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First shot of WWII Sept 1st: trumpet call in Poland; Sept 3, 1939, torpedo sank British ship: passenger survivor's ordeal

a Polish veteran looks at navy soldiers and honor guards during ceremonies marking the anniversary of the first day of World War II at Westerplatte Monument in Gdansk

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70 years on, wartime rifts still run deep

Trumpet call in Poland: Around dawn, as the morning light pushed the darkness away from the city of Gdansk, a company of Polish sailors stood at attention as a trumpet call rang out. At 4:45am, 70 years to the minute after the first shots of WWII were fired, Poland's prime minister & president bowed their heads in remembrance. In a day of high emotion for Poland &, heads of state & dignitaries from around the world gathered at Westerplatte, the tiny peninsula overlooking Gdansk's harbor where battle first commenced, to remember the start of a conflict that would engulf the world & claim 60 million lives. At 4:45am on 1 Sept. 1939, the German battleship Schleswig-Holstein – on a "friendly visit" to Danzig – trained its sights on the vulnerable outpost & opened fire.

a rose and a Polish flag is placed on the grave of Major Henryk Sucharski who defended Poland during the first days of the World War II at Westerplatte  read more »

"Thank you, Teddy (Edward Kennedy), for fighting for my civil rights." Farewell to all Kennedy brothers, all with courage!

Left: Kennedy brothers – 1960: John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy & Edward Kennedy. Bottom right: Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. in his pilot's gear. The eldest of nine siblings, he died in a plane crash on a volunteer mission during World War II at age of 29.

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Remember Ted Kennedy, liberal icon, as he did Bobby: "My brother need not be idealized or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it." Ted Kennedy, a faithful Catholic & Lion of the Senate, politician fighting legislative battles for 47 years on behalf of the less fortunate, is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, Washington, D.C., next to his two brothers.

Chris Mason, of Cambridge, Mass., carries his hand written sentiments along the procession route, ‘Thank you, Teddy, for fighting for my civil rights.’ Bostonians lined up along the route to pay their respects to their senator & his family; Inset: Ted Kennedy, the ‘Lion of the Senate,’ died on Aug 25, 2009 at 77  read more »

The measure of a man's success in life is not the money he's made. It's the kind of family he has raised.- Kennedy

top left: Joseph P. Kennedy Sr.; top right: Rose Kennedy holding Joe Jr., presumably prior to 1921; bottom: Kennedy family visits Pope Pius XII in Vatican City, 1939. Young Ted Kennedy stands in front of his father Joseph

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Joseph Kennedy, father of JFK, “bobby” & Ted Kennedy, was appointed by President Roosevelt in 1934 to be the 1st chairman of the Securities & Exchange Commission. By 1935 Kennedy had helped to restore the economy. He said, “An organized functioning society requires a planned economy. The more complex the society the greater the demand for planning”, prudence, and responsible regulation. “Planned action is imperative, or else capitalism and the American scheme of life will be in serious jeopardy.” Bobby described his father’s mentality, “We were to try harder than anyone else, we might not be the best, and none of us were, but we were to make the effort to be the best.” Kennedy family, through strict and loving disciplines, has become legendary.

three brothers: Robert ‘Bobby’ Kennedy, Ted Kennedy, and John F. Kennedy (JFK)

The Kennedy Patriarchs  read more »

Beauty & diplomacy, charm & compassion for refugee. Joanne Herring, Charlie Wilson, Avrakotos: trio ended Afghan war

Joanne Herring in Afghanistan with the mujahideen

History won’t forget each one who deploys diplomacy rather than weaponry to end war which inevitably imposes tremendous suffering on humanity. History remembers that a team of three once did the impossible, ending the Afghan war, ending misery of refugees due to war. The trio also won "Charlie Wilson's War" (a movie based on the true story stars Tom Hanks (Charlie Wilson), Julia Roberts (Joanne Herring) and Philip Seymour Hoffman (Gust Avrakotos).

Charlie Wilson's War (2007) starring Tom Hanks, Julia Roberts, Philip Seymour Hoffman, based on George Crile's book Charlie Wilson's War

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Charles Wilson  read more »

Longest full solar eclipse of century turns day to night in Asia, celestial show inspiring awe & fear in millions

Top left: moon passes between sun & earth during solar eclipse as seen in Changsha, Hunan province, China; Bottom left: partial solar eclipse silhouettes birds surrounding minaret of shrine of Sufi Saint Bah-ud-din Zakria in Multan, Pakistan; Top right: dragonfly flies in sky during total solar eclipse in Seoul. South Korea; Bottom right: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan has seen what scientists say is the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century taken from the national observatory on Iojima island, Japan

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The longest total solar eclipse of the 21st century was visible in a 155 miles corridor as it traveled half the globe and passed through the world's two most populous nations, India and China. The eclipse began at 5:28am local time (2358 GMT) in India and lasted up to a maximum of 6 minutes and 39 seconds when it hit the Pacific Ocean. Total eclipses are caused when the moon moves directly between the sun and the Earth, covering it completely to cast a shadow on Earth. Wednesday's was the longest since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting six minutes and 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. There will not be a longer eclipse until 2132.  read more »

40 yrs ago: "we choose to go to the moon."It was hard. Now for mankind to keep Earth green, it's to be much harder

Photo: as Neil Armstrong climbed down the ladder of Apollo 11's Lunar lander, he made his famous quote, ‘One small step for man, One giant leap for mankind!’; Inset: President John F. Kennedy

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July 20, 1969 saw the first human footsteps on the moon. John F. Kennedy remarked, "we choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not only because they are easy, but because they are hard." Apollo 8 astronaut Bill Anders, after he snapped the historic Earthrise photo on December 1968, said, "we came all this way to explore the moon and the most important thing is that we discovered the Earth." Apollo 14 astronaut Stuart Roosa, a former U.S. Forest Service smoke jumper, took with him tree seeds from a Loblolly Pine, Sycamore, Sweet Gum, Redwood, and Douglas Fir. After Roosa's return to Earth, the original seeds were germinated by the U.S. Forest Service and the result was "moon trees." Moon trees now grow in many places. A Moon Sycamore also shades Roosa's grave at Arlington National Cemetery.

Left: A second generation Sycamore 'moon' tree was newly planted in celebration of Earth Day 2009 & the 40th Anniversary of the first Apollo moon landing at the National Arboretum. Right: Earthrise, as seen by the Apollo 8 crew  read more »

"..and that's the way it is." Newsman, veteran, Walter Cronkite's journey fr reporting WWII, Vietnam War, Iraq War...

CBS news legend Walter Cronkite, hailed as ‘the most trusted man in America’ during his 18 years as anchor of the Evening News

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Journey of Walter Cronkite (1916-2009) covered Allied invasion of Normandy, WWII... He wept as he announced John F Kennedy's assassination, shouted encouragement when the Apollo astronauts lifted off for the moon and was the nightly conduit of information on America's Vietnam War nightmare for families across the nation. 30 years ago, news anchorman Walter Cronkite would finish up his hourly news broadcast to the nation of America by saying, "...and that's the way it is."

Left: Walter Cronkite receives the Scripps Institute of Oceanography award for his efforts in highlighting science in the media; Right: WEWS Jenny Crimm with Walter Cronkite  read more »

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