Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) by American painter Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze (Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art)
No Christmas celebration would be complete without Santa Claus, carols and George Washington. Wait, George Washington? What does he have to do with Christmas, you might ask? Well, quite a bit if you live near the site where General George Washington and his soldiers crossed the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776. Each year at Pennsylvania’s Washington Crossing Historic Park, a group of dedicated Revolutionary War re-enactors and history enthusiasts gather to recreate Washington’s famous Christmas-night river crossing. The participants brave the cold dressed in authentic reproduction clothing and use replicas of the same kind of boats Washington and his men would have used. This year will mark the 234th anniversary of their daring crossing and pivotal victory the next day at the Battle of Trenton.
America’s Historical Imprints, 1639-1900
Now supplemented with 2,000 documents from the Library Company of Philadelphia, this single new interface for five related collections features over 100,000 early American books, pamphlets and other rare printed materials.
The 1988 return to flight launch of the Space Shuttle Discovery (Source: NASA Images)
The highly anticipated launch of space shuttle Discovery later this month will mark the beginning of an end. The United States’ era of launching manned space vehicles is almost over, or, at least, nearing a lengthy pause.
Following the final Discovery launch, only one remaining shuttle mission is planned. After that, government funding looks likely—but not definite—for one more launch.
Once the space shuttles are retired, the U.S. will relinquish its position as one of three countries with manned flight capability; only China and Russia will continue to have the capability to launch manned space vehicles.
The shuttle program kicked off a novel concept in space flight: reusable space vehicles. No longer would single-use rockets carry man and machinery into the final frontier. Instead, a craft capable of take off (albeit propelled by external fuel tanks), maneuverability in space, and re-entry and landing would revolutionize the industry.