Posts Tagged ‘history’

Who Was the First President?

Who Was

• The first president born in a log cabin?
• The first president nominated by a political party?
• The first president to ride on a railroad train?
• The first president victimized by an assassination attempt?
• The only president to find himself an orphan and an only child at the age of fourteen.
• The only president to have been a prisoner of war?
• The only president to have killed a man in a duel.
• The last president who was a veteran of the Revolutionary War.

Hint, Hint; They were all the same person. The answer is at http://tinyurl.com/djt7q6.


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I found this musical creation so beautiful that I had to learn more about it and its meaning. I found it as a CD album at Amazon, which I just ordered: The Irish Tenors / McNamara, McDermott, Kearns, TynanThe Three Tenors. The following is what I discovered about the song entitled Grace. Give a listen HERE.

“As we gather in the chapel here in old Kilmainham jail,
I think about these past few weeks; Oh, will they say we failed?
From our school days they have told us we must yearn for liberty,
Yet all I want in this dark place is to have you here with me.

Oh Grace just hold me in your arms, and let this moment linger,
They’ll take me out at dawn and I will die.
With all my love I’ll place this wedding ring upon your finger,
There won’t be time to share our love for we must say goodbye.

Now I know it’s hard for you my love to ever understand,
The love I bear for these brave men, my love for this dear land,
But when Padraic called me to his side down in the G.P.O.
I had to leave my own sick bed, to him I had to go.

Now as the dawn is breaking, my heart is breaking too,
On this May morn, as I walk out, my thoughts will be of you.
And I’ll write some words upon the wall, so everyone will know,
I loved so much that I could see His blood upon the rose.”

Joseph Mary Plunkett was an Irish nationalist, poet and leader and planner of the 1916 Easter rising. It was largely his plan that was followed in 1916, which ended in military disaster. Plunkett was held in Kilmainham Jail and faced court martial. Hours before his excecution by firing squad, at age 28, he was married in the prison chapel on 4 May 1916, to his sweetheart, a Protestant convert to Catholicism, Grace Gifford.

Grace remained loyal to the republican movement while earning a living as a commerical artist. She voted against the treaty which divided Ireland and during the civil war she was imprisoned in Kilmainham jail for three months. She died in 1955.

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I have been listening to G.K. Chesteron’s “A Short History of England” from librivox.org and am quite enjoying it; so much so, that I think I should read it in text, as there is so much to savor that is not possible when briefly hearing it, or when missing a word. However, I think the title is a misnomer. In my opinion, the book should have been entitled “An ‘Opinionated‘ History of England,” I think.

The author certainly loves to use paradox in the manner of Charles Dickens. One of the most famous lines in English literature is the opening of Dickens’ “Tale of Two Cities.” “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… .” Chesterton uses this type of paradox construction about a dozen times in each and every chapter, it seems. I feel he overdoes it a bit.

However, … this lode star of life I love: “I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought; and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”

Here is an even SHORTER history of England: \”The History of England\” by Jane Austen.

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I have been reading “The History of the Middle Ages” by Samuel B. Harding. It was written for children of long, long ago, and as I have always felt quite deficient in my knowledge of European history, I decided to give it a try. I actually am not really reading it, as it is being read to me by a lovely lady named Kara Shallenberg. I found the audio at her web site kayray.org and downloaded it to my new Ipod. I have never owned an MP3 player before this new Ipod Touch, so all of the learning and implementing of this new technology is quite revolutionary to me.

Anyway, when I awoke in my bed in the middle of last night, I reached for my trusty new Ipod, and listened for three chapters until I fell back asleep whilst the Vandals, Huns, Romans and Goths were marauding the entire European continent. Well, not really the Romans, as they were civilized. This audio book stops at the end of each chapter, which seems to be good, as once I fell asleep, the recording eventually stopped. I think the Ipod turns itself off too, but I am not sure of that. Ms. Shallenberg reads for LibriVox.org where I found this at their website:

We get most of our texts from Project Gutenberg, and the Internet Archive and ibiblio.org host our audio files (for free!). Our annual budget is $0, and for the moment we don’t need any money. We’ll let you know if that changes. In the mean time, perhaps you might consider supporting our partners: Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive.

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