Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Glad Tidings

It's the birthday of Charles Wesley, born on this day in 1707 (or 1708, depending on what you're reading). He wrote over 6,000 hymns and is considered by some to be one of the most prolific poets in the English language.

And since it's a week till Christmas, I'll leave you with one of his hymns. Yes, I realize that you'll probably hear it so many times in the stores this season that you might wish Charles Wesley had been a plumber or a botanist. ***Has anyone else noticed that you can't go anywhere at all without an unceasing stream of Rudolph's and Frosty's? And isn't anyone else worried they'll get tired of it all long before the 25th?? But I digress... ***

Ok, so, despite the fact that you've probably learned to tune this out already, read the words and let Christmas be real for you, since that, Charlie Brown, is what Christmas is all about. Merry Christmas!!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King,
peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
join the triumph of the skies;
with th' angelic host proclaim,
"Christ is born in Bethlehem!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Christ, by highest heaven adored;
Christ, the everlasting Lord;
late in time behold him come,
offspring of a virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
hail th' incarnate Deity,
pleased with us in flesh to dwell,
Jesus, our Emmanuel.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Hail the heaven-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings,
risen with healing in his wings.
Mild he lays his glory by,
born that we no more may die,
born to raise us from the earth,
born to give us second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Friday, December 07, 2007

Remember Pearl Harbor

"Remember Pearl Harbor" (lyrics to the popular song by that name here) was a rallying cry for America, especially during the early days of our involvement in World War II. Until this day in 1941, the debates between the isolationists and the interventionists were heated and frequent. Those who advocated war wanted to send troops to Europe to put an end to Hitler's relentless onslaught there. Conversely, there were those who thought that the reports of Hitler's atrocities were greatly exaggerated, and maybe his plan to "unify Europe" wasn't so bad after all. Despite the fact that Japan had been fighting in its corner of the world for many years, Americans were largely unconcerned about a threat from that direction.

Japan's unprovoked attack on our naval and air forces in Pearl Harbor initially achieved two things: 1) The fighting among the isolationists and interventionists came to a halt and 2) Japan's alliance with Nazi Germany assured that the U.S. was going to war on two fronts.

You can listen to President Franklin Roosevelt's Pearl Harbor address here.

And here's something from The Writer's Almanac, many thanks to Garrison Keillor:
"It was on this day in 1941 that Japanese bombers attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. That morning soldiers at Pearl Harbor were learning how to use their new radar technology, and they detected a large number of planes heading toward them. They telephoned an officer to ask him what to do. The officer said they must be American B-17s on their way to the base, and he told the soldiers not to worry about it.
The Japanese bombers began their attack at 7:48 a.m., with two waves of 360 planes, beginning with slow torpedo bombers and then dive-bombers. Many of the soldiers there that day woke up to the sound of alarms and explosions. Most of the damage occurred in the first 30 minutes. The U.S.S. Oklahoma capsized, and the California, Nevada, and West Virginia sank in shallow water. The U.S.S. Arizona was completely destroyed, killing more than 1,500 soldiers aboard. When nurses arrived for morning duty they found hundreds of injured men all over the base. The nurses ran around, administering morphine, and to prevent overdoses, they wrote the letter M on each treated man's forehead.
There were ultimately 2,390 Americans killed at Pearl Harbor and 1,178 wounded. FDR used the event as the grounds for entering World War II."