Category Archives: History

Veteran’s Day

My only excuse for not posting an article honoring our Veterans is that my mind was occupied yesterday, on that eleventh day of the eleventh month, with other serious matters.

Those courageous men and women who have served and continue to serve our nation, especially in time of war, should be remembered and honored.  Whether or not we believe a war is right, these folks served and put their life on the line for their nation.

Sanford Watzman, my father, was such a man.  He served in the Pacific during World War II, enlisting in the Army on his 21st birthday, one day after Pearl Harbor was attacked.  In the honor and memory of all Veterans, I’ve posted some links to my father’s story below.

Yes We Can!

As I perused my ballot, two large pages, heavy in text on both sides, I felt the significance and history of the moment. Leaving the polling place on a golden fall morning, the honor and privilege to be able to vote was on my mind.

By 7:30 on a pleasant fall evening, the television was tuned to the election returns, with the expectation of a long evening laying ahead.  As I emailed my son in Pittsburgh, the computers and pollsters projected an Obama victory in his now home state of Pennsylvania.  Then Candidate Obama was one step closer.  A hour later, Ohio went the same way.

By 11pm, Senator McCain was calling President Elect Obama, and graciously speaking to his hard working supporters and a watching nation.  Finally, around midnight, Barack Obama, the 44th President of the United States spoke to the world.

There were few dry eyes in that Grant Park crowd, these eyes are not dry even as I write this, while listening to portions of his speech on the morning news.

“Yes we can!”

Yes. We can move forward undivided. Yes, we can have hope for our future and the future of our children. We can elect a black man to the highest office in these United States.

“Yes we can!”

For What It’s Worth

On this historic evening while they count the votes for Election Day, 2008 in the United States, I’m reminded of this song from 1967 by The Buffalo Springfield.

The lyrics for For What It’s Worth follow:

There’s something happening here
What it is ain’t exactly clear
There’s a man with a gun over there
Telling me I got to beware
I think it’s time we stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind
I think it’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

What a field-day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly say, hooray for our side
It’s time we stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you’re always afraid
You step out of line, the man come and take you away

We better stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, hey, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, now, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down
Stop, children, what’s that sound
Everybody look what’s going down


More From Hatteras

Enjoy a few more pictures from my journey to Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.  The lighthouse pictured is Bodie Island Lighthouse, which has protected the dangerous waters around Cape Hatteras for 136 years.  It first shone on October 1, 1872.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse

This area is a special and sacred place for me.  I have loved it here since I first visited Cape Hatteras back in 1972, arriving here in a VW bus with long hair and all.  I hadn’t realized how much I missed being here, having not traveled to the Cape for five years.  The ocean breeze and the beauty of the area make me feel whole and at peace.

a haven for migrating birds

Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge: a haven for migrating birds

Shipwreck from the 1800's

Shipwreck from the 1800's

Bush: Worst President Ever

I don’t know if I ever stated in this blog that I thought current President of the United States George Bush will go down as one of the worst Presidents ever. But I’ve sure thought it.

According to this article in Harpers Magazine, a poll of 109 historians who have actually done the comparisons, agree, find President Bush the worst ever.

History News Network’s poll of 109 historians found that 61 percent of them rank Bush as “worst ever” among U.S. presidents. Bush’s key competition comes from Buchanan, apparently, and a further 2 percent of the sample puts Bush right behind Buchanan as runner-up for “worst ever.” 96 percent of the respondents place the Bush presidency in the bottom tier of American presidencies.

Do take a moment to read the article, to see on what grounds they base their evaluation.

As I mentioned about, I agree, because Bush and his cronies have lead our nation down a very destructive path. During his time in office his administration has:

  • Bankrupted our country with this ridiculous war in Iraq.
  • Trampled our civil liberties and the Bill of Rights.
  • Ignored all warnings of possible ecological disasters.
  • Placed our nation in such debt that my children will not be able to get out from under.
  • Destroyed much of the goodwill other nations felt towards the US.
  • Made our nation much less safe from both terrorism (“tearism”) and other threats.
  • Established a corrupt government acting with little regard to the needs of our citizens

Our nation direly needs a change in direction. Fortunately, within a year will have a new president in office. In the meantime, study these candidates for President carefully and thoughtfully. Consider their values, leadership abilities, and their vision. Turn off the television, listen, and read what these folks who are going to guide our country have to say. Register to vote! In November, exercise your right! Vote!

As I completed that last paragraph, the thought flashed through my mind that my son, Joshua, is now eligible to vote in his first Presidential election. I must remind him to register and then vote, even though he is away at school.

Opening Day

Opening Day, that rite of spring whereupon the first baseball game was played, is a holiday in the Cincinnati area. Since the Cincinnati Red Stockings were the first professional baseball team, Major League baseball used to commemorate that tradition by having the now Cincinnati Reds play the first baseball game of the season. Until they sold out to television, which decided it preferable to play the first game during prime time on Sunday night before the “official” Opening Day. Cincinnati commemorates the day with a parade from Findlay Market, a party on Fountain Square, marching bands, and a baseball game that gets sold out in minutes to the scalpers, I mean, ticket resellers.

I don’t enjoy baseball much anymore. It’s not because my favorite teams, the aforementioned Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates are so darn lousy. Baseball was always so rich in tradition with strong appeal and connection to the fans. Much of that has been lost on me for quite some time now. Escalating ticket prices, poor pitching, spoiled players, as well as prevalence of performance-altering chemicals cause me to look elsewhere for my entertainment.

However, it is Opening Day of a new season. It’s spring and “hope springs eternal” (Alexander Pope). Winter is over, the smell of spring is in the air! The Reds will get some pitching this year. The team won’t be out of the division race by June.

At the time of posting of this article, the score was Diamondbacks 4 – Reds 4.  Middle of the 7th.

Martin Luther King, Jr.

On this cold January day, we celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King was a man of peace, who both acted and spoke out against racism, prejudice, and violence.

Below are several quotations from Dr. King:

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

“Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars… Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.”

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

“The quality, not the longevity, of one’s life is what is important.”

“Now, I say to you today my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: – ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’ “