The Capitol Christmas Tree and lighting ceremony is a tradition that dates back to 1964. Since 1970, the United States Forest Service has appointed one of our country’s National Forests to provide the Capitol Christmas Tree.
The Capitol Christmas Tree Program web site provides a detailed history of the program and of what the appointed National Forest (and its home State) actually provides for the ceremony. For example, in addition to providing a near-perfect 60+ foot tall tree for the Capitol, 4000-5000 weather-proof handmade ornaments and 60-70 companion trees (between 6 and 25 feet tall) must also be provided.
This year’s Capitol Christmas Tree is a 78’ subalpine fir that came from the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana. The lighting ceremony took place on Tuesday December 2, 2008.
This year’s tree features energy efficient LED lights. When the season is over the tree will be mulched and the mulch will be used on the Capitol Grounds. For tips on how you can go green for the holidays, check out “Greenversations”, the blog of the US Environmental Protection Agency.
Capitol Christmas Tree Program, 2008: http://www.capitolchristmastree2008.org/
Capitol Christmas Tree Program History: http://www.capitolchristmastree2008.com/files/History_of_Tree_Revised.pdf
Bitterroot National Forest:http://www.fs.fed.us/r1/bitterroot/
Greenversations – How Are You Going Green For The Holidays?: http://blog.epa.gov/blog/2008/11/17/qotw-how-are-you-going-green-for-the-holidays/
MONTGOMERY BUS BOYCOTT
On December 5, 1955, a young woman decided that she’d had enough of being treated as a second class citizen. When told to give up her bus seat to a white man, Rosa Parks refused. Her actions, and the protests that occurred at her trial, inadvertently sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which can also be considered the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. The Bus Boycott soon became more than just a local issue – it thrust the Civil Rights Movement into the public eye and made Martin Luther King, Jr. a national figure. Thanks to the courageous actions of Ms. Parks and others, Americans can enjoy the freedoms today that are often taken for granted. The federal government has websites and resources that can be invaluable tools for learning about U.S. History as well as all cultures. The government provides links to websites about a variety of cultures within the United States. Topics include history and genealogy, and even information for new citizens. The National Archives holds Rosa Parks’ arrest records, and provides links to their images on their website. If you have questions or need assistance on civil rights locally, the Indiana Civil Rights Commission offers resources and support as well.
Rosa Parks: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/jb/modern/parks_1
Montgomery Bus Boycott: http://www.americaslibrary.gov/cgi-bin/page.cgi/aa/activists/king/bus_1
National Civil Rights Museum: http://www.civilrightsmuseum.org/gallery/gallery8.asp
Africana Online: http://www.africanaonline.com/montgomery.htm
Culture and Ethnic Groups: http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/History_Culture.shtml
Rosa Parks Arrest Records: http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/rosa-parks/
Indiana Civil Rights Laws and Regulations: http://www.in.gov/icrc/2330.htm
ICRC Commission Orders: http://www.in.gov/icrc/2332.htm
PEARL HARBOR ANNIVERSARY
December 7 marks the 67th anniversary of what FDR coined as “the day that would live in infamy.” It was this day that Japan attacked the US Naval Base at Pearl Harbor, destroying the U.S.S Arizona, capsizing the U.S.S. Oklahoma, and doing tremendous damage to many other ships and aircraft. More than 2,300 Americans were killed that day. Following the attack, the United States was thrust into war with Japan. Two days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and the country was now fully immersed in World War II.
The National Park Service offers a lesson plan for teaching the story of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. The site is interesting because it includes links to maps, data charts, and readings on the topic. There are also images and links to outside resources. For a more detailed history, see Naval Station Pearl Harbor’s website. It also includes current information on the base as well as tourist information. In addition, you can go to the Naval Historical Center’s Online Library, which has photographs and a short description of the attacks.
Finally, the Library of Congress has a collection of materials relating to Pearl Harbor. Some images available online include the Naval dispatch announcing the attack and links to “man on the street” oral histories, recorded just days after the bombing.
USS Arizona: http://www.nps.gov/usar/
USS Oklahoma: http://www.nps.gov/archive/usar/oklahoma.htm
NPS Remembering Pearl Harbor: http://www.nps.gov/nr/twhp/wwwlps/lessons/18arizona/18arizona.htm
Naval Station Pearl Harbor, Hawaii: http://navysite.de/homeports/pearlharbor.htm
LOC Today in History: http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/dec07.html
Naval Historical Center’s page on Pearl Harbor: http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/events/wwii-pac/pearlhbr/pearlhbr.htm
HOLIDAY RESOURCES FROM USA.GOV
Make the US government your one-stop spot for holiday tips and features. Happy Holidays on USA.gov compiles cooking, travel and decorating safety tips for the holiday season. This site has several fun links especially related to food. Looking to make you meal a little healthier? Go to the Federal Citizen Information Center’s Food for the Holidays site. Here you find tips on cooking turkeys, making vegetarian meals and how to avoid holiday weight gain. There is also a link for Recipes from and for Americans. Included are recipes by famous Americans (“Mamie Eisenhower’s Million Dollar Fudge”) and recipes broken down by region of origin.
Many people also use the holidays as a time for giving. The government offers tips and precautions on how to ensure that the charity of your choice is legitimate. If you find yourself bogged down with mail and telephone solicitations, there are also tips on how to avoid those.
For information on other holidays throughout the year that are commonly celebrated by Americans, check out USA.gov’s American Holidays page.
Happy Holidays: http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/Happy_Holidays.shtml
Food for the Holidays: http://www.pueblo.gsa.gov/cfocus/cfnov2001/focus.htm
Tips and Precautions: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/telemarketing/tel01.shtm
American Holidays: http://www.usa.gov/citizens/holidays.shtml
INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION WEBSITE
The Indiana Department of Education website has a new look! Take a peek at its new layout. On the left-hand side, you’ll find the standard “Home” and “Information for” sections typical of the IN.gov websites. A little bit lower, you’ll see Helpful Links, including School Data and Academic Standards. On the right-hand side, a Find it Fast search features “School Snapshot” information about Indiana’s schools — searchable by school, city, county (with map), and data criteria. The snapshots contain accreditation, corporation, enrollment, principal, ethnicity, free lunch, ISTEP data, and more for each school. Also check the center of the website for Latest Headlines and Events, which today features the Learn Green, Life Green effort for educators, students, parents, and the community to learn environmental responsibility.
Indiana Department of Education: http://www.doe.in.gov/
by Katharine Springer & Elisabeth O’Donnell