Category Archives: history

Happy 200th Birthday, Indiana!

Flag map of Indiana

OK, it’s not quite Indiana’s birthday. But it’s close. It’s only a few days away. December 11, to be exact. That’s the date Indiana was admitted into the Union in 1816. So we’re celebrating 200 years of being a state!

While there are many things that frustrate me about Indiana, I also have a deep, deep appreciation for the Hoosier State. I will openly criticize my home state, but I will defend Indiana with all my heart if you aren’t a Hoosier and try to say something negative about the State I love. That’s probably a fault of mine. But I’m OK with that because I really do love our state. Honest to goodness.

I have been to many parts of Indiana over the years and here is much to love about our state. As we celebrate Indiana’s 200th birthday, I want to share with you some of the great things that make our state amazing. There really is more than corn in Indiana. There’s also more to this state than a race track. Amazingly enough, there are some people who don’t really care that much about the Indianapolis 500, even though it’s been part of the state’s story for more than 100 years.  And although basketball has a pretty special place in our collective consciousness, there’s more to Indiana than just basketball.

Indiana is a special place. And I want to relish in its specialness. So, in celebration of Indiana’s 200th birthday, I’ll be publishing several posts during the month of December that will hopefully remind us how great this state can be. Because that’s what happens when you wander Indiana. You find some great stories. You also find some pretty amazing people and some beautiful scenery. I hope these things are reflected in our journey through the Hoosier State. I also hope that I’m able to figure out a way to share a heapin’ helping of Hoosier Hospitality as we wander through the state together.

Still inspired by Lincoln at Gettysburg

Gettysburg Address
As we recognize the 150th anniversary of the delivery of the Gettysburg Address, I hope we remember that thousands of people have continued to die so that this nation might live. I hope we are able to strengthen our resolve to find ways to work together instead of against each other so that this new nation –  one of the people, by the people, and for the people – shall not perish from this earth.

It only took a few minutes. And even though it was extremely short, Lincoln delivered one of the greatest speeches in American rhetoric. And it’s only 10 sentences long. It’s a powerful example of how words matter. It’s also a poignant reminder that even greatness can have its critics. And while their criticism may have seemed warranted at the time, they seem pretty short-sighted and petty now.

150 years later, I think these words still ring true. They’re more than just a speech that I had to memorize in middle school. They still inspire. They still challenge. Lincoln says more in 271 words than most politicians say in their lifetime.


Who are YOUR heroes?

Superman revealing the S on his costumeI’ve been reading a few biographies recently and have come to realize that several of the subjects are heroes of mine. I never really classified them as “heroes” until I started reading more about them. I’m working on a post about who those heroes are (and why they’re my heroes). But that post isn’t ready yet. So while I’m working on it, I have a question for you:

Who are your heroes? Who inspires you?

For a variety of reasons, I’d like to limit this to the realm of those who are no longer with us. I’m pretty sure I’ve asked this before, but I know it’s been a while so it’s worth asking again.

I’m looking forward to knowing who inspires you.

Coming Soon…

Do you remember that list of 46 people I want to make sure my children know about?

Well, I’ve decided to try a little experiment. Aiden, Alyson, and I are going to write mini-biographies about each of these people and publish them on a new blog, aptly titled

So keep your eyes peeled. Aiden’s already working on the first post. He’s pretty excited! This should be fun.

Just don’t tell them that they’ll be learning anything this Summer. 😉

Under the Sun…

When I was in fourth grade, the Space Shuttle program was shelved indefinitely in the aftermath of the Challenger disaster.

Now, 25 years later, Aiden is in the fourth grade and Discovery has flown its last mission. Endeavor and Atlantis won’t be far behind.

When I was in fourth grade, the President announced over the air that US forces had attacked Libya. Yesterday, the US joined NATO forces in attacking Libya.

What has been will be again,
What has been done will be done again;
There is nothing new under the sun.
Ecclesiastes 1:9

Thank you, Dr. King

“I have a dream that…little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thank you, Dr. King, for sharing your dream with the world. I’m sorry that it took far too long for people to understand that what was happening was, indeed, wrong. Your dream, however, has become our dream.

Thank you, Dr. King, for challenging us to look beyond skin color. You reminded the world that it’s what’s on the inside that’s important, not our mere appearances. It’s the content of our character, not the shade of our melanin. In your dream, you saw the Promised Land. While we’re really not that close to it yet, we’re trying.

Thank you, Dr. King, for standing up and paving the way. I have a hard time believing that my family would be what it is today without the sacrifices you made.

Today we remember. Today we commit to continuing to do better.

Thank you, Dr. King.

Ralphie & Wilbur Wright

I went with Aiden and his class to the Wilbur Wright Birthplace today. An older lady was giving a tour of the house when she started talking to the students about the soap they made from lard and lye. “Now, this soap isn’t anything like the soap they sell today that smells all pretty,” she said. And then she went on to talk about how nasty the soap tastes, talking about how her mom used to wash her mouth out with soap whenever she said a naughty word.

All I could picture was Ralphie from A Christmas Story with that big ol’ block of soap stuck in his mouth.

In addition to the house and tool shed and smokehouse, they also have an area of a museum depicting their living quarters in Kitty Hawk with a fully-stocked kitchen. Included in the necessities was a box of soap. The very same soap that made Ralphie go blind!

And this scene has been running through my head the rest of the afternoon:

Apparently, they make a big deal about decorating the museum and such with Christmas trees. I think it would be great to have a cardboard cutout of Ralphie standing near the Lifebuoy soap. Maybe he could wear his pink bunny suit!

So – if you’re reading this, curators of the Wilbur Wright Birthplace, please, please, please make this happen!