Thursday, May 26, 2016

Patriots (part 1) - Taps

next of kin/

As Memorial Day approaches, I started another thread honoring all patriots that sacrificed, home and abroad, to keep us safe. It's a debt none of us can repay.

Words often fail to capture the depth of gratitude for those who have given their all. But John Wayne telling the story behind Taps from the American Civil War followed by Amazing Grace come close, as seen in the clip below:

Though there are no "official" words to Taps, but here is a popular one:

Day is done,
gone the sun,
From the hills,
from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well,
safely rest,
God is nigh. 

God bless all our patriots, who have given us a great country and the freedoms we enjoy, this Memorial Day!


Similar posts in the series:

America's Story (part 8) - Memorial Day, Gettysburg, and Amos Humiston (2012)

America's Story (part 13) - The Enola Gay (2013)

Pray4America (part 14) - We are Americans  (2014)

Nostalgia (part 5) - Big Band and World War II  (2015)

Music (part 4) - Armed Forces Medley (2016)


Photo: next of kin/

Monday, May 16, 2016

Music (part 4) - Armed Forces Medley

Joint Colors/

President Harry S. Truman led the effort to establish a day to honor our military heroes. So the first Armed Forces Day was celebrated on May 20, 1950.  Since then, this day is set as the third Saturday in May. [reference: Armed Forces Day 2016]

For 2016, Armed Forces Day comes on May 21st.  And below is a musical medley honoring all branches of the US military.

Many thanks for all those who put themselves in harms way to keep us safe, home and abroad. And music often amplifies the tribute to their sacrifices that words fall short to express.


Previous posts in the series:

Music (part 2) - All You Need is Love (2016) 

Music (part 3) - Passover (2016)


Thursday, April 28, 2016

Pray4America (part 19) - Australia has our back in prayer!


National Day of Prayer

The 65th annual National Day of Prayer is set to be observed on May 5, 2016. And they have our back, down under, for the last 40 days.

The National Day of Prayer has a long history in the United States. It started in 1775 by the Continental Congress. Ronald Reagan amended Harry Truman's bill, designating the day of the first Thursday of May each year for the National Day of Prayer. [reference:  National Day of Prayer in the United States ]

* For more information:

As we come to this week, other nations have America in their prayers, such as Australia with a ....

Global Call: Prayer and Fasting for America

Below is an appeal for that global call for prayer and fasting for America: April 30 - May 5, 2016. The example is Abraham Lincoln's call for a national day of prayer and fasting during the Civil War on April 30, 1863. [ reference: Abraham Lincoln: Proclamation 97 ]

Before the United States became of nation, events in the past indicated Providence had intervened during time of peril. One such crisis was the French Fleet, seeking vengeance on Britain and the American Colonies in 1746, which brought about the ...

Fast Day Proclamation, October 16, 1746

The Governor Of Massachusetts, William Shirley, declared A Day Of Prayer And Fasting For Deliverance - as a French invasion seemed imminent. The clip below reminds us of this deliverance:

* reference: The Miraculous Defeat of the French Fleet, 1746

Another great crisis in American history came during the Civil War. This rift brought America to her knees. So came the call for a ...

Day of Repentance – April 30, 1863

Abraham Lincoln's proclamation of a National Day of Humiliation, prayer and Fasting for 30th April 1863 is read in the clip below with an appeal for forgiveness:

Ezekiel Prayer for America

I looked for someone
among them 
who would ...
stand before Me in the gap 
on behalf of the land ....

Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV)

And Australia is standing the gap for our land with this prayer:

If My people,
which are called by My Name,
shall humble themselves,
and pray, and seek My face,
 and turn from their wicked ways;
then will I hear from heaven,
and will forgive their sin,
and will heal their land.
II Chronicles 4:17 (KJV)

Keep praying for America



Photo: Australia/

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Music (part 3) - Passover


Passover in 2016 will be celebrated April 22 - April 30. And it is a most significant event in the Old Testament as well as the New Testament. Reference: Everything you need to know about Passover 2016

Old Testament

The ancient feast has its roots in the Law of Moses. It celebrates the deliverance of the Jews from the bondage of Egyptian slavery as Moses, in the power of the Lord, led them to freedom into the Promised Land.

For a good summary:  In a Nutshell: The Passover Story

New Testament

Later, Jesus made a new covenant, the New Testament, at this feast, which became known as the Last Supper. Christians to this day celebrate it as communion.

For more information: The Last Supper - Bible Story Summary

The Story in Song

Passover Medley, below, tells the story in pictures and music, sung by a group that merges both the Old and Testaments, the Liberated Wailing Wall.

Most of this Passover Medley is sung in Hebrew (with a few verses in English from Charles Wesley's hymn, Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus). But the lyrics and its translation of the Hebrew into English can be found here: Passover Medley by Liberated Wailing Wall

Old meets New

Jesus coined the word, New Testament (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, I Corinthian 11:25), and St. Paul, referencing the Jewish writings, coined the word, Old Testament (II Corinthians 3:14).

And St. Paul wrote these words, bringing the Old and the New together:

Get rid of the old yeast, 
so that you may be
a new unleavened batch—

as you really are. 

For Christ, our Passover lamb, 
has been sacrificed.
1 Corinthians 5:7 (NIV)

And this message lives on through the centuries in religious rituals as well as music.

Blessings and new beginnings, my friends!


Previous posts in the series:


Photo: Pessach/Wikipedia

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

CC (part 9) - Buffalo Bill's Wild West

Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show/

The Wild West has been romanticized. 

One man did much to promote this -  William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody. And it was no coincidence he came of age and lived through many iconic moments during this period of American history.

In his youth, Cody had worked as a driver on a wagon train, tried his luck at prospecting in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush, joined the Pony Express, and served during the American Civil War. And after the war, he worked as a buffalo hunter to feed the Kansas Pacific Railroad workers. (It was where he got his nickname, "Buffalo Bill". ) Later Cody rejoined the Army as a scout for the Third Calvary during the Plains Wars. (Also reference: A Brief History...)

But Ned Buntline's "Buffalo Bill" dime novels extolled Cody's deeds (undoubtedly exaggerated) as a buffalo hunter and Indian scout, which made him a national folk hero. And to solidify this living legend, in 1872, Buffalo Bill made his stage debut in Chicago in The Scouts of the Prairie, one of Ned Buntline's original Wild West shows.

A year later, the Wild West show would include James Butler "Wild Bill" Hickok. A double "Bill-ing"? ;) So began Cody's new career and mission to preserve the Wild West legend. And as we learn...

There's No Business Like Show Business

After a 10 year run, Buffalo Bill created his own Wild West show, called, you guessed it, Buffalo Bill's Wild West. It was more like a circus-like show that went on tour, showing off the horse-culture including the military, the cowboys, American Indians, and other performers from around the world.

Cody's show and many like it were very popular in the latter part of the 19th and early 20th century. Noted performers in various Wild West shows were cowboys, Will Rogers, Tom Mix, and Pawnee Bill. Noted American Indians were Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph, and Geronimo. (reference: Native Americans...) Among the women were such legends as Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley.

And the legend continues to this day....

Below is a clip from the musical based on Annie Oakley's career as a sharpshooter - Annie Get Your Gun (1950). Here she is being recruited by Frank Butler (and future husband) and Buffalo Bill Cody and Charlie Davenport, the show manager. They entice her with this song, There's No Business Like Show Business, composed by Irving Berlin (who wrote such hits as God Bless America and White Christmas).

In the series, The Commander and the Chief, another fictional chief was in the Wild West shows. He was Nova's great grandfather, Chief Elijah Rainmaker.  Here is an excerpt of that discussion when Nova and her British guides, Colonel Jack Sheffield and Commander Reginald Barrett, seek shelter in a cave:

Nova put a hand on her holstered gun as they walked further in. “My great grandfather, Chief Elijah Rainmaker, he was the snake handler in Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West Show. Some think I inherited the propensity for handling snakes from him.”

After Jack cleared the area, Reggie settled down, resting his back against the cool rock wall. Both Nova and Jack removed their pistols and set them out, aiming their barrels in a safe direction. Both kept their guns loaded, within easy reach.

“Your gun, Reggie?” Nova asked.

“I don’t carry one.” Reggie glanced at her.

“Right…so it’s a good thing we do.” She returned a sarcastic smile. “To protect you from all the bad things out there.”

“As a doctor, I’ve seen what guns can do to people, madam.” Reggie stiffened up. “Especially in war and in the street.”

“But they don’t shoot themselves, do they?” Nova sat between Reggie and Jack, crossing her legs.

“But they’re deadly…like snakes.” Reggie twisted his mouth. “Furthermore, I didn’t think snake handling was a genetic trait, darling.”

“Why not?” Nova asked. “I’m a natural at it. When I was growing up on the ranch, my big brother Nick once found a den of rattlesnakes in the rocks. I used to catch those suckers and pry open their jaws while Nick spit tobacco juice into their mouths.”

From Book 1: His Tribe of One, Part 5, Chapter 4, The Snake Handler
[for more info on the book: ]

To find out more about The Wild West heritage, please feel free to read the book.

His Tribe of One, now available:

* Paperback:  CreateSpace

* eBook:   Kindle

Your readership is much appreciated. Sequel is coming soon....

S. K. Smith



Photo:  Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show/

Monday, March 28, 2016

Poetry (part 2) - The Fool's Prayer

April Fools' Day.

Also known as All Fools' Day is observed on April 1st.  It's become a day of practical jokes. It's origin and history is a bit hazy, as seen here:  infoplease: April Fools' Day: Origin and History

A poem for this day

In high school literature, one of the poems we studied resonated with me. So much so, it was one I choose to memorize it.  The Fool's Prayer.  And it's recited beautifully in this clip below:

The text can be found here:  The Fool's Prayer, by Edward Rowland Sill (1841 - 1887) and a good interpretation: here

As for literature, Shakespeare made great use of the fool, the King's jester, who was one court member who spoke the truth behind the mask of comedy. [reference: Shakespeare's Clowns and Fools ]

Same is true today, as it seems all great comedy has its roots in a truth or it really isn't funny. But Shakespeare said it first:

A fool thinks himself to be wise, 
but a wise man knows himself to be a fool. 

William Shakespeare

Wise or foolish!  It's our day!
Lord have mercy.


Previous Post in this series:

Poetry (part 1) - Snow (2016) 


Photo: Polski/

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Tech (part 1) - The Gospel and Tech

Twitter is one of the popular networks in social media. It can connect us to countless people across the world. Through it, we can quickly share information. And that can be vital during disasters.

Tweets can also divide us, incite mob rule to pile on a hapless twitterer of an unpopular opinion. And it's so easy to snipe from the anonymity of a keyboard.

Likewise, the words and action of public figures can divide us. As we approach Easter, we have a perfect example of that, 2000 years ago.  That is Jesus, of course. And the mob had Him crucified. Only He did not stay dead. That's why we celebrate Easter.

How Jesus divided people is recorded in the Gospels. And there is a good booklet (in pdf format) describing this, provided via the modern marvels of computers and hyperlinks:  The Cross Divides Men

The Gospel and 21st century tech 

If you are reading this blog, it is a marvel of our social media, like blogging. And I most likely tweeted the link you are reading, or posted it on Facebook, or you googled it on your browser.

How would the Gospel be told via twitter in our times? Below is a video embedded from YouTube (another modern marvel) showing that:

So in the 21st century, tweets and posts with hyperlinks can quickly spread the Gospels across the world.

The Gospel and 1st century tech 

During the first Easter, the tech of the times also prepared the world to spread the Gospel.

Alexander the Great conquered the known world and made Greek the universal language of its time. They also translated the Jewish Torah (Old Testament) into Greek, known as the Septuagint.

Later the Romans conquered most of the known world.  They built roads, brought law and order, and peace and security to most of its denizens, known as the Pax Romana.

The New Testament was written mostly in Greek, the universal language of the known world. And the apostles like St. Paul, spreading the Gospel, traveled down the Roman roads in the relative safety provided by the Pax Romana,

So these military and technological feats paved the way to spread the Gospel.

[Reference:  Preparation of the World for Christianity ]

The Great Commission

So to this day, the disciples followed one of Jesus' last commands before leaving this earth, using the tech of the times-whether the 1st or the 21st century:

Then Jesus came to them and said, 
“All authority in heaven and on earth 
has been given to me. 

Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, 
baptizing them in the name 
of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 
and teaching them to obey 
everything I have commanded you. 

And surely I am with you always, 
to the very end of the age.”

Matthew 28:18-20 (NIV)

So on this note begins another thread - Tech.

From 20 centuries of tech of the times, may readers continue to receive the blessing this Easter.


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Photos:  Gospel/