Monday, June 20, 2011

2 years ago, "The Voice" was silence

I cant believe its been already been 2 years since the world learn about your death, You will not be forgotten in my heart and prayers, I do hope someday that your nation and mine will live in harmony, may you rest in peace!

Footage of the death of Neda Agha-Soltan
She was born on January 23, 1983 – and died on June 20, 2009) drew international attention after she was killed during the 2009 Iranian election protests. Her death was captured on video by bystanders and broadcast over the Internet and the video became a rallying point for the opposition. It was described as "probably the most widely witnessed death in human history".

Nedā is a word used in Classic Persian and modern Persian to mean “voice”, calling (sometimes understood as a “divine message”, but this is not the etymological sense of and d she has been referred to as the "voice of Iran". Her death became iconic in the struggle of Iranian protesters against the disputed election of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Circumstances of deathOn June 20, 2009, at around 6:30 p.m., Neda Agha-Soltan was sitting in her Peugeot 206 in traffic on Kargar Avenue in the city of Tehran.

She was accompanied by her music teacher and close friend, Hamid Panahi, and two others, who remain unidentified. The four were on their way to participate in the protests against the outcome of the 2009 Iranian presidential election.

The car's air conditioner was not working well, so she stopped her car some distance from the main protests and got out on foot to escape the heat. She was standing and observing the sporadic protests in the area when she was shot in the chest.

As captured on amateur video,[13] she collapsed to the ground and was tended to by a doctor, her music teacher, and others from the crowd. Someone in the crowd around her shouted, "She has been shot! Someone, come and take her!" The videos were accompanied by a message from a doctor, later identified as Dr. Arash Hejazi, who said he had been present during the incident (but has since fled Iran out of fear of government reprisals)

"At 19:05 June 20th Place: Kargar Ave., at the corner crossing Khosravi St. and Salehi st. A young woman who was standing aside with her father [sic, later identified as her music teacher] watching the protests was shot by a Basij member hiding on the rooftop of a civilian house. He had clear shot at the girl and could not miss her. However, he aimed straight at her heart. I am a doctor, so I rushed to try to save her. But the impact of the gunshot was so fierce that the bullet had blasted inside the victim’s chest, and she died in less than two minutes. The protests were going on about one kilometre away in the main street and some of the protesting crowd were running from tear gas used among them, towards Salehi St. The film is shot by my friend who was standing beside me."

Her last words were, "I'm burning, I'm burning!", according to Panahi. She died en route to Tehran's Shariati hospital. However, the civilian physician that tended to Neda in the video has stated that Neda died on the scene.

Hejazi, standing one metre away from her when she was shot, tried to stanch her wound with his hands. Hejazi said nearby members of the crowd pulled a man from his motorcycle while shouting: "We got him, we got him," disarmed him, obtained his identity card and identified him as a member of the Basij militia (government paramilitary). The militiaman was shouting, "I didn't want to kill her." The protesters let him go, but they kept the alleged killer's identity card and took many photographs of him. A recent documentary on the shooting contained a previously unseen clip of demonstrators capturing the militiaman seconds after the shooting.

Role of the Internet during 2009 Iranian election protests

A frame from the video of Agha-Soltan's death by gunfire
The videos spread across the internet virally, quickly gaining the attention of international media and viewers. Discussions about the incident on Twitter, using a hashtag of neda became one of the "'trending topics'" by the end of the day on June 20, 2009.

The incident was not originally reported by the state-controlled Iranian media, but was instead first reported on by international media. The video has been shown on CNN and other news networks.

There are three videos depicting her death. One shows her collapsing to the ground, apparently still conscious. The second shows her only after she appears to lose consciousness and begins to bleed heavily. The third video shows her just as she begins to bleed profusely.

In the first video, the cameraman approaches a group of people huddled together in front of a parked car at the side of the street. As he moves closer, she can be seen collapsing to the pavement with a large bloodstain at her feet. Two men, Hamid Panahi and Arash Hejazi, are seen trying to revive her. The elderly Panahi was initially assumed to be her father, but later confirmed to be her music teacher.

As seconds pass, her eyes roll to one side and she appears to lose consciousness. Blood begins to pour from her nose and mouth, and screams are heard.

In the second video, the cameraman approaches her and the two men; the camera passes over them and centers on her face; her stare is blank and she is bleeding profusely from her nose and mouth. Loud screaming can be heard.

The man next to her can apparently be heard speaking in the first video, saying her name:

"Neda, don't be afraid. Neda, don't be afraid. [obscured by others yelling] Neda, stay with me. Neda stay with me!"

The videos were awarded the George Polk Award for Videography for 2009.

Alleged Killer

The man accused of killing Neda Soltan has been identified as Abbas Kargar Javid, a pro-government militiaman, after photographs of the Basiji’s ID cards appeared on the internet, according to The Times.


After being pronounced dead at Shariati hospital, Agha-Soltan was buried at the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery in southern Tehran; she was denied a proper funeral by government authorities.

The authorities had allegedly set aside empty graves for those killed during the protests. Her family agreed to the removal of her organs for transplanting to medical patients.[33] The Iranian government has issued a ban on collective prayers in mosques for Agha-Soltan in the aftermath of the incident.[48] Soona Samsami, the executive director of the Women's Freedom Forum, who has been relaying information about the protests inside Iran to the international media, told the foreign press that Agha-Soltan's immediate family were threatened by authorities if they permitted a gathering to mourn her.

Samsami stated, "They were threatened that if people wanted to gather there the family would be charged and punished."

Grave site immediately following burial.
Caspian Makan (Agha-Soltan's fiancé) told BBC: “Neda had said that even if she lost her life and got a bullet in her heart, she would carry on”.

Time and other news sources have speculated that due to the widespread attention given to Agha-Soltan's story by social media networks and mainstream news organizations, she is already being hailed as a martyr.

There is also speculation that the Shi'ite cycle of mourning on the third (June 23), seventh (June 27), and 40th (July 30) day after a person's death may give the protests sustained momentum, in similar fashion to the Iranian Revolution, where each commemoration of a demonstrator's death sparked renewed protests, resulting in more deaths, feeding a cycle that eventually resulted in the overthrowing of Iran's monarchy.

On June 22, Iranian presidential candidates Mehdi Karroubi and Mir-Hossein Mousavi, who are contesting the validity of the election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called upon Iranian citizens to commemorate Agha-Soltan. Karroubi announced his appeal on Facebook, asking demonstrators to gather in the center of the Iranian capital at 4:00 pm local time. The chief of the Tehran Police announced that his department had no involvement in the fatal incident.

Later that day, riot police armed with live ammunition and tear gas dispersed a crowd of between 200 and 1,000 protesters who had gathered in Tehran's Haft-e Tir Square. The protests followed online calls for tribute to Agha-Soltan and others killed during the demonstrations. Grand Ayatollah Hossein-Ali Montazeri, a senior Iranian cleric and vocal critic of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called for three days of public mourning for the death of Neda.

Caspian Makan, following Neda's death, was tortured and escaped to Canada. He recently visited Israel as a guest of Israel's Channel 2. "I have come here out of the brotherhood of nations," he told Channel 2.


About 70 mourners gathered outside Niloufar mosque in Abbas Abad, where the Agha-Soltan family attended services. A leaflet posted on the mosque's door read, "There is no commemoration here for Neda Agha Soltan." Many in the crowd wore black. Some recited poems. After about ten minutes, 20 Basij paramilitary arrived on motorcycles and dispersed the attendees.

On June 24, The Guardian reported the results of interviews of neighbours who said Agha-Soltan's family had been forced to vacate their apartment some days after her death.[55] Reuters reported that supporters of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi stated they would release thousands of balloons on Friday, June 26, 2009 with the message "Neda you will always remain in our hearts" imprinted on them.

On June 23, it was reported that, to prevent Agha-Soltan's family's home from becoming a place of pilgrimage, government authorities told the family to remove the black mourning banners from outside the home.

On Friday, July 31, 2009, 40th day anniversary of the killings of such youth as Neda Agha Soltan, Sohrab Aarabi and Ashkan Sohrabi was held in Tehran where thousands of Iranians mourned for the loss of the victims. Reports also came of gatherings in the thousands in cities of Rasht, Shiraz and Mashad.

Desecration of her grave

On November 16, 2009, supporters of the Iranian regime desecrated her grave and removed her gravestone. Later, on December 31, 2009, supporters of the Iranian Government defaced the portrait on her grave by shooting at it multiple times.

Iranian government reactions

The university branch of female members of Basij held a gathering in Tehran in front of the British embassy, demanding that Arash Hejazi be returned to Iran (as witness or suspect). As they are assumed to be close to the government, it means the government condemns the crime and is pursuing it (their way).

According to an Iranian official, announcing her as a martyr is possible. Iran's ambassador to Mexico, Mohammad Hassan Ghadiri, suggested in an interview on June 25, 2009 that the CIA could have been involved in Agha-Soltan's death. Ambassador Ghadiri questioned how the shooting was video taped so effectively, asserting that the incident occurred away from other demonstrations. He also stated that using a woman would be more effective in accomplishing the goals the CIA is purported to desire. Ambassador Ghadiri said "the bullet that was found in her head was not a bullet that you could find in Iran" (he thought she was shot in head).

The account of Doctor Hejazi was that Agha-Soltan was shot in the chest from the front, as there was no exit wound, and the video evidence showing a wound to the chest.

Hejazi is the man seen in the video placing his hands on Agha-Soltan's chest to staunch her bleeding (as described above under section Circumstances of death).

During his Friday sermon on June 26, the Supreme Leader's appointed speaker Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said "evidence shows that [protesters] have done it themselves and have raised propaganda against the system." Eye witnesses at the scene of the shooting said Agha-Soltan was shot by a member of the pro-government Basij militia.

Iran's police chief, brigadier general Ahmadi-Moghaddam told the press on June 30, 2009 that the Iranian police and Ministry of Intelligence filed an arrest warrant for Interpol to arrest Dr. Arash Hejazi, an eyewitness of Neda's death, for poisoning the international atmosphere against the Iranian government and telling misinformation about Neda's death by giving his account of the incident to foreign news media.

Ezzatollah Zarghami, the head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, told the press on July 4, 2009 that the videos of Neda's death were all made by BBC and CNN.

In November 2009, Iran's embassy in London sent a letter of protest to The Queen's College, Oxford about the college establishing the Neda Agha-Soltan Graduate Scholarship in Philosophy.

In December 2009, Iranian state television aired a report about Agha-Soltan's death, portraying it as a western plot. The program argued that Agha-Soltan simulated her death with accomplices, and that she was killed afterwards, having no knowledge of her partners' intentions. and this can be seen here.

Claims of forced confessions

According to The Times, quoted from Mr. Makan and Ms. Agha Soltan's parents, officials tried to get them to confess that it was opposition protestors that had killed Neda, and not government militiamen. They were given incentives such as declaring Neda to be a martyr and giving the family a pension if they complied. Mr. Makan and Neda's family refused the offer.

Mr. Panahi was later forced by the government to change his story. The new version of events were retold by Panahi on state television.

Response to the Iranian government

In December 2009, her family accused the security forces of killing her. This was the strongest statement the family of Neda Agha-Soltan made since her death. This accusation followed the spread of an Iranian government-proposed theory blaming a "conspiracy of western governments" for the killing. "I openly declare that no one, apart from the government, killed Neda. Her killer can only be from the government," her father told the BBC's Persian service by telephone from Iran.

June 23, 2009
In a Death Seen Around the World, a Symbol of Iranian Protests
TEHRAN — It was hot in the car, so the young woman and her singing instructor got out for a breath of fresh air on a quiet side street not far from the antigovernment protests they had ventured out to attend. A gunshot rang out, and the woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, fell to the ground. “It burned me,” she said before she died.

The bloody video of her death on Saturday, circulated in Iran and around the world, has made Ms. Agha-Soltan, a 26-year-old who relatives said was not political, an instant symbol of the antigovernment movement.

Her death is stirring wide outrage in a society that is infused with the culture of martyrdom — although the word itself has become discredited because the government has pointed to the martyrs’ deaths of Iranian soldiers in the Iran-Iraq war to justify repressive measures.

Ms. Agha-Soltan’s fate resonates particularly with women, who have been at the vanguard of many of the protests throughout Iran.

“I am so worried that all the sacrifices that we made in the past week, the blood that was spilled, would be wasted,” said one woman who came to mourn Ms. Agha-Soltan on Monday outside Niloofar mosque here. “I cry every time I see Neda’s face on TV.”

Opposition Web sites and television channels, which Iranians view with satellite dishes, have repeatedly shown the video, in which blood can be seen gushing from Ms. Agha-Soltan’s body as she dies. By Monday evening, there already were 6,860 entries for her on the Persian-language Google Web site. Some Web sites suggest changing the name of Kargar Street, where she was killed, to Neda Street.

Mehdi Karroubi, an opposition candidate for president in this month’s election, called her a martyr on his Web site. “A young girl, who did not have a weapon in her soft hands, or a grenade in her pocket, became a victim of thugs who are supported by a horrifying intelligence apparatus.”

Only scraps of information are known about Ms. Agha-Soltan. Her friends and relatives were mostly afraid to speak, and the government broke up public attempts to mourn her. She studied philosophy and took underground singing lessons — women are barred from singing publicly in Iran. Her name means voice in Persian, and many are now calling her the voice of Iran.

Her fiancé, Caspian Makan, contributed to a Persian Wikipedia entry. He said she never supported any particular presidential candidate. “She wanted freedom, freedom for everybody,” the entry read.

Her singing instructor, Hamid Panahi, offered a glimpse of her last moments.

He said the two of them decided to head home after being caught in a clash with club-wielding forces in central Tehran. They stepped out of the car. “We heard one gunshot, and the bullet came and hit Neda right in the chest,” he said. The shot was fired from the rooftop of a private house across the street, perhaps by a sniper, he said. On a Facebook posting along with the video, an anonymous doctor said he tried to save her but failed because the bullet hit her heart.

“She was so full of life,” said a relative who spoke on condition of anonymity. “She sang pop music.”

The relative said the government had ordered the family to bury Ms. Agha-Soltan immediately and barred family members from holding a memorial service.

The paramilitary forces were quick to stop memorial services elsewhere, too. More than a dozen bearded men on motorcycles dispersed nearly 70 people gathered outside Niloofar mosque on Monday. Authorities ordered the mosques not to hold services for any victims of the demonstrations over the past few days.

“Go, get lost,” they shouted, as the regular police stood by.

But one police officer, watching the militia, said a prayer aloud with the crowd in her honor: “Peace be upon the prophet and her family.”

As Ms. Agha-Soltan’s family held a private ceremony on Monday, they turned reporters away and refused to speak. “They were not allowed to hang even a black banner,” the relative said.

Funerals have long served as a political rallying point in Iran, since it is customary to have a week of mourning and a large memorial service 40 days after a death. In the 1979 revolution, that cycle generated a constant supply of new protests and deaths.

But the narrative of death has also been important in the lore surrounding the existence of the Islamic republic.

The government portrayed itself in the role of Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad killed by a far larger army during the seventh-century struggle within Islam, which gave birth to the Shiite sect that predominates in Iran.

Days for prophets and saints believed killed in the service of the faith dot the holiday calendar, taking up 22 days of the year.

So the very public adulation of Ms. Agha-Soltan could create a religious symbol for the opposition and sap support for the government among the faithful who believe Islam abhors killing innocent civilians.

One poem circulating on the Internet explicitly linked her death to other symbols of the protest movement:

Stay, Neda —

Look at this city

At the shaken foundations of palaces,

The height of Tehran’s maple trees,

They call us “dust,” and if so

Let us sully the air for the oppressor

Don’t go, Neda

She has become the public face of an unknown number of Iranians who have died in the protests. While state television has reported 10 deaths and state radio 19, it is widely believed the total is much higher.

A witness said the body of a 19-year-old man who was killed in Tehran on Sunday was given to the family only after it paid $5,000.

For many Iranians, though, the death of a young woman has special meaning.

“We know a lot of people have died, but it is so hard to see a woman, so young and innocent, die like this,” a 41-year-old who gave his name as Alireza said Monday.

Women were particular targets after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad began to strictly enforce previously loosened restrictions. Thousands of women were arrested or intimidated because they did not adhere precisely to Islamic dress code on the streets.

Mir Hussein Moussavi, the leading opposition candidate, campaigned along with his wife, Zahra Rahnavard, and other prominent Iranian women rallied to his side as he promised to improve the status of women.

A woman called Hana posted a comment on Mr. Karroubi’s Web site: “I am alive but my sister was killed. She wanted the wind to blow into her hair; she wanted to be free; she wanted to hold her head high up and say: I am Iranian. My sister died because there is no life left; my sister died because there is no end to tyranny.”

Neil MacFarquhar contributed reporting from New York.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Feast day of Saint Anthony of Padua and remembering him after 780 years

Saint Anthony of Padua: pray for us on this day and holds the record for being canonized in the shortest period of time after his death (less that one year)! Remembering you on this day after 780 years, happy feast day too!

Prayer to Saint Anthony of Padua
Holy Saint Anthony, gentle and powerful in your help, your love for God and charity for His creatures, made you worthy, when on earth, to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited on your word, which you were always ready to request for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me [request]. The answer to my prayer may require a miracle. Even so, you are the Saint of miracles. Gentle and loving Saint Anthony, whose heart is ever full of human sympathy, take my petition to the Infant Savior for whom you have such a great love, and the gratitude of my heart will ever be yours. Amen

Saint Anthony of Padua or Anthony of Lisbon, O.F.M., (born Fernando Martins de Bulhões; c. 1195 – 13 June 1231) was a Portuguese Catholic priest and friar of the Franciscan Order. Though he died in Padua, Italy, he was born to a wealthy family in Lisbon, Portugal, which is where he was raised. Noted by his contemporaries for his forceful preaching and expert knowledge of Scripture, he was declared a saint almost immediately after his death and Venerable Pope Pius XII proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in 1946.

Canonized 30 May 1232, Spoleto, Italy by Pope Gregory IX
Major shrine Basilica of Saint Anthony of Padua in Padua, Italy
Feast 13 June
Attributes Book; bread; Infant Jesus; lily
Patron Saint of American Indians; animals; barrenness; Brazil; Elderly people; faith in the Blessed Sacrament; Fishermen; Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land; Harvests; Horses; lost articles; lower animals; Mail; Mariners; oppressed people; poor people; Portugal; pregnant women; seekers of lost articles; shipwrecks; starvation; sterility; Swineherds; Tigua Indians; travel hostesses; travellers; Watermen

Anthony could be said to have become the "quickest" saint in the history of the Catholic Church because he was canonized by Pope Gregory IX on May 30, 1232 at Spoleto, Italy, less than one year after his death.

His fame spread through Portuguese evangelization, and he has been known as the most celebrated of the followers of Saint Francis of Assisi. He is the patron saint of his adopted home of Padua, as well as of his native Lisbon, not to mention many other places in Portugal and in the countries of the former Portuguese Empire. He is especially invoked for the recovery of lost items.

Proclaimed a Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius XII on January 16, 1946, he is sometimes called the "Evangelical Doctor" (Doctor Evangelicus)

On January 27, 1907 in Beaumont, Texas, a church was dedicated and named in honor of St. Anthony of Padua. The church was later designated a cathedral in 1966 with the formation of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Beaumont, but was not formally consecrated. On April 28, 1974, St Anthony Cathedral was dedicated and consecrated by Bishop Warren Boudreaux. In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI granted St. Anthony Cathedral the designation of minor basilica. St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica celebrated its 100th anniversary on January 28, 2007.

Seventeenth century Spanish missionaries came across a small Native American community along what was then known as the Yanaguana River on the feast day of Saint Anthony and renamed the river and eventually a mission built nearby in his honor. This mission became the focal point of a small community that eventually grew in size and scope to become the city of San Antonio, Texas.

St. Anthony is known in Portugal, Spain and Brazil as a marriage saint, because legend has him as one who conciliated couples. His feast day, June 13, is Lisbon's municipal holiday, celebrated with parades and marriages of humble couples. (The previous day, June 12, is the Brazilian Valentine's Day.) He is one of the saints celebrated in the Brazilian Festa Junina (also known as the "São João"), along with John the Baptist and Saint Peter.

In the city of Madrid, young women, especially seamstresses have the practice of going to his local shrine, the Chapel of St. Anthony of la Florida, where the custom is to drop a pin into the holy water font. This would lead to their dreaming of their husbands to be that same night. That church boasts a series of paintings showing the saint's life painted by Francisco Goya, who is now buried there.

In Uvari, in Tamil Nadu, India, the church of St. Anthony is home to an ancient wooden statue that is said to have cured the entire crew of a Portuguese ship suffering from cholera. St Anthony is said to perform many miracles daily, and Uvari is visited by pilgrims of different religions from all over South India.Tamil Nadu Christians have a high reverence for St. Anthony and is a popular saint there, he is lovingly called "The Miracle Saint", many miracles especially related to Finding of Lost things have been attributed to St. Anthony. There is a strong devoution to St. Anthony among Indian Catholics and can be seen In all of the Catholic Churches In India.

Novena to Saint Anthony of Padua:
O wonderful St. Anthony, glorious on account of the fame of your miracles, and through the condescension of Jesus in coming in the form of a little child to rest in your arms, obtain for me of His bounty the grace which I ardently desire from the depths of my heart . (State your intention)
You who were so compassionate toward miserable sinners, regard not the unworthiness of those who pray to you, but the glory of God that it may once again be magnified by the granting of the particular request (State your intention) which I now ask for with persevering earnestness. Amen
Pray one Our Father,
one Hail Mary, and
Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

Days: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

O holy St. Anthony, gentlest of saints, your love for God and charity for his creatures made you worthy while on earth to possess miraculous powers. Miracles waited your word, which you were ever ready to speak for those in trouble or anxiety. Encouraged by this thought, I implore you to obtain for me the favor I seek in this novena (State your intention). The answer to my prayer may require a miracle; even so, you are the saint of miracles. O gentle and loving Saint Anthony, whose heart was ever full of human sympathy, whisper my petition into the ears of the Infant Jesus, who loved to be folded in your arms, and thee gratitude of my heart will always be yours.

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

O miracle-working St. Anthony, remember that it never has been heard that you left without help or relief anyone who in his need had recourse to you. Animated now with the most lively confidence, even with full conviction of not being refused, I fly for refuge to thee, O most favored friend of the Infant Jesus. O eloquent preacher of the divine mercy, despise not my supplications but, bringing them before the throne of God, strengthen them by your intercession and obtain for me the favor I seek in this novena (State your intention) .

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

O purest St. Anthony, who through your angelic virtue was made worthy to be caressed by the Divine Child Jesus, to hold him in your arms and press him to your heart. I entreat you to cast a benevolent glance upon me. O glorious St. Anthony, born under the protection of Mary Immaculate, on the Feast of her Assumption into Heaven, and consecrated to her and now so powerful an intercessor in Heaven, I beseech you to obtain for me the favor I ask in this novena (State your intention). O great wonder-worker, intercede for me that God may grant my request.

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

I salute and honor you, O powerful helper, St. Anthony. The Christian world confidently turns to you and experiences your tender compassion and powerful assistance in so many necessities and sufferings that I am encouraged in my need to seek you help in obtaining a favorable answer to my request for the favor I seek in this novena (State your intention). O holy St. Anthony, I beseech you, obtain for me the grace that I desire.

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

I salute you, St. Anthony, lily of purity, ornament and glory of Christianity. I salute you, great Saint, cherub of wisdom and seraph of divine love. I rejoice at the favors our Lord has so liberally bestowed upon you. In humility and confidence I entreat you to help me, for I know that God has given you charity and pity, as well as power. I ask you by the love you did feel toward the Infant Jesus as you held him in your arms to tell Him now of the favor I seek through your intercession in this novena (State your intention).

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

O glorious St. Anthony, chosen by God to preach his Word, you received from Him the gift of tongues and the power of working the most extraordinary miracles. O good St. Anthony, pray that I may fulfill the will of God in all things so that I may love Him, with you, for all eternity. O kind St. Anthony, I beseech you, obtain for me the grace that I desire, the favor I seek in this novena (State your intention).

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

O renowned champion of the faith of Christ, most holy St. Anthony, glorious for your many miracles, obtain for me from the bounty of my Lord and God the grace which I ardently seek in this novena (State your intention) . O holy St. Anthony, ever attentive to those who invoke you, grant me that aid of your powerful intercession.

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

O holy St. Anthony, you have shown yourself so powerful in your intercession, so tender and so compassionate towards those who honor you and invoke you in suffering and distress. I beseech you most humbly and earnestly to take me under your protection in my present necessities and to obtain for me the favor I desire (State your intention). Recommend my request to the merciful Queen of Heaven, that she may plead my cause with you before the throne of her Divine Son.

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

Saint Anthony, servant of Mary, glory of the Church, pray for our Holy Father, our bishops, our priests, our Religious Orders, that, through their pious zeal and apostolic labors, all may be united in faith and give greater glory to God. St. Anthony, helper of all who invoke you, pray for me and intercede for me before the throne of Almighty God that I be granted the favor I so earnestly see in this novena (State your intention).

One Our Father, one Hail Mary, and Glory Be to the Father, in honor of Saint Anthony.

Saint Anthony, pray for us!

May the divine assistance remain always with us.
May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.
O God, may the votive commemoration of blessed Anthony, your confessor, be a source of joy to your Church, that she may always be fortified with spiritual assistance, and deserve to enjoy eternal rewards. Through Christ our Lord.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

8 Years ago today, the world lost David Brinkley

Mister Brinkley,Thank you for all of the years you have provided in the world of journalism. Especially you touch my heart with the journalist who gets connected with the presidency. I have enjoyed your 1995 Memoir on which I have received from a friend of mine in my local library and I have readed it like 4 times and I will treasure this book for the years to come. Thank you for introducing me in the world of the presidency with all of your interviews of every President since FDR to Bill Clinton. Thank You Mister Brinkley, Remembering you 8 years later today, may you rest in peace!

David McClure Brinkley (July 10, 1920 – June 11, 2003) was an American newscaster for NBC and ABC in a career lasting from 1943 to 1997.

From 1956 through 1970, he co-anchored NBC's top rated nightly news program, The Huntley–Brinkley Report, with Chet Huntley and thereafter appeared as co-anchor or commentator on its successor, NBC Nightly News, through the 1970s. In the 1980s and 1990s, Brinkley was host of the popular Sunday This Week with David Brinkley program and a top commentator on election night coverage for ABC News. Over the course of his career, Brinkley received ten Emmy Awards, three George Foster Peabody Awards, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

He wrote three books, including the critically acclaimed 1988 bestseller Washington Goes to War, about how World War II transformed the nation's capital. This social history was largely based on his own observations as a young reporter in the city.

June 12, 2003
David Brinkley, Elder Statesman of TV News, Dies at 82
David Brinkley, whose pungent news commentaries, delivered with a mixture of wry skepticism and succinct candor, set the standard for network television for generations, died at his home in Houston late Wednesday. He was 82.

Mr. Brinkley liked to say that he had "done the news longer than anyone on earth." He summed up his own career as the subtitle of his 1995 memoir, "David Brinkley: 11 Presidents, 4 Wars, 22 Political Conventions, One Moon Landing, 3 Assassinations, 2,000 Weeks of News and Other Stuff on Television and 18 Years of Growing Up in North Carolina."

His style of writing and delivering the news — clipped sentences spoken in measured cadences and in a sardonic voice — was echoed by legions of young television commentators, imitated by comedians and mimics, and instantly recognized by generations of Americans.

His colleague Roger Mudd once observed that Mr. Brinkley "brought a level of political sophistication and literary craftsmanship and a lively sense of humor that television had never known before and that hasn't been equaled since."

Mr. Brinkley was among the last of a generation of reporters who got their basic training at newspapers and wire services, then made their name in the new medium of television. That generation included Walter Cronkite and John Chancellor.

"In my own work I have, for better or worse, always dealt or tried to deal with everything that falls under the heading of news," Mr. Brinkley wrote in his 1996 book, "Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinion." "Just news. No specialty, no emphasis on this or that or anything else. Just whatever came in."

He described his commentaries as "the sauce, the spice, the flavoring to be mixed in with the wars, the medical discoveries and the economic upheavals that fill the front pages."

Mr. Brinkley achieved a number of firsts, including writing and serving as host for one of the earliest television news magazines, "David Brinkley's Journal," in the 1960's. But he was at the height of his popularity from 1956 to 1970, when NBC teamed him with Chet Huntley on a nightly news program it called "The Huntley-Brinkley Report."

Mr. Huntley, a saturninely handsome correspondent who was given to punditry, reported from New York and Mr. Brinkley held forth from Washington. The chemistry between the two newsmen, thanks largely to the controlled astringency of Mr. Brinkley's commentary, gave the broadcast a dominant place in the ratings, overtaking Mr. Cronkite's in two years.

Mr. Brinkley was not given to nostalgia. Speaking in 1996 of Mr. Huntley, who died in 1974, he said: "We weren't really close. He was always in New York, and I was always in Washington." Mr. Brinkley once explained the enormous success of "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" in this way: "I wrote pretty well, and Huntley looked good and had a great voice."

Reuven Frank, the program's producer, was credited with conceiving its famous closing lines "Good Night, Chet," "Good Night, David," "And good night for NBC News" as a gesture of warmth to offset the serious demeanors of Mr. Huntley and Mr. Brinkley and the seriousness with which they treated the nightly news. In later years, Mr. Brinkley said he thought the sign-off was "silly and inappropriate."

Some of Mr. Brinkley's finest moments involved the coverage of politics by "The Huntley-Brinkley Report," particularly its live reporting from the parties' conventions, beginning in 1956.

By 1964, the program's coverage of the Democratic convention drew a remarkable 84 percent share of the viewers. President Bill Clinton said that the Huntley-Brinkley coverage of the conventions fueled his early interest in politics. And Jeff Greenfield, the CNN news analyst, said, "David Brinkley created a whole generation of political junkies."

"The Huntley-Brinkley Report" ended with Mr. Huntley's retirement in 1970, but Mr. Brinkley remained at NBC for 11 years after his departure. He was an anchor of "Nightly News" with John Chancellor from 1976 to 1979 and for a while presided over "NBC Magazine." In the 1960's, he had also been the host of "David Brinkley's Journal." Both "Magazine" and "Journal" were critically acclaimed, although neither attracted as large a share of the television audience as critics thought they deserved.

In September 1981, Mr. Brinkley, then 61, said he was leaving NBC after 38 years "because there's nothing at NBC that I really want to do." The network had just picked Roger Mudd and Tom Brokaw as the anchors for "Nightly News" and Mr. Brinkley felt he had no role. He later called his departure "a rending, wrenching experience," that brought tears to his eyes.

He soon joined ABC News, where Roone Arledge was planning a Sunday morning program. "This Week With David Brinkley" at first featured Benjamin C. Bradlee, then the editor of The Washington Post , and Karen Elliot House, a diplomatic reporter for The Wall Street Journal. It later included George Will, Cokie Roberts and Sam Donaldson.

With Mr. Brinkley in charge, the program's blend of political news, commentary and sometimes quarrelsome debate established it as both a ratings leader and a trendsetter on Sunday mornings. It also inspired a wave of similar programs. Tim Russert, the host of NBC's "Meet the Press," which challenged the ratings supremacy of "This Week," said of his competitor, "David Brinkley redefined Sunday morning TV."

Mr. Brinkley retired from his weekly stint as moderator of ABC's "This Week With David Brinkley" in November 1997, saying he would contribute commentary and perform other duties for the network. In the months leading up to his retirement, he observed that he had covered 22 national political conventions, which he had come to regard as "cruel and unusual punishment."

Mr. Brinkley had been in deteriorating health for some time. He had lung surgery and afterwards, even after convalescence, some colleagues thought he had lost a step.

In 1998, he surprised many of his admirers in the news business when he agreed to become a spokesman for Archer Daniels Midland , the agribusiness giant. He had retired from ABC only months earlier. Archer had gotten itself into serious difficulty with the federal government in 1996, paying a $100 million fine for the price fixing of food and feed additives.

So there was considerable dismay when Mr. Brinkley appeared for A.D.M. in an advertisement on his old program with these self-introductory words: "Since television began, I have brought you the news — wars, elections, victories, defeats. The news, straight and true. I will still speak straight and true. I'll never change that, but now I will bring you information about food, the environment, agriculture, issues of importance to the American people and the world."

Some of the most esteemed figures in television news, including Mr. Cronkite, the retired CBS News correspondent and anchor, expressed reservations and puzzlement, since representing a corporation appeared to be in conflict with Mr. Brinkley's image of independence as a newsman.

When the commercial turned up only on the program that Mr. Brinkley had just retired from, ABC pulled the ad, but reinstated it a few months later.

In later years, Mr. Brinkley was accused of becoming more of a curmudgeon than a skeptic.

Mr. Brinkley countered: "As long as I've known anything about politics, I've been skeptical. And it has evolved. The more I saw, the more skeptical I became."

He said that politicians in the 1990's were largely concerned with the "naked pursuit of power and of privilege and of perks."

During his final election-night program, in 1996, Mr. Brinkley delivered some parting shots, calling President Bill Clinton a bore and telling voters they could expect more "goddamned nonsense" for the next four years.

After covering presidential elections since the 1956 Eisenhower-Stevenson race, the 1996 election was Mr. Brinkley's last as a broadcaster. Winding up a long night, when ABC correspondents gathered around Peter Jennings, the anchor, Mr. Brinkley said of the newly re-elected Mr. Clinton: "He has not a creative bone in his body. Therefore, he's a bore, and will always be a bore."

Callers flooded the network's phone lines to complain about or praise Mr. Brinkley's remarks. But he apologized to President Clinton a few days later.

David McClure Brinkley was born on July 10, 1920, in Wilmington, N.C., the son of William Graham Brinkley, a railroad man, and Mary MacDonald West Brinkley. While he was still a student at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, he worked for a weekly newspaper, owned by a relative, providing a column about high school activities. It "was full of such racy items as who was buying 10 cent sodas for whom," Mr. Brinkley later said, "each one separated by three dots."

After high school, he attended the University of North Carolina and Vanderbilt University, but got degrees from neither, because "I didn't think there was anything they could teach me," Mr. Brinkley said. He joined the Army in 1940 but was discharged for medical reasons a year later.

In 1942, he got a reporting job with United Press in Atlanta and later worked for the news agency in Montgomery, Ala., Nashville and Charlotte, N.C. He then moved to Washington, where NBC, impressed by his ability to write for the ear, hired him as a news writer.

In his 1995 memoir, Mr. Brinkley told how he came to deliver the news in his distinctive melodic fashion. During World War II, he said, he took to underlining words to ensure the correct emphasis on the radio and developed his "jerky, labored way of speaking."

In 1945, NBC made him the moderator of a television news show called "America United," which was shown in the Washington area. Mr. Brinkley liked to say that he made all his learning errors at a good time, because at that point, there were only a few hundred people with television sets in Washington.

NBC decided that Mr. Brinkley had on-camera talent and in 1950 made him a news commentator. The next year, he became Washington correspondent for NBC's nightly 15-minute news program, "Camel News Caravan," named after the cigarette company that sponsored it.

In 1955, he met Mr. Huntley and in 1957, NBC decided that both men would be commentators on the "News Caravan," which was then anchored by John Cameron Swayze. Soon, Mr. Huntley and Mr. Brinkley became the anchors for the program and the combination immediately received critical acclaim.

In August 1956, Jack Gould, the television critic of The New York Times , predicted that Mr. Brinkley might well be the forerunner of a new school of television commentator. He lauded Mr. Brinkley's terse style and said, "He has the knack for the succinct phrase that sums up the situation."

The broadcast continued to grow in popularity and Mr. Brinkley added to his luster by his deft completion of special assignments. In 1959, for example, NBC sent him on a tour of the Mediterranean and the resultant clips were broadcast as "Our Man in the Mediterranean." It was literate, funny and acerbic. Three years later, Mr. Brinkley captured much the same tone with another such program, called "Our Man in Vienna."

Throughout the 1960's "The Huntley-Brinkley Report" set the pace for NBC News, helping it pull ahead of its rival networks' news operations, including CBS News, which had always regarded itself as the elite network news operation.

Mr. Brinkley's marriage to Ann Fischer ended in divorce. Their children are Alan, a historian who is to become provost of Columbia University on July 1; Joel, a correspondent in the Washington Bureau of The New York Times; and John. In 1972, Mr. Brinkley married Susan Adolph. Mrs. Adolph has a daughter, Alexis, by her previous marriage to Peter Adolph.

The 1970's brought about increased criticism of both print and broadcast journalism, especially from conservatives. Mr. Brinkley met such criticism with characteristic directness. In 1970, when Senator Barry Goldwater, the Arizona Republican, complained about bias in the news and what he called "liberal comments about the Nixon administration" that had "taken on an edge of desperation and hysteria," Mr. Brinkley snapped, "He gave no details, no names and no specifics."

He added that "no politician has ever complained about biased news coverage when the news reported made his political opponent look bad." He said that what some politicians wanted was "slanted reporting, slanted their way."

Mr. Brinkley's commentaries kept their edge. In 1972, he noted in "David Brinkley's Journal" on NBC that if a Social Security recipient earned more than $30 a week at the time, he started to lose his pension. "His pension is not a gift, not charity and not welfare. He paid for it in advance," Mr. Brinkley said. "In simple truth, when a person retires, whether he works or not, is none of Washington's business."

In the years that followed, both at NBC and at ABC, he railed at what he saw as the incompetence of big government. He came to think that Congress had dangerously isolated itself from the rest of the country. Over the years, his gut issues were taxes, law and order, environmental decay and urban planning.

John J. O'Connor, reviewing this phase of his career for The Times, called Mr. Brinkley "one of the more articulate and persuasive practitioners" of television news reporting.

"The only way to do news on television is not to be terrified of it," Mr. Brinkley said. "Most of the news isn't very important. In fact, very little of it is."


Days before his announced retirement from regular news coverage, Brinkley made a rare on-air mistake during evening coverage of the 1996 presidential election, at a moment when he thought they were on commercial break. One of his colleagues asked him what he thought of Bill Clinton's re-election. He called Clinton "a bore" and added, "The next four years will be filled with pretty words, and pretty music, and a lot of goddamn nonsense!" One of his team pointed out that they were still on the air. Brinkley said, "Really? Well, I'm leaving anyway!" Brinkley worked this mistake into a chance for an apology as part of a one-on-one interview with Clinton that followed a week or so later.

Brinkley stepped down from hosting This Week on November 10, 1996, but continued to provide small commentary pieces for the show until 1997. He then fully retired from television. He had been an electronic journalist for over fifty years and had been anchor or host of a daily or weekly national television program for just over forty years. His career lasted from the beginning of broadcast news to the information age.

During his career, he won ten Emmy Awards and three George Foster Peabody Awards. In 1992, President George H. W. Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Bush called him "the elder statesman of broadcast journalism"; but Brinkley was much more humble. In an interview in 1992, he said "Most of my life, I've simply been a reporter covering things, and writing and talking about it".

Brinkley is the father of historian and Columbia University Provost, Alan Brinkley, and of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Stanford professor, Joel Brinkley.

Brinkley died in 2003 at his home in Houston, Texas, from complications after a fall. His body is interred at Oakdale Cemetery, Wilmington, North Carolina.

8 Years ago today, the world lost Gregory Peck

Gregory Peck:to a wonderful actor, I truly admired your work in film especially "To kill a Mockingbird" and "MacArthur"! thanks! Remembering you 8 years later, may you rest in peace!

Born Eldred Gregory Peck
April 5, 1916(1916-04-05)
La Jolla, California, U.S.
Died June 12, 2003(2003-06-12) (aged 87)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, Los Angeles, California
Occupation Actor
Years active 1942–2000
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse Greta Kukkonen (1942-1955; divorce)
Veronique Passani (1955-2003; his death)
Relatives Ethan Peck (grandson)

Eldred Gregory Peck (April 5, 1916 – June 12, 2003) was an American actor.

One of 20th Century Fox's most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s, Peck continued to play important roles well into the 1980s. His notable performances include that of Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird, for which he won an Academy Award. President Lyndon Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 for his lifetime humanitarian efforts. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Peck among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time, ranking at #12

On June 12, 2003, Peck died in his sleep at home from bronchopneumonia. His wife Veronique was by his side.

Gregory Peck is entombed in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels mausoleum in Los Angeles, California. His eulogy was read by Brock Peters, whose character, Tom Robinson, was defended by Peck's Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mockingbird.


Peck was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning once. He was nominated for The Keys of the Kingdom (1945), The Yearling (1946), Gentleman's Agreement (1947) and Twelve O'Clock High (1949). He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Atticus Finch in the 1962 film To Kill a Mockingbird. In 1968 he received the Academy's Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

Peck also received many Golden Globe awards. He won in 1947 for The Yearling, in 1963 for To Kill a Mockingbird, and in 1999 for the TV mini series Moby Dick. He was nominated in 1978 for The Boys from Brazil. He received the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 1969, and was given the Henrietta Award in 1951 and 1955 for World Film Favorite — Male.

In 1969 US President Lyndon Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. In 1971 the Screen Actors Guild presented Peck with the SAG Life Achievement Award. In 1989 the American Film Institute gave Peck the AFI Life Achievement Award. He received the Crystal Globe award for outstanding artistic contribution to world cinema in 1996.

In 1986 Peck was honored alongside actress Gene Tierney with the first Donostia Lifetime Achievement Award at the San Sebastian Film Festival Spain for their body of work.

In 1993, Peck was awarded with an Honorary Golden Bear at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.

In 1998 he was awarded the National Medal of Arts.

In 2000 Peck was made a Doctor of Letters by the National University of Ireland. He was a founding patron of the University College Dublin School of Film, where he persuaded Martin Scorsese to become an honorary patron. Peck was also chairman of the American Cancer Society for a short time.

For his contribution to the motion picture industry, Gregory Peck has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6100 Hollywood Blvd. In November 2005 the star was stolen, and has since been replaced.

On April 28, 2011, a ceremony was held in Beverly Hills, California celebrating the first day of issue of a U.S. postage stamp commemorating Peck. The stamp is the 17th commemorative stamp in the Legends of Hollywood series.

Happy 87th Birthday to President George Herbert Walker Bush

Barack Obama praised George H W Bush as a 'diplomatic hand' who made possible what many had thought was impossible - ending the Cold War without firing a shot.

Former President/Vice-President/CIA Director George Herbert Walker Bush and his wife/ First Lady Barbara Pierce Bush

One of the official photographs of President George Herbert Walker Bush during his presidency, 1989-1993.

Happy 87th Birthday Mr President, I truly remember your presidency, I was remember watching being the commander in chief during Gulf War I in 1991.

George Herbert Walker Bush (born June 12, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States (1989–93). He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President (1981–89), a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.

Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to Senator Prescott Bush and Dorothy Walker Bush. Following the attacks on Pearl Harbor in 1941, at the age of 18, Bush postponed going to college and became the youngest aviator in the US Navy at the time. He served until the end of the war, then attended Yale University. Graduating in 1948, he moved his family to West Texas and entered the oil business, becoming a millionaire by the age of 40.

He became involved in politics soon after founding his own oil company, serving as a member of the House of Representatives, among other positions. He ran unsuccessfully for president of the United States in 1980, but was chosen by party nominee Ronald Reagan to be the vice presidential nominee, and the two were subsequently elected. During his tenure, Bush headed administration task forces on deregulation and fighting drug abuse.

In 1988, Bush launched a successful campaign to succeed Reagan as president, defeating Democratic opponent Michael Dukakis. Foreign policy drove the Bush presidency; military operations were conducted in Panama and the Persian Gulf at a time of world change; the Berlin Wall fell in 1989 and the Soviet Union dissolved two years later. Domestically, Bush reneged on a 1988 campaign promise and after a struggle with Congress, signed an increase in taxes that Congress had passed. In the wake of economic concerns, he lost the 1992 presidential election to Democrat Bill Clinton.

Bush is the father of George W. Bush, the 43rd President of the United States, and Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida. He is the last president to have been a World War II veteran. Until the election of his son George W. Bush to the presidency in 2000, Bush was commonly referred to simply as "George Bush"; since that time, the forms "George H. W. Bush", "Bush 41", "Bush the Elder", and "George Bush, Sr." have come into common use as a way to distinguish the father from the son.

Recent activities

The former president continues to make many public appearances. He and Mrs. Bush attended the state funeral of Ronald Reagan in June 2004, and of Gerald Ford in January 2007. One month later, he was awarded the Ronald Reagan Freedom Award in Beverly Hills, California by former First Lady Nancy Reagan.

Despite his political differences with Bill Clinton, it has been acknowledged that the two former presidents have become friends. He and Clinton appeared together in television ads in 2005, encouraging aid for victims of Hurricane Katrina and the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami.

In October 2006, Bush was honored by the National Italian American Foundation (NIAF), receiving the NIAF One America Award for his work to better the lives of all Americans.

On February 18, 2008, Bush formally endorsed Senator John McCain for the presidency of the United States. The endorsement offered a boost to McCain's campaign, as the Arizona Senator had been facing criticism among many conservatives.

On January 10, 2009, Bush and his son were both present at the commissioning of the USS George H. W. Bush (CVN-77), the tenth and last Nimitz class supercarrier of the United States Navy. Bush paid a visit to the carrier again on May 26, 2009.

Barack Obama honours George H W Bush
US President Barack Obama honoured German Chancellor Angela Merkel and America's "gentleman" 41st president George H W Bush with America's highest civilian honour on Tuesday
Mrs Merkel was not in Washington for the annual Presidential Medal of Freedom ceremony but Mr Obama said she would be making an official visit "soon" and he would present it then.

Mr Obama also honoured a list of political and cultural figures, including cello virtuoso Yo-Yo Ma, poet Maya Angelou and billionaire financier and philanthropist Warren Buffett.

Civil rights pioneer congressman John Lewis, baseball great Stan Musial and Jean Kennedy Smith, the sister of assassinated president John F. Kennedy and a disabilities campaigner, were also among honorees.

Mr Obama praised Mr Bush, father of his predecessor as president, George W. Bush, as a "diplomatic hand" who made possible what many had thought was impossible – ending the Cold War without firing a shot.

"His humility and his decency reflects the very best of the American spirit. Those of you who know him, this is a gentleman, inspiring citizens to become points of light in service to others," Mr Obama said.
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From the WebFORM THE WEB:Bridesmaids Dresses We Don't Hate13 May 2011(StyleList)My eyebrows clearly need help, but I don’t even have an idea about how to begin to groom them. What's the best advice you can give?01 Dec 1969(Style + Tech For Men)What Shape of Earrings Will Flatter My Round Face?24 May 2011([what's this]Mr Obama said that Mrs Merkel "dreamed of freedom" as she grew up in East Germany.

"When the wall finally crumbled and Germany was reunited, she broke barriers of her own, becoming the first East German and the first woman to become chancellor of Germany," Mr Obama said.

"To America, Chancellor Merkel and the country she leads are among our closest allies. To me, she's a trusted global partner and a friend."

Mr Obama joked that Mr Buffett made a loss on his first-ever investment as an 11-year-old boy but hung onto the stock and it recovered to yield a small profit, launching a stellar career.

He also paid tribute to Mr Buffett's career as a humanitarian: "You don't see Warren Buffett wearing fancy suits or driving fancy cars."

"Instead, you see him devoting the vast majority of his wealth to those around the world who are suffering, or sick, or in need of help.

Mr Obama said leading US author, poet and civil rights campaigner Maya Angelou was renowned for "soaring poetry" and "towering prose" that had spoken to the conscience of a nation.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

2 First Ladies are born on this day

Barbara Bush, thanks for being there with your husband, George Herbert Walker Bush and your son, George Walker Bush when they served as president!Remembering you today, happy 86th birthday!

Barbara Pierce Bush (born June 8, 1925)(Age 86) is the wife of the 41st President of the United States George H. W. Bush, and served as First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She is the mother of the 43rd President George W. Bush and of the 43rd Governor of Florida Jeb Bush. Previously she had served as Second Lady of the United States from 1981 to 1989.

Barbara Pierce was born in Flushing, New York attended Rye Country Day School from 1931 to 1937, and is an alumna of Ashley Hall School in Charleston, SC. She met George Herbert Walker Bush at age 16, and the two married in 1945, while he was on leave during his deployment as a Naval officer in World War II. They would have six children together. The Bush family soon moved to Midland, Texas; as George Bush entered political life, Barbara raised their children.

As wife of the Vice President and then President, Barbara Bush has supported and worked to advance the cause of universal literacy. She founded the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy while First Lady. Since leaving the White House, she has continued to advance this cause.

First Lady of the United States
Barbara Bush's cause as First Lady was literacy, as it was when she was Second Lady, calling it "the most important issue we have". She became involved with many literacy organizations, served on literacy committees and chaired many reading organizations. Eventually, she helped develop the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy.

During the early 1980s, statistics showed that 35 million adults could not read above the eight-grade level and that 23 million were not able to read beyond a fourth-grade level. Mrs. Bush appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show to discuss the situation. She also appeared regularly on Mrs. Bush's Story Time, a national radio program that stressed the importance of reading aloud to children.

Through her influence, Virginia's former First Lady Jeannie Baliles was inspired to form the Virginia Literacy Foundation, which supported Virginia's grass roots adult literacy programs. Through her support and the publicity she generated as First Lady, grass roots adult literacy programs began to spring up around the country.

She was also active with the White House Historical Association and worked to revitalize the White House Preservation Fund, which she renamed the White House Endowment Trust. The trust raises funds for the ongoing refurbishment and restoration of the White House. She met her goal of raising $25 million towards the endowment.

Bush was known for her affection for her pet English Springer Spaniel Millie and wrote a child's book about Millie's new litter of puppies. Barbara Bush became the first U.S. First Lady to become a recipient of the Henry G. Freeman Jr. Pin Money Fund, receiving $36,000, most of which she gave to favorite charities.

Ida McKinley, thanks for being there with your husband, William McKinley when he served as president!Remembering you today, happy 164th birthday!

Ida Saxton McKinley (June 8, 1847 – May 26, 1907), wife of William McKinley, was First Lady of the United States from 1897 to 1901.

First Lady of the United States

President McKinley took great care to accommodate her condition. In a break with tradition, he insisted that his wife be seated next to him at state dinners rather than at the other end of the table. At receiving lines, she alone remained seated. Many of the social chores normally assumed by the First Lady fell to Mrs. Jennie Tuttle Hobart, wife of Vice President Garret Hobart. Guests noted that whenever Mrs. McKinley was about to undergo a seizure, the President would gently place a napkin or handkerchief over her face to conceal her contorted features. When it passed, he would remove it and resume whatever he was doing as if nothing had happened.

The President's patient devotion and loving attention was the talk of the capital. "President McKinley has made it pretty hard for the rest of us husbands here in Washington," remarked Mark Hanna.

The First Lady often travelled with the President. Mrs. McKinley travelled to California with the President in May 1901, but became so ill in San Francisco that the planned tour of the Northwest was cancelled. She was also with him on the fateful trip to Buffalo, NY in September of that year when he was assassinated, but was not present at the shooting.

Monday, June 6, 2011

43 years ago today the world lost Robert Francis Kennedy

Robert Francis Kennedy: you were truly a unqiue individual in the Kennedy family, You were a great Attorney General and Speaker on Civil Rights in 1960s, Remembering you 43 years later, may you rest in peace!

Robert Francis "Bobby" Kennedy (November 20, 1925 – June 6, 1968), also referred to by his initials RFK, was an American politician, a Democratic senator from New York, and a noted civil rights activist. An icon of modern American liberalism and member of the Kennedy family, he was a younger brother of President John F. Kennedy and acted as one of his advisors during his presidency. From 1961 to 1964, he was the U.S. Attorney General.

Following his brother John's assassination on November 22, 1963, Kennedy continued to serve as Attorney General under President Lyndon B. Johnson for nine months. In September 1964, Kennedy resigned to seek the U.S. Senate seat from New York, which he won in November. Within a few years, he publicly split with Johnson over the Vietnam War.

In March 1968, Kennedy began a campaign for the presidency and was a front-running candidate of the Democratic Party. In the California presidential primary on June 4, Kennedy defeated Eugene McCarthy, a U.S. Senator from Minnesota. Following a brief victory speech delivered just past midnight on June 5 at The Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, Kennedy was assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan. Mortally wounded, he survived for nearly 26 hours, dying early in the morning of June 6.

The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a United States Senator and brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, took place shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968, in Los Angeles, California. After winning the California primary election for the Democratic nomination for President of the United States, Kennedy was shot as he walked through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel and died in the Good Samaritan Hospital twenty-six hours later. Sirhan Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian immigrant, was convicted of Kennedy's murder and is serving a life sentence for the crime. The shooting was recorded on audio tape by a freelance newspaper reporter, and the aftermath was captured on film.

Kennedy's body lay in repose at St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York for two days before a funeral mass was held on June 8. His body was interred near his brother John at Arlington National Cemetery. His death prompted the protection of presidential candidates by the United States Secret Service. Hubert Humphrey went on to win the Democratic nomination for the presidency, but ultimately narrowly lost the election to Richard Nixon.

As with his brother's death, Robert Kennedy's assassination and the circumstances surrounding it have spawned a variety of conspiracy theories. As of 2011 Kennedy remains one of only two sitting United States Senators to be assassinated.

Boris Yaro's photograph of Robert F. Kennedy lying wounded on the floor immediately after the shooting. Kneeling beside him is 17-year-old Juan Romero, who shook Kennedy's hand when the shots fell.

Four hours after the polls closed in California, Kennedy claimed victory in the state's Democratic presidential primary. At approximately 12:10 a.m. PDT, he addressed his campaign supporters in the Ambassador Hotel's Embassy Room ballroom, in the Mid-Wilshire district of Los Angeles.

At the time, the government provided Secret Service protection for incumbent presidents but not for presidential candidates. Kennedy's only security was provided by former FBI agent William Barry and two unofficial bodyguards, former professional athletes.[During the campaign, Kennedy had welcomed contact with the public, and people had often tried to touch him in their excitement.

Kennedy had planned to walk through the ballroom and then, when he had finished speaking, on his way to another gathering of supporters elsewhere in the hotel.

However, with deadlines fast approaching, reporters wanted a press conference. Campaign aide Fred Dutton decided that Kennedy would forgo the second gathering and instead go through the kitchen and pantry area behind the ballroom to the press area. Kennedy finished speaking and started to exit when William Barry stopped him and said, "No, it's been changed. We're going this way."

Barry and Dutton began clearing a way for Kennedy to go left through swinging doors to the kitchen corridor, but Kennedy, hemmed in by the crowd, followed hotel maître d' Karl Uecker through a back exit.

Uecker led Kennedy through the kitchen area, holding Kennedy's right wrist but frequently releasing it as Kennedy shook hands with those he encountered.[13] Uecker and Kennedy started down a passageway narrowed by an ice machine against the right wall and a steam table to the left.

Kennedy turned to his left and shook hands with busboy Juan Romero as Sirhan Bishara Sirhan stepped down from a low tray-stacker beside the ice machine, rushed past Uecker, and repeatedly fired what was later identified as a .22 caliber Iver-Johnson Cadet revolver.

After Kennedy had fallen to the floor, security man Bill Barry hit Sirhan twice in the face while others, including maître d's Uecker and Edward Minasian, writer George Plimpton, Olympic gold medal decathlete Rafer Johnson and professional football player Rosey Grier, forced Sirhan against the steam table and disarmed him.

Sirhan wrestled free and grabbed the revolver again, but he had already fired all the bullets. Barry went to Kennedy and laid his jacket under the candidate's head, later recalling: "I knew immediately it was a .22, a small caliber, so I hoped it wouldn't be so bad, but then I saw the hole in the Senator's head, and I knew".

Reporters and photographers rushed into the area from both directions, contributing to the chaos. As Kennedy lay wounded, Juan Romero cradled the senator's head and placed a rosary in his hand.

Kennedy asked Romero, "Is everybody safe, OK?" and Romero responded, "Yes, yes, everything is going to be OK". Captured by Life photographer Bill Eppridge and Boris Yaro of the Los Angeles Times, this moment became the iconic image of the assassination.

Ethel Kennedy stood outside the crush of people at the scene, seeking help. She was soon led to her husband and knelt beside him. He turned his head and seemed to recognize her. After several minutes, medical attendants arrived and lifted Kennedy onto a stretcher, prompting him to whisper, "Don't lift me". He lost consciousness shortly thereafter.

Kennedy was taken a mile away to Central Receiving Hospital, where he arrived near death. One doctor slapped his face, calling, "Bob, Bob", while another massaged Kennedy's heart. After obtaining a good heartbeat, doctors handed a stethoscope to Ethel Kennedy so she could hear her husband's heart beating, much to her relief.

After about 30 minutes, Kennedy was transferred several blocks to the Hospital of the Good Samaritan for surgery. Surgery began at 3:12 a.m. PDT and lasted three hours and 40 minutes. Ten and a half hours later, at 5:30 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, spokesman Frank Mankiewicz announced that Kennedy's doctors were "concerned over his continuing failure to show improvement"; his condition remained "extremely critical as to life".

Kennedy had been shot three times. One bullet, fired at a range of about 1 inch (2.54 cm), entered behind his right ear, dispersing fragments throughout his brain. Two others entered at the rear of his right armpit; one exited from his chest and the other lodged in the back of his neck. Despite extensive neurosurgery at the Good Samaritan Hospital to remove the bullet and bone fragments from his brain, Kennedy died at 1:44 a.m. PDT on June 6, nearly 26 hours after the shooting.

Five other people were also wounded: William Weisel of ABC News, Paul Schrade of the United Auto Workers union, Democratic Party activist Elizabeth Evans, Ira Goldstein of the Continental News Service and Kennedy campaign volunteer Irwin Stroll. Although not physically wounded, singer Rosemary Clooney, a strong Kennedy supporter, was present in the ballroom during the shooting in the pantry and suffered a nervous breakdown shortly afterward.

Edward M. Kennedy

Address at the Public Memorial Service for Robert F. Kennedy

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, Mr. President:

On behalf of Mrs. Kennedy, her children, the parents and sisters of Robert Kennedy, I want to express what we feel to those who mourn with us today in this Cathedral and around the world.

We loved him as a brother, and as a father, and as a son. From his parents, and from his older brothers and sisters -- Joe and Kathleen and Jack -- he received an inspiration which he passed on to all of us. He gave us strength in time of trouble, wisdom in time of uncertainty, and sharing in time of happiness. He will always be by our side.

Love is not an easy feeling to put into words. Nor is loyalty, or trust, or joy. But he was all of these. He loved life completely and he lived it intensely.

A few years back, Robert Kennedy wrote some words about his own father which expresses [sic] the way we in his family felt about him. He said of what his father meant to him, and I quote:

"What it really all adds up to is love -- not love as it is described with such facility in popular magazines, but the kind of love that is affection and respect, order and encouragement, and support. Our awareness of this was an incalculable source of strength, and because real love is something unselfish and involves sacrifice and giving, we could not help but profit from it."

And he continued,

"Beneath it all, he has tried to engender a social conscience. There were wrongs which needed attention. There were people who were poor and needed help. And we have a responsibility to them and to this country. Through no virtues and accomplishments of our own, we have been fortunate enough to be born in the United States under the most comfortable conditions. We, therefore, have a responsibility to others who are less well off."

That is what Robert Kennedy was given. What he leaves to us is what he said, what he did, and what he stood for. A speech he made to the young people of South Africa on their Day of Affirmation in 1966 sums it up the best, and I would like to read it now:

"There is discrimination in this world and slavery and slaughter and starvation. Governments repress their people; millions are trapped in poverty while the nation grows rich and wealth is lavished on armaments everywhere. These are differing evils, but they are the common works of man. They reflect the imperfection of human justice, the inadequacy of human compassion, our lack of sensibility towards the suffering of our fellows. But we can perhaps remember -- even if only for a time -- that those who live with us are our brothers; that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek -- as we do -- nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.

Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men. And surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again. The answer is to rely on youth -- not a time of life but a state of mind, a temper of the will, a quality of imagination, a predominance of courage over timidity, of the appetite for adventure over the love of ease. The cruelties and obstacles of this swiftly changing planet will not yield to the obsolete dogmas and outworn slogans. They cannot be moved by those who cling to a present that is already dying, who prefer the illusion of security to the excitement and danger that come with even the most peaceful progress.

It is a revolutionary world we live in, and this generation at home and around the world has had thrust upon it a greater burden of responsibility than any generation that has ever lived. Some believe there is nothing one man or one woman can do against the enormous array of the world's ills. Yet many of the world's great movements, of thought and action, have flowed from the work of a single man. A young monk began the Protestant reformation; a young general extended an empire from Macedonia to the borders of the earth; a young woman reclaimed the territory of France; and it was a young Italian explorer who discovered the New World, and the 32 year-old Thomas Jefferson who [pro]claimed that "all men are created equal."

These men moved the world, and so can we all. Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events, and in the total of all those acts will be written the history of this generation. *It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped.* Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.

Few are willing to brave the disapproval of their fellows, the censure of their colleagues, the wrath of their society. Moral courage is a rarer commodity than bravery in battle or great intelligence. Yet it is the one essential, vital quality for those who seek to change a world that yields most painfully to change. And I believe that in this generation those with the courage to enter the moral conflict will find themselves with companions in every corner of the globe.

For the fortunate among us, there is the temptation to follow the easy and familiar paths of personal ambition and financial success so grandly spread before those who enjoy the privilege of education. But that is not the road history has marked out for us. Like it or not, we live in times of danger and uncertainty. But they are also more open to the creative energy of men than any other time in history. All of us will ultimately be judged, and as the years pass we will surely judge ourselves on the effort we have contributed to building a new world society and the extent to which our ideals and goals have shaped that event.

*The future does not belong to those who are content with today, apathetic toward common problems and their fellow man alike, timid and fearful in the face of new ideas and bold projects. Rather it will belong to those who can blend vision, reason and courage in a personal commitment to the ideals and great enterprises of American Society.* Our future may lie beyond our vision, but it is not completely beyond our control. It is the shaping impulse of America that neither fate nor nature nor the irresistible tides of history, but the work of our own hands, matched to reason and principle, that will determine our destiny. There is pride in that, even arrogance, but there is also experience and truth. In any event, it is the only way we can live."

That is the way he lived. That is what he leaves us.

My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life; to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.

Those of us who loved him and who take him to his rest today, pray that what he was to us and what he wished for others will some day come to pass for all the world.

As he said many times, in many parts of this nation, to those he touched and who sought to touch him:

"Some men see things as they are and say why.
I dream things that never were and say why not."

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Remembering President Ronald Wilson Reagan after 7 years

Mr. President, When I was born during your presidency in 1982, I remember seeing on tv and doing remarkable speeches, you are truly a gifted actor and president, thank you for breaking the infamous "0" curse and defeating the Communism,you are one of my top favorite presidents, remembering you 7 years later, may you rest in peace!

President Ronald Reagan
During the week-long events, each time Nancy Reagan appeared in public, she was escorted by U.S. Army Major General Galen B. Jackman
On June 5, 2004, Ronald Wilson Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, died after having suffered from Alzheimer's disease for nearly a decade. His seven-day state funeral followed, spanning June 5–11.

After Reagan's death his body was taken from his Bel Air, Los Angeles, California home to the Gates, Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica, California to prepare the body for burial. On June 7, Reagan's casket was transported by hearse and displayed at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, then flown to Washington, D.C. on June 9 for a service, public viewing and tributes at the U.S. Capitol. After lying in state for thirty-four hours in the Capitol Rotunda, a state funeral service was conducted at the Washington National Cathedral on June 11, the day that President George W. Bush declared a national day of mourning. Later that day, after the service, Reagan's casket was transported back to California for interment at the Reagan Presidential Library. The state funeral was executed by the Military District of Washington (MDW) and was the first since that of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1973. Richard Nixon, who presided over Johnson's funeral, did not have a state funeral in 1994.


On the morning of June 5, 2004 there were reports indicating that former President Ronald Reagan's health had significantly deteriorated, following ten years of Alzheimer's disease. According to Reagan's daughter, Patti Davis, "At the last moment, when his breathing told us this was it, he opened his eyes and looked straight at my mother. Eyes that hadn't opened for days did, and they weren't chalky or vague.

They were clear and blue and full of love. If a death can be lovely, his was." His wife, former First Lady Nancy Reagan told him that the moment was "the greatest gift you could have given me." President Reagan died of pneumonia at his home at 13:09 PDT (20:09 UTC, or 16:09 EDT). At his side were his wife and two of his children, Ron and Patti. His eldest surviving child, Michael, was with his father the day before.

A hearse transported the body down Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles to the Gates, Kingsley and Gates Funeral Home in Santa Monica. Following his death, Nancy Reagan released a statement through the office of her husband, saying:

“ My family and I would like the world to know that President Ronald Reagan has passed away after 10 years of Alzheimer's disease at 93 years of age. We appreciate everyone's prayers.

Declarations and tributes

President George W. Bush was in Paris when Reagan died and acknowledged the death in a press conference. President Bush said this on June 5, 2004:

“ This is a sad hour in the life of America. A great American life has come to an end. I have just spoken to Nancy Reagan. On behalf of our whole nation, Laura and I offered her and the Reagan family our prayers and our condolences.
Ronald Reagan won America's respect with his greatness, and won its love with his goodness. He had the confidence that comes with conviction, the strength that comes with character, the grace that comes with humility, and the humor that comes with wisdom. He leaves behind a nation he restored and a world he helped save.

During the years of President Reagan, America laid to rest an era of division and self-doubt. And because of his leadership, the world laid to rest an era of fear and tyranny. Now, in laying our leader to rest, we say thank you. He always told us that for America, the best was yet to come. We comfort ourselves in the knowledge that this is true for him, too. His work is done, and now a shining city awaits him. May God bless Ronald Reagan.

American flags at the White House, across the United States, and around the world over official U.S. installations and operating locations, were ordered flown at half-staff for 30 days in a presidential proclamation by President Bush. In the announcement of Reagan's death, Bush also declared June 11 a National Day of Mourning.

Some of the early international tributes to Reagan included those of Queen Elizabeth II, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, former Soviet Union Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, and French President Jacques Chirac.

Martin advised Governor General Adrienne Clarkson to order all flags across Canada and at all Canadian diplomatic missions in the United States flown to half-staff on the 11th as well, in sympathy with the U.S.'s National Day of Mourning.

People marked Reagan's death by leaving tributes and condolences at U.S. embassies and consulates overseas, as well as at locales around the country significant to Reagan's life, including his presidential library, his birthplace in Tampico, Illinois, the funeral home where his body was taken after he died, and the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity house in Eureka, Illinois.

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, the Democratic nominee for president, suspended his campaign until after the funeral out of respect for Reagan.

News of Reagan's death put the ongoing presidential election on hold because it was considered disrespectful to have campaigns during a time of mourning. In Canada, their ongoing election was put on hold as well.

Funeral events at the Reagan Library
Nancy Reagan leans her head on her husband's casket at his presidential library
On June 7, Reagan's body was removed from the funeral home and driven in a 20-mile-per-hour motorcade, by hearse, to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.

Reagan's casket, a Marsellus Masterpiece model, was carried by a military honor guard representing all branches of the United States Armed Forces into the lobby of the library to lie in repose.

There, a brief family service was conducted by the Reverend Dr. Michael H. Wenning, former pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church, where Reagan worshipped. When the prayer service concluded, Nancy Reagan and her family approached the casket, where Mrs. Reagan laid her head on it.

After the family left, the doors of the presidential library opened, and the public began filing in at a rate of 2,000 an hour throughout the night. In all, about 108,000 people visited the presidential library to see the casket.

Departure to Washington

On June 9, Reagan's casket was removed from the presidential library and driven in a motorcade to NAS Point Mugu in Ventura, California; it was the same airfield Reagan flew into and out of during his presidency when visiting his California ranch.SAM 28000, one of the two Boeing 747-200s, which usually serves the president as Air Force One, arrived to transport the casket to Washington. Thousands of people gathered to witness the plane's departure. Just before she boarded the VC-25A Presidential Aircraft, Nancy Reagan waved to the crowd with her military escort at her side. The plane lifted off at about 9:40 AM PST.

Events in Washington
The caisson with President Reagan's casket on Constitution Avenue, marching to the

The riderless horse, Sergeant York, with Reagan's own riding boots reversed in the stirrups.

The Bushes pay their respects to Reagan

In Washington, D.C., members of Congress, and much of the public, paid tribute to Reagan immediately after his death and throughout his funeral.

Funeral procession

Events in the capital began when Reagan's casket arrived at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. It was removed from the plane, driven by hearse in a procession through the Maryland and Virginia suburbs and the nation's capital, across the Memorial Bridge, and onto Constitution Avenue.

Just before the plane arrived at Andrews, the Capitol was evacuated for a brief period, for a plane carrying Kentucky Governor Ernie Fletcher was off course and created a scare by entering restricted airspace; the incident was attributed to radio problems onboard the plane and did not affect funeral events.

Near the Ellipse, and within sight of the White House, the hearse halted and Reagan's body was transferred to a horse-drawn caisson for the procession down Constitution Avenue to Capitol Hill.

Nancy Reagan stepped out of her limousine to witness the body's transfer; she was met with a warm greeting, including applause. The cortege began the 45 minute journey just after 6:00 PM EST, with the Reagan family following in limousines.

Military units escorted the caisson as it made its way to the sounds of muffled drums. Behind the caisson was a riderless horse named Sergeant York, carrying Reagan's riding boots reversed in the stirrups.[26] The caisson paused at 4th street and Constitution Avenue, where 21 Air Force F-15's flew over in missing man formation.

The mood during the funeral was far different than it was during the previous state funeral, for Lyndon B. Johnson, as that was one of intense recrimination and the mourners were far too angry and abusive and protested over the Vietnam War, as it troubled LBJ, and the wounds of it were still raw.

Capitol Hill

The caisson stopped when it arrived at Capitol Hill; military units removed it, and Hail to the Chief was played amidst a 21-gun salute.[28][29] The casket was carried up the west front steps of the Capitol, mainly because Reagan was first inaugurated there and he wanted to face west, toward California.[29] Two teams of military body bearers carried the coffin up the steps of the Capitol to Battle Hymn of the Republic.

When the casket reached the top of the steps, Nancy Reagan and her military escort met it. As the casket passed them, Mrs. Reagan momentarily pulled away from her escort, reached out, and touched the casket. They followed it inside to the rotunda.

The casket was placed under the rotunda, where it lay in state on Abraham Lincoln's catafalque.

An evening memorial service then took place, with dignitaries primarily composed of Congressional members, members of the United States Supreme Court, and the diplomatic corps; the Reverend Daniel Coughlin, Chaplain of the House of Representatives, gave the invocation. Eulogies were then delivered by Senate President pro tempore Ted Stevens, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, and Vice President Dick Cheney.

After the eulogies, the three speakers each laid a wreath at the casket, and Senate Chaplain, the Reverend Barry Black, gave the benediction.[32] Cheney escorted Mrs. Reagan to the casket, where she said her goodbyes. The dignitaries in the room paid their respects during the next half hour. In a rare instance, the doors of the Capitol were then opened to the public, who stood in lines stretching many blocks to view the casket.

Public viewing

The general public stood in long lines waiting for a turn to pay their respects to the president. People passed by the casket at a rate of about 5,000 per hour (83.3 per minute resp. 1.4 per second) and the wait time was about three hours. In all, 104,684 paid their respects when Reagan lay in state. The Washington Metro subway set a then daily record in ridership of 850,636 as a result.

After returning to Washington following the G-8 Summit, President George W. Bush and First Lady Laura Bush visited the rotunda to pay their respects.

Many world leaders did the same, including interim Iraqi President Ghazi al-Yawer, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former Polish president Lech Wałęsa, and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

While Reagan's casket lay in state, Nancy Reagan and her family took up temporary residence in Blair House, the official residence of guests of the President of the United States. There, she was greeted by additional dignitaries and public figures. During a visit from Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister wrote in the Blair House condolence book, "To Ronnie, Well done, thou good and faithful servant."

State funeral service
After thirty-four hours of lying in state, the doors of the Capitol were closed to the public and Nancy Reagan was escorted in, where she had a moment alone with the casket. A military honor guard entered and carried it down the west steps of the Capitol to a 21-gun salute where Mrs. Reagan, holding her hand over her heart, met it.

After it was placed in a hearse, the motorcade departed on the five mile-trip to the Washington National Cathedral, where the state funeral service was to be held; crowds lined the route of the cortege as the hearse made its way.


About 4,000 people gathered at the cathedral for the service, including President and Mrs. Bush, former president George H. W. and Barbara Bush, Gerald and Betty Ford, Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, and Bill and Hillary Clinton. Members of Congress and past and present governors were also present.

Foreign dignitaries attended as well, coming from 165 nations. The dignitaries included 36 past and present heads of state and government, and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan. Leading the dignitaries were Mikhail Gorbachev, Margaret Thatcher, Brian Mulroney, and Prince Charles (representing Queen Elizabeth II). Other world leaders included U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife Cherie, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, former Japanese Prime Minister Yasuhiro Nakasone, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, Jordan's King Abdullah, as well as interim presidents Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and Ghazi al-Yawer of Iraq.

Blair, Schröder, Berlusconi, Karzai, King Abdullah, and al-Yawer had been at the G-8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia, and later decided to extend their stay in the U.S. to attend the funeral. For Karzai, the funeral was part of his week-long visit to the U.S. and it was the beginning of his visit to Washington. He scrapped a visit to the West Coast to visit the Afghan community there to attend the funeral. World leaders that attended the summit, but decided not to extend their stay in the U.S. to attend the funeral paid tribute at the summit, including Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, French President Jacques Chirac, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.

Cathedral events

The motorcade arrived at the Cathedral and Reagan's casket was removed. The bearers carrying it paused on the Cathedral steps, and an opening prayer was given by Bishop John Bryson Chane, Dean of the Washington National Cathedral.The casket was then carried down the aisle; the Reagan family followed and Mrs. Reagan was escorted to her seat by President Bush. Rabbi Harold Kushner and Supreme Court Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor (the first female Supreme Court justice, whom Reagan appointed), then each gave a reading, which preceded the eulogies.

The choir then sang hymns—"Faire is the Heaven"; "Bring Us, O Lord"; "And I saw a New Heaven"[41]—before former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher delivered the first eulogy. In view of her failing mental faculties following several small strokes, the message had been pre-recorded several months earlier and was broadcast throughout the Cathedral on plasma television screens. During the speech, Thatcher said, "We have lost a great president, a great American and a great man, and I have lost a dear friend."

Following Thatcher's eulogy, former Canadian Prime Minister Brian Mulroney delivered one. Mulroney ended with, "In the presence of his beloved and indispensable Nancy, his children, his family, his friends and all of the American people that he so deeply revered, I say au revoir today to a gifted leader and historic president and a gracious human being."

Former President George H. W. Bush then spoke, his voice breaking at one point when describing Reagan; Bush had been Reagan's Vice President from 1981 to 1989. His son, President George W. Bush, was the last to give a eulogy, saying in part, "Ronald Reagan belongs to the ages now, but we preferred it when he belonged to us... In his last years he saw through a glass darkly. Now he sees his Savior face to face. And we look for that fine day when we will see him again, all weariness gone, clear of mind, strong and sure and smiling again, and the sorrow of this parting gone forever. "

The choir then partook in singing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and Theodore Edgar McCarrick, Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, delivered a Bible reading from the Gospel of Matthew. The celebrant, former Missouri Senator the Reverend John C. Danforth, delivered the homily and Irish tenor Ronan Tynan sang songs such as "Ave Maria" and "Amazing Grace" at the request of Nancy Reagan. The Reverend Ted Eastman, former Bishop of Maryland, delivered the benediction, flanked by Reverend Danforth and Reverend Chane.

Interment at the Reagan Library
The memorial service at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
Nancy Reagan says her last goodbyes to the president just before the interment
Mrs. Reagan walks away from President Reagan's grave site after accepting the flag and saying her goodbyes

Return to California

After the service, the casket was removed from the cathedral and driven to Andrews Air Force Base for the return to California, passing crowds along its route. The family and close friends boarded the VC 25-A Presidential Aircraft, and as she had done previously, Nancy Reagan waved farewell to the crowds just before boarding the plane.

About five hours after the aircraft departed Andrews, it touched down at Naval Base Ventura County, Point Mugu, California. The public, including sailors from the USS Ronald Reagan, was there to witness the plane's arrival.

Reagan's body was driven in a large motorcade on one final trip though the streets of southern California. As they had done throughout the week, crowds gathered along the motorcade route on its 25-mile (40 km) journey to Reagan's burial place, his presidential library in Simi Valley.

Burial service and interment

The service drew 700 invited guests, including former Reagan administration officials such as George Shultz, and noted dignitaries; Margaret Thatcher, who travelled on the plane from Washington, sat next to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife Maria Shriver; former California Governor Pete Wilson was in attendance, as well as former Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riordan.

Hollywood actors and other celebrities were also attended, including Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Mickey Rooney, Dolores Hope (widow of Bob Hope), Merv Griffin, Tommy Lasorda, Wayne Gretzky, Scott Baio, Bo Derek, Tom Selleck, Pat Sajak, Wayne Newton, and the Sinatra family. The three surviving Reagan children, Michael, Patti, and Ron, gave final eulogies at the interment ceremony.

Eulogies finished, and the service over, the Air Force Band of the Golden West played four "ruffles and flourishes", and the U.S. Army Chorus sang "The Star-Spangled Banner". Bagpiper Eric Rigler played "Amazing Grace" as the casket was moved to its grave site and placed on a plinth. There, burial rites were given, followed by a last 21-gun salute; members of the armed services fired three volleys and a bugler played "Taps".

At that time, four Navy F/A-18 fighter jets flew over in missing man formation, and the flag that flew over the Capitol during President Reagan's 1981 inauguration was folded by the honor guard and was presented to Nancy Reagan by Captain James Symonds, the commanding officer of the USS Ronald Reagan.

After Nancy Reagan accepted the flag, she approached the casket and spent several minutes patting and stroking it. She laid her head down on the casket, before breaking down and crying; The Washington Post described Mrs. Reagan as having been "stoic through nearly a week of somber rituals" but she "surrendered to her grief after being handed the flag that had covered her husband's coffin." While she cried, she kissed the casket and said "I love you". Her children surrounded her, and attempted to console her.

Mrs. Reagan then walked away with her military escort, clutching the folded flag. The military band began to play the Victorian hymn "My Faith Looks Up to Thee" as the Reagan children said their goodbyes. Funeral attendees had an opportunity to file past the coffin.

The casket was lowered into the tomb and closed approximately before 3:00 AM PDT; the exterior of the horseshoe shaped monument is inscribed with a quote Ronald Reagan delivered in 1991:

“ I know in my heart that man is good, that what is right will always eventually triumph, and there is purpose and worth to each and every life. ”


Music played during the week-long events included four ruffles and flourishes, "Hail to the Chief", "My Country 'Tis of Thee", "The Battle Hymn of the Republic", "Amazing Grace", "Eternal Father, Strong to Save" (also known as "The Navy Hymn"), "God of Our Fathers", "Mansions of the Lord", "God Bless America", "America the Beautiful", and "Going Home".

Security measures

The state funeral marked the first time that Washington hosted a major event since September 11, 2001. As a result, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) designated the state funeral a National Special Security Event (NSSE).

Special precautions were taken because many of the events were open to the public and there were multiple protectees.[51] As means of assisting the motorcade, many streets were temporarily blocked off by law enforcement.[51]

However, DHS was handling another NSSE at the same time: the G-8 Summit in Sea Island, Georgia.

Public and media comments

The majority of those commemorating Reagan were supporters of his, although not all held the 40th president in extremely high regard. In one noted example, Paul Mays, a retired engineer who never thought much of Reagan's politics, witnessed the motorcade leave the tarmac at Andrews Air Force Base; he commented "This is history".

Frank Dubois, an American University professor, also was there for the motorcade, though of the laudatory praise he remarked, "[Reagan] hurt the environment; there was double-digit inflation. I just don't get it."

The majority of media coverage of the event was deferential. Most major news organizations broadcast the various events live multiple times; during the week, the cable channel C-SPAN broadcast uninterrupted coverage of the funeral ceremonies. A few complained, however, that the television coverage was excessive and preempted coverage of other events.

CBS News anchor Dan Rather was quoted as saying: "Even though everybody is respectful and wants to pay homage to the president, life does go on. There is other news, like the reality of Iraq. It got very short shrift this weekend."

Reagan's obituaries also included a few criticisms. Richard Goldstein of The Village Voice criticized the funeral for its careful orchestration, writing, "Because the networks had so long to plan for this production... this was the most precisely mounted news event in modern times. Each gesture was minutely choreographed, every tear strategically placed."

Additionally, some media outlets were criticized for lionizing Reagan without paying equal attention to more controversial decisions made during his administration. Thomas Kunkel, dean of the University of Maryland, College Park's journalism college, wrote in A magazine that the coverage "would have you believe that Reagan was a cross between Abe Lincoln and Mother Teresa, with an overlay of Mister Rogers."[55] Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post's media columnist, said Reagan was "a far more controversial figure in his time than the largely gushing obits on television would suggest." The Nation ran a series of articles about the many controversies of his presidency.