Three stories from today’s news caught my attention.
I remember watching skipper Dennis Conner and the racing boat Stars & Stripes competing for the America’s Cup in the late 80s and winning. He had to win … he lost the cup four years earlier to the Australians. Remember the secret weapon of the Australian II? A keel that stayed covered from prying eyes.
Apparently that has all changed in the last twenty years, with only one American boat in the race, backed by Larry Ellison of Oracle. And the race is being contested in the Mediterranean, rather than the U.S. or Australia. That just seems wrong, somehow.
The America’s Cup is back, but not as you remember it. Racing starts next month in Valencia, Spain, marking the first time the 154-year-old event has been contested in Europe, but fewer Americans than ever will be involved. Just one team will fly the Stars and Stripes — billionaire Larry Ellison’s BMW Oracle out of San Francisco, and it will have a New Zealander on the helm and a Frenchman calling tactics.
“It’s a fact that there are not a lot of Americans in the America’s Cup,” says Dawn Riley, who’s as American as it gets, a fresh-faced blonde hailing from the heartland of Michigan. After three go-rounds representing her native land in sailing’s biggest global event, even she has cut the cord.
GASTON – The only thing to survive last April’s fire was an American flag, two backboards and a traction splint. The rest, including two ambulances, was consumed in the raging blaze fueled by an open bay door and melted oxygen tank.
This afternoon at 2:15, the flag will be raised one more time as Gaston Rescue Squad members celebrate the opening of their new building. It will then be lowered and replaced with a new flag, the old one going in a shadow box as a reminder of the fire that brought the old building down.
This Confederate battle flag was captured during a battle in Missouri and eventually found its way to the Museum of Nebraska History. The society is returning the flag to Alabama.
The Nebraska State Historical Society has agreed to return to Alabama the remarkable artifact once carried into battle by the 1st Regiment, Alabama Volunteer Infantry.
The flag will join a growing collection of Confederate flags being amassed by the Alabama Department of Archives and History, which launched a flag conservation program in 1989.
Deb Arenz, senior museum curator for the Nebraska Historical Society, said that she deals with fascinating objects every day. She said that returning such a valued artifact “is one of those things that make my job worth it.”