Justice Antonin Scalia at Gettysburg

20 11 2013

ScaliaYesterday, as I watched via live streaming video and the commemoration of the sesquicentennial of the Gettysburg Address at Gettysburg National Cemetery drew to a close, it struck me that I was witnessing something special. No, not the roll of usual suspects who delivered speeches that were, well, nice. Not memorable, but nice. Everything rolled along. But then, the Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas, took the podium to recognize sixteen immigrants who would become citizens as part of the ceremony. Each candidate citizen rose by country, and then Mr. Mayorkas introduced the official who was to administer the oath, Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. And I knew it as I heard it – Scalia’s apparently extemporaneous words were capturing the spirit of Abraham Lincoln’s famous little speech better than had anyone else that day. Here’s the text:

Before I administer the oath, I want to say a few words of welcome to the new citizens. What makes us Americans, what unites us, is quite different from that which unites other countries.

There’s a word, ‘unAmerican.’ We used to have a House unAmerican Activities Committee. There’s no equivalent word in foreign languages. It would mean nothing in French political discourse to refer to something as unFrench, or in German political discourse to refer to something as unGerman. It is only Americans, we Americans, who identify ourselves not by our blood or by our color, or by our race or by where we were born, but rather by our fidelity to certain political principles.

That’s very strange. It’s unique in human history, I believe.

We are, as you heard from the Director a nation of immigrants, who have come here mostly for two reasons. First, for freedom. From the pilgrims in the 17th century to the Cubans and the North Koreans in the 20th and 21st centuries.

And that freedom, of course, is not free, as the dead who rest buried here can demonstrate. The last line of our ‘Star Spangled Banner’ is, ‘the land of the free and the home of the brave.’ The two go together. Freedom is for the brave.

The second reason they came, these immigrants, was for opportunity. My father, who was the most patriotic man I ever knew, used to say that in the old country, if your father was a shoemaker, you would be a shoemaker. And in America, you could be whatever you were willing to work hard enough to be and had the talent to be.

And his son ended up on the Supreme Court.

My Grandmother expected me to be President; I didn’t quite make that. But it was possible. It is possible in America.

So welcome, my soon-to-be fellow citizens, to the nation of Americans. May America bring you all that you expect from it. And may you give it all that it expects from you.

Thanks to Interpreting the Civil War for the transcript.





First Bull Run Sesqui Video

18 10 2011

NPS video promo Trial By Fire recaps sesqui events.

See more here.





Bull Run Sesqui on the Web

25 07 2011

Over the past week or so I’ve been sharing on Facebook and retweeting on Twitter various articles, images, and videos relating to the Battle of Bull Run (Manassas) that have swamped the web as the 150th anniversary of the battle approached and was commemorated. There were a bunch of them. Here are links to a few of the more significant items (I’ll add to this any that pop up afterwards, too). There are some worthy of posting to the resources section, and as I check them out and get any necessary permissions I will do so. Get comfortable, this will take a while. If I missed anything big, let me know!

Update 8/3/2011: I noticed I had fouled up a few of these links. I think they’re fixed now, so check them out again if you couldn’t get through.

Good Battle Stuff

Miscellaneous

Opinion

Sesqui Events

Videos





Civil War Legacy Project – Fairfax County

13 06 2011

The good folks at Visit Fairfax have passed along the following info regarding the Civil War Legacy Project:

Civil War 150 Legacy Project Comes to Fairfax County
Statewide Initiative Strives to Digitize Civil War Era Documents Still in Private Hands
During Fairfax Appointments on June 24th & 25th

Fairfax County, VA – June 13, 2011 – Attention all Civil War-era document holders! If you or your family has manuscript materials created between 1859-1867 that reflect social, political, military, business and religious life in Virginia during the Civil War and early Reconstruction, the Library of Virginia and the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission (aka, “the Commission”) needs your help.

The two have partnered for the Civil War 150 Legacy Project: Document Digitization and Access, which is holding its first event in Fairfax at the City of Fairfax Regional Library (10360 North Street, Fairfax) on June 24th and 25th.

The statewide Legacy Project is a multi-year initiative in search of documents still held by private owners with the goal of creating an online collection of rare Civil War documents and materials to share with the world. Citizens are encouraged to bring original, family heirloom documents and materials to events around the state for scanning and inclusion in the Project’s collection.

Civil War 150 Legacy Project staff members will be on site at the City of Fairfax Regional Library from 10 AM through 6 PM on Friday, and 10 AM to 5 PM on Saturday to scan materials. Appointments are required, although a limited number of walk-ins will be accommodated, as the schedule allows. The duration of appointments depend on the type and quantity of materials, and can range from 5 to 45 minutes per item.

Scanned materials from the Project will be made available online via the Library of Virginia website (www.lva.virginia.gov), as well as the Commission’s website (www.virginiacivilwar.org).

Please contact Linda Gifford at 703-324-8324 or email her at Linda.Gifford@fairfaxcounty.gov to schedule an appointment.

This event is co-sponsored by the Fairfax County and City of Fairfax Sesquicentennial Committees. For more information on the Sesquicentennial commemoration events and special offerings in Fairfax County and Virginia, respectively, please visit www.fxva.com/150 or www.virginiacivilwar.org.

Media contact for Visit Fairfax Civil War related questions or inquiries:

Patrick Lennon, Destination Marketing Manager, Visit Fairfax
Ph: (703) 752-9504; plennon@fxva.com

Melissa Gold, White+Partners PR for Visit Fairfax
Ph: (703) 599-1643; melissag@whiteandpartnerspr.com





Because folks keep asking…

8 06 2011

…I have no plans to be at Manassas National Battlefield Park for the anniversary. Friend Robert Moore has tentatively agreed to provide a guest post on the happenings there.





City to Focus on Pieces of War at Camp Manassas

23 05 2011

Check it out here.





Manassas Sesqui in the News

13 05 2011

Check out this WaPo article on Manassas and the sesquicentennial. Nice photo gallery.





Special: Weider History Group, “1861″

25 04 2011

I received a copy of Weider History Groups 1861: Hell Breaks Loose in the mail a couple of weeks ago. This $9.99, 106 page magazine features “31 stories of the Civil War’s first year by those who lived it.” Other than Harold Holzer’s introduction, all of the articles are either contemporary accounts or memoirs. I’m guessing that we’ll be seeing additional issues for each year of the sesquicentennial.

The articles cover a road range of subjects, and appear in chronological order. The usual suspects appear: The Anaconda Plan; Sumter Under Attack; Ugly Defeat at Bull Run; A Victor Remembers Ball’s Bluff. But some less well-known stories are told as well: Buchanan Blames the North; Sam Huston Defies Confederacy; Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Wish; Woman Jailed Without Trial. The final article looks back on 1861 in review.

Nicely illustrated with many full-page images, 1861: Hell Breaks Loose is a nice overview of the first year of the war.





Lottery for Bull Run 150th Event

19 04 2011

Friend Craig Swain hipped me to this announcement of a lottery for tickets to the shindig.

A limited number of tickets for the July 21 Manassas 150th Commemorative Ceremony will be made available through a lottery.

The morning ceremony near the Manassas National Battlefield Park visitor center on Henry Hill will feature a keynote address by Dr. Ed Ayers and music by the U.S. Marine Corps Band. Only those with tickets will have access to the Henry Hill area of the battlefield during the event. The area is expected to re-open to visitors at noon.

Four thousand tickets to the special ceremony will be distributed through an online lottery. Applications will be accepted from 10 am April 27 through 10 pm May 4. Winners will be notified by email on May 9.

For more information on the event and the ticket lottery: www.virginiacivilwar.org/manassas.php

As of now, I have no plans to attend – but it sounds like fun.





New Civil War Stamps From USPS

13 04 2011

The U. S. Postal Service announced a new series of stamps for the sesquicentennial. Here’s the email they sent me:

Postal Service Begins Civil War Stamp Series

Multi-year Series Marks Historic Events during 150-Year Anniversary

To obtain high-resolution images of the stamps for media use only, email mark.r.saunders@usps.gov

CHARLESTON, SC — The U.S. Postal Service today issued the first of an annual series of Forever Stamps that recognize key events of the Civil War — America’s bloodiest conflict, which began 150 years ago today at Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor.

The first-day-of-issue dedication ceremony took place at Liberty Square in Charleston, a location within earshot of cannon fire that ignited the conflict that killed 670,000 Americans — a casualty rate exceeding the combined total of Americans killed in all wars since that time.

“From this day forward, these historic images of Fort Sumter and the First Battle of Bull Run will be carried on letters and packages to millions of households and businesses throughout America,” said James C. Miller III, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governor member in dedicating the stamps. “In this small way, the United States Postal Service recognizes the Civil War as a significant and uniquely American experience, and we hope to share the lessons learned ― as well as the story of those who endured the four-year ordeal ― with Americans everywhere.”

Joining Miller in the ceremony were Thurgood Marshall Jr., vice chairman, U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors; David Vela, southeast region director, National Park Service; Dr. Edmund L. Drago, author and professor of History, College of Charleston; and Timothy Shaw, Charleston Postmaster.

“Since the founding of our country, Americans have wrestled with fundamental questions about the scope of freedom,” said Marshall. “When the war finally ended, four devastating years later, the demand for separation had been denied, and slavery was forever ended in the United States. At last, the country was ready to accept responsibility for the words in its own Declaration of Independence that ‘all men are created equal.’ Today, many issues remain unresolved by this uniquely American war — and yet, one universal truth remains. We are truly one nation of free men and women.”

“The Civil War commemorative stamps will provide meaning and true reflection for generations to come,” explained Vela. “Through events and programs held throughout the country, it is our hope that the citizens of this nation will be challenged to consider how their lives, and their own American experience, have been shaped by this signature period of American history. For it is a shared history, and a shared legacy, owned by all.”

This first pane of the series, to be issued annually through 2015 in double sided sheets of 12 stamps, depicts two stamp designs commemorating the beginning of the war in April 1861 at Fort Sumter and the first major battle of the war near Manassas, VA.

Art director, Phil Jordan of Falls Church, VA, created the stamps using images of Civil War battles. The Fort Sumter stamp is a reproduction of a Currier & Ives lithograph, circa 1861, titled “Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston Harbor.” The Bull Run stamp is a reproduction of a 1964 painting by Sidney E. King titled “The Capture of Rickett’s Battery.”  The painting depicts fierce fighting on Henry Hill for an important Union artillery battery during the Battle of First Bull Run. For the stamp pane’s background image, Jordan used a photograph dated circa 1861 of a Union regiment assembled near Falls Church, VA.

Civil War Mail Service

Mail was a treasured link among Civil War camps, battlefields and home. Recognizing its importance to morale, both northern and southern armies assigned personnel to collect, distribute and deliver soldiers’ mail. Wagons and tents served as traveling Post Offices. Visit this link for additional information.

Postal Service Commitment to Veterans

While the Postal Service does not maintain records on the thousands of Civil War veterans who worked for the Post Office Department, today’s Postal Service stands proud as the nation’s largest civilian employer of veterans. Of more than 578,000 career employees, more than one-fifth of its workforce — nearly 128,000 — are veterans, 48,000 of whom are disabled.

Ordering First-Day-of-Issue Postmarks

Customers have 60 days to obtain the first-day-of-issue postmark by mail. They may purchase new stamps at their local Post Office, at The Postal Store website at www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 800-STAMP-24. They should affix the stamps to envelopes of their choice, address the envelopes to themselves or others, and place them in a larger envelope addressed to:

Civil War: 1861 Stamps

Postmaster

7075 Cross County Road

Charleston, SC 29423-9998

After applying the first-day-of-issue postmark, the Postal Service will return the envelopes through the mail. There is no charge for the postmark. All orders must be postmarked by June 13, 2011.

Ordering First-Day Covers

Stamp Fulfillment Services also offers first-day covers for new stamp issues and Postal Service stationery items postmarked with the official first-day-of-issue cancellation. Each item has an individual catalog number and is offered in the quarterly USA Philatelic catalog. Customers may request a free catalog by calling 800-STAMP-24 or writing to:

Information Fulfillment

Dept. 6270

U.S. Postal Service

PO Box 219014

Kansas City, MO  64121-9014

Purchasing Civil War Forever Stamps and Related Products

While supplies last, the Civil War souvenir sheets, the Civil War Keepsakes with Digital Color Postmarks, and the 1861 Collectors Folio will be available at select Post Offices. Also, customers can order all stamps and products online at www.usps.com/shop, by calling 1-800 STAMP-24, or by using the mail-in order form in the USA Philatelic Catalog. You can subscribe to the catalog at www.beyondtheperf.com, www.usps.com/shop, or by calling 1-800 STAMP-24.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Here are the images – click on the thumbs for a larger image:

  








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