Category Archives: history

Winter Solstice 2022

Today at last the northern hemisphere will reach the official starting point of winter, but we’ll also begin the long slow march toward the summer season.

Solstices are both an astronomical event as well as a moment when we can look back on past human history and consider the importance that ancient civilizations placed on these events. They built incredible structures, many of which still exist, to mark the occasions. Understanding earth’s seasonal clock was a matter of literal life and death.

I don’t think it’s an accident that holidays of family gathering and giving happen to fall so close to the winter solstice. Before Christmas, or Hanukkah, or the Roman festival of Saturnalia, there were older winter solstice traditions that marked the end of the harvest and hope for spring after the cold of winter. Those ancient holiday traditions have been largely lost to time, but they influence us even today.

So certainly we can look forward to a fun holiday season of gift-giving and family time in our warm homes. But let’s remember the most ancient of all holidays today and be thankful that no matter how cold it may seem now, spring and summer are coming once again.

Photos from America’s Battlefields

How many places have you visited from each of America’s wars?

French and Indian War

I have not yet been to any sites of the French and Indian War (which would include places like Fort Necessity, Fort Duquesne, and Fort Niagara.

War of Independence

We’ve been to Lexington and Concord where the first shots were fired and the Old North Church as well in Massachusetts. We also stopped at Musgrove Mill in South Carolina, where a regiment of colonials defeated the British in the southern theater.

War of 1812

This is a complicated one. Technically you could include New Orleans and even the White House. But I’ll go with Old Ironsides here. The USS Constitution sunk HMS Guerriere in the War of 1812 and was undefeated at sea against 5 British ships. Very impressive.

Old Ironsides, The USS Constitution, victorious at sea in the War of 1812

Mexican-American War

Most of the war fought between the US and Mexico occurred in Mexico. But the Alamo was the most famous battleground even if the Texas was not yet part of the US. The Texans may have lost the Alamo in a fight to the death, but they quickly avenged it at San Jacinto and won independence.

The Alamo, San Antonio, TX

Civil War

The first full-scale battle of the Civil War was at Manasses in Virginia. The Confederacy won and the reality of the war set in for those who thought it would be a quick Union victory. I also have included Fort Sumter in Charleston, where the first shots were fired.

Indian Wars

Not yet, but Little Bighorn will happen next summer. I might make a trip to Sand Creek too.

Spanish-American War

Not yet unfortunately. We are going to Puerto Rico which saw part of the fight in the Spanish-American war.

World War I

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

This is not yet as well, although I will someday go to a WWI battle site in Europe. But the Tomb of the Unknown soldier marks the grave of a World War I veteran.

World War II

Yes, I have been to Pearl Harbor but I don’t have a photo to share here. I was 13 at the time. I’d love to go back there, but also I’d really love to see the battlefields of Europe.

I suppose I could count a bunch of cities in Europe that were invaded and liberated. The Arc de Triomphe in Paris was marched through by German troops in 1940. In 1944 Allied troops, led by the Americans and British, liberated the city and carried out their own victory march through the Arc.

Arc de Triomphe

Korean War

I don’t think too many non-Koreans are going to have one for this often-forgotten war

Vietnam War

USS Midway

The USS Midway saw significant action in Vietnam, thus we will count it here.

Gulf War I

Nope for this one too. Rather difficult unless you were a veteran of the war.


No to this one as well. I would include the memorial locations but, haven’t been to them. Sites in Afghanistan are, well, not safe to go to.

Iraq War

Well, no to this one too. I don’t think the city of Tikrit will be a safe destination for a while.