Barb Keleher

The 19th Anniversary of 9/11

Today marks the anniversary of the terrorist assault on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and Flight 93. The attacks claimed the lives of 2,977 people.

The MVCC library has an extensive collection of material that may help you understand the initial attack and the tragedy that continues to have long lasting effects on America and the world. You may find this article interesting. The author explores how different generations view the 9/11 tragedy.

Free America Flag Cleaning - Puritan Cleaners

Bird Migration and the Chicagoland Area

Birds from the Northern Hemisphere are seasonal travelers. During the Spring, the birds fly northward to take advantage of the increase of food. As Winter approaches, food decreases and birds make the trip back south.

Cook County pond

“Fall migration is a much less hurried affair for birds compared with spring, when various species are rushing to get to their breeding grounds and find the best place to nest.” Because Chicago is part of the Mississippi Flyway, hundreds of bird species annually traverse from the south to the north and back again. Fall is a great time to look upward and see nature’s aviators maneuver the Chicagoland sky. Area forest preserves are a great place to bird-watch. You need little equipment. Perhaps a pair of binoculars and a bird guide book that you can find in the MVCC library, or add an app to your smart phone.

Actually, bird watching has increased in popularity since the pandemic began. Here are some tips that may help you become interested in this fascinating hobby.  

Labor Day

The celebration of Labor Day began in 1882 as a salute to the workers of New York City. The idea of a special day for the American working class spread throughout the country and on “June 28, 1884, President Grover Cleveland signed a law making the first Monday in September a national holiday.”

The history of labor unions in America is important for all of us to know. The MVCC library has a collection of print books (how to check out print books) and ebooks to help us understand the history of the U.S. labor movement. The Chicago labor movement may also interest you. The library also has numerous books on Chicago labor. Another great source for historical news is the Chicago Tribune Historical database. It is amazing to read newspaper articles about past labor unrest in Chicago.

The labor movement in the United States and the city of Chicago is a combination of tribulation and triumph. Enjoy your day off.

The 75th Anniversary of the Trinity Test

The atom bomb did not miraculously appear at the end of World War II. It took years and some of the world’s greatest scientific minds to develop the most destructive weapon ever created by humankind. In the late 1930s, rumors were circulating that Nazi Germany was working to develop a powerful new weapon. Two European scientists, Einstein and Fermi, refugees from fascist Europe, warned American officials of the danger of a Nazi atomic bomb. Einstein even sent a personal letter to President Roosevelt. The message warned the president of the dangers of atomic warfare. The threat of mass destruction by the Axis nations was the impetus of creating the Manhattan Project.

The new program was located in various parts of the United States. The Trinity project, one of the multilayered parts of the Manhattan Project, was located in New Mexico. It was the testing site for evaluating the most efficient way of dropping a super bomb. The military took over 52,000 acres of land in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in 1942. The area was shrouded in secrecy. On July 16, 1945, the bomb was dropped. The Army reported that a large amount of munitions had exploded to hide the truth that America had successfully created an atomic bomb. “To help provide the public with a credible account, the Manhattan Project allowed New York Times reporter William Laurence to live on the Los Alamos compound in the months leading to the blast. He kept the secret and wrote a celebrated series in the Times after Hiroshima.”‘Atomic Bill’ Laurence, The New York Times, and the Birth of the BombA star science reporter had unparalleled access to the Manhattan Project, as chronicler and cheerleader.

The most poignant part of this research has been reading the eye witness accounts of the Los Alamos bomb drop. One can feel the uneasiness of the scientists who participated in the construction of the atomic explosive. Several of them compared the new technology to stories from Greek mythology, Pandora’s Box and Prometheus. An updated article continues to compare technology and mythology.

Christian Lous Lange, the winner of the 1921 Nobel Peace, writes, “technology is a useful servant but a a dangerous master.”


“On July 3rd, we announced the commencement of a thorough review of the team’s name. That review has begun in earnest. As part of this process, we want to keep our sponsors, fans and community apprised of our thinking as we go forward.” On July 13, the Washington Redskins stated that they would change the name and the logo of the team. A combination of advocacy groups and financial sponsors insisted that the team’s name be changed. There have been numerous suggestions for the new name, but the two names that have piqued my interest are the Washington Red Tails and the Washington Code Talkers.

The Red Tails would honor the Tuskegee Airmen. This group consisted of the first black airmen in the United States Armed Forces. The men of the 332nd Fighter Group and the 477th Bombardment Group painted the tails of their planes red. Eventually they were given the nickname Red Tails.

The Navajo Nation initially suggested that the Washington Redskins team name be replaced by the Washington Code Talkers. This name would be a tribute to the Navajo soldiers who created an intricate code that played a crucial role in the Pacific during World War II. After deliberation, the Navajo nation rescinded their suggestion of Washington Code Talkers.

The team plans to reveal the name before the 2020-2021 football season begins. Here are some possible new names for the team.

Bastille Day

July 14 is Bastille Day, the most important public holiday in France. The country joins in a celebration to honor its people and history. The French call this day la Fête nationale (the National Holiday).

The origin of this holiday took place in 1880. French government officials felt that the country needed a national day of celebration. After much debate, July 14 was chosen, the same day as the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille prison.

France has an interesting history and culture. The MVCC library has many resources to help you understand why this this holiday is celebrated worldwide.


Fireworks have been around for over 2000 years. Most historians agree that fireworks originated in China around 200 BC. Villagers would throw pieces of bamboo into a fire to ensure that evil spirits would be frighten away by the exploding bamboo. This country also invented gun powder in 600 AD. Serendipity played a pivotal role in the history of fireworks. Gunpowder was placed into a piece of hallowed bamboo thrown into a fire. There was no aerial show, just a series of explosions. Gunpowder also proved to be an amazing addition to the weapons of war. Explorers and traders brought the new technologies to Europe. The Europeans utilized this new knowledge on the battlefield and for special occasions.

Europeans used fireworks to celebrate religious holy days, military victories, and royal events. The shows became more colorful and in addition to noise, the pyrotechnics went aerial. English settlers brought the science of fireworks to the colonies. John Adams, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, wrote a letter to his wife on July 2, 1776, stating that “this day ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade…bonfires and illuminations (fireworks).” On July 4, 1777, fireworks were included in the first anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.

Happy 4th of July to all.

Take a Walk!

Many people are still apprehensive about venturing out this summer. Restrictions are being lifted but the threat of an increase in Covid-19 cases has kept people close to home. One activity that the medical field encourages us to do is walk. A wonderful backdrop for this activity is the numerous preserves of the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The MVCC campus is surrounded by thousands of acres of nature. The library has some excellent e-books that may help you understand the importance of exercise.

“Let’s wander where the WiFi is weak”.

The Children’s Farm

The Children’s Farm, located in Palos Park, is a hidden gem of the southwest suburbs. The farm is a part of The Center whose mission “is to give people of all faiths, backgrounds, and ages the space to dream, grow, and become fully alive–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”

The Center consists of a chapel, a farm, classrooms, camps and an AA-based long-term recovery program. The land that surrounds the farm is a microcosm of mid-western geographical features. It includes a slough, marshes, forests, prairies, ponds and cultivated land. There is an abundance of wild animals that roam the land. There are also domesticated animals that include chickens, rabbits, cows, horses and pigs that are housed in pens and barns. You can walk the trails or ride in a tractor-driven wagon. It is easy to picture what Palos Park may have looked like in the late 1800s.

This farm is not just for children. In pre-Covid days, the farm offered adult art classes, yoga and various other programs. Hopefully all of the programs will return. The farm is celebrating a grand re-opening. Spend some time enjoying the beauty of nature and the wonders of farming.

Drive-In Movie Theaters

An old form of entertainment is back. Two drive-in movie theaters are opening in the Chicago-land area this weekend. Many people may not be familiar with this form of movie watching, but you may find this “blast from the past” an interesting way to view movies. In March, the coronavirus restrictions forced movie theaters to shut their doors. This is not the first time that Hollywood has faced a crisis. The movie industry was threatened by television in the 1950s and 1960s, new technology in the later decades, and the latest assault, streaming. However,the industry has always reinvented itself and survived the attacks. Ironically, it is using an outdated method to lure viewers back.

The future of movie theaters is evolving. It will be interesting to see how the social distancing movement will affect the industry.

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