MY POINT OF VIEW: How did they come about the date for Christmas?

by Gary Kennedy

Here it is December again, already, and 2023 is rapidly coming to an end. This is the month that we celebrate the birth of our Lord and savior, Jesus Christ. The date of birth of Jesus is not actually stated in the gospel nor in any historical record. Biblical scholars believe his date of birth to be between 4 BC (the year King Herod died) and 6 AD (the year of the census of Quirinius).

The rationale behind the date December 25th was due to the date of Jesus crucifixion. Christians developed the idea that Jesus’ was born exactly nine months after March 25th, the traditional date of Jesus’ crucifixion. It was believed that Jesus was conceived and crucified on the same date; the date of his birth was nine months later. For me this isn’t a logical explanation for this event but no one seemed to make a case against it.

The historical records state that Pope Julius in 350 AD asserted December 25th to be Christ’s birth date. This also is a dubious unfounded claim. There are other possibilities that I find more scientific. Going by the New Testament, Mathew 2:1 states that Jesus was born in Bethlehem, Judea in the time of Herod the King. Herod’s death would have been around 4 BC. A good guess here for Jesus’ birth could be around just before 4 BC. If you read John 2:20 you will find agreement between Luke and John. However, if you are truly looking for the year of Jesus’ birth, you’re in for a long haul as some arguments are centuries apart.

When I started this research, for pleasure only, I was looking only for a seasonal date. Nothing I had read in the past spoke of winter as such. Considering the geographical location of the birth of Christ you don’t have snow or rain as a marker so you need other things. I believe by now the actual month of Christ birth can be more or less figured out. The year of Christ’s birth is around 4 BC.

The historical record is too incomplete for any sort of accuracy regarding the year of his birth. December 25th is accepted as his month and day. It’s highly unlikely that is true but considering the lack of information and our need to celebrate his birth I suppose December 25th will have to do.

We do know and it should be acknowledged that it is more than likely Jesus was born closer to harvest time and not winter. There is mention of the shepherds watching over their sheep. When winter was about to appear the shepherds would go into the mountains and drive their flocks down to the low lands where it was warmer with more favorable foraging and shelter. Also, there was astronomical mention of the placement of stars. Some scientists have pinpointed September as a likely time for this event.

However, I believe we stopped looking for that particular answer a long time ago and decided if the good Lord felt it was of great importance he would have had it laid out more clearly. Perhaps he disliked birthdays as I do. For whatever reason we have accepted December 25th as the birthday of our lord, Jesus Christ. It is a time when we rejoice and are thankful that he was born, thus giving us the opportunity for everlasting life in paradise.

This year I hope all of you will spend time praying for our brothers and sisters in the world. Many are suffering and dying in a world of unrest. This is a world of plenty, without unity. Many have lost their way and need to find the path to righteousness. If you are a Christian then you believe in Christ. Christ is the righteousness from God. (1st Cor. 1:30) God paid the price for all of us (Rom 3:21-26). Being righteous literally means to be right. It’s a moral path with the Bible as a guide. I have always loved seeing that special glow on a Christians face. You can tell at a glance the person has a beautiful heart. I personally strive to join them in the place they exist. My prayer for everyone this Christmas season is to see that beautiful glow on more faces. It is a search that one must make in order to embrace the beauty of righteousness.

This year I for one ask all my fellow Christians to include the true beauty of Christmas with all the other gifts that are placed under the Christmas tree. It’s the one gift you don’t and can’t purchase. (Brotherly love) The poorest of us has this gift available for giving. Set the arrogant pride aside and develop and give the one thing that was given to and for you, LOVE. I am sure you will radiate with that glow I previously mentioned.

From my family to yours and I am sure all here at The Town Line newspaper’s staff and board of directors, wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas. May each and every one of you receive that wonderful and precious gift that I have spoken of and carry it into the New Year. Never forget those less fortunate then you.

Last but not least, remember our elderly and our veterans. Many of them are needy during these holiday times. They are all part of love and respect. God bless and keep you and yours safe. Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

MY POINT OF VIEW: What brought Pilgrims to our shores and the first Thanksgiving

by Gary Kennedy

The Mayflower traversed the Atlantic to Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, led by William Bradford. The reason for the journey was the pursuit of religious freedom. Protestantism was in its infancy. William Bradford was an English Puritan Separatist originally from the West Riding of Yorkshire in northern England. Protestantism is a branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Protestant Reformation. Theology is the ordinary study of the nature of the divine, or more broadly, of religious belief. Back during these times there were so many hands on religion that I am surprised there is any sanity to it all; while just leaving the Crusades with Masonic influence, the Knights Templars and the then cruel Catholic Church. This was a time of land grabs and Godly exploration. The monks and friars had many very cruel priests in their flocks and dealt out extremely cruel punishments for any sort of disobedience.

The British and the Spanish ruled the seas during these times and they gobbled up all the known world in search of wealth and labor. All their acquisitions were placed in total subservience to their mother countries. People were totally inferior and had to give undivided religious obedience to their captors. This as we know will only last so long, and then the people will revolt; as they did in many areas of the world.

The cruelty of England brought the Pilgrims to our shores; and this began the story of the initial settlement here and the first Thanksgiving. We arrived in Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1620, and would have perished if not for the Wampanoag Native people. They aided with our survival through the first winter, which took many of the settlers’ lives. After being taught how to plant using dried fish for fertilizer we had our first successful crop. There were 90 Wampanoag present for a feast of vegetables, turkey and fish and pudding for dessert. This is where the history of turkey began, as they were in abundance and easy to obtain during this time. Here in Maine they eventually became extirpated and were reintroduced in the 1980s. You never would have guessed that now. They are everywhere.

The complete history is a long and dark one and would take the entire newspaper to cover it all. Anyway, in 1620, 50 pilgrims and 90 Wampanoags celebrated. The feast lasted three days. I should mention only five women survived that first winter. Thanksgiving is celebrated both as a secular as well as a religious holiday. Many argue the story of this holiday and its insemination. One example would be the arrival of a Spanish fleet in 1565 to plant a cross to christen the new settlement of St. Augustine; 800 settlers shared a meal with the Native Timucuan people.

Probably the most notable of happenings would be that of Abraham Lincoln in 1863, at the height of the Civil War, in a proclamation entreating all Americans to ask God to “commend to his tender mercy all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners, or suffers in the lamentable civil strife” and to “heal the wounds of the nation”. Veterans and the official creation of Thanksgiving began on the last Thursday of November.

So this is just bits and pieces of how Thanksgiving first began. Turkey evolved in many variations to the feast that it is today on November 23, 2023. It’s now a time to give thanks to God for all that he gives and a time for family and friends to get together and enjoy their blessings together, in peace and harmony. We are going through some hard times currently, so it would be a good time to reflect on our blessings. Also, again we should never forget those who gave it all so that we could be and remain free.

God bless you and yours and have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.

MY POINT OF VIEW: New veterans made every day

by Gary Kennedy

November 1919, President Woodrow Wilson set November 11 aside as the first commemoration of Armistice Day. President Wilson stated, “To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations”. The day was to have a suspension of work beginning at 11:00 a.m. On June 4, 1926, the U.S. Congress officially recognized the end of World War I. The world’s worst war had come to an end; Armistice Day had begun.

An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the Eleventh of November of each year a legal holiday, a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace. The intention of Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor those who served in World War I. After World War II and Korea, the 83rd Congress was urged by veteran organizations to change the word Armistice to Veterans. That is when (public law 380) was made effective (6-1-1954). November 11 directed the holiday to legally become Veterans Day.

So that tells us how it happened and when it happened but it was supposed to end with “The War of all Wars”, World War I. World War II slipped in with even greater death and destruction. Then come the Korean War in June 29, 1950, which once again brought about more death and destruction leaving widows and orphans and thousands of broken hearted parents and friends. Many veterans became veterans again. The same occurred with Vietnam.

The world never learning from history, decided to give it a go again in the Middle East which also left voids in many family units. World War I left us 20 million deaths and 21 million wounded. World War II, military deaths were between 21-25 million which included those in captivity; those we couldn’t bring home. Korea wasn’t quite so bad, only 1.9 million military casualties. Then came Vietnam, which had 58,200 U.S. military losses. Looks like we are beginning to learn our lesson. We seem to be giving less and less of our precious resources, our sons and daughters.

Last but certainly not least is the multiple conflicts and incursions in the Middle East, which have taken nearly 10,000 of America’s finest. Not too bad you say; well, I guess I should mention there have been more service related suicides than there are from combat in these Middle East conflicts. Why is that?

Diminished public support for the country’s ongoing wars, a sexual assault epidemic in the military ranks, a masculine military culture (consider hazing and other demeaning events). Last but certainly far from the least there has been more civilian deaths then military deaths. Wow! So, as you can see there is a lot to all of this, as well as the creation of a veteran. So, I would like you to ponder on my key word SUPPORT.

“The making of a soldier is the creation of a Veteran”. He or she went to school with you, and played sports with you, went to church with you and perhaps may have even married you. He/she is one of us now and forever, in the good and the bad times. When the uniform comes off and the wrinkles begin to form and steps are not always steady, they most likely will end up needing your help and that of the Veterans Administration. When they reach out don’t let them fall. Be there for them as they were for you. We, in these United States of America, walk tall and free because of their sacrifice. Try to understand how they feel if they are ignored, especially in an hour of need.

As I always say, “it isn’t what you take with you; it’s what you leave behind”. The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away, Job 1:21, thou Shalt Not Kill, you shall not murder, is one of the 10 Commandments in the Torah; the Quran states, if any one slew a person unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land it would be as if he slew the whole people; and if anyone saved a life, it would be as if he saved the life of the whole people. These references are for individuals and expectance is expected to be acknowledged by the individual thus if adhered to will reach the collective.

If a veteran is given a fair shake he or she will be just fine. As longs as we don’t follow the Good Books there will be veterans. The answers to all are there. It is your duty to search. God bless and have a happy and safe Veterans Day with those you care for, and God bless the veteran who gave his/her all for each and every one of us.

MY POINT OF VIEW: It’s Labor Day weekend

by Gary Kennedy

On September 4, we celebrate Labor Day in the United States. It’s a public holiday which is celebrated on the first Monday in September. Basically it honors the American labor movement and the contributions the working class has made to strengthen prosperity, laws and the well being of our great country. For most of us it is a long weekend in which we have an extra day to enjoy family and friends. Some of us will take short trips to camp and also to enjoy friends over a campfire with hotdogs and smores. Usually the weather is at its nicest at this time of year; at least I have always found that to be true. I hope I haven’t jinxed it by predicting good weather. For me the very best time for vacation was the last two weeks of August and first two weeks of September. Those have proven to be great weeks for me.

Historically, Labor Day has been a national holiday since 1894, when then-President Grover Cleveland signed the law that Congress passed designating the first Monday in September a holiday for workers. The labor unions of the time pressed to gain recognition of both the contributions and the mistreatment of the working class of the time. This as we know became a very big deal in our growth.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on September 5, 1882, in N.Y.C. with large parades and barbecues. It did not begin as a national holiday but as a self activity in the streets. The Workers Movement and the Socialist party were very close during this time. It isn’t hard to see the comparison. Some good things do bear roots out of such as this. One stupid expression of the times was the wearing of white. Some historians make note that bright clothing was worn by affluent groups who could afford to leave town for warmer climates when the leaves began to change. It became a socially expected norm that the poor, who didn’t have money to take fall and winter vacations, shouldn’t adorn white after the summer season.

That sounds absurd to us today but the mindset was a lot different back then. Class was very important to those of the time. It became a volcano waiting to erupt. Eventually it did. The advent of this ridiculous rule was brought about by the affluent ladies of the time. They wanted to be recognized for their wealth and alienated from the poor classes. We still have some of that today. We seem to push forward in some areas and backward in others.

The magazine, Country Living is a very good read if you are interested in a narration of the Real Meaning of Labor Day, by Maggie Horton & Terri Robertson, updated 7-23-2023. Oregon was the first to declare Labor Day as a holiday. Labor Day is a product of the Industrial Revolution. It is a hard won example of how far workers rights have come since the Industrial Revolution. True it is a three-day weekend celebrating the conclusion of summer with a cookout with hotdogs and burgers. Also, it has become a great weekend for shopping; everything seems to be marked down. You can look forward to it every first Monday of the month of September. The date does change. In 2024 it will be held on September 2. In 2025 it will be held on September 1 and in 2026 it will occur on September 7. Now you have future dates for your calendar.

According to the Readers Digest, the Industrial Revolution of the 18th and 19th centuries brought a vast array of jobs and commerce to the USA. What it didn’t bring was appropriate wages, salaries, safety regulations nor common sense regarding to the length of a work week. These were the days of 12-hour days and seven days a week jobs. Also, the exploitation of children ran rampant. There were many accidents and many broken hearts. Through the suffering, Labor Unions began to fight for the American worker. Child Labor was addressed, working conditions were addressed, and poor pay was also addressed along with civilized working hours. Strikes and rallies where organized and sometimes turned violent. Eventually the realization of all these issues were acknowledged and addressed. The American workers’ contribution to the growth and welfare of the country eventually became realized. The holiday was adopted and the American worker began to receive what was deserved.

Next year, remind me to tell you a little about May Day which is similar but perhaps more colorful. For now I think I have given you an idea which you can pursue if you have an interest. Remember this; we have come very close to the adoption of Socialism. That is one step from Communism and if that scares you, it really should. These are precarious times, times in which we should be ever vigilant. When you go down that road it’s very hard to return. The proof is all around you. This is fruit for thought and not meant to throw a wrench in your holiday weekend.

God bless all our readers and have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend. Oh, don’t forget our veterans; after all they have always been part of this.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

MY POINT OF VIEW: A humanitarian journey

by Gary Kennedy

Well, Julie and I have arrived back home from our humanitarian mission in the South Pacific. Our plane trip both going and coming was a literal nightmare which took two days each way. Lay overs were the worst of it, sleeping in airport chairs, etc., is murder on your body.

All my misery being said, the mission was very successful and very satisfying for my wife and I. We left many very happy people where ever we would go. Since we are not paid humanitarians we received our reward from the people we serve. We get to share beautiful children and receive lots of hugs and kisses. That’s worth it all to us. A lollipop can bring about the most beautiful smile you ever would want to see. However, we gave much more than that, thanks to the generosity of folks like you. What was supposed to be a children only event turned out to include entire families.

Our mission this time included three orphanages, a medical clinic, a prison, two libraries, multiple small feeding events and the establishment of a small school at the Knights of Rizal headquarters in Manila, Philippines.

I have many photos and videos which I would be glad to share upon request. We will be doing it all again in December if we raise enough supplies for the events. We already have a couple of people who would like to volunteer. We love the help. I must warn you once you begin doing these humanitarian missions you become addicted. It’s the most wonderful feeling for those of good heart. I have often wished I was rich so I could do more. I also wonder why those with greater than average means are not involved. Perhaps they don’t realize the natural high that giving to those in need will bring. Oh well, those who do open their hearts receive great rewards. There is so much love out there just waiting to be shared. It’s not what you take with you it’s what you leave behind.

I mentioned in my second paragraph that what we were doing was supposed to be for the children only; well my wife changed all that. We both have soft hearts but hers is perhaps a little more sensitive to situations. She sees things that I sometimes over look. The one example I will share with you is our visit to the indigenous people known as the Aetas Tribe. They are a tribe of people which predate the Spanish occupation of the Philippine Island, before the 1500s. They are a slight, dark skinned race with dark curly/wavy hair. They are supposedly protected by Philippine government but that protection is very shoddy. Food is not adequate, clothing is bare necessity; very little foot wear, limited school supplies and many were running around naked. It took awhile to have them accept us but with time and lollipops we prevailed.

We prepared massive amounts of food for this visit which was a good thing as there were many people coming out of hiding during our visit. As I stated, this was suppose to be a children’s event. Julie along with other volunteers, that we had with us, began passing out Styrofoam plates loaded with food to all the children. We had an interpreter giving instruction to the children about sitting and using the plastic fork and spoons we supplied. Julie noticed dozens of adults hanging around the outside fence just watching the great food the children were eating. Finally, she came to me and said, “honey, I think they are all hungry”. I replied, “Do you think we have enough to feed them all”? Julie replied that we had more than enough so we invited them in.

They were very hungry and very happy. After all were full of food and pineapple juice we gave out the gifts we had with us. We gave all the school supplies for the coming school year and the children all received footwear and some clothing. Before it all ended it was as if we were part of the community. Their translator taught them a little English which they imparted as we said goodbye and went out the gate. The words, “please come back, we love you”, rang out for all to hear. It brought tears to my eyes. What a wonderful parting gift; we will return.

In closing I would like to give a special thanks to all that gave, especially Old Navy and Loots, of Augusta. I would also like to give a very special thanks to Chris Lemieux, at Staples Office Supply, of Augusta, for giving schools supplies to 300 children for the year. They will never forget.

God bless to all.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Continental Congress unanimously adopted Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776

by Gary Kennedy

The usage of Independence Day would be, and is known to all as the 4th of July. When we speak of it in this way it becomes clear as to its real meaning as each of us know and understand it. I state this as we recently have had an influx of immigrations which most likely are unfamiliar with this date in time and to its meaning. When those new comers become fully acclimated to the life and history of this, their new home/country, its importance will become clear to them. It will become to them, as it is to us, who have grown up with the knowledge of this event, and how and why it occurred. For now, as we do every year, we will share a definition as to the meaning and its importance in our lives. Independence Day (4th of July) is revered by Americans as it is indicative of ultimate and unconditional freedom from tyranny and religious persecution; as well as prejudice and slavery.

Some say the growth of the most powerful nation on God’s green Earth, made not only immigration necessary but also slavery. All of that may be in fact true but we now admit, that didn’t make it right. Although most of this happened generations ago we still find need to say, “I’m sorry, but thank you for your sacrifice”. Unfortunately, we are still trying to get it right. We try to right the wrongs of the past but it seems the present creates new ones. However, being a democracy has the benefit of allowing us to make corrections and adjustments as we travel through time. Each generation seems to seek a better tomorrow and yet we see millions of immigrants reaching our shores in search of a better life. So that speaks volumes for the why of it all. America is the land of the free and home of the brave.

On July 4, 1776, the 2nd Continental Congress unanimously adopted the Declaration of Independence, which announced the colonies’ separation from Great Britain. We officially became the United States of America. The significance of this date in time gave us George Washington, lovingly known as the father of this country and our first president. It was truly a time to celebrate as we were free from Great Britain and also the Revolutionary War was rolled into history. On August 2, 1776, 56 Lovers of Freedom signed the Declaration of Independence. This for the time being severed all political ties with Great Britain. I state political ties as it would not have been wise to sever economic ties with the most economic country in the world at the time. We crossed this path several times in history, China being the most recent. Some doors need to remain open, if at all possible, while slowly disenfranchising those that give unfair advantage to the overall situation.

In 1787 the United States Constitution was written, ratified in 1788 and in full operation in 1789. The U.S. Constitution is the world’s longest serving written charter of government. “We The People”, affirms that the government of the U.S.A. exists to serve its citizens.

The framing of the Constitution was completed at the Constitutional Convention which assembled at Independence Hall, in Philadelphia, between May 25 and September 17, 1787.

The founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence as well as helped draft the Constitution. They also became the political leaders of the time. Obviously, they were brilliant men and collectively they forged an amazing document which has stood the test of time. This is the umbrella under which we live and guide our actions towards one another. It is without a doubt one of the most genius documents ever written and has stood the test of time.

I would be remiss in this narration if I didn’t explain our structure which consists of the three branches of government, the Legislative; the Executive and the Judicial. This is the structure that affirms the indisputable strength of our government.

These branches are given certain powers which complement each other and allow us to be known as a Democracy. They give each of us fair representation in our government. Briefly stated the Legislative branch makes the laws of the United States, controls all of the money and has the power to declare war. The Executive is the President of the United States who oversees and directs, guides and tempers our government. He/she enforces the laws of the United States, spends money as allowed by Congress, can declare states of emergency, appoints judges to the Supreme Court and can grant pardons for crimes. The Judicial branch is the Supreme Court which interprets laws, judges when a law is unconstitutional.

So that all is fair and in order we have a system called checks and balances. The president has the power to veto a bill; Congress has the power to impeach Supreme Court judges or even the president. The Supreme Court has the power to veto a law that they deem unconstitutional.

Over 100 countries around the world have used our constitution as a model of their own. Our supreme court continually interprets the constitution as the world evolves. However, its basic tenets have remained virtually unchanged. There is sometimes a quarrel over its interpretation but they never question its wisdom. The leaders and formers of our country created a pathway document the could and would stand the test of time, all time. They were brilliant, the documents were/are brilliant and I am sure they will remain that way through time. Our beloved George Washington said, “The Constitution is the guide, which I never will abandon.”

The records which create 4th of July are only second to the records of the Bible. I recommend everyone should go to their favorite book store and look up the documents mentioned here but most importantly research the founding fathers. There is wonderful reading regarding the lives of each. In doing so you will understand this country and what and who it took to create it.

Have a wonderful 4th of July. Enjoy the food, fireworks and family. Be forever thankful for the wonders of this country and the why, of why so many seek to come here. Thank God for the freedoms we have and the reasons for them. Last but certainly not least thank the veterans who give so much in the preservation of democracy and freedom. Keep America strong. Happy 4th of July and God bless.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Linking two holidays together, Father’s Day and Juneteenth; not a good idea

by Gary Kennedy

There is a new kid in town as of last year. I didn’t mention it as I originally thought it would just fade away. However, that isn’t going to happen as it has been around since 1910. I really had no idea. I have never even heard of it. For those in the know it is called Juneteenth Day. According to Psychiatric Times, June 19, which is also the founding date of Father’s Day, has become a dual holiday. The explanation that was given states, fathers are an integral part of families and Juneteenth is a day that families convene to celebrate the emancipation from slavery. They claim this is a hand in glove relationships (fathers and emancipation from slavery).

I for one really don’t understand the relationship but obviously the psychiatrists do. It seems to me if the fathers are part of the scenario then the mothers should be as well. For me the love of a father for his children, wife and as well as the love of the children and wife for the father and husband are as far away from the bloodiest war we have ever had, as is humanly possible. I must be missing something as the government believes it to be true or why else would they ask us to share our Fathers Day heritage with another historical event; an event which cost hundreds of thousands of lives; father against brother, brother against brother and even father against son. I just don’t see the relationship. Anyway, we are still as of now a free country and we can all believe what we want and accept or alienate these two events.

I will explain a little about Juneteenth and everyone can evaluate the likeness and difference between the two. Juneteenth is a day in 1865 that federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to ensure that all the “enslaved people” were free. This occurred 2-1/2 years after the Emancipation Proclamation. It is ascertained to be logical to observe that date as the real emancipation of American slaves. Do you see the connection, yet? It seems to me if this relationship is true it should include men, women and even children. However, the only connection that is drawn by these so called pundits is with fathers. Many during slavery weren’t allowed the ability of procreation. Many slave women were for the pleasure of their masters. I’m sorry; I still don’t see how the powers that be were able to make this connection. I, in no way, mean to demean the happening which occurred in Galveston, Texas. The war was over by 1864 and that should have been the end of it but unfortunately the need for federal troops to go to Galveston, Texas, was necessary to once and for all free the people still enslaved there.

Although President Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves in 1864 there remained 250,000 slaves in Texas. Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay on June 19 and freed the remaining slaves by executive decree. This became known as “Freedom Day”. To me that sounds somewhat appropriate and a better definition of the happening. I would agree with the appropriateness of calling this holiday, Freedom Day. That being said I, for one, must recuse myself from the sharing of Father’s Day with an event laced in the overtones of war. The Emancipation Proclamation has another place in history and should be observed by itself. (My opinion only.)

Father’s Day on the other hand began with Sonora Smart Dodd, of Spokane, Washington, where it is said she heard a sermon in 1909 about Mother’s Day, thus it brought the question what about fathers? Father’s Day began on June 19, 1910. This was the month of Ms. Dodd’s father’s birthday; thus the date of Father’s Day.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge gave his support to the holiday and in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson issued a proclamation that recognized the day. It became a national holiday in 1972, when President Richard Nixon signed legislation designating the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Father’s Day is based on our adoration of one’s father and respect for the guidance and sacrifice he has given the family unit. A great father is complemented by a great family. So, those of us who are fortunate enough to have a wonderful dad show our love and respect publicly once a year on June 19. Although, for most of us the love is a daily event. However, it’s great to set a special day aside just for him as we do for our mothers at another time. This display of love and affection is carried for all time. For me Juneteenth is well worth remembering and was a great and wonderful wakening for mankind. It is a great history lesson. However, for me the only relationship it has to Father’s Day is the same as we all realize, the love and respect of our father, irrespective of his race, color or creed, every language has a translation for “Dad”.

God Bless and have a wonderful Father’s Day. Always remember our veterans and those who didn’t return home to be celebrated by those who loved him. We will always remember Dad.

The views of the author of this column are not necessarily those of The Town Line newspaper, its staff and board of directors.

MY POINT OF VIEW – Memorial Day: a day to remember

by Gary Kennedy

Well, here we are again my friends. We are about to have another long weekend and it looks like it will be a beautiful day, weather wise.

For those who aren’t aware Memorial Day originally was known as Decoration Day. Unlike Veterans Day it is to pay our respects to those who have given their lives so the rest of us may be free. It is a federal holiday in the USA for honoring/mourning those soldiers, sailors and fly boys/girls (men & women), for their sacrifice.

The Civil War was the bloodiest war in our history; which ended in 1865. The first National Cemetery was established shortly after this war. The origin of this holiday is still unclear but it is believed that the first gathering to commemorate the fallen was organized by a group of former slaves in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1865. In 1966 the federal government declared Waterloo, New York, the official birthplace of Memorial Day. Waterloo was the first to host and celebrated it on May 5, 1866.

Many of us get confused between Memorial Day and Veterans Day. The difference is simple. We celebrate all the men and women who died defending our way of life; in particular our military. Veterans Day on the other hand is celebrated respecting all who have served. Many of these veterans are disabled, some seriously but didn’t die, as of yet. However, we place wreaths, flags, and flowers at the stones of those who have joined their Creator. Tears are shed, prayers are prayed. Every year at this time we thank them and acknowledge their supreme sacrifice. Unfortunately, without this sacrifice we would be enslaved by an entity that doesn’t respect life as we do.

In addition to placing flowers, wreaths, insignias and such, it is tradition that we place a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers, at Arlington National Cemetery, in Arlington, Virginia. This is a somewhat special event as this tomb represents all the unknown soldiers buried there. Also there are approximately 2,111 Union and Confederate soldiers buried beneath the tomb of the Civil War Unknowns. The inscription on the Tomb reads, “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier known but to God.” However, since the insemination of this event we have discovered the identity of that original soldier, 1st Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie, of St. Louis, Missouri. He died on May 11, 1972, near An Loc, South Vietnam.

The inscription has been changed since the unknown became known. It now reads, “Honoring and keeping Faith with America’s Missing Servicemen”. In another article I will give you complete details on Arlington, Virginia. It has a long and colorful history that I am sure you will enjoy reading.

After World War I, Memorial Day was expanded to encompass all who died defending their country in any and all wars. The holiday is always celebrated on the last Monday of May, which is considered the unofficial beginning of summer. It has evolved over the years and become more festive. It has become a time for family and friends to gather together and enjoy cook-outs or watch the Indy 500 together. However, it is suggested that at 3 p.m., on this serene holiday that a moment of silence take place. It’s just a moment in time to “thank the fallen for your ability to be standing.”

We respect our veterans and more so those who gave it all and are not able to join you on this sacred day. It’s good to remember and to early on teach our children history’s value to them. It’s a great lesson in respect.

Well, I and everyone here at The Town Line wish you a very happy and safe Memorial Day. Don’t forget the Moment of Silence at 3 p.m. It’s a little, wonderful thing you can do. I always feel the fallen are ever vigilant and watch over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. God bless and protect you and yours and have a safe and happy long weekend.

MY POINT OF VIEW: Be thankful for what you have in this tough year

by Gary Kennedy

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a cheery time of year. We get time off from work and time is allowed to join with family and friends to give thanks for all we have received this year. All this is great in theory but what if your year has been a difficult one? I think many of us can say that 2022 has been a very hard and difficult year. Sometimes it is difficult to separate the positives from negatives. However, the test of character allows us to stop and look at all that is and to separate the positives from negatives. When this is done one will discover that there is much to be thankful for.

When all is said and done we must turn to the supreme architect and let Him know that we understand his plan and thank Him for having one. This is the plan that gives you and I a place in the greater glory in the gift he has waiting for the loyal among us. Realizing that the grave is not the end of things is such a wonderful gift.

Our world lately seems to be crumbling apart and this has weighed heavily on us. Some have let this consume them and give into the darkness. This is because they are weak in spirit and have lost sight of the gift of everlasting life. If you have family or friends that are harboring these negative feelings it’s your duty to step in and lend a hand. You both will feel so much better for it. Acts of love and kindness do not go unnoticed.

The traditional Thanksgiving with Pilgrims and Indians, is pretty much how we perceive Thanksgiving. We also know that the repast is turkey with stuffing and vegetables with mince meat pie for desert. It is a given, without knowing the who, what or why of it. I grew up in farming and logging community. I know that mince meat pie is made from the neck of venison but most people today don’t know that. Many hunters will throw the very tasty neck meat away because it is difficult to harvest. Many of the old secrets are lost in time.

It was George Washington, father of our country, and a Master Mason who set the 26th of November 1789 aside as Thanksgiving, but not to give praise for our bounty but to give thanks for the adaptation of U.S. Constitution. He also enjoined people to unite in a most humbly offering of our prayers and supplications asking God to pardon our transgressions. Thanksgiving didn’t become a permanent official U.S. holiday until President Franklin Delano Roosevelt became president in 1939. Both presidents were Master Masons. Since the beginning of the U.S.A. we have had 14 Master Masons as presidents. It seems fitting as Masonry is the oldest fraternity known. There you have it; you just learned one of the secrets of the Masonic order.

So Thursday, November 24, we will all be enjoying family and friends and great food and drink. Remember what it is all about and enjoy this great day with those you care about but be ever mindful of the millions that won’t have what you are about to enjoy. Pray for the less fortunate and share where and whatever you can. Give a special thanks to the veteran who has allowed this all to be possible and always remember those who gave the supreme sacrifice. Have a great Thanksgiving Day and God be with you all.

MY POINT OF VIEW: America’s first veterans were Revolutionary War soldiers

by Gary Kennedy

So here we are with another year passing us by and searching for meaning. We veterans know who, what and why we are considered veterans. In general, those who have served in the U.S. Military are veterans. However, title 38 of the Code of Federal Regulations defines a veteran as “a person who served in the active military, army, navy, or air service and who was discharged or released under conditions other than dishonorable”.

This definition explains that any individual that completed a service for any branch of armed forces classifies as a veteran as long as they were not dishonorably discharged. The most important thing to understand is veteran status. This is very important to the veteran but has no meaning to the general public. When the veteran is released from his military obligations he or she may be entitled to earned benefits, post military. At this point in time the veteran should locate the nearest “Veterans Administration” office and register any service related situation with a Veterans Advocate. Here also, he will receive information and advice as to what he may be entitled to. He will display his DD214 and perhaps show his military service and medical records. The veteran will be guided from there.

Now let’s take a look at how a veteran began and a little history of the veteran’s origin. In this country the making of a veteran basically began in 1775. This was the beginning of the Revolutionary War. This war began on April 19, 1775, and didn’t end until April 3, 1783; eight long years. We were a young country seeking freedom from mother Great Britain. She didn’t want to let us go so war ensued. The war was fought and won, but at great cost. We lost nearly 70,000 soldiers in this conflict. On the third day of April in 1783 our first veteran was born.

On April 12, 1861, the Civil War had begun. Before it was to end we would lose 364,511 Union soldiers and another 260,000 Confederates. History tells us that loved ones went to the killing fields to claim the bodies of their loved ones. This war ended on April 12, 1865. More veterans were created. They claim 25 percent of those who fought did not survive.

July 28, 1914, World War I began which took the lives of 116,708 and left 204,000 wounded. This ended on November 11, 1918. We were now getting familiar with the word “Veteran”. On September 1, 1939, World War II began and before it was to end 670,846 died and 405,399 were wounded. Those remaining became the new “Veterans”. Next came Korea on June 25, 1950, until July 27, 1953. This was long enough to allow 40,000 to die and 100,000 to be wounded.

Would you know it, we decided the country of Vietnam needed to be free from Communism. This was on November 1, 1955, and ended April 30, 1975. This involved Cambodia and Laos. We spent 20 years trying to change Vietnam but failed in our attempt. However, we did create more “Veterans”. I guess we didn’t have enough so we went to the aid of Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, to August 30, 2021. This would be another 20-year war which cost us 2,456 American lives. There were 20,752 of America’s finest wounded. Also this war led to many U.S. soldiers committing suicide. Currently, I don’t know why our troops were so affected by this particular war. I am currently searching for answers to that dilemma. In any case, we ended up with more “veterans”. The last one that I will mention is the Gulf War, which runs from August 2, 1990, to February 28, 1991. Two hundred nineteen men and women died, more “veterans”. There were other skirmishes that I haven’t addressed and my figures are only a good approximate; they are close enough for purposes of this article. I guesstimate around 1,520,226 deaths and approximately five times that in wounded. That’s a lot of sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters as well as others sacrificing to keep us and others free. So we have a million and a half posthumous veterans and many millions more who were lucky enough to make it home. Home is the key word and it’s still free and safe thanks to veterans; we continue to keep conflict off of our shores.

Believe me, if we didn’t have veterans we would be speaking another language by now. When will we and the world learn to live and let live? Greed and corruption continue to take the front seat and so we must continue to create “veterans”. I am a veteran, yet every night I pray for those in harm’s way, especially our veterans. My time has come and gone as is the case of thousands of others. We must rely on the strength of others now, as they will eventually do. At this point in time it’s the way of things. We need to pray for a world of peace. Until that time, God Bless our future veterans. Pray for them; thank them for serving our country and for watching over us. God Bless our veterans and God Bless America.