Movie Review: Dunkirk

I’ll admit I didn’t know much about the battle before I decided to see the movie. My friend, a history buff, gave me a crash course before the movie, making me wish I learned more about it in school or elsewhere. The Battle of Dunkirk may have been a military failure for the European Allied Powers, but it still boosted morale for them, and for the British in particular. It’s the turning point in the war before the US joined it. The story had my interest before viewing the movie, and coming out of the movie the interest was exponentially higher; Dunkirk is easily one of the best movies I’ve ever viewed, and much of the public—and critics online—agree.

To be clear, Dunkirk is not something to watch if you need an escape. Expect an intense, stressful movie experience if you do view it. I already love movies, but found myself more engaged during this one than most. My eyes were wide the entire two hours; I rarely looked away from the screen. I didn’t even check my watch, which is a habit for me even during the most entertaining movies. Every few minutes I had to pause, ensure I could still breath, and unclench my jaw or my fists.

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“A penny for the Guy”

Image result for plastic ono band

There’s nothing I can write about Guy Fawkes, or Guy Fawkes Day, that hasn’t already been written.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I majored in history and all, but there simply isn’t, and I simply won’t.  If you don’t yet know the story of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, there are plenty of books and web pages that can clue you in.  As my dad always used to fondly tell me whenever I asked him a question, “You look it up.”  I must have taken his advice to heart because I now do exactly that for a living. Continue reading ““A penny for the Guy””

Oral History – Everyone Has a Story

The Chesapeake Genealogy Enthusiasts met on November 9, 2015. Some attendees shared photographs along with memories. Kevin Clement presented the lesson, “Oral History.”

Oral history is a field of study where professionals collect systematically the testimony of living people about their personal experiences. Even though it has been argued that only trained professionals can conduct legitimate oral history, it is important for families to collect and maintain the oral memories of its members.

Families should consider preserving their own memories. My grandfather used to tell marvelous stories of his time as a missionary in Africa. I have shared a couple of these stories throughout my life, but I am positive that I do not give the tales the same flair that my grandfather had given them. How grand would it be if I had an audio or video recording of him telling these stories so I could replay the recording over and over again and hear his voice? It is too late since my grandfather passed away in 1978, but it may not be too late for others. Look to your relatives still living and begin recording their memories. More importantly, do not fail to record your own memories for future generations.

Graduation photo of my grandfather, Frank Manning, missionary and storyteller.

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The Words of Warriors

Abraham Lincoln said…”Character is like a tree and reputation like its shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing.”
Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) 16th President of the United States.

Napoleon Hill said…”Edison failed 10,000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.
Napoleon Hill (1883-1970) American speaker and writer.

Robert Frost said…”In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.”
Robert Frost (1875-1963) American Poet.

Unbroken : A World War II Story of Survival, Resiliance, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand



As Memorial Day approaches, take a detour from the usual genre of teen literature and read a truly astonishing story of hope and survival.  Louis Zamperini was an Italian-American Olympic runner whose plane goes down in World War 2, and he and two other men drift on a raft for a long time.   They knew the situation was dire, but they had hope and so they survived. When Louis was placed in a POW camp by the Japanese army after he was captured from an island, he  suffered unspeakable atrocities but he wanted to live  because he had a family and friends.  This story is about how strong our minds can be and truly show how mind over matter works.   Honor those who gave us freedom and be thankful we live in the land of the free.