Underground

The ‘September 11 Museum’ was dedicated on May 15 (2014). and opened to the public on May 21. Its exhibits include 23,000 images, 10,300 artifacts, nearly 2,000 oral histories of those killed – mostly provided by friends and families – and over 500 hours of video.

The underground museum has artifacts from ‘September 11’ (2001), including steel from the ‘Twin Towers’ (such as the final steel, the last piece of steel to leave Ground Zero in May 2002). It is built at the former location of Fritz Koenig ‘The Sphere’, a large metallic sculpture placed in the middle of a large pool between the ‘Twin Towers’. Battered but intact after the attacks, ‘The Sphere’ was moved to be displayed at ‘Battery Park’. In December (2011), museum construction halted temporarily due, according to the ‘Associated Press’, to disputes between the ‘Port Authority’ of ‘New York’ and ‘New Jersey’ and the ‘National September 11 Memorial and Museum Foundation’ over responsibility for infrastructure costs.

On March 13 (2012), talks on the issue began and construction resumed. After a number of false opening reports, it was announced that the museum would open to the public on May 21 (2014). The museum was dedicated on May 15 (2014). In attendance were a range of dignitaries, from ‘President Barack Obama’, former ‘President Bill Clinton’, former ‘Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’ and ‘New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’ to former mayors ‘David Dinkins’, ‘Rudy Giuliani’ and ‘Michael Bloomberg’ and current mayor ‘Bill de Blasio’. During the hour-long ceremony LaChanze sang “Amazing Grace”, which she dedicated to her husband (who was killed in the World Trade Center that day).

During the five days between its dedication and the public opening, over 42,000 first responders and family members of ‘9/11’ victims visited the museum. An opening ceremony for the museum was held on May 21, during which twenty-four police officers and firefighters unfurled the restored 30-foot (9.1 m) national ‘9/11’ flag before it was brought into the museum for permanent display. The gates surrounding the museum were then taken down, marking their first removal since the attacks. Opening-day tickets quickly sold out. Despite the museum’s design (to evoke memories without additional distress), counselors were available during its opening due to the large number of visitors.


“The Donald”

On June 16, 2015, ‘Trump’ announced his candidacy for President of the ‘United States’ at ‘Trump Tower’ in ‘New York City’. ‘Trump’ drew attention to domestic issues such as illegal immigration, offshoring of American jobs, the ‘U.S.’ national debt, and Islamic terrorism, and announced his campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again”.

‘Trump’ runs as a self-described conservative, particularly in fiscal and religious matters. His campaign emphasises ‘American patriotism’, with a disdain for political correctness. ‘Trump’ is the second major-party presidential nominee in ‘American’ history whose experience comes principally from running a business (Wendell Willkie was the first). If elected, ‘Trump’ would become the first ‘U.S.’ President without prior government or military experience. In part due to ‘Trump’ lack of political experience, ‘Republican’ leaders such as ‘House Speaker’ ‘Paul Ryan’ were hesitant to support him early on, doubting his chances of winning the general election and fearing he could harm to the image of the ‘Republican Party’.

However, ‘Trump’ candidacy succeeded with ‘Republican’ primary voters, partly because of widespread media coverage, his status as a political outsider, his defiance of political correctness, and his experience in business. ‘Trump’ extensive platform has frequently changed throughout his campaign trail.

In his ‘RNC’ acceptance speech, ‘Trump’ promised to combat illegal immigration by building a wall along the U.S.–Mexico border, reform healthcare by repealing and replacing Obamacare, rebuild the U.S. military while improving veterans’ care, veto trade agreements that are unfavorable to ‘American’ workers, and tackle ‘Islamic’ terrorism by defeating ‘ISIS’ and suspending immigration from countries that have been compromised by terrorism until the government has perfected its ability to screen out potential terrorists.


High-Flyer

‘Kobe Bryant’ played his entire 20-year career with the ‘Los Angeles Lakers’ of the ‘National Basketball Association’ (NBA). He entered the ‘NBA’ directly from high school and won five ‘NBA’ championships with the ‘Lakers’.

‘Bryant’ is an 18-time ‘All-Star’, 15-time member of the ‘All-NBA Team’, and 12-time member of the ‘All-Defensive’ team. He led the ‘NBA’ in scoring during two seasons, and ranks third on both the league’s all-time regular season scoring and all-time postseason scoring lists. He holds the ‘NBA’ record for the most seasons playing with one franchise for an entire career.

The son of former ‘NBA’ player ‘Joe Bryant’, ‘Kobe Bryant’ enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at ‘Lower Merion High School’ in ‘Pennsylvania’, where he was recognized as the top high school basketball player in the country. He declared for the ‘NBA’ draft upon graduation, and was selected with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 ‘NBA’ draft by the ‘Charlotte Hornets’, who traded him to the ‘Los Angeles Lakers’.

As a rookie, ‘Bryant’ earned himself a reputation as a high-flyer and a fan favorite by winning the (1997) ‘Slam Dunk Contest’, and he was named an ‘All-Star’ by his second season. Despite a feud between them, ‘Bryant’ and ‘Shaquille ONeal’ led the ‘Lakers’ to three consecutive championships from (2000-2002).


Hallowe’en 1745

Today ‘Halloween’ customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the ‘Celtic’ speaking countries, some of which have pagan roots, and others which may be rooted in ‘Celtic Christianity’. Indeed, ‘Jack Santino’, a folklorist, writes that “the sacred and the religious are a fundamental context for understanding Halloween in Northern Ireland, but there was throughout Ireland an uneasy truce existing between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and those associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived”.

Historian ‘Nicholas Rogers’, exploring the origins of ‘Halloween’, notes that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain”, which comes from the ‘Old Irish’ for “summer’s end”. ‘Samhain’ was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval ‘Gaelic’ calendar and was celebrated in ‘Ireland’, ‘Scotland’ and the ‘Isle of Man’.

It was held on or about 31 October – 1 November and kindred festivals were held at the same time of year by the ‘Brittonic Celts’; for example ‘Calan Gaeaf’ (in Wales), ‘Kalan Gwav’ (in Cornwall) and ‘Kalan Goañv’ (in Brittany). ‘Samhain’ and ‘Calan Gaeaf’ are mentioned in some of the earliest Irish and ‘Welsh’ literature. The names have been used by historians to refer to ‘Celtic Halloween’ customs up until the 19th century, and are still the ‘Gaelic’ and ‘Welsh’ names for ‘Halloween’.


’68 Comeback

Recorded in late June in ‘Burbank’, ‘California’, the special, called simply ‘Elvis’, aired on December 3, 1968. Later known as the ’68 Comeback Special’, the show featured lavishly staged studio productions as well as songs performed with a band in front of a small audience — ‘Presley’ first live performances since (1961).

The live segments saw ‘Presley’ clad in tight black leather, singing and playing guitar in an uninhibited style reminiscent of his early rock-and-roll days. ‘Bill Belew’, who designed this outfit, gave it a ‘Napoleonic’ standing collar (Presley customarily wore high collars because he believed his neck looked too long), a design feature that he would later make a major trademark of the outfits ‘Presley’ wore on stage in his later years. Director and coproducer ‘Steve Binder’ had worked hard to reassure the nervous singer and to produce a show that was far from the hour of ‘Christmas’ songs ‘Parker’ had originally planned.

The show, ‘NBC’ highest rated that season, captured 42 percent of the total viewing audience. ‘Jon Landau’ of ‘Eye magazine’ remarked, “There is something magical about watching a man who has lost himself find his way back home. He sang with the kind of power people no longer expect of rock ‘n’ roll singers. He moved his body with a lack of pretension and effort that must have made Jim Morrison green with envy.” Dave Marsh calls the performance one of “emotional grandeur and historical resonance.”


God Bless the USA

‘American’ patriotic song written and recorded by country music artist ‘Lee Greenwood’, and is considered to be his signature song. The first album it appears on is (1984) “You’ve Got a Good Love Comin'”. It reached No. 7 on the ‘Billboard’ magazine ‘Hot Country Singles’ chart when originally released in the spring of (1984), and was played at the (1984) ‘Republican National Convention’ with President ‘Ronald Reagan’ and first lady ‘Nancy Reagan’ in attendance, but the song gained greater prominence during the ‘Gulf War’ in (1990) and (1991), as a way of boosting morale.

The popularity of the song rose sharply after the ‘September 11’ attacks and during the (2003) invasion of ‘Iraq’, and the song was re-released as a single, re-entering the country music charts at No. 16 and peaking at No. 16 on the ‘Billboard Hot 100’ pop chart in (2001). ‘Greenwood’ said that he “wanted to write it my whole life. When I got to that point, we were doing 300 days a year on the road, and we were on our fourth or fifth album on MCA. I called my producer, and I said I have a need to do this. I’ve always wanted to write a song about America, and I said we just need to be more united.” The reason behind the cities chosen in the song ‘Greenwood’ says, “I’m from California, and I don’t know anybody from Virginia or New York, so when I wrote it—and my producer and I had talked about it—[we] talked about the four cities I wanted to mention, the four corners of the United States. It could have been Seattle or Miami but we chose New York City and Los Angeles, and he suggested Detroit and Houston because they both were economically part of the basis of our economy—Motortown and the oil industry, so I just poetically wrote that in the bridge.”

A music video was released for this song in (1984), depicting ‘Greenwood’ as a farmer who loses the family farm. The video was produced and edited by ‘L.A. Johnson’ and directed by ‘Gary Burden’. A second video was released in (1991), also on ‘VHS’, and was directed by ‘Edd Griles’. A third music video was also released after the ‘September 11’ (2001) attacks.

“God Bless the USA” debuted on the ‘Hot Country Singles & Tracks’ chart for the week of May 26, (1984).


Eastertide

It is celebrated as a single joyful feast, indeed as the “great Lord’s Day”. Each ‘Sunday’ of the season is treated as a ‘Sunday of Easter’, and, after the ‘Sunday of the Resurrection’, they are named ‘Second Sunday of Easter’, ‘Third Sunday of Easter’, etc. up to the ‘Seventh Sunday of Easter’, while the whole fifty-day period concludes with ‘Pentecost Sunday’.

· Like Anth J. Tru on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/1j1RkAh
· Follow Anth J. Tru on Twitter: http://bit.ly/ThUWrD