Lincoln visits a Holocaust survivor, a book review of Land of Lincoln, adventures in Abe’s America by Andrew Ferguson

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I sat for the past few days besides doing yard work, I stuck my nose in a book called Land of Lincoln Adventures in Abe’s America by Andrew Ferguson. I honestly had a hard tome putting this book down. I think in some way across the United States or even for that matter the world we all have a little bit of “Honest Abe” deep within all of us.

We all start out with humble beginnings and most of us in the world are not born with a silver spoon in our mouth. We usually grow up and everyday we learn something new and strive for knowledge just as Abraham Lincoln had all his life. Trying to come out of hardship and manual labor, Abraham Lincoln Strove to learn and to better himself so he could eventually become more, because he knew he had it in him. As a young man he studied Law, while struggling financially with failed businesses behind him and menial jobs. Eventually he would become a Lawyer, run for the state senate, Win a Presidential Race, and go on to be the 16th President of the United States.

He struggled through his life with depression, and being Bi-Polar. Most of us in the world can relate to that. Again we have all struggled with depression, among some of those who struggle with being Bi-Polar. He had married Mary Todd Lincoln. She was a well educated woman from a fairly wealthy family. Who in their own rights had not really approved of her marriage or courtship to Lincoln. He was not from wealth, and later on her families estate would come under a lawsuit as to who was to take control of the property her family had owned. Being again they did not approve of her marriage and they definitely were not in favor of the Emancipation Proclamation, as Mary’s Family were slave owners themselves. These are all the types of struggles as being human we can relate to across the world.

Whether you know alot about Lincoln or you do not we can all relate in some way or another. On a fateful evening in April we had lost one of the greatest Presidents that America had known . A gunman named James Wilkes Booth entered where Lincoln had been been sitting and shot Mr. Lincoln in the back of the head. He dove to the stage below and yelled “sic semper tyrannis”, translated ” Thus always the Tyrants”. As he dove and hit the stage he had Broken his Leg and thus the greatest manhunt, in the history of the United States began, possibly even the world. Booth was killed in a barn set ablaze as soldiers opened fire. But not before he could stop at the house of Dr. Mudd. Mudd helped booth with his leg and that is where the saying came from your name is Mudd.

So I am reading this book and towards the end of the book I come across a story I will probably never ever forget as long as I live. I cannot tell it as well as the author Andrew Ferguson so below I will quote his book his story as he traveled the path of Abraham Lincoln and tried to figure out who Lincoln was and why he was so great.

Excerpt from Land of Lincoln

Adventures in Abe’s America

By. Andrew Ferguson

Frank told me he’d moved to Springfield four years ago with his three daughter, the oldest who was now in high school. ” I wanted them to get a better start in life, Jacksonville is a town of seventeen thousand. Springfield has a hundred and ten thousand people. There’s more opportunity to get ahead, just so long as I can keep up with them away from the gangbangers and the knuckleheads out there”. His original hope was to get a job with the state government. ” Hopefully somewhere I could use my personality and my people skills, I prefer a job that is people intensive”. Unable to find a government job, he went to work at the Hilton, hoping the flow of politicians and officials in and out all day would give him the contacts that eventually pay off.

” It hasn’t happened yet, and I think sometimes, well, why? now I think I know why. Last Tuesday morning, I’m at my desk here, and there’s some kind of commotion at the front desk. I ventured over to see if I could be of assistance. A tell gentleman was standing there, very old, very feeble. It appeared to me that he was suffering from Parkinson’s disease or a disease of that kind. He was having trouble conversing. He spoke in broken English. The girl behind the desk says to me “Frank, We cannot understand what this gentleman is saying. We’re having trouble here.”

” Well if you listened closely and concentrated hard, pretty soon you could put two and two together and understand some of what the man was saying. He was experiencing difficulty entering his room, so I escorted him to the elevator and we were able to use the key to get him in the room. He was very grateful that I had been of assistance and he said he wanted to show me something”.

” It was a letter, dated April 1965, “Frank said. ” It was from the mayor of Springfield— The Mayor at the time. It was addressed to this gentleman in Prague, Czechoslovakia. That’s where he was from, Czechoslovakia. The letter from the mayor thanked him for his interest in Abraham Lincoln, and invited him to Springfield, as a guest of the Mayor. It said, You come here to see the home and the tomb and the Lincoln shrines as our guest, and we will give you the key to the city. Well, apparently, it took him forty years to save enough to get here, but he made it.

” Then the man tells me his story. Suddenly he stands up straight as can be as he tells me. He said He’d been in a concentration camp. He pulled up his sleeve and said this. Every time he mentioned the concentration camp he pulled up his sleeve, and you could see the number there. He knew about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington from when he learned about them in school as a boy.

” Now here’s what’s interesting . When he was in the concentration camp, and he was all alone in his cell, it was the worst time of his life and he didn’t think he could go on anymore, and he said Mr. Lincoln came to him.

” Mr. Lincoln stood right in front of him, just like I’m standing here in front of you, and Lincoln said to him , ” You never forget: All men are created equal. This is true for all men all times, and these men who would do this thing to you, who put you here, they’re no better than you. You are equal, because all men are created equal, you keep remembering this, and you persevere, you’ll be all right”.

” Well this is what the gentleman said, in his broken English. I don’t know about ghosts I’m skeptical, But this is what the man said. I get a chill thinking about it”.

” Well, from this time onward, the man says he knew he was going to be alright. he knew he was going to persevere, and he vowed if he ever got out of the concentration camp, he would come to Springfield, to thank Mr. Lincoln, he was so grateful. He’d written a poem for Lincoln and he had to recite it for him. That’s what he said. He had three flowers on the bed, they were the plastic kind, two red, one white, carnations. He said he had to go to Lincoln’s tomb and give him the flowers and recite this poem.

” Then he recited the poem for me, right there in the room. I didn’t understand it, of course. He was hunched up in the back, but he stood up straight as can be when he said it, this old man. He put his hand over his heart. He was shaking.”

Frank left him and went down to his post in the lobby and called the mayor’s office. The opening for the Lincoln museum was a week away, and everyone on the mayors’s staff was busy. Someone suggested Frank call the convention and visitors’ bureau, and a woman named Alicia Erickson, who specialized  in dealing with foreign tourist groups, arrived a few minutes later. ” I told her, you have to help this gentleman, but be careful, because I’m thinking he’s on some kind of death walk, Alicia , I think this is his final trip, This is something he’s got to do before he dies. ” Alicia told me later what happened after that.

” His name was Mr. Dubin, Henri Dubin, ” she said. ” He was sweet and very gentle, but he was frail, very thin, and kind of hunched over— and very hard to understand. Only Frank could really understand him, I think. And he was just insistent that he had to visit Lincoln’s tomb right then, that day. He couldn’t wait because he had to fly back home the next day.

“So I got him in my car and we drove out to the tomb. He was carrying the flowers in his lap. I don’t think he could hear me that well, because when I would ask something he didn’t really answer. So we didn’t do much talking.

” At the tomb he walked around the outside very slowly. Then we went inside. You know how at the tomb you kind of go down a hallway and turn, then you go down another hallway and turn again, before you get to the actual tomb?”

I told her I did, at every turn is a small Lincoln statue, molded after the more famous ones around the country. There’s Anna Hyatt Huntington’s on the circuit, and the Saint-Gaudens from Chicago, and of course French’s form the memorial in Washington.

” Well he had to stop at every statue. He’d put his hand on it and study it, stare at it. By the time we got to the grave he was crying. He was very emotional. He took one look at the tomb and let me tell you: that man got down on his knees and kissed the ground. Then he laid the flowers there, and he got back up, and he stood straight as he could and recited his poem. Tears were streaming down his face. his voice was very strong and clear. then he looks at me and he kind if sighs and he says, ” Yes, Now it’s over.” He says, ” We can go.”

Mr. Dubin slept most of the next day and then through the night.

” The next morning, ” Frank told me, ” we got him to the airport. I made sure my friends at the airlines understood how feeble this man was, that they had to take special care of him. When I got him to the Check-in, he couldn’t help himself, he was crying again. He turned to me and he said, ” Frank, God sent you to help me find Lincoln. You are an angel. ” And he hugged me.”

Standing there by his desk in the Hilton lobby, Frank didn’t say anything for a while. ” I told a lady friend about this last week, after it happened. she said to me, ” Frank, you want to know why you haven’t got your job in the government yet— that’s why. You had to be there, at the Hilton. ” she said, God wanted you to be there to help this man!” Maybe so. I’m Skeptical, I’m a skeptical man

 

Andrew Ferguson

 

Well after I finished this book on one mans journey I discovered like I said there is a little Lincoln in everyone, and I have a few new places and people I now need to talk to. Well enough typing for the night off to watch some Tv and then off to bed. Goodnight to all my readers.

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Moments in time REMEMBERING!!!

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Photo by:1st Sense photography

Location: Spring Grove Illinois

As Memorial day 2018 Fast Approaches and we sit and Barbecue, we tend to forget those who served our country. We sit with our families at Parades honoring those who fell, and our children chase after candy. Yet after we go home and start the festivities of fishing, camping, and cooking on the grill. We never attend what happens after the parade. Usually every parade ends at a cemetery, and eulogies and a roll call for those lost in the many wars fought for this country are given. Flags adorn the graves of those lives lost and those who served but have since passed from this world. The Photo above I found this marker in a local cemetery in Spring Grove, Illinois. It made me think about who this man was, what he saw, the fact it was not a mechanized war but many men still lost their lives. I think we tend to forget the smaller wars, because our education mainly hit on wars such as the Revolutionary war, The Civil War, World War 1 and 2. The Smaller wars get buried in books somewhere, Wars such as the War of 1812, The Mexican-American war, The Blackhawk war etc… We forget that men no matter where they were from defended their countries and beliefs.

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Photo by: 1st Sense Photography

Location: Woodstock, Illinois

Here I was strolling taking photos during a memorial day parade my sons youth football team had been in. This is a sight I will never, ever forget, a memory emblazoned in my mind forever. The soldier stood guard against a pole with his sons, and daughter wearing shirts that said welcome home Daddy. I was Choked up and decided to pick up the camera. Whether or not they knew it they created a moment. these children probably watched their dad go off to war not knowing the consequences of war, and that their dad may never return home. Yet he did unlike many others before him. I guess in a way this was my way of thanking him for defending our freedom from terrorism.

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Photo by: 1st Sense Photography

Location: Woodstock, Illinois

At the end of the Parade a new flag upon the square dedicated to those who served the flag is replaced every year by those who served. Boots, Dogtags and a Rifle with the helmet of a fallen soldier stood in front of me. The soldiers lowered the flag and stood at attention as a new one replaced it. I really wish I would have looked at the dog tags that adorned the memorial for the fallen. We forget as we live our everyday lives, these soldiers go out fight and die for the freedom we take for granted. We may be watching a ballgame at home, or fishing. While men fall we forget about them, and think our lives are a given.

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Photo by: 1st Sense Photography

Location: Tuscola, Illinois

a few years later I moved to a town called Atwood, Illinois. But before my ex and I moved there, she used to live in a tiny little town about half an hour away from Champaign, Illinois called Tuscola, Illinois. As I strolled the streets of Tuscola taking photos, I ran across this spray painted on a road for a fallen soldier. I actually was seeing this person meant something to someone. Sgt. Flynn Schultz was someones family, and friend I never knew the family, but I found this moving because it made you realize someone made this because he meant something to the people he knew and the people who lived in that tiny town. This may not have been how he wanted to be remembered as spray paint on a road in the middle of nowhere, but it was how someone made him remembered for a very long time to come. So when people walked past people would see his name and maybe take a second to pay their respects to a fallen soldier.

Hopefully this Memorial day before you go to parades, camp, go parties or whatever it is you may do, you will take the time out to remember those who died for your freedoms. If it is a moment of silence, or a prayer or writing maybe a memorial to someone you knew served and died for our country. Just all I ask is you REMEMBER!!!!

Are We offended?

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Recently it seems as if America is offended by EVERYTHING!!!. Well here you go you want to take offense to something, the flag above was flown 1776. This flag represented the 13 original colonies. Oh but from 1776 until 1861 the American flag was flown all over up until the Civil war, Which means there was slavery under this flag. Betsy Ross the maker of the flag, and George Washington who helped create this flag were both slave owners. So does this mean we should abolish the use of this flag to?. My answer is a big resounding NO!! What people do not realize the confederate flag they are complaining about is not even the original confederate flag.

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This is the Original Confederate flag, also known as the Stars and Bars. Does this look familiar?. This was the first flag captured by the Union Army. the problem with this flag on the battlefield is it was to close to the American Flag flown during battle by the Union Army. So there had to be a change so people knew who they were at war with. The Change came with the Confederate X with the stars. Not the one you see flying these days. The one they replaced it with had a white field where the Red and white bars were. Yes the white field on the flag was about white superiority. Although I do not believe in slavery or white supremacy myself I believe we are losing sight of our history.

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Above is the Confederate Battle flag that was flown on the Battle field. The X in the Corner with the White field. Now if someone flew this flag I might be a bit offended. But this is not the modern Confederate flag at all. this flag was also designed so that the two armies could tell each other apart on the battle field. The confederate army had beliefs just like the Union did. Right or Wrong it is part of history, and if we forget where we came from as a nation, we will repeat our history.

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This was the modern day Confederate flag. WHITE field removed for obvious reasons. This is NOT the same flag that flew during the Civil War. Although some people have taken this flag and used it as a symbol of hate and violence. I do not believe it even meant the same thing. they removed the part of the flag that meant that completely. It was used as a symbol of the south for many years. This whole thing went to far as to even remove the show Dukes of Hazard off the air from T.V. The General Lee Was a car we grew up with and were entertained by. Although other programs such as Hogans Heroes, The Jeffersons, All in the family were not removed off the Air. All of these programs dealt with racial tensions of some sort. George Jefferson used the word HONKY 21 times in the first season alone. Although I may not like the Jeffersons, I just do not watch it is all!. All in the family dealt with bigotry almost every episode. Sammy Davis Jr. would appear on the show and Kiss Archie Bunker on the cheek breaking down racial barriers a bit. Hogans heroes was about a Prisoner of War camp in Nazi Germany ran by buffoon Nazis. I do not like the show again because it is making fun of a very serious subject, again I can turn the channel as simple as that. I can even go as far as Threes company, Jack Tripper had to pretend to be gay, just so he could stay with 2 female room mates. He had to do this because his landlords were old fashioned, and believed that men living with women should not be done unless you were married. His landlords were always making fun of him being supposedly gay. Do you see any of these shows being removed off the air?

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Here is the American Flag flying with the Christian flag. Some people believe this flag should be removed to. there is that white field. I do not believe this flag should be removed. This is a flag that represents God and Country. No matter your belief. A flag can be flown that is why this country was once a great nation. It was a melting pot for all races, and creeds. Men worked came home and made good. I do believe if it were not for today’s modern electronics and media. We would still be a nation that would flourish. We would not have these people offended by everything just because someone tells them to be offended, and they change with the wind!!! . I am a believer in every man has the right to be equal and have their own opinion and thoughts. If you were in some countries you are not allowed to fly any flag but that nations flag. In some countries women have to cover their bodies and faces. Isis kills women who are raped because they believe it is the womans fault. Is this the type of country you want?. A nation where we are told what we can do in our spare time, and how we think? Just a thought. I hope I brought some light to this situation in our country. Only reason I wrote this today is because I saw an article about some lady politician. She decided to get a petition to change the name of a a high school, all because it was named Robert E. Lee high school. Nobody ever complained up until her. the media only covered her petition, and not that alot of students filed a separate  petition to keep the name. Again if we forget our past we repeat our past.

Thank you for reading.

Where were you when the Towers fell?

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I was reading a blog yesterday by my friend Jax Turnya Who is a model, and who works on the Mancow show in Chicago ironically enough, because he will later be involved in this story. She asked where were you on September  11, 2001? Well thinking about it it brought back many emotions sadness, anger, and my thoughts raced.

September 11th, 2001 Started out pretty ordinary all except the night before I was out with some friends, and we eventually wound out at Steak and Shake. The night progressed and I got tired so I told my friends I was going out to my car to nap for a bit, and when they were done there let me know. The morning came around and The sun had rose. My friends were still inside talking. Must have been a pretty important conversation to be up talking all night at a restaurant.

I turned on my radio, Ironically here is where Mancow Muller comes in. Mancow was on the air that morning and anyone who loves in the Chicago land area knows he has kind of a sick sense of humor, and would play jokes on his listeners and such. Well the news came across the air a plane had struck one of the World Trade Center buildings. I thought no way it was another joke but I soon realized he was not playing a joke at all.

I soon ran into Steak and Shake and told my friends I was leaving. For some reason my gut instinct told me to go home and watch the news. At that time I was staying with my Friend Jeff in Johnsburg, Illlinois. I soon got there I told Jeff to turn on the T.V that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. No sooner did we turn on the T.V, we saw the 2nd plane hit the World Trade Center.

This was no private aircraft these planes were full fledged Jumbo jets carrying fuel and passengers. America all came to the same conclusion we did this was not a random accident. This was a terrorist attack on our own soil. There had been terrorist attacks on American Soil before, but nothing of this magnitude. Reports had hijacked planes heading all over the United States. This was the first time I felt scared. Even being 70 miles from Chicago, what if they decided to hit a small town? thinking that I called my Mother and asked her if she had heard the news. If I recall she was working that day. I remember saying I love you to her at the end of the conversation, and thinking if something should happen this could be the last time I say this.

Not to long after I got off the phone with my mother reports came another plane had crashed and hit the Pentagon. We were under such high alert suddenly that the F.A.A shut down all airspace and ordered any planes to land. One more plane never laded safely an American Airlines flight that crashed in a Pennsylvania field because of some heroic Citizens everyday average Joes who had decided to take the plane back and stop an attack on another target.

We watched in an almost trance like state watching the world trade centers collapsing. It was like something you would see in a movie, but this was real. No special effects no stunt doubles. Sheer terror, undeniable sadness, and anger for terrorists who had taken several thousand lives, INNOCENT LIVES!!!

As the day moved on I stepped out for a cigarette finally. The air was still perfect blue skies, and not a car on the road, or plane in the air, not even a child playing outside. It was eerily the strangest feeling in the world to feel like you are the only person outside, and a tear finally streamed down my eye. I went into a state of shock and sat on the front porch putting my face in my hands.

The rest of the night I do not think I went outside much. I remember spending most of the day sitting watching the news. They played the collapses over and over again. Nighttime had come around I remember the bucket brigades trying to clear the rubble and find survivors. Occasionally a body was found and you would see a stretcher escorted to an ambulance with an American Flag draped on it. I had had enough and finally went to bed but knowing the world had changed forever that day.

These are my recollections of September 11th, 2001 the photo you see above is from a sign near me not to long after the attacks happened. Need I say these were the sentiments of most Americans. America Came together Democrats, Republicans, Whites, African Americans, Gays, and Straights. We had all learned we were all one people, We learned we were all Americans. We had no division lines. Sometimes I still wish we felt this way. Most of us have forgotten what it understand what it means to be American and it is only 13 years Later.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!

If you would like to read Jax Turnyas blog the site link is below!!

http://petitegirlsrock.blogspot.com/2014/09/where-were-you-that-september-day.html?spref=fb

Thank you for reading this!!!

Bald Eagles a majestic raptor!

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        So last weekend I was out at Grant Farm’s neat St. Louis, Missouri, and there it was the most beautiful bird of prey in the world, the Bald Eagle. Bald eagles are indigenous to most of North America, and normally nest in non-human populated areas along rivers, lakes, marshes, with abundant fish life. The American Bald eagle has over 700 feathers on its body, and the male of the species weighs about 9 pounds, and the female approximately 14 pounds.

        The Bald Eagle is a thing of beauty in  the air, and has soaring speeds 35-42 miles an hour, and diving speeds 75-99 miles an hour. The Bald eagle was so named not because it was bald, but because of the white coloring in the feathers on the top of its head and neck. Their diet consists of mainly fish, birds, and mammals. They have even been known to bring cats back to their nests to feed. When feeding their young usually the stronger of the the eagle offspring survive and the strongest of the nestlings will bully the weaker of the two and gain the upper hand, until the other is malnourished and eventually dies.

       Eagle nests are usually large and have a cover from the foliage of no more than 60 percent and no less than 20 percent. Eagle nests have been recorded up to 10 feet in diameter, and 20 feet deep, and weighed over a ton. The breeding pair of Eagles is the only bird that once they find a mate will stay together for life.  A Bald eagles life span in the wild is usually 20 years, and the oldest recorded eagle in the wild was 28 years old.

      The Bald Eagle is the National Bird and National Animal of the United States of America. In the late 20th Century the Bald Eagle faced Extinction from the wild, and was extremely endangered due to hunters and poachers. Now because of modern science and people willing to help they were removed from the Endangered species list July 12th, 1995, and put on the threatened list instead. It was removed from the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in the lower 48 States on June 28, 2007, and today there are over 15,000 breeding pairs alone in the United States. We should still fight to protect this beautiful bird, and all other endangered species including the African Elephant, and The Bengal Tiger.

     In order to protect such species places such as the World Wild Life fund have been set up for research and helping bring species back from the brink of extinction. If people donate to these funds or even volunteer time to help such causes, or even just make these causes known, our children, and grand children can enjoy the animals in the wild, and not just in a zoo, or in pictures in a science, or text book someplace. I urge all to please share and make sure we protect these birds and animals.

Thank you!!!

Traveling

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      I went down to Tuscola, Illinois this past week again I love going down there. most of the land is Farmland, Untouched, Or photo spectacular. Let me explain that last one photo spectacular. I mean that there are so many unique aspects old barns, old signage, or even your early 20th century brick roads. While traveling I love looking out the window seeing barns such as pictured above. I love having the little bit of puffy cloud cover, because it gives depth to the photos. As I said before I love looking at something and seeing something old as a beautiful piece of America. Driving down through central Illinois you see corn and soy. our 2 major bumper crops! It is nothing but fields for miles and I love it!. I love the open skies, the fresh air, and not smelling exhaust, and other pollutants in the air. I cannot wait to go back down there again I have tons more to photograph down there!.

American Icons the Drive-in theater

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On December 31st of 2013 A couple hundred Drive-in Screens across America might go dark simultaneously, and never see another movie played upon them again.

Honda has combined in an effort to preserve our past to give away 5 digital projectors, to 5 drive in theaters who will be voted by the American public to get them. This will only be 5 out of a little over 300 Drive-in theaters to be saved. On December 31st, 2013 film companies will stop producing 35 mm film, and all theaters will have to make the digital conversion. These digital projectors at a cost of a little over 85,000 dollars are expensive, and most Drive-in theaters being open seasonally cannot afford this conversion. The theaters depend on donations, and contests like this to survive.

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The McHenry Outdoor Theater could be one of these that close. They are in this contest. Here is the link http://projectdrivein.com/vote_111.

Here are some things that will be lost not only the experience of seeing a movie under the stars, but also packing your kids up in the car in their pajamas, eating popcorn, hotdogs, and slurping a giant Coke. We will also start to forget Americana, poodle skirts, and Friday nights with classic cars, where carhops would bring you your food!.

The Drive-in became a part of Americana, and was featured in movies like Grease, The Outsiders, and classic Tv series like Happy Days. Please help if you have a local Drive-In that needs help, please vote, or donate they need your help. If we forget our past we will be worse off in our future!