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. . . text and images throughout this Website often contain active links . . ."forsan et hæc olim meminisse iuvabit."

We complete our 18th Year online in May 2015
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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 -- Salzburg -- (Winter 2015-16 ) NEW

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

More Verses and Selections: Page 1 -- Page 2 -- Page 3

"Here is My Servant, whom I uphold;
Mine Elect, in whom My Soul delights.
I have put my Spirit upon Him;
He will bring justice to the nations"
[Isaiah 42: 1 (NIV)].

Transfiguration Sunday - February 7, 2016 (Last Sunday before Lent)

Matthew 17:2 ... He was transfigured before them;
and His face shone like the sun,
and His garments became as white as light.

17:3 And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him . . . .

Luke 9:34 While he was saying this, a cloud came and overshadowed them;
and they were terrified as they entered the cloud.

9:35 Then from the cloud came a voice that said, "This is my Son, my Chosen; listen to him!"

9:36 When the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone.
And they kept silent and in those days told no one any of the things they had seen.

9:37 On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him.

Crée en moi un cœur pur, ô mon Dieu, renouvelle et raffermis au fond de moi mon esprit.
Psaume 50:10 -- Psalm 51:10

Mardi Gras (February 09, 2016): Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (the first day in Lent) gets its name from the ritual of shriving, when the faithful confessed their sins to the local priest and received forgiveness before the Lenten season began. As far back as 1000 AD, "to shrive" meant to hear confessions. Note: the term survives today in the expression "short shrift" or giving little attention to anyone's explanations or excuses. Shrove Tuesday also marked the last day before beginning the 40-day Lenten fasting period, when the faithful would not consume meat, butter, eggs or milk. What to do, however, if a family had a store of these foods and they all would go bad by the time the fast ended on Easter Sunday ? An easy solution -- use up the milk, butter and eggs no later than Shrove Tuesday. And so, with the addition of a little flour, the solution quickly became the pancake tradition. Shrove Tuesday pancakes will be consumed throughout Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia, but perhaps the tradition is most associated with the UK where it is known best simply as Pancake Day.

February 10, 2016: Dust or ashes, as sign of penitence and mourning dates to the time of Moses and before in the Old Testament (e.g. Genesis 3:19; 18:27 cf. Job 34:15; Job 13:12 "Your memorable sayings are proverbs of ashes ...."). In Protestant denominations of the Anglican tradition, a custom continues in the application of blessed ashes to the foreheads of congregants in the sign of the cross, with an intonation remember that you art dust and unto dust you shalt return. This is in imitation of the spiritual mark or seal that is put on a Christian in baptism, when he is delivered from slavery to sin and the devil and made a slave of righteousness and Christ (Rom. 6:3-18). It also presages the mark of those belonging to God during the end-time of Tribulation (Revelation 7:3; 9:4; 14.1).

And the LORD said to him [one of the four cherubim], 'Go through the city, through Jerusalem, and put a mark [literally the letter tav -- which in ancient script it looked like the Greek letter chi, which happens to be two crossed lines (like the "x" of St Andrew's Cross) and which happens to be the first letter in the word "Christ" in Greek, that is christos] upon the foreheads of the men who sigh and groan over all the abominations that are committed in it.' And to the others he said in my hearing, 'Pass through the city after him, and smite; your eye shall not spare, and you shall show no pity; slay old men outright, young men and maidens, little children and women, but touch no one upon whom is the mark. And begin at my sanctuary.' So they began with the elders who were before the house (Ezekiel 9:4-6).

This passage is also part of the background to the Anglo-Catholic practice of making the sign of the cross, which in the early centuries (as can be documented from the second century on) was practiced by using one's thumb to furrow one's brow with a small sign of the cross, as is done today, for example, at the reading of the Gospel during Mass. Where do the ashes used on Ash Wednesday come from? Traditionally, they are made by burning palm fronds that have been saved from the previous year's Palm Sunday, they are then blessed by a priest -- blessed ashes having been used in God's rituals since the time of Moses (Numbers 19:9-10, 17). from

TURN ye even to Me with all your heart,
and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning:
[So] rend your heart, and not your garments,
and turn unto the LORD your God:
for the Lord God is gracious and merciful,
slow to anger,
and of great kindness ... [Joel 2:12-13].

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 !

Le 7 février: Dans l'église Saint-Fridien de Lucques (Italie) où se trouve son tombeau, on célèbre la fête du saint roi Richard en raison des nombreux miracles qui y furent accordés par son intercession. Richard, roi des Saxons occidentaux (Wessex), époux d'une parente de saint Boniface, fut dépossédé de ses états, à moins qu’il n’abdiquât volontairement. Toujours est-il que, laissant sa fille, Walburge, en Angleterre, il embarqua, avec ses deux fils, Winebald et Willibald, à Hamble-Haven pour aller en pèlerinage à Rome. In other words, Richard was the father of Saints Willibald, Winnebald, and Walburga. He was on a pilgrimage to Rome from his native Wessex, England, with his two sons when he was stricken and died at Lucca, Italy. Miracles were reported at his tomb and he became greatly venerated by the citizens of Lucca, who embellished accounts of his life by calling him "King of the English." His feast day is February 7th.

Richard roi Saxon, abdiqua, après trente-sept ans de règne, en 725 et s'en fut habiter à Rome où il mourut. L'ancienne Angleterre connut des saints rois martyrs : Edwin (Northumbrie -- 632), Sigebert (Est-Anglie -- vers 635), Oswald (Northumbrie -- 643), Oswin (Deira -- 651), Anna (Est-Anglie -- 654), Alfwold (Northumbrie -- 789), Ethelbert (Est-Anglie -- 794), Edmond (Est-Anglie -- vers 870), Edouard le Martyr (978); l'ancienne Angleterre connut aussi des saints rois confesseurs: Ethelbert (Kent -- 614), Sebbe (Essex -- 693), Ethelred (Mercie -- 704), Ceolwulf (Northumbrie -- 737), Edgard (Wessex -- 975) and Edouard le Confesseur (England -- 1066). These are the saintly Kings from only before the Conquest.
The crane family of 
Savannah GAFebruary 7, 1733: At the end of the first week at Yamacraw Bluff, Georgia colonists completed work on a crane at river's edge. This had been an essential project, as the bluff stood forty feet above the river and colonists needed a way of lifting the heavier supplies as well as cattle and pigs from boats. James Oglethorpe then divided the colonists into three work crews. One was assigned to cutting down pine trees so a town could be laid out. A second group was responsible for creating a communal garden by clearing out tree stumps and preparing the land for planting seeds. The third crew began digging a trench in order to erect a wooden palisade around the settlement to protect against (or discourage) Spanish or native attack, which came elsewhere and somewhat later.
February 8, 1733: As the Georgia colonists began their second week at Yamacraw Bluff, each family was issued an iron pot, a frying pan, three wooden bowls, a Bible, a Common Prayer Book and a copy of The Whole Duty of Man. The previous day, a work crew of colonists had begun cutting down trees to clear an area for laying out the new town of Savannah. Today, another work crew began splitting the tree trunks into sheets of wood for use on the sides of clapboard houses.

Please Note: Letters, diaries, and records of this time show dates based on the Julian calendar (referred to as "Old Style") then in effect in Britain and the American colonies. The Gregorian calendar ("New Style") was adopted in 1752. Thus, Feb. 8, 1732/33 (Old Style) represents Feb. 19, 1733, under our calendar now in effect.

The first complete English Book of Common Prayer was produced, mainly by Thomas Cranmer, in 1549 under Edward VI. It was a selection and translation from the breviary and the Sarum [Salisbury] Missal, with some additions from other sources. It was essentially that book with a few changes in liturgy that the Georgia Colonists would use. The U.S. 1928 Prayerbook retained Cranmer's translation of the Psalms. More detail can be found at: See generally the links at, especially the link:

The wording of the Psalms by Cranmer differs from and is more poetic than the version that appears in the Authorized version of the Bible {we know it as the King James Bible}, which the Colonists received. The Whole Duty of Man was a work by Samuel von Pufendorf, (first published in Latin in 1673) translated into English in 1691 by Andrew Tooke, based on Ecclesiastes.

"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter; Fear God and keep His commandments; for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14

The Colonists would have had the 4th edition, which was significantly revised—by anonymous editors—to include a great deal of the very important editorial material from Jean Barbeyrac’s French editions. Jean Barbeyrac (1674–1744) was a Huguenot refugee from religious persecution in France.

February 8, 1917: Kennesaw Mountain Battlefield National Park was added to the National Park System. The Battlefield was made famous by one WT Sherman who passed by the place on his way to Atlanta and Savannah, on more than one occasion. Our page about his journeys is HERE. Oh, as you may have guessed, Sherman was born this day in 1820. Coincidence? Oh, one thinks not !

Monday, February 8, 2010: Monday was the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts in the United States as a formal organization -- On this day in 1910, The Boy Scouts of America was incorporated in Washington, D.C. by William D. Boyce, a Chicago publisher who learned about Scouting on a trip to England the previous year, when he became lost in a London fog. He was born near Pittsburgh, PA. On July 31, 2010, the National Scouting family joined together for the broadcast from the Jamboree and from celebrations across America -- A Shining Light Across America !

Retrait, 9 février 2001; Tirage, 4,8 millions (série): This is just a shameless gimmick to show a beautiful stamp, to promote a story on royal bloodlines at this Website and to tie all of this in with other English saints. A complicated story about Charles I, Roi d’Angleterre, d’Écosse et d’Irlande (1625-1649):

Après nous être sauvés, nous reconnûmes que l'île s'appelait Malte

February 10, 60AD: Saint Paul {born Saul of Tarsus} is thought to have washed ashore on this date in history, surviving shipwreck. Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. The islanders showed us an unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. (Acts of the Apostles 28:1-2 [NIV])

There is no doubt that St. Paul’s advent in Malta probably constituted the very first significant contact of these islands with the nascent Christian Church. A third century Greek apocryphal account states that, after this sojourn, Paul's journey to Rome actually proceeded from the island of Gaudomelete, presumably a compound toponym meaning “Gozo of Malta”. Like the people of Malta, the Gozitans ascribe the beginning of their Christian faith to the apostle’s missionary activity on the Maltese islands.

Gozo has two churches dedicated to Saint Paul: the parish church of the village of Munxar, south of Victoria, and the small church in Marsalforn Bay, on the north of the island. Both of these churches bear Saint Paul Shipwrecked as their titular dedication.

February 10, 1763: The French and Indian War was technically over and England had secured its goal of acquiring Canada. The Seven Years War, however, continues in other parts of the world until February 10, 1763. The British will agree to give the French-born inhabitants fair treatment in Canada, including freedom of worship, freedom to trade furs on an equal basis with British-born citizens, freedom of emigration and continued property rights. Great Britain with the deportation of many from Acadia, breaks this agreement, after the Treaty of Paris ending the conflict is signed.

February 10, 1870: The Carson City (Nevada) Mint delivered its first silver dollar coins for release into circulation. The CC mint mark was added to the coins produced there. The mint, located near huge reserves of silver, was a means for putting into circulation the silver mined in the region. Particularly famous and rare are its Silver Dollars and Trade Dollars.
February 10, 1967: The 25th Amendment to The Constitution of the United States of America went into effect. That amendment stated that when a Vice President became President, the new chief executive would nominate the new vice president, subject to confirmation by a majority vote of both houses of Congress. This event has occurred once when President Gerald Ford took over after the resignation of his predecessor and named Nelson Rockefeller to succeed him. As you may recall, after Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned, on October 10, 1973, President Nixon had nominated Mr. Ford, the Minority Leader in the U.S. House of Representatives (1965–1973), to take Mr. Agnew's place, under the 25th Amendment - the first time it applied. For several years, until after the 1976 election, two men governed this Country who were not originally elected to their executive positions. Moreover, Mr. Rockefeller had failed to secure the Republican nomination in the past and President Ford would fail to be re-elected in 1976.
Gerald R. Ford would become the longest living ex-President, surpassing President Reagan's record, before passing away at age 93 on St. Stephen's Day 2006 (December 26th). Most will remember him as the man who healed a Nation, although his courage in taking an unpopular step cost him the election in 1976. Representative John Dingell, D-Mich., who served with Ford in the House, praised former President Ford for his commitment to Ford's wife Betty and the president's family.

10 Février 1942: So, I found the following site while looking for something on the 13th about the founding abbess of one of the Chartreuse houses, and I just had to look at this date in history too, where I found, inter alia, R.C.A. Victor invente le disque d'or (+ de 500 000 exemplaires vendus) pour l'offrir à Alton Glenn Miller pour Chattanooga Choo Choo. Aussi: Saint à fêter -- Amand de Maastricht (patron des brasseurs et des moutardiers) -- It is said that a heavy wind on his feast day (February 10th) portends a poor wheat crop -- Bise et grand vent à la saint-Amand font mal au froment. He is also the patron of vine growers, vintners and merchants as well as of Boy Scouts, who aren't supposed to be drinking.

More: Décès célèbres: Achille Ratti, professeur de théologie, directeur de la bibliothèque ambroisiennne de Milan directeur de la bibliothèque du Vatican alpiniste (en 1889, une des premières traversées du mont Rose par le versant de Macugnaga, en 1890 le premier parcours (à la descente) de la voie normale italienne du mont Blanc qu'on appelle "route du Pape"), cardinal en 1921 -- et enfin pape en 1922 sous le nom de Pie XI. Il donna en 1923 un saint patron aux alpinistes: Saint Bernard de Menthon.

Much More: Evénements -- 1258: Bagdad tombe entre les mains des hordes mongoles. Les gens sont assassinés, la ville incendiée; 1763 Le traité de Paris met fin à la guerre de 7 ans entre la France et la Grande-Bretagne; 1870: Fondation des Young Mens' Christian Association (Y.M.C.A. chanté bien plus tard par les Village People); 1903: La Banque de France sort la pièce de 25 centimes. And we could go on, but lets go back to the first item, leaving you to Google the rest.

Who got the first gold record [Ed. Note -- warning a trick question is coming on down the line -- can't you hear the whistle blowin'] ? Glenn Miller, sure, for Chattanooga Choo-Choo, introduced in the movie Sun Valley Serenade. He became the first recipient for the first gold recording ever awarded, when RCA presented a commemorative gold 78-r.p.m. copy of the hit to Miller on his Chesterfield Radio Show on February 10, 1942. Sales of the pressing had just gone beyond the 1,200,000 mark -- the highest total for a recording since 1928. (Today's recordings qualify for the gold at 500,000 copies) Miller's original golden award is now one of the artifacts displayed in the Glenn Miller Archive at the University of Colorado at Boulder. For you young readers 78-r.p.m. refers to the rate at which a record revolved on a turntable -- back then it was 78 times a minute. A Chesterfield was / is a nicotine delivery device, whose name dates from the 1870's.

Late in the year 1941, the Glenn Miller Orchestra, fronted by feature vocalist and saxophonist Gordon 'Tex' Beneke, performed the movie song Chattanooga Choo Choo. The movie faded away but the song exploded. In less than three months, more than one million copies of the record were sold. In an effort to reward Glenn Miller - and call attention to its own success as well - RCA Victor took one of the master copies of Chattanooga Choo Choo, and sprayed it with gold-colored lacquer. On February 10, 1942 the music company surprised Miller during his live radio broadcast with the gold. It was the first such emblem of success awarded to a recording artist; but, the actual award recognized today as a Gold Record was not initiated until the next decade, when the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) borrowed the publicity stunt and trademarked the Gold Record. Perry Como got the first RIAA award in 1958 for his recording of Catch A Falling Star. The first Gold Record album was earned by Gordon McRae and the cast of Oklahoma for its movie soundtrack release. OK, so now you know.

But wait, what golden light through yonder window breaketh; 'tis the east and Salvatore is the sun. Harry Warren (December 24, 1893 - September 22, 1981) was an American composer and lyricist. Born Salvatore Guaragna in Brooklyn, New York, he is regarded as one of America's most prolific (but least-known) composers. The plaque bearing Harry Warren's epitaph displays the first few notes of You'll Never Know (Just How Much I Love You), one of the many, many well-loved hits. Among these tunes are I Only Have Eyes for You, 42nd Street, Chattanooga Choo-Choo, Serenade in Blue, Jeepers Creepers and You're Getting to be a Habit with Me. Three of his compositions, Lullabye of Broadway, You'll Never Know and On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe, won Academy Awards for Warren.

So now you tell me, who won the first gold record ?? Glenn Miller, Tex Beneke, Perry Como or Salvatore Guaragna ???? Major Miller died during World War II, possibly of friendly fire, during bad weather in an airplane crash, so we do know that he got the worst end of the deal.

February 11, 1812: Politician Alexander Hamilton Stephens was born in Wilkes County, Georgia. One of the great orators of his day, he would play a pivotal role in many of the political crises of his time. Ironically, while personally opposed to slavery (calling it "that abominable human tragedy"), Stephens was also an ardent supporter of States' Rights. After graduating from the University of Georgia in 1832, Stephens set up a successful law practice, but became interested more in politics. He was elected first to the Georgia House of Representatives (1836), to the Georgia Senate (1842) and to the U.S. Congress (1843).

In his premier speech to Congress (February 9, 1844), Alexander Stephens would argue that his election had been unconstitutional. Never-the-less, he would work with Henry Clay to fashion compromises as contention grew between slave and free states. Stephens played a key role in passage of the Compromise of 1850 and the Kansas-Nebraska Bill of 1854. Speaking at Georgia's secession convention after the election of President Abraham Lincoln, Stephens argued vehemently against secession, pointing out that no actual violations of any state's rights had yet occurred. But when it became apparent that Georgia would secede, Stephens joined his colleagues in signing the Ordinance of Secession, which led to widespread conflict after the Union surrender of Fort Sumter on April 13, 1861.

Alexander Stephens was also chosen a delegate to the convention forming the new Confederate government in Montgomery, Ala. He assisted fellow-Georgian T.R.R. Cobb in drafting the provisional Confederate Constitution, thereafter being elected Vice-President of the new government. Eventually, he became concerned over President Jefferson Davis and the Confederate government's actions in conscripting troops and declaring martial law. Stephens joined Georgia Governor Joseph E. Brown in arguing that such acts violated the very southern states' rights, the very idea that the Confederacy was formed to protect. Near the end of the War between the States, Stephens was arrested and imprisoned for four months (but was never indicted on any charge).

Few people remember that Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens [bio] tried to broker a peace directly in February 1865. On February 3rd he attended the Hampton Roads Peace Conference as one of three Confederate commissioners to discuss the possibility of ending the War between the States with U.S. President Lincoln and Secretary of State William Seward. The main southern bargaining position was based on the French presence in Mexico and the need for cooperative action in light of this potential threat. The meeting, which took place aboard the Union transport River Queen, a ship then off the coast of Virginia, ended without resolution. In a few months Lincoln would be dead and Stephens imprisoned.

After the War, Stephens was reelected to Congress -- but in 1866 he and other Georgia members were refused their seats. During his subsequent absence from political office, Stephens authored a two volume work -- A Constitutional View of the Late War between the States. In 1872, Stephens ran for the U.S. Senate, but was defeated by ex-Confederate general John B. Gordon. Within a month, he successfully ran for the U.S. House. But, he was now in declining health, confined to crutches or a wheelchair. Unable to tend to much of his congressional responsibilities, Stephens retired from Congress in 1882. Returning to Georgia, he found Georgia Democrats bitterly divided. His party now pleaded with him to be their candidate for governor and help unify the party. Reluctantly, Stephens agreed. He easily won the election, but served for only four months before dying in Atlanta on March 4, 1883. In 1905, the General Assembly created a new county and named it in his memory. Later, legislators selected Stephens (along with Crawford Long) to represent Georgia in the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol -- click HERE to view. See

Stephens was born near the beginning of the War of 1812; on his 3rd birthday in 1815 the news of the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, finally reached the United States.
Le 11 février 1858 -- C'est sa fête Notre Dame de Lourdes: Près du village pyrénéen de Lourdes, une jeune femme serait apparue à Bernadette Soubirous, dans une grotte appelée Massabielle. Selon ses dires, la petite bergère assista dans les semaines qui suivirent à plusieurs apparitions du même type. Au cours de l'une d'elles, la Dame lui confia: « Je suis l'Immaculée Conception » (c'est-à-dire épargnée dès sa conception par le péché originel).
La bergère rapporta ces mots à son curé sans savoir que le pape Pie IX avait proclamé quatre ans plus tôt le dogme de l'Immaculée Conception à propos de Marie, la mère du Christ. Les apparitions de la grotte miraculeuse stimulèrent la dévotion à Marie ... et firent de Lourdes l'un des plus célèbres pèlerinages du monde.

Le 18 Février à été choisi pour fêter Sainte Bernadette, car c'est à cette date que la Vierge Marie lui dit : « Je ne vous promets pas de vous rendre heureuse en ce monde, mais dans l'autre. » Elle meurt le 16 avril 1879 à 35 ans. Elle est béatifiée le 14 juin 1925 puis canonisée le 8 décembre 1933. Son corps retrouvé intact, repose depuis 1925.

The burial place of Sainte Bernadette Soubirous (Convent of the Sisters of Charity) is at Nevers. Her remains have been placed in a gold and crystal reliquary in the Chapel of Sainte Bernadette at the mother house. Many pilgrims visit the body of Bernadette, which to this day remains intact, despite being over one hundred and thirty years old.

February 12, 1809: President Abraham Lincoln was born in Hardin County Kentucky. Although roughly criticized during his own era, Lincoln must be considered as one of American (if not World) history's great personages. Lincoln first entered National politics as a Whig congressman from Illinois, but he lost his seat after one term due to his unpopular position on the Mexican War. The 1858 Lincoln-Douglas debates for the U.S. Senate seat gave him a national reputation even though he lost the election. In 1860, Lincoln became the first top leader elected from the Republican Party, the 16th President. After a divisive campaign, where the Democrat Party split its majority (of votes) between two regional candidates, Abraham Lincoln was declared President on February 13, 1861 (a belated present for his 52nd Birthday). His election led to the War between the States, when southern States tried to leave the Union. The President perished a few days before the War's end at the hand of an assassin. Illinois made President Lincoln's birthday a state holiday in 1892, but it never became a National holiday. In 1915, the cornerstone for the Lincoln Memorial was laid in Washington, D.C.

First Lincoln-head cent & Capitol under Construction

In 2009 we celebrated the bicentennial of his birthday and the centennial of the Lincoln cent with new reverses for the coin. They were released beginning February 12th. A set of four 42 cent Lincoln commemorative stamps also were scheduled for release by USPS (, but we've never seen any. And, we've never seen some of the reverses from some of the mints, no doubt saved as collectable (much as the 1909 issues were put aside).

February 12, 2004: Germany opens a consulate in Kaliningrad, annexed by Russia after World War II. It had been the German city of Königsberg, the capital of the state of East Prussia. The opening of the German consulate took place on the 200th anniversary of the philosopher, Immanuel Kant’s death. Kant had been a resident of that city and a professor at the University of Königsberg. Some have suggested that his philosophic leanings divorced reason from reality (that is you could reach a rational conclusion without regard to how it really worked in real life) and so he is directly implicated in the failed social experiments of communism and facism. Herr Dr. Kant wrote in his most famous statement on the sublime, in the Critique of Judgment:

Perhaps the most sublime passage in the Jewish Law is the commandment: Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven or on earth, or under the earth, ... This commandment alone can explain the enthusiasm that the Jewish people in its civilized era felt for its religion when it compared itself with other peoples, or can explain the pride that Mohammedanism {Islam} inspires. [But, this is a personal or congregational vow that in no way justifies the murder of innocents]

from an interview with Gil Anidjar at:

Le 13 février -- C'est sa fête Béatrice: Béatrice d'Ornacieux fonda la Chartreuse d'Eymeu (en Isère, dans le Dauphiné now in the Department called Drôme) en 1290. Son prénom, très populaire à la fin du Moyen Âge, fut en particulier porté par la jeune fille qu'aima Dante {La Divine Comédie} et à ce titre, il a été immortalisé par le poète florentin. Par son style, il exprime une rupture avec la tradition médiévale de l'amour courtois, tradition à laquelle Dante n'a pas manqué de sacrifier en célébrant son amour pour Béatrice Portinari. Sainte Béatrice est née au village d'Ornacieu, dans l'Isère
Béatrice, besides being the fondatrix of Chartreuse d'Eymeu, was essentially the first abbesse or female superior in the spiritual and temporal life of the community. With a few exceptions, the position of an Abbess in a convent corresponds generally with that of an Abbot in a monastery. The title was originally the distinctive appellation of Benedictine superiors, but in the course of time it came to be applied also to the conventual superior in other orders, especially to these of the Second Order of St. Francis (Poor Clares) and to these of certain colleges of canonesses. By the way, a Chartreuse d'Éymet also exists in history, founded in another part of France.

February 13, 1689: The British Parliament adopted a Bill of Rights for its citizens, ending its absolute monarchy. English parliament placed Mary Stuart and Prince William III (of Orange) on the throne (14th) as they accepted its provisions. The Glorious Revolution was at a conclusion. We have written more about this time within the pages of this Website. I invite you to go HERE.

Orange is a town and commune in the département of Vaucluse, north of Avignon and Arles on the Rhône River. Its abundant Roman ruins are some of the finest in the world. From the 12th century, Orange was raised to a minor principality, the Principality of Orange, as a fief of the Holy Roman Empire. When William I "the Silent", count of Nassau, with estates in the Netherlands, inherited the title Prince of Orange in 1544, the Principality was incorporated into the holdings of what became the House of Orange-Nassau.

February 13, 1952: Death of Alfred Einstein in El Cerrito, California (born in Munich, Germany). Einstein (a cousin of the scientist Albert Einstein) was a musicologist and music critic. He was the critic for the Münchner Post until 1927 and then from 1927 to 1933 for the Berliner Tageblatt. With the rise of the Nazis he fled Germany. In 1939 he immigrated to the United States and became a professor of music at Smith College. He continued a career in musicology as an American.

As for his former Berlin paper -- a complicated tale of a paper taken over by the Nazi's (1933), trying to regain some integrity, eventually closed (1939). "The International Press is abandoning its colours - in some countries more quickly than in others - but it is a fact. Instead of independent minds inspired by genuine feeling, there appear more and more men of routine, crippled journalists of widely different stamp who shoot from behind safe cover, and thereby sacrifice their consciences.” Famine in Russia („es gibt kein Brot, wir müssen sterben“)

February 14th -- The oldest roots of St. Valentine's Day lie in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, which had been celebrated on February 15th for about 800 years before the day Shakespeare immortalized in Act I, Scene i of "Julius Caesar." The festival dates from the beginning days of Rome as the traditional celebration of the she-wolf that nursed the two legendary founders of the City, Remus and Romulus. Some think the holiday existed even before the two lads landed in Rome.

According to more modern legend, Charles of Valois, Duke of Orléans and father of the popular King Louis XII (Father of the People), sent the first Valentine messages (letters and poems) to his second wife, Bonne of Armagnac, in 1415, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt {100 Years' War}. He, however, was not beheaded, and lived a full life. Unfortunately, until 1440, it was spent in English captivity. He never saw his wife Bonne again. Orléans, an accomplished poet, composing in both French and English, was exceptional among his French contemporaries. So it is that the British Library has a copy of his works from about 1500, composed in French, English and Latin. He makes an appearance in Shakespeare's King Henry V (Act 4. Scene VIII), when his name is mentioned as one of the captives taken on October 25 -- Saint Crispin's Day.

From the same play, you may remember this:
KING. This day is called the feast of Crispian:
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian":
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars.
And say "These wounds I had on Crispin's day."
* * *
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's day.
{emphasis added}

Why is Shakespeare relevant today ?? Shakespeare was writing at a time in which the English were bogged down in their Irish conquest. In an exchange involving the two English soldiers that a disguised King Henry encounters shortly before the battle of Agincourt (again from from Henry V), one soldier, John Bates, will not question his sovereign's motives. The second, Michael Williams, is skeptical of the King's reason for war, but he performs his duty because to disobey meant rejecting the very notion of citizenship. He says:

[I]f the cause be not good, the King himself hath a heavy reckoning to make when all those legs and arms and heads, chopp'd off in a battle, shall join together at the latter day [Ezekiel 37] and cry all 'We died at such a place'- some swearing, some crying for a surgeon, some upon their wives left poor behind them, some upon the debts they owe, some upon their children rawly left. I am afeard there are few die well that die in a battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything when blood is their argument? Now, if these men do not die well, it will be a black matter for the King that led them to it; whom to disobey were against all proportion of subjection. Act IV, Scene 1

There are other examples, too, of Shakespeare questioning the motives and glory of war, but they are carefully crafted to avoid too much controversy. One had to be careful and not lose one's head. You may also remember the emphasized words in the quote of the King as a title for a book and somewhat recent TV Mini-series -- What that second band of brothers fought first to secure.

The she-wolf (louve) of France makes her movie debut with William Wallace in "Braveheart" - but that is an entirely fictionalized encounter. When Isabella of France (1295-1358) arrived at the church in Boulogne in 1308 for her wedding to England’s Edward II, the idea that she would someday be one of the most reviled Queens in English history never entered her pretty head. After all her groom was everything a King should be, tall, athletic, with blond good looks to match her own. The youngest surviving child and only surviving daughter of Philip IV of France and Joan I of Navarre, the marriage had been set in motion to end the war between France and England over territory, specifically the province of Gascony. But there were two things that stood in the way of their domestic bliss; Edward didn’t particularly want to be King, and he was in love with someone else.

While this is a tale fit for Valentines day, it also provides a strong basis for the English claim to the French line, which led to the "Hundred Years War". As a Capet, she arguably acquired the title when her last surviving brother the King of France died without legitimate issue.

Post-war CeremonialFebruary 14, 1778: The American ship Ranger carried aloft the recently adopted Star and Stripes into a foreign port for the first time as the vessel arrived in France. On November 1, 1777, the Ranger, commanded by John Paul Jones, had sailed from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, first displaying the Star and Stripes at sea. En-route to Nantes, the warship captured 2 brigantines, sending them into French ports as prizes -- the first time the new flag presided over combat at sea. On February 14th the French fleet gave the first honor of a reply (9 guns -- Admiral La Motte Piquet) in answer to a salute of 13 guns given by John Paul Jones as he entered Quiberon Bay.

The naval Battle of Quiberon Bay took place on the 20th of November 1759, during the Seven Years' War, off the coast of France northwest of St. Nazaire (mouth of the River Loire -- Northwestern portion of this Map). The first Royal Navy ship to carry the name HMS Vengeance was a 28 gun Frigate with a ships complement of 200 men. In 1759 under the Command of Gamaliel Nightingale, Vengeance took a small part in the action off Quiberon Bay, under Admiral Sir Edward Hawke (later Lord Hawke). In 1760 she fought against the French in the St. Lawrence, leading up to the capture of Quebec, although she was not present at the final assault. On 13th March 1761 she fought and captured the Entreprenant, a French armed ship of a superior size to herself. In 1776, she was sunk to form part of the new breakwater at Plymouth in Devon.

Le 15 février de l'an 44 avant JC: A lieu à Rome la traditionnelle fête des Lupercales, qui rappelle la louve nourricière des deux fondateurs légendaires de la Ville, Rémus et Romulus. Cette année-là, Marc Antoine saisit l'occasion de la fête pour poser en public le diadème des rois grecs sur le front auguste de César. Mais la foule proteste contre cette velléité de rétablir la royauté et demande à Lépide, le maître de la cavalerie, d'ôter la couronne. Celui-ci n'en fait rien et César, de dépit, doit ôter lui-même la couronne. Un mois plus tard, il sera assassiné. Voi aussi

Born this day Galileo Galilei, dit Galilée, se consacre aux mathématiques et à la physique aprés des études de médecine (Pisa-1564). Michæl Prætorius (February 15, 1571) also died on this date at age 50. Michæl, a German-born composer, organist and writer about music (he compiled an unrivaled encyclopedic record of contemporary musical practices), was accordingly one of the most versatile composers of his age -- being particularly significant in the development of musical forms based on Protestant hymns in an effort to bridge the chasm between Protestant and Roman Catholic denominations. His family name in German appears in various forms including Schultze, Schulte, Schultheiss, Schulz and Schulteis. Prætorius represented the conventional Latinized form of this family name. Louis XV (1710 à Versailles), Roi à 5 ans du pays le plus riche et le plus puissant d'Europe. Pierre Laclàde established Saint Louis in 1764, a French trade post in the far west of New France. In 1820 Susan B. -- need we say more. Canada's Maple leaf flag is unfurled for the first time on Parliament Hill in Ottawa (1965), retiring the british red ensign.

Maine enters Havana Harbor February 15, 1898: The U.S. battleship Maine blew up in Cuba, killing over 265 sailors. This event brought on a short Spanish-American War. On the night of the 15th, while anchored in Havana Harbor, an explosion (possibly caused by sabotage) ripped through the vessel. It had been sent to the Spanish Colony to intimidate Spain. Inconclusive investigations by the Spanish government and U.S. Navy became irrelevant. Popular American sentiment outpaced diplomacy. On April 25th, the U.S. Congress declared war on Spain to the shouts of Remember the Maine ! The true cause of the boiler- or ammunition-related destruction that sank the battleship Maine remains a mystery. Contemporary photographic images of the salvage of the Maine (1912) may be found HERE.
February 15, 1944: Bombs pulverized the Abbey of Montecassino in central Italy. It appears that the effort to neutralize it as a German observation post failed because the Abbey founded by Saint Benedict was evacuated before the attack. The German troops reoccupied it thereafter, because the wreckage made hand-to-hand combat necessary to drive the enemy out of every nook and cranny.

The destruction of the historic monastery (pillaged, destroyed and rebuilt in past wars) was necessary in part because the Allied forces had failed to press home the element of surprise after the landing at Anzio. The road to Rome -- the objective of the assault -- was open. Even the Germans later admitted this fact. The troops got hung up on the beachhead, some say because of an over-abundance of caution. The surprisingly slow progress of the Allied forces enabled the Nazi defenders to regroup. The second of several failed attacks on Montecassino began on the 15th with the massive air-raid, because the area now had become the pivot of the whole German defense.

There is controversy about whether it should have been destroyed again. The monastery did not contain German troops, but the enemy fortifications were hardly separate from the building ... On February 15 therefore, after the monks had been given full warning, over four hundred and fifty tons of bombs were dropped, and heavy damage was done ... The result was not good ... [giving the enemy] even better opportunities for defense than when the building was intact.

from Churchill, Winston S. Closing the Ring: Book 2 -- Tehran to Rome. Riverside Press (Houghton Mifflin Company). Cambridge (1951). pp. 499-500.

What might have taken a few days (to reach Rome) took weeks and many more lives, however, the mess caused Germany to draw more forces and resources into the area, away from the northern coast of France (Normandy). When the collapse came, much more had been lost by the Germany than by the Allies. On June 6th, Winston Churchill announced the capture of Rome (on June 5th) to a rapt House of Commons, who had expected news about Operation Overlord. After 10 minutes of talk about the heroic Italian Campaign, Churchill announced the invasion of France along the Coast of Normandy. A year later, perhaps 50 thousand souls were dead, as fires still burned, after the end of the fire-bombing of Dresden (February, 13-14th (1945)). Neither the Roman Campaign, nor the Dresden firestorm, can be claimed as high points in American tactical execution of strategic thinking.

February 16, 1804: Lt. Stephen Decatur attacked the harbor of Tripoli, where Saracen pirates held the frigate USS Philadelphia. The Intrepid was a shallow-draft, 64-ton, four-gun ketch, built in France in 1798. She was subsequently sold to Tripoli and used by the pirates based there to capture the USS Philadelphia on October 31, 1803. Less than two months later, Intrepid was captured by the USS Enterprise. Intrepid became the command of Lieutenant Stephen Decatur. On the night of February 16, 1804, Decatur sailed into Tripoli harbor, boarded the Philadelphia. It was burned. Stephen Decatur was a hero for standing against the terrorists of the day, and received additional command. see John Adams and the Ottoman Empire One has to wonder, if the lessons of the Maine, Quiberon Bay and Tripoli are to be remembered.

Dekalb County Georgia's seat of government, Decatur, was named for this American hero, Commodore Stephen Decatur (1779-1820), a distinguished officer of the U. S. Navy, perhaps best remembered for his saying: “Our country, in her [relations] with foreign nations may she always be right; but our country, right or wrong.” He served with honor in command of the warships USS United States and USS President during the War of 1812. Cities in Illinois, Alabama and Tennessee (as well as countless schools) are named for him, too. More background history is at this page, but his story has no happy ending. History resource for DeKalb County, Georgia can be found here.
February 16, 1838: On this date Henry Adams was born. Adams, the son of a President and grandson of another, became an historian. He wrote a book that we all used to read in school, The Education of Henry Adams, perhaps the greatest autobiography ever written. It also has been said that Mont-Saint-Michel and Chartres (1904) remains one of the most profound evaluations of the medieval imagination by one of the richest, classic liberal minds the United States has ever produced, the same Henry Adams. This raconteur furnishes a wonderful chapter on the Chanson, which places the poem in the context of the Norman invasion of England, as well as its later focus on the 12th and 13th century glasswork of the Cathedral at Chartres dedicated to Notre Dame. This companion work to The Education ... is now available on the World Wide Web for all to read (see

The Salle des Chevaliers of the Order of Saint Michael created by Louis XI in 1469 was, or shall be for tourist purposes, the great hall that every palace and castle contained, and in which the life of the chateau centered. Planned at about the same time with the Cathedral of Chartres (1195-1210), and before the Abbey Church of Saint-Denis, this hall and its neighbour the refectory, studied together with the cathedral and the abbey, are an exceedingly liberal education for anybody, tourist or engineer or architect, and would make the fortune of an intelligent historian, if such should happen to exist; but the last thing we ask from them is education or instruction. We want only their poetry . . . .

February 16, 1932: The premier U.S. fruit tree patent blossoms. Granted to James E. Markham of Stark Brothers Nurseries & Orchards, the patent protection covered a peach tree that ripens later than other varieties (at that time). In 1816, James Hart Stark and a small band of pioneers moved from Kentucky and settled on the western side of the Mississippi in a place that would later become Louisiana, Missouri. The Stark company's ability to develop many plant varieties led to an association with famed plant wizard Luther Burbank. He selected Stark Bro’s to carry on his work and willed over 750 varieties to the company. Paul Stark, Senior was instrumental in crafting Federal legislation creating plant patents in the early 1930's. Today, new fruit varieties may be patented just like other products. As a result, Stark Bro’s holds patents or exclusive propagation rights to many types of fruit. The Goodman-Stark House, an example of classically inspired Queen Anne style (built in 1894), and the Lloyd C. Stark House and Carriage House, an example of Eastlake Victorian domestic architecture (built in 1891), are both on the National Register of Historic Places in Louisiana (MO).

February 17, 1801: The U.S. House of Representatives votes to breaks an electoral college tie. It chooses Thomas Jefferson over Aaron Burr. An official Senate Version of the tale. To celebrate the occasion, on this date in 1989, Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was released to theatres across the States by Orion Pictures. On this big adventure, the stars of the cinema classic meet up with inter alia Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, President Abraham Lincoln and M. Napoléon Bonaparte, all regular contributors (if you will) to this Website.
February 17, 1865: The South Carolina capital city, Columbia, was half destroyed by fire as the Confederate forces evacuated and Union troops under Major General William Tecumseh Sherman marched in. It's not known which side set the blaze. Sherman did, however, have something of a reputation as a firestarter. The same day, Union forces regained possession of Fort Sumter. Tradition has it that when General Thomas Sumter died on June 1, 1832, he was the last known surviving American officer who served in the American Revolution. And, while his role in history has perhaps been forgotten, the Fort named for him has not.

Named for General Thomas Sumter, one of South Carolina's War heroes, the three-story fort, although still under construction, was well armed with heavy seacoast artillery, sturdily built, and surrounded by water. At 4:30 AM on April 12, 1861, 43 Confederate guns in a ring around Fort Sumter began the bombardment (The first Shots of the War were fired in early January from a battery manned by cadets from the Citadel at a vessel (Star of the West) that President Lincoln had sent to resupply the fort) that would lead to its surrender the next day. The hostilities between the North and the South had begun in earnest.

Although there were no casualties during the bombardment, one Union soldier died and three were wounded (one mortally) when a cannon exploded, while firing a salute during the Union evacuation on April 14th. The first casualties of the War between the States would occur in Baltimore, when Federal troops clashed with civilians who were trying to get Maryland to leave the Union.

On February 17, 1864 -- Speaking again of Fort Sumter and Charlestowne: Confederate officer George Dixon used the submarine H.L. Hunley to sink the USS Housatonic in Charleston Harbor, S.C. 5 Union soldiers died on the Housatonic as did the 9-man crew of the Hunley as it soon sank. In 1995 the Hunley was found by Clive Cussler. On Aug 8, 2000, the H.L. Hunley was raised and returned to Charleston. The Confederate crew's burial took place on April 17, 2004 --

February 18th: The Feast day for Saint Colman of Lindisfarne (605 - 675AD). He was a Bishop at Lindisfarne, Northumbria and a disciple of Saint Columba. Saint Colman was born in Connaught, Ireland. At the Synod of Whitby (664AD), Colman stood in defense of the Celtic (Irish) ecclesiastical practices. When King Oswy supported the introduction of the Roman rites, Colman refused to accept that decision and led a group of Irish and English monks to the Isle of Innishboffin, near Connaught. In time he moved the English monks to Mayo, and was praised by Blessed Alcuin and by the Venerable Bede for Saint Coleman's part in the building the English Church -- an example of God's Grace at work.

Printed in Lyon-Lugdunum February 18, 1559: Regarded by many at the time as the most learned in Europe, Isaac Casaubon (born on this date in Geneva to Huguenot refugee parents, died July 1, 1614) first became a classical scholar in France. The family returned to their native France with the publication of the Edict of Saint-Germain in 1562, and settled at Crest in Dauphiné, where Arnaud Casaubon, Isaac’s father, became minister of a Huguenot congregation. During the Religious Wars in France his family often had to hide in the mountains and caves of the region to avoid capture by roving bands of fanatics.

Casaubon became a noted scholar, and taught in Paris. The life of any Huguenot in Paris was still insecure at that time, for it was doubtful if the police-force of the city was strong enough (or willing) to protect Protestants against any sudden mob uprising, always poised to re-enact the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre. When the assassination of Henry IV gave full rein to the anti-protestant party at his court, Casaubon left for England, where he lived out the remaining years of his life. He was buried in Westminster Abbey. Thomas Morton, his friend, while Bishop at Durham, furnished the monument which bears Isaac's name. -- this article incorporates text from the 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica, a publication in the public domain. Casaubon's life reflects fervor of the era, the circumstances that lead to widespread Huguenot migration out of France, a nation which lost many of its best and brightest to Germany, Holland, England and eventually to America.

February 18, 1562: Meanwhile on this date, French colonists, mostly Protestants, set sail for Florida. They will be slaughtered by the Spanish. Less than two weeks later, the thirty year period known as the Religious Wars of France would begin when soldiers, under the command of Duke François II de Guise, murder about 200 Huguenot villagers in Vassy (Champagne region). François is the uncle of Mary, Queen of Scots, of the Stuart dynasty, who tries to restore Catholicism to Scotland and England. The MASSACRE AT VASSY, committed by the de Guise's party against a congregation of unarmed persons, took place during a religious service. This particular Duc de Guise died in 1563 at the hands of an assassin, even though he was a national hero for his defense of Metz. The next Duc (Henri I de Lorraine) was no better a man and would meet the same end.
February 18, 1685: The French nation established Fort St. Louis (René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle) alongside Matagorda Bay on the west bank of Garcitas Creek (about 400 miles west of the Mississippi River), thus forming the basis for France's claim to Texas. The settlement lasted four years, until native attacks killed off everyone, except 5 children. The Spanish expeditions of Alonso De León arrived in April, 1689. It found a fort in shambles and the remains of three of the French settlers. They gave the settlers a proper burial, recovered the children and burned what remained of Fort Saint Louis in an attempt to eradicate all traces of a French presence.

In 1721-22 Marqués de Aguayoqv claimed to have built Nuestra Señora de Loreto de la Bahía Presidio directly over the remains of the French fort. The Spanish would of course contest the French claim to Texas-Louisiana. Enough of a question remained, however, so as to regard the French transfer of Louisiana to the United States, as also transferring the disputed interest in Texas, because the French had acquired the Spanish interest in Louisiana. This is why the French Flag is one of the six national flags that have flown over the state -- can you name the others ?? Archæologists have found LaSalle's ship. The article about the discovery and the history of the expedition makes for a good read.

February 18, 1807: Today marks the passing of Sophie von La Roche (née Gutermann von Gutershofen, Dec. 6, 1731, Kaufbeuern in Bavaria) in Offenbach am Main, in Hessen (Germany). Offenbach sits across the river from eastern side of Frankfurt. La Roche's novel Geschichte des Fräuleins von Sternheim (1771) [The History of Lady Sophia Sternheim (trans. London 1776)] was the first novel written by a German woman. La Roche was the cousin of Christoph Martin Wieland and the grandmother of Bettina von Arnim and Clemens Brentano.
Le 19 février 197 -- Victoire de Septime Sévère à Lyon: Une bataille met aux prises deux prétendants à l'empire de Rome. Elle s'achève par la victoire de Septime Sévère, le général de l'armée romaine du Danube, sur son rival, le gouverneur de Bretagne, Clodius Albinus. Le vainqueur pille et détruit Lugdunum (Lyon) avant d'imposer sa loi à Rome . . . Lyon would be rebuilt.

One of Julius Caesar's lieutenants during the gallic conquest founded the Roman "capital" of Gaul. Named Lugdunum, the city sat on top of large hill (small mountain) now called the Fourvière. It overlooked a valley where two rivers converged (Rhône and Saône) and several gallic settlements existed already in the floodplain of that great expanse. The Gaulois included Celtic tribes like the Helvetii, the Sequani, and the Aedui, along the Rhône and Saône rivers; the Arverni among the mountains (Cévennes) to the west of the Rhône; and, the Allobroges along the nearby Isère River Valley (an hour away by modern train that easily passes through the mountainous region between the two.

The city received special privileges because of its most illustrious citizen, the emperor Claudius. He was born there during the service of his father, who died young. It was a prosperous city from which five roads departed to the Aquitaine, Italy, the Rhineland, Arles and the ocean (the ancient greek and Phoenician trade route. Today at the top of the hill, near the stark white 19th Century Basilica Notre-Dame de Fourvière, a superb museum attests to the area's history. It overlooks the magnificent vestiges of two theatres and other the ancient buildings that were at the heart of what would become Rome's second city (Musée de la Civilisation Gallo-Romaine).

Lugdunum, however never recovered from the fate of civil unrest and destruction by Septimius Severus, under Rome, but today it is the second City of France, spread out for miles below the hill. The Bishop seat within the city, in memory of the prominent role, played in the introduction of Christianity in Gaul, keeps even today the title "Primate of the Gauls" with many fine examples of ancient structures.

Constantius == CONSTAN TIVS
Antioch Mint == SMANEI (EI = officina 15
{15th authorized mint workshop})

February 19, 356 A.D. On this date the Roman Emperor Constantius II by law the closed all pagan temples and consolidated the power of the Western and Eastern Empires under one Christian Rule.

Upon Constantine's death, Constantius inherited the entire eastern Empire. Soon after he added Thrace to his rule and as his brothers died, he annexed their territories. When he defeated the western usurper, Magnentius, Constantine had mastered the entire Roman Empire. Although he started campaigning along the Danube, war with Persia forced his return to the East. Shortly after, he received news that Flavius Cluadius Iulianus {Julian II}, a nephew, had been proclaimed Augustus by his troops at Lutetia (Paris), Julian rushed toward Rome. Constantius, after successful campaigns against the border natives, died on his way back west to fight his new challenger.

By default, Julian had become the ruler of the Roman Empire. A philosopher and brilliant tactician in the ancient art of war, he sought to re-establish the age of Pericles, both in culture and science. He reversed Constantius' closure of pagan temples. For these acts he is known since then as The Apostate. Julian is said to have died from a Persian arrow only two and a half years into his rule. His successors returned a Christian preference to Roman law, and by the time of Theodosius, who tolerated only the universal or "holy catholic" faith in the Empire, the old pagan religion was outlawed fully.

Also of Antioch but probably
a contemporary counterfeit

February 19, 1552: Birth day of Melchior Klesl in Vienna, Austria. A Protestant in early life, Klesl converted to Roman Catholicism through the influence of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit Order). He became a priest and rose in the Catholic Church, first to the office of Bishop of Vienna and later Cardinal. He was close to the Holy Roman Emperor and for a time was in essential control of this germanic regime. He worked for religious tolerance, which offended many of the Catholic-faith princes in Germany, who had scarcely forgotten the Reformation. Klesl, arrested and imprisoned in 1618 (released in 1627), continued as a Catholic prelate until his death.
February 19, 1807, Aaron Burr, now former Vice-president under Thomas Jefferson, was arrested for treason in Alabama. He had attempted to carve out an empire in the south-west. He was later acquitted. Mr. Burr is best remembered for his dueling prowess. Vice-president Burr, irritated by Secretary Alexander Hamilton, shot and killed him. He was indicted for murder, but never arrested. Nor was he removed from office, because there was no controlling legal precedent to prevent a Vice-president from shooting the Secretary of the Treasury (something for Biden to contemplate). Mr. Hamilton's portrait may be found on the U.S. $10 bill. Monsieur Burr's is nowhere to be found. Dueling, although illegal, was common at the time; never-the-less Burr's legacy remains poor. Interestingly, Hamilton's own son died of a duel, only a year before his father's untimely passing. Politics can be a deadly advocation.

February 20, 1915: In San Francisco, President Woodrow Wilson opened the Panama-Pacific International Exposition to memorialize the opening of the Panama Canal. About 300,000 people attended opening-day celebrations. The World Fair featured pavilions with exhibits from 41 nations, 43 states and 3 US territories. A 40-ton instrument (made by the Austin Organs Co. of Hartford, Conn.) with 7,000 pipes played the “Hallelujah Chorus.” After the exposition closed the organ moved to the Civic Auditorium; used for 7 decades until damaged in the 1989 earthquake.

Mercury-Atlas 6 -Friendship 7- departs 
February 20, 1962. 9:47:39 am EST from 
Cape Canaveral Launch Complex 14
Lands at 14:43:02 pm EST

It was about 45 years from the time of the Panama Canal's completion until the beginning of space flight by man. It has been over 50 years since John Glenn's first ride. What will the next similar span bring ??? Will we only just have gotten to Mars, or will we figure a way to move faster, or perhaps the forces of an evil anarchy prevail; and our lifetime quest only will be a trip to a city to touch a meteorite once dedicated to a moon goddess.

February 20th 2014: Ukraine continues in the news -- A truce is declared, violence rages on, dead bodies are displayed in the hotel that the press uses (what's the message there). Nothing new, but seems to be heating up for action after the Olympics finish this weekend; meanwhile, released video shows Russian police whipping and beating hooligan women who dare sing about the thuggery taking place in Russian life - what a riot. Off to the Gulag ye go !

In February 2010, Russia publicly talked about taking back the part of the Ukraine that is naturally Russian (and protecting the rest from violence thereby):   Below a few things from a few years ago, as the dispute continues on what sphere of influence Russia will have over its old colonies and territories. Will the violence become so bad that Russian troops are welcomed as the restorers of law and order. One is temped to say follow the money, but when dealing with despots one must look at other agendas. Am I being clear here ?

Originalpublication date: March 4, 1882
February 17, 2008 -- Kosovo in the news

Click for our Map --

Perhaps we would better understand the positions, if the southwest of the US became a 90% Mexican-heritage area and decided to leave the US. UN troops would be stationed there to keep the peace. The area would then form a new country, with close relations to Mexico and Russia. Soon, Russia would have a missile defense system placed in Phoenix, LA, Albuquerque, Dallas and Houston, in order to prevent sneak attacks from South America terrorists upon Russian soil. All's fair in love and war. Of course, the US has no history of ethnic cleansing of Mexican-heritage people, so this is just a far-fetched example that would never-ever happen. Moreover, mother Russia would never do such a thing today. Indeed, Dmitry Anatolyevich Medvedev hardly placed blame for any future natural consequences. “It is absolutely obvious that the crisis ... is the responsibility of those who have made the illegal decision [and it] will unfortunately have long-term consequences for peace on the European continent.” NY Times -- Scathing Comments by the Moscow News Weekly (2/28)

Article from Le Soir, roughly translated: Ukraine: "Europe must say no to those who kill {murder}" -- Speaking Wednesday after a meeting with Angela Merkel, French President François Hollande discussed the repression in Ukraine, of "unspeakable acts, unacceptable, intolerable." These actions affect us. Directly. And, not just because Kiev is as close to us as other capitals in Europe such as Athens or Lisbon.

We must not forget that this is the issue of reconciliation - the " Association Agreement " - with the European Union which has set fire to the powder in the country. Most Ukrainian people believe that Europe is their future. Like many others, they see in our Union, a bulwark against new rulers, new limitations [on freedom}. Europe, in their eyes, it is the guarantee of the "rule of law", freedom of expression, the social model of their aspirations for their children.

Their enthusiasm, moreover, also reminds us that we can be proud of this our Union, which certainly has many faults, but certainly does not merit all the simple process espoused these days by populists. So Europe has a special responsibility on the Ukrainian scene. And it must act.

Viktor Yanukovych and his fancy minions can not get away with what they are doing. Not in 2014, in the heart of Europe, nor does the blame rest more on the population ! Of course, there are deaths on both sides. However, there can be no question of reciprocity between a president who wraps himself in the dignity of institutions, who puts on his executioner's hood (perhaps to hide his all too provocative grin ... and the crowd on the Maidan [the Maïdan Nézalejnosti (in Ukrainien : Майдан Незалежності, - literally Independence Square), is the central gathering place in Kiev].

Timely, credible sanctions must be applied against those responsible for the repression. At the same time, the dialogue should be maintained with Russia, now that his Olympic "truce" has been broken by the hothead [thug]s in the Yanukovych system.

The "Twenty- Eight" foreign ministers of the Union are gathered this Thursday afternoon in Brussels for a special council meeting devoted to Ukraine. We are too used to seeing them only record their divergent views on world affairs. This is not the time to persevere on this path ... The situation in Kiev requires all Europeans to respond, and to be effective, to force a political dialogue in the Ukraine.

1854 Pattern large cent in Copper
Another beautiful coin 
It is a pattern for the 1857 penny

February 21, 1853: An Act of Congress authorized production of a three-dollar gold coin. And, on this date in 1857, the half cent was discontinued and the small one cent coin with the flying eagle motif was authorized. The eagle in flight was, until that time, found on a number of proof strikes of the new, smaller-sized penny dated 1856. A few large-sized pattern cent pieces survive with a somewhat similar look. On these the style of eagle is modeled after the eagle by engraver Gobrecht that graced the reverse of the half dollars of 1838 and 1839. The motif is also related to the silver dollars of 1836-1839, except that the silver dollars have a slightly different feather treatment, particularly on the neck.

February 21, 1855: The official dedication of the Washington Monument took place in the Nation's Capital City, although the monument was not completed for another thirty-three years. In fact, the structure took a total of forty-eight years to finish. Robert Mills designed the stone obelisk-shaped building honoring the first President of the United States. Mills died in this, the year of the dedication. Upon completion, the monument became the world's tallest structure, a title it held until 1889, when builders finished the Eiffel Tower in Paris. At 170 meters high it is about a fifth of the size of the world's latest structure, dedicated on January 4, 2010, at Dubai City.

Robert Mills was an American architect of the classic revival period, born in Charleston, S.C. From 1800 to 1820 he worked as an architect in Washington, Philadelphia and Baltimore, being associated at different times with Thomas Jefferson, James Hoban and B. H. Latrobe. He then returned to Charleston as South Carolina's state engineer and architect. In 1836, President Jackson appointed Mills the chief architect for public buildings in Washington. In this post he designed and supervised the construction of the U.S. Treasury Building (1836 - found on the back of a $10 bill), as well as the U.S. Patent Office and the U.S. Post Office Department Headquarters (now the home of the International Trade Commission), both begun in 1839.

So I was thinking: What can one do today to memorialize George Washington's Birthday, which should be celebrated on the 22nd, but by government fiat is recognized only on a nearby Monday (in 2015 on the 16th) ? Perhaps, fly a flag that has 33 stars ! Now the reproduction flags most sold today have a different pattern than the older one we use (see; see also Back then, however, Congress had mandated no official pattern for the stars on a US Flag. It is not the star pattern found at: It was not like the one flown over Fort Sumter:

Oregon, the 33rd state, was added to the Union on February 14, 1859, and the new Flag became official on July 4th of that year and lasted until George Washington's birthday in 1861. So the recounting that follows explains why my choice appears appropriate:

February 22, 1861: On this day, Abraham Lincoln, the President-elect, went to Philadelphia to attend a flag raising ceremony. Seven Southern States were preparing to secede from the Union. The Nation was in a condition of crisis. Threats already had been made on Mr. Lincoln's life and he would be secretly transported through Baltimore on his way to his Inauguration. Raising the American flag on this day, George Washington's birthday, over the building in which Americans had declared their independence from England, was indeed a courageous act of faith. Mr. Lincoln raised a large 34 star flag over Independence Hall. It was a bold statement that the Nation created four score and five years earlier should be preserved. Also check out the different patterns for the 34-star flag:

The holiday celebrated on the third Monday in February is officially Washington's Birthday; yet still, many Americans wrongly believe that this Federal observance now is called Presidents' Day, in honor of both Presidents Washington and Lincoln, whose birthdays are February 22nd and February 12th, respectively. Only Washington's Birthday has become official. In 1885, President Chester Arthur signed a bill making this day a Federal holiday.

February 22nd: George Washington was born on February 11, 1731/32, according to the Julian calendar. In 1752, however, Britain and her colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar, jumping the date ahead by 11 days (and making January the first month of the year instead of mid-March). According to the new calendar, Washington's birthday occurred on February 22, 1732. I wonder which day Washington thought was his day.

On this date in 1797, the last invasion of the Island called Britain took place when some 1,400 Frenchmen landed at Fishguard, in Wales. Of all the illustrious Battle Honors won by the British army, some say perhaps the most bizarre is also the only one awarded for service on British soil. The honour belongs to the Pembroke Yeomanry, awarded in 1853 in recognition of the defeat of the last invading force. While more booze may have been expended than bullets, the final outcome was a minor masterpiece of the use of bluff over brute force; and, while it may appear fairly ludicrous today, the engagement still stands as a tribute to the Welsh Yeomans' pluck. Among the French force was an American commander, William Tate, of whom history has heard little more. Tate on that day had, however, at least achieved something that Napoléon, Hitler and massive force would never again accomplish -- he actually had invaded England.

Of note, today also is Robert Baden-Powell's birthday. He is the founder of the International Scouting movement. The Girl Scouts celebrate Thinking Day on this date in honour of his memory and that of his wife, who was also born February 22nd. In 2012 Girl Scouting in the USA will be 100 years of age. "In every country the purpose of the Scouts' training is identical, namely, efficiency for Service towards others; and with such an object in common, we can, as an International Brotherhood in Service, go forward and do a far-reaching work." Robert Stephenson Smyth Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell -- Go HERE for so much MORE

February 22, 1892: "The Battle of Atlanta" opens at a cyclorama on Edgewood Avenue near Piedmont Road in Atlanta; but not until 1921 would the exhibit be housed in a more permanent home. The painting was commissioned as publicity by John Blackjack Logan, a Union general who served under Sherman in 1864, who was running for Vice President with James Blaine in 1884. Logan was prominently displayed in one scene leading other generals into the fray. When he lost the election, he apparently didn't pay for his giant painting, which today is the largest in the world. Note: at Clark Gable's request, Rhett Butler was added to the artwork, but as a dead soldier.

As panorama painting became increasingly popular during the latter half of the nineteenth century, William Wehner founded the American Panorama Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The studio’s first project was to capture the cataclysmic events of the "Storming of Missionary Ridge and Battle Above the Clouds." The painting was first mounted in Chicago across the street from Paul Philippoteaux’s Gettysburg Cyclorama, and later toured to Kansas City, Chattanooga and Atlanta. In 1892 it was placed on display in Nashville, Tennessee where it was destroyed by a tornado.

A Madison, Georgia businessman purchased "The Battle of Atlanta" in 1890. He also owned the first {Chattanooga} cyclorama produced by Wehler's company. In an interesting twist of fate, "The Battle of Atlanta" was shown in Chattanooga while the Missionary Ridge display ran at the Edgewood Avenue location. The citizens of Atlanta got their first view of "The Battle of Atlanta" only in 1892, at the location vacated by the Chattanooga cyclorama. A year later the entire exposition unexpectedly closed when 8 inches of snow collapsed the roof. Even the new home has seen hard times. In 1967 a violent thunderstorm damaged the Grant Park building and the painting, both of which have since been refurbished (1979).
February 23, 155 (oldstyle (traditional) date): Saint Polycarp, a Bishop of Smyrna, dies a martyr. Reportedly a direct disciple of the Apostle John, Polycarp sent out apostles to found other churches like the one at Lyon. At age 86, he was condemned to be burned at the stake. It is written that Polycarp said upon his death pyre: You try to frighten me with fire that burns for an hour and forget the fire of hell that never burns out ! The flames, tradition says, would not touch him, and when Polycarp was run through with a sword, his blood killed the fire. (Eusèbe, Histoire eccl. (Pères apostoliques), 1. V, c. XX)

[devant l'Autel de Dieu]
Crions de joie pour le Seigneur,
Acclamons notre Rocher, notre Salut !
Approchons devant lui en rendant grâce,
Par nos chants et nos hymnes,
[Nous] acclamons-tu !
{Psaume 94}
{So let us} come
{before the Alter of the Lord},
Cry out with joy for the Lord,
Hail our Rock, our Salvation !
Approach Him with thanksgiving,
With our songs and hymns, let us hail [extol] Him !
(Psalm 95 (eng numbering))

Saint Polycarp, who served as the bishop of the Church at Smyrna (modern day Izmir) He is recognized as one of three Church Fathers with a direct tie to an Apostle (in his case as noted above, John). Some assert that Polycarp suffered his martyrdom on the 22nd of February, but it is variously celebrated on the 23rd or in January on the 26th; moreover, the year of death also is a topic of dispute. Polycarp is regarded as a Saint in the Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, and Lutheran Churches. Irenæus, who remembered him from his youth, said of him; "a man who was of much greater weight, and a more steadfast witness of truth, than Valentinus, and Marcion, and the rest of the heretics." This is the same Saint Irenæus, Bishop of Lyon, who received a copy of a letter about Polycarp traced to the Church of Smyrna. One can further trace the cultus of Saint Polycarp to Lyons. It is said, but not proved, that his relics left Smyrna: reliquiæ ejus Lugduni in crypta habentur. Google has an entire book on file on Polycarp's life from 1898 (NY edition of London print) by Rev. Blomfield Jacksn, which contains many well-researched references:

Lucian, the witty litterateur of Samosata, writing circa A.D. 165-170 is one such source. Bishop Lightfoot (Apost. Fathers, II. i. p. 606) enumerates the possible references to the martyrdom of Polycarp in the satire on the "Death of Peregrinus," who committed suicide at the Olympic Games of A.D. 165. Salient points are (i) the lighting of the pyre with torches and fagots, (ii) the stripping off the clothes, (iii) the prayer on the pyre, (iv) the comparison with a baking and, (v) the eagerness of the crowd for his relics. Google Books Link is HERE

February 23, 303: Diocletian begins his Great Persecution, issuing edicts that call for Christian churches to be destroyed, sacred writings burned, Christians to lose civil rights and clergy to be imprisoned and forced to sacrifice to pagan gods. The following year he went even further, ordering all to sacrifice on pain of death. Diocletian resigned in 305AD, after 20 years in office: Foxe labeled the end of Diocletian's reign as the finish of the tenth period of Primitive Persecutions:

February 23, 1011 -- Death of St. Willigis von Mainz: St. Willigis was born to the family of a wagon builder in a village in Lower Saxony, Germany. He rose in rank to become the chancellor of Germany under the emperor Otto I. In 975 he became the Archbishop of Mainz and was named the Primate of Germany by Pope Benedict VII. It was he who crowned Otto III at Aachen in 983 and in 1002 crowned Heinrich II at Mainz. Willigis participated in the consecration of Pope Gregory V in 996. He presided at the Synod of Frankfurt in 1007. He is entombed in the Church of St. Stephen in Mainz (Mayence). His designation as a saint precedes the practice of formal canonization by a pope.

February 23, 1455: Interestingly on this date, Johannes Gutenberg (Johan Gensfleisch, circa 1400-1468) printed his first book, the Bible. Gutenberg printed Latin Bibles of which 11 were still extant in 1987. The availability of inexpensive books soon resulted in the Bible being printed in native languages such as German (translation by M. Luther), English (several issues during time of Henry VIII and his son), and French (by J. Calvin).

These translations loosened the monopoly of the Catholic Church on the spiritual life of the European populace and its rulers, eventually contributing to the Reformation that engulfed the West in decades of civil war and deadly political strife. For example, on February 25, 1570, Pope Pius V issued the bull Regnans in Excelsis, which excommunicated Queen Elizabeth the First of England (daughter of Henry VIII). This order purported to absolve her subjects from their allegiance. Elizabeth responded by hanging and burning Jesuits. Scarcely 8 years earlier, on March 1, 1562, General de Guise at Vassy sanctioned the murder of Huguenots and sparked a series of conflicts in France, collectively known as The Wars of Religion. Indeed, the so-called 5th War (of Religion), against the Huguenots, broke out on February 23, 1574.

February 23, 1836: The Alamo was besieged by Dictator Antonio López de Santa Anna, General-in-Chief of the Army of Operations, and President of the Republic of Mexico. The siege of the Alamo began a 13-day period that turned a ruined Spanish mission in San Antonio, Texas, into the Texas Shrine known the world over and revered for the heroic defense of freedom it represents. The fight for Texas Independence (formally declared March 2nd) would be complete only when Santa Anna sufered defeat at San Jacinto. Remember the Alamo would be the rallying cry that some say led to his ruin and exile; but, in truth it was an influx of legal and illegal immigration into the Texas province of Mexico, as well as his willful breach of the Mexican Constitution, that resulted in the legal transfer of the Texas Nation and eventually other territories to the United States. English-speaking American settlers far outnumbered Spanish speaking Mexican citizens, and the lands had ceased practically to be tied to Mexico, when the conflict occurred. Indeed, many Spanish-speaking Texans supported the formal break as necessary to preserve freedom.

Santa Anna had crossed over the Rio Grande into Texas at Guerrero -- Eagle Pass. From January 10th until February 16, 1836, Guerrero served as the staging area for what was expected to be a quick victory in Texas. Santa Anna was right -- in a way -- as he was captured in the battle of San Jacinto and signed a Peace Treaty recognizing the Republic of Texas on May 14, 1836.
Santa Anna would reprise his role during the Mexican-American war. U.S. troops under General Zachary Taylor would defeat Mexican General Santa Anna at the Battle of Buena Vista in Mexico (San Luis Potosi) on February 23, 1847. He surrounded the forces commanded by Taylor (Old Rough and Ready) at the Angostura Pass in Mexico and demanded an immediate surrender. Taylor refused, although outnumbered 3 to 1. Superior US artillery was able to halt the advance of Mexican legions. Santa Anna goes home declaring victory, but Mexico would lose this war and the good General would spend his second time in exile on the beautiful Isle of Jamaica (1848).

Elected in 1848, Taylor would become 12th President of the United States due to his war record, but would serve only 16 months. He died July 9, 1850 in Washington D.C. while in office. He got sick after eating cherries and milk at a July 4th celebration. He was the second president to die in office. As you may have guessed, his Vice-president, a New Yorker, followed him. Millard Fillmore filled out the term. He had no Vice-president. California, lost by Mexico just a few years earlier, became the 31st State during Fillmore's time in office (September 9, 1850).

On March 2, 1836, Texas declared itself independent from Mexico on Sam Houston's 43rd birthday. For more go HERE.

In the southern part of Texas, in the town of San An-tone,
There's a fortress all in ruin that the weeds have overgrown.
You may look in vain for crosses and you'll never see a one,
But sometime between the setting and the rising of the sun,
You can hear a ghostly bugle as the men go marching by;
You can hear them as they answer to that roll call in the sky:
Colonel Travis, Davy Crockett and a hundred eighty more;
Captain Dickenson, Jim Bowie, present and accounted for.

* * *


In the southern part of Texas, near the town of San An-tone,
Like a statue on his Pinto rides a cowboy all alone.
And he sees the cattle grazin' where a century before,
Santa Anna's guns were blazin' and the cannons used to roar.
And his eyes turn sort of misty, and his heart begins to glow,
And he takes his hat off slowly to the men of Alamo.
{much more slowly}            
To the thirteen days of glory at the seige of Alamo.

Marty Robbins, Ballad Of The Alamo

February 23, 1861: Ironically, on February 23, 1861, Texas would become the seventh State to secede from the Union, when citizen's confirmed {by a better than 3 to 1 margin} the secession decision. Governor Sam Houston, who opposed secession, had refused to call a convention upon Lincoln's election; however, at a special session, the Texas legislature approved the idea. An election of delegates took place over a period of days and in late January, the convention assembled in Austin. On February 1, the convention voted overwhelmingly to secede, 166-8. A vote of all citizen's took place on February 23rd to confirm the convention results. On March 16, 1861, Edward Clark would become the Governor of Texas; thereby, replacing Sam Houston, who was evicted from office for refusing to take the Oath of Loyalty to the Confederacy.

The February 23, 1861 edition of Harper's Weekly featured a number of interesting historical stories. It includes the women and children being evacuated from Fort Sumter, illustrations of Fort Sumter and Fort Jefferson, and reports of a number of Abraham Lincoln's speeches before he became President. President-elect Lincoln arrives secretly in Washington D.C. to on this day in 1861 in order to take office. His inauguration was March 4th.

In recognition of the Bicentennial Celebration of the American Revolution, the U.S. Postal Service issued a sheet of 50 different stamps showing the state flags of Georgia and the other 49 states. Special ceremonies were held in Atlanta and the other state capitals for the flag stamps. The Georgia state flag of 1956, featured on the stamp, was changed twice, thereafter. The latest version, approved by the voters evokes the pre-1956 design. In 2008-9 new state flag stamps are being issued, along with US Flags. An example is HERE.

February 23, 1945: Four days of bitter battle had taken its toll on the 28th Regiment of the Fifth Division of the U.S. Marines. Although losses were heavy, the Marine platoon accomplished its mission to neutralize nearby defenses and scale the heavily fortified Mount Surabachi. The volcanic peak, at the southern tip of the Japanese island of Iwo Jima, the first tactical step in the invasion of this small, strategic island, 750 miles south of Tokyo. Victory was portrayed in the famous photograph (by Joe Rosenthal) of Marines raising the American flag. Navy Secretary Forrestal was standing on the beachhead below. When Forrestal saw The Stars and Stripes waving in the breeze, he told Lt. General Holland M. Smith, The raising of that flag on Surabachi means a Marine Corps for the next 500 years. Never-the-less, despite the triumph that day, there was still a month of fierce fighting and costly Marine casualties to go before all the Corps could secure all of the island. It was proof to American planners that every inch of conquest on native soil would be bloody. The enemy knew this, too. Indeed, civilians were armed and trained to resist. Millions more would die. Japanese military thinking was that the Americans and British Allies could not stomach such carnage. They were probably correct in that prediction, but did not understand the new force of mass destruction.

February 24, 616: The Jute kingdom of Kent sat in the southeast corner of England. In 597 a delegation of monks sent from Rome, arrived there with Augustine (d. 26 May 605 -- not Augustine of Hippo (28 August 430)) at the head. The Christian Gospel arrived in Roman Britain well before 200AD. The Celtic peoples of the Isle were largely Christian within a century. Another 100 years passed and during the 5th Century, southeastern Britain (what we now call England) saw the influx of the non-believing Anglo-Saxons (Angles, Saxons and Jutes, tribes from the germanic coastlands of Europe). They subdued the Christian Celts, causing migrations north, west, as well as, south to France (Bretons). As a result, Celtic missionaries entering England from Ireland and Scotland / Northumbria began the reconversion of England along with Roman Catholic missionaries from Europe in the south and east of the Isle near Canterbury.

Æthlebert {Ethlebert or Eadbald -- the, great-grandson of Hengist, the first Saxon conqueror of Britain}, the king of Kent, was a pagan, but his wife Bertha, the Frankish princess of Paris, was Christian. This princess of Paris was the daughter of Charibert I, King of the Paris-Franks and Ingoberge. Gregory of Tours was a close acquaintance of Bertha's mother, Ingoberge. In his history of the Franks, he twice calls Æthelbert a man of Kent, meaning that Æthelbert had not succeeded as king at that time of their marriage. Charibert I was the grandson of Louis I (Chlodovech I, the Great King of the Franks) the first French Christian King and Ste. Chlotilde, a Princess of (greater) Burgundy.

Æthelbert listened to the invitation to convert given by Augustine's party. He decided to remain in the religion of his fathers, but gave the delegation a plot of ground to build a church. Their efforts converted some 10 thousand of his subjects within 4 years. King Æthelbert was baptized, built the cathedral of Saint Andrew in Rochester and the monastery of Saint Peter and Saint Paul (later the cathedral of Saint Augustine) at Canterbury. All this influenced the conversion of King Sabert of the East Saxons, in whose territory he built the church of Saint Paul, London. This king of Kent died on February 24 616; but because that is the Feast of Matthias the Apostle, Æthelbert's death is commemorated on the 25th of February.

Æthelberg, the daughter of Bertha and Æthlebert, and wife of Edwin ( or Æduini of Northumbria), founded and was abbess at Lyming. Æthelberg was instrumental in the conversion of her husband Edwin (April 12, 627) and the region, through the preaching of Paulinus. In Book 2 of Bede's work on the history of the Church in England, Chapter 20, we have a dramatic climax with the overthrow and death of Edwin at the battle of Hatfield (October 12, 632 A.D.); the devastation of Northumbria by the British king, Cædwalla, and Penda of Mercia; and the flight of Æthelberg and her daughter Ænflæd, taking with her Paulinus, to Kent to take refuge with her brother, Ædbald, the new King of Kent. If we have counted correctly, Ædbald is only 7 generations removed from Egbert, making all of them our relations, through the West family of early Virginia -- and it stretches back even beyond to inter alia Nero Claudius Germanicus Drusus of Rome, father of the Roman Emperor born August 1 in Lyon, in this line.

Paulinus' life ends with him leading the church at Rochester. Only James the Deacon remains heroically at his post in the north country to keep alive the smoldering embers of the faith. Ænflæd becomes the wife of Oswy and is found alive living with her daughter Ælfled, the abbess at Whitby, by 685AD.
February 24th is Flag {Bandera Nacional} Day in Mexico: Do you know what the colors of this flag represent ? Today, young children are told that Green is for hope and victory; White is for the purity of Mexico's ideals; Red is for the blood Mexico's national heroes who died defending unity. The colors in truth have another, historical meaning -- Tres Garantías. Thus, white represented the Catholic Faith; green was for independence; while red stood for the union between Europeans and America's native peoples; but, according to Zárate, a Mexican historian, red, originally stood for Spanish heritage, the red of Castile.

The Treaty of Iguala, established on 24th February 1821, recognized the independence of Mexico and established the Tres Garantías for real. The flag of the army, the Trigarante, was adopted on 14th April, 1821, and was made by the taylor of Iguala, José Magdaleno Ocampo. The Army of the Three Guarantees entered Mexico City on 23rd September, 1821. A decree of Iturbide established the flag colored after the fashion of the Trigarante. That flag was raised on 7th January, 1822, and was declared perpetual, and a derivative of it remains in use today.

In addition to the bands of color, Mexico's flag also has an emblem. The emblem is based on a legend which tells how the Mexicas {Aztecs} traveled from Aztlán (now the state of Nayarit) in search of the sign that Huitzilopochtli had told them they would discover at the place where they should establish their empire. This sign was an eagle on top of a Nopal cactus devouring a serpent. They found this on a small island in the middle of a lake and settled there. Thus, began the city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City. see also

February 24, 1857: The first shipment of perforated postage stamps was received by the U.S. Government. Only imperforate ones had been used previously. As early as March 1855, Postmaster General James Campbell anticipated that high-volume use would render the act of cutting stamps apart with scissors inconvenient to post offices and to the public. In response to seeing examples of British stamps, which had been perforated since 1854, Campbell had his staff investigate the means used to perforate stamps and report on the efficacy and estimated cost of adopting similar methods in the United States. Finally, in February 1857, the first perforated stamp, the 3-cent Type I (Scott Catalog #25), made its appearance (earliest known use was February 28th). Beginning in July 1857, other values were issued with perforations. The picture at the left vividly illustrates the rough quality of the first perforations.

February 25th -- Feast Day of Ste. Walpurgis (ca. 710-779): Saint Walpurgis (her name also can be spelled Walpurga or Walburga) was the daughter of Saint Boniface's sister (and herself the sister of Saint Winebald and Saint Willibald, Bishop of Eichstädt). In about 748 she was called by Saint Boniface to assist in the missionary effort in Germany. In 761 she became the abbess of the Benedictine convent in Heidenheim (near Eichstätt). She is entombed in Eichstädt in the Bavarian Church named in her honor. She was canonized by Pope Adrian II. Saint Walpurgis and her brothers were English, fruit of the spirit of Augustine and Æthlebert and others.

February 25, 1999: Atlanta artist and illustrator Harry Rossoll died at age 89. Rossoll, who worked as an illustrator for the U.S. Forest Service from 1937-1971, is best remembered for conceiving the idea and image of Smokey Bear in 1941 as part of a new forest fire prevention promotion. During the following decades, Rossoll crafted over 1,000 Smokey Bear messages.

February 26, 1797: In 1759, gold shortages caused by the Seven Years War forced the Bank to issue a £10 note for the first time. The first £5 notes followed in 1793 at the start of the war against Revolutionary France. This remained the lowest denomination until 1797, when a series of runs on the Bank, caused by the uncertainty of the war, drained its bullion reserve to the point where it was forced to stop paying out gold for its notes. Instead, it issued £1 and £2 notes. The Restriction Period, as it was known, lasted until 1821 after which gold sovereigns took the place of the £1 and £2 notes.

a fiverEarly Bank of England notes were printed in black on white with no design on the back. They were much larger than modern notes. Although the Bank experimented with colour, new designs and printing techniques, its notes remained essentially the same throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. The £ sign developed over the years, a stylized form of the letter L, the initial letter of the Latin word libra meaning a pound (Silver) of money.

The French Revolution brought about a radical and violent reorganization of French society. France soon found itself at war with most of the monarchies of Europe as it tried to spread its revolutionary ideals. In order to finance these wars and revolutionary changes, vast quantities of paper money, called Assignats were issued. The Assignat was supposedly backed by land confiscated from the church and nobility that fled the country (in hopes of keeping their heads attached). Pictured is a 5 Livre denomination from 1793, meaning 5 Pounds.

Le 26 février 1815: Napoléon 1er quitte l'île d'Elbe en catimini avec quelques compagnons d'infortune. Dédaignant la souveraineté de l'île, à lui concédée par ses vainqueurs, il projette rien moins que de restaurer l'Empire français. Son entreprise réussira à la barbe des gouvernants européens, réunis en Congrès en Vienne pour remodeler l'Europe. Il ne faudra que Cent jours. avant que Napoléon 1er rende définitivement les armes. Les royalistes et les réactionnaires de tout poil prendront alors leur revanche.

During the retreat after the Russian War, Napoleon's troops fought the Austrians at Mâcon (just south of Tournus -- January 1814). Unexpected support by three hundred Tournusien volunteers fighting courageously still did not sway the outcome. Napoleon was exiled to Elba, but he did not forget the sacrifice of lives. He awarded (on his brief his return) the Legion of Honor to the town of Tournus on May 22, 1815. Stage 7 (Saturday, July 10, 2010) of the Tour de France ran from Tournus sur Saône (another Roman fortress town with important ancient Christian heritage) to Station des Rousses (a resort town).

February 26, 1829: On this day, Levi Strauss was born in Buttenheim, Bavaria, lying on the on the edge of the Regnitz Valley. In 1017, Buttenheim is first mentioned as one of the entrance points to what will become Franconian Switzerland. Because of its location on the North-South transport corridor, it was up to the middle of the 17th Century one of the most important trade cities between Bamberg and Forchheim. A French King's exploits in Germany changed its economic fate. So, in time, Herr Strauss immigrated to America and participated in the California gold rush, arriving in San Francisco in 1850. He sought his wealth through the sale of clothing to the gold miners by meeting the need for pants that would stand up to a rugged lifestyle. Levi Strauss and Co. was founded in 1853 by Levi and his brothers Jonas and Louis. Although the 49'ers were soon gone, Levi gave birth to a worldwide phenomenal popularity of jeans, which began in the 1960's.

February 27, 1594: Prince of Navarre, Henri de Bourbon was crowned Henri IV, King of all France at the Cathedral of Chartres. Contrary to historic precedents, he was not coronated at Reims, because that city was the traditional home of the family (de Guise ), which had begun the slaughter of many of his Protestant subjects. He issued into being a brief period of tolerance in France, ending the religious wars. This open attitude deteriorated after his death, and by the time of the reign of Louis IV {the Sun King} Protestant persecution had returned -- see; see also Edict of Nantes

King Henry's Edict of 1598 only temporarily reduced the flight from France. It began in earnest, again as the freedoms granted were taken away, one by one, with the final step -- the revocation of the "Edict of Nantes" in 1685 (Édit de Fontainebleau), by Louis XIV, roi-soleil de France -- the "Sun King".

We forbid our subjects of the {Protestants} to meet any more for the exercise of the said religion in any place or private house, under any pretext whatever, . . . . [Paragraph II]

We repeat our most express prohibition to all our subjects of the said {Protestants}, together with their wives and children, against leaving our kingdom, lands, and territories subject to us, or transporting their goods and effects therefrom under penalty, as respects the men, of being sent to the galleys, and as respects the women, of imprisonment and confiscation. [Paragraph X]

As Louis entered German territories to reclaim his citizens and settle old scores, Huguenots immigrants soon began arriving in South Carolina in 1669. In 1699/1700 there were five embarkations from England to Virginia and the Carolinas. The names of some of the ships that carried Huguenot refugees were the "Nassau", the "Peter and Anthony" and the "Mary Ann", which was the first vessel to reach Virginia (at the mouth of the James River). About five hundred Huguenots settled in the Carolinas by 1700.

Many of the Huguenots were artisans, following the trades in the New World learned in the Old; blacksmiths, coopers, clockmakers and gunsmiths. Many were newly married, a younger generation seems more willing to undertake the long, dangerous ocean passage. The French-speaking settlers quickly moved into the political life of the English colonies; but, also quickly organized and built their own church in Charlestown, which still exists today. [Source: A Religious History of America, Gaustad, Edwin Scott - Harper - San Francisco (1990)] For more about a Huguenot family in Georgia and how it became allied with others in the colony, please read on, starting with two other events that occured on the 27th.

February 27, 1736: Aboard the Symond near the mouth of Tybee Creek, James Oglethorpe wrote the Trustees about the arrival of the first colonists on St. Simons Island and his subsequent visit with the Scottish Highlanders at New Inverness (Darien):

". . . I arrived at Saint Simon the 18th and found the sloop and a detachment of men whom I had sent with her there. . . . We immediately got up a house and thatched it with palmettoes, dug a cellar, traced out a fort with four bastions by cutting up the turf from the ground, dug enough of the ditch and raised enough of the rampart for a sample for the men to work upon.

"On the 22nd a boat arrived with a detachment of the workmen and the same day I left Saint Simon, rowing up the Altamaha three hours. I arrived at the Scotch settlement which they desire may be called Darien. They were all under arms upon seeing a boat and made a most manly appearance with their plaids, broadswords, targets and firearms . . . . They have mounted a battery of four pieces of cannon, built a guard house, a storehouse, a chapel and several huts for particular people. . . ."

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), General Oglethorpe's Georgia: Colonial Letters, 1733-1743 (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1990), Vol. I, pp. 239-240. -- found at

February 27, 1743: In 1740, James Oglethorpe led an unsuccessful attempt to take the Spanish fortress at St. Augustine. Now, buoyed by his victory over the Spanish invasion force on St. Simons Island in 1742, Oglethorpe -- now an official brigadier general in the British Army -- was ready to try a second time to take the capital of Spanish Florida. On St. Simons Island, Edward Kimber, a volunteer in Gen. Oglethorpe's invasion force, recorded their departure from St. Simons Island in his diary:

"The whole detachment, rangers, &c. embark'd on board the guard schooner and the two hir'd schooners at ten in the morning. At two, weigh'd and fell down below the point-guard, saluting the town [Frederica] with twenty-one guns."

Source: Mills Lane (ed.), Georgia: History written by Those who lived It (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1995), p. 24. -- found at

Why are these two items on early Georgia recounted here? Records indicate that a close relation to one of the Trustees was a soldier (named Isaac LaRoche) in the American Revolution. Isaac's wife, Elizabeth, was the granddaughter of a Scotsman, Donald MacKay, who as a child first settled at New Inverness (Darien Ga.) in January 1736. His father, James MacKay was killed or captured (and then killed by the Spanish or the Native-Americans employed by them) at a battle where many of the settlement, including friendly Creeks, died (Moosa June 15, 1740). This incident was one of many in the Spanish British relations, begun by a Spanish sneak-attack on November 14, 1739, during which the Spanish beheaded their surprised victims. The Georgia Rangers, the Highlanders [led by Hugh MacKaye] and some of the Creek Indians had but too fatal an occasion of giving proofs of their resolution at [Fort] Moosa, where most of those who died fought with an obstinacy worthy of the Greeks or Romans. quote found at:

Donald fought the double disadvantages of poverty (the Highlanders were impoverished by the English in attempt to depopulate Scotland -- many embarked to Ireland and later the 13 Colonies -- the Scots-Irish) and the lack of a father to end up owning most of St. Simons Island, including the abandoned town of Fredrika. In a somewhat similar story, the first leader of the initial Georgia Rangers under Oglethorpe, Captain John Barnard (Georgia rank under Colonial governor Ellis -- Major under Oglethorpe), died defending the Colony (September 2, 1757). After the Spanish were driven out of the Southern Georgia Islands the Rangers had been disbanded. In 1756 they were re-established under Barnard's command. His son ended up owning Wilmington Island near Savannah. Descendants from both families married in the late 1800's producing several sons including my grandfather (1900). For me it puts history in a more real context.
February 28, 1533: Michel-Eyquem de Montaigne (d.1592), was born near Bordeaux, France. He was the French moralist who created the personal essay. Montaigne was brought up by his father under peasant guidance and a German tutor for Latin. He spent a lifetime of political service under Henry IV, and then composed his Essays. This was the first book to reveal with utter honesty and frankness the author's mind and heart. Montaigne sought to reach beyond his own illusions, to see himself as he really was, which was not just the way others saw him. Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.

Montaigne became Mayor of Bordeaux (a port city on the Garonne River ) in 1581, after he had established himself as a non-conformist. He maintained peace between Catholics and Protestants during his term in office. Louis XIV entering the city in 1653 and effectively annexing Bordeaux to the Kingdom of France, ending all pretext of independence and tolerance. Ironically, the city now prospered more.

Le 28 février 1712: Louis-Joseph de Montcalm-Gozon, Marquis de Saint-Véran, Marquis de Montcalm, Seigneur de Candiac, Tournemine, Vestric, Saint-Julien et Arpaon, Baron de Gabriac, est né le 28 février 1712, au Château de Candiac, près de Nîmes (il est mort en défendant Québec le 14 septembre 1759 (guerre de Sept Ans) -- Le général Anglais James Wolfe a été lui aussi mortellement blessé). {en anglais} Quand reverrai-je mon cher Candiac !

Au début de 1757, les Anglais préparent de nouvelles attaques, et Vaudreuil dépêche donc Montcalm, lui demandant de prendre le fort William Henry, défendu par 2500 hommes sous le commandement du général Georges Monro. Le 6 août, Montcalm fait creuser une tranchée qui amène ses huit pièces d'artillerie à tir courbe à portée du fort. Les Anglais obtiennent de se retirer avec les honneurs, c'est-à-dire avec armes et bagages. En contrepartie ils s'engagent à ne pas combattre les Français pendant 18 mois et à rendre tous leurs prisonniers.

Mais ainsi qu'il est relaté dans le célèbre roman de Fénimore Cooper, Le Dernier des Mohicans, les troupes supplétives indiennes, difficiles à contrôler et dont Montcalm disait qu'il valait mieux les avoir avec soi plutôt que contre soi, se livrent à des exactions, et pas des moindres, tuant de nombreux Anglais et en faisant prisonniers 500.

On the other hand, France, engrossed by European wars, left her American colonies almost without succor, and Montcalm, with scanty resources, disordered finances, and a discouraged people, was left to the well-nigh hopeless task of defending Canada. Some call the British victory in Canada the birthdate of the British Empire.

February 28, 1863: Four Union gunboats -- the USS Montauk, Wissahickon, Seneca, and Dawn -- shelled and ultimately destroyed the blockade runner Rattlesnake (formerly the CSS Nashville) near Fort McAllister, Georgia. This loss was two years and a week to the day of the birth of the Confederate Navy. One of its first vessels was the USS (now CSS) United States. Built in 1797, the vessel saw distinguished action during the War of 1812 and on Pacific duty along with the USS Yorktown. The ship was recaptured by the North and broken up after the War Between the States

February 29, 1836: Giacomo Meyerbeer's (born, Jakob Liebmann Meyer Beer in Tasdorf, Germany) opera Les Huguenots premiers in France (Théâtre de l'Opéra, Paris). His brother, Michael Beer, became a well known German playwright, author of two successful plays, Struensee and Der Pariah. His brother Wilhelm Beer became a businessman and an amateur astronomer who achieved fame by publishing the first map of the moon in the 1820's and participated in the first scientific observations of Mars.

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)

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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 that moment.