Do You Even Know What Cinco de Mayo Is?

I know that this is coming a few days after the actually day, but do you even know what Cinco de Mayo is? Do you even know why it’s celebrated? Is there a reason that Americans find the need to commercialize the holiday and celebrate it? Honestly, after learning more about the glorified day in Spanish class, I’m over the fiestas and big parties people throw on May 5th. Why do we see dollar signs on every holiday? For those of you who aren’t exactly educated on what Cinco de Mayo actually is, here’s some information.

  • Cinco de Mayo is NOT the Mexican day of independence. That day is actually September 16th. Cinco de Mayo actually occurred more than fifty years after the declaration of independence and “Grito de Dolores” in Mexico.
  • May 5th actually commemorates the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War in 1862.
  • Cinco de Mayo is a relatively small holiday in Mexico but a huge holiday, in the United States. The holiday has become a commemoration of Mexican culture and heritage to many Mexican-Americans.
  • At the Battle of Puebla, the Mexicans were greatly outnumbered and believed they would lose, but against all odds, emerged victorious.
  • Traditionally, in Mexico, May 5th is celebrated by military parades, recreations of the Battle of Puebla, and other festive events.

Cinco de Mayo

JFK Assassination Vignette

If you’ve been a round for a while, you may have noticed that I have a slight obsession with the JFK administration and Kennedy’s presidency. In AP Lang, we had the opportunity to pick any event in time and write a short piece about that moment. I picked the JFK assassination and wrote from the perspective of Lyndon B. Johnson as they were getting ready to leave Texas and head back to Washington D.C. Enjoy.

The heat was unbearable. The crowd was unbearable. The news was unbearable. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson stood as a crumbling stone wall aboard Air Force One. Franticly searching around the stateroom, he cried, “We can’t leave Dallas yet. Please!” This was all happening too fast. The arrival at the airport, the breakfast, the parade, and then the gunshots. He turned to Mrs. Kennedy who stared blankly at the floor, covered in the brains and blood of her deceased husband. President Kennedy was dead, dead as the Camelot he had fought so hard for. Johnson trembled as he placed his left hand on the Bible then raised his right hand to recite the oath of office. He fought to hold tears from rushing down his cheeks. He had lost his co-worker, his friend, his president. Johnson finally pleaded, “So help me God.” and with these last words, he became the next fearless leader of the United States of America. With the tragic events of the past few hours, the country watched as a peaceful river turned into a raging, destructive torrent after heavy rain. Once the rain had cleared, the river calmed back down and left fertile, new land to grow on. The country would grow strong again and Johnson would lead the way.  

JFK Assassination Vignette

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

As I sit in the airport and wait for my flight back to Denver, I’d like to reflect on my experience back in our nation’s capital. I am exhausted!! For those of you who didn’t know, I attended Envision’s Presidential Inauguration Leadership Summit for five days beginning this past Wednesday.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

A lot of people have been asking me how I was able to attend this leadership conference, so I’ll answer that first. Back in 6th or 7th grade, I attended the Junior National Young Leaders’ Conference (JrNYLC) in Washington D.C. Because Envision is tied to the JrNYLC program, I was invited back as an alumni for the leadership summit and inauguration. My mom came with me to D.C. and she was attending the “Parenting the Future” program that was a part of Envision’s program.

When I arrived on Wednesday, I was greeted by Envision staff at the airport and then taken to our hotel which was the Marriott at Wardman Park. It was one of the nicest hotels I’ve EVER stayed at. The desserts we got to have for lunch and dinner were the bomb and the rooms were absolutely wonderful. The other scholars and I got to get to know each other and then we were broken up into our delegations for change, which were smaller groups of students sorted into interest of things like education, medicine, national security, etc. I was in the “Cure for the Future” delegation and we focused on our healthcare system and curing the diseases of today. In our groups, we had to create a solution of some sort to reform the healthcare system or work on creating cures and funding for certain diseases. For those solutions, we had to propose our ideas in an essay and create a short, persuading presentation. Wednesday was a very long and busy day.

Early Thursday morning, we got up and headed to George Mason University to listen to a great lineup of speakers including Paul Begala and Tucker Carlson. After a yummy Chick-Fil-A lunch, we got to hear Mr. Ziauddin Yousafzai and Malala Yousafzai (via satellite). Their messages were extremely powerful and motivating and it was really moving to be in the presence of such brilliant, successful, and great leaders. The most influential thing I learned that day was from Malala who told us all to never stop dreaming big. Malala also said to never be afraid to fight for what you want. Others won’t fight for you, so you have to take care of yourself. That night we got to go to bed a little earlier, and that was great because Friday was going to be a looooong day.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

Inauguration day. My roommate and I had to wake up at 3:30. AHHH! It was so early and everyone was so sleepy. We got up so early because we had to eat breakfast and get on our buses by 4 or 4:30 so we could get the program’s buses as close as possible to the National Mall. The program had made a deal with the Secret Service to get our buses out by 7 am and the ride there was long so it was important to leave early and get there in time! Once we arrived at the National Mall, we had to walk for about a mile. It was still dark as this was happening but as we got closer to our security checkpoint, the sun was rising and we were passing by the Washington Monument as this occurred and it was absolutely stunning. It was definitely a cold morning but it wasn’t so bad that I was wearing like ten jackets. I was bundled up for sure, but I wasn’t a walking marshmallow. Once we got through the tight security checkpoint, we were in the National Mall and got to go to our warming station at the National Natural History Museum.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

We had about an hour to explore the museum and refresh and then it was time to head out for the inauguration. At about 10 am, the inaugural ceremony began and it was amazing and so special to be a part of something so monumental and important to American and world history. There wasn’t that much protesting or violence as the inauguration took place and the place was definitely packed! I did attend President Trump’s rally when he came to Colorado and looking back on that, it’s amazing to say that I’ve been in the same place as our president twice. Right after Trump gave his inaugural address, we headed back to our buses and got a chance to rest back at the hotels. A nap was well needed!

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.

The next day, Saturday, we were back at George Mason University to listen to round two of the speakers, which included: General Colin Powell, Spike Lee, Governor Martin O’Malley, Carly Fiorina, and Abby Wambach. All of the speakers had interesting and meaningful things to say, but General Powell’s words stuck with me the most. He said that it’s okay for people to dislike President Trump but it’s not okay to disrespect him. Trump is our president now and people need to accept this and support him. We want him to succeed because we all live in this country. We need to be united. Everything is going to be okay for our country. We just need to trust that what happens will happen for the best. After a wonderful day at George Mason University, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the inaugural gala Envision had planned for us.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.
General Colin Powell

The gala that night was held at the Air and Space Museum and was opened exclusively to our program. My friends and I got all dressed up and danced the night away. We also got to explore the museum while we were there and it was awesome getting to have an actual dance at a national museum. Because many of the people in my group were having early flights the next morning, we all said our goodbyes that night and went to bed.

Reflecting on My Trip to D.C.
(not my picture; credit to photographer)

And now here we are today on Sunday. I’m chilling at IAD with my mom and we’re waiting for our flight home. I really don’t want to leave D.C. There’s so much history and excitement in the capital of our country all the time, and it’s something I absolutely love. This is definitely not the last time I’ll be in Washington D.C. I hope to be back soon!

5 Most Influential Women in World History

There are many women in the world throughout history that have had a big impact on our world today. Many women qualified to make this list and it was difficult to narrow it down. Just as a side note, this is my opinion of the top five, and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. All information and its rights collected for this post go to their respected owners and companies. Here are the 5 most influential women in world history.

Susan B. Anthony (1820-1906)

 

Susan B. Anthony was born on February 15, 1820 in Adams, Massachusetts and was raised in a family of Quakers and abolitionists. She spent time working as a teacher and this was when she became inspired to fight for equal pay of women, because women teachers were being paid significantly less than men teachers at the time. After retiring from teaching, she moved to Rochester, New York and dedicated her time to campaigning on political issues like the temperance movement and anti-slavery movement. She even began writing The Revolution which campaigned for women’s rights as well as civil rights. Anthony spoke at many women’s rights and activists conventions which allowed for her to become a more dedicated, active, and confident leader for women’s suffrage. In 1869, alongside Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Anthony founded the National Women Suffrage Association which was dedicated to the fight for women’s votes. After the 14th Amendment, which states that all citizens of the United States have equal rights, was passed, Anthony argued that she was able to vote now, but this was not the case and she was arrested. She was given an unfair trial and fined $100, however Anthony defended herself, refusing to pay the fine, and walked away victorious. This strong women’s right activist died in 1906 and women were given the right to vote, fourteen years after her death.

Susan B. Anthony is the most influential women in history because she was one of the major voices in the fight for women’s rights and gaining the women vote. She was vocal through her writing in The Revolution, the many speeches she shared, and the defense of herself in court. Regardless of what the government and others thought of her and her beliefs, Anthony fought for what was right. She campaigned to give women the chance to learn about self-confidence and self-reliance. On top of that, she wrote the “Susan B. Anthony Amendment” which eventually became the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. Without Susan B. Anthony, the fight for women’s rights as well as civil rights could have been much more difficult and stretched out. She helped give women a strong voice and the confidence to stand up for themselves in society.

Malala Yousafzai (1997-present)

Malala Yousafzai was born on July 12, 1997 in the Swat District of northwestern Pakistan. Her father ran a school in Swat, had a passion for learning, and had always been an advocate for education. Growing up, Malala shared this passion for learning with her father, and wrote her first blog entry for BBC when she was just eleven. Despite the death threats, Malala and her father continued to write and speak out for the right to an education. In 2011, she received the first ever National Youth Peace Prize in Pakistan. Her rising popularity and recognition irritated Taliban leaders, who set out to kill her. On October 9, 2012, the Taliban attacked Malala’s school bus, on the way home from school. Malala was shot, leaving her in critical condition. Two of her friends were also injured in the attack. Malala survived the attack and became a global advocate for girls receiving a formal education. Malala and her father founded the Malala Fund in 2013 to bring about awareness to girls’ education and empower them to raise their voices, unlock their potential, and demand change. For her efforts and dedication to empowering girls, Malala Yousafzai, received the Nobel Peace Prize on December 10, 2014 and she donated the prize money to financing the building of a secondary school for girls in Pakistan. She continues to fight for girls and their right to an education.

Malala Yousafzai is the second most influential woman in the world because of her dedication and courage to fight for the right to an education for girls in Pakistan. Despite the threats and her almost-death, Malala has worked hard, writing and speaking about giving girls a formal, high-quality education. She is a humble, intelligent, resilient, and selfless woman who has been willing to sacrifice her time and donate the money she has been given to better the education and lives of girls.

Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962)

Anna Eleanor Roosevelt was born on October 11, 1884 and was the niece of Theodore Roosevelt. Her parents passed away when she was young, and so she was raised by her maternal grandmother. In 1905, Eleanor married Franklin D. Roosevelt, her distant cousin. Eleanor became active in the American Red Cross during WWI. When FDR became the president in 1933, Eleanor became the first lady, and she reinvented the position and how people looked at it. She showed the world that the first lady had an important place in American politics, as she spoke out for human rights, children’s, and women’s rights. She also was vocal against racial discrimination, wanted to help America’s poor people, and travelled abroad to comfort and support American troops during WWII. After FDR’s death in 1945, Eleanor was appointed as a delegate of the United Nations General Assembly and also as a chair member of the U.N.’s Human Rights Commission where she helped write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. President Kennedy appointed Eleanor to the National Advisory Committee of the Peace Corps and to the chair of the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. After a long life, filled with countless hours of service to her country, Eleanor Roosevelt died on November 7, 1962.

Eleanor Roosevelt is the third most influential women of all time because she transformed the position of the first lady. First ladies before Eleanor had stayed in the background and handled more domestic matters, however, Eleanor reinvented it by getting involved in speaking for rights and equality of all people. She wanted to use her position to support Americans regardless of who they were or where they were. First ladies after her were inspired to do similar things and stand out next to their husband. Eleanor served on many important commissions and assemblies that had a huge impact on the United States and the rest of the world. She helped write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and give equal rights and protection to people all over the world. Her gritty personality and character helped her accomplish the many goals she had planned for herself and the world. This is what makes her the third most influential woman in the world.

Catherine the Great (1729-1796)

Catherine was born in Stettin, Prussia on May 2, 1729 with the birth name Sophie Friederike Auguste. In 1744, she travelled to Russia with her mother to meet the Russian empress, Elizabeth and her son Grand Duke Peter. A year later, she married the grand duke, becoming Russian royalty. She then converted to the Russian Orthodox church and changed her name to Catherine, despite the objections of her Lutheran father. Peter, Catherine’s husband was childish and acted immature towards becoming ruler of Russia some day. After the death of Empress Elizabeth in 1761, Peter III and Catherine assumed the throne. Peter was abusive and cruel towards the young Russian empress and mistreated others of the Russian noble class. Alongside a secret lover whom was a lieutenant in Russia, Catherine was able to unseat her husband and take the throne. During her reign, Catherine withdrew soldiers from Denmark who had been sent by Peter, strove to outlaw capital punishment and torture, promoted equality among all people, documented how the legal system should run, expanded Russia’s territory, promoted education and the arts, and fought to fix the serfs’ situation. After several decades of absolute rule, Catherine was believed to have suffered a stroke and died on November 17, 1796.

Catherine the Great is the fourth most influential woman of all time because of the many accomplishments and growth of Russia during her rule. She spoke out against capital punishment and torture, doing whatever she could to outlaw it. In the Nakaz, Catherine explained how the government would run. This allowed for the Legislative Commission to be founded and for the first time in Russian history, people from all over the empire could voice their opinions and thoughts on the issues and needs of Russia. The Nakaz didn’t immediately influence anything in Russia but it was praised for its ideas. By promoting education and art, Catherine was able to create a boarding school for girls and free schooling throughout many towns in Russia. The building of ballet theaters and opera houses gave people the opportunity to be entertained and immersed in music and art. This created a more educated, well-rounded, and creative Russian population.

Hatshepsut (1508 BCE-1458 BCE)

Hatshepsut was born in 1508 as an only child King Thutmose I and Queen Ahmose and was expected to become a queen of Egypt. She was married to her half-brother, Thutmose II at the age of 12 after the death of her father and assumed the role of wife and queen of Egypt. Thutmose II died after a fifteen year rule, and since her son, Thutmose III was just an infant, Hatshepsut served as her son’s regent and took the role of pharaoh in Egypt. To assert her authority, Hatshepsut dressed as a pharaoh would and this included wearing a fake beard. Under her rule, Egypt prospered as Hatshepsut dedicated her time and energy to economic prosperity as well as building and restoring monuments. She had a successful trading expedition to Punt which brought back ivory, gold, and myrrh trees and was immortalized on a temple built during her rule. The female pharaoh died in 1458 and her son, Thutmose III became pharaoh of Egypt, erasing all traces of his mother’s rule in Egypt.

Hatshepsut is considered the fifth most influential woman in history because of her hard work to improve Egypt’s economy and improve the monuments throughout Egypt and Nubia. She wanted many temples and other buildings to be built and that did happen during her rule. She differed from others Egyptian rulers in her dynasty, in that she focused more on the economy and building of monuments than expanding the land of Egypt, and that is why the civilization was able to thrive during her reign. In addition to that, Hatshepsut had been one of the very few women to become pharaoh in Egypt and maintain that position with full power.

If you would like more information on the ladies above, here are a few websites to read from:

http://www.history.com/topics/ancient-history/hatshepsut

http://www.biography.com/people/hatshepsut-9331094#reign

https://www.malala.org/malalas-story

https://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2014/yousafzai-bio.html

http://www.biographyonline.net/women/susan-b-anthony.html

http://susanbanthonyhouse.org/her-story/biography.php

http://www.biographyonline.net/politicians/american/eleanor-roosevelt.html

http://www.biography.com/people/eleanor-roosevelt-9463366#synopsis

http://www.biography.com/people/catherine-ii-9241622#education-and-the-arts

http://www.biographyonline.net/royalty/catherine-the-great.html

 

November 22, 1963

In my language arts class in school, we had to pick a person to write a narrative essay about. I picked the 35th president of the United States, JFK. i have so much respect for his leadership and the Kennedy family. This essay is written from the point of view of his wife, Jackie Kennedy. It covers the day of Jack’s assassination.  I hope you find this essay touching and interesting.

Rarely did I accompany Jack on his business trips and presidential campaigns. Being present at his events exhausted me, although I did enjoy getting to see my husband’s eyes light up when he spoke as well as the passion and love he poured out for his country. This would be my first extended appearance in public since the death of our dear baby son, Patrick.  

A light rain was falling the morning of November 22, when Air Force One arrived in Dallas at Love Field. Before exiting the jet with Jack, I checked over my watermelon pink suit and adjusted the fashionable pillbox hat on my head. I pulled my silky, light gloves up my wrists and made sure my hair looked presentable. I wouldn’t want to make a bad impression in Dallas, now would I?

Jack and I exited the jet and were welcomed by a large group of supporters eager to shake our hands and meet the two of us. We mingled with the well-wishers for several minutes and one of the people in the crowd handed me a big, gorgeous bouquet of red roses which I took with me to the convertible. The two of us would travel through Dallas to the Trade Mart for a luncheon Jack would be speaking at. It stopped raining so the plastic bubble top was removed from the car. The governor of Texas, Mr. John Connally and his wife, Nellie, warmly welcomed my husband and I. Mr. and Mrs. Connally were seated in the front of the car and Jack and I were comfortably seated in the back of the convertible. The Secret Service moved into their designated positions around the vehicle and we departed from the airport; the procession into the city began.

As the convertible slowly made its way through Dallas, the people alongside the road jumped for joy, enthusiastically waved at us, called out to my husband and I, and seemed to be having a good time.

The driver of the convertible remarked, “They really love you, Mr. President,”.

Jack acknowledged the comment and continued waving to the people of Dallas. He turned towards me and smiled in a way that made my heart melt every time. That handsome smile of Jack’s reminded me of the look he gave me after swearing into office as president of the United States. He looked so confident and content. It had been an extremely cold and snowy day and I of course knew that every woman present would wear fur, so naturally I had to wear mink. Jack may have only taken sixteen minutes to give his inaugural speech, but those 1,355 words were some of the most powerful, amazing words I ever heard my husband speak. He was going to make a difference in this country whether people liked it or not. I was so proud of him and I knew his country would be too.

I had gone up to Jack after the speech and congratulated him, “Jack, you were so wonderful!”

He had smiled in the most touching way.

There was a strange pop sound heard as our convertible approached Dealey Plaza. I cautiously scanned the area, doing my best to appear calm and collected. Lightly, I nodded, shrugged, and then politely waved at a group of people at the nearby park. I looked over at Jack to make sure he was doing alright and he was still enjoying the chance to interact with the public. He truly loved the people and they loved him in return. Jack had worked so hard to give back everything he could to his country. Through his hard work with other national and international leaders on the issue of the Cuban Missile Crisis, my husband had been able to prevent a nuclear war from happening. He had worked long hours to inspire Americans and NASA to get man on the moon and create peace in the United States as well as around the world, and promoted public service through organizations like the Peace Corps, which he had established.

The car made a turn onto Main Street.  

I heard another strange, loud popping sound coming from above and behind the car. I glanced over at Jack, something was not right. His face was expressionless and his arms were bent awkwardly above his head.

I frantically turned my whole body towards my husband. “Jack?”

Suddenly, my husband slumped over in my lap. Blood rushed from the back side of his head and onto my suit. I needed to escape. My breathing became shallow and quick, everything in my body went numb. Jack had been shot and I was next if I hadn’t already been shot. Frantically, I reached for the side of the moving convertible to attempt to pull myself out of the car. I couldn’t control what my body wanted to do. I desperately reached for the car door but was stopped by the strong, forceful arm of Clint Hill, the head of the Secret Service. He forced me back into the car, and shielded my body as well as Jack’s. Shaking, I cradled my husband’s head in my lap and supported his body with mine. I could see a piece of skull detaching from his head. Why would anyone do this to Jack? Who in their right mind would do this to my dear husband? His brains and blood spilled into my lap and all over my suit. It had been several hours since breakfast, but I could definitely feel it rising, churning in my stomach, as I attempted to keep Jack’s brains in his head. In a panic, Clint barked orders at his men. The convertible immediately sped up.

I could hear people yelling and screaming, “He’s dead, he’s dead!”.

Holding the top of his head down, I did what I could to comfort and make contact with my husband, who was hanging onto life by a single thread.

“Jack, can you hear me? Jack, Jack, I love you.”

What had just happened? It became hard to control anything. Tears uncontrollably rolled down my cheeks.

We rushed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, and Jack was carefully, but quickly removed from the car and taken to Trauma Room 1, where doctors attempted to save his life. I had to try to collect myself. I couldn’t let the doctors or the nurses, let alone the public see me like this. I bit my lip and held my breath to hold back my panicked cries. While I.V.s were placed in my dying husband’s arms, one doctor performed a tracheotomy, and another attempted to revive him. I stood, shaking, on the verge of tears in the corner of the room. It felt as if my heart stopped when the heart monitor wasn’t picking up Jack’s heartbeat. I had a feeling he wasn’t going to make it. There was now a sense of mourning and deep, dark sadness in the room. Ronald Jones, one of the doctors, and his aide, slowly approached me. Deep down, I already knew what he would tell me.

Dr. Jones sincerely stated, “Mrs. Kennedy, I’m so sorry for your loss.”

The aide quietly and politely asked, “Would you like a change of clothes? Those have-”

“No, I’m going to leave these clothes on. I want them to see what they’ve done.”

It is now November 25, three long, hard days after my husband’s life has been taken away from me. Draped in black, I look through my dark veil, from the steps of St. Matthew’s Cathedral after the ceremony. I can feel the support and grieving of over 800,000 Americans attending the funeral. I look down at my children, Caroline and John Jr. as Jack’s casket is carried down the steps to the carriage. Today could have been the convivial celebration of my little John’s third birthday, but we are instead mourning the loss of a wonderful leader, husband, and father. I take hold of Caroline’s small hand and lean down to whisper in John’s ear. John slowly nods and raises his right hand to his forehead, saluting his father for the last time. With a heavy heart, I review the beautiful part of my life Jack was in and his favorite musical, Camelot. He sometimes referred to his administration as Camelot and listened to his old recording of the musical all the time.

“Don’t let it be forgot, that once there was a spot, for one brief shining moment that was known as Camelot”. Goodbye Jack, I love you.

Works Cited

Bedell Smith, Sally. Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House. New York: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 2004. Print.

Freidel, Frank, and Hugh Sidey. The Presidents of the United States of America. Scala Publishers, 2006. Print.

“John F. Kennedy.” History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. 29 Jan. 2016.

Johnson, Glen. “Camelot Revisited.” National Review 1995: Camelot Revisited. The Associated Press, N.p., Print.

Kaye, Randi. “50 Years Later, Jackie Kennedy’s Pink Suit Locked Away from View.” CNN. Cable News Network, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 5 Feb. 2016.

“November 22, 1963: Death of the President.” John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum. John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, n.d. 29 Jan. 2016.

Olugbemiga, Ayobami. “JFK’s Top 5 Political Accomplishments.” Mic. N.p., 20 Nov. 2013. 31 Jan. 2016.

“The JFK Assassination.” Mary Ferrell Foundation: Preserving the Legacy. Mary Ferrell Foundation, n.d. 29 Jan. 2016.

Reflecting on 2015

This might be coming a little late but, Happy New Year! 2016 has arrived and it’s going to be another good year. 2015 was filled with ups and downs and there were all kinds of trends and things that occurred this past year. Here are some of the events and trends of 2015.

In January of 2015, the Charlie Hebdou attack occurred in Paris. 12 people were killed and 11 were injured.

In February, the Super Bowl took place and Katy Perry gave a stunning performance and Left Shark, who performed during Perry’s song, “California Gurls” became a worldwide sensation. And there was also the dress. People argued over whether or not it was black and blue or white and gold. The couple that took the picture confirmed that it was black and blue after the photo went viral. Team black and blue!

In March, the Germanwings flight 9525 ended in tragedy when the co-pilot of the plane deliberately flew the plane into the French Alps, killing everyone on board. Dawn of Justice was released in theaters. It was the Batman vs. Superman movie, in case you didn’t know.

Age of Ultron, the second movie of the Avengers series as well as Furious 7 were released in theaters in April. Both movies lived up to their expectations and were successful in the theaters.

In May, the Mayweather vs. Pacquio fight went down in Las Vegas and resulted in another win for Floyd Mayweather Jr. How-old.net is a website where you allow the website to analyze a photo of yourself and it guesses how old you are. This website became well-known and sparked the question of “How is the website able to tell how old you are?” If you’d like to test out how-old.net click here to see if it guesses your age correctly. The biggest trend of May was Netflix and Chill. There were all kinds of variations and parodies of this interesting and well-known trend.

“Just Do It” featuring Shia LeBouf went viral in June of 2015. The video was a motivational and overdramatized speech telling people to accomplish their goals and follow their dreams. In June, gay marriage was legalized in the U.S. Caitlyn Jenner also introduced herself to the world and later on ended up winning the “Woman of the Year” award.

In July, Minions took the world by storm and did well in theaters. “Now watch me whip/nae nae” became a song and dance sensation. I don’t know a single person that doesn’t know how to whip and nae nae. From the flyby of New Horizons, everyone was able to see clear and exciting pictures of Pluto and its moons. The pictures will allow for astronomers to gather more information about Pluto and its moons. In July, the world lost Saturo Iwata, the president of Nintendo and the creator of video games like Kirby and Mario.

In August, Donald Trump officially announced that he would be running for president in 2016 and began campaigning. AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA! You’ll understand this if you’ve seen the vine videos. John Cena also made it big this month in 2015. Hundreds of thousands of vines were created using his videos and announcement for the WWE. Some of them are funny and some of them are plain weird.

The supermoon eclipse left everyone in awe in September. It was beautiful to watch and great to take pictures of. Continuing on the topic of space, water was found on Mars. This was a very exciting discovery and we’ll have to wait and see what comes next as far as findings and discoveries on Mars and in the space around us.

In October of 2015, Drake’s hit song “Hotline Bling” made its’ debut. It was on the radio quite often and there were many parodies done of this song. ISIS crashed a Russian plane killing all 224 passengers on board near the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt. A gunman killed ten including himself and injured seven at Umpqua Community College in Oregon as well.

Sadly terrorist attacks were becoming quite the trend towards the end of the year and Paris was attacked in November. 130 people were killed and over 300 were injured. Also in November, Ronda Rousey lost her fight to Holly Holm and Fallout 4, the fourth game of the Fallout series was released. And who could forget the release of the final movie of the Hunger Games trilogy, Mockingjay Part 2? Most people believed that Mockingjay Part 2 finished out the trilogy well, others believed that it could have been finished differently, but in my opinion the movie was amazing and the actors all did a wonderful job portraying their characters and the plot stuck pretty close to the books.

Finally in December, the Star Wars saga continued with The Force Awakens I haven’t seen it yet but I’ve heard that the movie was very good and lived up to everyone’s expectations, so far. Not only was the new Star Wars movie big, but so was the Miss Universe pageant. The host, Steve Harvey made an honest mistake when he announced the final results, the wrong girl was crowned, and then he corrected himself as soon as he caught the mistake. After this happened, there was a lot of dispute over the actual results and Harvey’s actions and in the end Miss Philippines was crowned Miss Universe.

I believe that 2015 was a pretty good year even with all of the attacks and losses of wonderful people. We were all able to learn new things about ourselves and the world, experience new activities and situations, and also grow as people. As far as what’s going to happen in 2016, I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Do what you can to make it your own great year. Good luck getting used to writing 2016 on your papers and best wishes in the new year.

Reflecting on 2015

The Origin of Halloween

Halloween is the that special time of year for cute, funny, or scary costumes and candy. But why do we celebrate this frightfully fun holiday and where does the name Halloween come from?

About 2,000 years ago, the Celts celebrated the end of summer and beginning of cold, gloomy weather. The fall and winter were often associated with sadness and death. They celebrated this occasion with a festival of Samhain on the night of October 31st where the people believed the spirits and ghosts of the deceased would travel from the spirit world to the real world. People would dress up as angels, devils, and saints and have big parties with bonfires and lots of food.

This tradition and belief remained a trend for the Celtics but when the Celts where conquered by the Romans, the festival of Samhain had a few adjustments. The Romans celebrated two festivals around the same time of year that were held to honor the dead and revere the Roman goddess of fruits and trees. Over time, Celtic and Roman traditions for October 31st combined. When the Roman Empire’s religion was mostly Christian, the Christians decided to replace the festival of Samhain with something similar but easy for the church to control. So, the Romans declared November 1st All-hallows or “All Saints Day” and November 2nd “All Souls’ Day”. On All Saints Day, the poor would beg for food and the people would give them “soul cakes” which were little pastries and this is where trick-or-treating originated. The night before All-hallows, October 31st (the original night of Samhain) became known as All-hallows Eve and people dressed up and threw parties. All-hallows Eve was eventually shortened to Halloween.

Halloween remained a popular holiday in Europe and when it reached colonial America, new traditions appeared. The people shared stories of the deceased with one another, ate sweet treats, had “play parties”, celebrated the harvest, and played tricks and pranks on each other. It wasn’t until the 1850s that Americans started dressing up, and that’s when the holiday really took off. Halloween evolved into a community holiday where neighbors could get together, dress up, pull pranks on each other, and share spooky stories. In the early 20th century, kids could receive a small treat by showing a trick and this is how the tradition of trick-or-treating got started in America. It has been one of the most popular and expensive holidays celebrated since then. People have gone crazy with candy, party supplies, costumes, and house decorations. Families still get together to celebrate the holiday and party and kids still go from door to door asking for something good to eat.

What kind of turn will this crazy, fun, and festive holiday take? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. I hope you all have a wonderful and safe upcoming Halloween. Don’t eat too much candy!

The Origin of Halloween
“History of Halloween .” History.com. A+E Networks, n.d. Web. 25 Oct. 2015.

The Hidatsa Indians

Imagine you are running through the forest as fast as your legs can carry you. You hear celebration cries to your right and left as you raise your tomahawk with excitement and victory. You see a large earthen wall and a warm glowing fire up ahead. The people of your tribe are waiting anxiously and happily for you and your fellow Hidatsas to run into the camp. You and your war party just defeated a small group of Blackfeet warriors that had declared battle west of the rushing Missouri River. This was what life was like for a member of the Hidatsa tribe in the United States in the 1800s. The Hidatsa were a very intelligent and skilled tribe. Who they are, their effect on America, and how they were affected, how they handled opposition, and their long-lasting legacy help make the Hidatsa who they are.

The Hidatsa Indians

To begin with, the Hidatsa tribe was originally a part of the Crow in North Dakota but they separated from them several years after the Crow nation was formed. They were very unique people and had their own traditions and ways of completing tasks. “Hidatsa traits included the cultivation of corn and an annual organized buffalo hunt. They had a complex social organization and elaborate ceremonies, including the sun dance.” (“H.I.” 1) The Hidatsa people were skilled farmers and cultivated corn and organized hunting buffalo. There were a very organized group of Native Americans and had a distinct group of social classes. There were special ceremonies such as celebrating the harvest of the corn. The Hidatsa are known by many names throughout the world and Native American nations but to them Hidatsa means willow. Other tribes like the Mandan called them the Gros Ventres or Minitari. “They were often called Gros Ventres or the English translation of that, Big Bellies, and also Minnetares. The name Minnetaree, spelled in various ways means, “to cross the water,” a name given to them by the Mandan when they first came together, and the Mandan helped them to cross the water.” (“Hidatsas” 1) The Mandan were one of the tribes that worked closely with the Hidatsa and they helped them cross the Missouri River when they came to their new homeland. Also, the Hidatsa were  known for the capture of Sacagawea. When Sacagawea was a young girl, a war party of Hidatsa Indians raided Sacagawea’s camp and captured her.

The Hidatsa Indians

Additionally, American settlers affected how the Hidatsa tribe lived and how they ran their everyday lives. The Hidatsa people lived close to the Missouri River for a very long time. Due to the westward expansion of the U.S. they were moved around and pushed up the Missouri. The government of the United States also changed how the Hidatsa cultivated their food and even changed some of the foods they could grow and eat.

The government has changed our old way of cultivating corn and our other vegetables, and has brought us seeds of many new vegetables and grains, and taught us their use. We Hidatsas and our friends, the Mandan, have also been removed from our village at Like-a-fishhook bend, and made to take our land in allotments; so that our old agriculture has in a measure fallen into disuse. (Wilson 1)

The Hidatsa people were wonderfully skilled farmers. When they settled with the Mandan tribe and several other tribes at their village called “Like-a-fishhook bend” the U.S. government decided to introduce several new crops to the Hidatsa. Many of the seeds that the Hidatsa learned to grow included watermelon, potatoes, big squashes, onions, oats, and many more crops. This changed what they ate, how they ate, and how often. At first, the Hidatsa people did not really like the new crops given to them the U.S. government and rarely ate them but they eventually adapted to them and slowly learned new ways to eat them. “The American Indians gave Europeans the cultivation of corn, the potato, the sweet potato, tobacco, pumpkins, the tomato and, philosophically, conceptions of democracy radically different from the ancient Greek city-states.” (“A.I.” 1) There was a large amount of cultural diffusion, or the spreading and mixing of cultures. The Hidatsa shared their crops with the American settlers. In return, the settlers gave the Hidatsa people crops, spices that they didn’t have, and new technologies such as rifles. Not only were crops and goods traded between the two groups but democratic ideas different from those of the Greek were given to the U.S. from the Hidatsa. To add on, in the early 1800s, the several members of the Hidatsa tribe played a crucial and important role in the Lewis and Clark Expedition to the Pacific Ocean. They helped Lewis and Clark translate, navigate, and negotiate with other tribes as they travelled through the wilderness. “Lewis and Clark valued the information that the Hidatsa, with their westward raids and trade network, had about the people and places to be found in the Rockies. Whenever one of the Hidatsa visited Fort Mandan, he was afforded special attention. From them, Lewis and Clark learned about the Crow, Flathead, Shoshone, and Nez Perce Indians they would later encounter.” (“Overview” 1) The Hidatsa helped Lewis and Clark by giving them information about tribes they had met and tribes they would later encounter. They also helped the two explorers learn to survive in the wild by showing them how to find good food and what tribes were best to trade with if needed. Without the help of the Hidatsa, Lewis and Clark may not have made the trip back from their expedition or they wouldn’t have survived to tell of their adventures.

The Hidatsa Indians

Furthermore, the Hidatsa tribe, just like many of the other tribes in the United States, faced opposition. They dealt with grabby and pushy settlers and other tribes urging to go to war with them. The Hidatsa people were somewhat peaceful with the American settlers coming from the east and traded with them quite often, but there were the exceptions. The Hidatsa were different from their neighboring tribes by the way they handled those who went against them.  “They were generally peaceful and accommodating in their relations with whites, as with Lewis and Clark, and were less aggressive in their relations with other Indians than their allies the Hidatsas.” (“M.A.H.” 1) Unlike their neighbors, the Mandan, the Hidatsas were less aggressive around settlers. The Hidatsa got along with most of the tribes that also lived along the Missouri River. There were the people of the Shoshone and Blackfeet tribes, which the Hidatsa had problems with. The Shoshone and Blackfeet would sometimes raid their camps and cause a ruckus. To deal with the trouble caused by the Shoshone and Blackfeet, the Hidatsa frequently sent out war parties to deal with the groups of troublesome Native Americans. Some Native American tribes, including the clever Hidatsa had a different custom of war.  “Instead, their war customs included counting coup (touching an opponent in battle without harming him), stealing an enemy’s weapon or horse, or forcing the other tribe’s warriors to retreat.” (Lewis and Redish 1) The Hidatsa people dealt with their opposition by using counting coup. This was a more peaceful way to win a battle against another tribe. It was less violent and still very effective for the Hidatsa.

The Hidatsa Indians

Finally, the Hidatsa have much to be remembered for. They helped change the way buffalo were hunted, how crops like corn were cultivated, and they told many great stories. Many of the stories written by the Hidatsa include their creation story, the legend of the sun dance, and the legend behind their corn ceremony. Those stories are remembered and shared by the Hidatsa and people all over the United States and the world. After many prosperous and happy years at their home near the Missouri River, a small-pox epidemic broke out in 1837. This almost wiped out the entire Hidatsa population but the survivors moved north of the Missouri River. In 1845, the Hidatsa combined with several groups of the Mandan people and settled to their permanent residence of Fort Berthold in North Dakota. Today, the Hidatsa still reside at Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota keeping their culture free and alive.

The Hidatsa Indians

In conclusion, the Hidatsa tribe was a very amazing and different Native American tribe in the United States.  First, their organization, peacefulness, and intelligence made them a respected tribe. Secondly, what they did for America and what America did to them impacted the U.S. today. Additionally, how they faced their enemies and incoming settlers showed how aggressive and intelligent the Hidatsa people were. Lastly, their legacy will continue on forever. Now imagine that you are still with the people of the Hidatsa tribe. Instead of the excitement of a returning war party, you are sitting in your modern home staring out at the rolling hills of Fort Berthold Reservation in North Dakota. You remember the days your grandparents told the stories of your ancestors and the tales of your legendary people. This would be the story of the Hidatsa people in the present day.

The Hidatsa Indians

Works Cited

American Indians. National Park Service, n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/travel/lewisandclark/indians.htm>.

Hidatsa Indians. American Indian Heritage Month, n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <http://www.defense.gov/specials/nativeamerican01/tribes.html#hidatsa>.

Hidatsas. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <http://www.trailtribes.org/kniferiver/whos-who.htm#hidatsas>.

Mandan and Hidatsa. National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior, 1 Apr. 2014. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <http://www.nps.gov/jeff/historyculture/mandan-and-hidatsa.htm>.

Native Languages of the Americas: Hidatsa Indian Legends . N.p., 2013. Web. 7 Apr. 2014. <http://www.native-languages.org/hidatsa-legends.htm>.

Overview. National Geographic, 1996. Web. 2 Apr. 2014. <http://www.nationalgeographic.com/lewisandclark/record_tribes_007_5_2.html>.

Redish, Laura, and Orrin Lewis. Native Languages of the Americas. N.p., 2013. Web. 9 Apr. 2014. <http://www.bigorrin.org/hidatsa_kids.htm>.

Wilson, Gilbert L. Buffalo Bird Woman’s Garden. Minneapolis: n.p., 1917. U of Minnesota. Web. 8 Apr. 2014. <http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/buffalo/garden/garden.html#XII>.

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment

Over a long period of time, our society has been impacted by a large number of documents and philosophers. Two of the most important documents are the Magna Carta and the Mayflower Compact. Two of the most important philosophers of this time were John Locke and Thomas Hobbes.

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment

To begin with, the Magna Carta and Mayflower Compact really impacted our society. The Magna Carta was signed by King John and 1215, and it limited the king’s power because he was abusing his overwhelming amount of power. It’s stated that the government would be based on a rule of law and that there would be a contract or agreement with the people. The people will have certain rights and representatives in government. Without this amazing document, our government could still be a monarchy and give way too much power to just one person. In modern society today, this is why we have checks and balances and three branches of government to balance power. The Mayflower Compact was equally important. When the programs made their way over to America, they all signed the social contract creating a written rule of law, and give the people the right to self-government. This document also limited the king’s power. This document demonstrated the beginning of a trend of limiting the government’s power. Today in society, we still use the brilliant ideas of self-government, a social contract, and a government with limited power.

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment

Additionally, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke were important and influential philosophers. Thomas Hobbes was well known for his work Leviathan which helped start the Enlightenment. He asked, “Why do we need government? “. Hobbes also believed that a strong authoritarian rule was necessary to protect people from themselves. No morality exists, according to Hobbes, and the best way to control people is through fear. John Locke had other ideas. He did believe that there was good and bad in society, but he also thought that people are truly good-willed and rational. Locke thought that government is a social contract between people and governing bodies to preserve peoples’ natural rights from being violated. Government is designed to secure a man’s natural rights and to protect people from the government. Without Hobbes or Locke, we wouldn’t have the strong, power-balanced government system we have. We wouldn’t have our natural rights.

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment

In conclusion, the Magna Carta, Mayflower Compact, Thomas Hobbes and John Locke are super important and have a huge impact on our society. They all had huge ideas that influenced and led to the strong and successful U.S. Constitution and government. Where would we be without them?

Important Documents and Philosophers of the Enlightenment