Independence Day

independenceday
In support of the Greek nation, President Trump honors Greek Independence Day with Greek Orthodox Elder Archbishop of America, Demetrios

In 1821, Greeks started a revolution (the Greek War of Independence) for freedom from the Ottoman Empire. The conflict lasted until 1830 when the modern nation of Greece was formed. March 25 is celebrated as the the day – 198 years ago – that this war was started. In typical Greek fashion, the celebration is for the start of the conflict, not the successful conclusion! Χρόνια Πολλά. May God bless Greece and their supporters.

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The Annunciation

26……………. the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, 27 To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. 29 Who having heard, was troubled at his saying, and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. 30 And the angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God. 31 Behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shalt bring forth a son; and thou shalt call his name Jesus. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the most High; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of David his father; and he shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever. 33 And of his kingdom there shall be no end. 34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? 35 And the angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. 36 And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren: 37 Because no word shall be impossible with God. 38 And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done to me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

Luke 1:26-38 (Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA))

Today Greek Orthodox Christians celebrate the Annunciation (Ευαγγελισμός). This is one of the defining moments for all Christians – the day God announced that He would manifest Himself to the world in human form through the birth of Christ Jesus. It is truly a day to be revered and celebrated. Our Savior is about to be born! Blessed be the Mother of God (Θεοτόκος)

Getting around Bangkok, Thailand

ArroyoCityNews spent the last three weeks in Bangkok, Thailand. We won’t bore you with a “what we did on holiday” travelogue, but we thought you might be interested in the ways to get around the city – some conventional and some not so conventional. The city suffers from permanent gridlock, so street transportation can take forever.

bangkok-traffic

Taxis are colorful and cheap. We’re not sure why Pepto Bismol pink and John Deere yellow and green are the colors of choice, but it makes for easy recognition and a bright journey.

For a fun ride, our first choice would be a Tuk Tuk. These are motorized tricycles that are more agile than taxis and get through side streets inaccessible to cars.

bangkok-tuk-tuk

If you want a “put your life in danger” hair-raising zip around the city (mostly on the wrong side of the road) – hail a moped and jump on the back. Not recommended for the faint of heart, but dirt cheap and way faster than any other street vehicle. They are easily recognizable by the orange jacketed drivers. We are definitely too old for this.

Lastly, buses are available, but are hot, busy, intermittent and slow. They are, however, cheap.

bangkok-bus

Now to the quick and reliable methods – the MRT (metro) and BTS (skytrain). While busy and usually packed, especially at rush hour, they run frequently and punctually. If a station is near your destination this is the way to go.

For the old city and Chinatown areas, boat travel is fun and reliable. There are traditional cross-river ferries, hop-on hop-off express boats, regular ferries and of course the long tail river boat. There is no experience to compare with being propelled over the water in a long skinny flat bottomed boat powered by a gleaming V8 perched on the stern. A ride not to be missed.

All in all, getting around Bangkok can be frustrating, exhilarating, slow, scary or wild – but always interesting and an adventure.

Newly qualified firefighters

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Turk

The Arroyo City Volunteer Fire Department has expanded their base of qualified firefighters. At the Edinburg Fire Academy this month four department members received or improved their qualifications. Ryan Peck and Terri Overstreet completed the Level 1 firefighter course. Brian Bellar completed the Level 1 and Level 2 firefighter courses. Turk Johnson completed the vehicle extrication and the Level 2 firefighter courses. Turk & Brian join Chief John Whelan, Assistant Chief Chuck Whelan, Captain Mark Hammond and Lieutenant Diane Sheehy as Level 2 firefighters.

The department now boasts six Level 2 and two Level 1 active firefighters, as well as 3 vehicle extrication experts. Congratulations Turk, Brian, Ryan and Terri.

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Sacrifice and heroism

In these days of selfishness, acrimony and downright nastiness, here’s a story to help you regain faith in that humans can behave selflessly and honorably:

Tony Foulds was an 8 year old kid in 1944, playing with friends in Endcliffe Park in Sheffield, England. Overhead he saw a U.S. B-17 Flying Fortress aircraft returning from a final mission in Denmark, where the Luftwaffe left it badly damaged. He witnessed the plane crash, killing all 10 on board. The plane was called Mi Amigo. Tony later learned the aircraft had been attempting a crash landing in the park – the only green space for miles – but diverted course for fear of harming him and his friends.

B-17

The 10 airmen on board were:

  • Pilot Lt John Kriegshauser, from Missouri
  • Co-pilot 2nd Lt Lyle Curtis, from Idaho
  • 2nd Lt John Humphrey, a navigator from Illinois
  • Sgt Melchor Hernandez, a bombardier from California
  • Sgt Harry Estabrooks, an engineer and gunner from Kansas
  • Sgt Charles Tuttle, gunner from Kentucky
  • Sgt Robert Mayfield, radio operator from Illinois
  • Sgt Vito Ambrosio, gunner from New York
  • Sgt Malcolm Williams, gunner from Oklahoma
  • Sgt Maurice Robbins, gunner from Texas

A memorial to the men was erected in the park and Tony has quietly tended to it ever since. Years later, a BBC journalist, Dan Walker, saw Tony one day placing flowers at the memorial. He was so impressed with this story that he began an online campaign to make Tony’s dream to properly commemorate the air crew who died with a flypast, come true.

Last Friday, British and US military aircraft were dispatched from the UK’s largest US air force base in Suffolk, before flying over Endcliffe Park in Sheffield at 8.45am. Tony and a large group, including the deceased’s relatives and U.S. military representatives were on hand for the occasion – his dream had been fulfilled. Another flypast of four F-15 jets was simultaneously conducted over the graves of three of the US aircrew who are buried in Coton, Cambridgeshire.

God bless Tony for his efforts and dedication and may the memory of the airmen be eternal.