Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring
















This year Spring has a whole new meaning...Most Especially after this HORRIBLE winter. We had record low temperatures, record rains and even record snowfall. Already, there are signs of spring bursting forth with new life, but so far it's blooms are shivering in the cold winds. I just hope that it's not cold one day and 100 the next...This is Texas...and THAT Happens! So enjoy the grass greening up, the air getting warmer and blooms bringing new beginnings......I am not taking my long handles off till JULY!
I have included pictures of Spring past, as some of these did not make it because of root rot because it rained so much. A Shame because they were really pretty. I am afraid I will have more this spring...will have to wait and see.....

Friday, September 4, 2009

Labor Day











Labor Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September (September 7 in 2009).
The holiday originated in Canada out of labor disputes ("Nine-Hour Movement") first in Hamilton, then in Toronto, Canada in the 1870s, which resulted in a Trade Union Act which legalized and protected union activity in 1872 in Canada. The parades held in support of the Nine-Hour Movement and the printers' strike led to an annual celebration in Canada. In 1882, American labor leader Peter J. McGuire witnessed one of these labor festivals in Toronto. Inspired from Canadian events in Toronto, he returned the USA, to New York and organized the first American "labor day" on September 5 of the same year. The first Labor Day in the United States was celebrated on
September 5, 1882 in New York City. In the aftermath of the deaths of a number of workers at the hands of the US military and US Marshals during the 1894 Pullman Strike, President Grover Cleveland put reconciliation with Labor as a top political priority. Fearing further conflict, legislation making Labor Day a national holiday was rushed through Congress unanimously and signed into law a mere six days after the end of the strike. Cleveland was also concerned that aligning a US labor holiday with existing international May Day celebrations would stir up negative emotions linked to the Haymarket Affair. All 50 U.S. states have made Labor Day a state holiday. The form for the celebration of Labor Day was outlined in the first proposal of the holiday: A street parade to exhibit to the public "the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations," followed by a festival for the workers and their families. This became the pattern for Labor Day celebrations. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civil significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement. Traditionally, Labor Day is celebrated by most Americans as the symbolic end of the summer. The holiday is often regarded as a day of rest and parades. Speeches or political demonstrations are more low-key than May 1 Labour Day celebrations in most countries, although events held by labor organizations often feature political themes and appearances by candidates for office, especially in election years. Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water sports, and public art events. Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer recess. Similarly, some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for parties before returning to school. However, start dates for schools vary widely, beginning as early as July 24 in urban districts such as Atlanta, Miami, and Los Angeles. In addition, Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and college football seasons. The NCAA usually plays their first games the week before Labor Day, with the NFL traditionally playing their first game the Thursday following Labor Day

Friday, August 14, 2009

32 Years Later-Celebrating Elvis Presley
















Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977; middle name sometimes spelled Aron) was an American singer and actor. A cultural icon, he is commonly known simply as Elvis and is also sometimes referred to as The King of Rock 'n' Roll or The King.
Presley began his career in 1954 as one of the first performers of
rockabilly, an uptempo fusion of country and rhythm and blues with a strong back beat. His novel versions of existing songs, mixing "black" and "white" sounds, made him popular—and controversial—as did his uninhibited stage and television performances. Presley had a versatile voice and he had unusually wide success encompassing many genres, including rock and roll, gospel, blues, country, ballads and pop. To date, he has been inducted into four music halls of fame. In the 1960s, Presley made the majority of his 31 movies, most of which were poorly reviewed but financially successful musicals. In 1968, he returned to live performances in a television special, which led to a string of successful tours across the U.S., notably in Las Vegas, for the remainder of his career. In 1973, Presley staged the first global live concert via satellite (Aloha from Hawaii), reaching at least one billion viewers live and an additional 500 million on delay. Throughout his career, he set records for concert attendance, television ratings and recordings sales. He is one of the best-selling solo artists in the history of music, selling over one billion records worldwide, and he is regarded as one of the most important figures of twentieth century popular culture. Among his many awards and accolades are 14 Grammy nominations (3 wins) from the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, which he received at age 36, and being named One of the Ten Outstanding Young Men of the Nation for 1970 by the United States Jaycees.
Health problems, prescription drug dependence, and other factors led to his death at age 42.

Early Life in Tupelo
Elvis Presley owed his ancestry to diverse
European ethnic strains, primarily British and German; Presley's lineage also included some Cherokee descent. His father, Vernon Elvis Presley (April 10, 1916 – June 26, 1979), and his mother, Gladys Love Smith (April 25, 1912 – August 14, 1958) met in Tupelo, Mississippi, and eloped to Pontotoc County where they married on June 17, 1933.
Presley was born in a two-room
shotgun house, built by his father, in East Tupelo. He was an identical twin; his brother was stillborn and given the name Jesse Garon. Growing up as an only child he "was, everyone agreed, unusually close to his mother." The family lived just above the poverty line and attended an Assembly of God church. Vernon has been described as "a malingerer, always averse to work and responsibility." although there is some documented evidence of work he took throughout the depression. His wife was "voluble, lively, full of spunk" and had a fondness for drink. In 1938, Vernon, along with Gladys' brother Travis Smith and a friend Lether Gable, was jailed for an eight dollar check forgery. During his eight-month incarceration, Gladys and her son lost the family home, and they moved in with relatives. In September 1942, Presley entered first grade at Lawhorn School in Tupelo. He was considered a "well-mannered and quiet child", but sometimes classmates threw "things at him — rotten fruit and stuff — because he was different... he stuttered and he was a mama's boy." During his earliest years, Presley would find his initial musical influences which originated from his family's attendance at the Assembly of God Church. Rolling Stone wrote: "Gospel pervaded Elvis' character and was a defining and enduring influence all of his days." Presley himself stated that gospel music became an important part of his life: "it was as natural as dancing, a way to escape from the problems." Throughout his life—in the recording studio, in private, or after concerts—Presley joined with others singing and playing gospel music at informal sessions.First public performances
On October 3, 1945, he made his first public performance in a singing contest at the Mississippi-Alabama Fair and Dairy Show at the suggestion of his teacher, Mrs. J.C. Grimes. Dressed as a cowboy, Presley had to stand on a chair to reach the microphone and sang Red Foley's "Old Shep." He came in fifth, winning $5 and a free ticket to all the Fair rides. A few months later, for his eleventh birthday, Presley received his first guitar. He had wanted a rifle but his parents could only afford a guitar. Over the following year, Vernon's brother, Vester, gave Elvis basic guitar lessons. The young Presley frequently listened to Mississippi Slim’s radio show on Tupelo’s WELO. Before he was a teenager, music was already his "consuming passion". In 1947, Mississippi Slim, one of Presley's earliest musical heroes, agreed to let Elvis sing on two occasions. However, the first time, Presley got such stage fright that he couldn't go on. He did manage to go on the following week.
Move to Memphis
In September 1948, the family (along with Gladys' brother and his family moved to Memphis, Tennessee, allegedly because Vernon—in addition to needing work—had to escape the law for transporting bootleg liquor. They found a home first at 370 Washington Street; a boarding house where they shared their bathroom with three other families, and then Adams Street. After applying for welfare assistance and receiving a visit from a Memphis Housing Authority inspector in 1949, who noted that they had "..no privacy..", the family were moved to Lauderdale Courts, a public housing development in one of Memphis' poorer sections. Presley practiced playing guitar in the laundry room and also played in a five-piece band with other tenants. One resident, another future rockabilly pioneer, Johnny Burnette, recalled, "Wherever Elvis went he'd have his guitar slung across his back... [H]e'd go in to one of the cafes or bars... Then some folks would say: 'Let's hear you sing, boy.'" Presley enrolled at L. C. Humes High School where some fellow students viewed his performing unfavorably; one recalled that he was "a sad, shy, not especially attractive boy" whose guitar playing was not likely to win any prizes. Presley was made fun of as a "trashy" kind of boy, playing "trashy" hillbilly music." Other children however, "would beg him" to sing, but he was apparently too shy to perform. In September 1950, Presley occasionally worked evenings as an usher at Loew's State Theater—his first job—to boost the family income, but his mother made him quit as she feared it was affecting his school work. He worked again at Loew's in June the following year, but was fired after a fistfight over a female employee. He began to grow his sideburns and, when he could afford to, dress in the wild, flashy clothes of Lansky Brothers on Beale Street. He stood out, especially in the conservative Deep South of the 1950s, and was mocked and bullied for it. Childhood friend Red West said: "In the sea of 1600 pink-scalped kids at school, Elvis stood out like a camel in the arctic. ... [but] ... his appearance expressed a defiance which his demeanor did not match..." Despite any unpopularity or shyness, he was a contestant in his school's 1952 "Annual Minstrel Show" and won by receiving the most applause. His prize was to sing encores, including "Cold Cold Icy Fingers" and "Till I Waltz Again With You". After graduation, Presley was still a rather shy "kid who had spent scarcely a night away from home." His third job was driving a truck for the Crown Electric Company. He began wearing his hair longer with a ducktail; the style of truck drivers at that time.

Early musical Influences
In Memphis, Presley went to record stores that had jukeboxes and listening booths. He knew all of Hank Snow’s songs and he loved records by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Ted Daffan, Jimmie Rodgers, Jimmie Davis and Bob Wills." He was also an audience member at the all-night white—and black—"gospel sings" downtown. The region's radio stations played "race records" featuring music that became known as rhythm and blues. Memphis had a strong tradition of blues music and Presley frequented blues as well as hillbilly venues. Many of his future recordings were inspired by local African American composers and recording artists, including Arthur Crudup and Rufus Thomas. B.B. King has recalled that he knew Presley before he was popular when they both used to frequent Beale Street. Presley "was an untrained musician who played [guitar and piano] entirely by ear. 'I don't read music,' he confessed, 'but I know what I like.' ... Because he was not a songwriter, Presley [would] rarely [have] material prepared for recording sessions..." When later, as a young singer, he "ventured into the recording studio he was still heavily influenced by the songs he had heard on the jukebox and radio."
By that time Presley had also separated himself from others by his changing appearance (sideburns, long hair, flashy clothes) and he seems to have singled music out as his future.
Sun Records 1953-1955
On July 18, 1953, Presley went to Sun Records'
Memphis Recording Service to record "My Happiness" with "That's When Your Heartaches Begin," supposedly as a present for his mother although it was months after her birthday. Below is an excerpt of his initial conversation between Elvis and Sam Phillips' assistant, Marion Keisker: "What kind of singer are you?" He responded instantly, "I sing all kinds." "Who do you sound like?" she persisted. "I don't sound like nobody," was his response. After his demo, she made herself a note: "Good ballad singer, Hold."
On January 4, 1954, he cut a second
acetate demo recording of "I'll Never Stand In Your Way" and "It Wouldn't Be The Same Without You". At the time, Sun Records boss Sam Phillips was on the lookout for someone who could deliver a blend of black blues and boogie-woogie music; he thought it would be very popular among white people. When Phillips acquired a demo recording of "Without You" and was unable to identify the vocalist, Marion Keisker reminded him about the young truck driver. She called him on June 26, 1954. However, Presley was not able to do justice to the song. Phillips would later recall that "Elvis was probably as nervous as anybody, black or white, that I had seen in front of a microphone." Despite this, Phillips invited local musicians Winfield "Scotty" Moore and Bill Black to audition Presley. Though they were not overly impressed, a studio session was planned.
During a recording break, Presley began "acting the fool" first with Arthur Crudup's "
That's All Right (Mama)". Phillips quickly got them all to restart, and began taping. This was the sound he had been looking for. The group recorded other songs, including Bill Monroe's "Blue Moon of Kentucky." Scotty Moore recalls that after the session Bill Black remarked: "Damn. Get that on the radio and they'll run us out of town." That's All Right" was aired on July 8, 1954, by DJ Dewey Phillips on his Red, Hot and Blue show. Listeners to the show began phoning in, eager to find out who the singer was The interest was such that Phillips played the demo fourteen times. During an interview on the show, Phillips asked Presley what high school he attended—to clarify Presley's color for listeners who assumed he must be black. Moore and Black began playing regularly with Presley. They gave performances on July 17 and July 24, 1954 to promote the Sun single at the Bon Air, a rowdy music club in Memphis, where the band was not well-received. On July 30 the trio, billed as The Blue Moon Boys, made their first paid appearance at the Overton Park Shell, with Slim Whitman headlining. With a natural feel for rhythm, Presley's shook his legs when performing: his wide-legged pants emphasizing his leg movements, apparently causing females in the audience to go "crazy." Presley was aware of the cause of the audience's reaction and consciously incorporated similar movements into future shows. Deejay and promoter Bob Neal became the trio's manager (replacing Scotty Moore). Moore and Black left their band, the Starlight Wranglers and, from August through October 1954, appeared with Presley at The Eagle's Nest. Presley debuted at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville on October 2; Hank Snow introduced Presley on stage. He performed "Blue Moon of Kentucky" but received only a polite response. Afterwards, the singer was supposedly told by the Opry's Jim Denny: "Boy, you’d better keep driving that truck," though others deny it was Denny who made that statement. Country music promoter and manager Tillman Franks booked Presley for October 16 on KWKH-AM's Louisiana Hayride. Before Franks saw Presley, he referred to him as "that new black singer with the funny name." During Presley's first set, the reaction was muted; Franks then advised Presley to "Let it all go!" for the second set. House drummer D.J. Fontana (who had worked in strip clubs) complemented Presley's movements with accented beats. Bill Black also took an active part in encouraging the audience, and the crowd became more responsive. According to one source, regarding Presley's engagements from that time, "Audiences had never before heard [such] music... [or] seen anyone who performed like Presley either. The shy, polite, mumbling boy gained self-confidence with every appearance... People watching the show were astounded and shocked, both by the ferocity of his performance, and the crowd’s reaction to it....Roy Orbison saw Presley for the first time in Odessa, Texas: 'His energy was incredible, his instinct was just amazing... I just didn’t know what to make of it. There was just no reference point in the culture to compare it.'" Sam Phillips said Presley "put every ounce of emotion ... into every song, almost as if he was incapable of holding back."
By August 1955, Sun Studios had released ten sides, credited to "Elvis Presley, Scotty and Bill," all typical of the developing Presley style which seemed hard to categorize; he was billed or labeled in the media as "The King of Western Bop," "The
Hillbilly Cat" and "The Memphis Flash."
Signing to RCA
On August 15, 1955,
"Colonel" Tom Parker became Presley's manager, signing him to a one year contract, plus renewals. Several record labels had shown interest in signing Presley and, by the end of October 1955, three major labels had made offers up to $25,000. On November 21, 1955, Parker and Phillips negotiated a deal with RCA Victor Records to acquire Presley's Sun contract for an unprecedented $40,000, $5,000 of which was a bonus for the singer for back royalties owed to him by Sun Records (Presley, at 20, was officially still a minor, so his father had to sign the contract). To boost earnings for himself and Presley, Parker also cut a deal with Hill and Range Publishing Company to create two separate entities—"Elvis Presley Music, Inc" and "Gladys Music"—to handle all of Presley's songs and accrued royalties. The owners of Hill & Range, Julian and Jean Aberbach, agreed to split the publishing and royalties rights of each song equally with Presley. Hill & Range, Presley or Colonel Parker's partners then had to convince unsecured songwriters that it was worthwhile for them to give up one third of their due royalties in exchange for Presley recording their compositions. One result of these dealings was the appearance of Presley's name as co-writer of some songs he recorded, even though Presley never had any hand in the songwriting process. The only known exception to this rule is Heartbreak Hotel, where Presley received writing credits because Mae Boren Axton knew of his wish to buy his parents a Cadillac. Because she liked Presley so much, she offered him writing credits to help him raise the funds quicker. By December 1955, RCA had begun to heavily promote its newest star, and by the month's end had re-released all of his Sun recordings.
First recordings for RCA
On January 10, 1956, Presley made his first recordings for RCA in
Nashville, Tennessee. Despite Scotty, Bill and D.J. being in the studio with him, RCA enlisted the talents of already established stars Floyd Cramer and Chet Atkins also to "...fatten the sound." The session produced "Heartbreak Hotel/I Was The One" which was released on January 27. The public reaction to "Heartbreak Hotel" prompted RCA to release it as a single in its own right (February 11). By April it had hit number one in the U.S. charts, selling in excess of one million copies.

National Exposure
On March 3, 1955, Presley made his first television appearance on the TV version of Louisiana Hayride on
KSLA-TV, but failed an audition for Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts on CBS-TV later that month. To increase the singer's exposure, Parker finally brought Presley to national television after booking six appearances on CBS's Stage Show in New York, beginning January 28, 1956. Presley was introduced on the first program by Cleveland DJ Bill Randle. He stayed in town and on January 30, he and the band headed for the RCA's New York Studio.[86] The sessions yielded eight songs, including "My Baby Left Me" and "Blue Suede Shoes". The latter was the only hit single from the collection, but the recordings marked the point at which Presley started moving away from the raw, pure Sun sound to the more commercial and mainstream sound RCA had envisioned for him.

Debut album and Hollywood
On March 23, RCA Victor released
Elvis Presley, his first album. Like the Sun recordings, the majority of the tracks were country songs. The album went on to top the pop album chart for 10 weeks and became RCA's first million-dollar seller.
On April 1, Presley launched his acting career with a screen test for
Paramount Pictures. His first motion picture, Love Me Tender, was released on November 21.
TO BE CONTINUED:

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Independence Day











In the United States, Independence Day, commonly known as the Fourth of July, is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, declaring independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain. Independence Day is commonly associated with fireworks, parades, barbecues, carnivals, picnics, concerts, baseball games, political speeches and ceremonies, and various other public and private events celebrating the history, government, and traditions of the United States.
Independence Day is the
national day of the United States.
Background:
During the
American Revolution, the legal separation of the American colonies from Great Britain occurred on July 2, 1776, when the Second Continental Congress voted to approve a resolution of independence that had been proposed in June by Richard Henry Lee of Virginia. After voting for independence, Congress turned its attention to the Declaration of Independence, a statement explaining this decision, which had been prepared by a Committee of Five, with Thomas Jefferson as its principal author. Congress debated and revised the Declaration, finally approving it on July 4. A day earlier, John Adams had written to his wife Abigail:
“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epoch in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward forever more."
Adams' prediction was off by two days. From the outset, Americans celebrated independence on July 4, the date shown on the much-publicized Declaration of Independence, rather than on July 2, the date the resolution of independence was approved in a closed session of Congress. One of the most enduring myths about Independence Day is that Congress signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The myth had become so firmly established that, decades after the event and nearing the end of their lives, even the elderly Thomas Jefferson and John Adams had come to believe that they and the other delegates had signed the Declaration on the fourth. Most delegates actually signed the Declaration on August 2, 1776. In a remarkable series of coincidences, both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, two
founding fathers of the United States and the only two men who signed the Declaration of Independence to become president, died on the same day: July 4, 1826, which was the United States' 50th anniversary. President James Monroe died exactly five years later, on July 4, 1831, but he was not a signatory to the Declaration of Independence.
Observance:
An 1825 invitation to an Independence Day celebration
In 1777, thirteen
gunshots were fired, once at morning and again as evening fell, on July 4 in Bristol, Rhode Island. Philadelphia celebrated the first anniversary in a manner a modern American would find quite familiar: an official dinner for the Continental Congress, toasts, 13-gun salutes, speeches, prayers, music, parades, troop reviews, and fireworks. Ships were decked with red, white, and blue bunting.
In 1778, General
George Washington marked July 4 with a double ration of rum for his soldiers and an artillery salute. Across the Atlantic Ocean, ambassadors John Adams and Benjamin Franklin held a dinner for their fellow Americans in Paris, France.
In 1779, July 4 fell on a Sunday. The holiday was celebrated on Monday, July 5.
In 1781, the
Massachusetts General Court became the first state legislature to recognize July 4 as a state celebration.
In 1783, Moravians in
Salem, North Carolina, held a celebration of July 4 with a challenging music program assembled by Johann Friedrich Peter. This work was titled "The Psalm of Joy".
In 1791 the first recorded use of the name "Independence Day" occurred.
In 1870, the
U.S. Congress made Independence Day an unpaid holiday for federal employees
In 1938, Congress changed Independence Day to a paid federal holiday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Memorial Day











Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday observed on the last Monday of May (on May 25 in 2009). Formerly known as Decoration Day, it commemorates U.S. men and women who died while in the military service. First enacted to honor Union soldiers of the American Civil War (it is celebrated near the day of reunification after the civil war), it was expanded after World War I to include American casualties of any war or military action.
Traditional Observance
Many people observe this holiday by visiting
cemeteries and memorials. A national moment of remembrance takes place at 3 p.m. Eastern Time. Another tradition is to fly the flag of the United States at half-staff from dawn until noon local time. Volunteers often place American flags on each gravesite at National Cemeteries. Many Americans also use Memorial Day to honor other family members who have died.
Members of the
Veterans of Foreign Wars take donations[2] for poppies in the days leading up to Memorial Day; the poppy's significance to Memorial Day is the result of the John McCrae poem "In Flanders Fields."
In addition to remembrance, Memorial Day is also used as a time for
picnics, barbecues, family gatherings, and sporting events. One of the longest-standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911.
Some Americans view Memorial Day as the unofficial beginning of
summer and Labor Day as the unofficial end of the season. The national "Click It or Ticket" campaign ramps up beginning Memorial Day weekend, noting the beginning of the most dangerous season for car accidents and other safety-related incidents. The United States Air Force's "101 Critical Days of Summer," marking the period that statistically has shown an increase in accidents, begin on this day as well.
Memorial Day formerly was observed on May 30. The
Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War (SUVCW) advocate returning to this fixed date, although the significance of the date is tenuous. The VFW stated in a 2002 Memorial Day Address:
“ Changing the date merely to create three-day weekends has undermined the very meaning of the day. No doubt, this has contributed a lot to the general public's nonchalant observance of Memorial Day. ”
Since 1987,
Hawaii's Senator Daniel Inouye, a World War II veteran, has repeatedly introduced measures to return Memorial Day to its traditional date.
History
Following the end of the Civil War, many communities set aside a day to mark the end of the war or as a memorial to those who had died. Some of the places creating an early memorial day include Sharpsburg, Maryland, located near Antietam Battlefield; Charleston, South Carolina; Boalsburg, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Carbondale, Illinois; Columbus, Mississippi; many communities in Vermont; and some two dozen other cities and towns. These observances coalesced around Decoration Day, honoring the Union dead, and the several Confederate Memorial Days.
According to Professor David Blight of the Yale University History Department, the first memorial day was observed in 1865 by liberated slaves at the historic race track in Charleston. The site was a former Confederate prison camp as well as a mass grave for Union soldiers who died in captivity. The freed slaves re interred the dead Union soldiers from the mass grave to individual graves, fenced in the graveyard and built an entry arch declaring it a Union graveyard. This was a daring action for them to take in the South shortly after the North's victory. On May 30, 1868, the freed slaves returned to the graveyard with flowers they had picked from the countryside and decorated the individual gravesites, thereby creating the first Decoration Day. A parade by thousands of freed blacks and Union soldiers from the area was followed by patriotic singing and a picnic.

The official birthplace of Memorial Day is Waterloo, New York. The village was credited with being the place of origin because it observed the day on May 5, 1866, and each year thereafter. The friendship between General John Murray, a distinguished citizen of Waterloo, and General John A. Logan, who helped bring attention to the event nationwide, likely was a factor in the holiday's growth.
Logan had been the principal speaker in a citywide memorial observation on April 29, 1866, at a cemetery in Carbondale, Illinois, an event that likely gave him the idea to make it a national holiday. On May 5, 1868, in his capacity as commander-in-chief of the
Grand Army of the Republic, a veterans' organization, Logan issued a proclamation that "Decoration Day" be observed nationwide. It was observed for the first time on May 30 of the same year; the date was chosen because it was not the anniversary of a battle. The tombs of fallen Union soldiers were decorated in remembrance.

Many of the states of the U.S. South refused to celebrate Decoration Day, due to lingering hostility towards the Union Army and also because there were relatively few veterans of the Union Army who were buried in the South. A notable exception was Columbus, Mississippi, which on April 25, 1866 at its Decoration Day commemorated both the Union and Confederate casualties buried in its cemetery.
The alternative name of "Memorial Day" was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after
World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holidays included Washington's Birthday, now celebrated as Presidents' Day; Veterans Day, and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took effect at the federal level in 1971.
After some initial confusion and unwillingness to comply, all fifty states adopted the measure within a few years. Veterans Day was eventually changed back to its traditional date. Ironically, most corporate businesses no longer close on Veterans Day, Columbus Day, or President's Day, with the day after Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and/or New Year's Eve often substituted as more convenient "holidays" for their employees. Memorial Day endures as a holiday which most businesses observe because it marks the beginning of the "summer vacation season." This role is filled in neighboring
Canada by Victoria Day, which occurs either on May 24 or the last Monday before that date, placing it exactly one week before Memorial Day.
Waterloo's designation as the birthplace took place just in time for the village's centennial observance. The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate unanimously passed House Concurrent Resolution 587 on May 17 and May 19, 1966 respectively, which reads in part as follows: "Resolved that the Congress of the United States, in recognition of the patriotic tradition set in motion one hundred years ago in the Village of Waterloo, NY, does hereby officially recognize Waterloo, New York as the birthplace of Memorial Day..."
On May 26, 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed a Presidential Proclamation recognizing Waterloo as the Birthplace of Memorial Day

Monday, April 6, 2009

EASTER









Easter (Greek: Πάσχα,(Ethiopic), Pascha) is an important annual religious feast in the Christian liturgical year. In Christian belief, Jesus was resurrected from the dead three days after his crucifixion. Many Christian denominations celebrate this resurrection on Easter Day or Easter Sunday (also Resurrection Day or Resurrection Sunday), two days after Good Friday. The chronology of his death and resurrection is variously interperated to be between 26 and 36 AD.
Easter also refers to the
season of the church year called Eastertide or the Easter Season. Traditionally the Easter Season lasted for the forty days from Easter Day until Ascension Day but now officially lasts for the fifty days until Pentecost. The first week of the Easter Season is known as Easter Week or the Octave of Easter. Easter also marks the end of Lent, a season of prayer and penance.
Easter is a
moveable feast, meaning it is not fixed in relation to the civil calendar. Easter falls at some point between late March and late April each year (early April to early May in Eastern Christianity), following the cycle of the Moon. After several centuries of disagreement, all churches accepted the computation of the Alexandrian Church (now the Coptic Church) that Easter is the first Sunday after the Paschal Full Moon, which is the first moon whose 14th day (the ecclesiastic "full moon") is on or after March 21 (the ecclesiastic "vernal equinox").
Easter is linked to the Jewish
Passover not only for much of its symbolism but also for its position in the calendar. It is also linked to Spring Break, a secular school holiday (customarily a week long) celebrated at various times across North America, and characterized by road trips and bacchanalia.
Cultural elements, such as the
Easter Bunny, have become part of the holiday's modern celebrations, and those aspects are often celebrated by many Christians and non-Christians alike. There are also some Christian denominations who do not celebrate Easter.
Theological Significance
The
New Testament links the Last Supper and Jesus’ crucifixion with Passover and the Exodus from Egypt. As Jesus prepared himself and his disciples for his death in the upper room during the Last Supper, he gave the Passover meal a new meaning. He identified the loaf of bread and cup of wine as symbolizing his body soon to be sacrificed and his blood soon to be shed. 1 Corinthians 5:7 states, "Get rid of the old yeast that you may be a new batch without yeast—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed"; this refers to the Passover requirement to have no yeast in the house and to Christ's identification as the Paschal lamb.

One interpretation of the
Gospel of John is that Jesus, as the Passover lamb, was crucified at roughly the same time as the Passover lambs were being slain in the temple, on the afternoon of Nisan 1 This interpretation, however, is inconsistent with the chronology in the Synoptic Gospels. It assumes that "the preparation of the passover" in John 19:14 literally refers to Nisan 14 (Preparation Day for the Passover) and not necessarily to Yom Shishi (Friday, Preparation Day for the Sabbath) and that "eat the passover" in John 18:28 refers to the eating of the Passover lamb, not to eating any of the sacrifices that were offered during the Days of Unleavened Bread.
Dates of Easter (In Gregorian 2009-2020)
2009
April 12
2010
April 4
2011
April 24
2012
April 8
2013
March 31
May 5
March 27
2014
April 20
2015
April 5
2016
March 27
2017
April 16
2018
April 1
2019
March 24
2020
April 12

Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts, in that they do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars (both of which follow the cycle of the sun and the seasons). Instead, the date for Easter is determined on a lunisolar calendar, as is the Hebrew calendar.
In
Western Christianity, using the Gregorian calendar, Easter always falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25 inclusively. The following day, Easter Monday, is a legal holiday in many countries with predominantly Christian traditions. In Eastern Christianity, which use the Julian calendar for religious dating, Easter also falls on a Sunday between March 22 and April 25 inclusive of the Julian calendar. In terms of the Gregorian calendar, due to the 13 day difference between the calendars between 1900 and 2099, these dates are between April 4 and May 8 inclusive.

The precise date of Easter has at times been a matter for contention. At the
First Council of Nicaea in 325 it was decided that all Christians would celebrate Easter on the same day, which would be computed independently of any Jewish calculations to determine the date of Passover. It is probable, though, that no method of determining the date was specified by the Council. (No contemporary account of the Council's decisions has survived.) Epiphanius of Salamis wrote in the mid-4th century: ...the emperor...convened a council of 318 bishops...in the city of Nicea...They passed certain ecclesiastical canons at the council besides, and at the same time decreed in regard to the Passover that there must be one unanimous concord on the celebration of God's holy and supremely excellent day. For it was variously observed by people.... In the years following the council, the computational system that was worked out by the church of Alexandria came to be normative. It took a while for the Alexandrian rules to be adopted throughout Christian Europe, however. The Church of Rome continued to use an 84-year lunisolar calendar cycle from the late third century until 457. The Church of Rome continued to use its own methods until the 6th century, when it may have adopted the Alexandrian method as converted into the Julian calendar by Dionysius Exiguus (certain proof of this does not exist until the ninth century). Early Christians in Britain and Ireland also used a late third century Roman 84-year cycle. This was replaced by the Alexandrian method in the course of the 7th and 8th centuries. Churches in western continental Europe used a late Roman method until the late 8th century during the reign of Charlemagne, when they finally adopted the Alexandrian method. However, with the adoption of the Gregorian calendar by the Catholic Church in 1582 and the continuing use of the Julian calendar by Eastern Orthodox Churches, the date on which Easter is celebrated again deviated, and the discrepancy continues to this day.