The Children’s Blizzard, a book by a man named David Laskin, is “the gripping story of an epic prairie snowstorm that killed hundreds of newly arrived settlers and cast a shadow on the promise of the American frontier.”
My mother’s grandparents had arrived the year before, in 1887, from Germany with two of their children, Emil and Otillie, who was named after an aunt. What happened to these two no one knows. I’ve been looking and looking for years.
Obviously, death must have taken them away, since besides the immigration paperwork, they are never mentioned again. Did they get caught up in the blizzard like so many others? I will keep hunting for details. They deserve to be remembered and their stories told.
“ . . . the Great War, as it was initially called, sucked up lives at rate of almost 50,000 a day at one point. The Germans committed atrocities against civilians in Belgium, and reduced the Cathedral of Arras to rubble. The soil of Northern France, pockmarked with war craters, is all one big burial ground for lost souls — the graveyards you see, 410 military cemeteries, and the graveyards you don’t see.
When the war ended, after 17 million deaths worldwide, a headline in Britain’s Daily Mirror proclaimed: ‘Democracy Triumphs Over the Last of the Autocrats.’”
My great-great uncle was one of those 17 million.
Massachusetts Bay Colony, 1675
“May 3, 1675: A Massachusetts law goes into effect requiring church doors to be locked during services. Officials enacted the law because too many people were leaving before sermons were over.”
April 17, 1492: Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella give Christopher Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia. Though he was also interested in wealth, Columbus saw himself as a “Christ-bearer” who would carry Christ across the ocean to people who had never heard the gospel.
“Henry hates John. John abhors Henry. Andrew can’t stand Henry or John—and neither of them have any use for Andrew.”
Henry is Henry Clay, Speaker of the House for decades. John is John C. Calhoun, a proud southerner who developed the idea of nullification. And Andrew is Andrew Jackson, war hero and eventual president of the United States.
I discovered this incredible summation of affairs in the book Distory: A Treasury of Historical Insults by a man named Schnakenberg.
“In the smoke and noise of battle surrounded by the screams of the wounded and dying, a leader will either contaminate with his cowardice or inspire by his example.” — General Hal Moore
“I absolutely love that man,” said Randall Wallace, writer of Braveheart and director of We Were Soldiers. “He taught me great things. He had so many ways of teaching in the concise things he’d say. One of the things I rely on every time I direct is something he said to me — ‘In the smoke and noise of battle surrounded by the screams of the wounded and dying, a leader will either contaminate with his cowardice or inspire by his example.’ Every man who followed Hal Moore was a hero. He was the kind of leader who showed men the heroism in their hearts.”
One of the most remarkable, heroic, and talented men of all time was an American who was born a slave. Ever since reading his autobiography, in high school I think it was, I’ve been fascinated with the man.
On the first day of February 2016, Google celebrated the birthday of Frederick Douglass, the actual day of which wasn’t known, even to him, with a doodle. For that I am thankful to Google, for reminding me of this spectacular specimen of a man.
Everyone should learn more about him. Read what he wrote. Study what he said, what he did, how he lived. And be inspired.