Happy Independence Day!

Photo by Donovan Reeves on Unsplash

Today is a day in the United States for reflection and gratitude. To reflect on our nation’s history and be thankful for the sacrifices made by those men and women all those years ago.

I have a patriot who fought in the Revolutionary War for independence from Great Britain– as well as the subsequent membership in the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR).

I have an ancestor who came from England to Plymouth Colony on the Mayflower.

And, I have a Scottish ancestor who was captured by the British in 1650, endured the horror that was Durham Cathedral, and started over again in the New World after a sea voyage aboard the ship Unity. He returned to his homeland, but his children emigrated to the eastern seaboard of the colonies.

Today, I thank these brave men, the courageous women who accompanied them, and the children who came before me. I have a rich past that is similar to, or lesser than, many others. It doesn’t matter if you come from someone ‘notable’, or descend from humbler stock. Your ancestors made you the person you are today.

Perhaps you wish that private was actually a Major-General… But you would be a completely different person, or maybe not even here. Be thankful for your ancestors and for whatever role they played in your personal history, as well as the world’s history.

To celebrate the birth of the United States and my ancestor’s roles in its formation, I arranged for the ebook of The Voyage to be offered for FREE on amazon.com. You can search for the book using my name in the Amazon search bar, or use the quick links on the left side of this website. The book is an easy-reader and illustrated by the same artist who does the Guinness the Therapy Dog series. The ebook will be available for FREE TODAY AND TOMORROW ONLY!

Grab your copy! Sonja

#fathersday

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

Moms had their day in May; now it’s time for the Dads!

First celebrated in 1910 on the third Sunday of June, this day is set aside for dads and anyone with paternal bonds. It became an official holiday in the United States in 1966, thanks to a bill signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. Catholic Europe celebrated fatherhood as far back as the 1500s-in March. Before that, the Catholic Church observed it on St. Joseph’s Day. This goes back to the late 1300s or early 1400s.

How did it get to the Americas? It was The tradition was brought to the Americas by the Spanish and Portugese. Thank you to those explorers and settlers!

Different countries hold the celebrations throughout the year, from February to December, with the bulk of the countries observing Father’s Day in June. The earliest is Russia and Belarus. They also celebrate the men and women who served in the Russian Armed Forces. December is the month that Thailand celebrates fathers and also the birthday of the king. In every village, they will wear yellow, light candles, and listen to the king’s annual speech.

The say was originally spelled “Fathers’ Day,” but by 1913 the apostrophe had moved to make it “Father’s Day” in a bill during the first attempt to make it a holiday. This spelling is still in use today.

Happy Father’s Day to all those with paternal bonds! Sonja

#memorialday

Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash

I hope you take some time today to honor those who have fallen. It’s the day to thank the soldiers, airmen, Marines, seamen, and those of the Coast Guard who have died in service to their country.

Originally known as Decoration Day, it originated in the years following the Civil War. On May 1, 1865 freed slaves gathered to observe the POWs from one Union camp who had died and were buried in a mass grave. They consecrated the ground, sang hymns, and put down flowers.

In 1868, the holiday was organized by a veteran of the Union Army, General John A. Logan. He selected May 30th as a national day of commemoration for those killed in the Civil War. Named Decoration Day, it was the day to lay flowers on veterans’ graves.

The reason for the date is a mystery, but it is thought that May 30th was selected because flowers across the country would be in bloom.

It’s possible that General Logan took the idea from Southern women’s groups. They were already laying flowers on the graves of Confederate soldiers.

Decoration Day officially became Memorial Day in 1971, and expanded to include all wars, not just the Civil War. The Uniform Monday Holiday Act moved the holiday to the last Monday in May. Veterans groups were against the move, thinking it would make the holiday a celebration of the beginning of summer rather than a time to honor the dead. They have lobbied to have the holiday returned to May 30th to change the focus of the holiday back to its original purpose.

The red poppy is a symbol to remember the sacrifices made by the nation’s military. It began in 1915, when poppies grew in battlefields across northern France and current-day Belgium. Wearing a red poppy on Memorial Day began with a World War I poem. A Canadian Lieutenant wrote the poem ‘In Flanders Field’ after seeing clusters of the red flowers. He was a brigade surgeon in an Allied artillery unit and wrote of the soldiers who had been killed in battle.

A teacher in Georgia read the poem later in 1915 and wrote an accompanying poem, ‘We Shall Keep the Faith.’ Because of her efforts, the poppy is the symbol of rememberance.

To honor our nation’s dead, Americans are encouraged to fly their flags at half-staff until noon, and pause at 3 p.m. local time for the National Moment of Rememberance.

Information for this post was found at History.com.

Sonja

Happy Mother’s Day!

Photo by carolyn christine on Unsplash

Today is the day to thank your mom for everything she does, and has done, for you. It’s Mother’s Day in the United States and was initiated as a holiday in 1908 when a woman named Anna Jarvis wanted to memorialize her mother.

The day is meant to honor mothers and motherhood or, as Jarvis said, because a mother is “the person who has done more for you than anyone in the world”.

Mother’s Day is celebrated in more than forty countries, not all on the same date but usually in the first half of the year. There are a handful of countries that celebrate mothers and mothering in the last quarter of the year (October-November-December).

In the United States, carnations are meant to be given. White carnations remember a mom who has passed, and colored carnations thank those who are living.

Jarvis, the creator of the holiday, lamented how commercialized it became, and protested at a candy makers convention in 1923 and at a meeting of the American War Mothers in 1925 when they sold carnations as a fundraiser.

There are some who even credit commercialization (especially by the floral industry) with keeping the holiday current and not allowing it to fade away.

Happy Mother’s Day! Sonja

Happy Easter!

There are two sides to Easter: the religious side and the bunny/egg/baby chick side.

Why both?

Typically celebrated on the first Sunday after the full moon after the vernal equinox (whew!), Easter combines the Christian belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ and some pagan traditions that celebrate birth and fertility.

So, that’s why we die and hunt eggs during the celebration of Christ’s rising from the dead?

Basically.

The name ‘Easter’ has been attributed to the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility, Eostrae. Others say the word came from the Latin phrase albis, which is plural for ‘dawn’, or from the Old High German word eostarum, which evolved from the Latin I just mentioned. (Old High German preceded English and contributed to its development).

Have a great Sunday–and happy Easter. Sonja

The Voyage

(c) 2019

Have you had a chance to check out my new book, ‘The Voyage’? It’s an illustrated east-to-read book about the beginnings of one of America’s founding families.

If you’ve been to Cape Cod, Massachusetts you’ve likely driven or ridden through Sandwich. That’s where the Wing Fort House is located. You should take a tour. The house is chock-full of furniture and other belongings owned by the Wing Family.

The kitchen is something special and when you walk in you can imagine the family gathered around the gigantic fireplace. The smell of bread baking or a stew bubbling in a cast iron pot hanging off a hook over the flames fills your imagination. And that’s just the first room!

My ancestor, Stephen Wing, was the man who built the house. History relates this story: He was fearful of an Indian uprising and built a very solid fort home. The Indians in the area turned out to be very nice and helpful, making the home overbuilt. But I bet those 12-inch thick walls helped keep those frigid winter temperatures out of the home!

Time to take a trip! Sonja