Caryn

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Most people know what the United States Capitol building looks like, and many have seen it, and even been inside it, but I wonder how many people know that is almost wasn’t completed. Yes, you heard me right. I almost wasn’t completed. As a young nation, the United States had no permanent capitol, and Congress met in eight different cities, including Baltimore, New York and Philadelphia, before 1791. In 1790, Congress passed the Residence Act, which gave President Washington the power to select a permanent home for the federal government. The following year, he chose what would become the District of Columbia from land that had been provided by Maryland. Washington picked three commissioners to oversee the capital city’s development and they in turn chose French engineer Pierre Charles L’Enfant to come up with the design. However, L’Enfant clashed with the commissioners and was fired in 1792. A design competition was held, and a Scotsman named William Thornton submitted the winning entry.

Then, on this day, September 18, 1793, Washington laid the Capitol’s cornerstone and the lengthy construction process, which would involve a line of project managers and architects, got under way. One would think that is due time, the capitol building would be finished, but in reality, it took almost a century to finish…almost 100 years!! During those years, architects came and went, the British set it on fire, and it was called into use during the Civil War. In 1800, Congress moved into the Capitol’s north wing. In 1807, the House of Representatives moved into the building’s south wing, which was finally finished in 1811. During the War of 1812, the British invaded Washington DC. They set fire to the Capitol on August 24, 1814. Thankfully, a rainstorm saved the building from total destruction. Congress met in nearby temporary quarters from 1815 to 1819. In the early 1850s, work began to expand the Capitol to accommodate the growing number of Congressmen. The Civil War halted construction in 1861 while the Capitol was used by Union troops as a hospital and barracks. Following the war, expansions and modern upgrades to the building continued into the next century.

Today, the Capitol building, with its famous cast-iron dome and important collection of American art, is part of the Capitol Complex, which includes six Congressional office buildings and three Library of Congress buildings, all developed in the 19th and 20th centuries. The Capitol, which is visited by 3 million to 5 million people each year, has 540 rooms and covers a ground area of about four acres. I’m sure that those who visit the United States Capitol Building probably hear all about it strange past and its construction history, but maybe not. I suppose that it depends on what the tour guide finds interesting. Personally, I like the unusual construction. Thankfully, the United States Capitol did finally get built and has become the beautiful building we know today.

A few days ago…September 13, 2017, to be exact, Greenville, North Carolina got a new citizen. Her name is Mackenzie Rose Moore, and she is absolutely beautiful. Mackenzie decided to arrive a little over two weeks before her due date, and once she made that decision, she took immediate action. Her mommy, my niece, Lindsay Moore was only in labor thirteen hours and twenty minutes…very fast for the first baby, but Mackenzie was in a hurry to meet her parents. Mackenzie’s daddy, Shannon Moore is the special teams coach at Eastern Carolina University, and so Mackenzie knew that she had to start getting to the games to show her support for her daddy, after all, she was going to be Daddy’s Girl. My guess is that she will be one of his biggest cheerleaders. In fact, she has been working on her cheer moves, and her daddy has already had her visit the sidelines to meet the team…and they all love their newest little cheerleader. Mackenzie’s daddy couldn’t possibly be any more proud of her. She is his little princess…and that’s as it should be.

I love that my niece, Lindsay gets to work from home, because that means that little Mackenzie Rose will get to spend lots of time with her mommy, doing all the girly things like shopping, manicures, and hair styling. She and her mommy will be the best of friends, and will work together to make a wonderful home for her daddy. Mackenzie will learn all about good nutrition and exercise from her mommy, and they will have lots of fun playing, going for jogs…with Mackenzie in a stroller, of course…at least at first. When I look at Lindsay with Mackenzie, I can just feel the love between them, and it is so special. I am so happy for Lindsay and Shannon. Their family has now taken on a new dimension. Their love has gone to the next level. It has expanded into a whole new person, and that is very special.

Mackenzie has also been getting to know her grandma, my sister Allyn Hadlock this week. The minute Allyn knew that Lindsay was in labor, she had planned to get on a plane headed for North Carolina, but Mackenzie just couldn’t wait that long. Allyn was so excited to be a grandma again, and she had hoped to be there before the baby’s birth, but she would have had to go in Star Trek style…Beam me up Scotty…if she was going to make it in time for this speedy little girl. Nevertheless, before her first day was over, Mackenzie got to meet her grandma. It was a late day, for sure, but Mackenzie Rose had to stay awake to meet her grandma. Some things are really important, and meeting grandparents is pretty close to the top of the list…right behind meeting one’s parents. We are all so excited for Lindsay and Shannon on their new little baby girl, and we can’t wait to meet her when they visit Casper. We love you little Mackenzie Rose Moore!!

Sometimes, I find myself quite shocked to think that I could have children who have been married more than twenty years. I know that seems odd, and that I should be used to it, but it just doesn’t seem possible…and yet it is. Twenty two years ago today, my youngest daughter, Amy Royce walked down the isle, and into the arms of the love of her life, Travis Royce. So much has changed since that day. Amy and Travis have two beautiful, grown children, Shai and Caalab, and they all live in the Bellingham, Washington area. Living near the water was always a dream of Amy’s, and Travis has always loved Washington state too, so it’s a dream come true.

I asked Amy if she ever dreamed that they would make it this far, and she said that she always knew they would. She kinda likes him, you know. I can see how that could be. They are very good together, and her latest Facebook profile picture says it all…captioned, “I love this maaaaaan!!” Their love for each other is quite obvious. You can see it in every picture they do together. That is something that really warms a mother’s heart. There is just something about knowing that your child is really loved that makes you feel so good about the relationship choice they have made. And I know that Amy and Travis have both made a wonderful choice…the perfect, made in Heaven kind of love.

Amy and Travis are both very social people, although Amy is a little more bashful than Travis is. Nevertheless, once she gets to know people, she really enjoys socializing. They are also very much alike in their sense of humor. I never really thought of Amy as being a funny girl, but she really seems to be these days. Maybe Travis has worn off on her. It had to be that way, because Travis has always been that way. He loves a good joke, and loves to make people laugh. That laughter is one thing that has always impressed me about the home that Travis created for his family. Every time I was there, I saw it…laughter. It was the norm in their home. The kids thrived on it, and they enjoy a good joke now too. I think that laughter makes a home warm and cozy. And with Amy and Travis, you never knew what they were going to come up with next.

Twenty two years is a long time to be together these days, but when the home is filled with love and laughter, the years fly by. Suddenly, before you ever realized where they had gone, 22 years are in the past. The good news is that they know that they have the rest of their lives to enjoy being together. Today is Amy and Travis’ 22nd anniversary. Happy anniversary Amy and Travis!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when 90,000 North Korean troops, under orders from Kim Song-Ju, stormed across the 38th parallel, catching the Republic of Korea’s forces completely off guard and throwing them into a hasty southern retreat. Two days later, United States President Harry Truman announced that the United States would intervene in the conflict, and on June 28 the United Nations approved the use of force against communist North Korea. On June 30, Truman agreed to send United States ground forces to Korea, and on July 7 the Security Council recommended that all United Nations forces sent to Korea be put under United States command. The next day, General Douglas MacArthur was named commander of all United Nations forces in Korea. North Korea’s evil dictator wanted to rule the whole nation, and he wouldn’t have stopped there. He had to be stopped. The war would go on for three long years, finally ending on July 27, 1953. The Korean War was memorialized in the minds of most people with the war series, MASH, which ran far longer than the war itself. Of course, it was a semi-fictional show about a Mobile Army Surgical Hospital in which the men and women did everything they could to put the injured soldiers back together after the ravages of battle, all the while, hating that they would go back to battle.

Now, we have another rogue dictator of North Korea, namely Kim Jong-un, who has developed a number of bombs, and doesn’t mind shooting them off as a warning to the rest of the world that not only is he crazy, but he is armed and crazy. Kim Jong-un lobs missiles over Japan on a regular basis, and has threatened Guam as well. Unfortunately, because of soft “leadership” on the part of President Obama, Kim Jong-un was allowed to proceed with his evil plans relatively unchecked, and now, he is an out of control leader who honestly thinks that he can control the world, and doesn’t care who he kills.

Now, we are in a position of trying to figure out how to stop Kim Jong-un. I don’t presume to know the answer to this dilemma, nor would I want to be in the shoes of those who will have to do something, because I don’t believe that this problem is going to be easily solved. I do know that something is going to have to be done. When a dictator is willing to launch a nuclear bomb, they clearly do not care about life. All they care about is ruling the world. They don’t care about freedom, the lives of their own people or even the future of mankind. That makes them…insane, in my book. So, while I would not want to be in President Trump’s shoes concerning North Korea, I will support his decisions concerning military action, because I believe that he has the best interests of the United States and the world at heart, and I also do not believe that sanctions will work…now or ever. While I don’t think that war against North Korea would be easy, I also know that we can’t just sit idly by and let Kim Jong-un continue his rampage. It just might be time to do it again where North Korea is concerned.

Sometimes, the best plans can have the most disastrous results, and when you find out that it was all unnecessary…it can be almost too much to bear. World War II was a difficult war. It had so many fronts and so many nations were involved. One division might invade an area with the plan of becoming a support unit for another division, who was going to be attacking another area. Such was the case on September 14, 1944, when the United States 1st Marine Division landed on the island of Peleliu, one of the Palau Islands in the Pacific, as part of a larger operation to provide support for General Douglas MacArthur, who was preparing to invade the Philippines. The Palaus Islands are a part of the Caroline Islands. It had been ordered that they be taken from Germany and given to Japan as one of the terms of the Treaty of Versailles at the close of World War I. Now, it was thought that they were needed to help with this latest invasion.

There were those who felt that this invasion was not necessary, and was in fact, dangerous. The operation was called Operation Stalemate. The problem was that the United States military was unfamiliar with the islands. That made them sitting ducks. Admiral William Halsey argued against Operation Stalemate, which included the Army invasion of Morotai in the Dutch East Indies. He believed that MacArthur would meet minimal resistance in the Philippines, making this operation unnecessary, especially given the risks involved. Going into a jungle without knowing where the enemy might be hiding is dangerous. The term, “know thine enemy” comes to mind. The Japanese were sneaky, and that would prove to be a big problem.

The Japanese defenders of the island were buried quite deep in the jungle, and the target intelligence given the Americans was faulty. When the division landed, the Marines met little immediate resistance, which I’m sure gave them a sense of confidence that would very soon be destroyed. The lack of resistance was a ploy. Shortly after the Marines landed, Japanese machine guns opened fire, knocking out more than two dozen landing craft. Japanese tanks and troops followed, as the startled 1st and 5th Marine regiments fought for their lives. Jungle caves produced even more Japanese soldiers. Within one week of the invasion, the Marines lost 4,000 men. By the time it was all over, that number would surpass 9,000. The Japanese lost more than 13,000 men. Flamethrowers and bombs finally subdued the island for the Americans, but in the end, it was pointless. MacArthur invaded the Philippines without need of Army or Marine protection from either Peleliu or Morotai.

These days, some people are disenchanted with our country, and even willing to disrespect our flag, so I thought that today might be a good day to talk about our flag, our nation, and our national anthem. In the early days of our nation’s history, war was a rather common. The Revolutionary war and the freedom that came with it, did not mean that our enemies were done battling with us. In 1812, Britain was again at war with the United States, in the War of 1812, which lasted until 1815. British attempts to restrict United States trade, the Royal Navy’s impressment of American seamen and America’s desire to expand its territory, all contributed to the breakout of war. While there were defeats in battle, including the capture and burning of the nation’s capital, Washington DC, in August 1814, American troops were able to repulse British invasions in New York, Baltimore and New Orleans, which boosted national confidence and fostered a new spirit of patriotism. The ratification of the Treaty of Ghent on February 17, 1815, ended the war but left many of the most contentious questions unresolved. Nonetheless, many in the United States celebrated the War of 1812 as a “second war of independence,” beginning an era of partisan agreement and national pride. When I think of how things have changed since those days, I and both extremely sad and extremely mad.

During the War of 1812, the friend of a man named Francis Scott Key was taken prisoner by the British. His name was Dr William Beanes. Key went down to Baltimore, Maryland located the ship where Beanes was being held and negotiated his release. The British agreed to release Beanes, but would not let either of the men leave the ship until after the British bombardment of Fort McHenry. Key watched the bombing campaign unfold from aboard a ship located about eight miles away. After a day, the British were unable to destroy the fort and gave up. Key was relieved to see the American flag still flying over Fort McHenry and quickly penned a few lines in tribute to what he had witnessed. The date was September 13, 1814. The poem Key wrote that day…originally called “The Defense of Fort McHenry,” was changed to “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1931. Most people would recognize that as our national anthem. The song told of the battle that Key was forced to watch, while praying that Fort McHenry could withstand the attack. That was probably one of the longest days of his life, but when the rockets would flash, he could see the flag, proudly waving…and afterward proclaiming the victory.

That flag and that song are both tributes to the brae men, and now women, who willingly fought and even gave up their lives for this nation…for our freedom, the very freedom that allows it’s citizens to have free speech, which so many now use to disrespect our flag, our national anthem, our soldiers, and every respectful citizen of this country. These same people somehow wonder how we can be so upset with them…or maybe they know and like the drama queens they are, they love the drama of being on the wrong side of right and wrong. They just don’t like the consequences…such as people’s refusal to support them in their treason. As for me…I don’t believe in giving them any place in my story. I am a patriot…I will always be a patriot, and I will always honor our nation’s flag, anthem, and the soldiers who fought for our freedom.

Motivating your child to get good grades is a difficult task sometimes. Let’s face it, a child who struggles in school, doesn’t see getting a dollar for each “A” grade, as being an achievable prize. Of course, the goal has to be something the child can do, or they will give up before they start, so for a child who struggles, the dollar might be for a “C” or something. Maybe the goal needs to be broken down by weeks to help the struggling student, or even by assignment. When you have a student who struggles with school, you will pretty much do anything…including treats to get them to try harder to get good grades, because as we all know, a student who excels in school, can almost write their own ticket in life. College and jobs even come easier for them.

With all that being said, I suppose that I will sound like my parents, who like most parents of people my age, walked ten miles to school, uphill both ways, but when I was in school, we didn’t get rewarded for our grades. Maybe it just wasn’t done then, but for us, that was the way it was. So when I hear of paying a child for grades, I have mixed feelings about it. I’m not exactly opposed to paying for grades, because it is the child’s job, after all, and I expect to be paid for my work. Still, by the same token, I would have to wonder if it shouldn’t also be that a poor grade costs the child then. I mean, if I am a great driver, and I get a speeding ticket, I have to pay the penalty too, even if I haven’t had one in ten years. And shouldn’t a child just naturally want to learn things. No, not really. When I was in grade school, history was the most boring subject in existence, and yet today, I research events in history for my stories. I guess that if it is something you really love, you don’t need any motivation, but if it isn’t something you really love, no matter how big the amount of motivation you are offered, it will not make you love that subject.

Still, some people take things a little be too far, in my opinion. Such was the case in a story I read the other day. It went like this: “My elder brother has a son. He has just started school. My brother buys him toys, different devices, and new clothes to motivate him. When I was in my first year in school, he promised me that if I finished school with excellent grades, I would be able to have a tooth made of gold. I was really enthusiastic for many years.” Now, I don’t know about you, but a gold tooth would not really motivate me to get better grades. Still, to each his own. I suppose that to a young boy, a gold tooth might sound like the coolest thing ever…at least for a time. As you read in the story, even that great motivator didn’t do the trick forever.

Like most things, as kids get older, that dollar isn’t quite the motivator it used to be either. Kids, these days, know how little a dollar can buy, and when you think about it, it’s really hard for a kid to stay motivated for nine weeks…just to make a dollar. I guess that if parents are going to use a reward system motivator, they are going to have to keep up with the times, and upgrade that motivator periodically so it will be the study aid they are hoping for. Or maybe my parents had the right idea after all, which was pretty much, get good grades…or else!! And I think I’ll leave that right there.

Sixteen years…that is the amount of time that has passed since the horrific 9-11 attacks on America. It’s hard to believe that so much time has passed. When I think about the victims of those attacks, I am saddened to think that the beautiful potential their lives had was stripped away from them in an instant. I think about the families they left behind to mourn their loss. And I think about the babies that arrived after the attacks, who would never know their dads. This year marks another milestone those babies will have without their dads…getting their driver’s license….as well as possibly dating. Their dads have missed so many milestones already, and it was just so unfair. Those men went to work that day, fully expecting to come home, but evil doesn’t care.

I think about the children who were lost in the attacks. Their lives were cut short before they even had a chance to grow up, and fulfill their life’s full potential. Some of them hadn’t even started school yet. They didn’t get the chance to graduate from high school, which many of them would now have done by now. Their potential to be a productive member of society was squashed in a matter of a few hours on that September day, sixteen years ago, because evil doesn’t care.

I am sad for the men and women, who worked in the offices of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, who simply went about their day, doing the things they had planned, only to have everything ripped out from under them in a moment. Their futures were so bright. They were going places. They had studied and learned their trade, and now they were the people who were ready to go out and change the world. Their dreams were so quickly over. They would do no more. Their chance was gone. And the people on the planes, innocently traveling to their destination…forced to become a bomb in the plot to kill so many. Life for all of them ended that awful day, because evil doesn’t care.

I think of the emergency workers who ran into the buildings…the same way they always do in an emergency, fully expecting to bring the people out and save their lives. They ran in, but most of those who went in, did not come back out that day. So many of the higher ranked firefighters had to be quickly replaced with firefighters who were less experienced in leadership, because the leaders were gone. So many people in so many areas of the United States and the world had to try to go on with the emptiness that was left by the loss of so many, in all walks of life. The nation had to rebuild…move forward…and deal with the feelings of grief, anger, and loss that the attacks left behind…that hate left behind, because evil doesn’t care about the life it destroyed. Evil just doesn’t care.

The War of 1812 was a conflict fought between the United States, the United Kingdom and their respective allies. British historians often view the War of 1812 as a minor theater of the Napoleonic Wars, but in the United States and Canada, it is seen as a war in its own right. When the War of 1812 broke out, the British immediately seized control of Lake Erie. They already had a small force of warships there…namely the HMS Queen Charlotte and the HMS Hunter. The HMS Lady Prevost was under construction and was put into service a few weeks after the war’s outbreak. These vessels were controlled by the Provincial Marine…a military transport service, and not part of the British navy. Still, they were there, and at the ready, when the call to war came.

In stark contrast, the Americans lacked any presence to counter the British armed vessels, because the only American warship on Lake Erie, the USS Adams, was not ready for service at the start of the war. When the American army of Brigadier General William Hull abandoned its invasion of Canada, the USS Adams was pinned down in Detroit by the British batteries at Sandwich on the Canadian side of the Detroit River. That left the Americans in a less than favorable position to fight for domination on the lake, and yet they knew it was going to be a necessary battle in the war. In what was going to become the first unqualified defeat of a British naval squadron in history, United States Captain Oliver Hazard Perry lead a fleet of nine American ships to victory over a squadron of six British warships at the Battle of Lake Erie.

The British had taken the USS Adams when Detroit was surrendered, renaming her HMS Detroit. Together with the HMS Caledonia, which had been commandeered from the Canadian North West Company, the ships were boarded and captured near Fort Erie on October 9, 1812, by American sailors and soldiers led by Lieutenant Jesse Elliot. HMS Detroit ran aground on an island in the middle of the Niagara River and was set on fire to prevent recapture. HMS Caledonia was taken to the navy yard at Black Rock and commissioned into the United States Navy. Also present at Black Rock were the USS Somers, USS Ohio, and the USS Trippe, which had all been purchased by the United States Navy and were being converted into gunboats. The British held Fort Erie and the nearby batteries which dominated the Niagara River. All the United States vessels were pinned down and unable to leave Black Rock. The British Major General Isaac Brock used his control of the lake to defeat Hull’s army at the Siege of Detroit, by cutting the American supply lines and rapidly transferring himself and some reinforcements to Amherstburg from where they launched a successful landing on the American side of the Detroit River, but this could not be allowed to continue.

On September 10, 1813, the battle for Lake Erie began. The battle was closely contested for hours, and United States Captain Oliver Hazard Perry’s flagship USS Lawrence was reduced to a defenseless wreck. Perry then transferred to the Niagara and sailed directly into the British line, firing broadsides and forcing the British to surrender. Perry had won a complete victory at the cost of 27 Americans killed and 96 wounded. British casualties were 40 dead and 94 wounded. After the battle, Perry sent a famous dispatch to United States General William Henry Harrison that read, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” The Battle of Lake Erie forced the British to abandon Detroit, thereby ensuring United States all future control over Lake Erie.

I realize that everyone who has a goal in mind for their life, must be focused on that goal, in order to achieve it, but I find that very few people say that they want to do a certain thing when they are in high school, and then follow through to achieve that goal. My grandson, Josh Petersen is such a focused young man. He wants to be a firefighter and EMT, and he just keeps taking the steps that he knows are necessary to get there. He completed some of the Fire Science classes in high school, using the Boces program, and now that he is in college, he just keeps moving forward toward his goal. I am very proud of his accomplishments thus far, and I look forward to all the great things he is going to do in the future. During the Boces classes, one of the instructors took Josh under his wing, and continues to mentor him as he moves forward. I don’t think his instructor had ever had a high school student the Fire Science class. The mentoring has really helped Josh, because he has been advised on which classes to take in order to better proceed through his requirements.

One of the most recent classes that Josh is taking is one that I am very excited about. He is in the current EMT course that is offered through the Bar Nunn, Wyoming fire department. I’m having a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact that when this class is over, my grandson will be ready for state licensing tests to become an EMT…and he will only be 19 years old. That makes me very proud. Josh is enjoying the classes, but really looks forward to the clinical part of the training, when he actually works with patients. That makes sense. Every EMT, nurse, CNA, or other health care professional wants to move beyond the learning stages and get to doing the work. When I asked Josh about his class, he told me that it was interesting, but he was looking forward to the clinical training. He is always keeping his eyes on the prize, and that makes me very proud.

Of course, Josh is still very focused on his training to be a firefighter too. He loves everything firefighter. He loves t-shirts and tattoos that have anything to do with firefighting or EMT work. Everything he does these days is to further himself toward the ultimate goal. That takes determination and drive. He loves volunteer work too, especially if it is sponsored by the fire department. I’m sure that every time he sees anything about a fire, he wishes he could be there to help with the efforts to put the fire out. I know that with Josh’s focus and determination, he will become an amazing firefighter and EMT. We are so proud of him. Today is Josh’s 19th birthday. Happy birthday Josh!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

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