J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Archive for the tag “America”

The Lincoln Bible

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On Inauguration Day last Friday, the 45th President of the United States, Donald J. Trump, was sworn into office using what is known as the Lincoln Bible. He is the third president to have done so. An interesting tradition is that presidents are given the opportunity to choose which Bible they will use for their swearing in. Trump chose the Lincoln Bible, as well as a Bible his mother gave him.

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The Lincoln Bible, published in 1853, is a King James Version covered in burgundy velvet. It was first used at the inauguration of President Abraham Lincoln in 1861. The Lincoln Bible was not considered to be anything special at the time of Lincoln’s swearing in. Similar Bibles are valued at only $30 to $40. Thomas Carroll, clerk of the Supreme Court, loaned the Bible to Lincoln for the inauguration ceremony. After Lincoln was assassinated in April 1865, the Bible was passed down to his family. In 1928, it was donated to the Library of Congress.

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The second president to use the Lincoln Bible for his inauguration was Barrack Obama. During his 2009 inauguration, a spokesman said Obama chose to use the Bible because he thought it represented American unity. Obama also used the Bible in 2013.

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Prior to last Friday’s ceremony, a spokesman for Trump said the newly-elected president was inspired by Lincoln’s words. “In his first inaugural address, President Lincoln appealed to the ‘better angels of our nature,” said Tom Barrack, chairman of Trump’s presidential inauguration committee. “As he takes the same oath of office 156 years later, President-elect Trump is humbled to place his hand on Bibles that hold special meaning both to his family and to our country.”

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https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/18/us/politics/lincoln-bible-trump-oath.html?_r=0

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/01/18/the-symbolism-of-trumps-two-inaugural-bible-choices-from-lincoln-to-his-mother/?utm_term=.e8901d31df77

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/17/donald-trump-inauguration-bibles/96661060/

http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/abraham-lincoln/videos/lincolns-inaugural-bible

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Featured on Awesomegang

Yesterday, I was a featured author on Awesomegang, which highlights authors and their work. Here is the interview:

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Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I am an author and a singer/songwriter. I have written several books. So far, I have had three published. They are the first three books in the Renegade Series.

What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
A Rebel Among Us. I was inspired to write it after I visited the Gettysburg battlefield.

Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I like to listen to Civil War music when I write to help put me in the mood and mindset of Victorian America.

What authors, or books have influenced you?
Gone With the Wind, Cold Mountain, Widow of the South

What are you working on now?
A nonfiction book about Confederate warhorses.

What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
My own website, http://jdrhawkins.com, and various social media sites, as well as my publisher’s website, http://foundationsbooks.net/library.

Do you have any advice for new authors?
Keep writing and never give up. Write what’s important to you.

What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Don’t get discouraged by reject letters. Use them to wallpaper your bathroom.

What are you reading now?
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

What’s next for you as a writer?
My nonfiction book will be out next year, and I will be publishing the fourth book in the Renegade Series.

If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
The Holy Bible, Gone With the Wind, The Yearling, and Old Yeller.

Author Websites and Profiles
JDR Hawkins Website
JDR Hawkins Amazon Profile
JDR Hawkins Author Profile on Smashwords

JDR Hawkins’s Social Media Links
Goodreads Profile
Facebook Profile
Twitter Account
Pinterest Account

http://awesomegang.com/jdr-hawkins/

The Election Process of Peculiarity

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Election Day is now upon us. It goes without saying that this has been an unusual election year. First, a woman is running for president, and she was previously a First Lady. Second, a business tycoon is running for president. He has no political experience but says he is running “to make America great again.” Both candidates have expressed their concern over rising health care costs, immigration policies, college loans, and foreign policy. Both have unique plans for the country, and so far, the vote is tied. It will be interesting to see the outcome and how the American people react and unite afterward.

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Over the course of the country’s history, many unusual elections have taken place. The musical Hamilton has brought to light the bizarre duel in 1801 between Thomas Jefferson’s vice-president, Aaron Burr, and Alexander Hamilton, who died in the duel. The conflict was brought about when Hamilton decided who would be president: Jefferson or Burr.

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When Abraham Lincoln was elected in 1860, he represented the very first candidate of the Republican Party. Lincoln did not win in any southern state, and yet, he won 40% of the popular vote and most of the electoral vote. Prior to his inauguration, he was ushered into Washington D.C. (then known as Washington City) via train, under cover of night, and in a disguise because death threats had been made against him. Lincoln’s election lead to the Civil War, which would ultimately claim more than 620,000 lives over the course of four years.

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In 1872, Victoria Woodhull became the first female presidential candidate. Her running mate was Frederick Douglas, an outspoken freed slave and abolitionist. Also in 1872, President Grant, previously General Ulysses S. Grant, who had led the Union army to victory, ran against newspaper mogul Horace Greeley. Oddly, Greeley died before the electoral votes could be dispersed. Grant attended his rival’s funeral.

In 1884, Belva Lockwood ran under the Republican ticket. Her running mate was Marietta Stow, the first female vice-presidential candidate.

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Eugene Debs ran for president five times. In 1918, he delivered an anti-war speech, claiming “the ruling class” sent “the working class” to war. He was convicted of espionage and sentenced to ten years in prison, where he conducted his presidential campaign. He didn’t secure enough votes to beat out Warren G. Harding, but the following year, on Christmas Day, Harding commuted Debs’ sentence.

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In 1948, Harry S. Truman was predicted to lose to Thomas Dewey. This famous photograph was taken after Truman won the election.

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The first televised presidential debates took place in 1960 between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Kennedy secured the African-American vote when he helped free Martin Luther King Jr. from prison weeks before the election.

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The election of 1964 centered on race and the Civil Rights movement, and pitted Republican Barry Goldwater against Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson. The Democrats’ mudslinging campaign effectively portrayed Goldwater as a racist, which he staunchly denied.

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In 1972, Shirley Chisholm became the first major party black candidate for president, and the first woman to ever run for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination. And in 2008, Barack Obama was elected as the first African American president.

As you can see, America has had an illustrious and, at times, strange history of elections. Many of these examples occurred because of flaws in the electoral system. Unfortunately, for the American people, corruption is still rampant. Last week, my husband saw a woman stuffing an election box. Is Trump correct by saying the election is rigged, or is he paranoid? It will be fascinating to find out tomorrow and in the coming weeks.

Voice your choice. Vote!

For a list of female presidential and vice-presidential candidates, check out:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_female_United_States_presidential_and_vice-presidential_candidates

The ten most bizarre elections in American history:

http://www.cnn.com/2015/10/30/politics/interesting-u-s-elections/

The Destruction of History

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It has been brought to my attention that a group in Montgomery, Alabama, calling itself the Southern Poverty Law Center, is in the process of mapping out all Confederate monuments and statues in the United States. Their intention, I’ve been told, is to eradicate these markers and monuments, and thus do away with any reminders of the Confederacy. The S.P.L.C. is not a government agency, and therefore, does not have any legal right to do what they are doing.

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I find it alarming that such behavior is being allowed. Talk about discrimination! If they were targeting any other group in America, I’m sure everyone would be up in arms. But since they are attacking Confederate monuments, suddenly everyone thinks that those monuments and statues are “racist.” This is purely ignorant, to say the least. Confederate veterans were declared American war veterans, and a law was passed to establish this in 1958. Desecrating their graves and markers is a federal offense, and should be dealt with accordingly.

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Hate groups such as the S.P.L.C. and the N.A.A.C.P. are trying to take away Southern heritage, and to me, that’s just plain wrong. They claim that the Confederate battle flag is racist, but that is merely an excuse to accomplish their hidden agenda, which is to take away heritage reminders. By doing this, history can be erased and new symbolism can be put in its place. There has been more racial unrest in the past year and a half than there has been in fifty years since the 1960’s. It’s shameful that our illustrious president has nothing to say on the matter. It’s almost as if he wants to stir up social unrest by remaining silent. The groups that are crying racism need to take a serious look in the mirror. They are the biggest bigots.

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The South has every right to retain its own rich, unique, and diverse history. Our politicians need to stop backing down and start standing up for these rights. One person eloquently referred to it this way, and I agree. What’s taking place in America is a modern day witch hunt.

Post-Civil War Files Will Enhance Family Searches

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Recently, FamilySearch, a large genealogy organization, announced that it is in collaboration with several other organizations to digitally release records they collected through the Freedmen’s Bureau. They plan to have the records searchable by 2016. This is a fascinating and important step, allowing millions of Americans to discover their true ancestry. It will also give people the opportunity to connect with relatives they never knew existed.

The Freedmen’s Bureau obtained information about an estimated 4 million newly freed slaves, including their previous owners, marriage and family history, military service, banking practices, and hospital and property records. These records serve as a treasure trove for African Americans who have been unable to learn more about their ancestry for years. They will also allow all Americans to learn how the United States transformed once Reconstruction began.

“The records serve as a bridge to slavery and freedom,” said Hollis Gentry, of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which will showcase the records when it opens next year. “You can look at some of the original documents that were created at the time when these people were living… We get a sense of their voice. We get a sense of their desires, their goals, their dreams, their hopes.”

The Craziness Continues

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I’m sure glad I bought my Confederate battle flag when I did, because now it will be increasingly difficult to find one. In the latest news, the oldest flag manufacturer in the country, Annin Flagmakers, has stated that it will cease manufacturing the flag. Not only has Walmart pulled the flag from its shelves, but now Amazon, Sears and eBay have pulled the flag from their sites as well. It’s amazing all the uproar one deranged lunatic has caused. Never mind that he killed nine innocent people and nothing’s been said about that – let’s get rid of that nasty flag instead!

“We never want to offend anyone with the products we offer,” Walmart said in a statement.

I could name many items Walmart sells that offend me, but that’s another story.

According to USA Today, “Flag makers say there isn’t much of a market anyway for the Confederate flag in the U.S.”

“It’s not something regularly produced,” says Reggie Vandenbosch, chairman of the Flag Manufacturers Association of America. “It’s not even a 10th of a percent of the overall business.”

So then what’s the big deal? If there aren’t that many flags being sold, why are they all being pulled? Is it because they supposedly might offend some people? Mass murder offends me, not the flag.

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The Flag Manufacturers Association plans to discuss continuing the manufacture of the Confederate flag. In the meantime, Valley Forge Flag, where Vandenbosch is the vice president of sales, will stop selling it.

The states of Tennessee and Virginia have banned the use of the flag on license tags. This action directly attacks the Sons of Confederate Veterans, because their banner is the Confederate battle flag. To me, this seems highly unjust. The SCV uses the flag to honor 480,000 Confederate Civil War casualties, not to stir up social unrest.

A Confederate activist group, the Virginia Flaggers, regularly displays Confederate flags on private property along major highways. The group condemned the move, stating that their displays have always occurred without incident.

In other news, the governor of Alabama removed the Confederate flag from the capitol grounds in Montgomery. There was no press conference or fanfare; no vote or ceremony. The flag was just gone this morning.

“We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with,” said Alabama Governor Robert Bently (R). “This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise, we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down.”

Wow. A distraction? So keeping the flag flying would prevent the governor from raising taxes, then? How does that work? So far, the governor of Mississippi has vowed to keep the flag, which is in the state flag’s canton.

I wonder what would have happened if Dylann Roof had been holding an American flag in his photo instead, or a Bible? Hypersensitivity reigns in the U.S.A. now, but instead of directing blame at the person who deserves it, the Confederate battle flag is being blamed because it supposedly stirs racial unrest. I can’t imagine how many people are offended by all of this, in that their history and heritage are being suddenly swept away. There are many people in the South who love this flag, both black and white, and I’m sure they feel personally attacked. Still others say it’s time for the flag to go, and that it’s time to move on. I believe the flag needs to be reinvented, instead of being associated with racism. Removing it from public view won’t solve any problems.

Protesters display Confederate flags United States flags from the bed of a pickup truck May 6 on a highway about 15 miles south of Miami in what organizers said was a protest to show support for Attorney General Janet Reno and respect for the flag. Organizers said they wanted to counteract demonstrations held by members of the Cuban-American community that followed the April 22 seizure of Cuban rafter Elian Gonzalez by government agents from the home of his Miami relatives. BC/CLH/

The Birthday of a President

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Today is the birthday of Confederate president Jefferson Davis. He was born in Christian County, Kentucky, not far from where Abraham Lincoln was born one year later. The tenth youngest child of a plantation owner, Davis rose to become one of the most celebrated, and yet controversial, American statesmen.

His illustrious career began with the military, where he served as an officer. He was elected to the House of Representatives and later to Congress, married twice, and had six children, but only one survived to adulthood. He saw much pain and sadness in his lifetime, but still maintained his firm belief in the Confederate cause. Following the War Between the States, he became somewhat of a recluse, penning his memoirs at Beauvoir in Biloxi, Mississippi. After his death at age 81, his wife, Varina, had his body moved to Richmond, where it remains today.

Bertram Hayes-Davis, who is the great-great grandson of Jefferson Davis, frequently tours the country speaking on behalf of his infamous ancestor. Sadly, he has encountered obstacles in regard to having Jefferson Davis receive the honor he so greatly deserves. In fact, there is talk about removing his statue from the National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol Building. Instead of dismissing Jefferson Davis as being politically incorrect, we should honor him for the sacrifices he made for his country and what he believed to be right. Let us celebrate him as a true patriot and the American icon that he was.

Civil War Monument Rededicated

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Some places still honor their Civil War ancestors, instead of tearing down their statues. Today, a special ceremony took place in Pierre, South Dakota, to dedicate a Civil War monument on the grounds of the state capitol. State officials and civilians reenacted the original dedication, which took place 95 years ago.

The Capitol Complex Restoration and Beautification Commission approved various upgrades to the monument site, which included adding sidewalks, lighting, landscaping, benches and a flagpole. Governor Dennis Daugaard read remarks that were made at the June 1, 1920 dedication. Other state officials read remarks originally given by members of the Grand Army of the Republic. A group of Pierre citizens also sang “America” and the “Star Spangled Banner,” just as they had been sung at the original dedication.

This is a very noble and respectful way to treat statues of heroes past. It is truly a shame that certain places in the South can’t show as much gratitude. Instead, they are too concerned with political correctness, and who the monuments might offend. It is a sad day in our country’s consciousness when we try to erase what we consider to be unacceptable today. Public opinion was much different in the 1860’s. The whole country should use Pierre as an example of how we should cherish our ancestors and our past, no matter which side of the Mason-Dixon Line they fought for.

National Library Week (Read a Book!)

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This week (April 12-18) is National Library Week, which was first sponsored in 1958. According to the American Library Association, National Library Week is a national celebration of the contributions of America’s libraries and librarians, and was established to promote library use and support. The timing for this designation was significant, because studies conducted in the mid-1950’s showed that Americans were becoming more interested in TV, radio, and movies. So National Library Week was invented to bring attention back to books.

Celebrations during National Library Week include:

In Honor of Two Great Americans

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This weekend and next week mark the birthdays of two renowned American heroes: General Robert E. Lee and General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Although the Confederacy for which they fought and/or died for ceased to exist, and was overcome by a unified government over states’ rights, these men served the military with bravery, distinction and nobility. This week I will honor General Lee, whose birthday is on January 19. An article of this remarkable man follows:

Two Anecdotes of General Lee

By Walter B. Barker.

The life and character of so noble a man as General Robert E. Lee is a theme that none but our greatest minds should discuss in public or in private, but with your permission the writer, who held an humble position on the staff of Brigadier General Jos. R. Davis, of Mississippi, (nephew of Jefferson Davis), in the Army of Northern Virginia, will relate two little incidents which happened at the “Battle of the Wilderness.”:

On the eve of the 5th of May General Lee, with General Stuart, rode to the front, where Stuart’s cavalry had encountered the advance of the Federal army. As they rode through the infantry, then awaiting orders, passing a farm house, three young ladies stood at the gate of the residence, holding a package, which from his gallantry, or good looks, or both, they entrusted to Capt. E.P. Thompson (nephew of Jake Thompson, and now a Mississippi editor), of General Davis’s staff, with the request that he deliver the same to General Lee. It contained three handsomely embroidered colored merino overshirts, very much worn in the army. Capt. Thompson at once rode forward to overtake the General, who had by this time reached within range of the shots from Grant’s skirmishers, and while under fire tendered the gift as from the ladies. General Lee, with his usual self possession and courteous bearing, said to Capt. T.: “Return my warmest thanks to the ladies, and be kind enough to deliver the package to one of my couriers: say that I trust I may see and thank them in person.

Early on the morning of the 6th, Grant, who had massed a heavy force in the immediate front of Davis’s Mississippi brigade, opened fire and began a forward movement on our lines at this point. Seeing we were unable to check their advance, Colonel Stone (since Governor of Mississippi), commanding Davis’s brigade, sent word to General Heth, division commander, that he must be reinforced, which brought to our aid a division of Longstreet’s corps, led in person by that able Lieutenant General. It was at this critical crisis that General Lee appeared upon the scene. After the enemy had been repulsed on the right, and while our chieftain was awaiting, in painful anxiety, information from our left wing, a courier — a mere youth — came dashing up with a message from Lieutenant General R.H. Anderson, his small pony panting like a deer that had been pursued by a pack of trained hounds. Delivering his sealed message to General Lee in person, who, after reading it, noticing how tired his pony was, said to him: “Young man, you should have some feeling for your horse; dismount and rest him!” at the same time taking from the small saddlebags attached to his own saddle a buttered biscuit, giving half of it, from his own hand, to the young courier’s pony. This act of consideration for the dumb beast made a lasting impression upon my then youthful mind, and taught me ever since to treat all animals as if they had feelings as ourselves. At the moment it occurred to me, hungry as I was, that he had better have divided his biscuit with the rider of the animals, or myself; but I soon appreciated the motive of his hospitality to the poor beast, and, as before stated, learned a lesson in kindness to animals I shall not soon forget.

Southern Historical Society Papers.
Volume XII.  July-August-September.  Nos. 7, 8, 9

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