John Brown’s Raid

On October 16, 1859, John Brown led a small army of 18 men into the small town of Harper’s Ferry, (now West)Virginia. His plan was to instigate a major slave rebellion in the South. He would seize the arms and ammunition in the federal arsenal, arm slaves in the area and move south along the Appalachian Mountains, attracting slaves to his cause. He had no rations. He had no escape route. His plan was doomed from the very beginning. But it did succeed to deepen the divide between the North and South.

John Brown and his men stayed in a rented farmhouse in the days before the raid on Harper’s Ferry.
John Brown and his cohorts marched into an unsuspecting Harper’s Ferry and seized the federal complex with little resistance. It consisted of an armory, arsenal, and engine house. He then sent a patrol out into the country to contact slaves, collected several hostages, including the great grandnephew of George Washington, and sat down to wait. The slaves did not rise to his support, but local citizens and militia surrounded him, exchanging gunfire, killing two townspeople and eight of Brown’s company.

Troops under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Robert E. Lee arrived from Washington to arrest Brown. They stormed the engine house, where Brown had withdrawn, captured him and members of his group, and turned them over to Virginia authorities to be tried for treason. He was quickly tried and sentenced to hang on December 2.

Gun That Fired the First Shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill Goes to Auction

The gun that fired the first shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill is heading for sale Morphy Auctions in Denver later this month.

The Revolutionary War musket belonged to John Simpson, a Private in the 1st New Hampshire Regiment who fought during the historic battle in Charlestown, Massachusetts on June 17, 1775.

As the British troops advanced, Simpson fired his weapon prematurely – disobeying the famous order given to American soldiers not to fire “until you see the white of their eyes”.

Having been passed down by Simpson’s descendents for almost 250 years, the historic weapon will now be offered for sale for the first time, and is expected to sell for up to $300,000.

The musket will be sold along with John Simpson's original military commission dated March 17, 1778 (Image: Morphy Auctions)
The musket will be sold along with John Simpson’s original military commission dated March 17, 1778 (Image: Morphy Auctions)

“We have the privilege of auctioning a firearm that symbolizes one of the most important battles leading to American independence,” said Dan Morphy, President of Morphy Auctions.

“It will be exciting to see whether the Simpson musket ends up in a private or institutional collection.”

The battle of Bunker Hill was one of the most significant early battles of the Revolutionary War.

During the Siege of Boston, British troops attempted to fortify the hills surrounding the city, where they met with resistance from 1,200 colonial troops determined to defend the position.

Although the British eventually captured the hills, the victory cost them a large number of casualties – twice as many as the American troops – and proved that the inexperienced militiamen were more than a match for their experienced soldiers.

They remained more cautious in their tactics for the rest of the war, an approach which some historians believe helped the Americans forces to their eventual victory……..

Today October 3, is the 26th anniversary of the beginning of the ‘Battle Of Mogadishu’ during UNOSOM II, United Nations Operations in Somalia II.

I’ll bet everyone has seen the movie Blackhawk Down, at least once; so you’ve got a ‘not bad’ overview of what occurred. The book is a little better and I recommend it to your reading list.
As it was, 18 U.S. soldiers were killed and 73 were wounded during the battle.
I had the honor of later serving with one of the 160ths pilots who had been in the middle of that hell, so much so that he had been awarded a Silver Star for his actions. He was our unit’s Command Chief Warrant and it turned out, it was his last assignment as well as he retired about a year before I did.

How The Berlin Airlift Beat Back Communism 70 Years Ago Today
On September 30, 1949, the U.S. and her allies completed their mission to rescue the people of Berlin from starvation and stave off the spread of Communism.

“The buildings were bombed and it seemed like there weren’t many men around—all ladies. It was real poverty. It was pitiful,” 93-year-old Ralph Dionne recalls of Germany in 1948.

“There was a gate around our barracks area…the old women would come to the gate begging to help with your laundry. They would take the laundry back home and bring it back faithfully. You could trust them. And they would get paid in cigarettes. That was the money of that time.”

Like so many American men his age, he was called to Europe to serve. But unlike most, Dionne’s mission was not to fight Germans. It was to help them survive. This massive Allied undertaking, the first battle of the Cold War, later came to be known as the Berlin Airlift.

In honor of the 70th anniversary of the Berlin Airlift, Dionne recently shared his memories at the International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C. Along with Cold War scholar Hope Harrison and curator of the Allied Museum in Berlin Bernd von Kostka, they painted a vivid portrait of the volatile post-WWII world and why Americans should still care about the Berlin Airlift today.

Berlin, 1948: The Front Lines of the Cold War

After its devastating defeat in the Second World War, Germany was on the precipice of doom. Its cities were in ruin, the people were demoralized, and its enemies were at the gates. The nation was divided into four sectors, controlled respectively by the victorious Allies: France, Great Britain, the Soviet Union, and the United States.

Losing a staggering 27 million people in the war, Soviet leader Joseph Stalin had little sympathy for the Germans in the Soviet-controlled sector. With the memory of Nazi occupation still fresh in their minds, the French were also understandably leery about helping Germany back on its feet. But although Great Britain and the United States both paid dearly in the war, as well, they were confident that a stable, reconstructed Germany was not only possible but essential to world stability.

By then, U.S. President Harry Truman and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill believed Stalin and the intellectual contagion of Communism presented a far greater threat than resurgent German fascism. The Western Allies knew that a stable, democratic German republic would be an essential barrier to halting the spread of Communism into Western Europe.

On the other hand, Stalin knew that poverty and chaos would only make the German people more open to Russia’s proxy or outright rule. An unstable world, still reeling from the agonies of two world wars, was up for grabs to whichever ideology offered people their best chance for stability and peace. By the spring of 1948, the stage for the first battle of the Cold War had been set.

The Showdown between East and West

Hoping to get the Germany economy back on its feet, the Western Allies introduced a new currency—the Deutschmark—to the Western-controlled sectors of Germany and Berlin. Rightfully, Stalin saw this as a challenge to his power. In protest, on June 24, 1948, he launched a blockade on land, sea, and rail, denying all supplies to the still-devastated city of Berlin.

With the bombed-out capital still in ruins and a bitter winter approaching, Berliners needed food, clothing, and, above all, coal to heat homes and power rebounding German industry. Americans like Dionne, the British, and the French were going to make sure they got it. “Operation Vittles,” which later became known as the Berlin Airlift, was under way.

With Berlin 110 miles deep into the Soviet sector, the Airlift posed an enormous logistical challenge. The C-54 aircraft that Dionne worked on required constant maintenance due to the Airlift’s round-the-clock flights with heavy cargo.

“The heavy loads of landing after landing just seared the tires,” Dionne explained to the audience. We had to change the tires all the time.” It’s no wonder. At the peak of the Airlift, on April 16, 1949, 1,398 flights carrying more than 12,940 tons were flown to Berlin within just 24 hours. That’s an average of one flight every 62 seconds.

By May 1949, it was clear that Stalin’s blockade had backfired; the Western Allies had proven that they could carry on the Airlift indefinitely. They had shown Stalin they were willing to fight for the fate of Berlin, Germany, and Western Europe.

Stalin lifted the blockade on May 12, 1949, but the Airlift continued to ensure Berlin would be well supplied for the winter. The United States made its final flight on September 30, 1949.

The Bill of Rights: A Transcription | National Archives

The Bill of Rights. The document on permanent display in the Rotunda is the enrolled original Joint Resolution passed by Congress on September 25, 1789, proposing 12-not 10-amendments to the Constitution.

On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States proposed 12 amendments to the Constitution. The 1789 Joint Resolution of Congress proposing the amendments is on display in the Rotunda in the National Archives Museum. Ten of the proposed 12 amendments were ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures on December 15, 1791. The ratified Articles (Articles 3–12) constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, or the U.S. Bill of Rights. In 1992, 203 years after it was proposed, Article 2 was ratified as the 27th Amendment to the Constitution. Article 1 was never ratified.

Transcription of the 1789 Joint Resolution of Congress Proposing 12 Amendments to the U.S. Constitution

Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

(The preamble in the first paragraph that follows is most important. It explains that the Bill Of Rights was to be a restriction on the government, not on the people)

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Article the first… After the first enumeration required by the first article of the Constitution, there shall be one Representative for every thirty thousand, until the number shall amount to one hundred, after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall be not less than one hundred Representatives, nor less than one Representative for every forty thousand persons, until the number of Representatives shall amount to two hundred; after which the proportion shall be so regulated by Congress, that there shall not be less than two hundred Representatives, nor more than one Representative for every fifty thousand persons.

Article the second… No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

Article the third… Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Article the fourth… A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Article the fifth… No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Article the sixth… The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Article the seventh… No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Article the eighth… In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Article the ninth… In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Article the tenth… Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Article the eleventh… The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Article the twelfth… The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

ATTEST,

Frederick Augustus Muhlenberg, Speaker of the House of Representatives
John Adams, Vice-President of the United States, and President of the Senate
John Beckley, Clerk of the House of Representatives.
Sam. A Otis Secretary of the Senate

Archaeology Confirms Book of Genesis on Israel’s Arch-Nemesis, The Edomites

This unexpected conclusion was reached by studying that precious source of evidence in modern archaeology: ancient garbage.

Specifically, a team of researchers analyzed slag, the waste left over from metal smelting, at ancient copper production sites in the Aravah Valley, a region that spans the southern deserts of Israel and Jordan and was once the heartland of the Edomite nation.

The team of American, Israeli and Jordanian archaeologists found that people at different sites in the Aravah were producing metal using the same standardized techniques, which improved and advanced in parallel, more than 3,000 years ago. This, the archaeologists say, is a sign that there was a strong, centralized entity that coordinated copper production over vast distances: in other words, a state.

And this in turn would mean that the Edomite kingdom was already formed by the mid-11th century B.C.E., some 300 years earlier than previously thought, the archaeologists conclude in a paper published Wednesday in the scientific journal PLOS One.

Today, September 18, 1947,  the US Air Force was “born” with the implementation of the National Security Act of 1947. This was a major restructure of the nation’s military after World War 2. It created the National Military Establishment (later remodeled as the Department of Defense), the Department of the Air Force as a sub-department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council. The Army Air Forces became the United States Air Force.

Today, September 17, in 1787, the U.S. Constitution was formally adopted and signed. It would take until June 21, 1788, when New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document, that it became “The Supreme Law of The Land” 

Several state’s representatives would demand that a list of amendments, a ‘Bill of Rights‘, be complied and also submitted for ratification before agreeing to ratify the original.

 

Brotherhood of Heroes: The Marines at Peleliu, 1944–The Bloodiest Battle of the Pacific War

On September 15, 1944, the U.S. 3rd Amphibious Corp consisting of the Marine Corps 1st Division, Army’s 81st Division & supporting forces, invaded Peleliu in the Palau islands southeast of the Philippines.

This Band of Brothers for the Pacific is the gut-wrenching and ultimately triumphant story of the Marines’ most ferocious—yet largely forgotten—battle of World War II.

Between September 15 and October 15, 1944, the First Marine Division suffered more than 6,500 casualties fighting on a hellish little coral island in the Pacific. Peleliu was the setting for one of the most savage struggles of modern times, a true killing ground that has been all but forgotten—until now. Drawing on interviews with Peleliu veterans, Bill Sloan’s gripping narrative seamlessly weaves together the experiences of the men who were there, producing a vivid and unflinching tableau of the twenty-four-hour-a-day nightmare of Peleliu.

Emotionally moving and gripping in its depictions of combat, Brotherhood of Heroes rescues the Corps’s bloodiest battle from obscurity and does honor to the Marines who fought it.

109 Minutes.

At 8:48 a.m. Mohammed Atta took a jet headlong into the north tower of the World Trade Center. Eighteen minutes later and accomplice did the same to the south tower.

When Jeremy Glick called his wife, his first question was an attempt to confirm something another passenger had heard on his spousal call: was the World Trade Center story true?

Lizzy Glick paused, thought for a minute, swallowed hard, and told him the truth. Yes, they had. Moments later, still on the line with her husband, Lizzy Glick saw that another plane had run into the Pentagon. She passed that information on as well to her husband, who relayed it to the other passengers.

Jeremy Glick then told her that the passengers were about to take a vote and decide if they should rush the hijackers and attempt to foul up whatever evil plans they had.

He put down the phone and a commotion was heard by those on the other end of the line. Then nothing. A dead line. An aborted missile launch against the town where I live.

That was 10:37 a.m. on Tuesday, September 11… just 109 minutes after Mohammed Atta rammed the first plane into the north tower of the World Trade Center.

Just 109 minutes after a new form of terrorism — the most deadly yet invented — came into use, it was rendered, if not obsolete, at least decidedly less effective.

Deconstructed, unengineered, thwarted, and put into the dust bin of history. By Americans. In 109 minutes.

And in retrospect, they did it in the most American of ways. They used a credit card to rent a fancy cell phone to get information just minutes old, courtesy of the ubiquitous 24-hour news phenomenon. Then they took a vote. When the vote called for sacrifice to protect country and others, there apparently wasn’t a shortage of volunteers. Their action was swift. It was decisive. And it was effective.

United Flight 93 did not hit a building. It did not kill anyone on the ground. It did not terrorize a city, despite the best drawn plans of the world’s most innovative madmen. Why? Because it had informed Americans on board who’d had 109 minutes to come up with a counteraction.

And the next time a hijacker full of hate pulls the same stunt with a single knife, he’ll get the same treatment and meet the same result as those on United Flight 93. Dead, yes. Murderous, yes. But successful? No.

The triumph of American values:

Unlike those on the earlier flights, the hostages on 93 understood they were aboard a flying bomb intended to kill thousands of their fellow citizens. They knew there would be no happy ending. So they gave us the next best thing, a hopeful ending.

Todd Beamer couldn’t get through to anyone except a telephone company operator, Lisa Jefferson. She told him about the planes that had smashed into the World Trade Center. Mr Beamer said they had a plan to jump the guys and asked her if she would pray with him, so they recited the 23rd Psalm: ‘Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me….’

Then he and the others rushed the hijackers. At 9.58 a.m., the plane crashed, not into the White House, but in some pasture outside Pittsburgh. As UPI’s James Robbins wrote, ‘The Era of Osama lasted about an hour and half or so, from the time the first plane hit the tower to the moment the General Militia of Flight 93 reported for duty.’

Exactly. The most significant development of 11 September is that it marks the day America began to fight back: 9/11 is not just Pearl Harbor but also the Doolittle Raid, all wrapped up in 90 minutes. No one will ever again hijack an American airliner with boxcutters, or, I’ll bet, with anything else — not because of predictably idiotic new Federal regulations, but because of the example of Todd Beamer’s ad hoc platoon. Faced with a novel and unprecedented form of terror, American technology (cellphones) combined with the oldest American virtue (self-reliance) to stop it cold in little more than an hour.

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Eighteen (18) years ago today, the U.S. was attacked by moslem jihadis who hijacked four American airliners and crashed them into the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City and the Pentagon in Virginia.

Passengers in one plane, United Flight 93, on learning of the others, decided to take matters in their own hands and try and take control back from the hijackers. They succeeded to the point that the plane crashed into a field in Pennsylvania instead of the purported target of the Capitol building in D.C.

There were two people I knew who were on duty that day with the Fire Department of New York; Lt. Peter C Martin of Rescue 2 and FF Keith A. Glascoe of Ladder 21.

The remains of Pete and most of his crew were found and returned to their families. Keith is still on duty.

I am honored to have known these heroes who would run into places where rational people were trying to escape from. I am also honored to have worked with people who took the fight right back at the people who planned this attack and made them pay a high price for their dastardly deeds.