Insights into the Past

A Normandy Beach landing photo they don't show in textbooks - Brave women of the Red Cross arriving in 1944 to help the injured troops, WWII.

The past always seems so idyllic, so serene, and so sublime. The reality of day to day life is more prosaic, more challenging and far crueller. For instance the use of horse and carriages raises a number of questions. Firstly consider the welfare of the animals. In ancient and not so ancient wars, more bemoans the tragic loss of human life but what about that of the animals especially the horses. The movie The War Horse puts the atrocious treatment of horses during WW1 i.e. only a century ago into perspective. But what about another factor which had to be born with equanimity by the population especially those residing in the cities – the streets caked with horse excrement!

Main picture: A Normandy Beach landing photo they don’t show in textbooks – Brave women of the Red Cross arriving in 1944 to help the injured troops, WWII.

A number of these photos illustrate the value – or lack thereof – of human life. Photographs of workers assembling the steel girders during the construction of the Empire State Building are already legendary. Here are a few more to add to those memories. Today higher standards of safety are probably employed even in supposed Third World countries but a century ago that was still an acceptable norm even in First World countries.

It took big cajones to be a steel worker during this period, where they weren’t required to use any safety lines

It took big cajones to be a steel worker during this period, where they weren’t required to use any safety lines

This crew was working on the Woolworth Bldg, NYC, in 1926

This crew was working on the Woolworth Bldg, NYC, in 1926

The most heart breaking story of WW2 must relate to the Sullivan family. No other family in American history has suffered a wartime loss like that of Waterloo’s Sullivan family. The Sullivans gave up their five sons in a World War II tragedy that has never been forgotten. They all were serving on the same ship that was sunk. The Navy changed its policy, after that tragedy, about next of kin serving on the same ship.

The five Sullivan brothers

The five Sullivan brothers

Mrs Sullivan received two letters from F.D.R. in February of 1943. The first informed her of the death of her five sons in the line of duty, the second sent later requested her presence at the christening of the destroyer U.S.S. Sullivans named in their honor.

Can you even start to imagine the grief this poor lady had?

lleta Sullivan reads a letter from the U.S. Navy

lleta Sullivan reads a letter from the U.S. Navy

Dunhuang manuscripts

The Dunhuang manuscripts are a cache of important religious and secular documents discovered in the Mogao Caves of Dunhuang, China, in the early 20th century. Dating from the 5th to early 11th centuries, the manuscripts include works ranging from history and mathematics to folk songs and dance. Most of the religious manuscripts are Buddhist, but other religions including Daoism, Nestorian Christianity and Manichaeism are also represented. The majority of the manuscripts are in the Chinese language. Other languages represented are Khotanese, Sanskrit, Sogdian, Tangut, Tibetan, Old Uyghur language, and Hebrew. The manuscripts are a major resource for academic studies in a wide variety of fields including history, religious studies, linguistics, and manuscript studies.

Library hidden in a cave, a unique repository of ancient manuscripts known as the Library Cave. A hidden cache of 50,000 books and rolls dating from ca. 500 to 1002 AD that were deemed heretical and hidden in the cave since the early 11th century.

The so-called "Library Cave"

The so-called “Library Cave”

USS Ranger (CV-4), America’s first Aircraft Carrier

USS Ranger (CV-4) was the first ship of the United States Navy to be designed and built from the keel up as an aircraft carrier. Ranger was a relatively small ship, closer in size and displacement to the first US carrier—Langley—than later ships. An island superstructure was not included in the original design, but was added after completion. Deemed too slow for use with the Pacific Fleet‘s carrier task forces,[10] the ship spent most of the war in the Atlantic Ocean. Ranger saw combat in that theatre and provided air support for Operation Torch. In October 1944, she fought in Operation Leader, air attacks on German shipping off Norway. The ship was sold for scrap in 1947.

The USS Ranger....the first Aircraft Carrier. Just look at the Bi-Planes

The USS Ranger….the first Aircraft Carrier. Just look at the Bi-Planes

USS Ranger CV-4

A stunning photo of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, in 1928

A stunning photo of the Eiffel Tower, Paris, in 1928

Atlanta in the Civil War before Gen. Sherman burned the city to the ground. Shades of Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water"

Atlanta in the Civil War before Gen. Sherman burned the city to the ground. Shades of Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water”

Baptism in the river. From "Appalachian Life" - a photographic study

Baptism in the river. From “Appalachian Life” – a photographic study

Child soldiers

Child soldier - in desperation the Nazi's used many of these children often as fodder for front line diversionary actions. These children didn't have a chance.

Child soldier – in desperation the Nazi’s used many of these children often as fodder for
front line diversionary actions. These children didn’t have a chance.

This photo, taken at the end of the war shows a young boy terrified by the sounds of battle. He even wet his pants

This photo, taken at the end of the war shows a young boy terrified by the sounds of battle. He even wet his pants

In the Paluxy River, in Glen Rose, Texas, they found human AND dinosaur footprints in the clay

In the Paluxy River, in Glen Rose, Texas, they found human AND dinosaur footprints in the clay

New Orleans circa 1906. Italian headquarters, Madison Street. The streets were still dirt

New Orleans circa 1906. Italian headquarters, Madison Street. The streets were still dirt

On July 10, 1913, Death Valley, California hits 134 °F (~56.7 °C), the highest temperature recorded in the United States

On July 10, 1913, Death Valley, California hits 134 °F (~56.7 °C), the highest temperature recorded in the United States

Righting the overturned hull of USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbour, 19 March 1943

Righting the overturned hull of USS Oklahoma at Pearl Harbour, 19 March 1943

Second Class Saloon...The saloon that Wyatt Earp and wife owned in Nome, Alaska between 1887-1901

Second Class Saloon…The saloon that Wyatt Earp and wife owned in Nome, Alaska between 1887-1901

This is what NYC looked like in the late 1800s

This is what NYC looked like in the late 1800s

This woman!! She cost many American servicemen their lives

Jane Fonda cost many american servicemen theirs lives! Actress Jane Fonda sitting on a North Vietnamese anti-aircraft gun during her 1972 visit to the country, as a protest against the Vietnam War. POW handed her pieces of paper with SS# on it, she gave the list to the Vietnamese, the soldiers were executed later that same day

 


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