Wednesday, October 28, 2015
George Smith Patton, Jr. (November 11, 1885 – December 21, 1945) was a United States Army general, who commanded the Seventh United States Army in the Mediterranean and European Theaters of World War II, but is best known for his leadership of the Third United States Army in France and Germany following the Allied invasion of Normandy.
Born in 1885 to a privileged family with an extensive military background, Patton attended the Virginia Military Institute, and later the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He participated in the 1912 Olympic Modern Pentathlon, and was instrumental in designing the M1913 "Patton Saber". Patton first saw combat during the Pancho Villa Expedition in 1916, taking part in America's first military action using motor vehicles. He later joined the newly formed United States Tank Corps of the American Expeditionary Forces and saw action in World War I, commanding the U.S. tank school in France before being wounded while leading tanks into combat near the end of the war. In the interwar period, Patton remained a central figure in the development of armored warfare doctrine in the U.S. Army, serving in numerous staff positions throughout the country. Rising through the ranks, he commanded the U.S. 2nd Armored Division at the time of the U.S. entry into World War II.
Patton led U.S. troops into the Mediterranean theater with an invasion of Casablanca during Operation Torch in 1942, where he later established himself as an effective commander through his rapid rehabilitation of the demoralized U.S. II Corps. He commanded the Seventh Army during the Invasion of Sicily, where he was the first allied commander to reach Messina. There he was embroiled in controversy after he slapped two shell-shocked soldiers under his command, and was temporarily removed from battlefield command for other duties such as participating in Operation Fortitude's disinformation campaign for Operation Overlord. Patton returned to command the Third Army following the invasion of Normandy in 1944, where he led a highly successful, rapid armored drive across France. He led the relief of beleaguered U.S. troops at Bastogne during the Battle of the Bulge, and advanced his army into Nazi Germany by the end of the war.
After the war, Patton became the military governor of Bavaria, but he was relieved of this post because of his statements on denazification. He commanded the Fifteenth United States Army for slightly more than two months. Patton died in Germany on December 21, 1945, as a result of injuries from an automobile accident there twelve days earlier.
Patton's colorful image, hard-driving personality and success as a commander were at times overshadowed by his controversial public statements. His philosophy of leading from the front and his ability to inspire troops with vulgarity-ridden speeches, such as a famous address to the Third Army, attracted favorable attention. His strong emphasis on rapid and aggressive offensive action proved effective. While Allied leaders held sharply differing opinions on Patton, he was regarded highly by his opponents in the German High Command. A popular, award-winning biographical film released in 1970 helped transform Patton into an American folk hero.
Sunday, October 25, 2015
Mount Rushmore National Memorial is a sculpture carved into the granite face of Mount Rushmore (Lakota Sioux name: Six Grandfathers) near Keystone, South Dakota, in the United States. Sculpted by Danish-American Gutzon Borglum and his son, Lincoln Borglum, Mount Rushmore features 60-foot (18 m) sculptures of the heads of four United States presidents: George Washington (1732–1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919), and Abraham Lincoln (1809–1865). The entire memorial covers 1,278.45 acres (2.00 sq mi; 5.17 km2) and is 5,725 feet (1,745 m) above sea level.
South Dakota historian Doane Robinson is credited with conceiving the idea of carving the likenesses of famous people into the Black Hills region of South Dakota in order to promote tourism in the region. Robinson's initial idea was to sculpt the Needles; however, Gutzon Borglum rejected the Needles site because of the poor quality of the granite and strong opposition from Native American groups. They settled on the Mount Rushmore location, which also has the advantage of facing southeast for maximum sun exposure. Robinson wanted it to feature western heroes like Lewis and Clark, Red Cloud, and Buffalo Bill Cody, but Borglum decided the sculpture should have a more national focus and chose the four presidents whose likenesses would be carved into the mountain. After securing federal funding through the enthusiastic sponsorship of "Mount Rushmore's great political patron", U.S. Senator Peter Norbeck, construction on the memorial began in 1927, and the presidents' faces were completed between 1934 and 1939. Upon Gutzon Borglum's death in March 1941, his son Lincoln Borglum took over construction. Although the initial concept called for each president to be depicted from head to waist, lack of funding forced construction to end in late October 1941.
Mount Rushmore has become an iconic symbol of the United States, and has appeared in works of fiction, and has been discussed or depicted in other popular works. It attracts over two million people annually.
Saturday, October 24, 2015
Early Life and CareerFrancis Scott Key was born on August 1, 1779, in Frederick County, Maryland, to a wealthy clan on the plantation of Terra Rubra. He was educated at home until the age of 10 and then attended an Annapolis grammar school. He went on to study at St. John's College, ultimately returning to his home county to set up practice as a lawyer. Key wed Mary "Polly" Taylor Lloyd in the early 1800s, and the couple would go on to have 11 children. By 1805, he'd set up his legal practice in Georgetown, part of Washington, D.C.
War of 1812By the early 1810s, the United States had entered into conflict with Britain over the kidnapping of U.S. seamen and the disruption of trade with France. The ensuing hostilities would come to be known as the War of 1812. Though opposed to the war due to his religious beliefs and believing that the disagreement could be settled without armed conflict, Key nonetheless served in the Georgetown Light Field Artillery.
British forces captured Washington, D.C., in 1814. Taken prisoner was a Dr. William Beanes, who also happened to be a colleague of Key. Due to his work as an attorney, Key was asked to help in the negotiation of Beanes' release and in the process traveled to Baltimore, where British naval forces were located along Chesapeake Bay. He, along with Colonel John Skinner, was able to secure Beanes' freedom, though they were not allowed to return to land until the British completed their bombardment of Fort McHenry.
Crafting 'The Star-Spangled Banner'On September 13, the three at sea watched what would become a day-long assault. After continual bombing, to Key's surprise, the British weren't able to destroy the fort, and Key noted upon the dawning of the next morning a large U.S. flag being flown. (It had in fact been sewn by Mary Young Pickersgill at the request of the fort commander.)
The British ceased their attack and left the area. Key immediately wrote down the words for a poem that he would continue composing at an inn the next day. The work, which relied heavily on visualizations of what he witnessed, would come to be known as the "Defence of Fort M'Henry" and was printed in handbills and newspapers, including the Baltimore Patriot. The poem was later set to the tune of a drinking song by John Stafford Smith, "To Anacreon in Heaven," and came to be called "The Star-Spangled Banner."
Friday, October 23, 2015
Clarissa Harlowe Barton, Clara, as she wished to be called, is one of the most honored women in American history. She began teaching school at a time when most teachers were men and she was among the first women to gain employment in the federal government. Barton risked her life to bring supplies and support to soldiers in the field during the Civil War. At age 60, she founded the American Red Cross in 1881 and led it for the next 23 years. Her understanding of the needs of people in distress and the ways in which she could provide help to them guided her throughout her life. By the force of her personal example, she opened paths to the new field of volunteer service. Her intense devotion to serving others resulted in enough achievements to fill several ordinary lifetimes.
Wednesday, October 21, 2015
Tuesday, October 20, 2015
In 1948 a postage stamp honoring Low, Scott catalogue number 974, was issued by the United States. Over 63 million were printed, making this a common issue. At the time the Post Office had a policy of not honoring civic organizations; and it took a joint resolution of Congress, with the approval of President Harry S. Truman, to have the stamp produced. (The National Postal Museum suggests that it may have helped that Bess Truman was honorary president of the Girl Scouts.)
Juliette Gordon Low's home in Savannah is visited by Girl Scouts from all over the world. In 1965, her birthplace was listed as a National Historic Landmark.
In 1979, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame.
On May 29, 2012, the centennial anniversary of the Girl Scouts' founding was commemorated when Low was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Camp Juliette Low in Cloudland, Georgia, bears the name of its founder.
The Girl Scouts celebrate Juliette Gordon Low's October 31 birthday each year, as "Founder's Day".
She was also awarded two patents, a utility patent for a "Liquid Container for Use with Garbage Cans or the Like", Patent 1,124,925, and a design patent, D45234, for the trefoil Girl Scout Badge.
Sunday, October 18, 2015
During the early morning hours of February 3, 1943, at 12:55 a.m., the vessel was torpedoed by the German submarine U-223 off Newfoundland in the North Atlantic.
The torpedo knocked out the Dorchester 's electrical system, leaving the ship dark. Panic set in among the men on board, many of them trapped below decks. The chaplains sought to calm the men and organize an orderly evacuation of the ship, and helped guide wounded men to safety. As life jackets were passed out to the men, the supply ran out before each man had one. The chaplains removed their own life jackets and gave them to others. They helped as many men as they could into lifeboats, and then linked arms and, saying prayers and singing hymns, went down with the ship.
Saturday, October 10, 2015
The World War 2 Axis power consisted of Germany, Italy, and Japan. During the war, these countries conquered large territories. The Axis powers had long prepared for war, developing devastating military technologies. Although many armies bravely opposed the Axis, the enemy strength and strategies were too much. The overrun series honors the 13 countries occupied by the Axis. On the left of each stamp is a phoenix, the great bird of fire from Greek mythology, representing eternal rebirth. On the right is a female, breaking the bonds of oppression.
Thursday, October 8, 2015
CARE is a private nonprofit agency that was formed by 22 private organizations. The letters CARE stand for Cooperative American Relief Everywhere. CARE's health care, food production, water supply, economic development, and environmental projects are at work around the world. Emergency relief is supplied to disaster areas and to refugees.Originally serving European nations only, CARE has now expanded to serve needy countries throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America.
Sunday, October 4, 2015
#1433 honors American artist John Sloan (1871-1951). Sloan is noted for his paintings, etchings, and illustrations of city subjects, landscapes , and figures. A noted teacher associated with the Arts Student League, Sloans students included Alexander Calder and David Smith.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
Formed in 1920, the Disabled American Veterans is a private nonprofit organization representing over 2 million veterans injured in the line of duty. In addition to providing essential services, the DAV is a watch group that advocates veterans rights.