East-West Freedom

Construction of the Berlin Wall, a concrete barrier physically separating East Berlin from West Berlin was begun by East Germany (the German Democratic Republic) on August 13, 1961 and became a symbol of the “Iron Curtain” separating Western Europe and the Eastern Bloc during the Cold War. In 1989, a series of revolutions, primarily in Poland and then in Hungary, caused a chain reaction and after weeks of protest, in November of 1989, the East German government began allowing GDR citizens to cross into West Berlin (and West Germany) and in the weeks that followed people began chipping away at it. Officially, demolition started on June 13, 1990, Germany was officially reunited on October 3, 1990, and the Berlin Wall (other than sections maintained as memorials), was completed in November 1991.

Berliner Mauer

When did construction of the Berlin Wall (Berliner Mauer) begin and when was it demolished?

General Colin Powell

The youngest person appointed as chair of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff was General Colin Powell.

U.S. Joint Chiefs

Who was the youngest person to be appointed chair of the United States Joint Chiefs of Staff?

John Hancock

Only John Hancock actually signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. Everyone else signed later.

Wild About Saffron

It takes as much as 75,000 flowers, to produce one pound of saffron (enough to fill an entire soccer field).
Two related pieces of trivia for you avid readers:
1. A soccer field, the field on which the game of “association football” (soccer) is played, is sometimes referred to as a football pitch. While not all pitches are the same size, the size preferred for most professional teams is 105 x 68 meters which in the Imperial system converts to about 76,900 square feet or about 1.76 acres – that’s an awful lot of crocus flowers!
2. With apologies to Donovan (“I’m just mad about Saffron, Saffron’s mad about me. I’m just mad about Saffron, She’s just mad about me. They call me mellow yellow (Quite rightly)” the spice saffron is actually produced from the red stigmas of the violet crocus flower and each flower only produces three stigmas.

Republicans & Democrats

Thomas Nast is widely credited with using and popularizing the Donkey and the Elephant as symbols of the Democratic and Republican political parties in the United States.
In fact, the donkey was first associated with the 1828 Presidential campaign of Andrew Jackson – a Democrat. The opposition called him a “jackass” for his populist views and rather than being insulted, he began using the image of a tough, strong-willed donkey on his campaign posters. In 1870, Thomas Nast used the symbol in cartoons published in the newspaper and the symbol stuck!
Thomas Nast was also the cartoonist that gave Republicans their elephant. In 1874, Nast published an article in Harper’s Weekly, about the possibility of 3rd term candidacy of President Ulysses S. Grant (“The Third-term Panic”). In a cartoon, he drew a donkey clothed in a lion’s skin – scaring off all the other animals at the zoo, except the elephant, fearlessly labeled as “the Republican vote.” Republicans continue to use that symbol to this day!