Category Archives: History

USA, Arizona, Winslow – Meteor Crater Natural Landmark

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While we were driving to Henderson, NV to visit family we passed by Meteor Crater Natural Landmark just east of Flagstaff, AZ (Meteor Crater Enterprises, Inc., Interstate 40, Exit 233, Winslow, AZ 86047 USA). We were in no hurry so we took the time to visit. As you can see from the aerial photo above, the crater is quite large.

IMG_0884The meteorite that created the crater 50,000 years ago is estimated to have weighed 300,000 tons and was traveling at a speed of 26,000 miles per hour when it hit the Earth. The meteorite exploded with the force of 2 ½ million tons of TNT. In the photo above you can see the largest found fragment of the mostly iron meteorite.

IMG_0876The resulting crater was 3/4 of a mile (about 1 kilometer) wide and 750 feet deep. Over the intervening 50,000 years, the crater has filled in some so that it is now only 550 feet deep.

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To give you some perspective of the size, they have placed a 6′ astronaut figure (because the astronauts headed to the Moon trained here) and a 4′ x 6′ US flag at the base of the crater. They are placed inside the red circle in the photo above.

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Of course, you can’t see them with the naked eye. Even in the close up above you can’t see them.

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I had to use one of the prepositioned telescopes at the visitor center observation deck to see them. With a little effort, I captured a photo with my iPhone. That does put the distance in perspective!

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There is a nice visitor center (far right) with a film and museum on the edge of the crater. You can also see in the photo above how the rim of the crater is raised almost 150′ above the level of the ground. This is because the meteorite buried itself into the ground before exploding. That explosion pushed the edge of the crater up as well as spreading millions of small meteorite bits around the area.

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We were also on a short guided (man in yellow) tour that went about a quarter of a mile west along the north rim of the crater.

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We thought that this side trip was well worth the expense (Adults: $18.00, Seniors (60+):  $16.00, Juniors: (age 6 to 17) $9.00, Non-Active Duty U.S. Military/Veterans (with I.D.): $9.00) and time.


See my other Food & Location posts


 

Music of WWII: “Sentimental Journey”

(See my other WWII related posts) – The song “Sentimental Journey” was published in 1944. It was written by Les Brown and Ben Homer, and the lyrics were written by Bud Green. It was recorded in 1945 with Doris Day as the lead singer. The recording was released as the war in Europe was headed to a close. The song reached the Billboard charts on March 29, 1945, and lasted 23 weeks climbing all the way to the #1 spot. Because of the timing of the release, the song was popular with troops returning from the European Theater.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 330 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Escape from Paris”

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See all of my Book Reviews) – “Escape from Paris” eBook was published in 2019 (October) and was written by Stephen Harding (http://stephenhardingbooks.com/index.html). Mr. Harding has published four books.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The story is set in German-occupied France. While on a bombing raid, a B-17 is shot down on July 14, 1943. This story tells how they are rescued by the French, hidden from the Germans, and eventually smuggled out of France.

The crew makes repeated attempts to leave France, but they are blocked again and again. Along the way one of the American flyers falls in love with the young daughter of a family hiding him in Paris.

I enjoyed the 7 hours I spent reading this 288-page non-fiction story. I enjoyed this look at the French resistance at work in German-occupied France. I like the cover art chosen. I give this book a 4 out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 330 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Texas Military Forces Museum – Hands-on​ History Night 2019

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(See my other Texas Military Forces Museum related posts) – Last Saturday I worked my first “Hands-on History” night at the Texas Military Forces Museum as a docent. I was really impressed by both the attendance and the wide array of weapons and equipment on display.

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Tables were set up and manned by volunteer reenactors from various periods of Texas Military history.

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Periods represented included: Texas Revolution, Civil War, World War I, World War II (German and US), Korea and Vietnam/Contemporary.

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volunteer reenactors at each of the tables demonstrated the equipment and provided the visitors with details of how it was used.

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Nearly 600 visitors explored the museum and were able to climb into several of the vehicles that are normally just on display.

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The big hit of the night was the Sherman Tank. The line to climb inside filled quickly and during the peak of the evening was near an hour wait. Everyone was able to take their turn inside well before the evening ended.

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I enjoyed the 5+ hours I spent helping visitors to the museum. After experiencing a “Hands-on History” night for myself, I am going to encourage a lot of my friends to take part next year. Many people are surprised to find this 45,000 sq. ft. free museum in the heart of Austin.

If you are interested in history, visit the Museum website to see when the next event takes place. The Museum is free (adults do need to show ID to enter Camp Mabry) and open Tuesday thru Sunday 10AM to 4PM. The living historians (reenactors) will present their Close Assault 1944 living history program on Veterans Day weekend in November.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 330 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II-era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Reviews: “Templar Secrets”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Templar Secrets” eBook was published in 2018 and was written by Andreas Economou (https://www.aeconomouauthor.com). This is Mr. Economou’s second publication. See my interview with the author.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘R’ because it contains scenes of Violence. The story is set across the ages as it tells a story of the Templars and the Masons.

This story is a mixture of facts and fiction. In the present is George Makrides living in Cyprus. He has recently joined the Masons and has been seeking the secrets that he expected to be revealed.

Starting in 966 BCE Hiram is sent by his king to design and build King Soloman’s temple, but there is intrigue between the kings. Later the crusades take the Holy Land and established the Kingdom of Jerusalem. There is a need to protect pilgrims as they travel to Jerusalem from Europe and the Knights Templar are born. Much later the French nobility and church view the Templars as a wealthy threat and they are persecuted. The Templars are eventually officially disbanded.

Foreseeing trouble, the Templar leadership hides their treasure on Cyprus. The head of the order forms the Masonic lodge to maintain and hand down clues to where the order’s treasure has been hidden. The Masonic order evolves over the decades, but the essential clues in their ceremonies remain.

George and his friend and Masonic brother Alex are becoming disillusioned with the Masons, but their interest in the Templars has expanded. They wonder if the fabled Templar treasure exists and if it really is hidden on Cyprus.

I enjoyed the 11 hours I spent reading this 474-page mystery. While the primary plot of the story is the mystery of the Templar treasure which George and Alex pursue, I found the historical fiction of the Templars and the Masonic lodge much more interesting. I like the selected cover art. I give this novel a 4.1 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).

Music of WWII:​ “Der Fuehrer’s Face”

(See my other Music and WWII related posts) – I posted yesterday about the Disney short animated film “Der Fuehrer’s Face“. This video is the Spike Jones and His City Slickers recording that was published before the film and which inspired Disney to change the name of their film from “Donald Duck in Nutzi Land” to “Der Fuehrer’s Face”.

This recording was released in September of 1942. It is a parody of the Nazi anthem, “Horst Wessel Song”. Unlike the Disney version, Jones included a rude sound effect (known popularly as “Bronx Cheer”) every time “Heil” was in the lyrics to show further contempt for Hitler. This recording was very popular and reached #3 on the US music charts.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

 

Disney 1943 anti-Nazi Animated Short “Der Fuehrer’s Face”

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(See my other WWII and Disney  related posts) – The animated short (07:52) film “Der Fuehrer’s Face” was released January 1, 1943. It features the popular Donald Duck having a nightmare about working in a WWII Nazi factory. This American propaganda film was intended to help sell war bonds.

The film was originally titled “Donald Duck in Nutzi Land”. The title was changed to “Der Fuehrer’s Face” after Spike Jones released a version of the song “Der Fuehrer’s Face” in September of 1942 that was written for the film. The film “Der Fuehrer’s Face” won an Oscar for the Best Animated Short Film at the 15th Academy Awards in March of 1943.


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Limited to 35 mph?

images(See my other WWII related posts) – We are currently used to legally driving between 60 and 85 miles per hour (depending on your location) on highways in the US. That freedom was not allowed during the years of WWII.

The US had been at war for almost a year when the decision was made to set a national speed limit to reduce the consumption of tires and gasoline, both of which were being rationed. The new “Patriotic Speed Limit” of 35 mph (56 km/h) was put in place in May of 1942 and lasted until August of 1945 [1]. This was called the “Victory Speed” and was implemented nationwide and rolled out across the various states [2]. A year later though the US Public Roads Administration found that the law was being frequently ignored [3].

That low speed drastically impacted driving times, even within metropolitan areas. Imagine driving across the state of Texas at its widest point – 880 miles from roughly Orange in the east to El Paso in the west. Today that drive at our speeds can take 12.5 hours on I-10. That same distance driving 35 mph would take over 25 hours and of course, they didn’t have Interstate highways back then so the drive would even have been longer.

Just one more sacrifice people suffered through during WWII.

 

References

  1. Home Front Friday: The “Victory Speed” Limit
  2. ‘Patriotic Speed Limit’ was 35 mph
  3. On the Home Front – Speed Limits

If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Book Review: “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War”

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(See all of my Book Reviews) – “Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth Armies and the Second World War” eBook was published in 2019 and was written by Jonathan Fennell. This is Mr. Fennell’s second published book.

I received an ARC of this novel through https://www.netgalley.com in return for a fair and honest review. I categorize this novel as ‘G’. The book covers the British and Commonwealth Armies in both theaters during the course of World War II.

Considerable time is spent with the British, Canadian, South African, Australian, New Zealand, and Indian forces. While the book is full of numbers and facts, it is very readable, though long. I was surprised to see repeated references to the sick numbers and censor reports. The censors made monthly reports of the general feelings and attitudes of the soldiers in their letters to friends and loved ones back home. These reports were able to provide the higher echelons of the army with feedback on the morale of their troops.

I had not known about the manpower resource problems, that is a reluctance to volunteer for overseas duty, that plagued the Commonwealth military. Nor had I been aware of the growing shortage of replacements for the British in Europe following the D-Day invasion. I can see why the story of WWII told D-Day forward is mostly an American story.

I found the 25.5 hours I spent reading this 966-page history very interesting. I like the chosen cover art. I give this novel a 4.4 (rounded down to a 4) out of 5.

My book reviews are also published on Goodreads (https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/31181778-john-purvis).


If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these three pages of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.

Friday WWII Flix: “World War​ II in Colour”​

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(See my other WWII related posts) – I came across this series on NetFlix a short time ago and have been enjoying the 13 episodes of the mini-series. The series has an 8.7/10 rating on IMDB. The series was released in 2009 and the synopsis per IMDB:

Recounts the events of World War II in color.

That is a very brief but direct statement. NetFlix says:

Rare footage, state-of-the-art colorization and newly uncovered documents are used in this examination of the strategies and battles of World War II.

 The episodes are each 51 minutes long and are titled:

  1. The Gathering Storm
  2. Lightning War
  3. Britain at Bay
  4. Hitler Strikes East Red Sun Rampant
  5. The Mediterranean and North Africa
  6. Turning the Tide
  7. The Soviet Steamroller
  8. Overlord
  9. Closing the Ring
  10. The Island War
  11. Victory in Europe
  12. Victory in the Pacific

If you are interested in the WWII era of history, you may find these two pages of mine of interest. 

The  World War II Sources” page is a constantly growing collection of more than 320 links to museums, memorials, websites, Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other sources with information on the World War II era in history.

The “World War II Timeline” page expands almost daily and shows events leading up to WWII, as well as during the war. Events are broken down into the Pacific and European Theaters by date.

The “About WWII” page is a collection of links to posts that I have made over the years that are relevant to WWII.