Saturday, May 10, 2008

37 to 12

That is the number of blogs - 37, to which I link over on the right side of my blog that do not provide a reciprocal link to my blog as compared to the ones - 12, that do provide a reciprocal link back to my blog. Actually that number was a bit higher on the nonreciprocating side, but I moved one of those blogs to the News Section (Michael Savage - because his is not really a blog per se), and I totally removed one or two other blogs because after long consideration I figured I could not stand them (just my personal opinion - so why keep link to them since my opinion of them has changed). Then I moved around the blogs into two categories - those who provide me the courtesy of a reciprocal link, and those who have blogs wherein I could not find that courtesy (hopefully I did not screw up). Of course if the courtesy comes my way, I'll have more rearranging to do. Note while I do not agree with everything written by all the bloggers to whom I link, I find a lot of their stuff interesting enough to link to them, or agree with them often enough to think they merit a link, and think you will find it likewise. Some of them are outright fascinating.

Allow me to say thank you to those of you who showed me that little courtesy.

All the best,
Glenn B

Today In History - Modern America Made Possible

A lot of things happened today in history that made the world a worse or better place, and that truly effected the United States of America in a big way. Today is a significant day regarding important, if not great leaders, for example on this day in 1863 General Thomas Stonewall Jackson passes onto the great beyond due to injuries and disease, in 1865 Jefferson Davis the president of the Confederacy is captured by Union forces, in 1924 (heck the year my mom was born) J. Edgar Hoover was appointed as the head of the FBI, in 1940 Sir Winston Churchill become Prime Minister of great Britain (you ca bet this effected U.S. History). There were important births on this day too: 1730 George Ross a signer of the Declaration of Independence was born in New Castle, Delaware, and the notorious (and I would hope you know why he was notorious) John Wilkes Booth was born in 1838. Some events mark this as a particularly noteworthy day for the USA: in 1775 the Green Mountain Boys led by Etan Allen and Benedict Arnold take Fort Ticonderoga from the British without firing a shot, in 1872 Virginia Woodhull is the first woman to be nominated for the presidency of the United States, the USS Triton completes the first underwater circumnavigation of the earth in 1960 (something of my early childhood); but I don't want to talk about them. All of the above listed events, with the exception of Churchill taking over in England, pale in comparison to the events and years of effort that led up to a ceremony that took place today. That ceremony symbolized something that formed the United States of America as we know her as one of, if not, the greatest nation on the earth.

Today, May 10, 1869 , was the day that the Golden Spike was driven. The Golden Spike was a ceremonial railroad spike, and it was driven into the rails at Promontory Summit, Utah. The spike itself, though golden, really means little; the driving of it home into the rails at the junction where the locomotives of two mighty railroad companies - The Union Pacific's 119 and The Central Pacific's Jupiter - met cowcatcher to cowcatcher meant a great deal. You see, that spike was the final spike put into place in what became known as the First Transcontinental Railroad. The railroad was authorized by law, backed by the federal government, and is one of the great works pushed for by Abraham Lincoln although not finished until a few years after his assassination at the hands of the notorious John Wilkes Booth (whom you may recall just so happened to be born on this day in 1838 - what irony that he drove home a piece of lead in an attempt to divide the nation, and it was a spike of gold, driven into place due in part to his fallen target, that united her eventually, though not in 1869, from coast to coast).

The completion of the railroad assured future wealth for America. It opened the west to settler as nothing had that preceded it. Yet not all was made golden with its completion. For with the completion of the First Transcontinental railroad came other things that showed a darker side of America. With it came the Buffalo Hunters, and with them came a hail of lead that would decimate the bison herds throughout the plains states. With the demise of the buffalo came the fall of the Plains Indian Nations, and the destruction of much of the flora and fauna of the Great Plains. Hordes of Chinese immigrants entered the United States to work on the lines, only later to be the only legally admitted group to be forced to leave the USA in huge numbers. Yes, the railroad was entwined with some of our darker moments. Still though, the United States grew as a result, and at a faster pace than could ever have been imagined when only stage lines, and caravans of settlers wagon trains crossed from one side of the country to the other.

With the railroad came technological achievements (steam engine improvements and so forth), architectural achievements (building bridges and the like), and the opening of the west that allowed for increased settlement and trade. Where traveling from coast to coast had once taken almost 6 months, or more, it could now be completed in only a week. The United States had stepped into a new age, at a speed never before imagined. Looking at all the good and the bad associated with it, I have to think it was good more so than bad, and though I will not belittle the bad that came of it, I certainly cannot diminish the good because of the bad. Both sides of the deeds done stand out on their own in testimony to the building of a great nation and all that comes with it.

To see where I found this information, and for more about all of it, please see:

Many of The Above Dates and Events: (note the apparent error on this one about which submarine first circumnavigated the globe while underwater

Take a look at some of the links, something else that intrigues you may just catch your eye. For me it was the union of a nation, for you it maybe something else.

All the best,

Glenn B