Archive for the ‘History’ Category

DeSaulnier, Lee introduce Confronting and Correcting Historical Injustices Act

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021

Bill will “establish commission for Review and Correction of Historical Injustices, and for other purposes.

The Congressman hopes to address the unfair treatment of the Port Chicago 50 during World War II

Representatives DeSaulnier & Lee. Official photos.

Washington, DC – Today, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2021, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier (D, CA-11) and Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D, CA-13) announced the introduction of the Confronting and Correcting Historical Injustices Act (H.R. 1196), a bill that would establish a commission to recognize and remedy the discrimination suffered by individuals and groups at the hands of the federal government.

The bill would create the Commission for Review and Correction of Historical Injustices, an independent commission responsible for reviewing and investigating federal cases in which individuals and groups have been unjustly discriminated against by federal agencies or entities. Cases eligible for consideration experienced discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, physical or mental disability, or sexual orientation, and where the original act of discrimination led to a charge, conviction, discharge, or dismissal. The Commission would also be responsible for recommending legislative or executive action to adequately make whole those who experienced discrimination.

The proposed bill does not yet include any text, according to the Congressional legislation website.

“Now more than ever, we need to come together as a nation to dismantle the systems that were built to disadvantage people of color and other marginalized groups. To do that, we must confront and correct the injustices the federal government has perpetrated that were based on bias, discrimination, and hate,” said DeSaulnier. “I can think of no better way to celebrate Black History Month than publicly acknowledging those injustices and setting them right. Only by addressing the past can we begin healing the stark divides that continue to exist in our country. I am grateful to lead this effort with a civil rights champion like Congresswoman Lee.

The bill is in addition to Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee’s (D, TX-18) Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans Act (H.R. 40), that she reintroduced, last month.

“For too long, the federal government has played a central role in creating unjust policies across the United States, from redlining and mortgage discrimination to the systemic racism in our public health system that persists today,” said Lee. “It’s past time that we recognize the legacy of racial inequality in our institutions and call on the federal government to address these historical injustices. The Confronting and Correcting Historical Injustices Act is a critical step in demanding accountability and action from the federal government in order to move forward. I thank Congressman DeSaulnier for his leadership on this issue.”

One example that inspired this legislation is the case of the Port Chicago 50. On July 17, 1944 at the Port Chicago Naval Magazine in DeSaulnier’s district and hometown of Concord, California, 435 African American munitions sailors, who were not properly trained or supported by the Navy, were killed or injured when a cargo vessel exploded as they were loading munitions. When 50 of these men refused to return to the unsafe working conditions that killed their fellow sailors without additional supports or training, they were discriminately charged and convicted of mutiny. Without a process like the one the bill creates in place, the families of the Port Chicago 50 have been unable to have their loved ones exonerated.

“Wow! I’m so grateful to Congressman DeSaulnier and Congresswoman Lee for this bill to establish a Commission for Review and Correction of Historical Injustices. It has been long overdue. There has been a painful legacy of injustices in this country and I am hopeful it will help in the exoneration of the Port Chicago 50 who were found guilty of mutiny and severely sentenced even though no mutinous acts occurred. The Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial would like their names to be cleared and the convictions removed,” said Rev. Diana McDaniel of the Friends of Port Chicago National Memorial.

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Antioch Council honors city’s first African American resident Tuesday night

Tuesday, February 9th, 2021

Thomas Gaines. Photo: City of Antioch

Part of Black History Month

During last night’s meeting the Antioch City Council adopted a resolution honoring the city’s first African American, declaring yesterday, February 9, 2021 as Thomas Gaines Day in Antioch. Following is the text of the resolution: Thomas Gaines Day resolution 020921

CELEBRATING THOMAS GAINES DAY IN ANTIOCH

FEBRUARY 9, 2021

WHEREAS, Since the beginning of Antioch in the 1800’s our community has become home for new residents from around the world; and

WHEREAS, In the 1860’s an emancipated slave named Thomas Gaines came to Antioch and worked as a laborer on the Antioch docks; and

WHEREAS, Thomas Gaines was the only African American resident of Antioch between 1860 and the 1940’s; and

WHEREAS, He lived in a red brick shack on the waterfront in the back of the Antioch Lumber Company; and

WHEREAS, On February 28, 1875, Thomas Gaines became a member of the First Congregational Church by profession of faith; and

WHEREAS, Thomas Gaines was highly regarded around town for his noble work and his caring attention towards others – he regularly walked women and children home from church for safety; and

WHEREAS, Today Antioch celebrates a rich cultural heritage and inspiring diversity, and collaborates with several community partners to recognize Black History Month in February with special events and impressive exhibits.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, LAMAR THORPE, Mayor of the City of Antioch, do hereby proclaim February 9, 2021, as “THOMAS GAINES DAY” during Black History Month and the Black History Month Exhibit Days and I encourage all citizens, schools, and organizations to learn more about Antioch’s cultural history, Black History Month, and Thomas Gaines, the first African American resident.

 

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Pearl Harbor veterans to be honored in virtual “Eye of Diablo” Beacon-Lighting Ceremony December 7

Saturday, November 28th, 2020

Mount Diablo’s Beacon lights the nighttime sky on December 7. Copyright Stephen Joseph; used with permission.

Commemorative Pictorial Postmark Announced

By Laura Kindsvater, Communications Manager, Save Mount Diablo

This December 7th, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, three local survivors of World War II’s “Day of Infamy”—the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941—will share their stories as part of a virtual ceremony filmed primarily atop Mount Diablo.

Sponsors of the yearly event, including local land trust Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, and California State University– East Bay, are proud to present a virtual celebration this year beginning at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on Monday, December 7th.

In a 45-minute video, three local East Bay survivors of the Pearl Harbor attack will recount their experiences that fateful day. Speakers will then pay tribute to those who sacrificed their lives and honor those yet living, “Lest We Forget” the tragedy that befell the country nearly six decades ago and the way we came together after the attack.

Three Pearl Harbor survivors and the crowd celebrating the Beacon being lit and looking up to the Summit of Mount Diablo from the California State University–East Bay Concord Campus on December 7, 2018. Photo by Richard Usinger.

“When that beacon light is turned on, that’s a tribute to those individuals who lost their lives at Pearl Harbor,” said Pearl Harbor survivor Earl “Chuck” Kohler from Concord.

Save Mount Diablo’s Executive Director Ted Clement noted, “This year it is especially important that we come together as a nation to honor National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day and those who served. Reflecting on that day and the aftermath reminds us of the strength of our nation when we come together even amidst great adversity. Our December 7th virtual event will enable more people to come together on this important day.”

Eddie Guaracha, California State Parks Diablo Range District Superintendent, stated, “As we reflect on this historic event, it is not only critical to remember the many lives that were lost, but also to remember the selfless acts undertaken by many on this fateful day. This is the spirit of our country in critical times. It is an honor to represent California State Parks on this momentous occasion, and I hope we can all remember to radiate kindness toward one another, as we remember those who gave all on this day.”

“As we pass through difficult, often divisive times ourselves, the sacrifices borne by the American people following that fateful morning some 79 years ago should give us all an enormous sense of pride, and most importantly, hope for the future. Cal State East Bay is honored to once again participate in this annual act of remembrance,” said Robert Phelps, Director of the California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus).

The U.S. Postal Service, in commemoration of this year’s National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, is issuing a special pictorial postmark. The postmark can be obtained by following the instructions here.

Those interested in witnessing this year’s virtual Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day Ceremony can find the video link on Save Mount Diablo’s home page at 4:30 PM on December 7th at www.savemountdiablo.org.

Background

Every year since 1964, the Pearl Harbor survivors and their families have memorialized Pearl Harbor Day by relighting the historic Beacon atop Mount Diablo’s summit.

The Beacon was originally lit by Charles Lindbergh in 1928 to assist in the early days of commercial aviation. The Beacon shone from the summit of Mount Diablo each night until December 8, 1941, the day after the attack on Pearl Harbor.

It was not relit until December 7, 1964, when Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, Commander in Chief of Pacific Forces during World War II, attended a ceremony on Mount Diablo’s summit in commemoration of the survivors of Pearl Harbor. He suggested that the Beacon be lit every December 7th to honor those who served and sacrificed.

Save Mount Diablo, California State Parks, the Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors Chapter 5, California State University–East Bay (Concord Campus), and others organize the annual lighting ceremony of the Beacon every December 7th in honor of the National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

One of the bright lights provided to the San Francisco Bay Area during this pandemic is the Mount Diablo Beacon, which Save Mount Diablo staff and volunteers light every Sunday night after sunset so that the Beacon can shine brightly through the darkness until it is rested after sunrise on Monday.

Save Mount Diablo’s lighting of the Beacon every week is a way to thank our heroes in these troubling times, to help our communities come together, and to remind people to lift their eyes to the light and nature.

Save Mount Diablo began this weekly lighting of the Beacon on Sunday, April 12th, Easter Sunday. However, the Beacon will not be lit on Sunday, November 29th and Sunday, December 6th to build anticipation for and honor the coming National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. After the December 7th ceremonial lighting of the Beacon, Save Mount Diablo will resume the weekly lighting of the Beacon for as long as the pandemic rages here.

Commemorative Pictorial Postmark Announced

As a community service, the U.S. Postal Service™ offers pictorial postmarks to commemorate local events celebrated in communities throughout the nation.

Those who wish to obtain the postmark may submit a mail order request. Requests must be postmarked no later than 30 days following the requested pictorial postmark date.

All requests must include a stamped envelope or postcard bearing at least the minimum First-Class Mail® postage. Items submitted for postmark may not include postage issued after the date of the requested postmark. Such items will be returned unserviced.

Customers wishing to obtain a postmark must affix stamps to any envelope or postcard of their choice, address the envelope or postcard to themselves or others, insert a card of postcard thickness in envelopes for sturdiness, and tuck in the flap. Place the envelope or postcard in a larger envelope and address it to: Pictorial Postmarks, followed by the Name of the Station, Address, City, State, ZIP+4® Code, as listed next to the postmark.

Customers can also send stamped envelopes and postcards without addresses for postmark, as long as they supply a larger envelope with adequate postage and their return address. After applying the pictorial postmark, the Postal Service returns the items (with or without addresses) under addressed protective cover.

About Sons and Daughters of Pearl Harbor Survivors

It is the mission of the SDPHS to create programs that inspire youth and adults to learn and document the history of the beginning of WWII and the days that followed from people who experienced it and from their ancestors. Learn more at www.sdphs.org.

About Save Mount Diablo

SMD is a nationally accredited, nonprofit land trust founded in 1971 with a mission to preserve Mount Diablo’s peaks, surrounding foothills, and watersheds through land acquisition and preservation strategies designed to protect the mountain’s natural beauty, biological diversity, and historic and agricultural heritage; enhance our area’s quality of life; and provide recreational opportunities consistent with the protection of natural resources. Learn more at www.savemountdiablo.org.

About California State Parks

To provide for the health, inspiration, and education of the people of California by helping to preserve the state’s extraordinary biological diversity, protecting its most valued natural and cultural resources, and creating opportunities for high-quality outdoor recreation. Learn more at www.parks.ca.gov.

About California State University–East Bay

Cal State East Bay welcomes and supports a diverse student body with academically rich, culturally relevant learning experiences that prepare students to apply their education to meaningful lifework, and to be socially responsible contributors to society. Through its educational programs and activities, the university strives to meet the educational needs and to contribute to the vitality of the East Bay, the state, the nation, and global communities. Learn more at www.csueastbay.edu.

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President Trump issues Thanksgiving 2020 Proclamation honoring 400th Anniversary of Pilgrims’ arrival

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

PROCLAMATIONS

The White House

Proclamation on Thanksgiving Day, 2020

Issued on: November 25, 2020

On Thanksgiving Day, we thank God for the abundant blessings in our lives.  As we gather with family and friends to celebrate this season of generosity, hope, and gratitude, we commemorate America’s founding traditions of faith, family, and friendship, and give thanks for the principles of freedom, liberty, and democracy that make our country exceptional in the history of the world.

This November marks 400 years since the Mayflower and its passengers faced the unknown and set sail across the Atlantic Ocean.  Propelled by hope for a brighter future, these intrepid men and women endured two long months at sea, tired and hungry, to arrive in a new world full of potential.  In the winter weather that greeted their arrival, they lost nearly half of their fellow travelers to exposure, disease, and starvation.  Despite unimaginable hardships, these first Americans nevertheless remained firm in their faith and unwavering in their commitment to their dreams.  They forged friendships with the Wampanoag Tribe, fostered a spirit of common purpose among themselves, and trusted in God to provide for them.  The following year, they celebrated a successful harvest alongside their Native American neighbors — the first Thanksgiving.  This seminal event in the history of our Nation is a continual reminder of the power of faith, love, perseverance, prayer, and fellowship.

The Mayflower’s arrival to the New World in 1620 also marks the arrival of the first seeds of democracy to our land.  Absent the rule of a monarch in an uncharted wilderness, these early settlers resolved to create their own government through what is known as the Mayflower Compact.  Defined by majority rule through elected leaders responsible for creating “just and equal laws,” the Mayflower Compact represents the first chapter in the long tradition of self-determination and rule of law in America.  One hundred and fifty-six years later, our Nation’s Founding Fathers resolved to break free from England, building upon the Mayflower Compact to establish an enduring government whose authority came solely “from the consent of the governed.”

This year, as our Nation continues to combat the coronavirus pandemic, we have once again joined together to overcome the challenges facing us.  In the midst of suffering and loss, we are witnessing the remarkable courage and boundless generosity of the American people as they come to the aid of those in need, reflecting the spirit of those first settlers who worked together to meet the needs of their community.  First responders, medical professionals, essential workers, neighbors, and countless other patriots have served and sacrificed for their fellow Americans, and the prayers of our people have once again lifted up our Nation, providing comfort, healing, and strength during times of uncertainty.  Despite unprecedented challenges, we have not faltered in the face of adversity.  To the contrary, we have leveraged our strengths to make significant breakthroughs that will end this crisis, rebuilding our stockpiles, revamping our manufacturing capabilities, and developing groundbreaking therapeutics and life-saving vaccines on record-shattering timeframes.

During this season of gratitude, we also acknowledge those who cannot be with their families.  This includes the brave American patriots of our Armed Forces who selflessly defend our sacred liberty at home and abroad.  And we pause to remember the sacrifices of our law enforcement personnel and first responders.  We are deeply grateful for all those who remain on watch over the holidays and keep us safe as we celebrate and give thanks for the blessings in our lives.

This Thanksgiving, we reaffirm our everlasting gratitude for all that we enjoy, and we commemorate the legacy of generosity bestowed upon us by our forbearers.  Although challenges remain, we will never yield in our quest to live up to the promise of our heritage.  As we gather with our loved ones, we resolve with abiding faith and patriotism to celebrate the joys of freedom and cherish the hope and peace of a brighter future ahead.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, DONALD J. TRUMP, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim Thursday, November 26, 2020, as a National Day of Thanksgiving.  I encourage all Americans to gather, in homes and places of worship, to offer a prayer of thanks to God for our many blessings.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of November, in the year of our Lord two thousand twenty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-fifth.

 

DONALD J. TRUMP

 

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Where Did Thanksgiving Come From and Why Do We Celebrate It?

Thursday, November 26th, 2020

The First Thanksgiving, reproduction of an oil painting by J.L.G. Ferris, early 20th century.

NOTE: This was first posted on November 24, 2011. We re-post and update it each year.

By Allen Payton, Publisher

It was 399  years ago, this year, that the first Thanksgiving feast was celebrated by the Pilgrims and their Indian friends in Plymouth Colony, Massachusetts.

Who were the Pilgrims?

Christian Protestants in England, became known as Puritans, because of their differences with the Church of England. Most remained within the Church of England, but a small group of Puritans, known as Separatists, who chose to leave the church, were persecuted for their faith. Around 1607 or 1608 about 300 Separatists left England and relocated to Holland.

Then in 1620, some of the Separatists chose to leave Holland for a place where they could be free to practice their faith. Along with adventurers, other colonists recruited by the venture’s financial backers and the ship’s crew, for a total of 102 people, the Separatists sailed to the New World on the ship the Mayflower.

It was William Bradford, their second governor, who gave the Separatists the label of Pilgrims, from the Bible verse in the book of Hebrews chapter 11, verse 13, which states “they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.” He stated “They knew they were pilgrims, and looked not much on those things, but lifted up their eyes to the heavens, their dearest country.”

According to what became known as The Mayflower Compact, the voyage was “undertaken for the glory of God and advancement of the Christian faith and honor of our kind and country…to plant the first colony in the Northern parts of Virginia” Instead, the voyagers first spotted land on November 9, 1620 and then chose to set anchor in Provincetown Harbor, Massachusetts on November 11.

“The Mayflower Compact was signed that day on board the Mayflower, which was at anchor in Provincetown Harbor.  The document was drawn up in response to ‘mutinous speeches’ that had come about because the Pilgrims had intended to settle in Northern Virginia, but the decision was made after arrival to instead settle in New England.  Since there was no government in place, some felt they had no legal obligation to remain within the colony and supply their labor.  The Mayflower Compact attempted to temporarily establish that government until a more official one could be drawn up in England that would give them the right to self-govern themselves in New England.”(1)

Read the complete Mayflower Compact by clicking here.

They then settled across Cape Cod Bay at Plymouth, Massachusetts and only 53 of the Pilgrims survived that first winter, thanks to the help of the local Indians. But, the following summer was good for them.

The First Thanksgiving Celebration

“After their first harvest, the colonists of the Plymouth Plantation held a celebration of food and feasting in the fall of 1621. Indian chiefs Massassoit, Squanto and Samoset joined in the celebration with ninety of their men in the three-day event. (2)

According to William Bradford, in his journal entitled Of Plimoth Plantation: “They begane now to gather in ye small harvest they had, and to fitte up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health & strenght, and had all things in good plenty; fFor as some were thus imployed in affairs abroad, others were excersised in fishing, aboute codd, & bass, & other fish, of which yey tooke good store, of which every family had their portion. All ye somer ther was no want.  And now begane to come in store of foule, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees).  And besids water foule, ther was great store of wild Turkies, of which they tooke many, besids venison, &c. Besids, they had about a peck a meale a weeke to a person, or now since harvest, Indean corn to yt proportion.  Which made many afterwards write so largly of their plenty hear to their freinds in England, which were not fained,  but true reports.”

According to Edward Winslow in his book Mourt’s Relation: “our harvest being gotten in, our governour sent foure men on fowling, that so we might after a speciall manner rejoyce together, after we had gathered the fruits of our labours ; they foure in one day killed as much fowle, as with a little helpe beside, served the Company almost a weeke, at which time amongst other Recreations, we exercised our Armes, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and amongst the rest their greatest king Massasoyt, with some ninetie men, whom for three dayes we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five Deere, which they brought to the Plantation and bestowed on our Governour, and upon the Captaine and others.  And although it be not always so plentifull, as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so farre from want,  that we often wish you partakers of our plentie.”

The First Official Thanksgiving Day

In 1623, the first official day of Thanksgiving was proclaimed by Plymouth Colony Governor William Bradford

Bradford’s Thanksgiving Proclamation:

Inasmuch as the great Father has given us this year an abundant harvest of Indian corn, wheat, peas, beans, squashes, and garden vegetables, and has made the forests to abound with game and the sea with fish and clams, and inasmuch as he has protected us from the ravages of the savages, has spared us from pestilence and disease, has granted us freedom to worship God according to the dictates of our own conscience. Now I, your magistrate, do proclaim that all ye Pilgrims, with your wives and ye little ones, do gather at ye meeting house, on ye hill, between the hours of 9 and 12 in the day time, on Thursday, November 29th, of the year of our Lord one thousand six hundred and twenty-three and the third year since ye Pilgrims landed on ye Pilgrim Rock, there to listen to ye pastor and render thanksgiving to ye Almighty God for all His blessings.

–William Bradford

Ye Governor of Ye Colony

Through the years, subsequent Thanksgiving Day proclamations were made and dates for celebrating it were set by Congress and various U.S. presidents.

1777 Proclamation by the Continental Congress

On November 1, 1777, by order of Congress, the first National Thanksgiving Proclamation was approved, and signed by Henry Laurens, President of the Continental Congress. The third Thursday of December, 1777 was officially set aside: “…for solemn thanksgiving and praise. That with one heart and one voice the good people may express the grateful feelings of their hearts, and consecrate themselves to the service of their Divine Benefactor;… and their humble and earnest supplication that it may please God, through the merits of Jesus Christ, mercifully to forgive and blot hem (their manifold sins) out of remembrance… That it may please Him… to take schools and seminaries of education, so necessary for cultivating the principles of true liberty, virtue and piety under His nurturing hand, and to prosper the means of religion for the promotion and enlargement of that kingdom which consisteth of ‘righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost’…”

First Thanksgiving Proclamation by the American Government

In 1789, it was President George Washington who issued the first Thanksgiving Proclamation by the American government: WHEREAS, It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor; WHEREAS, Both the houses of Congress have, by their joint committee, requested me “to recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer, to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many and signal favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness:”

Now, therefore, I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November next, to be devoted by the people of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be; that we may then all unite in rendering unto Him our sincere and humble thanks for His kind care and protection of the people of this country previous to their becoming a nation; for the signal and manifold mercies and the favorable interpositions of His providence in the course and conclusion of the late war; for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty which we have since enjoyed; for the peaceable and rational manner in which we have been enable to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national one now lately instituted’ for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed, and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and, in general, for all the great and various favors which He has been pleased to confer upon us. And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech Him to pardon our national and other transgressions; to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually; to render our National Government a blessing to all the people by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed; to protect and guide all sovereigns and nations (especially such as have show kindness to us), and to bless them with good governments, peace, and concord; to promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the increase of science among them and us; and, generally to grant unto all mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as He alone knows to be best. –George Washington – October 3, 1789

Mass Centinel masthead Where Did Thanksgiving Come From and Why Do We Celebrate It? Washingtons Thanksgiving Proclamation in Mass Centinel 1789 Where Did Thanksgiving Come From and Why Do We Celebrate It?

Lincoln Makes Last Thursday in November Official Day of Thanksgiving

Then in in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln established the last Thursday in November as the day of national thanksgiving with his Thanksgiving Proclamation:

Washington, D.C. October 3, 1863

By the President of the United States of America. A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed. Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

Since 1863, every President has issued an annual proclamation calling for the people of the nation to celebrate a national day of thanksgiving.

1941 Vote by Congress and President Roosevelt

But it wasn’t until October 6, 1941 that our federal government made it an official, national holiday, when Congress approved it.

“In 1939…the last Thursday in November fell on the last day of the month. Concerned that the shortened Christmas shopping season might dampen the economic recovery, President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued a Presidential Proclamation moving Thanksgiving to the second to last Thursday of November. As a result of the proclamation, 32 states issued similar proclamations while 16 states refused to accept the change and proclaimed Thanksgiving to be the last Thursday in November. For two years two days were celebrated as Thanksgiving – the President and part of the nation celebrated it on the second to last Thursday in November, while the rest of the country celebrated it the following week.

To end the confusion, Congress decided to set a fixed-date for the holiday. On October 6, 1941, the House passed a joint resolution declaring the last Thursday in November to be the legal Thanksgiving Day. The Senate, however, amended the resolution establishing the holiday as the fourth Thursday, which would take into account those years when November has five Thursdays. The House agreed to the amendment, and President Roosevelt signed the resolution on December 26, 1941, thus establishing the fourth Thursday in November as the Federal Thanksgiving Day holiday.” (3)

President John F. Kennedy’s Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1961

OCTOBER 27, 1961

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES A PROCLAMATION :

“It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord.”

More than three centuries ago, the Pilgrims, after a year of hardship and peril, humbly and reverently set aside a special day upon which to give thanks to God for their preservation and for the good harvest from the virgin soil upon which they had labored. Grave and unknown dangers remained. Yet by their faith and by their toil they had survived the rigors of the harsh New England winter. Hence they paused in their labors to give thanks for the blessings that had been bestowed upon them by Divine Providence.

This year, as the harvest draws near its close and the year approaches its end, awesome perils again remain to be faced. Yet we have, as in the past, ample reason to be thankful for the abundance of our blessings. We are grateful for the blessings of faith and health and strength and for the imperishable spiritual gifts of love and hope. We give thanks, too, for our freedom as a nation; for the strength of our arms and the faith of our friends; for the beliefs and confidence we share; for our determination to stand firmly for what we believe to be right and to resist mightily what we believe to be base; and for the heritage of liberty bequeathed by our ancestors which we are privileged to preserve for our children and our children’s children.

It is right that we should be grateful for the plenty amidst which we live; the productivity of our farms, the output of our factories, the skill of our artisans, and the ingenuity of our investors. But in the midst of our thanksgiving, let us not be unmindful of the plight of those in many parts of the world to whom hunger is no stranger and the plight of those millions more who live without the blessings of liberty and freedom.

With some we are able to share our material abundance through our Food-for-Peace Program and through our support of the United Nations Freedom-from-Hunger Campaign. To all we can offer the sustenance of hope that we shall not fail in our unceasing efforts to make this a peaceful and prosperous world for all mankind.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, JOHN F. KENNEDY, President of the United States of America, in consonance with the joint resolution of Congress approved December 26, 1941, which designates the fourth Thursday in November of each year as Thanksgiving Day, do hereby proclaim Thursday, the twenty-third day of November of this year, as a day of national thanksgiving. I urge all citizens to make this Thanksgiving not merely a holiday from their labors, but rather a day of contemplation. I ask the head of each family to recount to his children the story of the first New England thanksgiving, thus to impress upon future generations the heritage of this nation born in toil, in danger, in purpose, and in the conviction that right and justice and freedom can through man’s efforts persevere and come to fruition with the blessing of God. Let us observe this day with reverence and with prayer that will rekindle in us the will and show us the way not only to preserve our blessings, but also to extend them to the four corners of the earth. Let us by our example, as well as by our material aid, assist all peoples of all nations who are striving to achieve a better life in freedom.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed. DONE at the City of Washington this twenty-seventh day of October in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty-one, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-sixth.

JOHN F. KENNEDY

Click here to read Kennedy’s final Thanksgiving Proclamation in 1963, just weeks before his assassination.

Read more Thanksgiving Proclamations by Presidents Carter, Reagan and George H.W. Bush here  and this year’s proclamation by President Obama here.

So we continue the celebration, today, with our family and friends, of giving thanks to God for his provisions to us personally and to our great nation, even in spite of our current economic challenges.

God bless you, God bless America and have a Happy Thanksgiving!

References:

(1) www.MayflowerHistory.com

(2) www.earlyamerica.com/earlyamerica/firsts/thanksgiving/

(3) www.archives.gov/legislative/features/thanksgiving/

www.pilgrimhall.org/1stthnks

Learn more from the book Plymouth in the words of her Founders by Dr. Paul Jehle at http://www.amazon.com/Plymouth-Words-Founders-Paul-Jehle/dp/0972417346

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Antioch Council approves master plan for Laurel Road area park and open space named for Jacuzzi family members

Wednesday, November 11th, 2020

Park Ridge Park & Open Space map. Guissepina and Valeriano Jacuzzi. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory from Pinterest.

Park Ridge subdivision park, Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi Knolls Open Space

By Allen Payton

One of the family members that helped develop the Jacuzzi name into a global recognized brand in the hot tub business, and his wife, will have their legacy of farming and land ownership in Antioch honored with the naming of a 25-acre open space inside a new home subdivision off the future extension of Laurel Road. The city council voted unanimously Tuesday night to approve the Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi Knolls Open Spacee and Park Ridge subdivision park. Park Ridge park & Jacuzzi Knolls Open Space ACC11-10-20

Park Ridge Park landscape plan.

The 525-unit new home project by Davidon Homes will feature both the 8.22-acre park in the Park Ridge development. It will also have a trail to connect to the Delta de Anza Trail as well as the Jacuzzi open space.

The park will include a dog park and is expected to be completed by first quarter of next year a representative of Davidon Homes shared.

“Exciting for Antioch exciting for the project,” Mayor Sean Wright said following the presentation.

“It looks like it’s a beautiful park with a lot of open space. So, thank you for that,” said Councilwoman Lori Ogorchock. “The only ask is that the playground structures be all access. I just want to make sure it’s put into the resolution so that it gets done.”

“It’s a beautiful park and what a great amenity to the subdivision,” added Mayor Pro Tem Joy Motts who followed her comments by making a motion to adopt a resolution of approval for the park and open space.

The council then voted unanimously 5-0 approving the motion.

Valeriano and Giuseppina Jacuzzi Ranch, circa 1928. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

Valeriano and Guissepina Jacuzzi and Family History, and Ties to Antioch

According to former Antioch Mayor Joel Keller, the Jacuzzi family members started in Antioch and East County about 100 years ago. They were farmers, and then some family members left for Sonoma County and entered the vineyard and wine business.

“When they moved to Antioch is when they worked on their pump and started the Jacuzzi hot tub business,” he shared.

“The family still owns many acres of land in both Antioch and Brentwood,” Keller added.

Valeriano Jacuzzi was born on December 16, 1887 and died in 1973. Guiseppina, known as “Pina”, was also born on December 16, but in 1898. The year of her passing could not be found in a search prior to publication time.

Jacuzzi employees with Jet Pumps-c.1940 Front row from left: Candido, Gelindo, Joseph, Frank, and Valeriano Back row: Virgil Jacuzzi, first on left, engineer John Armstrong in center. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy.

According to the history of the Jacuzzi family on the Jacuzzi Vineyards website, “The Jacuzzi trek to America started in 1907, when Valeriano and Francesco Jacuzzi, the second- and third-born sons of Giovanni and Teresa Jacuzzi, immigrated to Washington to work on the railroad. A warmer climate beckoned and the pair eventually made their way to southern California. Years later, they were joined by four other brothers and eventually all went to work in the aviation industry. Soon they would make American history.

In 1911 their father, Giovanni, a skilled wood worker and vineyard farmer joined them. Two weeks was enough to convince him that his sons would never go back. He then returned to Italy with Valeriano to gather up the rest of the family.”

According to the Jacuzzi Wikipedia page, “Jacuzzi Brothers was founded in 1915 by seven Italian brothers from Casarsa della Delizia in Northern Italy, led by Giocondo Jacuzzi and Candido Jacuzzi. The company made wooden propellers under military contracts” at their location on San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley.

Valeriano Jacuzzi with dogs Pronto and Milecca, west view of home-1941. Photo: Pinterest #jacuzzifamilyhistory.

According to the vineyards’ website, “World War I intervened and the trip was delayed until the war’s end. During this time, Valeriano had met Giuseppina and fell in love, married and had their first child. Valeriano’s new family, parents and remaining siblings departed from Italy in 1920.

Soon after their arrival in early 1921, Valeriano started working with his brothers at their Jacuzzi Brothers factory. A tragic crash, over Modesto, of Jacuzzi’s first enclosed monoplane took several lives, including that of Valeriano’s brother, Giocondo. At this time, Giovanni asked his sons to cease making planes. Valeriano moved his family to Northern California and purchased a 161-acre farm in (Antioch) Contra Costa County.

During the depression, Valeriano, with help from his older children, planted a portion of the open farm fields with grapes and in 1936 he applied for a license to make wine for home consumption.

Valeriano and Guiseppina Jacuzzi home with vineyard in foreground – 1941. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

“In 1937, Valeriano returned to work with his brothers at Jacuzzi Brothers, Inc…where they manufactured water well pumps and eventually, the bath and spa that bears their name.”

Valeriano’s grandson, Fred Cline started Cline Family Cellars in 1982 in Oakley, making his first vintages from original plantings some of which dated back to the 1880’s. Those vineyards can still be seen, today along the north side of the city next to the railroad tracks.

“Cline opened Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in 2007 as a way of honoring his beloved grandfather Valeriano Jacuzzi. As a teenager and young man, Fred was taught by Valeriano how to tease magic from the soil” and “the fine art of old-world winemaking.” Two of the wines sold by  Jacuzzi Family Vineyards are named Valeriano and Guiseppina as tributes to his grandparents.

Valeriano and Guiseppina wines from Jacuzzi Family Vineyards.

According to the Jacuzzi hot tubs company website, “the Jacuzzi brothers revolutionized the pump industry by developing a pump for orchards. Many inventions later…when a young Jacuzzi family member was stricken with rheumatoid arthritis, the brothers designed a pump that could be submerged in a bathtub to provide pain-relieving hydrotherapy treatments,” creating a hydromassage pump. “In 1968 Jacuzzi created the world’s first integrated jet whirlpool bath” and “the portable hydrotherapy pump turned any normal bathtub into a relaxing and rejuvenating hydro-therapeutic spa and changed the lives of people around the world.”

In 1979, the Jacuzzi family sold the business (and the name) to a large corporate conglomerate, and Valeriano and Guissepino’s son Remo remained president of Jacuzzi Brothers until 1982. Remo Jacuzzi started and owns Jason International, a  hydrotherapy company named from a combination of Jacuzzi and the word “son”.

Jacuzzi brothers with mother, from left: Candido, Frank, Gelindo, Teresa, Joseph, Valeriano, and Rachele-c.1935 Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

Now, the 25-acre open space in Antioch will bear the Jacuzzi family name, specifically as a legacy to one of the inventive, hardworking farmer and vintner brothers, Valeriano and his bride, Guissepina, who have added to Antioch’s rich history as the county’s oldest city.

Valeriano and Giuseppina Jacuzzi family photo-c.1941 Back row: Mary, Dante, Virgil, Jaconda, and Teresa. Front row: Flora, Rachel, Valeriano, Giuseppina, and Remo. Courtesy of Jason Hydrotherapy #jacuzzifamilyhistory on Pinterest.

 

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Air Mail 100 Centennial Flight to stop at Concord’s Buchanan Field Airport

Tuesday, September 1st, 2020

Commemorating and retracing the 100th Anniversary of the launch of U.S. Transcontinental Air Mail Service

By Kelly Kalfsbeek, Public Information Officer, Contra Costa County Public Works Department

Concord, CA – Contra Costa County’s Buchanan Field Airport in Concord is expecting an increase in air traffic on September 11, 2020 due to their participation in a historic event. Air Mail 100 Centennial Flight will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the U.S. Post Office’s Transcontinental Air Mail Service, will make a stop at Buchanan Field on its route to the final destination in San Francisco.

Starting on September 8, 2020, a light airplane will take off from Farmingdale, New York’s Republic Airport to begin a 2,560-mile relay across the United States, to retrace the original air mail route from Long Island to San Francisco. More than a dozen private pilots, flying their own aircraft, will carry sacks filled with commemorative postcards and letters, destined for San Francisco.

Air mail pilot Wild Bill Hopson (colorized). From AirMail100.com.

Like the air mail pilots in 1920, the volunteers will exchange mail sacks between planes, each flying one leg of the continent-spanning route. Between September 8th and September 11th, the pilots will land at several airports across the nation to hand-off the mail sacks, ultimately landing at Buchanan Field Airport on the morning of September 11, 2020. From there, the mail will be formally handed over to the Postmaster on Marina Green in San Francisco.

According to the Air Mail 100 website, “On September 8, 1920, a DH-4 biplane lifted off in the early morning from a grass air strip east of New York City on Long Island, beginning a grand experiment to carry mail from the East Coast to the West in a series of hops across New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and points west. Regional air mail service had commenced two years earlier linking New York and Washington, D.C. By 1919, 400 HP deHavillands where regularly carrying mail sacks between Omaha and Chicago, but the September flight that now pointed its nose towards the distant Hudson would link an entire continent, but not without financial cost and human sacrifice. Those first pilots called themselves ‘The Suicide Club.’

Air Mail 100 will commemorate that historic event, which led within the decade to the commencement of commercial passenger air service. With the encouragement of several of the nation’s leading general aviation organizations, we have organized a series of volunteer flights linking the sixteen original transfer points, only seven of which continue today as active airports. The other nine have been “lost” to sands of progress, hidden under golf courses, urban shopping centers, hospital parking lots, and poetically, wind-swept grass fields again.”

Airmail routes, January 1, 1926 A 2,680-mile long transcontinental airmail route linking New York with San Francisco was completed in 1920. Initially, mail was flown by day and carried on trains at night. One coast-to-coast trip took about 3 ½ days, which was nearly a day quicker than the all-rail time. Regular service with night flying began in 1924, reducing the trip to about 33 hours. Airmail routes from Seattle to Victoria, British Columbia, and from New Orleans to Pilottown, Louisana, were foreign airmail routes, operated under contract — they expedited mail delivery to foreign-bound steamships. Map from USPS.com. See more air mail maps, here.

The reason for the stop in Concord is because San Francisco’s “Marina Green is no longer available for aircraft operations.”

The San Francisco Marina Green airmail field. Photo from AirMail100.com

Also, according to the Air Mail 100 website, “The curious thing about the Marina airmail field in San Francisco is it is still there: a long, narrow grassy strip 1,700 feet long. If it were a modern paved runway its ends would be marked by compass headings of 8 and 26, shorthand for 80 and 260 degrees. It lies just two miles east of the Golden Gate Bridge on the shores of San Francisco Bay. A DH-4 mail plane could still land there today, but it would be dangerous, not to mention illegal, yet it was the original Pacific coast terminus of a nearly 2,700-mile route. Ironically, it was also the shortest leg, less than 100 miles. Since Marina Green is no longer available for aircraft operations, in consultation with various area EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association) chapters, we will use Buchanan Airport at the city of Concord, CA.”

Airport staff is providing advance notice of this historic event as it may result in an increase in air traffic on or around September 11, 2020.

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Happy Birthday, Antioch! July 4th is also the 169th anniversary of its naming, and we have much to celebrate

Saturday, July 4th, 2020

The July 4th 1851 picnic scene with Rev. William W. Smith, in black holding a Bible, and townspeople of Smith’s Landing when they gathered together and renamed the town Antioch. Located at F and W. 2nd Streets on the 505 Building wall in historic downtown Rivertown.

By Allen Payton

This year’s Independence Day, today, July 4, 2020 marks the 244th birthday of our nation. It was on this date in 1776 that our Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence sending a message to England that we would no longer be ruled by their king, that we would be a sovereign nation and each of our citizens sovereign people, as well.

In Antioch, we also celebrate the 169th anniversary of the naming of our city, today. It was on this date in 1851, 75 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, that the townspeople gathered together with co-founder Rev. William Wiggins Smith to rename the town from Smith’s Landing to Antioch, after the city in Syria where the followers of Christ were first called Christians. They did that out of respect to Smith’s twin brother, Rev. Joseph Horton Smith who had died the previous year. In 1849, after traveling from Boston, the Smith brothers each purchased 160 acres from Dr. John Marsh along the Antioch waterfront, where the city’s historic, downtown Rivertown District is located, today.

According to the book entitled, Looking Back – Tales of Old Antioch and Other Places by Earl Hohlmayer, “On the fourth of July, 1851 a basket picnic was held at the residence of W.W. Smith, then standing on the high ground…The all-absorbing topic of the day was ‘What shall we name our town?’ Between thirty and forty men, women and children gathered together from far and near… W.W. Smith proposed that, inasmuch as the first settlers were disciples of Christ, and one of them had died and was buried on the land, that it be given a Bible name in his honor, and suggested ‘Antioch’, (a Syria town where two important rivers meet and where the followers of Christ were first called Christians), and by united acclamation it was so christened.”

A historic mural was commissioned by the Antioch City Council in the late 1990’s which includes a scene from the July 4, 1851 picnic which can be seen above. It’s located on the wall of the 505 Building next to the parking lot at F and W. Second Streets in Antioch’s historic downtown Rivertown.

Although our community, state and nation currently face health, economic and other challenges, the future looks bright and we can celebrate our freedoms, enumerated in the Bill of Rights, although somewhat restricted, lately. Enjoy celebrating and remember to thank God for the freedoms we get to exercise and experience each day in our country.

Happy Independence Day and may God continue to bless the United States of America. Freedom!

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