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Truths Behind The Tales of American Battles

Wednesday, Dec 1 2021 by

It’s hard to imagine today, but the United States we know and love today came about through several hard-fought battles and wars. And while we all learned about the Revolution and Civil War in school, the truth is more interesting and sometimes more complicated than what you may have been taught.

Yorktown

Interesting Fact: The American Revolution did not end the day General George Washington won the battle at Yorktown, Virginia.

Yorktown Surrender Field (Google Maps)
Yorktown Surrender Field

The battle, siege and surrender at Yorktown is one of the most pivotal events on American soil, as it forced British troops to surrender to General George Washington and ending the American Revolution. The war did not end immediately after the surrender on October 19, 1781, but it did lead to the final agreement between leaders from both countries to cease all hostilities.

A portrait in the U.S. Capitol depicts the events of the surrender. The leader of the British troops, Lieutenant General Charles Cornwallis feigned illness rather than surrender personally and sent his second in command. General George Washington, always focused on protocol and honors, refused to accept the surrender from a subordinate, and had his own second in command, Major General Benjamin Lincoln formally accept surrender.

Yorktown
Photo Credit: “Surrender of Lord Cornwallis” by John Trumbull

Fort Sumter

Interesting Fact: The Battle of Fort Sumter did not lead to the secession of states from the Union; that had already started to occur several months before the official start of the Civil War.

The Civil War was fought over a host of issues, primarily the issue of states’ rights, including issue of slavery. Tensions between southern and northern states had been brewing for years and in late 1860, several southern states including South Carolina seceded from the United States of America and created their own government, including electing a president and enlisting a standing army.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate troops fired on Union troops stationed at Fort Sumter, South Carolina, and after 36 hours of bombardment, the Union forces surrendered and evacuated the island fort. It was the first military confrontation of a war that lasted four years and claimed up to 750,000 dead on both sides.

Fort Sumter (Google Maps)
Fort Sumter

Appomattox Court House

Interesting Fact: The end of the Civil War did not take place in an actual court house, but in a town named Appomattox Court House. The house used for the surrender was owned by Wilmer McLean, who had moved to the town after the first major battle of the Civil War was fought on his farm in Mananas Junction, Virginia. The war started and ended on his property.

Appomattox Court House National Historical Park (Google Maps)
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park

Nearly four years after the official start of the Civil War, a battle was fought at Appomattox Court House, the county seat of Appomattox County, Virginia. Union Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant pursued Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s army and contained them in the small Virginia town. Without supplies and with dwindling troops, Lee had no choice but to surrender.

On April 9, 1861, Lee and Grant met at the McLean House in Appomattox Court House and worked out the terms of the surrender of Lee’s army. When news of Lee’s surrender reached other Confederate leaders, they too surrendered and brought the war to a close.

Little Big Horn: Custer’s Last Stand

Interesting Fact: The Battle at Little Big Horn was not the “last stand” of a massacred American army as many believe, but an an attack on a Native American gathering that resulted in a wholesale defeat by Federal troops.

Little Big Horn - Custer's Last Stand (Google Maps)
Little Big Horn - Custer's Last Stand

As part of the ongoing effort to move Native Americans to reservations so territorial expansion expansion of the west could continue, the US Army fought a series of battle nicknamed the Indian Wars. Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and his Calvary were working with other soldiers to remove Native Americans from land where gold had recently been discovered. A large gathering of Native Americans were at the Little Bighorn River for a religious festival. Both warriors and noncombatants were part of the group.

Hoping to ensure victory with a surprise attack, Custer ordered a daytime assault on the village on June 25, 1876. However, there were many more Indians capable of fighting than anticipated and they soon mounted effective defenses. Many troops escaped but those who did not, including Custer, were cornered on a hill, where, outnumbered significantly, they were all killed.

After the battle, reports portrayed the battle as a hostile and unprovoked attack by Native forces and led to an even stronger crackdown on Native Americans and increased the pace and intensity of forced relocations along the American frontier.

Pearl Harbor

Interesting Fact: Japanese airplanes, submarines and ships that attacked the US naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, were part of a larger attempt by Japan to keep the US out of the war, including coordinated attacks in the Philippines, Guam, Wake Island, Hong Kong and Singapore. However, the attempt backfired and war was declared the next day.

USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial (Birds Eye)
USS Arizona (BB-39) Memorial

Early in the morning on Sunday, December 7, more than 350 Japanese aircraft attacked Pearl Harbor, the headquarters of the US Pacific Fleet. The planes sunk or damaged 16 ships, including the battleship the USS Arizona, which sunk so quickly that more than 1,100 of her crew were killed, going down with the ship. Three other battleships were sunk but successfully resurfaced and returned to service by the end of the war. Three and a half years later, the US dropped atomic bombs on Japan, forcing a conclusion to the Pacific theater of the war, and ending World War II on September 2, 1945.

The USS Arizona was turned into a living museum in 1962, and can be visited today at Pear Harbor, Hawaii. Surviving veterans of the attack can have their ashes laid to rest in the harbor.

So many battles and struggles took place on American soil, and it is important to remember the men and women who fought and died to ensure our way of life continues today.

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Thanksgiving Football

Thursday, Nov 25 2021 by

It’s Thanksgiving in the United States, and just after turkey, pumpkin pie, and grandpa telling bad jokes, comes the tradition of watching NFL football games.

For nearly 100 years the Detroit Lions have played a game on Thanksgiving. Since 1966, the Cowboys have played on Thanksgiving as well. And in 2006, the NFL added a third game, played in prime time with different teams selected each year.

So, in order to learn more about the game, and maybe throw in a random fact during a timeout, let’s look at who will be taking the field today.

Ford Field, Detroit, MI

The Detroit Lions are one of the oldest teams in the league, and have been in Detroit since 1934. They moved to a new stadium, Ford Field, in 2002. Named after the Ford Motor Company, of course, the stadium can seat at least 70,000 football fans. It cost more than $500 million to build!

A unique stadium, Ford Field has a roof to keep out the cold Detroit winter, but also has huge skylights to allow for more natural light. In addition to NFL games, the stadium hosts college football bowl games, and the occasional college basketball game.

Ford Field (Google Maps)
Ford Field

Jared Goff, Hidden Hills, CA

Jared Goff has been a successful quarterback his entire career, even taking the Los Angeles Rams to their first Super Bowl in nearly 20 years. In 2021, he was traded to the Lions, but he hasn’t sold his gorgeous LA-area mansion yet.

He’s earning about $25 million this year, so he can afford to keep the California home, which set him back nearly $5 million. It has 5,000 square feet, five bedrooms, a pool, of course, and more. Neighbors include Drake, multiple Kardashians, and The Weeknd!

Jared Goff's House (Google Maps)
Jared Goff's House

Soldier Field, Chicago, IL

This year, the Lions are playing the Chicago Bears. At home, the Bears play at Soldier Field, in downtown Chicago. The Bears are one of the original NFL teams, and Soldier Field is the oldest stadium in use for NFL games.

Soldier Field first hosted the Bears in 1971, but has been around since 1924! Before then, the Bears played at Wrigley Field, but they have loved their new home, and even undertook massive renovations in 2002.

And it needed renovations. Originally, the stadium had plank seating! When demolition began immediately after a game in 2002, fans waited outside and took home individual seats and other items discarded for the renovations. Bears fans sure are dedicated, right?

Soldier Field (Birds Eye)
Soldier Field

AT&T Stadium, Arlington, TX

The Dallas Cowboys aren’t the oldest team in the league, but they are among the most famous. The team was formed in 1960, and shortly after, began playing a regular Thanksgiving home game. Part of the reason they decided to have an annual game was because there wasn’t a lot else on TV to watch that day!

AT&T Stadium is relatively new, having been completed in 2009. It has a retractable roof, a massive high-definition television, and many other bells and whistles that people love, and sometimes, mock.

It holds 80,000 fans, making it one of the biggest stadiums in the NFL. But it’s not just used for the Cowboys; college football plays several games here each year, and even important high school football games take place here. In Texas, football is king.

AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys) (Birds Eye)
AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys)

Dak Prescott, Prosper, TX

Drafted in 2016 by the Cowboys, Dak quickly became the starting QB after Tony Romo was injured in the preseason. He rightfully earned a reputation as a star player, now ranking as one of the best quarterbacks in the league.

Dak lives in a gorgeous, 9,000 square foot mansion in Prosper, Texas, a small suburb of Dallas. The mansion set him back $3.3 million, and has seven acres of land, an indoor “sports simulation theater”, game room, outdoor pool, and his very own practice field!

Dak Prescott's house (Birds Eye)
Dak Prescott's house

Allegiant Stadium, Los Vegas, NV

The famed Oakland Raiders moved to Los Vegas in 2020, and now play in the Allegiant Stadium. On Thanksgiving, they’ll suit up in Texas to play the Cowboys.

Allegiant Stadium was built specifically for the Raiders, and cost $1.9 billion! It is home to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas football team, as well. Because the Raiders prefer to play on grass, and UNLV prefers to play on astroturf, the stadium has a unique design to have Bermuda grass for the NFL games, and turf for college games. The grass is actually on a roll-tray, so the entire field can be moved in or out as needed, kind of like a cabinet drawer.

When you have a budget of $1.9 billion, you can do anything, it seems.

Allegiant Stadium (StreetView)
Allegiant Stadium

Superdome, New Orleans, LA

The final game of the day will be played in New Orleans, between the Buffalo Bills and New Orleans Saints. Now one of the most famous, or infamous, stadiums, the Superdome holds NFL games, NCAA basketball games, and college football bowl games as well.

It is famous for being the site of refuge for thousands of New Orleans residents who fled their homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. They stayed there for days in squalid conditions, with no food, power, security, or place to sleep.

The stadium was entirely renovated before it reopened in 2006, and serves as a symbol that the city is strong, resilient, and dedicated to surviving, and thriving.

Mercedes-Benz Superdome (Google Maps)
Mercedes-Benz Superdome

Football is part of the American tradition, and plays an important role in many Thanksgiving holidays. Games will play all day, starting with the Lions-Bears at 12:30 eastern, then the Cowboys-Raiders at 4:30, and finally the Saints-Bills game at 7:30. So no matter where you are when you want to watch a bunch of guys throw an oddly-shaped ball, you’ll be able to get your fill of football.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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New York, New York!

Thursday, Nov 18 2021 by

It’s a wonderful town! And there’s no better time to visit than in November. You can catch the end of the gorgeous New England fall, with the leaves changing color, you can catch the start of winter as the season changes, and if you’re there over Thanksgiving, you can even watch the amazing spectacle that is the Thanksgiving Day Parade!

Or, you can just shop til you drop in the thousands of stores the city has to offer.

No matter what, your time in NYC will be well-spent!

Statue of Liberty

A gift from France in 1886, the Statue of Liberty has become a symbol of freedom, acceptance and the open arms of the United States. She stands on Liberty Island in New York Harbor, welcoming all who come into the city. Visitors can climb the 300 foot statue, take in her beauty from the base on the island, or get a great view from Battery Park at the southern tip of Manhattan.

Statue Of Liberty (Birds Eye)
Statue Of Liberty

Times Square

Times Square is one of the most vibrant places on Earth, especially at night. It has been a center of theater activity for over a hundred years, and after a span where the area struggled with crime and adult themed shops, it has cleaned up its image and become the heart of the city. In addition to fun shops and shows, it’s the center of the world on New Year’s Eve, when the ball drops in Times Square.

Empire State Building (Birds Eye)
Empire State Building

Rockefeller Center

Rockefeller Center is a complex of nearly two dozen buildings in downtown New York that houses much of NBC’s New York operations, as well as many other businesses and corporations. Tourists love to gather outside in the early morning to watch live tapings of the Today Show, and enjoy the Christmas decorations and go ice skating at the Lower Plaza in the winter.

Rockefeller Center Lower Plaza & Rink (StreetView)
Rockefeller Center Lower Plaza & Rink

Brooklyn Bridge

The Brooklyn Bridge connecting Manhattan and Brooklyn was completed in 1883, and is an architectural masterpiece in the New York City skyline. It was constructed largely by manual labor, where men risked their health and lives to build the bridge. The bridge is open to both pedestrian and vehicle traffic, and people love to stroll across the bridge, especially on a sunny day.

Brooklyn Bridge (Birds Eye)
Brooklyn Bridge

Woolworth Building

When the Woolworth Building was built in 1913, it was the tallest building in the world. When it opened, President Wilson flipped a switch and lit up the building with over 8,000 light bulbs, an engineering marvel at the time. Avant-garde in architecture and design, the building has an elevator decorated with Tiffany glass and cast iron. Visitors can enjoy the unique building from outside and the lobby, but because the building is now owned by private corporations, guests cannot tour the other floors.

The Woolworth Building (Birds Eye)
The Woolworth Building

Irish Hunger Memorial

In the 1840s, Ireland suffered from a dramatic and extended famine where nearly two million people died or left the country in search of better lives. A large portion moved to New York City, and it had a significant impact on the city’s culture and demographics. In the north end of Battery Park is a half acre memorial that includes an authentic 19th century cottage donated from a village in Ireland. It honors both the Irish who came to the city and those who died in the home country.

'Irish Hunger Memorial' by Brian Tolle (Birds Eye)
'Irish Hunger Memorial' by Brian Tolle

High Bridge Aqueduct

Aqueducts have been used for thousands of years to efficiently move water. The Croton Aqueduct system brought water to New York City, and where it crossed the Harlem River, the city constructed the High Bridge Aqueduct. It was used for about 100 years before being closed. In 2015, it was reopened to pedestrian and bicycle traffic, connecting High Bridge Parks in the Bronx and Manhattan and providing a wonderful outdoor resource for the city.

High Bridge Aqueduct (Google Maps)
High Bridge Aqueduct

White Horse Tavern

New York is not short on great places to eat and sites full of cultural importance, but the White Horse Tavern combines the two. Operating since the 1800s, the West Village establishment became famous as a gathering place for writers, poets and bohemians in the 1950s. Famous artists including Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, Norman Mailer, Hunter S. Thompson and even Jack Kerouac (though he was kicked out multiple times) met, drank and mused here. Come raise a glass in their memory, but bring cash since they don’t take credit cards.

White Horse Tavern (StreetView)
White Horse Tavern

What makes New York City great is that there is something for everyone, from the classic attractions to the out of the way memorials, from the big skyline to the small eateries. No matter your style, interests, or budget, you’ll find something to take your breath away and somewhere to spend an amazing day in New York City.

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Sunday, December 05, 2021

Showing 3 of 3 maps submitted on 2021-12-05:

Bielszowice Coal Mine
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Saturday, December 04, 2021

Showing 12 of 17 maps submitted on 2021-12-04:

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Friday, December 03, 2021

Showing 12 of 14 maps submitted on 2021-12-03:

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Thursday, December 02, 2021

Showing 12 of 12 maps submitted on 2021-12-02:

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Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Showing 11 of 11 maps submitted on 2021-12-01:

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