Saturday, January 03, 2009

Delving into a Treasure Trove

I recently came across some historic Chicago Tribune front pages.  Here's two that were especiallly relevant to today's events.  Isn't it interesting to compare what national leaders were saying then to what our national leaders (or leaders-elect) are saying now?  I read portions of this out loud to my mom, and we talked about our nation's lack of understanding of its own history.  It's one of those sad, funny things that it doesn't take Orwellian or Bradburian intervention to disconnect us from our history.  The original documents, the primary sources, have not been rewritten, burned, or confiscated from libraries.  Most of us just don't take the time to search them out and read them.  I for one rely too much on secondary or tertiary sources of historical information.  This is basically equivalent to letting others chew my food for me, and then taking in partially digested food.  My view of -- pick the historical event or period --  the first Thanksgiving, the Salem Witch Trial, the [anti-]Revolutionary War, the Trail of Tears, the Battle of the Alamo, the Civil War, the New Deal, Pearl Harbor, the struggle against segregation, or the fall of the Berlin Wall has largely been formed through the movies I've watched about these events or the descriptions I've heard in passing conversations.  Almost without exception, I've not the read the writings of the people who lived out that history, and brought it about.  God, help me to understand.  I think I have a very cartoonish view of history, and I'm easily manipulated by others.
That's the negative side.  The positive side is that delving into our nation's history is like going on a treasure hunt.  Sure, there's dark episodes and evil people.  But there are also incredibly Godly men and women who listened to the Lord and obeyed His call.  These are people like George Washington, John Adams, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Beecher Stowe, George Washington Carver, Ronald Reagan, Bill Buckley, Phyllis Schlafly, Dinesh D'Souza, and Ben Carson.  There's also many incredible unbelievers (like Mark Twain) who influenced many people and added to the rich history of this nation.  There's so much to discover.

Neal, Steve. "Reagan Takes Oath." Chicago Tribune – Wednesday, January 21, 1981, p.1.

'It is time to reawaken this industrial giant.'
WASHINGTON – Pledging to launch 'an era of national renewal,' Ronald Wilson Reagan became the 40th President of the United States on Tuesday in a solemn ceremony that turned into a national celebration as word came that America's long hostage crisis had at last ended.
On a crisp, spring-like day, the 69-year-old native of Tampico, Ill., became the oldest man ever inaugurated for the highest office in the land.
Reagan, the veteran movie actor and former California governor who had lost two previous bids for the presidency, took the oath from Chief Justice Warren Burger.  The President-elect placed his left hand on a family Bible that had belonged to his late mother, Nellie Wilson Reagan.
IN HIS 15-MINUTE inaugural address, Reagan blamed the crushing weight of big government for much of the nation's economic ills.  Later, in his first official act as President, he signed an executive order that placed a freeze on the hiring of federal employees.
"'In this present crisis,' Reagan said, 'government is not the solution, it is the problem.'
"The President said his objective in his recovery program will be a 'healthy, vigorous, growing economy that provides equal opportunities for…'"


Chicago Daily Tribune. Volume CIII. NO. 135 C. Tuesday, June 6, 1944. (THREE CENTS PAY NO MORE).

Overall header: "ALLIES INVADE FRANCE: Eisenhower's Armies Hit North Coast."

Individual article:
"INVASION NEWS THRILLS CAPITAL: Leaders Voice Prayers of Swift Victory."  [Chicago Tribune Press Service].  "Washington, D. C.. June 6 [Tuesday].—Aroused from their slumbers by the fateful news that the long-awaited invasion of Europe had begun, capital leaders in the early morning hours solemnly voiced their prayers and hopes for the American boys entering bloody action.
    "The White House was shrouded in darkness with only a few lights burning and no word was expected from the President until later in the day.  Only a few hours before midnight, addressing the nation by radio on the fall of Rome, he had remarked that allied forces 'are posed for another strike at western Europe.'
    "Sleepy voices of senators and representatives, answering the telephone calls of newspapermen, shed their irritation and quickened in excitement at the words: 'It's begun!'
    "'Now,' said Sen. Brooks, [R., Ill.], 'we must rely upon the experienced judgment of our military and naval leaders who will direct this most grueling military and naval test of all history.  They have assured us this invasion is necesary [sic] to shorten the time until victory and hasten the hour when our gallant troops may be returned to their homes.
    "'The American people have provided our forces with the finest possible equipment.  Our prayers and our hopes go with them.'
    "Chairman Reynolds, [D., N. C.], of the senate military affairs committee, said:
    "'My heart goes out to every enlisted man and every officer in this trying time.  And I have the deepest sympathy for the fathers and mother of our fighting men.  I join with all the nation in the fervent prayer that victory will be swift for our gallant men, and tat they may soon return to enjoy the reward of their valor.'
    "'This is the hour of decision a time for all Americans to stand firm in the faith of ultimate victory and to make sure we on the home front don't fail those on the battle front,' said Sen. Wiley. [R., Wis.]."

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