President Abraham Lincoln at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, 152 Years Ago Today

Nicolay Copy

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But in a larger sense we cannot dedicate — we cannot consecrate — we cannot hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

The Santa Fe Trail

… was opened on this date in 1821.

Between 1821 and 1880, the Santa Fe Trail was primarily a commercial highway connecting Missouri and Santa Fe, New Mexico. From 1821 until 1846, it was an international commercial highway used by Mexican and American traders. In 1846, the Mexican-American War began. The Army of the West followed the Santa Fe Trail to invade New Mexico. When the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the war in 1848, the Santa Fe Trail became a national road connecting the United States to the new southwest territories. Commercial freighting along the trail continued, including considerable military freight hauling to supply the southwestern forts. The trail was also used by stagecoach lines, thousands of gold seekers heading to the California and Colorado gold fields, adventurers, fur trappers, and emigrants. In 1880 the railroad reached Santa Fe and the trail faded into history.

Santa Fe National Historic Trail

The 1940 film Santa Fe Trail, with Ronald Reagan playing George Armstrong Custer — and starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland — has little basis in historical fact other than that there was a Santa Fe Trail.

I Really Liked 2010 Poster

Veterans Day 2010

Veterans Day originated as “Armistice Day” on Nov. 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. Congress passed a resolution in 1926 for an annual observance, and Nov. 11 became a federal holiday beginning in 1938. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed legislation in 1954 to change the name to Veterans Day as a way to honor those who served in all American wars. The day honors living military veterans with parades and speeches across the nation. A national ceremony takes place at the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

From 1971 to 1978 Veterans Day was celebrated on the fourth Monday in October.

The Edmund Fitzgerald

… went down off Whitefish Bay, Lake Superior, 40 years ago today (1975).

Recovered Bell at Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum Whitefish Point, Michigan

The ship was thirty-nine feet tall, seventy-five feet wide, and 729 feet long.

Lightfoot’s lyrics had one error — the load was bound for Detroit, not Cleveland.

There were waves as high as 30 feet that night; so high they were picked up on radar.

The Edmund Fitzgerald was only 17 miles from safe haven (Whitefish Point).

The captain and a crew of 28 were lost.

Rare photos of Edmund Fitzgerald | Detroit Free Press

Could Have Been Written Today

One-hundred-and-nine years ago today the citizens of New Mexico and Arizona voted on whether to join the Union as one state.

The Territory of New Mexico included Arizona from 1850 until 1863 when Arizona was split off. (The original boundary proposal for the separation would have divided the two north (New Mexico) and south (Arizona), not east and west as it turned out.)

In 1906, congress passed a bill stipulating one state for the two territories, but the act stated that the voters of either territory could veto joint statehood.

New Mexico was 50 percent Spanish-speaking; Arizona less than 20 percent. The Arizona legislature passed a resolution of protest; combining the territories in one state “would subject us to the domination of another commonwealth of different traditions, customs and aspirations.” A “Protest Against Union of Arizona with New Mexico” presented to Congress early in 1906 stated:

[T]he decided racial difference between the people of New Mexico, who are not only different in race and largely in language, but have entirely different customs, laws and ideals and would have but little prospect of successful amalgamation … [and] the objection of the people of Arizona, 95 percent of whom are Americans, to the probability of the control of public affairs by people of a different race, many of whom do not speak the English language, and who outnumber the people of Arizona two to one.

Joint statehood won in New Mexico, 26,195 to 14,735. It lost in Arizona, 16,265 to 3,141.

New Mexico entered the Union on January 6, 1912 (47th state), Arizona on February 14, 1912 (48th).