Category Archives: History
This time a year I dwell upon those American Colonials who took up arms against the British Empire which represented the greatest military of that age. What courage, what valor, what vicious tenacity it took our forbear’s to wage a war against such overwhelming odds. Our Colonial ancestors stood against tyranny but by doing so they put their very lives upon a gauntlet of death for an idea of Freedom. It was this Idea of Freedom that was eventually summarized into our Declaration of Independence which still stands as a testimony of what those brave souls fought for so many years ago.
Our Country is not perfect but Freedom still reigns true in the United States and I am so very Thankful for all those that have stood for and continue to defend the ideals of our Declaration of Independence.
Just wanted to share a few thoughts I had as I Ponder this Memorial Day:
Many soldiers did not come back from wars ugly embrace, many who did are still drowning under the weight of its cruel grip. They breath pain and exhale guilt. Their smiles are gone and only exist in the sorrow of Yesterday. Many vetrans believe, it would have been better to die in a place where honor and duty paved a road to heights above the mountain plattue, into the puffy cloud filled sky.
22 Veterans a day lose their lives because the of the burden of memories gone by is just to heavy to carry on. Some gave some, some gave all but many still continue to fight, just trying to find a way home..
We can do better, we must do better. Every day is should be Memorial Day.
Was able to visit the Casa Grande Ruins National Monument near Coolidge AZ. There is not much left to this ancient Hohokam Village but what remains is rather impressive given its 700 year battle against the relentless desert sun. Visiting sites like this give me pause to dwell upon the many footsteps that have tread upon the land throughout our human evolution. It is unfathomable to comprehend the amount of skill, ingenuity, and complete dedication to survival it took for these industrious people to not only survive in such a hostile arid climate but thrive.
I am always so proud of myself when I go to IKEA and buy a pre-fabricated table and successfully put it together. The Hohokam Peoples, hunted where animals did not dwell, grew crops where water did not exist and built a village with little to no natural resources other than dirt and tenacity. Portions of this historic settlement still exist as a monument to those who have refused to give up even when all seemed lost and hope was beyond reason. I can’t help but to think of the words of Winston Churchill who said, “Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.”
Little Round Top is hallowed ground; it’s a place where courage, death, and valor met on a bloody hill. It’s a place where the extreme heroic actions of a few, helped extend the reach of freedom for those in bondage. Union men defended that small knoll and their sacrifice literally saved a young nation. Little Round Top served as the last Southern anchor point of the Union Army on the Second Day of the Battle of Gettysburg. If the defending soldiers were overwhelmed by the Confederate forces at this critical location, then the Union Armies Left Flank would fall. The Confederates would then gain the high ground and like dominoes, the Union Army would have toppled upon its self. If the Union Army was routed at Gettysburg in the Northern State of Pennsylvania, Confederate General Robert Lee would be free to march his Army south uncontested and force President Lincoln to capitulate to the Confederate Cause.
On the early morning of July 2, 1863, the high ground on the Union Force’s far left flank laid undefended from an impending Confederate attack. Without orders and on his own initiative, Union Colonel Strong Vincent, knowing the vital importance of the position ordered his Third Brigade to occupy and defend the high ground at a small hill called Little Round Top. The order to secure this vital position was given to the 20th Maine Volunteers Commanded by Colonel Joshua Chamberlain. Only a year previous, Colonel Chamberlain was a Professor of Rhetoric at Bowdoin College in Maine. He spoke more than 8 languages fluently but had little military experience and only became the Commander of the Infantry Company a month previously. Colonel Chamberlain was given the order from Colonel Strong Vincent to, “hold the ground at all hazards”. Within minutes of taking their positions on that little rocky hill, the 20th Maine was attacked by the 15th Alabama, Commanded by Colonel William Oates. Multiple attacks by the Confederates were thrown up that hill and were repulsed by the Union Troops. After each attack, the Confederates shifted their forces to flank and overwhelm the 20th Maine. After many assaults on their position, Union Forces found themselves stretched thin and without ammunition to defend against another attack. Colonel Chamberlain’s orders were clear, there was to be no surrender. Without hope of reinforcements, little ammunition nor men to hold the line, the situation was dire. At that moment, the Professor from Bowdoin College gave the order to those left in his Command to equip bayonets. With no other options available, Colonel Joshua Chamberlain issued the order to attack down the blood drenched hill. This action served to confuse and disorient the Confederate Forces and turned the tide of the battle. The Confederate forces never recovered from the Chamberlain’s bayonet charge and were driven from the field saving the high ground and the Union’s left flank.
Colonel William Oats, Commander of the 15th Alabama Infantry who lost half his force on that gory day explained, “the dead literally covered the ground”. Union Army Colonel Strong Vincent who ordered the defense of Little Round Top was mortally wounded while rallying his men. He was promoted to General while on his death bed before succumbing to his wounds. Colonel Joshua Chamberlain survived the three-day Battle of Gettysburg and continued to lead men into battle. At the Second Battle of Petersburg, Colonel Chamberlain was severely wounded and was suspected to die of his wounds and was promoted to the rank of Brigadier General. He even out maneuvered death and survived the wound to live till age 85. After the war he served as the Governor of Maine as well as President of Bowdoin College.
The History that can still be felt at Little Round Top is palatable to the senses. Take the time to wonder the many monuments dedicated to all that fought there. My suggestion is to read the book “Killer Angeles” by Michael Shaara. Its not a long read but is informative beyond measure and written in such a way that is pure historical bliss. Reading the book will help you acclimatize yourself to the many facets of the Battle of Gettysburg and will give you additional information to help you more enjoy your visit.
Incredible Museums should be cherished and loved; Motorcycle Museums should be memorialized. I would call Barber Motorsports Museum a Two Wheeled Shrine of epic proportions. Plan a trip there if feasible and make it a priority.
The snow finally melted in the low lands of Colorado, so 3 friends and I decided to take a weekend ride to the Great Plains of Eastern Colorado from Denver for the weekend. Our plans were to leave at 5:30 pm on Friday Evening and Camp out two nights with a return trip home on Sunday. Traveling in early May is a little tricky because the sun sets quicker than expected. After a few hours on the road, we arrived in Wray, Colorado as the sun set and by the time we got to our campground it was already dark. We used our cycle’s headlights for some artificial light and set up camp at a great little place just outside the city limits. Once our tents were set up, we hit the road in search of dinner and found a great burger place to eat. When we arrived at the restaurant, a stranger on a cycle followed us into the restaurant’s parking lot. We chatted for a bit and invited him to eat with us. We began our first meal of our trip meeting a total stranger and he joined us for a great meal. He rode a 2015 Kawasaki Verses and open carried a 9mm Berretta on his left hip (“Open Carry” means he carried a gun unconcealed in a holster). This guy was either going to kill us or be a really nice guy; luckily he ended up being just another motor head who loved talking motorcycles.
Riding through the prairie is not for everyone. Some folks just don’t understand the wonders of such places. Adrenaline junkies will miss the excitement of the curvy roads through the mountains and others will just think the Great Plains lacks a diverse scenery. There is nothing wrong with such opinions; beauty is a matter of perspective. The prairie provides a place where the simplicity of the environment enhances the micro elements of everyday sights. The colors of the sky seem more vibrant and enriched. The contrast between the grass, road and horizon is acute beyond detail. The way that the grass blows from side to side almost mimics “the wave” one might see at a baseball game. The visual aspects of the Great Plains lacks the shock and awe value of a colossal mountain landscape or sandy ocean beach but if you open your mind to its mystic charm, you will find a wondrous environment to enjoy.
On Saturday Morning we got up early and broke down camp. We only had two objectives to achieve. Our goal was to ride to both the Sand Creak Massacre Monument and the Grenada Japanese Relocation Camp both in South Eastern Colorado. Riding south from Wray Colorado, we arrived at Sand Creek Massacre Monument around noon. The road to the monument off the state highway is an 8 mile hard pack dirt road. If you take it slow, this road is safe enough to travel. The monument is run by the National Park Service and it worth its weight in historical gold. We learned the terrible history of this place, where more than 220 Native Americans (mostly women, elderly and children) were slaughtered by members of the US Army. The mood of the park was eerie and somber as if a cloak of sadness surrounds the hollowed grounds. As a veteran of the US Army, I listened and learned of this terrible event in deep sadness and wondered how individuals could do such terrible things.
The next stop was the Grenada Japanese Relocation Camp where America forcibly relocated more than 7,500 Japanese Americans during World War 2. This site is surely worth a visit. The roads throughout the old internment camp are made of loose dirt soil and motorcyclist should consider walking the area and parking their cycles at the entrance. I am not proud of the history of this place but its story serves to remind us that we can do better as a society to prevent bigotry and racism so this type of behavior will never happens again. The buildings in the camp were torn down after World War 2 but the foundation still exist. A recreation of the camp’s water tower, barracks and guard tower have been built so visitors can better understand the life of the Japanese American Citizens in the internment camp. During our visit at the camp we saw a wild-fire seem to originate out of nowhere. It was the strangest event. As we explored the ruins of an old guard tower we noticed a small amount of smoke drifting from the ground about 100 yards outside the boarders of the camp. Within one minute the trickle of smoke turned to something more daunting and we noticed a small flame in the open field. We called 911 and reported the situation immediately. By the time we left the park, there were more than 3 fire trucks working the fire. I believe the fire ignited in the county landfill that lies adjacent to the Internment Camp. This was just another random odd situation that we witnessed during our trip
After learning about such ugly times in my country’s history, my mind really went a drift during our ride to our tent site. Both parks were thought-provoking entities that every American should visit. We as a society need to learn of these events and visit these places, in hopes that we as a culture will never be doomed to repeat such actions. If these ugly events can take place in Eastern Colorado, the same type of situations can play out anywhere in America. We as a society can and must do better and should be made aware of the evil that lurks in the hearts of men.
I would be amiss if I did not at least mention the phenomenal small towns that dot the landscape of Eastern Colorado. There is just something eccentric and right about these places. The people are friendly and polite. These are the type of places that make one feel welcome as soon as you arrive. I always thought that small town America always represented what the term home should be.
Our motorcycling trip through Eastern Colorado ended up being a historical trek for knowledge which made the trip even more impressive. The trip was also organized around a simplistic plan without a ton of complications. We traveled without a detailed agenda nor plan of route. Only armed with a sleeping bags, tents and wet weather gear, we hit the road heading east towards the Great Plains. Our goal was to see a few historical sites and sleep under the stars for a few nights of motorcycling bliss. Eastern Colorado is part of the Great Plains and is rural beyond measure. This part of the country has escaped modern inconveniences that tend to overwhelm us. Traffic is non-existent, life feels slower and the environment is defined by a vast wide open sky that lasts as far as the eye can see. Riding through the plains is not filled with twisty roads or gnarly sloping cliffs. One must head 4 hours west towards the mountains for that type of scenery but there is a certain amount of majestic bliss that one feels while riding through the open vast scenic landscape. The trip is highlighted by never-ending open skies and vast fields. It’s this environment that provides a mystic key to one’s mind and allows profound freedom of thought. The panoramic view of never endings prairie grass is a wonder to observe. Take a chance on places you have never seen, you never know what interesting things you can find.