Raven Rock

Pretty unimpressive, isn’t it?  Would you believe me if I told you there is a whole military installation built under there?  Maybe a different photo would help…

This is a story I found when I went searching for interesting places to see in PA…only you aren’t allowed in…and shhhhh…it’s supposed to be a secret…LOL

When Raven Rock Mountain Complex was being built in southern Pennsylvania during the late 1940s, locals jokingly called it “Harry’s Hole” for President Harry Truman. Residents would hold picnics while watching the excavations and blastings. Many worked on its construction.

It was never completely a secret. But it stayed close to one for a while, mainly because no one said anything, said Garrett Graff, a journalist and author of the new book “Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself – While the Rest of Us Die.”

“This was relatively well known to the locals who worked there or had family who worked there,” Graff told PhillyVoice in an interview. “They just kept it quiet.”

The lid on Raven Rock has slowly been peeled. Located just north of the Maryland border, three hours west of Philadelphia and a short distance from Washington, D.C., it’s clearly labeled on Google Maps and been documented in books and articles.

It also isn’t a relic. Raven Rock is fully operational, and should the United States break out into nuclear war, it’s where defense operations would likely be centered.

“Raven Rock is the place where nuclear war in the United States would begin,” Graff said.

The Raven Rock Mountain Complex was carved into the ground during a period of panic.

As the threat of a Soviet nuclear attack loomed, “ordinary families were being encouraged to dig fallout shelters in their backyards,” investigative journalist Eric Schlosser wrote in his 2013 book “Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.”

At the same time, the military and government were digging holes of their own. A bomb shelter had been built below the East Wing of the White House for President Franklin Roosevelt during World War II, a bunker that was expanded during Truman’s administration.

Planning for a Soviet attack, however, “made it seem necessary to move America’s commander-in-chief someplace even deeper underground,” according to Schlosser.

The result was a bunker inside Raven Rock Mountain, and it was massive. Per “Command and Control”:

“Known as Site R, it sat about a half a mile inside Raven Rock and another half a mile below the mountain’s peak. It had power stations, underground water reservoirs, a small chapel, clusters of three-story buildings set within vast caverns, and enough beds to accommodate two thousand high-ranking officials from the Pentagon, the State Department, and the National Security Council.”

Graff said you can add to that list police and fire departments, a cafeteria, and “everything else you would find in a normal small city.”

The complex was finished in 1953 and has operated 24 hours a day, every day since 1961. 

Some of the bunker’s facilities are located on or around the mountain, such as the fire department sitting on the peak. Most of the complex, however, is underground. Once the blast doors seal, Raven Rock’s dwellers can live there for weeks at a time. 

‘Portals’ A and B are visible at the Raven Rock Mountain Complex near Waynesboro in southern Pennsylvania in this image from GoogleEarth. Once the blast doors are sealed, dwellers can live there for weeks at a time.

After the Cold War, many bunkers built in anticipation of nuclear apocalypse became obsolete, such as the fallout shelter underneath a West Virginia resort that’s now a museum.

Others, like Raven Rock, were kept operational — but barely. That changed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

“It was more in mothball status,” Graff said. “It wasn’t quite as dramatic as someone walking into the mountain and turning on the lights, but operational-wise, that’s what happened on 9/11.”

The government kicked Raven Rock into gear. The facilities underwent a large expansion, Graff said. About 100 people work there under normal circumstances, but it can now hold about 5,000 in an emergency.

“Raven Rock today is a much more capable and larger facility than it was during the height of the Cold War,” Graff said.

In the days following the 9/11 attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney famously used Raven Rock as one of several secret hideaways while his office tried to shield his whereabouts.

“We know it’s there, we know why it’s there, and that’s as much as we know” — Richard Starliper, mayor of nearby Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.

Graff clarified there’s no evidence Cheney spent the day of the attacks there, but he definitely went afterward. Some defense officials, like Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz, were taken directly to the mountain complex.

Raven Rock is one of two very similar facilities meant to house officials in case of an attack, with the other being the Mount Weather complex in Virginia. Mount Weather is run by FEMA, and would house most of the civilian government in an emergency.

The Pentagon runs Raven Rock, and it’s where national security would operate in the event of catastrophe or war, like if a President were to truly release “fire and fury” on North Korea — or vice versa.

“If at this exact moment the president decides he wants to launch nuclear war, or North Korea does, and for whatever reason he’s not able to reach the Pentagon, he would call Raven Rock,” Graff said.

Considering the heavy responsibility the complex would carry in the wake of tragedy, it’s not surprising the government has tried keeping a tight lip on Raven Rock. But there have been blips.

While working on their 2008 book “A Nuclear Family Vacation,” defense reporters Nathan Hodge and Sharon Weinberger were seemingly accidentally given information regarding a conference at Raven Rock about underground military facilities.

The reporters simply asked a point of contact for the conference about the event after coming across a notice for it on a Pentagon agency’s website. They were handed informational packets distributed to attendees that highlighted the level of secrecy surrounding Raven Rock, which was referred to as RRMC.

“Guidance” for those attending the conference included the following rules: “Avoid conversations about RRMC with unauthorized personnel,” “Do not confirm or deny information about RRMC to reporters or radio stations,” and “Do not post RRMC information on internet web pages.”

It continues: “Remember: The more the public knows about this facility, the more our adversaries do, and the more vulnerable we become.”

A few days after the reporters obtained the information, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency took down the notice about the conference. Hodge and Weinberger presumed someone at the Pentagon got in trouble.

Only in the past quarter century since the Cold War has information about Raven Rock become more public, “a testament to the limited communications technologies of the era” when it was constructed, according to Graff.

Raven Rock’s relationship with the surrounding community has changed too, particularly since the closure of the Fort Ritchie Army base across the border in Maryland. Some residents of nearby Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, who formerly worked at Fort Ritchie would be stationed at Raven Rock, according to the town’s mayor, Richard Starliper.

“These days you have no idea who works there or what they do,” Starliper said.

The complex is both a mystery and not at all, a sentiment summed up rather appropriately by the Waynesboro mayor.

“We know it’s there,” he said, “we know why it’s there, and that’s as much as we know.”

***There is an unprovable rumor that is interesting***

“I don`t know if it’s true or not,” a Waynesboro resident says, “But there`s supposed to be an underground tunnel from Virginia where they could drive up if they wanted to.”

The resident is referring to the popular rumor that there is an elaborate underground network of tunnels between Washington D.C., nearby Camp David, and Raven Rock so the President or Vice President could escape harm if disaster strikes.

That rumor, according to one D.C. Insider, is categorically false.




I’ll bet you didn’t know what ‘barding’ meant either!!! I saw something on Antiques Roadshow about a headpiece for a horse and it caught my interest. In some ways, this also parallels my etymology series, after a fashion. So, without further ado…..

Barding (also spelled bard) is body armour for war horses. The practice of armoring horses was first extensively developed in antiquity in the eastern kingdoms of Parthia and Pahlava. After the conquests of Alexander the Great, it likely made its way into European military practices via the Seleucid Empire and later Byzantine Empire. Though its historical roots lie in antiquity in the regions of what was once the Persian Empire, barded horses have become a symbol of the late European Middle Ages chivalry and the era of knights.

A museum display of a 16th century knight with an armoured horse

During the Late Middle Ages, as armour protection for knights became more effective, their mounts became targets. This vulnerability was exploited by the Scots at the Battle of Bannockburn in the 14th century, when horses were killed by the infantry, and by the English at the Battle of Crécy in the same century where long-bowmen shot horses and the then-dismounted French knights were killed by heavy infantry. Barding developed as a response to such events.

Examples of armour for horses could be found as far back as classical antiquity. Cataphracts, with scale armour for both rider and horse, are believed by many historians to have influenced the later European knights, via contact with the Byzantine Empire.

Example of Cataphract

There are a number of bits and pieces that make up the barding. The chanfron (also spelled chaffron, chamfron, champion, chamfron, chamfrein, champron, and shaffron) was designed to protect the horse’s face. Sometimes this included hinged cheek plates. A decorative feature common to many chanfrons is a rondel with a small spike.

A chanfron made in Italy in the early 16th century

The chanfron was known as early as ancient Greece, but vanished from use in Europe until the twelfth century when metal plates replaced boiled leather as protection for war horses. The basic design of the chanfron remained stable until it became obsolete in the seventeenth century, although late examples are often notable for engraved decoration. A chanfron extended from the horse’s ears to its muzzle. Flanges often covered the eyes. In an open chanfron, the eyes received no protection. Hinged extensions to cover the jowls were commonly used for jousting tournaments.

Torrs Pony-cap, as displayed in 2011 The enigmatic Torrs pony-cap from Scotland appears to be a bronze chanfron from about the 2nd century BC, perhaps later fitted with the bronze horns found with it.”

The criniere (also known as manefaire or crinet) was a set of segmented plates that protected the horse’s neck. In full barding this consisted of two combinations of articulated lames that pivoted on loose rivets. One set of lames covered the mane and the other covered the neck. These connected to the peytral and the chanfron.

Light barding used only the upper lames. Three straps held the crinet in place around the neck. It is thought that thin metal was used for these plates, perhaps 0.8 mm. Mail armour was often affixed to the crinet and wrapped about the horse’s neck for additional protection.

Fragments of a set of armour with a criniere (protecting neck), peytral (protecting chest), and the croupiere (protecting hind quarters). This set was created by Lorenz Helmschmied and Konrad Ssusenhoffer for Frederick III, Holy Roman Emperor and later also used by his son Maximilian I.

The croupiere (also crupiere bacul or crupper) protected the horse’s hind quarters. It could be made from any combination of leather, mail, or plate armour.

The flanchards, used to protect the flank, attached to the side of the saddle, then around the front or rear of the horse and back to the saddle again. These appear to have been metal plates riveted to leather or in some cases cuir bouilli armour (which is boiled or treated leather sealed with beeswax or the like).

(Boiled leather, often referred to by its French translation, cuir bouilli, was a historical material common in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period and used for various purposes. It was leather that had been treated so that it became tough and rigid, as well as able to hold a mold.)

They sometimes had openings designed to allow the rider to use spurs.

Barding was often used in conjunction with cloth covers known as caparisons. These coverings sometimes covered the entire horse from nose to tail and extended to the ground. It is unclear from period illustrations how much metal defensive covering was used in conjunction. Textile covers may also be called barding.

(This 15th-century depiction of a tournament shows fully caparisoned horses, from Le Livre des tournois by Barthelemy d’Eyck.)

Another commonly included feature of barding was protection for the reins, so they could not be cut. This could be metal plates riveted to them or chainmail linked around them.

The full bard is a “complete ensemble of horse armour,” created for Maximilian I, Holy Roman Emperor, by master armourers from Augsburg and Innsbruck like Lorenz Helmschmied and Konrad Seusenhofer. The development of the full bard was also connected with the development of Maximilian armour and the Landsknecht (all three arose from the time Maximilian was in Burgundian Netherlands), as both human and equine combatants required more and more protection. But the full bard was expensive and only the richest knights could afford it.

(Albrecht May, Master-of-Arms, entering Namur, riding a horse wearing his master Maximilian I’s bard in 1480. The bard is crafted by Lorenz Helmschmied. The female figure is likely Mary of Burgundy, the contemporary ruler of the Burgundian State and wife of Maximilian, holding the combined heraldry of Austria and Burgundy.)

(Maximilian I on an armored horse, ca. 1575)

A cataphract was a cavalryman in full armour riding an (partially or fully) armoured horse. This type of cavalry originated from central Asia and was adopted by the eastern satrapies of the ancient Persian Empire. The Seleucid cataphract used scale armour for its flexibility and effective protection against archers and also because unlike regular metal types, it was not too heavy for the horses.

(Taq-e Bostan: equestrian statue of Khosrow II as a cataphract)


In 1847, a Maine ship captain invented the donut as we know it today – with a hole. On the day Lewis Hine took the photo of a waitress next to a plate of donuts (with holes), Capt. Hansen Gregory lived in the next town. He was telling his cronies how he’d gotten the great inspiration to cut a hole in a donut.

(Lewis Wickes Hine, by the way, took many photos of very young workers, which then influenced the passage of child labor laws. His caption read, “Exchange Luncheon. Delia Kane, 14 years old. 99 C Street, South Boston. A young waitress.” )

Captain Gregory, 85, lived at the Sailor’s Snug Harbor in Quincy, Mass. His fame as the inventor of the modern donut had spread, and theWashington Post interviewed him in a story published March 26, 1916

Sailor’s Snug Harbor

He told the reporter he discovered the donut hole when he worked as a 16-year-old crewman on a lime-trading schooner. “Now in them days we used to cut the doughnuts into diamond shapes, and also into long strips, bent in half, and then twisted,” he said.

“I don’t think we called them donuts then–they was just ‘fried cakes’ and ‘twisters.’ Well, sir, they used to fry all right around the edges, but when you had the edges done the insides was all raw dough. And the twisters used to sop up all the grease just where they bent, and they were tough on the digestion.”

Captain Hansen Gregory

First Donut

He asked himself if a space inside the dough would solve the difficulty – and then came the great inspiration. “I took the cover off the ship’s tin pepper box, and—I cut into the middle of that donut the first hole ever seen by mortal eyes!”

Gregory, born in 1832, would have had his insight around 1858. According to the New York Times, he rose to second mate at 19, mate at 21 and master mariner at 25. He sailed in all kinds of vessels from the lime coaster to a full-rigged ship. He modestly assessed the result. “Well, sir, them doughnuts was the finest I ever tasted. No more indigestion — no more greasy sinkers — but just well-done, fried-through doughnuts.”

But the donut made him famous. He had asked a tinsmith to fabricate a donut cutter for him, and soon, reported the Times, ‘cooks everywhere had adopted it.’ He returned to Camden, Maine, where he taught his mother the trick. She sent several plates to Rockland, Maine, where people gobbled them up. After that, the donut never looked back.

Primitive Soldered Doughnut Cutter
Antique Doughnut Cutter

A plaque in the town of Rockport, Maine, marks Captain Gregory’s birthplace, now the parsonage of the Nativity Lutheran Church. The National Baking Association nominated him for the Baking Hall of Fame, but it doesn’t appear he made the cut.

(A plaque at Nativity Lutheran Church pays homage to an iconic food. Google Maps)

More Donut History

The truth is that there were mentions of doughnuts in recipe books and even in Washington Irving’s Knickerbocker’s History of New York in 1809. But Gregory’s mother’s doughnuts became famed in her neighbour hood in Maine, particularly using the cinnamon and lemons that would have been brought in on her son’s trading ships.

There were numerous legends that sprang up about how the captain invented the doughnut, including one that he skewered his mother’s cakes on his ship’s wheel. Which is why he came forward in 1916 to give his account. By then the Maine version of the doughnut was popular across America. During World War I, the Salvation Army cooked them to raise money for the war effort and also set up canteens in town away from the front lines serving coffee and doughnuts to soldiers. The women who operated these cafes were known as “Doughnut Dollies.”

A cover of the Salvation Army publication “War Cry” from 1918 showing a “Doughnut Dolly”

Captain Gregory died in 1921 but by then Adolph Levitt, a Russian refugee in the US, had invented the automatic doughnut-making machine. This led to the creation of doughnut chain stores, which spread across the US and by the 1930s had begun to appear in Australia. Australians now eat more than 100 million doughnuts a year.

Springfield, IL

The Food History Timeline posts donut recipes before 1858, and they all advise cutting the doughouts into diamonds, squares or twists. Then in 1877 a doughnut recipe calls for cutting them into rings. The Food History Timeline also notes that after the Civil War, ‘inexpensive tin doughnut cutters with holes were manufactured commercially and sold widely.’

1950’s Aluminum Doughnut Maker

You can visit Capt. Hanson Gregory’s grave at the National Sailors’ Home Cemetery in Quincy MA.


By Larry Schweikart @ UncoverDC on 12/13/22

I want to take you back…

…to periods that reflected much of who we are, who we have become, and who we can be. Back to events that affected all of us today but were almost imperceptible to those living them. Perhaps with one exception. It was Christmas time. The nation had been at war for almost two years. Things had not gone well. News of early defeats had streamed into the nation’s Capital. Richard Rush wrote to his old friend John Adams about the mood in Washington D.C. in December 1813. The nation was fighting, to be sure:

Richard Bush

But it seems to fight for nothing but disaster and defeat . . . and disgrace. What, sir, should be done? The prospect looks black. It is awful. Is not another torrent rolling too fiercely upon us to be turned back? Where shall we find [leaders]? And may we not be doomed to pass yet another and another and another campaign in the school of affliction and disgrace? [I] am sick at heart at the view of our public affairs. Have we, sir, even seen worse times and survived them? And how?”

The aging ex-president John Adams agreed with Rush. “The times are too serious to write.” He didn’t know what prevented the White House—not called that yet—or the “proud Capitol” from becoming the headquarters of the British. The country, Adams said:

Must have a winnowing, the chaff must be separated from the wheat. The real . . . genius and experience have been neglected [while] froth and ignorance have been promoted.” But, said the aged patriot, “don’t be discouraged. In our Revolution, we had seen infinitely more difficult and dangerous times.”

John Adams

What stands out about that exchange—and Adams’s comment about the British being in the White House and the Capitol—is that it came just eight months before that very thing occurred. In August of 1814, British troops landed, and though badly outnumbered and utterly embarrassed, an army was sent to stop them at Bladensburg, New Jersey. They marched on to Washington, with the President, James Madison, on a horse just miles ahead of them. Indeed, the defeat at Bladensburg was so humiliating—referred to this day as the “Bladensburg Races”—that Madison couldn’t find his own Secretary of War, John Armstrong, who was in command of the army in the field.

As the War of 1812 neared its conclusion, British forces torched the White House, the Capitol, and nearly every other public building in Washington. In the darkness, Madison, Attorney General Richard Rush, and John Mason, having watched from a distance as American forces threw down their weapons and ran had ridden back to find the White House deserted.

Dolly Madison had left their supper on the table, then left at three in the morning carrying some papers, a few books, and the full portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart. Everything else—silver, valuables, clothes, thousands of dollars worth of fine wines in the cellar—was abandoned.

Among the most familiar images of Dolly Madison is this fanciful scene of her heroic rescue of George Washington’s portrait from the fire set by the British in 1814.)

Madison urged everyone out. The British were literally right behind them. According to one account, he “cooly mounted his horse and rode off to the ferry across the Potomac.” He needed to find Dolly, and he needed to find the army or what was left of it. Already the British were burning the Capitol and soon reached the White House and burned that. British General Cockburn planned to capture Madison and “carry him to England for a curiosity.”

Madison and his companions didn’t find Dolly across the river. She had left much earlier and, due to her husband’s unpopularity, had to disguise herself. At one tavern, she was refused admittance. When a friend offered her refuge at his country house, the cook refused to make coffee for her, saying, “I don heerd Mr. Madison and Mr. Armstrong done sold the country to the British.”

The President rode on to Great Falls and, not finding his wife there, continued during a vicious wind storm that only fanned the flames back in Washington. But then he learned that the Secretary of War and some of his army were at Rockville, Maryland, 15 miles north of Washington, so he rode there, only to find them gone to Baltimore. Having been in the saddle for 18 hours, Madison rode to Brookville—another 10 hours away, where finally he was able to sleep.

When he finally returned to the White House, it was “in ashes, not an inch, but its cracked and blackened walls remained.” Other public buildings were burned. Dead horses lay all over the grounds. The people were terrified. Many wanted to quit.

Library of Congress Summary Cartoon showing President James Madison and probably John Armstrong, his secretary of war, both with bundles of papers, fleeing from Washington, with burning buildings behind them.

Mr. Madison wasn’t a quitter. He finally caught up to Secretary of War Armstrong—and fired him on the spot, throwing him out of Washington. In his stead, he appointed another great future president as the new Secretary of War, James Monroe. When Madison and Armstrong had both disappeared on horseback, Monroe simultaneously held the acting position of both President and Secretary of State. Now James Monroe was Secretary of War as well. He said, “I never went to bed for an entire month.”

A portrait of James Monroe (1758-1831), the fifth President of the United States made during his Presidency. He served from 1817 – 1825. Image by Bettman/CORBIS

As if to add one more coal to his head, a group of northeastern elites from the Federalist Party had come very close to forcing a secession by several states—right in the middle of a war against a foreign enemy.

And then, a quiet change. Sunlight, almost instantaneously. A peace treaty was negotiated in Belgium; General Andrew Jackson defeated a major British invasion at New Orleans, and just like that–-right around Christmas—Madison and the United States—had survived. The ensuing decade was called . . . the era of good feelings.

Era of Good Feelings

Jump ahead with me for 127 years…

My story does not take place at Christmas this time, but in the summer of an equally dark period, 1942, when America had been rocked by defeat after defeat in the Pacific by the Japanese. America’s Christmas in 1941 had been one of the bleakest in memory. People were still in shock over the attack at Pearl Harbor, over the fall of plucky Wake Island, and over the steady drumbeat of losses of General MacArthur’s men in the Philippines.

The key to everything was the Japanese navy, and the key to the navy was its strike force of four large aircraft carriers. At the time, the United States could only put to sea three, one of which, the Yorktown, was so badly damaged from a previous battle that it was being repaired while at sea in a frenzy of engineering and construction genius of 1400 men working around the clock.

Yorktown Below-Decks

Through superior codebreaking, the Americans, for once, knew where the Japanese would be—right off Midway Island—and when they would be there. But the Pacific Ocean is a big place. Being “in the vicinity” still can put you off by over a thousand miles. America’s carriers knew roughly where the Japanese fleet was—but not exactly. When the enemy finally showed up, the Americans sent over 100 aircraft from Midway Island. All these attackers failed to land a single bomb on a single enemy ship. But the force kept moving, and now the American carriers, themselves moving to intercept them, had to locate this fleet.

Armed with evidence of roughly where the Japanese were and generally in which direction they were moving, the American carriers launched nearly every ship-killing torpedo plane they could in the general direction of the enemy. The planes arrived haphazardly, completely out of normal practices for attacking ships. One by one, then several at a time, the American torpedo planes were shot down—more than 50 of them fell into the sea! Only three made it back to their carriers. Not one had scored a single hit.

The Battle of Midway in 1942 was one of the most important naval battles and a turning point in the Second World War

This was indeed desperation. America was down to about thirty dive bombers against a fleet of 100 ships and at least 100 fighter planes. And the dive bombers had not been given clear coordinates as to where the carriers were. They were searching, like almost everyone else. They were low on fuel. No sign.

Then the smallest of changes…

At the outset of the battle, a single American submarine, the Nautilus, had found the Japanese fleet. It patiently worked its way inside the protective screen to fire three torpedoes at one carrier. Only one hit. It was a dud. Nautilus had utterly failed. Or had it?

USS Nautilus

A Japanese destroyer was on the Nautilus in minutes, forcing her under. The Nautilus ran. The destroyer followed. Hours later, the Japanese destroyer, convinced it had chased off the sub, turned and headed back for its main fleet and the carriers.

In the skies above, the desperate dive bombers, nearly at their maximum range of fuel, having failed to find the carriers all day, saw a single Japanese ship. A destroyer. This was unusual. It would normally be with a fleet. Was that where it was heading? Out of options, they followed. Soon, the horizon was dotted with Japanese warships and the four big carriers. And all the Japanese fighter planes? They were either out of gas or off chasing the hapless torpedo planes, men who had sacrificed themselves for this miraculous opportunity.

It was literally over in five minutes. Coming out of nowhere, American dive bombers so thoroughly damaged three of the carriers that the Japanese themselves had to finish them off, and the next day, a return visit sank the fourth. The War in the Pacific had been won—oh, it would demand an enormous amount of blood and treasure over more than three years to force Japan to surrender, but after Midway, they simply couldn’t win.

All because of a failed mission and a little change of a lone destroyer following the Nautilus.

I think about that submarine a lot. It failed spectacularly. Just like those courageous torpedo bombers who gave their lives, apparently for no reason. And yet. It was the Nautilis that enabled the dive bombers to find the carriers. It was the torpedo planes that pulled away the protection. It was nerdy, unseen codebreakers that had learned where the Japanese would be.

We may have had a difficult election, but no one knows what the ramifications of it will be. None of us know if we are the Nautilus, performing a task that appears to have failed, only to lay a brick in a massive foundation of victory. None of us know if we are with Mr. Madison, barely ahead of the barbarian hordes in August or walking back into glory at Christmas. But we know this. As John Adams says, we have seen worse times, and such times produce a winnowing.

And we know this. There are always quitters. Those never enter the history books as legends. Rather it is those who took us from the steam engine to the search engine, from the first step on the North Pole to the first footprint on the Moon, from mastering the Mississippi to navigating hyperspace and quantum physics. A handful of thuggish, mouth-breathing, World Economic Forum malcontent minions, backed by all the crypto from Sam Bankman-Fried’s funny-money computers and all the digitally-concocted money in Communist China, do not get the privilege of leading this nation. True genius is beyond them, true patriotism is anathema to them, and true goodness is repellant to them.

This season…

…celebrate what at the time was a seemingly small change that affected a tiny few. Another baby was born in the Middle East. Outside His family—and those who knew the prophecies—no one knew His Name. Yet the little change of His birth overturned the entire world, changed how we mark our calendars and gave hope to billions. One little change named Jesus the Messiah.

This Christmas, America merely awaits the new spirit of change, the spirit that demands not a return to yesterday but a march toward tomorrow. America yearns for both that spirit of good and the spirit of great. That spirit that says mediocrity is no longer acceptable, that decline is unavoidable, or that social decay is inevitable.

Instead, this new spirit of Christmas starts today. It starts here. It starts now. It starts in every heart and hearth, every home and RV, every mansion and apartment. Be a Nautilus. Do your job with courage and conviction, with certainty that even if you fail in what you think was your mission, you have played your part, that the Creator of the universe will play His. Your ripples are noticed. Your faith is rewarded. And your patriotism is appreciated. Celebrate the change of the world.

Merry Christmas, and God Bless America.


Personally, I believe they knew the attack was coming but the Military Industrial Complex and the warmongers in our government wanted to get into the war. So they allowed it to happen. Of course, there is no proof of that but…..there’s not much proof for a LOT of things!!!

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day, also referred to as Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day or Pearl Harbor Day, is observed annually in the United States on December 7, to remember and honor the 2,403 Americans who were killed in the Japanese surprise attack in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, which led to the United States declaring war on Japan the next day, thus entering World War II.

On Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service attacked the neutral United States at Naval Station Pearl Harbor near Honolulu, Hawaii, killing 2,403 Americans and injuring 1,178 others. The attack sank four U.S. Navy battleships and damaged four others. It also damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, and one mine layer. Aircraft losses were 188 destroyed and 159 damaged.

Canada declared war on Japan within hours of the attack on Pearl Harbor, the first Western nation to do so. On December 8, the United States declared war on Japan and entered World War II on the side of the Allies. In a speech to Congress, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the bombing of Pearl Harbor “a date which will live in infamy.”

There are a number of Naval memorials around the US in honor of those who died at Pearl Harbor. The most well known and highly publized is the USS Arizona.


The USS Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor is a marble memorial over the sunken battleship USS Arizona, which was dedicated on May 30, 1962 (“Memorial Day”), in honor of the 1,177 crew members who were killed. The memorial remembers all military personnel who were killed in the Pearl Harbor attack. Note: This site is open to the public with boat tours to the memorial provided by the US Navy from the visitors center.

Pearl Harbor Memorial


In the first ten minutes of the battle, eight torpedoes hit the USS Oklahoma, and she began to capsize. A ninth torpedo would hit her as she sunk in the mud. 14 Marines, and 415 sailors would give their lives. 32 men were cut out through the hull while the others were beneath the waterline. Banging could be heard for over 3 days and then there was silence.

USS Oklahoma Hit

In 1943, the Oklahoma was righted and salvaged. Unlike most of the other battleships that were recovered following Pearl Harbor, the Oklahoma was too damaged to return to duty. Her wreck was eventually stripped of her remaining armament and superstructure before being sold for scrap in 1946. The hull sank in a storm in 1947, while being towed from Oahu, Hawaii, to a breakers yard in San Francisco Bay.

USS Oklahoma Memorial at Pearl Harbor


The USS Utah Memorial, is in remembrance of a former battleship that had been converted to a target ship in 1931 (thus, at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack carried the designation of AG-16), that was sunk in the attack on December 7, 1941. A memorial to honor the crew including the 58 who died aboard USS Utah was dedicated on the northwest shore of Ford Island, near the ship’s wreck, in 1972. The ship, along with USS Arizona, was added to the National Register of Historic Places and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989.

Ford Island

USS Utah Sinking


The USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park is in remembrance of an American submarine that sank 44 ships in World War II. This site is adjacent to the USS Arizona Memorial Visitors Center.

The submarine is owned and operated by the Pacific Fleet Submarine Memorial Association, and is now part of the USS Bowfin Submarine Museum and Park in Pearl Harbor, on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. Visitors can tour the submarine with an audio narration of life in the vessel during World War II. The park’s museum features exhibits and artifacts about submarines and the history of the United States Submarine Service, including detailed models, weapon systems, photographs, paintings, battle flags, recruiting posters, and a memorial honoring the 52 American submarines and the more than 3,500 submariners lost during World War II.

The museum’s other exhibits include a torpedo and a 40-mm quad gun, along with Poseidon C-3 and regulus I missiles. The park is located within walking distance of the visitor center for the USS Arizona Memorial and it is across the Harbor from the Battleship Missouri Memorial.


While operating with the carriers on 11 April, the USS Missouri came under attack from a kamikaze that struck the side of the vessel below the main deck. The impact shattered the aircraft, throwing gasoline on the deck that rapidly ignited, but it was quickly suppressed by her crew. The attack caused superficial damage and the battleship remained on station.

Top left of center you can see the Kamikaze

Two crewmen were wounded on 17 April when another kamikaze clipped the stern crane and crashed in the ship’s wake. Missouri left Task Force 58 on 5 May to return to Ulithi; in the course of her operations off Okinawa, she claimed five aircraft shot down and another probable kill, along with partial credit for another six aircraft destroyed.

On 21 August, Missouri sent a contingent of 200 officers and men to Iowa, which was to debark a landing party in Tokyo to begin the process of demilitarizing Japan. Two days later, Murray was informed that Missouri would host the surrender ceremony, with the date scheduled for 31 August. The ship’s crew immediately began preparations for the event, including cleaning and painting the vessel. Missouribegan the approach to Tokyo Bay on 27 August, guided by the Japanese destroyer Hatsuzakura. That night, the ships stopped at Kamakura, where a courier brought the flag that Commodore Matthew Perry had flown during his expedition to open Japan in 1853; the flag was to be displayed during the surrender ceremony. The flotilla then entered Tokyo Bay on 29 August, and Missouri was anchored close to where Perry had anchored his own vessels some ninety-two years earlier. Poor weather delayed the ceremony until 2 September.

Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signs the Japanese Instrument of Surrender aboard the USS Missouri as General Richard K. Sutherland watches, 2 September 1945

Allied sailors and officers watch General of the Army Douglas MacArthur sign documents during the surrender ceremony aboard Missouri on 2 September 1945. The unconditional surrender of the Japanese to the Allies officially ended the Second World War.

In 1990, leading up to the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Congress established the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal. This is also known as the Pearl Harbor Survivor’s medal and was awarded to anyone who was in the U.S. Armed Forces who was present in Hawaii on December 7, 1941 and participated in combat operations that day against the attack. The medal was also awarded to civilians who were killed or injured in the attack. A few years later, Congress amended the law to allow any person who was present in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, and was involved in combat operations against Japanese military forces attacking Hawaii, to receive the award. In both instances, there was a limited time period to apply for the award, and it is no longer issued.

Pearl Harbor Survivor Medal

The battleships West Virginia and Tennessee burning after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941.

Oil burns on the waters of Pearl Harbor, near the naval air station, after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.

The battleship USS Arizona belches smoke as it topples over into the sea during a Japanese surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Genghis Khan’s Bizarre Burial: Hidden Graves

There’s an ancient legend that Mongolian Ruler Genghis Khan desired that no one ever know the location of his grave, so he sent an army of men to murder anyone who came in contact with the funeral procession.

The Mausoleum of Genghis Khan is an ornate blue and white octagonal hall. It’s a top-rated tourist attraction outside of Ordos City in Inner Mongolia, which is an autonomous region landlocked inside of China. As many as 8,000 tourists visit each day to pay tribute to Genghis Khan. The main hall of the mausoleum contains a cenotaph – that’s a fancy word for a burial monument that contains no body. That’s because for 794 years, no one has ever figured out where Genghis Khan was buried.

The Mongolian ruler Genghis Khan was born sometime around 1162 near the Burkhan Khaldun mountain in Mongolia. He was the founder and the first Khan – which is a title meaning emperor of the Mongol Empire. His legacy is being an absolutely brutal conquerer.

His armies conquered hundreds of cities and murdered millions of people. In doing so, he created the largest contiguous land Empire in the history of the world – a mass of land equal to around the size of the continent of Africa. Genghis Khan’s Mongol Empire stretched as far West as modern day Poland and as far South as what is now Egypt. While he is remembered for ruthlessness and violence, he was once remembered for spreading culture, science and technology to many parts of the world. His empire was ethnically and racially diverse. He is considered the most successful military conquerer of all time.

The last conquest of Genghis Khan was Yinchuan, the capital of the Western Xia province of China. The Mongols conquered the city and slaughtered it’s entire population in 1227. It’s believed that it was during that battle that Genghis Khan died. No one is certain how he died. Theories range from being killed in battle to falling off his horse to dying from wounds he sustained while hunting – which is a theory that was spread by explorer Marco Polo. A legend that was circulated later was that he was killed by a Western Xia Princess that he had abducted.

The army that the Khan had amassed when he died was more than 129,000 men. So why is it that one of the most famous humans to have walked the Earth has an unknown burial site? The simple answer is he wanted it that way.

Quite a few famous people from history have lost, unmarked or unknown graves. Take Mozart. When Mozart was buried, he was buried in a common grave. He wasn’t ultra wealthy and he wasn’t aristocracy, and as such, his grave was subject to excavation after a period of ten years after his death. This was the practice in Vienna at the time as there wasn’t enough room in the cemeteries. After a period of 10 years, the remains were gathered and added together with other interments to consolidate space. Because of this, over the years, the actual remains of Mozart were lost.

Alexander the Great’s current tomb is unknown. After he was entombed, his grave was repeatedly raided and looted. It was moved, but since then sea levels have changed, earthquakes have changed the land, and entire cities have been built over what was once ancient Alexandria.

Alexander the Great Sarcophagus

Atilla the Hun, Cleopatra – many rulers from history have graves that are now lost. But looking at the burials of people closer to our time might help us to understand why some would want their gravesites to be hidden.

The grave of John Belushi became a place for people to party. The family didn’t like this, nor did the cemetery, so he was moved to a quiet hillside cemetery. The family says that his grave marker there doesn’t actually mark the site of his grave, which has been kept a secret. [Who knows if he is actually buried at either of these sites!]

Nobody knows the location of the gravesite of Steve Jobs. He was a very private person and his family made sure that the location of his gravesite at Alta Mesa Cemetery in Palo Alto has been kept a secret. People wishing to pay respects can sign the guest book at the front lobby of the cemetery.

Going back in time to the 13th century, Genghis Khan had been explicit in the years previous to his death about how he wanted to be buried. He left very detailed instructions about what was to be done to ensure his wish was granted – that no one would ever know where he was buried. This was a tradition in his tribe.

Much of this is legend and very difficult to prove. The sources that are commonly pointed to are that of Marco Polo who journeyed across Asia at the time of the Mongolian Empire, and the Altan Tobchi, which is a 17th century chronicle of Mongolian customs.

The funeral procession was carried out by an army of 800 soldiers. Those soldiers murdered anyone who they encountered on the procession, as well as everyone who attended Genghis Khan’s funeral. They reached the likely site of his burial near the Burkhan Khaldun mountain and Onon River, buried him, and were then killed by a separate group of soldiers who came in at that point. A thousand horses were led to trample the ground of the entire region to obscure any trace of the burial. Additional legends even go so far as to suggest the Mongols redirected the flow of the Onon River to cover the region where Khan was buried.

This is how important it was to Genghis Khan for his burial place to remain a secret. I mean, after you’ve killed as many as 40 million people establish your empire, what are a few thousand more? There have been countless expeditions through the years to locate the body of Genghis Khan. None have been successful. Partly, this is due to the fact that Mongolians don’t want him to be found – they tend to respect the tradition and wishes of the ruler. Some superstitions claim that if the burial is ever discovered, the world will end.

This is probably linked to the fact that in 1941, the tomb of 14th Century Mongolian ruler Tamarlane was opened by Soviet Archaeologists and soon after, Nazis invaded The Soviet Union.

It’s been made even more difficult for researchers to find the site because the region around Burkhan Khaldun mountain has been made into a UNESCO World Heritage Site and as such is off limits for any sort of excavation or research.

Mongolia Badaam Festival

For Mongolians, they’re happy he’s never going to be found. In Mongolia, Genghis Khan is their most celebrated figure. He’s immortalized with statues and monuments throughout the nation and his face appears on their money. The rest of the world may see him as a vicious murderer and conquerer, but for Mongolians, he’s the ruler that united the East and West. He established what would become the Silk Road to enable trade and commerce for future generations. And for that, they want to continue to respect his final wishes.

1000 Tögrög Note Of Mongolia


If you thought other weddings you’ve been to had a lot of traditions, just wait until you attend your first military wedding. With a slew of unique customs, specific dress codes, and even requirements for invitation wording, there’s etiquette to navigate that you may not have seen before. Plus, different branches of the military have different variations of these traditions.

Like all nuptial ceremonies, military weddings are celebratory and meaningful events but with an added air of patriotism. They’re meant to honor anyone who has served or is currently serving in any branch of the U.S. military, including those enlisted, active and retired officers, and cadets at an academy. Incorporating long-standing traditions makes military weddings that much more special, and there’s a lot more guidance when it comes to making decisions about the venue, decorations, recessional song, and more.

Wondering what to expect at a military wedding? Below, learn all about the traditions, plus what to plan for and expect at a military wedding ceremony.

Seating Based on Military Status and Rank

During the ceremony, commanding officers should sit near the front, either with or directly behind the couple’s families. At the reception, military members should be seated by rank (captains with captains, sergeants with sergeants, etc.). Military personnel may also be seated together at a table of honor near the head table, or they can sit with the civilian guests if the couple prefers.

Each branch of service has specific seating guidelines, but overall, high-ranking officers (generals, captains) are given positions of the highest honor both at the ceremony and reception.

A Flag On Display

An American flag and the bride or groom’s unit standard are usually on display during the ceremony as a sign of respect. Protocol dictates that this should be displayed to the left of the officiant when viewed by the gathered guests. In addition to the flag, the couple may choose to incorporate other patriotic decorations and colors into their ceremony and reception.

The Rules of Grooming

If the groom chooses to be wed in full military uniform, they’ll need to adhere to the unique regulatory standards that each branch holds, including universal grooming standards, such as shaving. All men in uniform must be clean-shaven, and these same rules apply to any vets or retirees planning to don a uniform.

My friends, Marianne and Ski (his last name was Pankowsky but IDR his first name – we just called him Ski! The blue braid on his arm signifies that he was in the 3rd US Infantry)

If you’re a woman marrying a male retiree or vet with a sexy beard and want him to wear his uniform, he’s going to have to get rid of it again. I think we’re all aware that men can get pretty attached to their beards, so that may or may not require some negotiation. However, the opportunity to again wear a uniform that holds so much national and personal significance may be a major motivation.

Groomsmen in White Gloves

Any member of the wedding party in uniform who is carrying a saber or cutlass, whether an officer or enlisted personnel, must wear white gloves. This is typically required of military members for most ceremonial events. The groom and best man are exempt, however, as they will be handling the rings.

The Saber Arch Exit

If one or both of the newlyweds are commissioned officers, they may exit the ceremony beneath an archway of sabers held by other military members, known as the Arch of Sabers (or the Arch of Swords if they’re in the Navy or Marine Corps). If the partners are noncommissioned officers or enlisted personnel, they will instead use a variation known as the Arch of Rifles.

The arch serves as a pledge of loyalty to the couple by their military family and often ends with the final two military members lowering their sabers to prevent the couple from passing.

Traditionally, brides who aren’t in the military may be ceremonially tapped on the behind with a saber before the couple is allowed to pass—it’s considered a way to “welcome” them into the military family. Though less common than it used to be, it’s still practiced today, and brides can request to skip this part if they’re not comfortable with it.

Cake-Cutting With a Sword

The sword cake-cutting is perhaps one of the most recognizable military wedding traditions. If the bride or groom is an officer, they will use a ceremonial military sword to cut their wedding cake instead of a knife or cake server.

Marianne and Ski did cut their cake with a sword but I didn’t get pics of that one!

Traditionally, the military spouse presents the sword to their partner before they cut the cake. Then, customarily, the bride places a hand underneath the groom’s on the handle of the sword, and they cut through the cake together; however, this can be updated according to the couple’s preferences.

M & S with their parents outside the chapel

These are just a few of the traditions – read more: