Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

On the Road to Independence

As you begin preparations for the Fourth of July celebration, continue to be mindful of. . .

America's fight for freedom!
It did not JUST HAPPEN overnight! 

The Ultimate Sacrifice
Hope, courage and faith is solidified
with the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
 A long, arduous road to independence
was finally reaching its journey’s end.

A committee of only five*
Met to initiate liberty
On a large parchment document
Declared our country finally free

Thirteen former British Colonies
Shaped an indisputably innovative spirit
Free from British rule and tyranny
New in mentality, morality and merit

A total of fifty-six men
Put their lives, families on the line
To throw off the yoke of Britain
Leaving oppression far, far behind

A resolved league of complete solidarity
United for their common defense
Protected the security of liberties
Against forces of any pretence

They all knew without any doubt
Penalty of death was the price
Their lives, fortunes, sacred honor
Were all part of the sacrifice

©2012 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

Liberty is the right to choose, freedom is the result of that choice.

*The committee consisted of John Adams of Massachusetts, Roger Sherman of Connecticut, Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, Robert R. Livingston of New York and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia.

Friday, June 29, 2012

On the Road to Independence

. . .there was actually opposition to the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Edward Rutledge, one of South Carolina's representatives to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, expresses his reluctance to declare independence from Britain in a letter to the like-minded John Jay of New York. [Click the History icon or the link above to continue reading.]

Listen to
Actor Matt Damon performs and discusses the Declaration of Independence. . .

Continued evidence that

America FOUGHT for her FREEDOM!

Follow-up to Mud Pies: Creating a Mud Pie Kitchen

The games we used to play meant time spent outside in a world waiting to be explored. Imagination was the name of the game where no stone was left unturned or ignored. Within today's society of gadgetry, gizmos and gear, 'techie' tips at every turn, it seems wishes for the simplest things no longer do hearts and minds yearn.

That is what I thought until I found. . .

Photo Credit: www.gsheller.com

Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Story from Childhood: Mud Pies

What is history without a story from childhood? Each of us has a fond memory that perhaps either directly or indirectly connects our lives in some way to past historical events.

Mine is a story of mud. . .

When I was a little girl
I loved to eat dirt
My favorite recipe, mud pies—
One cup water, two cups Mother Earth

When I think about it now
"Was I completely insane?"
If asked to eat it today
I would say, "Never again!"

One memorable day at school
My teacher read a story out loud
A story about a soldier
That made me grin both inside and out

His story was a story of mud
"Reddish brown mud, blackish mud, gray mud
Soggy mud, dried up mud, hopeless mud
Even suck-your-shoe-off-your-foot mud. . .

Mud all over his pants and his boots
Mud in his water and mud in his food
Woolen blankets coated with caked mud
So stiff they wouldn't do anyone good. . .

Mud so think guns sand to their axles
Mules disappeared without a trace
Once a soldier stuck deep in the mud
Used his musket to mark his place"

This soldier fought
Alongside many who died
In civil war
Filled with hardship and pride

Now as I reminisce of my days with mud
On my face, clothes, socks, even shoes
I think about this lonely Union soldier
With his mud pies amidst the blues

Sharla Lee Shults

Monday, June 25, 2012

This Day in History

It took war for America to win its independence in 1776; then,
civil war almost tore a nation apart . . .

June 25, 1864: On this day, Pennsylvania troops begin digging a tunnel toward the Rebels at Petersburg, Virginia, in order to blow a hole in the Confederate lines and break the stalemate. . .

 (Click the date or picture to read more @ History.com)

American Civil War

Footsteps of History

It is a sad day when events provoke attacks
that set brother against brother and father against son.
How heart rendering that must be;
yet, it is a decisive turning point in America’s history.

Take a myriad of steps back in time
When brother fought against brother
An era that terrified the country
Every father, every mother

Unimaginable circumstances
Sent sons of one nation into battle
Internal war raging unmercifully
Bore conflicts that to this day still rattle

Family, friends, loved ones
Separated or parted forever
Thousands suffered and died
All on behalf of freedom’s endeavor

Soldiers hungry, ragged and dirty
Fell exhausted from heavy artillery
Freezing, drizzling, miserable rains
Contributed to life’s daily misery
Away from the battlefields
A sense of calm lulled
Within panoramic views
Thoughts lingered and mulled

In the wake of faint dawn
Soldiers shared last desires
Snuggling close to stay warm
Beside the bivouac fires

Walk in the footsteps of history
Relive vivid stories that do declare
Tales of morbid pain and suffering
As well as humor in times of despair

©2012 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults
Connecting the past to the present…

"I am passionately interested in understanding how my country works.
And if you want to know about this thing called the United States of America
you have to know about the Civil War."
—Ken Burns (1953-Present)

Also on this day in history. . .

June 25, 1876: On this day, Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana's Little Bighorn River. . .

 (Click the date or picture to read more @ History.com and America's Story)

George Armstrong Custer
Sitting Bull

Custer and his troops in 1864

Custer's Last Stand

 Prelude to Indian Uprising

Painting by Robert Lindneux in 1942 commemorating
the suffering of the Cherokee people under forced removal.
(Image Credit: The Granger Collection, New York)
There are many events leading up to the defeat of Custer but none any more devastating to the native American Indian than the Trail of Tears. What did they do that was so wrong to provoke brutally closing the curtain on their native American culture?

Stripped of their dignity, the Cherokee people became victims in one of the saddest episodes of our brief history. Whether man, woman, infant, or young child, all were taken from their land, hearded like cattle into makeshift living quarters with minimal facilities and food, then forced to march overland to a destination neither of their choice nor free will.

Trail of Tears
(The Trail Where They Cried)

The forced relocation of the Cherokee Nation stemmed from
tensions between Georgia (not yet a state) and the United States.
One of the saddest moves in American history
forced the Cherokee to march one thousand miles
under horrible conditions to the Western United States.

the Cherokee Nation
gave up its epic lands
not solely of free will
but government demands

coerced to march overland
sadness loomed, many died
Indians hailed the journey
hungry, cold and exhausted
they lumbered onward
saying nothing, feeling lost
heads tilted downward

images of the old nation
give way to somber wails
bodies of family and friends
lay buried near the trail

men, women, and children all cry
as many, many days pass
from the Mississippi River
to Oklahoma, alas

for one to picture
such a dismal plight
it would have to be
the darkest of night

visions of desolation
were endlessly seen
only memories remained
of their native scene

©2012 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

On Trail of Tears: But their land, located in parts of Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina, Florida and Tennessee, was valuable, and it grew to be more coveted as white settlers flooded the region.

“I fought through the Civil War and have seen
men shot to pieces and slaughtered by thousands,
but the Cherokee removal was the cruelest work I ever knew.”
—Georgia militiaman who participated in the “roundup” of the Cherokee Indians

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

On the Road to Independence

The Year - 1773
The Place - Boston, Massachusetts
The Event - Boston Tea Party

America's continued FIGHT for FREEDOM!

Amid freezing December temperatures, attentions were elsewhere rather than on Christmas gatherings around the fireplace and times of good cheer. With act after act plaguing the American colonists, it is no wonder The Tea Act became the catalyst of the Boston Tea Party. Disguising themselves as Mohawk Indians, a group of Sons of Liberty boarded three ships moored in Boston Harbor. The result: 92,000 pounds of British East India Company tea was dumped into the water. Understand this was not your ordinary tea party. . . 

Sons of Liberty and the Boston Tea Party

Boston Tea Party
An iconic event recorded in American history
reflects Boston's refusal to return shiploads
of taxed tea to Britain. Colonists boarded the ships
destroying the tea by throwing it into the Boston Harbor.

“A crumpet with your tea?”
Not the question, nor a social party
When three shiploads of tea
Were dumped freely into Boston harbor

So unbearable
Were the acts of that day!
Parliament’s Tea Act
Left people in dismay

“Good,” the British said
“Colonists would rather pay a fee
Than deny themselves
 The pleasure of a cup of tea”

More and more irritated
The Sons of Liberty became
Something had to be done
Things could not remain the same

Repeatedly, constantly voices yelled
Much like a bell as it chimes
No taxation without representation”
Became catchphrase of the times

Crown’s attempt to tax tea
Impelled the colonists to take action
Laying the groundwork
For the American Revolution

Thinly disguised as Indians, hatchets in hand
Following the orders of Leonard Pitt
“The fuse that led directly to the explosion
Of American independence was lit!”

©2012 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

Monday, June 18, 2012

This Day in History

Historical events on this day mark, among 169 others, the beginning of the War of 1812. It was on this day, June 18, 1812, that America issued a declaration of war on Great Britain: a war that would further secure America as an independent nation and is often referred to as the "second war of independence." Disputes over trade commissions, violations of America’s rights on the high seas and the involvement of the British in Indian uprisings on the frontiers were the major contributors leading up to war.
James Madison and the War of 1812

Star-Spangled Banner and the War of 1812

Click here for the Star-Spangled Banner
music video.

It was during this time of war (1812-1815) that Francis Scott Key penned the words to the Star-Spangled Banner. There is an extreme amount of emotion involved in fully understanding the era before the battle, the defense of Fort McHenry, the poem, the tune, as well as the poem and tune becoming our anthem.

As stated within the Story of the Star-spangled Banner, if anything should be taken as seriously as the American flag, it would be the national anthem. Written during a time of war, it commemorates the waving of our flag following a vicious bombardment of Fort McHenry.

"O, say does that star spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave? "
~Francis Scott Key, 1814

Sunday, June 17, 2012

This Day in History

Visit Awakenings sister site, catnipoflife,
for a tribute to all Fathers!

Click here for History of Father's Day


June 17, 1885: Statue of Liberty

On this day in 1885, the dismantled State of Liberty,
a gift of friendship from the people of France
to the people of America, arrives in New York Harbor.

Gateway to America

From 1892 to 1954, over twelve million immigrants
entered the United States through the portal of Ellis Island.
This small island in New York Harbor
lies within the shadow of the Statue of Liberty.

Open portal to liberty
An island so small
Its gateway to America
Heeded freedom's call. . .

A call to come in
Away from daily strife
Where bloodshed ruled
Under blade of the knife. . .

Where bondage and chains
Were left far behind
No more tears and scars
Only peace of mind. . .

Where heart and mind
The spirit's retreat
Welcomed those who came in
To rest and replete

But not without toil
Labor nor skill
For freedom's not free
Just the free will. . .

The will to be better
The will to overcome
To pledge and honor
The beat of her drum. . .

The heartbeat of America
Standing guard, proud and strong
The Statue of Liberty
Embodied a daily song. . .

A song about courage
To stand up and fight
On that you could see

By her very might

In New York Harbor
Lady Liberty still stands tall
Her torch ever burning

A beacon of liberty for all

Open portal to liberty
Ellis Island so small
Its gateway to America
Beckons freedom for all

©2012 Awakenings
Sharla Lee Shults

Friday, June 15, 2012

On the Road to Independence

Today, on the road to independence looks all the way back to the 13th century, June 15, 1215. . .

You must agree this is definitely a look into the past, way back into the past, 797 years into the past! For it was on this day in the year 1215 that the Magna Carta was sealed. So, I am sure you are thinking, "What on earth would this event have to do with America's quest for independence in the 18th century?"

Are you ready to step back in time and find the connection?

Begin your footsteps. . .

’Twas King John who ruled the day
Turmoil and revolt led the way. . .
. . .the way to peace feudal rights proclaimed
Privileges nation’s laws must maintain

Failure after failure plagued with abuse
Lay the foundation for a king's truce. . .

. . .a truce to end pressures and strife
All brought about under a king's knife

So King John put his seal
On the Magna Carta, thus the deal. . .
. . .the deal of peace not long to remain
But reissued thrice under its name

This great charter, oppressor's demise
Framed its words stalwart and wise. . .

. . .wise in its statutes to set men free
Continues a symbol of liberty

Make the connection. . .

Generations of Englishmen would celebrate the Magna Carta as a symbol of freedom from oppression. Thus, the foundation was laid for the Founding Fathers of the United States of America, who in 1776 looked to the charter as a historical precedent for asserting their liberty from the English crown. This charter influenced early settlers in New England and inspired later constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.

June 15
This Day in History. Magna Carta sealed plus more. . .

Thursday, June 14, 2012

This Day in History

Salute the Red, White and Blue!

June 14 - National Flag Day

This Day in History

It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day; in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress. (From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

Whereas June 14 has been set aside as National Flag Day, that does not mean the flag should wave only on this one day of the year.

Make every day your flag day:
Salute and honor the red, white and blue!

Revisit Stitches in Time and test your knowledge
of the making of the American flag.

God bless America!

[Celine Dion (With Lyrics & History)]


Happy Birthday, US Army
Congratulations to the United States Army on the celebration of its 237th birthday! Without our military, we would not be enjoying today the freedoms America has to offer.

Remember all of our soldiers not only on this momentous day but every day of every month of every year!

I salute the U.S. Army! What about you?

This video was first presented on YouTube on June 11, 2011.
It is a great portrayal of the U.S. Army from then 'til now.

"loyal, trustworthy, brave"

Support Our Troops. . .
at home and abroad!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

On the Road to Independence

Today, let's step back in time to 1770. . .

Boston Massacre
Responsibility for the Boston Massacre is still debated to this day. With whom does the blame rest Bostonians hurling insults, oyster shells, and other objects at British soldiers or overacting military violating laws by firing upon civilians? Regardless of blame, this day had a significant impact on the American Revolution.

Once Upon a Night

Tempers flared, insults soared
Across the streets of Dock Square
On the firth day of March
Angered wailing filled the air

      Crispus Attucks being killed during the Boston Massacre
Resentment over imposed taxes
Activated new forms of oppression
Warnings of tyranny and power
American colonists judged unfair

Freedom of thought, true expression
Characterized these colonists
Not being awed and subjugated
By the staunch British men of war

Testing the great cause of liberty
Brought mockery to the square
As landing of steadfast British troops
The citizens did forswear

Constant feeling of irritation
Led to Boston’s Battle of King Street
Where soldiers armed, ready and willing
Thoughtlessly fired upon the people

Paul Revere’s famous engraving of “The Bloody Massacre”

Deaths of five civilians
At the hands of British troops
Could not have been spared
By the most towering steeple

The after effects of the Boston Massacre: 
5 dead and the beginning of a revolt.    

Immediate, lasting ire
Laid irrevocable groundwork
For it was on this night
Virtual history was made

From that moment was dated
Severance from the British
“On that night the foundation
Of independence was laid!”

~Boston, Massachusetts, 1770

Thursday, June 7, 2012

On the Road to Independence

Step back in time to 1775. . .

America's fight for freedom!
It did not JUST HAPPEN overnight!

Click the picture to get the story how a fledgling, largely disconnected
nation won its freedom from the greatest military force of its time.

On the Road to Independence. . .

They saw the need
For liberation
A need that led
To a united nation

Thirteen colonies
Desiring to be free
Joined together
To fight for liberty

Taxes, taxes, taxes
Duties on this and that
Tempers roaring, soaring
Resulted in combat

Without this fight
A nation would not be
Remembering those
Who fought for liberty

Were it not for them
Who lived and died
 A nation would not be
Joyful with pride

Destined a nation
Not to be destitute
A stalwart nation
Arose firm and resolute

America: The Story of Us
The American Revolution

Click the flag to view Stitches in Time. . .
The Betsy Ross flag of May, 1776 continues to be
one of the most popular symbols
of the American Revolution.

This Day in History Toward Independence

Food for Thought:
America fought for freedom!
It did not JUST HAPPEN overnight!

America the Beautiful

With Independence Day close at hand, the focus of Awakenings will be a series of events leading up to America's fight for freedom ultimately being won. At its center are the social, political, and intellectual transformations collectively referred to as the American Enlightenment (1715-1789). It was within this time of political and social unrest [the American Revolutionary War (1775 - 1783)] that "so many of the threads in our national history run back through time to come together in one place, in one time, and in one document: The Declaration of Independence."

Virginia House of Burgesses,
Representing Virginia at the Continental Congress
This Day in History

The clearest call for independence up to the summer of 1776 came in Philadelphia on June 7. In the Pennsylvania State House (later Independence Hall), the Continental Congress heard Richard Henry Lee of Virginia read his resolution beginning: 

Resolved: That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

Think about it:
Were it not for Our Founding Fathers, we would be subjects of the British today, instead of celebrating America's freedom!
Which would you prefer?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

This Day in History

Some days just do not go as planned. Ever found yourself in that situation? Of course, most of us have at one point in time or another. For me, today is a very special day that needed to be recognized from the early morn. Unfortunately, interruption after interruption topped off with doctors' appointments that resulted in wait, wait, wait, wait. . .did not allow for things to go as planned.

BUT, it shall NOT go unnoticed!

Today, thoughts should have awoken to June 6, 1944. For on this day, American forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, France. Thus began the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control during World War II. This invasion was crucial to ending Hitler's sweep across the European continent and ending the war.

The effects of this war was felt all across America. While the homeland may not have incurred the devastation, it was still deeply rooted in perils resulting from death and depression. U.S. history's pages overflow with accounts where families on the home front were profoundly effected.

Remember our military, for theirs is the ultimate sacrifice!

June 6, 1944 is a date forever brandished as D-Day:
A mighty armada crossed the English Channel
between England and the Normandy beaches of France
liberating the Nazi grip on Western Europe.
Hundreds of thousands were killed,
wounded, or reported missing in action
during the Battle of Normandy.

The Longest Day

A vile campaign to end conquest
Sent our men into battle for liberation
Beaches under incessant fire
Marked heavy casualties and desecration

US Naval destroyers fired inland
Offering mortar support round after round
Seasick soldiers endured the dark, rough seas
To fervently welcome the sight of dry ground

Lowered ramps opened the door ashore
But spent bullets sprayed the open waters
Shells ricocheted off the landing craft
Thousands said goodbye to sons and daughters

Floating craft and soldiers faced heavy guns
Mounted firmly in concrete fortifications
Machine gun fire from German infantry
Shattered Americans beyond recognition

What seemed like insurmountable cliffs
Loomed eerily over open beaches
Lateral moves trampling broken bodies
Left pools of blood in freshly dug trenches

When darkness arrived, tracer bullets from a plane
Lit up the sky like a Fourth of July celebration
Reiterating what we were fighting for—
Our homes, towns, freedom for future generations

Memories will always reflect war's wrath
Lives of friend and foe lost along the way
Withstand sands of time embedded in the terror
Of the sights, the sounds, the smells of D-Day!

General Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890–1969)

“I’m quite positive we must give the order.
I don’t like it, but there it is.
Gentlemen, I don’t see how
we can possibly do anything else…but go.”
(June 4, 1944)

 The heroism and bravery displayed by troops from the Allied countries on D-Day has served as inspiration for several films, most famously The Longest Day (1962) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). It was also depicted in the HBO mini-series Band of Brothers (2001).