Tag Archives: History

John Howland

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This year marks the 400th anniversary of one of America’s most famous founding stories. Between September 16 and November 9, 1620, the Mayflower completed a perilous 66-day voyage from Plymouth, England to the shores of Cape Cod.  Along the way the small vessel and its 102 crew members and passengers battled violent North Atlantic storms.     On one occasion a… Read more »

A Tale of Four Cities

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Modern-day tourists walking in the steps of the apostle Paul can still reach out and touch the spectacular ruins of a trio of ancient cities.  In three consecutive chapters – Acts 17-19 – the Bible documents Paul’s missionary experiences in Athens, Corinth, and Ephesus.  Each city had a patron Greek goddess, and the identity of each community was fashioned according… Read more »

Tomb of the Unknowns

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During a week in which TV viewers are reflecting on the life of the late Alex Trebek, here’s a Jeopardy! answer from Episode #4751 (April 11, 2005): Under the category Tomb of Unknowns: “Sentinels at the tomb walk exactly this many steps at a time before they stop and turn.”  You would be correct if you asked, “What is 21?” … Read more »

Profiles in Courage

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There are different kinds of courage. That was on display within the same Chicago family in the 1930s and 40s.  Less than three months after Japan’s surprise attack on Pearl Harbor brought America into World War II, the U.S. fleet was maneuvering near the Solomon Islands in the south Pacific. On February 20, 1942, the aircraft carrier Lexington successfully fought… Read more »

Miss Atomic Bomb

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During the 1950s, Americans were curiously casual about nuclear energy. A U.S. congressman proposed that two dozen atomic devices might be used to dig, quickly and easily, a brand new Panama Canal. Tourists poured into Las Vegas not just to play the roulette wheels but to catch a glimpse of a nuclear blast. The U.S. military at the time was… Read more »

Dewey Defeats Truman

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What an election year. “The fate of the nation and of civilization is at stake,” according to the New York Times. There’s been a surge of white nationalism.  The president, stoking an ongoing bitter feud with Congress and saddled with approval ratings below 40%, keeps accusing the media of fake news.  The Middle East is torn by war and acts… Read more »


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On a wintry morning in February 1956, a riding instructor named Harry de Leyer drove four hours from his Long Island farm to New Holland, Pennsylvania. Every Monday as many as 300 horses were auctioned at this Amish community.  Harry, a Dutch immigrant, knew horses.  He had $80 in his pocket and hoped to purchase a gentle animal that could… Read more »


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It’s often said that before we can hope to understand someone else’s life, we need to walk a mile in their shoes. Or perhaps join them on a car ride from Washington D.C. to Texas.  Before he became vice-president and ascended to the White House following JFK’s assassination in November 1963, Texas senator Lyndon B. Johnson sometimes asked his black… Read more »

Harry Houdini

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Even though Harry Houdini has been gone almost 100 years, people continue to tell stories associated with his legendary career as a magician and escape artist. One of the most spectacular of those stories is connected to his 1903 visit to Russia.  During the course of a private performance in the Kremlin, Houdini asked each member of the royal family… Read more »


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Nineteen years ago today, America was rocked by the worst terror attacks in our nation’s history.    Observers felt a mixture of shock and horror.  Even after two decades, the tragedy still feels raw.    A handful of others, cynically, saw an opportunity.  What if the catastrophic crumbling of the World Trade Center towers provided the perfect cover for faking… Read more »