Category Archives: history

Cleopatra

Cleopatra is one of the most iconic women in history. Historians have chronicled her exploits for over 2000 years. She’s considered the quintessential “dangerous woman.” Despite being known as a sex symbol, Cleopatra was a powerful monarch feared and respected in the Ancient World. Her complex life makes her one of my favorite historical figures. Continue reading

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Anne Frank: An Inspirational Life

On December 30th, 1998, I turned twelve years old. Like every twelve-year-old, I had a party. Family and friends came over to celebrate and showered me with presents. One stood out among the others and continues to stand out to this day. My aunt’s gift was a girl’s diary. I peeled back the wrapping paper, read the title aloud, and looked to her for an explanation. I had never heard of Anne Frank. It interested me, though, since I was a bookworm.

The following day, I found an inscription inside. Veronica: Anne Frank was just a year older than you when she began this diary. It became her personal refuge when she and her family were forced into hiding from the Nazis. She died in Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the age of 15 and was probably buried in a mass grave, but her thoughts live on. This book has meant a great deal to me since I first read it at age 12. I hope it does to you, as well.—Aunt Barbara.

This intrigued me. Who was Anne? Why was her diary published? Who were the Nazis? I read. Though I liked the girl the diary entries introduced me to, it confused me. Why was she persecuted for being Jewish? What was going on in Europe during the 1940s? At that time in my life, I knew next to nothing about WWII. This was sad since my grandfather had been in the Airborne and fought in the ETO.

annefrank002Through added research, I soon learned Anne Frank was a girl after my own heart. A deep, abiding love for her developed. Born in Germany, she and her family fled the Fatherland when the Nazis came to power. As Jews, the Nazis would have targeted and killed them if they remained. Anne, her parents, and sister Margot settled in the Netherlands. They lived carefree lives until Germany invaded in 1940. This time the Frank family could not escape. They made plans to go into hiding. Her father, Otto, worked with his friends and employees to prepare for his family’s “disappearance” and their subsequent stay in his office building’s attic. The Frank’s would hide with another family and one other.

On Anne’s thirteenth birthday, she received a gift that changed her life: a diary. In it she recorded all her thoughts and feelings. It became a witness of the suffering she and the other Jews experienced under the thumbs of the Nazis. When it was time for her family to go into hiding, Anne brought her diary with her. For two years, the Frank’s, the van Pel’s family, and Fritz Pfeffer hid in the annex. They hoped one day the war would end and they could be free. Under their noses, Anne blossomed into a wise, strong, independent girl. On hearing a radio broadcast asking for people to save their diaries and letters for post-war publication, she rewrote her diary. Anne intended to publish it someday.

The fateful day came when the Nazis arrested Anne, her family, and friends and sent them to Auschwitz. Only Otto survived. On learning of his daughters’ deaths, one of the helpers gave him Anne’s diary. He published it and spent the rest of his life sharing her story.

They say there is a book that changes your life forever. For me, that was The Diary of Anne Frank. It has influenced me as much as the Bible. My life has never been the same since I met Anne Frank. I’ve spent years studying the Holocaust and have written almost as many years writing about it. Anne taught me to persevere, to believe in the good of humanity, to never give up my faith. In 2015, I fulfilled my dream of visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau, where Anne, her family and friends, and over a million others perished. Maybe someday I will visit the Frank family’s hiding place. No matter how much studying I do on the Holocaust, I know the next time I open Anne Frank’s diary, I will fall in love with her all over again.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Leigh has been published in several anthologies and her work has appeared on GoWorldTravel.com and the Artist Unleashed, and she has published a couple of fictional stories. She makes her home in Indiana with her family and her furbabies. To learn more about her, visit her blog.

Conquering Queen

When you think of women’s rights, I doubt the medieval time period comes to mind. Religion played a huge role in society during this time. That led to a more patriarchal culture, so it’s understandable. However, if an observer digs deeper into history, the medieval era provides examples of women who left behind memorable lives that promote equality. Such as Matilda, queen to William the Conqueror. Through the circumstances of her birth, marriage, and legacy, Queen Matilda is a historical figure who deserves more recognition. Continue reading

Quiet Gallantry: Gen. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

I was in my early teens when they released the movie Gettysburg (1993). My family rented it as soon as it hit the local video store. We settled down for a deeply moving, relatively accurate depiction of the battle at Gettysburg that turned the tide of the American Civil War in favor of the Union. Continue reading

Master Shipbuilder: The Legacy of Thomas Andrews

The gale rocks the scaffolding beneath you. The sweat on your hands causes you to lose your grip on the iron rail. You came up to straighten the boards. Your heart pounds. One foot forward at a time. You can do this. TITANIC needs you. Her iron hull rises beside you. The next brutal gust rocks the narrow platform so much, you cannot take another step. Stranded eighty feet above the ground, you panic.

“Hold on,” someone shouts beneath you. “I’m coming up.”

You focus on breathing. The boards have shifted. You’re too terrified to try climbing down. You sit and wait until a cheerful face appears over the edge. “Hello, Archie,” your pal Thomas Andrews says with his usual grin. “Got yourself in a bind?”

You manage a nervous chuckle. Andrews helps you climb down before he secures the boards himself. Continue reading

John the Baptist: The Faith to Step Back From His Own Glory

Just a Voice, Just a Servant, Just a Signpost

“What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?” Jesus asked.

No. They went out to see a prophet, a holy man, a man who spoke God’s words; his name was John. His words riveted the crowds. They marveled at the conviction behind them! If only we lived as though we (like John) were ready for God to do some shocking new thing. As if God will come to this earth where we live. (He will.) And if only we would read and think about the scriptures in the way John did. (As though God gave them.) Continue reading

Aphra Behn: The Unsuccessful Spy

As cliché as it may be, sometimes things do fall into place. While we all try to find our purpose in life, we’ll make mistakes and have experiences that will change us forever. This might come across as superficial blathering (believe me, it feels like that writing it), but we all have our own niche. No one found this life lesson more apt than Aphra Behn. Continue reading

Men of Honor: General Washington and Major André

Nobody likes a traitor..

Other than Judas, history has no more famous traitor than Benedict Arnold, whose name has become synonymous with betrayal. A military officer in the American Revolution and a friend of George Washington, Arnold fell to persuasion from Major John André, a British spymaster, into surrendering West Point to the British for £20,000. This would have enabled the British to cut off New England from the rest of the colonies.

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Paul Milner: The Everyday Sleuth

Although Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle is most the center of this drama (with his name in the title, seems only fair, haha), and comes up with the final piece needed to solve every case, for this article I wanted to focus on another member of the main detective trio as he appeared through Seasons 1-5, Detective Sergeant Paul Milner. Continue reading