The real meaning of the 12 days of Christmas – Please Share

What’s really interesting at the end is the real meaning of the 12 days of Christmas – I didn’t know that…

Make sure you go all the way to the bottom of the e-mail, the picture and information about Arlington Cemetery in the winter, before Christmas is beautiful!
The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington , D.C. , is decorated with 3,000 ornaments that are the handiwork of U.S. schoolchildren. Encircling evergreens in the ‘Pathway of Peace’ represent the 50 U.S. states.
The world’s largest Christmas tree display rises up the slopes of Monte Ingino outside of Gubbio, in Italy ‘s Umbria region. Composed of about 500 lights connected by 40,000 feet of wire, the ‘tree’ is a modern marvel for an ancient city
A Christmas tree befitting Tokyo ‘s nighttime neon display is projected onto the exterior of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.
Illuminating the Gothic facades of Prague’s Old Town Square, and casting its glow over the manger display of the famous Christmas market, is a grand tree cut in the Sumava mountains in the southern Czech Republic.
Venice ‘s Murano Island renowned throughout the world for its quality glasswork is home to the tallest glass tree in the world. Sculpted by master glass blower Simone Cenedese, the artistic Christmas tree is a modern reflection of the holiday season.
Moscow celebrates Christmas according to the Russian Orthodox calendar on Jan. 7. For weeks beforehand, the city is alive with festivities in anticipation of Father Frost’s arrival on his magical troika with the Snow Maiden.  He and his helper deliver gifts under the New Year tree, or yolka, which is traditionally a fir.
The largest Christmas tree in Europe (more than 230 feet tall) can be found in the Parada do Comercio in Lisbon , Portugal .  Thousands of lights adorn the tree, adding to the special enchantment of the city during the holiday season.
‘Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree’: Even in its humblest attire, aglow beside a tiny chapel in Germany ‘s Karwendel mountains, a Christmas tree is a wondrous sight.
Ooh la la Galeries Lafayette! In Paris , even the Christmas trees are chic. With its monumental, baroque dome, plus 10 stories of lights and high fashion, it’s no surprise this show-stopping department store draws more visitors than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower
In addition to the Vatican ‘s heavenly evergreen, St. Peter’s Square in Rome hosts a larger-than-life nativity scene in front of the obelisk.
The Christmas tree that greets revelers at the Puerta del Sol is dressed for a party. Madrid ‘s two-week celebration makes millionaires along with merrymakers. On Dec. 22, a lucky citizen will win El Gordo (the fat one), the world’s biggest lottery.
A token of gratitude for Britain ‘s aid during World War II, the Christmas tree in London ‘s Trafalgar Square has been the annual gift of the people of Norway since 1947.
Drink a glass of gluhwein from the holiday market at the Romer, Frankfurt ‘s city hall since 1405 and enjoy a taste of Christmas past.
Against a backdrop of tall, shadowy firs, a rainbow trio of Christmas trees lights up the night (location unknown).
There is one Christmas Carol that has always baffled me.  What in the world do leaping lords, French hens, swimming swans, and especially the partridge who won’t come out of the pear tree have to do with Christmas?

From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly. Someone during that era wrote this carol as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church. Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.
-The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.
-Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.
-Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.-
-The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.
-The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.
-The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.
-Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit–Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.
-The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.
-Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit–Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.
-The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.
-The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.
-The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.
So there is your history for today. This knowledge was shared with me and I found it interesting and enlightening and now I know how that strange song became a Christmas Carol…so pass it on if you wish.’
Merry Christmas Everyone
Arlington National Cemetery
Rest easy, sleep well my brothers.
Know the line has held, your job is done.
Rest easy, sleep well.
Others have taken up where you fell, the line has held.
Peace, peace, and farewell…
Readers may be interested to know that these wreaths — some 5,000 — are donated by the Worcester Wreath Co. of Harrington, Maine . The owner, Merrill Worcester, not only provides the wreaths, but covers the trucking expense as well. He’s done this since 1992. A wonderful guy. Also, most years, groups of Maine school kids combine an educational trip to DC with this event to help out. Making this even more remarkable is the fact that Harrington is in one of the poorest parts of the state.

Get the Legislative “low down” and “DC Highlights”

Legislative Lowdown

Continuing Resolution — On Thursday, the House approved H.R. 2608, a Continuing Resolution (CR) to provide short-term appropriated funding for discretionary government operations through November 18, 2011, by a vote of 219-203. Under the current CR (H.R. 1473), appropriations are set to expire after September 30, 2011, the end of the fiscal year. H.R. 2608 continues government operations and services and allows time for Congress to complete the Fiscal Year 2012 Appropriations bills. H.R. 2608 would provide $1.043 trillion in appropriated funding for government operations. This is the same funding level required under budget caps contained in the Budget Control Act and represents a 1.5 percent cut from Fiscal Year 2011. Compared to Fiscal Year 2010 spending levels ($1.089 trillion), this CR represents a cut of $46 billion. The bill also includes a total of $3.65 billion in disaster relief funding, offset by reductions to the Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing Loan Program. H.R. 2608 will be considered subject to an amendment that would rescind $100 million from the Department of Energy Loan Guarantee program that provide $535 million in loan guarantees to the now-bankrupt solar energy company, Solyndra.

TRAIN Act — On Friday, the House approved H.R. 2401, the Transparency in Regulatory Analysis of Impacts on the Nation (TRAIN) Act, by a vote of 249-169. The bill would establish a committee to evaluate the economic impacts of EPA regulations and delays the final date for both the Utility MACT and CSAPR rules until the full impact has been studied. The Utility MACT final rule is expected on November 16, 2011 and will establish “maximum achievable control technology” standards for emissions of mercury, acid gases and non-mercury metals from power plants. The CSAPR (Cross-State Air Pollution Rule) was announced in July 2011 and will establish statewide caps for sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide emissions from power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency rules will affect electricity prices for nearly all American consumers. National Economic Research Associates (NERA) estimates preliminary costs for the two rules to be $17.8 billion annually with 1.44 million jobs lost by 2020.

DC Highlights

– Monday, 19 September; Addressed the Fifth Annual Republicans for Black Empowerment reception event in Washington DC.

– Tuesday, 20 September; Met with AIPAC leaders regarding the Palestinian statehood initiative, addressed the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, participated in first House Armed Services Committee panel on Contracting and the Department of Defense, addressed the American Conservative Union Legacy Council Legislative Conference dinner.

– Wednesday, 21 September; Spoke at the “United Through Reading” reception promoting reading programs for deployed servicemen and women with their children, participated in a Small Business Committee hearing on regulation review, addressed the Florida and California Bankers Associations.

– Thursday, 22 September; Participated in the opening of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Annual Legislative Council, panel member for “African-Americans in the Military: Past, Present, and Future” as part of the CBC event- See photos here, participated in a House Armed Services Committee hearing on Afghanistan National Security Forces, met with Army Captain Ben Scott Jr, son of a fellow University of Tennessee alum and ROTC graduate, Ben Scott Sr. with whom I served.

– Friday, 23 September; recorded a five-minute video for the Florida Christian Schools Association, participated in a House Armed Services Committee subcommittee hearing on Arlington National Cemetery improvements.

Captain Julian Kilcullen – Service and Sacrifice

Age: 25
Hometown: Fort Lauderdale
MOS: Former Infantry, currently working as a recruitment officer
Unit/Stationed: Currently recruiting in Frederick, Maryland
Deployed: Iraq and Afghanistan, once in each theater
Parents: Brian and Danita Kilcullen, Fort Lauderdale
Fun facts/Hobbies: Jujitsu, grappling, visiting historic battle sites with girlfriend, Sylvia








Small Business Spotlight
Steve Coldren, BIS Digital, Inc
Name of Company: BIS Digital, Inc.
Owners: Steve and Jaye Coldren
Services offered:  BIS Digital, Inc.  provides digital recording technology to more than 4,000 customers including over 2,500 courtroom systems, major hospitals, government agencies, law firms and medical offices. The ability to integrate computers, networks, microphones, mixers, public address systems, hearing impaired devices, case management, video arraignment and evidence presentation with digital recording software and operating systems makes BIS unique.
How long in business: 29 years
# of employees: 27
Advertising techniques: Exhibit  products at 45 Professional Groups (Judges, Court Administrators, City Clerks, Public Safety Organizations, Legal) annual conferences along with direct mail campaigns to the memberships of those organizations.
Tips for surviving the recession: “We have built our business by acquiring similar businesses in our marketplace. Acquisition of an existing customer base at the right price is less risky than trying to develop new territory solely through marketing.”
Info:  BIS Digital, Inc.
1350 N.E. 56th Street
Suite 300
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33334



South Florida WWII veterans honored with free trip to Washington – Rep Allen West

By Lori Milani  Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

WASHINGTON — “This is something spectacular,” said Frank Calzaretta, a World War II veteran from Delray Beach, sitting in his wheelchair under the Pacific arch of the World War II Memorial and staring at the fountains and granite pillars before him.

Although not new to the nation’s capital, he was visiting the memorial for the first time Saturday, as were several of the 85 World War II veterans from South Florida with him who ranged in age from 83 to nearly 100.

“They treated us like kings,” Calzaretta said in praise of Southeast Florida Honor Flight, which organized and sponsored the trip.

He and his fellow veterans were escorted by motorcycles and saluted by firefighters on their way to Palm Beach International Airport, where they boarded their D.C.-bound flight at the break of dawn to the cheers of a festive crowd and the sounds of a Scottish bagpipe band.

“We got here in Washington, D.C., we got off the plane and I started crying,” the Navy veteran said. “I had never been applauded before.”

“Congressman (Allen) West was at the plane to greet us,” chimed in Thomas Kaiser, an Army veteran from Delray Beach and former boot camp mate of Calzaretta.

Since 2005, the nonprofit Honor Flight program has flown more than 30,000 World War II veterans from across the country to Washington at no cost to honor them for their service.

Before visiting the World War II Memorial, the 85 veterans, each accompanied by a volunteer, attended the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.

“Arlington breaks me up,” Calzaretta said, his tone now somber. “You see all these thousands of crosses. We haven’t achieved a goddamn thing in all these years. We’re still dying. It’s such a loss of life.”




For More information on Congressman Allen West visit his two Websites. and West.House.Gov

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