Down in the Valley

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The Grand Canyon is not, strictly speaking, a valley.  But it is big enough that it could be called a valley, in fact, it is larger than many so-called valleys!  Year-round, it is an intensely popular tourist destination.  When you’re there, you are maybe more likely to hear tourists speaking German, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and other languages are you are to hear English.  People come from all over the world to see this truly immense, spectacular sight.

You can (if you are the stomach for it!) ride mules down from the rim to the canyon floor (and  yes, mules have fallen, contrary to popular belief!)  You can (if you have the legs and lungs for it!) hike from the rim to the canyon floor.  But if you plan to do that, listen CAREFULLY to the rangers and their recommendations before you head down.  Many, many people have died from cardiac arrest, dehydration, hypothermia and other conditions from the effort required.  You can (if you wish – and I’d love to do this!) raft down the canyon if you make reservations far enough in advance.  But there are MANY who have drowned in the mighty Colorado…even those who were only in very shallow water.  Flash floods can come tumbling down blind canyon offshoots when it rains up on the plateau miles and miles from the canyon.  And the current is swift…and can be very deadly, too.

Still, it is a wonderland.  Today’s photo was taken last May when we visited the canyon.  What a place!!!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1777, the American flag was flown in battle for the first time during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch’s Bridge, Delaware. Patriot General William Maxwell ordered the “Stars and Stripes” banner raised as a detachment of his infantry and cavalry met an advance guard of British and Hessian troops. The rebels were defeated and forced to retreat to Brandywine Creek in Pennsylvania, where they joined General George Washington’s main force.

Three months earlier, on June 14, the Continental Congress had adopted a resolution stating that “the flag of the United States be thirteen alternate stripes red and white” and that “the Union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new Constellation.” The national flag, which became known as the Stars and Stripes, was based on the Grand Union flag, a banner carried by the Continental Army in 1776 that also consisted of 13 red and white stripes. According to legend, Philadelphia seamstress Betsy Ross designed the new canton, which consisted of a circle of 13 stars on a blue background, at the request of General George Washington. Historians have been unable to conclusively prove or disprove this legend.

With the entrance of new states into the Union after independence, new stripes and stars were added to represent the new additions. In 1818, however, Congress enacted a law stipulating that the 13 original stripes be restored and that only stars be added to represent new states.

On June 14, 1877, the first Flag Day observance was held on the 100th anniversary of the adoption of the flag. As instructed by Congress, the U.S. flag was flown from all public buildings across the country. In the years after the first Flag Day, several states continued to observe the anniversary, and, in 1949, Congress officially designated June 14 as Flag Day, a national day of observance.

Even to this day, I think she (the flag) is the most beautiful in the world!

TRIVIA FOR TODAY:  In 2008, nearly 50,000 kilos of cocaine were seized in the U.S. during drug arrests. The wholesale street value of this amount of cocaine was approximately $1.5 billion.  (That’s a lot of McDonald’s cheeseburgers!)

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