Her First Girl Scout Badge!

At the End of the Trail Interpretive Center

Photo: Julia Ozab

Anna has earned her first Girl Scout badge! As I typed that sentence I realized that I will never type it again. Yes, she will likely earn many more badges for as long as she’s a Girl Scout. But she will only have one first and this is it.

Oregon Trail Badge

The Oregon Trail Brownie Badge.

We visited the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center on our way up Portland on July 5th, the first day of our family vacation. Anna took a lot of photos and learned about some of the hardships of the trail first hand.

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A Historic Anniversary

Virginia Flag

The Flag of the Commonwealth of Virginia (Wikimedia Commons).

Today is a special Throwback Thursday. It marks the anniversary of two historic events tied to the state of my birth.

On June 12, 1776, the Fifth Virginia Convention unanimously adopted the Virginia Declaration of Rights. This little known document drafted by founding father George Mason—with the assistance James Madison, Patrick Henry, and others—influenced both the United States Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Bill of Rights.

On June 12th, 1967, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of Mildred and Richard Loving in Loving v. Virginia, overturning bans on interracial marriage across the country.

That these two historic events occurred on the same day 191 years apart reminds of a well-known saying that Dr. Martin Luther King quoted on several occasions: “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”  It also teaches us what Dr. King knew from his own life and ministry, that we are the moral agents that must keep bending that arc the right way.

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Learning About the Oregon Trail

Wagons at sunrise

Breaking up Camp at Sunrise by Alfred Jacob Miller (Wikimedia.org)

All fourth graders in the state of Oregon study about the Oregon Trail as part of their Social Studies curriculum. Anna’s only in the second grade, but she’s getting a head start thanks to her mixed-level Girl Scout Troop. Since half of her troop mates are Juniors (4th and 5th grade) and are learning the material at school, the whole troop is working together to earn their respective Junior and Brownie badges.

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When England Became Britain

Flag of the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707 - 1800)

Hmm, something’s missing.

Britain—birthplace of my mom and home to a large part of my family—came into existence as a country 307 years ago today with the Acts of Union, which joined the Kingdoms of England and Scotland together into one united kingdom. In honor of the anniversary, here’s a video explaining the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England.

This video was the first in a series titled Grey Explains, by the informative and entertaining YouTube scholar C.G.P. Grey. In a subsequent video, he explained the unfortunate circumstances that led to the Act of Union.

The whole Grey Explains series is worth a watch, as are his “misconceptions” videos. You can find them all on his YouTube channel.

And as for what’s missing, the current full name of the United Kingdom should give you a clue, but if you’re stumped watch this.

And now you know which way is up.

Most Thursdays on Fatherhood Etc. we’ll learn something new in a series called “Thursday’s Child.” See you next week.