Writer, historian, consultant, trainer
History of the Liberation of Auschwitz: January 27, 1945
January 27, 1945, was the liberation of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp, one of the most notorious camps of World War II, by the Soviet Red Army. This date is now known by the United Nations and the European Union as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
History of Twelfth Night and Epiphany
Twelfth Night is on January 5, the eve of Epiphany, which occurs in the Christian calendar on January 6. Epiphany signifies the event of the Magi, or Wise Men, visiting the baby Jesus, and is known in some Latin cultures as Three Kings Day.
History of New Year's Eve
New Year’s Eve is the last day of the year, according to the Gregorian Calendar, and is known as Old Year’s Day, or St. Sylvester’s Day. You may remember reading that Emperor Constantine was considered the first “Christian” Roman Emperor? St. Sylvester is responsible for Constantine’s conversion in the 4th-century.
History of Auld Lang Syne
Why is it that each New Year’s Eve, we sing “Auld Lang Syne,” but do we know what it means? The song contains words from a language that few are familiar with, in a syntax that is confusing to most, and is from a poem about friends recalling adventures they had long ago but had nothing to do with New Year’s Eve.
History of the Christmas Truce of 1914
Over a century ago, across the 400-mile battle line of Europe, World War I had claimed almost a million lives over the previous five months of battle. The Great War, “the war to end all wars,” was about to experience something almost unheard of in two thousand years of warfare: a temporary though unofficial truce. As Christmas Eve fell in the trenches of Flanders Field, German soldiers had erected Christmas Trees with lighted candles.
History of Christmas Eve and the Battle of the Bulge
On Christmas Eve, 1944, my father, Staff Sergeant John Petro, had arrived in Strasbourg with the 42nd “Rainbow” Infantry Division. Eight days earlier, the Battle of the Bulge had begun. The 42nd Division, along with others, supplied much-needed reinforcements to the most extensive and bloodiest battle of World War II involving American forces. 610,000 Americans, 55,000 British, and 72,000 Free French troops were involved in this battle.
History of the Christmas Star
The Star of Bethlehem has puzzled scholars for centuries. Some have skeptically dismissed the phenomenon as a myth, a mere literary device to call attention to the importance of the Nativity. Others have argued that the star was miraculously placed there to guide the Magi and is, therefore, beyond all natural explanations.
History of A Charlie Brown Christmas
On December 9, 1965, A Charlie Brown Christmas premiered on CBS TV as a 30-minute animated Christmas special written by Charles M. Schulz, creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip. The comic was hugely popular at the time when the TV special debuted.
History of the Christmas Tree
December 8 is National Christmas Tree Day. It is generally believed that the first Christmas tree was of German origin dating from the time of St. Boniface, an English missionary to Germany in the 8th century. He replaced the sacrifices to the Norse god Odin’s sacred oak — some say it was Thor's Thunder Oak — with a fir tree adorned in tribute to the Christ Child.