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Archives 06-01-2005

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Veteran pays tribute to 1812 militia
Butterflies among beauty at Standing Stone State Park
Unemployment rate lowers in Overton

 

 

Veteran pays tribute to 1812 militia

photo courtesy of the McLeod family
While placing flags at graves in Chalmette National Cemetery in New Orleans, Mac McLeod pauses at the grave of an unknown Tennessee volunteer who fought in War of 1812 Battle of New Orleans.

By MAC McLEOD
In the process of becoming the most powerful nation on earth, Americans have been asked to make the ultimate sacrifice on battlefields around the globe. From the opening shots of the Revolutionary War in Lexington, MA, to the streets of Baghdad, Iraq, this nation's men and women have answered the call to preserve freedom and eliminate oppression.

On Memorial Day, this nation pauses to give thanks and honor those who paid the supreme sacrifice. That's what Memorial Day is all about. Not sales, picnics, car races, trips to the beach and mountains, and a day off from work. It's a day of somber remembrance of what we have and how it was paid for.

Memorial Day has always been special for me. As a Boy Scout, I placed flags at our local courthouse on Memorial Day and learned at a young age just what the day was all about. As a Vietnam veteran, I consider myself lucky to live in such a great land and having survived a war. I truly am grateful for those whom we honor.

And this year it meant even a little more. I have a good friend in New Orleans who called last week inviting me to help place flags on the 16,500 graves at Chalmette National Cemetery. My friend knows my love of American history and he knew the cemetery was on the ground where one of our country's most important battles was fought.

Not many people think of the War of 1812. It was one of those wars that got misplaced between the Revolution and the Civil War, yet it was the War of 1812 that brought respectability to a young nation.

When the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, the British never considered they had lost. They simply believed they just grew tired of fighting and would resume it at a later date. In the meantime, Napoleon had marched his French armies all across Europe, and England had to shift its attention to defeating him more than fighting another war in America.

To finance his war in Europe, Napoleon sold his possessions in the New World to the upstart United States. For less than 2 cents an acre, President Thomas Jefferson purchased the entire Louisiana Territory, which included the city of New Orleans.

England, on the other hand, started capturing American sailors to aid in its war effort. To put a stop to the imprisonment of sailors, President James Madison asked for and received from Congress, a declaration of war.

The country was ill prepared to take on the British Empire a second time, but now the dye had been cast. The British invaded America, captured the Capitol and burned it, and was well on the way to almost retaking this young nation.

By taking New Orleans, England could control the mouth of the Mississippi River and interior of the country. The upcoming battle could well spell the future of the United States.

To the rescue came Tennessee's own Andrew Jackson and an army of some 5,000, mostly militia and volunteers, many from Kentucky and Tennessee. Facing Jackson on the other side of the battlefield was Major General Sir Edward M. Pakenham and10,000 seasoned British troops, many who had just defeated Napoleon at Waterloo.

Six miles south of New Orleans on January 8, 1815, the battle was engaged. In actuality though, a peace treaty had been signed in France ending hostilities between the two nations back in December, but in a time when news travelled only as fast as a horse, or in this case, a ship, word did not reach the battlefield before the fight.

On that morning, Pakenham opened the battle by sending 5,400 of his smartly dressed and well-trained troops across the open plantation field for Jackson's rag tag collection of armed men well dug in behind earthen entrenchments. When the British were close enough, the Americans opened fire. The first volley ripped huge holes in the British lines. In an attempt to cross Jackson's lines, Pakenham then sent another portion of his army parallel to the American defenses, and they too were ripped to shreds by deadly fire.

In less than 30 minutes, more than 2,000 British soldiers lay dead, wounded, or missing. On the American side of the line, 6 were dead and 7 were wounded. It was perhaps the most one-sided victory in the annals of warfare.

The British retreated from the field and never again attempted to retake the former colonies. And the rest of the world took note that the United States was a country that would no longer be intimidated. The battle perhaps marked the second rung on the ladder to world leadership. The Battle of New Orleans has to rank near the top of important events in this country's history.

Chalmette National Cemetery, located on the battlefield where the British would have camped, was created during the Civil War. Graves at the cemetery contain remains of soldiers from all of this country's wars, including 4 from the War of 1812. Three of those graves contain remains of soldiers from that conflict, but none fought in the battle.

One, and only one, contains the remains of a soldier from the battle, and he is an unknown. What is known of him though is he was from Tennessee and he died on his way home from the battle and was taken back and buried there.

Memorial Day is a special day for this country. It's a time to pause and rededicate ourselves to the principles for which all these brave people believed in so deeply that they were willing to give their most valuable possession - their lives - to preserve. Memorial Day should be every day for every American.

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Butterflies among beauty at Standing Stone State Park

Among the beauty and nature that can be taken in by visitors at Standing Stone State Park are these multi-colored butterflies that were photographed over the weekend.

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Unemployment rate lowers in Overton

Overton County's unemployment rate lowered 1.3% in April, falling from 6.6 to 5.3%.

Overton County had 510 unemployed of a workforce of 9,720.

Tennessee's seasonally adjusted April unemployment rate was 5.8%, the same as the March revised rate. County non-seasonally adjusted unemployment rates for April show 86 counties decreased, 6 increased, and 3 remained the same.

Overton County is included in the Cookeville Micropolitan Statistical Area along with Jackson County and Putnam County. The Cookeville MSA had a decrease from 6.2% to 5.3 in the unemployment rate in February. The MSA had 2,600 unemployed of a workforce of 48,780.

Jackson County's unemployment rate lowered 1.3% from 10.4 to 9.1%. Jackson had 490 unemployed of a workforce of 5,390.

Putnam County's unemployment rate lowered from 5.4% to 4.7. Putnam had 1,600 unemployed of a workforce of 33,680.

Clay County's unemployment rate lowered 1.9 % from 11.8 to 9.9%. Clay had 350 unemployed of a workforce of 3,470.

Pickett County's unemployment rate fell 3% from 9.9 to 6.9%. Pickett had 130 unemployed of a workforce of 1,920.

Fentress County's unemployment rate fell 1.2% from 8.2 to 7.0%. Fentress had 510 unemployed of a workforce of 7,220.

For complete labor force estimates go to www.tennessee.gov/labor-wfd/labor_figures/april2005county.pdf.

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Overton County News
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Livingston, Tennessee 38570
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