Otto Otepka is not a name that automatically rings bells in the minds of most Americans, even those Americans with a historical understanding of the role of communism in suborning our government. Yet as William Gill relates in his magisterial work, The Ordeal of Otto Otepka, often lonely individuals guided only by their patriotism, their conscience, and their faith have been the Horatio at the Bridge, protecting the rest of us from evil.
George Washington warned Americans "… to steer clear of permanent alliances with any portion of the foreign world..." "Peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none," our third President, Thomas Jefferson, would phrase the same sentiment. Europe, in particular, had long been immersed in the cynical balance of power politics which brought nations to join together to block the hegemony of other nations.
One hundred years ago last week, on March 23, 1912, Japan gave America a gift that keeps on giving: more than 3,000 cherry trees, whose blossoming beauty is celebrated each year. Japan desired friendship with America and our Founding Fathers urged us to reciprocate with all nations that desired amiable relations with our republic.
Lord Byron called him the “Forest-born Demosthenes.” Others called him the “Lion of Liberty.” Whatever the title, Patrick Henry (left) was never one to mince words in the defense of freedom. The silver-tongued orator was never at a loss for words, and he spoke with a ready arsenal of logic. Biographer William Wirt said of him in 1817, “Tis true he could talk — Gods how he could talk!”
Today, March 16, is the 261st anniversary of the birth of the “Father of the Constitution,” James Madison, Jr. At Montpelier, the home Madison grew up in and then shared with his wife, Dolley, for the rest of his life, the staff throwing Mr. Madison a little shindig. From the official website:
Is technology and industry good or bad? There is no moral answer to the question. Certainly there are happy men and women who worked in old trades exchanging the material benefits of technology for the comfort and emotional satisfaction of keeping alive old ways of work. The delightful town of Williamsburg in Virginia or the equally happy Silver Dollar City in the Ozarks are filled with folks whose joy is preserving the making of horseshoes, candles, rock candy, and many other products whose manufacture is a part of our history.
Christianity has proven time and again to be the most resilient force against totalitarianism. This is as true in China today as it was during the days of Stalinist persecution of Christians. Yet some are ever ready to smear Christians with failing to oppose evil. For instance, there has been a spate of books over the last few decades accusing them of indifference or even complicity in connection with the Holocaust — the genocide of more than six million European Jews in Hitler's Germany during WWII. Yet history which was written during the 1930s gives a very different picture of how Christians responded to the evils of Nazism.
The American Civil War was the bloodiest conflict in our nation’s history, made all the more tragic by the fact that, with more willingness by both sides to negotiate differences, it might have been avoided. It has long raised constitutional questions, as well, with its alteration of the fundamental relationship between the federal and state governments continuing to this day.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the infamous Shanghai Communiqué, the joint diplomatic agreement between the United States and the People's Republic of China issued during President Richard Nixon's visit to Communist China in 1972. In the document, the two nations pledged to work toward "normalization" of their economic and cultural relations. They further agreed that neither country would "seek hegemony in the Asian-Pacific region."
On February 28, 1972, the United States also acknowledged the "One China Policy," and agreed to cut back on its military bases on Taiwan (the Republic of China or "Free China").
Sunday, February 19, is the 205th anniversary of the arrest of the former hero of the American Revolution and Vice President of the United States, Aaron Burr, on charges of treason.
The anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden on February 13 and 14, 1945 has become an increasingly contentious memory for thousands of Germans. Historians have debated the military value of the old and crowded city, some saying it had little significance, with others pointing out that until the bombing it was still active with war production. What few doubt is that the war was already lost for Germany before the bombing of Dresden, and that the unconditional surrender demanded by President Roosevelt was inevitable in a few weeks no matter what.