A Student of History

December 31, 2007


Filed under: Wars — John Maass @ 6:29 pm

I came across recently a 2005 obituary of Col. David Hackworth in the New York Times.  What struck me most was the lengthy “corrections” section down at the bottom of the page:

An obituary on Friday about Col. David H. Hackworth, a war hero and later a critic of the Vietnam War, misidentified two units he commanded and the helicopters used by American forces in Vietnam. The Wolfhound Raiders were a platoon he led in Korea, not a regiment. In Vietnam, he commanded a battalion of the 101st Airborne Division, not an air cavalry brigade; that battalion flew Huey helicopters, not Black Hawks. In some copies the obituary also misidentified the character in the film “Apocalypse Now” said to have been based on Colonel Hackworth. He was Lt. Col. Bill Kilgore, played by Robert Duvall – not Col. Walter E. Kurtz, played by Marlon Brando. In addition, the obituary misstated the year of Colonel Hackworth’s birth and referred incompletely to the end of his military career. He was born in 1930, not 1931. Besides being granted an honorable discharge, he was allowed to retire with full benefits.

Kinda makes you wonder what they got right in the column, doesn’t it.  Sure does illustrate the disconnect between soldiers and reporters, esp. at the NYT

For more on the colorful Col. Hackworth, see here.

A call for the media to start issuing a thesaurus

Filed under: Quotes,The world today — John Maass @ 2:50 pm

Great Yahoo report on the problems of word use today….

Choosing from among 2,000 submissions, the public relations department at Michigan‘s Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie targeted 19 affronts to the English language in its well-known jab at the worlds of media, sports, advertising and politics.

December 28, 2007

“Flushing Remonstrance”

Filed under: Early America — John Maass @ 12:07 pm

An op-ed piece in the NYT on the “Flushing Remonstrance,” a little known document of religious freedom in colonial America is here.

THREE hundred and fifty years ago today, religious freedom was born on this continent. Yes, 350 years. Religious tolerance did not begin with the Bill of Rights or with Jefferson’s Virginia Statute of Religious Freedom in 1786. With due respect to Roger Williams and his early experiment with “liberty of conscience” in Rhode Island, this republic really owes its enduring strength to a fragile, scorched and little-known document that was signed by some 30 ordinary citizens on Dec. 27, 1657.

See also an article about the document being on display in NYC.

Churchill’s office to be sold?

Filed under: Historic Places — John Maass @ 12:07 pm

The building where Churchill once worked and where Lord Kitchener directed Great Britain’s First World War campaign could soon be on the market for more than £35m.

The new owners of the Old War Office building would get 1,000 rooms spread across seven storeys for their money, as well as more than two miles of corridors and several secret tunnels.

Read more….

Al-Aqiser church

Filed under: Historic Places,Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 12:06 pm

A great article is here on Al-Aqiser church in the western desert of Iraq.  The church of Al-Aqiser is thought to be the oldest eastern church in history and according to studies, it was built in the middle of the fifth century, 120 years before Islam.

A general view shows the ruins of a church at the Iraqi Al-Aqiser ...

December 27, 2007

New Civil War Site to Open Sunday in Va.

Filed under: Historic Preservation,Wars — John Maass @ 4:42 pm

An abandoned Civil War fort, built by slaves in Isle of Wight County, and used by Confederate soldiers to ward off Union boats from sailing up the James River will be reborn as a historic park.

Fort Huger, abandoned in 1862, is scheduled to open Sunday. An opening ceremony will also celebrate the fort’s addition to the Virginia Landmarks Register and its nomination to the National Register of Historic Places.   More details here.

New Prez Coins Coming

Filed under: Early America — John Maass @ 3:38 pm

From Fox News

The U.S. Mint, the maker of the nation’s coins, on Thursday is unveiling the stately images of the next four presidents whose faces will appear on the front of the shiny gold-colored dollar coins next year. James Monroe (below), John Quincy Adams, Andrew Jackson and Martin Van Buren will be the new additions to the presidential dollar coin series that started with George Washington in February.

The Mint hopes the presidential series will breathe new life into dollar coins, which have suffered from little use in the past. The Susan B. Anthony and the Sacagawea dollar coins flopped — failing to get into cash registers and peoples’ pockets.

James Monroe 02.jpg

Was Bell a Phoney?

Filed under: New books — John Maass @ 3:28 pm

New book says so.

In “The Telephone Gambit: Chasing Alexander Graham Bell’s Secret,” journalist Seth Shulman argues that Bell — aided by aggressive lawyers and a corrupt patent examiner — got an improper peek at patent documents Gray had filed, and that Bell was erroneously credited with filing first.

Shulman believes the smoking gun is Bell’s lab notebook, which was restricted by Bell’s family until 1976, then digitized and made widely available in 1999.

December 26, 2007

“The Secret History of The Society of the Cincinnati”

Filed under: Early America — John Maass @ 3:38 pm

On Thursday, January 17, 2008, the President General of The Society of the Cincinnati will preside over a reception celebrating the 225th anniversary of the Society ‘s founding. The reception will take place at Anderson House from 6 to 8 p.m and will feature the opening of the exhibition “The Secret History of The Society of the Cincinnati.”

For more info: admin@societyofthecincinnati.org, or (202) 785-2040.

Return of the 13th Century Lewis chessmen?

Filed under: Historic Preservation — John Maass @ 3:31 pm

From the BBC:

First Minister Alex Salmond has joined calls for the return of the Lewis chessmen to Scotland. SNP members have been campaigning to bring the famed 13th Century figurines back to the country where they were discovered.   The beautifully carved game pieces were found on a beach near Uig on the isle of Lewis in about 1831.

Lewis Chess Pieces (courtesy British Museum)

Nathanael Greene Essays

Filed under: Early America,New books,The strange place called the South,Wars — John Maass @ 2:48 pm


In 2006, I was involved with the planning and conducting of a symposium in Camden, SC on the subject of Nathanael Greene, which was well attended and featured speakers including Dennis Conrad and Larry Babits.  Two of the speakers, Jim Piecuch and Greg Massey, took the lead in collecting most of the papers and soliciting a few more (including on from me) from those who did not present at the symposium, in order to produce a book of collected essays on Nathanael Greene in the Southern Department.  Jim & Greg signed contract on it last week with a university press, and plan to have all the essays in by late February, then edit them, and have the contributors make any needed changes.  Prof.  Charles Royster of LSU will write the introduction.  Hopefully the manuscript will ready for submission by late fall. Then it will go to peer review. Everything after that depends on how long the reviewers take and what changes they recommend.  No title has been selected for the book, but hopefully we can give it a catchy name from a Greene quote.  It should have 7-8 essays, as well as the introduction.

A dog named Adolf

Filed under: Uncategorized — John Maass @ 2:48 pm

A Berlin owner has trained his dog (named Adolf) to raise his right paw in a Nazi salute every time the command “Heil Hitler!” is uttered.   That’s not cool in Germany.  More here.

The dog is to be renamed Adi.

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