Theodore Roosevelt Jr. – D-Day Hero

Every man who fought on the beeches of Normandy during D-Day is a hero. On June 6th, 1944, the largest military seaborne invasion in history took place on the Western Front in France. By late August, all of France had been liberated, and within less than a year, the Nazis faced total defeat. Here is the story of one of those heroes.

Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. (Ted) was the eldest son of President Theodore Roosevelt. When he was born in 1887, his larger-than-life father was just beginning his political career. The younger Roosevelt graduated from Harvard in 1909 and became a successful business man.

When America went to war during World War I, Ted, a reservist, was called to duty and became volunteered to become one of the first soldiers to go to France. There he was known as one of the best battalion commanders in his division. He was so concerned for his men, he once paid for them to all have combat boots with his own money. He was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross for his bravery.

After the war, he went back into business and became one of the founders of the American Legion. He remained in the military reserves and took advanced officer’s training. He also served in politics and was the assistant secretary of the Navy for a while.

In 1941, shortly before World War II, Ted returned to active duty in the Army and was promoted to a one star general. When he was assigned to the D-Day task force in 1944, he wrote letters to Major General Barton asking to be allowed to take part in the invasion. His requests were denied numerous times because Barton believed he wouldn’t survive. Finally Barton relented and allowed Ted to lead the battle on Utah Beach.

During the invasion, Ted was one of the first to land on the beach and led his men with courage and calmness. He stood on the beach leaning on a cane reciting antidotes about his father to his troops to steady their nerves. After discovering they had drifted a mile from the invasion site, he said, “We’ll start the war from right here.” Sometimes he worked under fire as a self-appointed traffic cop, untangling traffic jams of trucks and tanks all struggling to get inland and off the beach. One GI later reported that seeing the general walking around, apparently unaffected by the enemy fire, even when clods of earth fell down on him, gave him the courage to get on with the job, saying “if the general is like that it can’t be that bad.”

Roosevelt Jr. died of a heart attack on July 12, 1944, shortly after the D-Day invasion. He was buried near Normandy, and his brother Quentin, who was shot down and killed during World War I, was re interred there. During his time in the military, Roosevelt Jr. was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, Army Distinguished Service Medal, four Silver Star awards and the Legion of Merit. Years later, when General Omar Bradley was asked to name the single most heroic action he had ever seen in combat, he said, “Ted Roosevelt on Utah Beach.”

Today we honor Theodore Roosevelt Jr. and every other brave soldier who died during the D-Day invasion.

The History of Spying in the USA

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

My new novel, Alice’s Notions, has snippets about spies and the Cold War in it, so I had to research a little about spying in the USA. The United States has been in the spy business since before it became a nation. It all began with Nathan Hale, America’s first spy. Now there are many spy organizations in the United States government with the CIA being the most well known.

America’s First Spy: Nathan Hale is considered America’s first spy. He wasn’t really the first spy, but he was the first to be executed as a spy. He volunteered for a dangerous mission into New York City to spy upon the British. Unfortunately he was caught and hanged. Reportedly his last words were, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

Revolutionary Spies: Benjamin Franklin and Paul Revere are amoung the most well-known spies of the Revolutionary War, but there were many spy rings. The biggest was the Culpepper Spy Ring in New York. Major Benjamin Tallmadge recruited Caleb Brewster and Abraham Woodhull (code name Samuel Culpepper) to gather intelligence on the British. Historians still don’t know the identity of some of the spies in that ring, only their code names.  One piece of intellegence the Culpepper Ring gathered was the betrayal of Benedict Arnold and his secret meeting with John Andre.

Washington’s Secret Service: George Washington, our first president understood the importance of intelligence gathering. One of his first acts as president was to work with the Congress to establish the Secret Service which comprised 10% of the federal budget. A few years later, Thomas Jefferson used the Secret Service to overthrow the government in a small North African country to stop Barbary pirate from raiding US ships. Madison used spies to influence the Spanish to relinquish Florida. Congress tried to oversee the secret fund, President Polk insisted that emergencies require oversight to be the prerogative of the president.

Civil War: During the Civil War, both Union and Confederate armies were involved in spying. They used the first spy satellites, hot air balloons, to record movements of the enemy troops. Neither side had an organized intelligence gathering organization run by their governments. The Union contracted

Allen Pinkerton and Lafayette Baker. The South had many individuals involved in spying including three infamous women: Rose Greenhow, Belle Boyd, and Nancy Hart.

First Formal Spy Agencies: The first formal US spy agencies were formed in the 1880s. They were the Office of Naval Intelligence and the Army’s Military Intelligence Division. They were involved heavily in the Spanish-American War in 1898. The Secret Service was still in operation but was in charge of domestic counter-intelligence only. The Secret Service broke up a Spanish spy ring in Montreal during the war.

World War I: US spy agencies had suffered greatly from budget cuts until World War I when the National Security Agency was established as a department of the US Army. The Secret Service, the New York Police Department, and
military counterintelligence also were involved in intellegence and stopped German spying inside the United States. Another significant organization to be created during the First World War was the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation (later called FBI) which enforced the first US Espionage Act of 1917.

World War II: As the Nazis rose in power, the US put it’s energy into code breaking and intellegence gathering on Germany and Japan. The Black Chamber Organization was formed to do that.  As the war drew closer, President Roosevelt established a new spy organization in 1941 called the Office of the Coordinator of Information to organize the activities of the various spy organizations. After the failure to detect the Japanese plot to bomb Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt dissolved the OCI and established the wartime organization, the Office of Strategic Services. The OSS and FBI worked closely with the Armed Services spy organizations to do intelligence gathering throughout the war.

Cold War: The OSS was abolished when the war ended in October, 1945 by President Truman, but it soon became obvious another central intelligence organization was needed. In January, 1946, Truman and others planned out the new spy organization called the Central Intelligence Group. This group had access and oversight of all foreign intelligence gathering and spying. The CIG also functioned under the direction of a National Intelligence
Authority, composed of a presidential representative and the secretaries
of State, War, and the Navy. In 1947, the National Security Act disbanded the CIG and the National Intelligence Authority and replaced them with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the National Security Agency forming our modern day spying organizations.

Alice’s Notions

In this quaint mountain town, things aren’t always what they seem.

World War 2 widow Alice Brighton returns to the safety of her home town to open a fabric shop. She decides to start a barn quilt tour to bring business to the shop and the town, but what she doesn’t know is sinister forces are using the tour for their own nefarious reasons

Between her mysterious landlord, her German immigrant employee, her neighbors who are acting strange, and a dreamboat security expert who is trying to romance her, Alice doesn’t know who she can trust.

 You can buy Alice’s Notions in eBook or paperback at this link.


When 20 Million People Died of the Flu

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

We live in a relatively healthy period in time. We no longer die of the black plague or small pox. There are cures for rabies and inoculations for just about everything from the flu to chicken pox to polio. Even though we had a rough flu season this winter, very few people had life threatening problems because of it, and only twelve died from the flu this year, many because of complications from other health problems.

Sometimes it is hard to believe that less than one hundred years ago, a flu pandemic swept through the world and killed over 20 million people. Over 600,000 of those people were in the United States. Some estimates say the death toll world-wide was as high as 30 to 50 million.

The time was during the ending days of World War One in 1918. Roller skating rinks, movie theaters, and amusement parks were popping up every where as Americans had more money and leisure time than ever before. Although almost everyone in America lived on farms and in rural areas, people were increasingly moving to the cities and suburbs. Model Ts were affordable, and many were trading their horses in for cars. All the modern conveniences like indoor bathrooms, running water, electricity, and the telephone were starting to make their way into some homes. Women were starting to work outside of the home before they had children, and states were ratifying the amendment to give women the right to vote.

The only downside to living in America during this period of time was the Great War across the ocean. Germany and its allies were set on conquest and Europe was in a stalemate costing thousands of lives. In 1917, the United States entered the war, and many young men were sent overseas as Dough boys.

In 1918, the first cases of the pandemic flu epidemic hit. Many soldiers in army training camps through the US were some of the first victims. Military hospitals, both in the US and overseas, filled up quickly with more victims from the flu then from warfare. Nine million solders died from warfare, but 50 million died from the flu.

In March 1918, Haskell County, Kansas sent a message to the Public Health Department informing them of 18 cases of severe influenza. By May, cases of influenza overseas was being reported. By August the flu swept through North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. The flu came in three major waves, the last hitting in Spring 1919, a few months after the Great War had ended. One factor for the defeat of the Germans was the devastating effects of the flu on their soldiers.

The Public Health Service fought the flu spread through education (fliers, ads, posters), quarantine, sanitary measures, and requiring masks be worn in public. Although these measures probably helped, the flu epidemic eventually just went away.

In my Easter novella, Resurrection of Hope, Vivian’s parents and sister died of the influenza epidemic. Most families during that time had family members who had died from the flu.

Resurrection of Hope

by Tamera Lynn Kraft

She thought he was her knight in shining armor, but will a marriage of convenience prove her wrong?

After Vivian’s fiancé dies in the Great War, she thinks her life is over. But Henry, her fiancé’s best friend, comes to the rescue offering a marriage of convenience. He claims he promised his friend he would take care of her. She grows to love him, but she knows it will never work because he never shows any love for her.

Henry adores Vivian and has pledged to take care of her, but he won’t risk their friendship by letting her know. She’s still in love with the man who died in the Great War. He won’t risk heartache by revealing his true emotions.

You can buy Resurrection of Hope at a variety of online sites including Amazon.

Moravian Christmas Traditions

img_1022By Tamera Lynn Kraft

In my novella, A Christmas Promise, I write about Moravian missionaries in Schoenbrunn Village, circa 1773. The Moravians brought many Christmas traditions to America that we use to celebrate Christ’s birth today. Here are a few of them.

red room with christmas-tree and colorful gift - rendering

The Christmas Tree: Moravians brought the idea of decorating Christmas trees in their homes in the early 1700s, long before it became a popular tradition in the United States.


Illustration of Christmas candle lighted with wreath isolated on white background done in retro style.

Christmas Eve Candlelight Services: Most churches have Christmas Eve services where they sing Christmas carols and light candles to show Jesus came to be the light of the world. The Moravian Church has been doing that for centuries. They call their services lovefeasts because they also have a part of the service where they serve sweetbuns and coffee – juice for the kids – and share Christ’s love with each other. For candles, Moravians use bleached beeswax with a red ribbon tied around them. The white symbolizes the purity of Christ and red symbolizes that His blood was shed for us.

The Moravian Star: In the 1840s at a Moravian school, students made 24 point stars out of triangles for their geometry lessons. Soon those Moravian stars started making their way on the tops of Christmas trees. The star as a Christmas tree topper is still popular today.

The Putz: The putz is a Christmas nativity scene surrounded by villages or other Biblical scenes. Moravian children in the 1700s would make a putz to put under their Christmas tree. Today, nativity scenes and Christmas villages are popular decorations.

achristmaspromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

Available at these online stores:

A Moravian Christmas in 1773

achristmaspromise_medA Christmas Promise

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

A Moravian Holiday Story, Circa 1773

During colonial times, John and Anna settle in an Ohio village to become Moravian missionaries to the Lenape. When John is called away to help at another settlement two days before Christmas, he promises he’ll be back by Christmas Day.

When he doesn’t show up, Anna works hard to not fear the worst while she provides her children with a traditional Moravian Christmas.

Through it all, she discovers a Christmas promise that will give her the peace she craves.

“Revel in the spirit of a Colonial Christmas with this achingly tender love story that will warm both your heart and your faith. With rich historical detail and characters who live and breathe on the page, Tamera Lynn Kraft has penned a haunting tale of Moravian missionaries who selflessly bring the promise of Christ to the Lenape Indians. A beautiful way to set your season aglow, A Christmas Promise is truly a promise kept for a heartwarming holiday tale.” – Julie Lessman

A Moravian Christmas in 1773

By Tamera Lynn Kraft

img_1022In the wilderness of Ohio in 1773, a small band of missionaries and Lenape Indians celebrated Christmas at Schoenbrunn Village, the first settlement in Ohio. They’d come to this wilderness and started the village a year earlier to preach the Gospel to the Lenape, also known as the Deleware.

The missionaries, both white and native families moved from a town in Pennsylvania called Bethlehem. Moravians had come to Bethlehem years earlier when a preacher named John Wesley had donated the land to them. But the Lenape had been forced west as more white men had moved into the area, so the Moravians decided to move west with them.

Life was hard in Schoenbrunn. Cabins were quickly made and community gardens were planted that included beans, corn, and squash. Most villages also planted potatoes and turnips next to their cabins. The rest of their food came from hunting. But the real danger came from the many Indian tribes surrounding the village, some of them hostile.

img_1023They didn’t have time to build a fence to keep out varments and the first Ohio church until Spring, 1773, but they did manage to build a school, the first built in Ohio. The school taught both boys and girls, a first for the colonies, how to read the Scripture in their native language and in English. The Moravians printed a Bible in the Lenape language.

The village council was led by David Zeisberger and including white Moravians and Lenape converts. The rules for the village were established by the Lenape Christians. These missionaries did not consider the native converts to be beneath them but instead brothers in Christ.

vector-christmas-candle_f1gwjyl__lAfter a year and a half in Schoenbrunn, the villagers were excited to celebrate their first Christmas. They had many traditions that we still use today. They would have a candlelight Christmas Eve service called a Lovefeast. During this service, they sang Christmas hymns, shared sweet rolls and coffee together, and prayed for each other. The service concluded when they gave each child a bleached beeswax candle and a scripture to hang on their trees at home. The white candle symbolized the purity of Christ and the flame showed that Jesus is the light of the world. A red ribbon would be wrapped around the candle to symbolize how Jesus shed His blood for a lost world.

schoenbrunn-cabinIn every home in Schoenbrunn, families decorated artificial Christmas trees with candles and papers with scriptures written on them. The trees were made by putting together a wood frame and decorating it with real pine branches. The family would also make a putz, a nativity village that included the nativity scene, the wise men, and other Biblical scenes and place it under the tree. Most Moravians gave small gifts at Christmas, but resources were so limited that the children in Schoenbrunn were happy with their candles they received at the church. After a Christmas feast, the family would read the verses hung on the tree and talk about God’s blessings at Christmas.

Schoenbrunn Village has been restored and is open to tourists. Find out more at this link ( .


Palm Sunday is a Deadly Time for Tornadoes

Palm Sunday is known for deadly outbreaks of tornadoes. There have been four major outbreaks since tornadoes in the 20th century alone. That’s why when I wrote Resurrection of Hope, I included the 1920 tornado outbreak. Here’s an info-graph I made of the Palm Sunday tornadoes.

Palm Sunday Tornados

Guest Author Nancy J. Farrier and Book Giveaway – Mexican Folklore

Nancy J. Farrier is giving away a copy of her novel, The Cowboy’s Bride. Instructions on how to enter the drawing are at the end of this post.

Nancy HeadshotBest-selling author, Nancy J. Farrier, loves to write about characters who live in the western United States. She lives in the Mojave Desert in Southern California, but often spends time in Arizona. She loves the rich history of the Southwest and Western States. When she isn’t writing, Nancy loves spending time with her family, riding her bicycle, hiking, reading and doing needlecraft of some sort. She is very active in her church, teaching the Women’s Bible study and playing the piano on the worship team. Nancy loves her rescue cats and also her daughter’s rescue dog, who loves to keep track of all the cats.

Mexican Folklore

by Nancy J. Farrier

Nancy 1Have you ever visited Tucson, Arizona? I used to live just north of there along the San Pedro River. Did you know the area from Tucson up to the Gila River wasn’t part of the land won from Mexico in the Mexican American War (1846-1848)? Nope, James Gadsden bought that land from Mexico for the United States in 1954, putting the Southern part of New Mexico and Arizona under the protection of the USA. I thought it might be interesting to take a brief look at the rich culture that came from Mexico.

Nancy 2Times and people don’t change all that much, so the men in those days loved to show off their superior skills. Many of the games involved feats of expert horsemanship. One such game, Las Sintas, or The Ribbons, thought to have been brought over by the Portuguese, involved brightly colored ribbons attached to a horizontal pole. The riders lined up on their fastest ponies. They would race in to retrieve a ribbon without breaking it and take the prize to the beautiful lady of their choice. This proved to be a challenge since the ribbons were securely fastened and the riders zipped along at top speed. If the ribbon tore, the rider would be disgraced.

Nancy 3Have you ever heard the expression, “Let the Cat Out of the Bag?” Well, the cat races were a literal version of the phrase, and so popular in some areas that when the drums began signaling the start of the races, people would run to get a good place to watch. There are even accounts of young children left behind to cry while their parents watched. The cats were kept in a bag, or gunny sack, while the field was readied. Markers were placed about 100 yards apart and wires were run in parallel lines. Short moveable wires were attached to the parallel lines and then to a collar around the cats neck. The cats were slowly “let out of the bag” and the race was on. No one went home until the last cat had finished the race and been bagged once again.

Nancy 4Mexican folklore is as fascinating as folktales or fairy tales from anywhere in the world. These stories were usually cautionary tales meant to teach young people morality or wisdom. Picture the children seated at the feet of their Nana as she tells the story of a young wayward girl we’ll call Rosa.

Rosa was a beautiful girl with long, black hair, and eyes that sparkled like stars. She worked very hard at home, but longed to go dancing. Sometimes her feet would tap a rhythm of their own as she thought of the handsome cowboys and the dances held in town. One night, Rosa sneaked from the house and made her way into town. Dancers whirled in bright colors and Rosa heart sang to join them. One handsome cowboy sauntered across the room and held out his hand to Rosa. He was the best looking man in the room and only had eyes for Rosa. They danced and danced. Rosa knew she should go home, but she thought, “One more dance. Only one more.” Before she knew it, the clock struck midnight. Rosa’s handsome cowboy whirled around, his feet became cloven hooves, and Rosa knew he was the devil. Too late, she knew she should have been home where she would be safe.

Nancy 5There are many Mexican stories and customs from the 1800’s that are fun and fascinating. I would love to have time to share more with you. I’d love to hear from you. Do you have a favorite Mexican food? Do you know any other tales or games to share? I would love to hear from you.

Nancy TCL+Book+CoverA Cowboy’s Bride

Crazy About Cait

Crazy About Cait is one of nine novellas in The Cowboy’s Bride. Cait Sullivan is furious when her father hires Jonas Hall to help her break their horses to sell to the U.S. Cavalry. Cait has never forgiven Jonas for breaking her sister’s heart. Jonas is hoping to have one last chance to win Cait’s favor. He doesn’t know how he will convince her to forgive him, but he trusts God. Will they be able to work together and overcome the odds to save Cait’s father’s ranch?

To enter the drawing to win a copy of A Cowboy’s Bride, please leave a comment answering one of these questions: Do you have a favorite Mexican food? Do you know any other tales or games to share? The winner will be announced in the comments of this post and will be emailed in one week on June 16th.