Today in Civil War History 2022: The Battle of Gettysburg Ends

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On the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee‘s last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the American Civil War to an end.

Read it all and read about Pickett’s charge, the battle that effectively ended the Gettysburg campaign.

Independence Day 2022: Meet the American Who Wrote “The Battle Hymn of the Republic

Julia Ward Howe

Julia Ward Howe (1819-1910) gave the United States — and the world — some of the most inspirational words ever written. 

She penned “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in November 1861, during a wartime tour of Washington, D.C., as Americans realized with gloom that the seven-month-old Civil War would be longer, darker and deadlier than anticipated. 

Howe’s masterpiece has been called America’s fight song. Its lyrics inspired the United States to spiritual resolve and sacrifice. 

The words tell the biblically heroic story of Union soldiers marching to their death in the name of Christ to vanquish slavery: 

As he died to make men holy
Let us die to make men free
His truth is marching on

From Fox News. Inspiring. Read it all.

Today in Civil War History 2022: Day 2 of the Battle of Gettysburg

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On this day in 1863, during the second day of the Battle of GettysburgPennsylvania, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia attacks General George G. Meade‘s Army of the Potomac at both Culp’s Hill and Little Round Top, but fails to move the Yankees from their positions.

Read it all.

Today in Civil War History 2022: The Battle of Gettysburg Begins

From the History Channel online.

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The largest military conflict in North American history begins this day when Union and Confederate forces collide at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The epic battle lasted three days and resulted in a retreat to Virginia by Robert E. Lee‘s Army of Northern Virginia.

Read it all.

June 6, 2022: Jack Carr: Remember D-Day as if Were Yesterday, Everyday

Amen.

In the United States, June 6, 1944 will receive passing mention on news programs and social channels. There are few, if any, parades or official remembrances. Even those veterans who fought across the beaches and on to Berlin will receive scant recognition for what they did to liberate a continent and preserve the blessings of freedom for those who would follow.

In Normandy, they have not forgotten. They have not forgotten the Nazi occupation nor those who came ashore and dropped from the heavens 78 years ago. There are parades, remembrances, reenactments, parachute drops, and fireworks. The entire region, thousands of people, come out to welcome these heroes of the WW II generation, hug them, kiss them, ask them for photographs and autographs, and listen to their stories, stories they remember as if D-Day were yesterday.

But D-Day was not yesterday. It was 78 years ago. Those who fought there are creeping up on a century of life; some have passed that milestone. Soon they will walk among us no longer, their legacy honored by some, unappreciated by others, forgotten by too many.

The people of Normandy remember what it was like to be invaded and oppressed. And they remember what it was like to be liberated. They pass along the stories and the appreciation. What these men did on June 6, 1944, and in the months that followed will not be forgotten here. It is a privilege to spend time with them on the beaches, fields, and towns in which they fought.

As I push Walter Stowe through the Brittany American Cemetery in his wheelchair, he reminds me that in life we will touch a great many people. The question, he says, is will the people whose lives we touch be the better for it? Wise words.

Remember these citizen soldiers today and every day. Spend time with them at every opportunity. Listen to their stories. Embrace their wisdom. And when the last of them walks among us no longer, honor their sacrifice by standing strong for the freedoms for which they fought.

Remember them.

Read it all and watch President Reagan’s speech from 1984.

June 6, 2022: This Day in Maney Family History

On this date in 2010 at First United Methodist Church in Van Wert, OH we debuted the anthem commissioned in my mother’s memory, Longing to Draw Near by Craig Courtney. My grandparents Maney were married 105 years ago on this date in 1917 (105 years!! How can that be??), my dad participated in D-Day on this date in 1944, I graduated from high school 51 years ago on this date in 1971, and my daughter Bridget graduated from high school on this date in 2008. June 6 has been a big day for the Maney family!

What Was Ike Saying?

A fascinating read. Check it out.

Eisenhower was possessed of a remarkable, disarming smile, a reflection of the man’s transparent decency; an early D-Day planner, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Morgan, once claimed that Ike’s grin was “worth an army corps in any campaign.” In the photo in question, however, the famous Eisenhower smile was not to be seen. Rather, surrounded by men of the 101st, the supreme commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force is looking grave indeed, his right arm raised in what seems to be a Patton-like gesture of bold, even fierce, encouragement. Lieutenant Wallace Strobel, his face blackened with burnt-cork camouflage, looks just as serious as the general addressing him. 

What was Ike saying, people have wondered for decades? What do you say to men about to jump out of C-47s into the fiery cauldron of war? Mary Jean Eisenhower got an unexpected answer on meeting Strobel at the christening of the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Read it all.

 

June 6, 2022: FDR’s D-Day Prayer

“My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the United States and our allies were crossing the Channel in another and greater operation. It has come to pass with success thus far. 

And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer: 

Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity. 

Lead them straight and true; give strength to their arms, stoutness to their hearts, steadfastness in their faith. 

They will need Thy blessings. Their road will be long and hard. For the enemy is strong. He may hurl back our forces. Success may not come with rushing speed, but we shall return again and again; and we know that by Thy grace, and by the righteousness of our cause, our sons will triumph. 

They will be sore tried, by night and by day, without rest-until the victory is won. The darkness will be rent by noise and flame. Men’s souls will be shaken with the violences of war. 

For these men are lately drawn from the ways of peace. They fight not for the lust of conquest. They fight to end conquest. They fight to liberate. They fight to let justice arise, and tolerance and good will among all Thy people. They yearn but for the end of battle, for their return to the haven of home. 

Some will never return. Embrace these, Father, and receive them, Thy heroic servants, into Thy kingdom.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum

Read (and pray) it all.

June 6, 2022: Remembering D-Day

Today marks the 78th anniversary of the D-Day invasion, the greatest amphibious assault the world has ever known (and hopefully will ever know). Sadly, most of those valiant soldiers are now dead, and our country is the poorer because of it.

The Normandy invasion was a terrible and costly effort on the part of the Allies and must have been horrendous to those who had to face the deadly onslaught of the Nazi defenders. I would commend Stephen Ambrose’s book, D-Day, to anyone who is interested in this monumental battle. Ambrose was a wonderful storyteller, which all good historians are, and meticulous in his research. He weaves an absolutely riveting and terrifying tale of what the first troops landing in Normandy that day faced, and anyone with a semblance of imagination who can put himself in those soldiers’ shoes is sure to wonder if he could have faced that deadly fire with the courage and resoluteness that those soldiers did. I am simply awe-struck by it all.

I am also proud that my own father, John F. Maney, was part of that great and historic event. Fortunately, he did not have to hit the beaches until D+2 because it wasn’t until June 8th that our forces were able to establish a beachhead substantial enough to land a significant artillery presence, of which he was part. Like many of his generation, my dad is now dead, but one of my fondest memories is when we went back to Uffculme, England in 1984 to visit where he was stationed. We went into a pub to get some supper and find a place to sleep that night, and ultimately were led to a man who had been a “honey-dipper” while dad was stationed there, prior to D-Day. When Roy entered the pub that evening, he shook my dad’s hand and said to him, “Hello, young soldier.” He then welcomed dad back and thanked him for his service. It was as poignant a moment as I have ever experienced because my dad was no longer young and was no longer a solder; but he had been there, and he had been part of that monumental effort. I will always treasure it.

Thank you, young soldiers, for your bravery and determination in defeating an unspeakable evil that was Nazism. You paid a terrible price so that the rest of us can enjoy our freedom. I hope and pray we do not forget you or your generation, or the price freedom sometimes requires to persevere. Likewise, I pray we will not forget what it means to live responsibly in this democracy of ours so that we will not abuse the freedoms for which so many of you fought and died.

Who are your heroes from that generation? If they are still alive, take a moment today and thank them for being who they are.

Pentecost 2022: An Ancient Account of how Pentecost was Celebrated

From here.

But on the fiftieth day, that is, the Lord’s Day, when the people have a very great deal to go through, everything that is customary is done from the first cockcrow onwards; vigil is kept in the Anastasis, and the bishop reads the passage from the Gospel that is always read on the Lord’s Day, namely, the account of the Lord’s Resurrection, and afterwards everything customary is done in the Anastasis [the cross], just as throughout the whole year. But when morning is come, all the people proceed to the great church, that is, to the martyrium [the church], and all things usual are done there; the priests preach and then the bishop, and all things that are prescribed are done, the oblation being made, as is customary on the Lord’s Day, only the same dismissal in the martyrium is hastened, in order that it may be made before the third hour [9am].

And when the dismissal has been made at the martyrium, all the people, to a man, escort the bishop with hymns to Sion, [so that] they are in Sion when the third hour is fully come. And on their arrival there the passage from the Acts of the Apostles is read where the Spirit came down so that all tongues [were heard and all men] understood the things that were being spoken, and the dismissal takes place afterwards in due course For the priests read there from the Acts of the Apostles concerning the selfsame thing, because that is the place in Sion—there is another church there now—where once, after the Lord’s Passion, the multitude was gathered together with the Apostles, and where this was done, as we have said above. Afterwards the dismissal takes place in due course, and the oblation is made there. Then, that the people may be dismissed, the archdeacon raises his voice, and says: “Let us all be ready to day in Eleona, in the Imbomon [place of the Ascension], directly after the sixth hour [noon].”

So all the people return, each to his house, to rest themselves, and immediately after breakfast they ascend the Mount of Olives, that is, to Eleona, each as he can, so that there is no Christian left in the city who does not go. When, therefore, they have gone up the Mount of Olives, that is, to Eleona, they first enter the Imbomon, that is, the place whence the Lord ascended into heaven, and the bishops and the priests take their seat there, and likewise all the people. Lessons are read there with hymns interspersed, antiphons too are said suitable to the day and the place, also the prayers which are interspersed have likewise similar references. The passage from the Gospel is also read where it speaks of the Lord’s Ascension, also that from the Acts of the Apostles which tells of the Ascension of the Lord into heaven after His Resurrection. And when this is over, the catechumens and then the faithful are blessed, and they come down thence, it being already the ninth hour [3pm], and go with hymns to that church which is in Eleona, wherein is the cave where the Lord was wont to sit and teach His Apostles. And as it is already past the tenth hour [4pm] when they arrive, lucernare takes place there; prayer is made, and the catechumens and likewise the faithful are blessed.

And then all the people to a man descend thence with the bishop, saying hymns and antiphons suitable to that day, and so come very slowly to the martyrium. It is already night when they reach the gate of the city, and about two hundred church candles are provided for the use of the people. And as it is agood distance from the gate to the great church, that is, the martyrium, they arrive about the second hour of the night, for they go the whole way very slowly lest the people should be weary from being afoot. And when the great gates are opened, which face towards the market-place, all the people enter the martyrium with hymns and with the bishop. And when they have entered the church, hymns are said, prayer is made, the catechumens and also the faithful are blessed; after which they go again with hymns to the Anastasis, where on their arrival hymns and antiphons are said, prayer is made, the catechumens and also the faithful are blessed; this is likewise done at the Cross. Lastly, all the Christian people to a man escort the bishop with hymns to Sion, and when they are come there, suitable lessons are read, psalrns and antiphons are said, prayer is made, the catechumens and the faithful are blessed, and the dismissal takes place. And after the dismissal all approach the bishop’s hand, and then every one returns to his house about midnight. Thus very great fatigue is endured on that day, for vigil is kept at the Anastasis from the first cockcrow, and there is no pause from that time onward throughout the whole day, but the whole celebration (of the Feast) lasts so long that it is midnight when every one returns home after the dismissal has taken place at Sion.

—Egeria, Abbess (late 4th century), The Pilgrimage of Egeria85-90

Traditional Memorial Day 2022

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Today is the traditional day for Memorial Day, originally called “Decoration Day.” Until 1971 it was always celebrated today. But afterward it has become a movable federal holiday. You can read about its history here, and I hope you will take the time to do so. On a personal note, my grandparents Shaffer were married 105 years ago today in 1917. That it has been 105 years boggles my mind.

Take a moment today to remember again those who have given their lives so that we might enjoy the freedom we have. Take time to remember the current members of our armed forces as well and give thanks that God continues to raise up brave men and women to serve our country in a very dangerous world.

Thank you veterans, past and present, for your service to our country. May God bless you and yours.

Memorial Day 2022: General Orders No. 11, Washington DC, May 5, 1868

From here.

  1. The 30th day of May, 1868, is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village, and hamlet church-yard in the land. In this observance no form of ceremony is prescribed, but posts and comrades will in their own way arrange such fitting services and testimonials of respect as circumstances may permit. 

JOHN A. LOGAN,
Commander-in-Chief

N.P. CHIPMAN,
Adjutant General

Official:
WM. T. COLLINS, A.A.G.

Read the entire order that started Memorial Day.