly butchered several who opposed their rapacious demands.

While these depredators were organizing, and Campbell was proceeding toward Augusta, General Elbert crossed the Savannah, joined Colonels Twiggs and Few, and skirmished with the British van-guard at Brier Creek and other places, to impede their progress. They effected but little, and on the twenty-ninth of January [1779.] Campbell took possession of Augusta, and placed the garrison under Lieutenant-colonel Brown, the Loyalist just mentioned, who, with Lieutenant-colonel M‘Girth, had preceded him thither. Campbell then proceeded to establish military posts in other parts of Western Georgia. The Whigs who could leave with their families crossed the Savannah into Carolina. The oath of allegiance was every where administered; the habitations of those who had fled into Carolina were consumed; and Georgia seemed, for the moment, permanently prostrate at the feet of the invaders . . . . from Lossing's Field Book of the Revolution, Vol. II., Chapter XIX.

December 29, 1835: A minority faction of Cherokees under the leadership of Major Ridge, his son John, and Elias Boudinot met with U.S. commissioners at New Echota, the capital of the Cherokee Nation, and signed the Treaty of New Echota ceding to the U.S. all Cherokee lands in the east of the Mississippi River in return for $5 million. For their role in securing the treaty, the two Ridges and Boudinot later would be assassinated by fellow Cherokees.

December 29, 1860: Lovingly preserved at the Naval Base in Portsmouth, England, are two famous British warships. The first is HMS Victory, Admiral Nelson's flagship at Trafalgar. The other, HMS Warrior. On the gun decks of both vessels, mounted on the bulkheads by each gun are the boarding weapons, for when the fight got in close. With 100 years of progress in hull design, propulsion, weaponry and technological improvements in just about every other facet of ship design, the ships basically fought by the same tactics, that required hand-to-hand combat.

Designed by Stanislas Dupuy de Lone the La Gloire was laid down in April 1858, at Toulon, to be launched November 24, 1859. La Gloire, a 5630-ton broadside ironclad battleship, was fitted out fully in August of 1860. The World's first seagoing armored warship, she also rendered obsolete every other (unarmored) ship-of-the-line. These had previously dominated seapower among the larger Western nations. Despite her revolutionary beginnings, La Gloire's active service was brief, as she was soon outclassed by newer ironclads and her wooden hull deteriorated relatively swiftly. HMS Warrior, a 9137-ton ironclad frigate, was built at Blackwall, England, and launched on December 29, 1860. The first of the Royal Navy's many ironclad capital ships, she entered service in October 1861, somewhat over a year after the completion of the French battleship La Gloire. The competition of battleships would continue 80 years, until the aircraft carrier rendered the concept of a floating battery to second place.

An English Saint December 29, 1940: Over 1500 pieces of incendiary ordinance would fall on the City of London this night. During the entire Blitz (the air war against the British civilian population), Nazi aircraft dropped thousands of these bombs, used to start mass fires in the old center of the City, causing the worst damage since the "great fire" of 1666. St. Paul's Cathedral (designed by Christopher Wren) survived. Eight Wren churches did not fare so well. Along with the Guildhall and Old Bailey (Courts), they were badly damaged by this conflagration. A Christopher Wren Church also survives in the city of Charleston SC, initial debarkation point for many Huguenot refugees.
On this date a few years earlier in 1170, agents of English King Henry II murdered his prelate, the Archbishop Thomas Becket, in Canterbury Cathedral southeast of London. Becket was canonized 3 years later. A solemn translation of Saint Thomas Becket's relics to a new shrine behind the high altar took place in the year 1220 (July 7). The ceremony was magnificent. People came from all over Europe to assist at it. The shrine-tomb of St. Thomas Becket also was of unparalleled splendor, perhaps the richest in the western world at the time. Yet, nothing of it now remains for it was plundered of all its riches during the reign of Henry VIII. A contemporaneous description:

"All above the stonework was first of wood, jewels of gold set with stone, covered with plates of gold, wrought upon with gold wire, then again with jewels, gold as brooches, images, angels, rings, ten or twelve together, clawed with gold into the ground of gold. The spoils of which filled to chests, such as six or eight men could but convey one out of the [Cathedral]. At one side was a stone with an angel of gold, pointing thereunto, offered there by a King of France, which King Henry put into a ring and wore on his thumb."

Thomas Becket triompha dans sa mort. Ce qu'il n'avait pu obtenir par l'effort de sa vie, il le réalisa par son martyre. Le peuple le vénéra aussitôt comme un saint, et le pape Alexandre III frappa Henri II, compromis dans ce meurtre, d’interdit personnel; pour obtenir son pardon, le Roi dut faire un pèlerinage humiliant au tombeau de Thomas Becket et se soumettre à la pénitence publique de la flagellation (21 mai 1172). Des miracles ayant attesté la glorification de Thomas Becket, Alexandre III le canonisa le 21 février 1173. Toujours est-il que la châsse du martyr devint le but d'un des pèlerinages les plus célèbres de la chrétienté. En 1538, Henri VIII se donna le ridicule de procéder à la «décanonisation» de saint Thomas Becket {en Church anglais}.

December 30, 1853: The US acquired (from Mexico) 45,000 square miles of land known as the Gadsden Purchase. The transcontinental railroad (southern route), for which the purchase was made, would not pass through this area for another quarter of a century. James Gadsden, a railroad promoter (and diplomat), became ambassador to Mexico (Franklin Pierce, President) in 1853 with instructions to purchase a border strip to include the Mesilla Valley for the railroad right-of-way. More HERE or HERE. The USA turned down a chance to purchase the Baja, too.

Statue of St. Jerome in St. John Cathedral in Poland Just in Time for New Year's -- December 31, 406AD: The Alans come to dinner. The Alans, the Asding and Siling Vandals and the Suevians cross over the Rhine, into Roman germaniæ, beginning their invasion of Gallia (Gaul) at Moguntiacum {Mayence -- Mainz}. This group, from the East, often referred to just as the Vandals, follow the pattern of earlier invasions of the Celts, as well as clear a path for the Huns some 45 years later, when Sainte Geneviève would implore the hoard not to destroy the City of Paris. For her role she obtains sainthood and gets a Church on the highest point of the left bank. Today that lately rebuilt structure (in an historical sense of time) is known as the Panthéon, its door once opening upon the Roman Forum in Lutèce, today just traffic. To celebrate the occasion the chimes of Big Ben are broadcast on radio for the first time by the BBC in 1923; and, Guy Lombardo performs Auld Lang Syne for the first time at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City (1929). The show is broadcast over the CBS radio network. Born in London Ontario, Guy founded the Lombardo Orchestra with his brother Carmen in 1916. Auld Lang Syne was his band's theme song before 1929, but tonight was the start of a New Year's Eve tradition. More HERE.

The Latin Vulgate (LV) version of the Bible by Saint Jerome was completed about 406 A.D. Interestingly, when in 406 AD, the allied barbarian forces of Suevi, Alans, Vandals and Burgundians sweep into central Europe, they sever all over-the-land communication between Rome and its colony Britain. In the autumn of 406 AD, the remaining Roman army in Britain decides to mutiny, and in 407 AD, under the leadership of Constantine III, cross back over the Channel into Gaul bent on attacking Rome. This ended the Roman Empire in Britain. The Goths will sack Rome. Meanwhile, the British-Celtic people who had been the allies of Rome would now face devastating attacks and near-annihilation at the hands of the Picts, Scots and in particular, the Saxons, Angles and Jutes of North-Western Europe. The successive waves of Germanic invaders that followed would have an incredible and profound affect of the future of the world – one that would take more than a thousand years to fully realize. It is here that a birth takes place - the birth of a new language – English.

December 31, 1939: From Soviet's Red Fleet of this date we find:

Nobody would dare to say that the loss of a German battleship is a brilliant victory . . . {it} is rather a demonstration, unprecedented in history, of the impotence of the British. Upon the morning of December 13, the battleship {Graf Spee] started an artillery duel with the Exeter, and within a few minutes obliged the cruiser to withdraw from action. According to the latest information the Exeter sank near the Argentine coast, en route to the Falkland Islands.

As translated in The Gathering Storm [Book 2: The Twilight War]. Winston S. Churchill. Houghton Mifflin Company [3rd Impression, June 1948]. pp 528-529

The Red Fleet account does not report that two other ships engaged the Spee and forced her to withdraw. The Exeter was not lost until 1942 in action with the Japanese. Trapped in a neutral port and forced to leave or be interned, the Graf Spee was scuttled before engaging the waiting British fleet that had forced her to retreat.

By the end of 1961, it is estimated that 200,000 people had fled from East to West Germany during the past year. The refugees had decreased after the Wall was built in the same year. Just 30 years later on December 31, 1991, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was dissolved. The regime that had changed the course of history was officially disappeared. Just 8 years later on the same day (the eve of Y2K), Boris Yeltsin resigned as President of Russia; Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, replaced Yeltsin. Monsieur Putin remains today not only a man of that year, but of the next decade and century for the time being; not just for what he has done, but with what he has left undone. With the bombings of the last two days (December 29-30, 2013) in a city once named for Stalin, hosting the upcoming winter Olympics will take nerves of steel.

In an effort to preserve harmony and protect the poor, Russia's state-controlled Gazprom has turned off energy supplies (2005) to the former comrades in Ukraine, whose recent elections chose a government that Russia did not desire. The country refused to pay higher-than-market rates. In contrast, Bellaruss, which continues to have a repressive, soviet-like regime, friendly to Putin, retains its favorable contracts with Russia. A year later (December 2006) -- the roles are reversed and it is Bellarus that may lose its warmth at the new Year. By the 3rd of January gas supplies had been resumed and an accord was reached; but, Russia will have greater economic control of the European economy as its gas becomes more indispensable. NATO now faces geo-strategic extortion in 2008, especially since the events in Georgia.

Remember your history; Gazprom, the Russian energy monopoly (controlled by the government), took control of the world's largest combined oil and natural gas development at the end of December 2006 (28th), after a highly publicized campaign of pressure on its foreign operator, Royal Dutch Shell. It the first effective nationalization of a large foreign oil or gas project in Russia, which this year surpassed Saudi Arabia in oil production. Putin dubbed it as a sale (between equal partners).

-- Start your New Year off right by remembering the past --

Stand by the roads, look and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; walk in that way and find rest for your souls
A Paris area Page -- And Another -- Paris Environs -- Mérovingiens and Metz -- Late-winter in Paris 2007 (an impression of what is out in the plain air)

Art in Bercy -- Mont Saint-Michel -- Other Churches and structures -- Art -- Maclet -- Clymer --- Georgia's Golden Isles

Who Were The Pharisees, Sadducees and Scribes? . . . the Essenes? -- Images of Pittsburgh -- Texas
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The scrolling digital display shows Universal Time (UTC), which is 5 hours in winter and 4 hours in summer ahead of Eastern and EDT, respectively. So, the summer solstice took place on Friday, June 21, 2013 at 0504 Universal time, which was 1:04 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time and 11:04 P.M. on the 20th, if you were in Casper Wyoming (Mountain Time) at the time.