Texas Liberal

All People Matter

Memorial Day, 2011 Is May 30—Memorial Day History And Links

In 2011, Memorial Day is Monday, May 30

Here is some history on the origins of Memorial Day and, also, links appropriate for Memorial Day

Take the time it requires to learn about the world.

( We’ve been fighting wars for a long time. Above is an engraving by Amos Doolittle of  the Battle of Lexington and Concord in 1775.)

Here is a brief explanation of the origins of Memorial Day—

Memorial Day originated in 1868, when Union General John A. Logan designated a day in which the graves of Civil War soldiers would be decorated. Known as Decoration Day, the holiday was changed to Memorial Day within twenty years, becoming a holiday dedicated to the memory of all war dead. It became a federal holiday in 1971, and is now observed on the last Monday in May.

Here is a much more detailed explanation.

(This representation of a disagreement between Tecumseh and William Henry Harrison is a reminder that sometimes U.S. troops were called upon to do harm to the native population. Tecumseh died in the War of 1812.)

Here is a list of minor and major wars in American history.

Here are numbers of American dead and wounded in our wars.

Here is the article that broke the story of mistreatment of veterans at Walter Reed Hospital. We say we care about our veterans, but that does not always appear to be the case.

Here is the Veterans of Foreign Wars home page.

Here is Iraq Body Count. This organization counts the number of Iraqis killed in the Iraq War. All people have equal value.

( Both a strong military and a strong resistance against going to war are important aspects of democracy. )

Here is the activist group Peace Action.

Here is a list of Medal of Honor winners for great bravery in American wars.

Here is information on women in American wars.

Here is the National Association of Black Veterans.

(Henry Hulbert, below, was a winner of the Medal of Honor in WW I.)

Here is information on the Revolutionary War.

Here is information on the War of 1812.

Here is information about the Civil War. (Photo below is of dead Union soldier.)

Here is information on World War I.

Here is information on World War II.

Here is information about the Korean War.

Here is information on the Vietnam War.

Here is information about the War in Iraq.

The National World War II Memorial in Washington is excellent to visit.

As is the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington.

And the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

I called my father from the Korean War Memorial and asked him about the historical accuracy of how the troops were sculpted. He said based on my descriptions, it was an accurate portrayal. ( Photo below)

I’ve been able to visit Punchbowl Cemetery in Honolulu. Many of our dead from wars in the Pacific are buried here. This is one of the most important and impressive locations you can visit in Honolulu.

I’ve also visited Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.

I once toured the Normandy American Cemetery and Monument near Omaha Beach in France.

Below is Arlington National Cemetery. I was fortunate to once visit Arlington on Memorial Day weekend and see the American flags at each gravestone.

Without people willing to die to protect the freedom of others, I would not be able to express my views in this blog post.  Without such people, none of us would be able to enjoy the day-to-day freedoms we often take for granted.

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | | 1 Comment

Another Volcano Erupts In Iceland—Facts About Volcanoes And Volcanic Ash

Once again a volcano has erupted in Iceland.

From The Herald in Scotland

Airlines have been warned ash from a new volcano erupting in Iceland could cause disruption… This time it’s not the Eyjafjallajokull volcano – which caused massive disruption to flights for a week last April and left 10 million passengers stranded – but another called the Grimsvotn volcano. Ash could reach northern parts of the country by Tuesday and parts of the rest of Britain, France and Spain by Thursday or Friday if the eruption continues at the same intensity. Iceland closed its main international airport and cancelled domestic flights on Sunday as the powerful Grimsvotn sent a plume of ash, smoke and steam 12 miles into the air.

(Above– The  Grimsvoten volcano as seen from space in a 2004 eruption. Here are facts about the Grimsvoten volcano.)  

This post has some basic information on volcanoes. Often we here about things in the news many times over the years without giving closer thought to what is really taking place.

Often it is the most basic facts that are lost.

For example—What exactly is a volcano?

Here is an explanation of volcanoes from an interview with a scientist conducted by the children’s book publisher Scholastic—

“Volcanoes are really mountains that build taller and taller, with time, as they erupt. That means that molten rock, magma, comes from within the earth and erupts onto the surface. The volcano might be explosive and produce ashes or be effusive and produce lava. The explosions are usually first because there are lots of gases inside the magma. When you have a bottle of soda pop, you do not see any bubbles of gas, but when you open it, bubbles form almost instantly. Once the gas bubbles have all escaped, the soda is flat. Once the magma is flat, a lava flow comes out. Most of the volcanoes from around the Pacific Ocean are composite, which means that there are layers of ashes and lava. Most volcanoes are 10,000 to 100,000 years old — it takes time for them to grow big.”

Here are 11 more facts about volcanoes.

Some volcanoes are underwater. Here is a post I wrote that has many facts about undersea volcanoes.

The Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver, Washington reports the following about the origin of the word volcano–

“The word “volcano” comes from the little island of Vulcano in the Mediterranean Sea off Sicily. Centuries ago, the people living in this area believed that Vulcano was the chimney of the forge of Vulcan — the blacksmith of the Roman gods. They thought that the hot lava fragments and clouds of dust erupting form Vulcano came from Vulcan’s forge as he beat out thunderbolts for Jupiter, king of the gods, and weapons for Mars, the god of war. In Polynesia the people attributed eruptive activity to the beautiful but wrathful Pele, Goddess of Volcanoes, whenever she was angry or spiteful. Today we know that volcanic eruptions are not super-natural but can be studied and interpreted by scientists.”

(Below—A picture of the Vulcano island.)

Here are facts about volcanic ash from the United States Geological Survey. This link gives you all the facts you need about volcanic ash.

From these facts—

“Small jagged pieces of rocks, minerals, and volcanic glass the size of sand and silt (less than 2 millimeters (1/12 inch) in diameter) erupted by a volcano are called volcanic ash. Very small ash particles can be less than 0.001 millimeters (1/25,000th of an inch) across. Volcanic ash is not the product of combustion, like the soft fluffy material created by burning wood, leaves, or paper. Volcanic ash is hard, does not dissolve in water, is extremely abrasive and mildly corrosive, and conducts electricity when wet.”

However, if you need even more facts on ash, the BBC has a Q & A.

Iceland is a place with many volcanoes.

The Earth is a complex place with an interesting geology that merits study even when no big disaster is taking place.

Here is a link to Geology. com. There is a great deal of information at this site about the Earth.

A very useful book to learn about these topics is called Earth–The Definitive Visual Guide. I have this book at home and look at it often. It has great pictures and helpful text to help folks understand the world.

There is a lot more to our existence than just freak-show ash clouds that make people study things they might not otherwise consider. Please be someone who is informed and who is curious about as many things as possible. We all the ability to know many things. The information we need to learn these things is all around us if we just make some effort.

(Below—The Cleveland Volcano in Alaska as photographed from space in 2006.)

May 23, 2011 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment