Tag Archives: History

Memories Are the Key Not to the Past, but to the Future


The Hicks Sisters ca 1983

“Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.” ~ Corrie Ten Boom ~

It had been a glorious, beautiful, brisk autumn day. I stood and breathed in a stunning panoramic view as I watched the sun lower into a captivating sunset. Faster than I realized, dusk took over, and then twilight swiftly took hold as I watched evening begin to dance alive in the streets below in Manhattan.

It was a wonderful magic show – partly Divinely created and partly man made. It was etched into my memory for the rest of my life.

I was standing in the observation deck of the World Trade Center.

Little did I know 18 years later the very spot I was standing on would topple to the ground in rubble and dust and become part of Ground Zero. My magical space would be destroyed by Islamic terrorists filled with hate, determined to destroy my country and thousands of innocent people.

I was a young lass on that magical day in 1983, the mother of a toddler, full of hope for a bright future. I look at pictures of my sister and me taken during that visit and I get chill bumps because I see us and I want to shout, “Look long and hard. Burn these memories into your mind because you will lose so much in the future!”

How could I ever imagine the terror that lay ahead for me personally and the terror that laid ahead for my country? How could I have ever imagined something like 9/11 happening in my country?

But, it did. And, it happened in a year that was one of personal turmoil for me. There were things that happened to me I never thought I would experience in my world – vows broken, trusts broken, violence committed. And, then in the midst of all that – September 11, 2001 happened.

I had just returned home the day before from a trip to Florida with a friend who had gone down to see her parents. On the trip I’d had a health crisis and spent time in the ER.

So, I was still feeling frail and in recovery mode on that September morning when I got a call that said, “Turn on your TV!”

As we speculated – was this an accident or an attack – the second plane plowed into the second Trade Tower. That pretty much settled it – we were under attack.

From that point on, I was glued in place in front of the TV just to watch the unfolding events. Since I had lived in New York for about a year, I knew how many people lived and worked in that area of the city and the numbers were massive. Small city-size massive. We could be looking at unbelievably high death tolls. I began to cry and pray.

Then, one of the most horrific things I’d ever seen in my life happened – one of the Towers began to crumble, to accordion down on itself. It was falling like a stick of hot butter in a microwave.

How could this be happening?!

I desperately wanted the other Tower to be saved – but in my heart I knew it more or less faced the same fate. And, it did. It fell, too, leaving a trail of cascading destruction and death.

And, then the aftermath began…mountains size heaps of debris, personal locators of first responders trilling constantly indicating a man down here…and here…and there…and over there…and here… It was a new level of hell.

It took this country a while to recover from 9/11 just like it took me a while to recover from the personal cataclysm going on in my life at the time.

But, recover I did. I did by beginning to move on. I married the man who should have always been my heart mate. I grew stronger inside and stronger mentally regardless of what my disabled body tried to tell me.

Every year when 9/11 comes around I remember. Some years are worse than others. This year was bad. My PTSD kicks in many years. Every year I have a man that stands by me with unyielding compassion and understanding.

I have a very growing concern that Americans are growing away from 9/11. They are forgetting 9/11 – the cause, effect and aftermath and how we were one Family after the attack.

Unlike the generation before who “Remembered Pearl Harbor!”, it’s deemed not very politically correct to “Remember 9/11” any more. Patriotism is almost view as “deplorable”. Some of our leaders like to play political footsies with the very people who financed the terrorism against us and are getting wealthy themselves from these relationships.

This is very unfortunate because history and the past are our teachers. If we forget our past, many times we are destined to repeat the past.

Corrie Ten Boom and her family were Gentile Dutch living in Nazi occupied Holland during WWII. The Ten Boom family saw what the Nazis were doing to the Jews in Holland and they made a decision to make a difference. They began hiding Jews in their home. Eventually the Ten Boom family was discovered and the Nazis rounded them up and sent them to concentration camps. Corrie lost family members in these camps.

After the war, Corrie understood the importance of putting the past into perspective. No, we don’t live in the past, but as Corrie said, “Memories are the key not to the past, but to the future.”

We must take the lessons of 9/11 and learn from them – for the sake of the future and so the death of the thousands lost that September day are not in vain.

© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.








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Filed under 9/11, Anniversaries, History, Islamic Terrorist, Life, Memories, New York, New York City, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, September 11, USA, World Trade Towers

All Labor that Uplifts Humanity has Dignity, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“ All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr. ~

Oh Say Can You See_edited

By the time the first Monday in September rolls around, many of us are prepared for and look forward to that particular day. Labor Day, the first Monday in September means different things to different people.

For some it signals the last day of summer even though officially autumn arrives a couple of weeks later around the 21st of September. When I was a young lass, the school term usually started after Labor Day. I look back now and compare the early start of school systems today and ponder the difference. I suppose back in my day it was delayed until after Labor Day because we went to school in buildings that lacked air conditioning. September does tend to bring cooler weather.

Labor Day is the last big “hurrah” of the summer, instigating many last minute jaunts to beaches, mountains and places of pleasure. For many adults, Labor Day is the last chance off a needed day off before the end of the year’s holiday season.

Fashionistas view Labor Day as the demarcation of the proper time of the year to wear the color white. In case you’re wondering: any Southern gal worth her weight in turnip greens would never be caught dead in white after Labor Day. Also you would never wear seersucker after Labor Day.

Labor Day also drives certain events. It’s the second largest retail sale weekend, just behind Black Friday. And, Labor Day weekend usually marks the official beginning of college and professional football season. Here is Alabama, a state that has held the last four National College Football Championships, the anticipation builds to an almost torturous crescendo until fans can gather in their respective stadiums and shouts the first “Roll Tide Roll!” or “War Eagle” of the season.

But, what is Labor Day exactly? Do you know the history of the day? If you pause and inspect the day it will dawn on you this is a holiday that doesn’t mark the anniversary of a military victory, an accomplishment of one man or one particular historical event.

Maybe that’s why Labor Day has an identity crisis…

You see, Labor Day is a celebration of the achievement of the American worker (I could say North American worker because Canada also celebrates Labor Day on the same day.) This holiday grew out of the recognition of the labor movement of the 1880s.

To put is simply, Labor Day celebrate and recognizes the hard work this country was built on and the hard work that strengthens this country and leads it to prosperity.

I know many of us would agree our country has been “sick” for some time. We have unemployment rates way too high and if truth be known those numbers are higher than reported because millions have run out of unemployment benefits and have given up looking for work. Certain segments of our population have enormous unemployment rates. For one of the first times in our history we are now having people underemployed because companies are only creating part time jobs. And, our economy is growing at a snail’s pace. We could probably watch grass grow faster than our economy is growing.

A few weeks ago a speech was delivered to a group of our younger generation. It came from an unlikely source – actor Ashton Kutchner. Given his Midwestern roots, it’s probably not hard to see where his thought processes developed. To paraphrase Mr. Kutchner, the jest of his speech was this: Opportunity often knocks in the form of work; his first job did not see him starting at the “top”; he never had a job he was too good or high and mighty for.

As, the kids say today, “Word.” For you baby boomers, that’s the equivalent of, “Right on, man.”

Looking back into my own family history I see hard, hard workers. One of my personal pet peeves has been the tendency to paint women from bygone eras as mousy little things that were always barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. Not in my family!

My granddaddys were hard workers. My Pawpaw farmed, was a master carpenter and clerked in the company grocery store. He also was the substitute mail carrier in Cade’s Cove, a route my daddy made with him a time or two. My PaGee was a barber, pastor and business owner.

When the WPA brought in Italian stone masons from New York to build the beautiful bridges and tunnels you see around the Smoky Mountains, Pawpaw and Mamaw boarded three of those stone masons in their home. One day when I was enumerating the 1940 census, I discovered Mamaw listed her occupation as “laundress”. Yes, she took in laundry and ironing – she worked hard to help take care of her boys.

My MaGee was a teacher, a pastor’s wife and later a business owner.

My grandparents were honest, decent, good, hard working people. The kind of people who make up the backbone of America.

On that same 1940 census, my great-grandaunt Eliza proudly listed her occupation as “seamstress”. When I look at her quilts I know the pride she took in her work.

My great-grandmother, Becky Shaffer McGee was the county midwife in Lawrence County, Tennessee. She quilted, gardened and left a loving mark on her family that followed her for many generations.

These people lived during the Great Depression and survived – many coming out on the better end. How and why? Well, because like Dr. King, they knew work uplifts humanity, gives it dignity…and they did it with painstaking excellence.

Happy Labor Day, America.

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


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Filed under Family, History, Holidays, Labor Day, Martin Luther King, Jr., Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day, Work

40 Percent of the Boots on the Ground, by Beverly Hicks Burch

“Our National Guard, as I think everyone knows, has provided about 40 percent of the boots on the ground…” ~ Kit Bond ~

National Guard

Since today is the 237th birthday of the USA, I couldn’t think of any more fitting picture for today than the picture above.

I happened to shoot this picture over Memorial Day weekend (another very fitting occasion). But, when I was going through my images, this one grabbed my attention as appropriate for today.

It’s obvious the balloon in the back is a National Guard balloon and that there is an American flag on the balloon. Again, very fitting…

But, what I find very symbolic in a subtle way is where the image of the National Guard balloon is…in the background…

When we think of the protection and security of our country we do tend to think of our standing military. Regardless of the branch, the men and women are there to protect us. But, where we are amiss is to leave out and ignore the service men and women in the National Guard and Reserves. These people play a critical and important part in the security of our country.

They are more than “weekend warriors”…

As the quote today indicates, in recent years, especially since September 11, 2001 the National Guard has contributed at least 40% of the “boots on the ground” in the war on terror. I would know this personally because my son was an Air National Guardsman who was activated on 9/11 and spent many years in the “sandbox” of the Middle East.

It was a frightening time for a mother who had just gone through a personal trauma of her own. I was terrified, yet proud of my only child.

The history of the National Guard actually predates the standing US military. The Guard is the direct descendant of the militias of the original 13 colonies, the oldest unit being formed in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1636. The early colonists knew they had to depend on themselves for their defense. There would be no British military rushing to their defense against the wilds of the New World.

Years later, it was those militias…those Minute Men, who made a decided difference during the American War for Independence. Today you can find statues dedicated to those hardy patriots in New England.

So, on this 4th of July as you celebrate don’t forget the men and women who have paid a price to keep this country free, and, today, especially remember those “40% of the boots on the ground”…

© 2013 Beverly Hicks Burch Al Rights Reserved.

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Filed under "4th of July", American History, History, Holidays, Hot Air Balloons, National Guard, Photography, Picture of the Day, Quote of the Day

The Gate of Final Haven, by Beverly Hicks Burch

A few years ago I was in Savannah, GA on business. I was there by myself so I did a little wandering. I didn’t have much time. I was only there for a day.

Savannah is the quintessential Southern city. You can still feel the Old South there, especially downtown.

This picture was taken on “lawyer’s row”. The street is line with old brownstone after brownstone that now serves as the offices of pricy law firms.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered I was parked  by Colonial Park Cemetery!

This cemetery if the second oldest in Savannah and was established in 1750 by British colonist. It served as a major cemetery in Savannah for a little over 100 years, closing for interments in 1853.

The cemetery covers six acres and there are 9,000 souls laid at rest at Colonial.

The cemetery is not without renown. Over 700 souls who lost their lives to Yellow Fever are buried here. There is a “Duelist” section dedicated to the burial of the fallen participants in duels that took place in and around the cemetery.

Several very distinguished people are buried here including Button Gwinette who was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Ironically Gwinette was killed in a duel by Lachlan McIntosh, a Revolutionary War hero. Both men are buried in Colonial Cemetery and both men have counties in Georgia named after them. Go figure…

And, what respectable Southern cemetery doesn’t have its fair share of resident ghosts? It’s fair to say Colonial isn’t to be out done in this category either…the most famous of which is a disfigured child murderer.

You have to hand it to us Southerners…nobody can turn out angst like we can. That’s why we’ve given you the likes of Tennessee Williams, Zelda Fitzgerald and Truman Copote just to name a few…

Today’s picture is one of the gates from Colonial Cemetery Park. I’m standing inside the cemetery looking outwards through the gate onto Oglethrope Street. As I took the picture my first thought was, “that is truly the gate of final haven”.

Some time later I kind of found it ironic and wondered what the poor souls on that side of the cemetery did to deserve to have their resting place next to “lawyer’s row”…for eternity…


© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


Filed under Button Gwinette, Cemeteries, Colonial Cemetery Park, Georgia, History, Lachlan McIntosh, Photography, Picture of the Day, Savannah, Travel

Vulcan at Night, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Vulcan at night

The other evening we were out and about giving our out of town visitor a quick tour of the Magic City. We happened to stop for gas on the Southside of Birmingham. When we looked up there was Vulcan looking down on us as big as Dallas.

As someone who grew up in Birmingham, Vulcan is a regular sight. Some of us who have lived in the `Ham most of our lives are so accustomed to Vulcan we may even take him for granted…like a good pair of comfy shoes or a favorite granny.

But, to a newcomer, a big, tall half dressed Roman god who moons half of the city can make you do a double take…

Vulcan was the Roman god of the forge and fire. Our symbolizes Birmingham’s connection to its past as the “Pittsburg of the South” or as a giant in the steel industry pre-Jimmy Carter’s recession days and decline.

Our Vulcan statue standing, at 56 feet tall is the largest cast iron statue in the world and the 7th largest free standing statue in the US. He was displayed at the 1904 World’s Fair representing Birmingham.

When I was a young girl Vulcan was used to alert the city as to the status of traffic fatalities in the area. If his torch burnt green, we knew the roads had been safe, but if his torch blazed ominous red, we knew somewhere someone in the metropolitan area was no longer with us. Over the years, Vulcan has been revamped and refurbished. In  1999 – 2004 there was a large restoration and the torch was replaced with a spear.

Some things have changed, but one thing remains the same…Vulcan still stands watch over Birmingham…and visitors are still intrigued to see the big Roman guy standing atop Red Mountain. Birmingham is full of wonderful surprises my friends…

© 2012 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved


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Filed under Birmingham, Birmingham AL, History, Photography, Picture of the Day, South, Travel, Vulcan

Where Were You Nov. 22, 1963? by Beverly Hicks Burch

I don’t know why but there seems to be a rash of JFK programs on the TV and media of late. I guess it’s because of the approaching anniversary tomorrow, but it absolutely stuns me we are approaching the 50th anniversary…yes, this year marks the 48th anniversary.

I found this condensed coverage of the timeline of Nov. 22 – 25, 1963 on YouTube. It’s from the History Channel. I can remember so much of the events. I was a young lass in grade school in Alabama. T & H was a sophomore or junior in high school in Florida where is dad worked at Mission Control out at Cape Canaveral.

Do you remember where you where when you heard the news, how you felt and any of this coverage?


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I Remember… by Beverly Hicks Burch

In six days we’ll mark an anniversary of the worst kind. As Americans we are given to celebrating and marking memorable events. Some are grandiose with bands, food, parades and fireworks. Others are rather solemn and somber.

Sept. 11th or as it has come to be known in our vernacular as 9/11 is an event I think we’d rather not have to mark. We mark the occasion of the worst terrorist attack on US soil in history. You can rewrite history or try to justify it, but that is exactly what it was. It was an evil cowardly act.

Everyone of us alive on that day has our own story to tell. We know where we were, how we found out and how we felt as we watched those giant twin towers fall into oblivion and history.

I like to try and remember the Trade Towers as they were. I did have the privilege of visiting them many time and viewing New York from the top…a sight never to be seen again.

I found this picture while going through some old pictures the other day. It made me cry…

I remember - World Trade Towers 1984

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.


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Darien Methodist Church, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Darrien Methodist Church

John Wesley at Darien Methodist Church

Thanks to John Wesley and the Scots, the Methodist flourished in this part of Georgia. As a matter of fact, John Wesley himself visited the Scots in Darien in 1737 and as a result had an indirect affect in helping this little church be built. It was the faith he built and stirred in the souls of those Scots and others that created the desire to have a place of worship.

The Methodist became quite famous for their “circuit riding preachers” in the South. As a matter of face they reached far and wide and my own ancestors in the foothills and mountains of East Tennessee were touched by those same circuit riding preachers. They say my Papaw was Methodist…I dare say because of a circuit rider…before he converted to another denomination.

Just a little side note for all of you doomsayer out there today…supposedly there is some little misguided man somewhere in the US that swears the Rapture will happen today May 21, 2011. I hate to disappoint, but the man doesn’t know what he’s talking about. It could happen, but it may not.

For those of you that don’t know the Good Book, this is what is says: “For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.”  I Thessalonians 5:2 NASB

What does that mean? As men, we don’t know the exact hour or the Lord’s return. It’s such an important consideration that it not just mentioned once in the Word, but several times. John Wesley would have known this, I’m quite sure…

For those of us who do know what the Good Book says, I would have hoped there would have been more clarity coming from us about all this nonsense going on. Shame on you, for you know better.

And, for those of you not so familiar with the Word, or just plain don’t care…let me ask you this. Rapture parties?! Really?! Would you be quite so insensitive with another faith, say Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism and mock Mohammed, the Dali Lama, Buddha or Confucius? Would you be having Mohammed and the 72 Virgins parties, or the Dali Lama died parties, or Buddha belly parties? I think not…kinda crass, huh? Just saying…

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Windy Day at Fort Pulaski, by Beverly Hicks Burch

reggie on the ramparts

You may not be able to tell from this picture, but it was extremely windy…especially up on top of Fort Pulaski (GA) when this picture was taken. It was taking a lot of “mystical hat holding onto” powers for T & H’s dapper cover to stay in place. I recommended Velcro but that went over like poop in a punch bowl Winking smile.

Fort Pulaski is a Civil War era fort near Savannah, GA. It was held by the South but fell shorty after Fort Sumter. So, it went from Southern hands to Northern hands and later became a POW camp. There’s a lot of history within these old walls.

If you look just over the wall behind T & H you have an awesome panoramic view of a channel of the Savannah River, Tybee Island, Tybee Island lighthouse and Cockspur lighthouse.

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.

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Filed under Civil War, Civil War Cannons, Fort Pulaski GA, Georgia, History, Photography, Picture of the Day, Tall & Handsome, The South, Travel

Stars and Bars, by Beverly Hicks Burch

Confederate flag at fort pulaskir

Last Saturday after the Race for the Cure, Tall & Handsome and I spent some time taking in some local color.

By happenstance we discovered Fort Pulaski. The fort had been built in 1847 and held by the Union, but once South Carolina seceded from the Union in 1860 Georgia followed and then Georgia governor Joseph E Brown sent troops from Georgia to take Fort Pulaski and at that point Fort Pulaski belonged to the State of Georgia. Once Georgia seceded in 1861 the fort then became a Confederate fort.

After Fort Sumter fell to the Union, Fort Pulaski was next in the sights of the Union. The fort fell within two days with the help of heavy siege cannons battering the thick walls of the fort.

The flag flying over the fort the day we visited was one of the First National Flags of the Confederate States of America. This version of the Confederate flag was designed by a Prussian artist named Nicola Marschall while living in Marion, AL.

The First National Flag (4 Mar 1861 – 21 May 1861) had 7 stars representing the first seven states of the Confederacy. The next flag (21 May 1861 – 2 Jul 1861) had 9 stars for each state and the third flag (2 Jul 1861 – 28 Nov 1861) had 11 stars. The picture above is the third First National Flag. The last (28 Nov 1861 – 26 May 1863) had 13 start for each Confederate State.

Because this flag caused confusion on the battlefield because of its similarity to the flags of the Union, later battle flag designs were developed and evolved into the ones most of us today think of as the “Stars and Bars” although the above flag is also called the “Stars and Bars:’

© 2011 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Civil War, Flags of the Confederacy, Fort Pulaski GA, Georgia, History, Marion AL, Nicola Marschall, Photography, Picture of the Day, Savannah, South, Stars and Bars, Travel