President for a time

We in the U.S. had a special day on February 18 to honor our presidents.  No doubt all have made profound impacts on the nation, some more than others. 

Thousands of books written about Abraham Lincoln

A holiday was originally established in 1885 in recognition of President George Washington.  It became known as Presidents Day after it was moved as part of the 1971 Uniform Monday Holiday Act, celebrated on the third Monday in February.  The holiday was an attempt to create more three-day weekends for the nation’s workers.

The Uniform Monday Holiday Act also included a provision to combine the celebration of Washington’s birthday (February 22) with that of Abraham Lincoln, which fell on February 12. Lincoln’s Birthday had long been a state holiday in places like Illinois, and many supported joining the two days as a way of giving equal recognition to two of America’s most famous statesmen.

While several states still have individual holidays honoring the birthdays of Washington, Abraham Lincoln and other figures, Presidents Day is now popularly viewed as a day to celebrate all U.S. presidents, past and present. (https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/presidents-day)

I appreciate each leader who was chosen by our nation to lead in various times – good and bad.  Of course, I favor George Washington, our first president, along with Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president. 

Animated figures of each President of the United States at the Hall of Presidents, Disney World, Orlando.

When I think of the presidents, their sacrifices and their significance to United States, my mind naturally reflects on Abraham Lincoln. He was elected to the position in 1860 during one of the toughest times in U.S. history – just before and during the Civil War when thousands upon thousands of fellow citizens lost their lives while being at war with each other – the Union (North) versus the Confederacy (South).

Just think, where would the U.S., and the world, be today if the Union of states was dissolved?  The concept would have Washington, D.C., being replaced by a more northern city as the national capital while the Confederacy’s capital would be somewhere in the south. 

While the Union prevailed, there would need to be a tremendous healing. I would like to go into detail about the nation’s struggles, and the challenges ahead, but my thought for the moment is to highlight something that triggers my emotions – President Lincoln’s assassination. 

As the Civil War was ending and the nation embraced hopes of uniting as one, tragedy struck.

Photo of Ford’s Theatre photo taken in Washington, D.C. by Mathew Brady, between 1862-1875
Modern photo of Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.

President Lincoln had decided to celebrate the renewed hope of the Union staying together by spending an evening out with his wife. 

After hearing of the president’s plans to attend a play in Ford’s Theatre, a group of conspirators finalized their murderous plan they hoped would revive the Confederate cause.   

While attending the play, Our American Cousin, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C., Lincoln was shot in the head as he watched the play.  He died the following day at 7:22 a.m., in the Petersen House opposite the theatre. (Wikipedia)

Images from Library of Congress and National Park Service

Lincoln was the first American president to be assassinated, and Lincoln’s funeral and burial marked an extended period of national mourning. More extensive details are found in myriads of documents, archives and publications.  Wikipedia’s link is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Abraham_Lincoln.  If you visit Washington, D.C., it is worth going to Ford’s Theatre for an in-depth understanding of events.

The images above show how the theatre was restored close to it’s original configuration when President Lincoln was shot. The old door with holes is the original door leading to Lincoln’s box. Some thought the hold was drilled by the perpetrator to ensure the right moment for attack but the family of Ford’s Theatre mentioned Henry Ford, owner, drilled the hole.

The images of the Peterson House across the street from Ford’s Theatre show where Lincoln was taken after being shot, and where he died. The bed is not original but a replica at the same location in the house just inside the house entrance hallway under the stairs. Lincoln was tall and had to be placed on the bed at an angle.

I ask, why does one take the life of another?  Why does one despise – to the point of murder, civil, national leadership such as a president who wants freedom for all; one who prayed and worked endlessly for a Union of states (the United States of America) for the common good and freedom of humankind? 

We may have differences and disagreements, and yes we do, but we need to be peaceful and civil, working toward the common good of a free society under the rule of law, allowing individual freedom to flourish.  

Love and protect freedom; respect life; respect the position of leadership working for the common good, even when we disagree with decisions.

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Sweet Pete’s

I’m sorry I have to provide another tempting post but I need to share with you about another sweet shop with wonderful décor – Sweet Pete’s.

Peruse these mouth-watering treats with me and capture the smells and taste in your imagination.  You can even make your own candy – and you can indulge in a tasting tour. 

Statue of Peter Behringer at the entrance.

Peter Behringer, owner of Sweet Pete’s, was raised in the chocolate industry. In 1985, when he was eleven years old, his mother opened a family chocolate business, which grew to encompass 32 locations and a large production facility.

After college, Behringer applied his experience in the industry with an on-going education to further hone his chocolate and candy making expertise.

In 2010, Behringer decided to strike out on his own and opened Sweet Pete’s candy shop, located in a whimsically decorated historic home. He quickly went to work, using his confectionary expertise to make the majority of Sweet Pete’s candy by hand.

The rest of Pete’s story is at https://www.sweetpetescandy.com/pages/about-us

Ice cream parlor and party porch upstairs

After appearing on The Profit, Sweet Pete’s opened a new Jacksonville, Florida location in the historic downtown Seminole Club, a building that dates back to 1903 (shown in the photos). The notable location, which hosted a number of well-known visitors such as U.S. Presidents Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, sat vacant for ten years until Sweet Pete’s and Lemonis renovated the property.

“This new confectionary emporium is a vast 23,000 square feet, making it one of the largest candy shops in the United States,” states Sweet Pete’s website.

Happy Valentines and any other celebration you wish! Enjoy and eat responsibly. 🙂

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Sweets Week

Photo of a photo in a Dairy Queen promoting the popular treats.

Since this week is an emphasis on love, sweets, flowers and cards – commonly know as Valentines Day, I figured I should at least post something about sweets, right?

Dairy Queen image of their Cupid Cake. I just have to have some.

Just imagine sitting there in a quaint, relaxing environment with your sweetheart, special friend or just by yourself – tickling your taste buds with some smooth, sweet, soft, flavorful ice cream – even if you’re in the snow. 

What is your favorite ice cream place?  I have many. 

While traveling recently along the U.S. eastern coast, I came upon these signs in a Dairy Queen where we stopped to enjoy this special treat. Dairy Queen is one of my favorite treat stores because of the soft ice cream, smoothness and flavor.  Plus, they’ve been around awhile – satisfying the elder and youth alike. 

While at this particular DQ I noticed old photos on the wall so I decided to capture some of the history with my camera. I delight in seeing images and information from earlier years.  It sort of takes me back in time. 

Wow! If only we had these same prices today as years ago. I could eat to my heart’s content.

Check out this timeline that were posted on the DQ wall:

1938 Americans discover McCullough’s softer and tastier ice cream called “soft serve.”

1940 “The cone with the curl on top” lights up for the first time in Juliet, Illinois.

1949 Shakes and malts are added to the cones, sundaes and take-home pints.

1953 The first Dairy Queen opens in Canada.

1955 The Dilly Bar is introduced to popular acclaim.

1961 The 3,000 store chain launches Mr. Misty, pioneering the      “slush” drink business.

1968 The Buster Bar debuts.

1971 The “scrumpdillyishus” Peanut Buster Parfait” arrives with phenomenal success. (This writer even uses this term today to reference something very tasty)  😊

1979 Dairy Queen debuts in the Middle East

1980 “We treat you right” theme line is introduced

1981 Dairy Queen menu now includes signature frozen cakes and logs.

1985 The blizzard treat makes a spectacular debut.

1991 The first Dairy Queen opens in Mexico.

1992 Dairy Queen debuts in Beijing, China.

1996 The first DQ location opens in Thailand.  There are more than 160 stores operating there today.

1998 DQ is purchased by legendary investor Warren Buffet.

2004 The MooLatte drink premieres and is an instant hit

2006 The first US/Canada Miracle Treat Day occurs

2007 A new DQ logo is unveiled.

2010 The 6,000th DQ opens in Shanghai, China.

2015 The DQ system celebrates its 75th Fanniversary.

Today – DQ continues to operate with great food and treats in more than 6,700 stores worldwide

I must admit I have savored ice cream in many places around the world. I have never been disappointed; however, I still like the soft, fluffy texture of the DQ. 

Maybe we’ll just take a little trip to the local DQ on Valentines Day.  How about you?

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Apotheosis Artist

How do they do that? I wonder as I look at the fantastic, artistic work like we see in the U.S. Capitol’s Rotunda. 

Constantino Brumidi (1805–1880) is best known for the murals he painted in the United States Capitol over a 25-year period, including the “Apotheosis of Washington,” the “Frieze of American History” and the walls of the Brumidi Corridors.  (https://www.aoc.gov/capitol-hill/artists/constantino-brumidi)

Brumidi’s artistic vision was based on the wall paintings of ancient Rome and Pompeii, and on classical revivals that occurred in the Renaissance and Baroque periods, and in the early 19th-century.

Frieze of American history by Brumidi. (photo courtesy of Architects of the Capitol)

Brumidi was born in Rome before Italy was a nation. Beginning at age 13, he studied for 14 years at the Academy of St. Luke and was trained in the full range of painting mediums, including true fresco, and possibly in sculpture. He achieved a mastery of the human figure and learned how to create the appearance of three-dimensional forms on flat surfaces, an effect called trompe l’oeil (“fool the eye”).

At the Roman villa of the wealthy Torlonia family, he was in charge of decorating the new theater with murals including trompe l’oeil architectural forms and classical motifs that he later adapted for the Capitol.

Brumidi also worked extensively for the Vatican, restoring frescoes for Pope Gregory XVI and painting the official portrait of Pope Pius IX. His last murals in Rome were in a small church dedicated in 1851.

Brumidi helped support his family with the coffee shop inherited from his father. He also served as captain in the civic guard authorized by Pius IX, but when the pope fled the city, and a republic was declared in 1849, Brumidi was caught up in the revolution when he removed valuable objects from church buildings for safekeeping.

After the pope returned to power, Brumidi was among many arrested and accused of serious crimes. Despite numerous testimonies in his favor, and after 13 months of incarceration, he was sentenced to 18 years in prison. The pope pardoned him with the understanding that he would be leaving for America, where he was promised work in planned churches.

Arriving in New York in September 1852, Brumidi immediately applied for citizenship, which he was granted in 1857. He undertook private portrait and domestic commissions as well as painting altar pieces and murals in numerous churches.

Frieze at the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, D.C.

Beginning in 1855, Brumidi decorated walls and ceilings in the U.S. Capitol Building.  He worked with teams of artists to carry out his designs, executing all of the true frescoes himself. His murals combine classical and allegorical subjects with portraits and scenes from American history and tributes to American values and inventions.

Brumidi’s major contributions are the monumental canopy and frieze of the new Capitol Dome, and the Capitol Apotheosis in 1865.  He began painting the frieze depicting major events in American history in 1878 but died on February 19, 1880, with the work less than half finished.

Brumidi’s frieze image depicting Christopher Columbus landing in North America (photo courtesy of Architects of the Capitol)

Filippo Costaggini carried out Brumidi’s remaining designs between 1881 and 1889.  The entire frieze was not completed until 1953, when Allyn Cox added the last three scenes.

The sequence of 19 scenes begins over the west door and moves clockwise around the Rotunda. See https://www.aoc.gov/art/other-paintings-and-murals/frieze-american-history for details of the scenes.

Brumidi’s frieze image depicting North American aviation (photo courtesy of Architects of the Capitol)

Brumidi’s immigration to the U.S. and his citizenship is an example of the influence of those coming to the United States to provide significant and lasting value, how people from around the world helped build a nation to champion world freedom and prosperity. Notice it took Brumidi from 1852 to 1857 to obtain his U.S. citizenship.  He became a citizen the right way, even though it took about five years. 

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Doors of democracy

House Bronze Doors

The bronze doors at the east portico entrance of the U.S. Capitol’s House wing were designed by the American sculptor Thomas Crawford in Rome in 1855–1857.  

The models were shipped from Leghorn, Italy, in 1867 but remained stored in the Crypt of the Capitol until 1903, when they were cast by Melzar H. Mosman of Chicopee, Massachusetts. The doors were installed in 1905.

Each valve consists of three panels and a medallion depicting significant events in American history. More details are at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/uscapitol/6512593605/in/album-72157628429510117/

Senate Bronze Doors   

These bronze doors were created for the east portico of the new Senate wing during the mid-nineteenth-century expansion of the Capitol. They were designed and modeled by the American sculptor Thomas Crawford in Rome in 1855–1857.

After Crawford’s death in 1857, William H. Rinehart was commissioned to complete the work and the models were shipped to America in 1864. They were cast by James T. Ames at his foundry in Chicopee, Massachusetts, in 1864–1868, and placed late in 1868.

Each valve consists of three panels, depicting events in the life of George Washington and Revolutionary War scenes, and an allegorical medallion. More details are at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/uscapitol/6512520301/in/album-72157628429510117/

Blessings along the Way!

Ron

Continue the Dream

Statue of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

History is full of simple to resplendent dreams for those who dare.  I’m confident each of us has dreams and aspirations of life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. 

Many dreams die in the night, not able to be nurtured toward fruition.  Life is like that.

Some dreams culminate in our personal lives while some benefit humankind. 

Where many dreams have died, there are those who awoke amidst the turmoil and strife, arousing the dream of tomorrow in each beautiful life.

Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Lincoln Memorial reminded be of one who stepped beyond defeat and the weight that suppressed, to rebuild a nation under God that recognizes the rights of each – recognizing that each person is created in the image of God with equal rights under His law. 

Abraham Lincoln saw equality in each human being and kept the dream toward a new beginning for those who struggled for life itself. 

Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

Robert Musso Moton shared these words at the dedication of the Lincoln Memorial “With malice toward none, with charity for all we dedicate ourselves and our posterity, with you and yours, to finish the work which he so nobly began, to make America an example for all the world of equal justice and equal opportunity for all.” Robert Russo Moton, Address at the Lincoln Memorial dedication, May 30, 1922

A National Stage for Civil Rights

The Lincoln Memorial was built in 1922 to heal national divisions caused by the Civil War.  Yet for many, Lincoln’s promise of freedom remained incomplete.  Over the next half century, the looming figure of Abraham Lincoln witnessed a number of events and demonstrations that reinforced the memorial’s importance as a symbolic space for civil rights movements.  http://americanhistory.si.edu/changing-america-emancipation-proclamation-1863-and-march-washington-1963/1963/lincoln-memorial

Another leader of freedom Martin Luther King Jr, arose with a dream for all to be free in a nation that was founded on freedom for all.  This dream permeates the world where even today there are those in every nation who cannot yet enjoy the pleasures of a free life. 

Martin Luther King Jr, believed in the ideals of a nation were every child, teen and adult can enjoy God’s wonderful world without fear, intimidation or prejudice – being free to enjoy every aspect of life.

The Lincoln Memorial is a landmark where he shared his dream to the world – “I have a Dream” speaking on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. 

Excerpts:

“I say to you today, my friends, though, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up, live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.'” (personal addition – women too)

“When we allow freedom to ring – when we let it ring from every city and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, ‘Free at last, Free at last, Great God a-mighty, We are free at last.'”

See the similarities between Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King, Jr.?  They lived short lives but made a profound impact to the world.

Excerpt of Abraham Lincoln from the education center at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

“I leave you, hoping that the lamp of liberty will burn in your bosoms until there shall no longer be a doubt that all men are created free and equal.” Abraham Lincoln  (https://www.keepinspiring.me/abraham-lincoln-quotes) (personal note – women included)

Let’s continued the dream!

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron

Capitol Crypt


The white stone compass star in the center marks where the city’s four quadrants meet. 

Yes, you read this correctly.  There is a place in the U.S. Capitol called the Crypt. 

For a long time the term has referenced the space below the main floor of a church or a chamber in a mausoleum.  We often think of a crypt as a place for burial, right?

Why the capitol then?  It is something different. The Crypt contains 40 smooth Doric columns of sandstone, which support the arches holding up the floor of the Rotunda,  the large, domed, circular room located in the center of the Capitol on the second floor. 

The columns are modeled on the Temple of Poseidon, which were the shortest and the strongest columns that survive from classical Greece.

The sandstone floor hosts hundreds of people visiting every day from around the world.  The white stone compass star in the center marks where the city’s four quadrants meet. 

Sandstone used in the U.S. Capitol

Around the perimeter are statues of prominent individuals from the nation’s original 13 colonies.  Display cases present exhibits and historic objects.

The Crypt was associated with a proposed interment even before it was built. After the death of President George Washington in 1799, Congress resolved to honor him in the Capitol.

A chamber for the remains of the first president and his wife was added to the plans for the center section of the building and constructed two stories below the Rotunda. Directly above the tomb, where the center of the Crypt is located, was to be placed a marble statue of Washington.

A 10-foot circular opening was left in the center of the Rotunda floor so that visitors could view it from above. However, Washington’s grave remained at Mount Vernon in accordance with his wishes, and no statue of him was ever placed in the Crypt.

Because the 10-foot opening allowed persistent drafts and dampness into the Rotunda, it was sealed in 1828.  https://www.aoc.gov/blog/how-crypt-got-its-name

George Washington truly represented our nation and its values well.  He didn’t want to become a king but simply wanted to return to his civilian life after his term was over so others could be elected president. 

Maybe our political leaders should revisit the ideals of President Washington in providing selfless service for the people. 

Blessings and love along the way,

Ron