Monday, June 27, 2011

Their Final 4th of July...

On July 4, 1826, our nation celebrated its 50th birthday. Two old patriots, former arch rivals and now close friends, began the day but did not finish it. Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day in their own homes hundreds of miles apart on the 50th anniversary of their signing the Declaration of Independence. What could explain this strange occurrence?

1. Coincidence – well, it could be a coincidence, but what a significant one! They died on the same day, a momentous date and historic anniversary, especially for them. Both had lived much longer than the average male of the time (Adams was 90); Jefferson’s health had been failing for some time. It would be an incredible coincidence; the odds are mind-boggling.

2. Conspiracy – did someone else cause their deaths? In that time, it was unlikely due to communication problems over long distances, but it could have happened...

3. Divine intervention – well, that is possible…

4. Waiting for the day – do you suppose each of them wanted to see the nation turn 50 and willed themselves to live until that day? Perhaps…

The last words John Adams uttered were “Thomas Jefferson survives,” but Jefferson had passed away a few hours earlier.

What do you think?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WWII Morale Boosters

From the collection of the Virginia Aviation Museum (a division of the Science Museum of Virginia) are two World War II era morale boosters for troops. These booklets provided entertainment for those serving overseas during the war. The “Army Song Book” was published in 1941 by the Library of Congress and contains well-known songs such as “America the Beautiful” and the “Star Spangled Banner”. It also includes the official song of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Here is an excerpt:

"Off we go into the wild blue yonder,

Climbing high into the sun;

Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,

At 'em boys, give 'er the gun!

Down we dive spouting our flame from under,

Off with one helluva roar!

We live in fame or down in flame;

Nothing'll stop the Army Air Corps!"

And for some much needed comic relief from the stresses of war, the booklet titled "The Scrapbook of Army-Navy Humor" provided just that. It was published in 1943 by Texcel Tellophane Tape and is a compiliation of funny stories, jokes and cartoons depicting life in the service. The caption of the cartoon at left reads: "Can't you hover somewhere else? It makes me nervous!"