1664 – After days of negotiation, the Dutch settlement of New Amsterdam surrendered to the British, who would rename it New York. The citizens of New Amsterdam petitioned Peter Stuyvesant to surrender to the English.
1774 – In response to the British Parliament’s enactment of the Coercive Acts in the American colonies, the first session of the Continental Congress convenes at Carpenter’s Hall in Philadelphia. Fifty-six delegates from all the colonies except Georgia drafted a declaration of rights and grievances and elected Virginian Peyton Randolph as the first president of Congress. Patrick Henry, George Washington, John Adams, and John Jay were among the delegates. The first major American opposition to British policy came in 1765 after Parliament passed the Stamp Act, a taxation measure designed to raise revenues for a standing British army in America. Under the argument of “no taxation without representation,” colonists convened the Stamp Act Congress in October 1765 to vocalize their opposition to the tax. With its enactment in November, most colonists called for a boycott of British goods, and some organized attacks on the customhouses and homes of tax collectors. After months of protest in the colonies, Parliament voted to repeal the Stamp Act in March 1766. Most colonists continued to quietly accept British rule until Parliament’s enactment of the Tea Act in 1773, a bill designed to save the faltering East India Company by greatly lowering its tea tax and granting it a monopoly on the American tea trade. The low tax allowed the East India Company to undercut even tea smuggled into America by Dutch traders, and many colonists viewed the act as another example of taxation tyranny. In response, militant Patriots in Massachusetts organized the “Boston Tea Party,” which saw British tea valued at some ý18,000 dumped into Boston Harbor. Parliament, outraged by the Boston Tea Party and other blatant acts of destruction of British property, enacted the Coercive Acts, also known as the Intolerable Acts, in 1774. The Coercive Acts closed Boston to merchant shipping, established formal British military rule in Massachusetts, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America, and required colonists to quarter British troops. The colonists subsequently called the first Continental Congress to consider a united American resistance to the British. With the other colonies watching intently, Massachusetts led the resistance to the British, forming a shadow revolutionary government and establishing militias to resist the increasing British military presence across the colony. In April 1775, Thomas Gage, the British governor of Massachusetts, ordered British troops to march to Concord, Massachusetts, where a Patriot arsenal was known to be located. On April 19, 1775, the British regulars encountered a group of American militiamen at Lexington, and the first shots of the American Revolution were fired. More than a year later, on July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. Five years later, in October 1781, British General Charles Lord Cornwallis surrendered to American and French forces at Yorktown, Virginia, bringing to an end the last major battle of the Revolution. With the signing of the Treaty of Paris with Britain in 1783, the United States formally became a free and independent nation.
1776 – Adoption of first uniforms for Navy officers.
1778 – Gideon Olmstead and 3 fellow Americans took over the British sloop Active and sailed it toward the New Jersey coast, where it was intercepted by the American brig Convention, owned by the state of Pennsylvania. A state court ruled the sloop a prize of the state. An appeals committee overturned the Philadelphia court. Olmstead spent the next 30 years fighting for his claim and won in 1808.
1781 – The Battle of the Chesapeake; a British fleet arrived off the Virginia Capes and found 26 French warships in three straggling lines. Rear Adm. Thomas Graves waited for the French to form their battle lines and then fought for 5 days. Outgunned and unnerved he withdrew to New York. The French had some 37 ships and 29,000 soldiers and sailors at Yorktown while Washington had some 11,000 men engaged. French warships defeated British fleet, trapping Cornwallis in Yorktown.
1804 – In a daring night raid, American sailors under Lieutenant Stephen Decatur, boarded the captured USS Philadelphia and burned the ship to keep it out of the hands of the Barbary pirates who captured her.
1812 – The Siege of Fort Wayne began when Chief Winamac’s forces attacked two soldiers returning from an outhouse. The Native Americans assaulted the fort from the east side and burned the homes of the surrounding village. The Indians constructed two wooden cannons and were able to trick the garrison into thinking they had artillery besieging the fort as well. Captain James Rhea was again drunk, and “took to his quarters, sick.” The Indian Agent at Fort Wayne, Benjamin Stickney, was recovering from an illness, but took command of the fort with Lieutenants Daniel Curtis and Phillip Ostrander organizing the defense. Chief Winamac came to the gate again, that evening, and was admitted- unarmed- with thirteen of his men. As they talked, Winamac revealed a knife that he had hidden, and a fur trader, Antoine Bondie, jumped forward to save the life of Stickney. Winamac left the fort, and the Native American forces opened fire at about eight o’clock PM. Winamac’s forces tried to set the fort on fire, and while the garrison- about 70 soldiers and some civilians tried to keep the walls wet, they returned fire with muskets and howitzers. The battle lasted until three o’clock in the afternoon on 6 September, when the American Indian forces retired to a safe distance from the fort. The fighting resumed at nine o’clock that night. Efforts were already underway to reinforce Fort Wayne after the news of Fort Detroit reached Newport Barracks. General James Winchester was commander of the Northwestern Army, but Kentucky Governor Charles Scott had just appointed Indiana Territory Governor William Henry Harrison as Major General of the Kentucky Militia and authorized him to relieve Fort Wayne, and Harrison was at Newport Barracks to assume command of the militia. Harrison wrote a letter to Secretary of War William Eustis explaining the situation and apologizing for taking unauthorized action, then quickly organized a militia force of 2,200 men and marched North to the fort. A small scouting party led by Fort Wayne sutler William Oliver and Ohio Shawnee Captain Logan arrived at Fort Wayne during a lull in the fighting, and raced through Winamac’s army into the fort. They delivered the news that a relief effort was underway, and again rode through Winamac’s siege to report to Harrison that the Fort was still under U.S. control. Although the scouting party came with welcome news, Harrison also received a report that a force of 400 Native Americans and 140 British regulars under Tecumseh was marching towards Fort Wayne. Harrison now raced North in an attempt to beat Tecumseh to Fort Wayne. By 8 September, Harrison had reached the village of Simon Girty on the St. Marys River, and was joined by 800 men of the Ohio militia under Colonel Adams and Colonel Hawkins at Shane’s Crossing. Harrison’s army was harassed along the way, and although no hostile Native Americans actually engaged in combat, they had an effect. The army rarely camped at night without the alarm being sounded and men roused to battle positions. Sergeant Thomas Polly was accidentally shot and killed when troops thought they detected Indians in the woods. While the army marched through the Great Black Swamp, Colonel Hawkins, of the Ohio Militia, became stuck and was shot through the chest when one of his men thought he was struggling with a hostile Indian. Another soldier, Miller, was granted leave to return home, but not before his compatriots dunked him in the river and baptized him “in the name of King George, Aaron Burr, and the Devil!” On 11 September, Winamac attempted one last attack on Fort Wayne, and suffered several casualties. Suddenly, on 12 September, the attack was broken off, and Winamac’s forces crossed the Maumee River and disappeared into the woods. Harrison’s relief army marched towards the fort, uncontested by Winamac. The Potawatami/Miami force retreated into Ohio and Michigan Territory. Harrison took Rhea’s sword and had him arrested. A Board of Inquiry was convened, but allowed Rhea to resign out of respect for his years of service. Harrison then placed Lieutenant Philip Ostander (one of the two lieutenants who had relieved Rhea) in command of the fort.
1813 – USS Enterprise captures HM brig Boxer off Portland, ME.
1836 – Sam Houston was elected president of the Republic of Texas.
1862 – Gen. Lee crossed Potomac & entered Maryland at White’s Ford.
1863 – United States Foreign Minister to Great Britain, Charles Francis Adams, sends an angry letter to the British government warning that war between the two nations may erupt if it allows two powerful ironclad ships, designed to help the Confederates break the Union naval blockade, to set sail. In the early stages of the war, the British toyed with the idea of recognizing the Confederacy. But Southern hopes of such support were dashed by the end of 1862, when President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation converted the war from one of reunification to a war to abolish slavery. British politicians would be hard pressed to explain to the British people why they were forming an alliance with a slave-holding nation. But in 1863 another thorn appeared in the side of Anglo-American relations. Throughout the war, Confederate agents in England acquired ships from British shipyards that were later used in the Confederate navy. This seemed to be in violation of Britain’s own Neutrality Act of 1819, which forbade the building, equipping, or arming of warships to be used against any nation with which the British were at peace. During the American Civil War, the British argued that selling ships to the Confederates was not a violation of the law so long as they were not armed. So the Confederacy simply purchased the ships and then took them to another port before adding the armament. Confederate agent James Bulloch contracted the Laird Shipbuilding Company to construct two ironclads with large iron spikes attached to their prows in order to ram wooden Union blockade ships. In the summer of 1863, Union spies delivered the details of their construction to Adams, who then sent a series of angry and threatening letters warning the British of the consequences of allowing the ships to sail. On September 5, Adams concluded a letter to British Foreign Secretary Lord Russell with the words: “It would be superfluous in me to point out to your Lordship that this is war.” Adams became a hero in the United States, but the British government had already made the decision to hold the ships in England. A major foreign crisis was averted, and any glimmer of Confederate hope for British recognition vanished.
1877 – Oglala Sioux chief Crazy Horse is fatally bayoneted by a U.S. soldier after resisting confinement in a guardhouse at Fort Robinson, Nebraska. A year earlier, Crazy Horse was among the Sioux leaders who defeated George Armstrong Custer’s Seventh Cavalry at the Battle of Little Bighorn in Montana Territory. The battle, in which 265 members of the Seventh Cavalry, including Custer, were killed, was the worst defeat of the U.S. Army in its long history of warfare with the Native Americans. After the victory at Little Bighorn, U.S. Army forces led by Colonel Nelson Miles pursued Crazy Horse and his followers. His tribe suffered from cold and starvation, and on May 6, 1877, Crazy Horse surrendered to General George Crook at the Red Cloud Indian Agency in Nebraska. He was sent to Fort Robinson, where he was killed in a scuffle with soldiers who were trying to imprison him in a cell.
1905 – The Russo-Japanese War comes to an end as representatives of the two nations sign the Treaty of Portsmouth in New Hampshire. Russia, defeated in the war, agreed to cede to Japan the island of Sakhalin and Russian port and rail rights in Manchuria. On February 8, 1904, following the Russian rejection of a Japanese plan to divide Manchuria and Korea into spheres of influence, Japan launched a surprise naval attack against Port Arthur, a Russian naval base in China. The Russian fleet was decimated. During the subsequent Russo-Japanese War, Japan won a series of decisive victories over the Russians, who underestimated the military potential of its non-Western opponent. In January 1905, the strategic naval base of Port Arthur fell to Japanese naval forces under Admiral Heihachiro Togo; in March, Russian troops were defeated at Shenyang, China, by Japanese Field Marshal Iwao Oyama; and in May, the Russian Baltic fleet under Admiral Zinovi Rozhdestvenski was destroyed by Togo near the Tsushima Islands. These three major defeats convinced Russia that further resistance against Japan’s imperial designs for East Asia was hopeless, and U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt mediated a peace treaty at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in August 1905. (He was later awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this achievement.) Japan emerged from the conflict as the first modern non-Western world power and set its sights on greater imperial expansion. The Russian military’s disastrous performance in the war was one of the immediate causes of the Russian Revolution of 1905.
1918 – USS Mount Vernon torpedoed by German submarine off France.
1918 – U.S. Marines paraded with the Royal Marines in Rosyth, Scotland.
1923 – U.S. Asiatic Fleet arrives at Yokohama, Japan, to provide medical assistance and supplies after Kondo Plain earthquake.
1939 – The United States proclaimed its neutrality in World War II. President Franklin D. Roosevelt orders Navy and Coast Guard to form a Neutrality Patrol to report the presence of foreign warships within 300 miles of eastern United States.
1942 – British and US bombed Le Havre & Bremen.
1943 – Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s 503rd Parachute Regiment land and occupy Nazdab, just east of Lae, a port city in northeastern Papua New Guinea, situating them perfectly for future operations on the islands. New Guinea had been occupied by the Japanese since March 1942. Raids by Allied forces early on were met with tremendous ferocity, and they were often beaten back by the Japanese occupiers. Much of the Allied response was led by forces from Australia, as they were most threatened by the presence of the Japanese in that sphere. The tide began to turn in December 1942, as the Australians recaptured Buna-but despite numerical superiority, the Japanese continued to hang on, fighting to keep every square mile they had captured. Many Japanese committed suicide, swimming out to sea, rather than be taken prisoner. In January 1943, the Americans joined the Aussies in assaults on Sanananda, which resulted in huge losses for the Japanese–7,000 killed–and the first land defeat of the war. As Japanese reinforcements raced for the next Allied targets, Lae and Salamauam, in March, 137 American bombers destroyed the Japanese transport vessels, drowning 3,500 Japanese, as well as their much-needed fuel and spare parts. On September 8, almost 2,000 American and Australian Airborne Division parachutists landed and seized Nazdab, which held a valuable airfield. The Allies quickly established a functioning airstrip and prepared to take the port city of Lae, one more step in MacArthur’s strategy to recapture New Guinea and the Solomons-and eventually go back for the Philippines.
1944 – Germany launched its first V-2 missile at Paris, France.
1944 – Advances by the US 1st Army (part of US 12th Army Group) capture Namur and Charleroi.
1944 – In the east, British 8th Army attacks German positions on the Cariano and Gemmano ridges. Armored forces are brought up but fail to break through. To the west, elements of US 4th Corps (part of US 5th Army) capture Lucca.
1945 – The United States State Department claims that the Japanese government ignored 19 American protests against atrocities committed against US troops.
1945 – Iva Toguri D’Aquino, a Japanese-American suspected of being wartime radio propagandist “Tokyo Rose,” was arrested in Yokohama. D’Aquino served six years in prison; she was pardoned in 1977 by President Ford.
1946 – The U.S. Air-Rescue Agency, an inter-departmental group headed by the Commandant of the Coast Guard and engaged on the study of improved and standardized rescue and search methods, was renamed the Search and Rescue Agency. “Search and Rescue Units of the Coast Guard were at the same time integrated into the peace time organization and the whole developed into a system of constantly alerted communications, coastal lookout, and patrols of institute instant and systematic search and rescue procedure in case of disasters.”
1946 – USS Franklin Delano Roosevelt (CVB-42) and 4 escorts visit Greece to underscore U.S. support for the Greek Government which faced a Communist insurgency.
1953 – The 1st privately operated atomic reactor opened in Raleigh NC.
1956 – Eleven Marines from the 9th Marines, 3d Marine Division, stationed near Naha, Okinawa, drowned while swimming, from an undercurrent caused by Typhoon Emma. The violent storm, with 140 mph winds, struck the Philippine Islands, Okinawa, Korea, and Japan, causing some 55 deaths and millions of dollars in property damage.
1958 – The 1st color video recording on magnetic tape was presented in Charlotte, NC.
1961 – President Kennedy signed a law against hijacking. It called for the death penalty for convicted hijackers.
1966 – Operation “NAPA,” Vietnam. (concluded 15 September)
1969 – The Idaho Guardsmen of the 116th Engineer Battalion (Combat) are released from active duty having just returned from their eleven-month tour of service in Vietnam. This marked the sixth time in 70 years that the battalion served on active duty. In fact, the 116th was the only Guard unit, Army or Air, to serve in theater during both the Korean and Vietnam wars. When the battalion was mobilized on May 13, 1968 it numbered 804 officers and men, almost all of whom deployed to Vietnam with the unit, making it the largest group of Guardsmen serving together in-country. While the unit was stationed at several bases northwest of Saigon, it built or upgraded nearly 600 miles of road, along with constructing barracks and other buildings on American bases. Company B was assigned to Phan Thiet on the coast and while there it constructed a heavy-beam wooden bridge strong enough to hold the weight of an M-48 American tank to replace a steel structure installed by the French but destroyed by the Viet Cong during the 1968 Tet Offensive. As of 1975 when the last Americans left Vietnam the span was still standing and being used by the local populace. The tour cost the battalion six of its men killed in action. Causes of death ranged from running vehicles over landmines to being shot by snipers. Two men were awarded the Silver Star for valor in combat and at least 100 received the Purple Heart for wounds suffered from enemy actions. The 116th Engineer Battalion remains an important part of the Army National Guard today.
1969 – Lt. William Calley is charged with six specifications of premeditated murder in the death of 109 Vietnamese civilians at My Lai in March 1968. Calley, a platoon leader in Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 20th Infantry, 11th Infantry Brigade (Light) of the 23rd (Americal) Division had led his men in a massacre of Vietnamese civilians, including women and children, at My Lai 4, a cluster of hamlets that made up Son My village in Son Tinh District in Quang Ngai Province in the coastal lowlands of I Corps Tactical Zone on March 16, 1968. The company had been conducting a search and destroy mission as part of the yearlong Operation Wheeler/Wallowa (November 1967 through November 1968). In search of the 48th Viet Cong (VC) Local Force Battalion, the unit entered Son My village but found only women, children, and old men. Frustrated by unanswered losses due to snipers and mines, the soldiers took out their anger on the villagers, indiscriminately shooting people as they ran from their huts and systematically rounding up the survivors, allegedly leading them to nearby ditch where they were executed. Reportedly, the killing was only stopped when Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, an aero-scout helicopter pilot landed his helicopter between the Americans and the fleeing South Vietnamese, confronting the soldiers and blocking them from further action against the villagers. The incident was subsequently covered up, but eventually came to light a year later. An Army board of inquiry, headed by Lt. Gen. William Peers, investigated the massacre and produced a list of 30 persons who knew of the atrocity, but only 14, including Calley and his company commander, Captain Ernest Medina, were charged with crimes. All eventually had their charges dismissed or were acquitted by courts-martial except Calley, whose platoon allegedly killed 200 innocents. He was found guilty of personally murdering 22 civilians and sentenced to life imprisonment, but his sentence was reduced to 20 years by the Court of Military Appeals and further reduced later to 10 years by the Secretary of the Army. Proclaimed by much of the public as a “scapegoat,” Calley was paroled by President Richard Nixon in 1974 after having served about a third of his 10-year sentence.
1970 – The 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile), in coordination with the South Vietnamese (ARVN) 1st Infantry Division, initiates Operation Jefferson Glenn in Thua Thien Province west of Hue. This operation lasted until October 1971, and was one of the last major large-scale military operations in which U.S. ground forces would take part. President Nixon had begun his Vietnamization program in the summer of 1969; the objective was to increase the combat capability of the South Vietnamese forces so that they could assume responsibility for the war against the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese forces as U.S. combat units were withdrawn and sent home. Shortly after the completion of Jefferson Glenn, the 101st Airborne began preparations to depart South Vietnam and subsequently began redeployment to the United States in March 1972.
1975 – In Sacramento, California, an assassination attempt against President Gerald Ford is foiled when a Secret Service agent wrests a semi-automatic .45-caliber pistol from Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, a follower of incarcerated cult leader Charles Manson. Fromme was pointing the loaded gun at the president when the Secret Service agent grabbed it. Seventeen days later, Ford escaped injury in another assassination attempt when 45-year-old Sara Jane Moore fired a revolver at him. Moore, a leftist radical who once served as an informant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, had a history of mental illness. She was arrested at the scene, convicted, and sentenced to life. In trial, Fromme pleaded not guilty to the “attempted assassination of a president” charge, arguing that although her gun contained bullets it had not been cocked, and therefore she had not actually intended to shoot the president. She was convicted, sentenced to life in prison, and sent to the Alderson Federal Correctional Institution in West Virginia. Fromme remained a dedicated disciple of Charles Manson and in December 1987 escaped from the Alderson Prison after she heard that Manson, also imprisoned, had cancer. After 40 hours roaming the rugged West Virginia hills, she was caught on Christmas Day, about two miles from the prison. Five years were added to her life sentence for the escape.
1977 – The United States launched the Voyager 1 spacecraft two weeks after launching its twin, Voyager 2.
1978 – US Pres. Carter, Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt met at Camp David, Md.
1984 – STS-41-D: The Space Shuttle Discovery lands after its maiden voyage.
1986 – Pan Am Flight 73, a Pan American World Airways Boeing 747-121, was hijacked while on the ground at Karachi, Pakistan, by four armed Palestinian men of the Abu Nidal Organization. The aircraft, with 360 passengers on board, had just arrived from Sahar International Airport in Mumbai, India, and was preparing to depart Jinnah International Airport in Karachi for Frankfurt Airport in Frankfurt am Main, West Germany, ultimately continuing on to John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City, United States. The motivation for the hijacking was to attack the Israeli defense ministry, using the aircraft as a missile, but the crew escaped while the hijackers were seizing the aircraft, making that impossible. The four hijackers were dressed as Karachi airport security guards and were armed with assault rifles, pistols, grenades, and plastic explosive belts. At about 06:00 a.m. local time, the hijackers drove a van that had been modified to look like an airport security vehicle through a security checkpoint up to one of the boarding stairways to Pan Am Flight 73. The hijackers stormed up the stairways into the plane, fired shots from an automatic weapon, and seized control of the aircraft. Flight attendants were able to alert the cockpit crew using intercom, allowing the pilot, co-pilot, and flight engineer to flee through an overhead hatch in the cockpit. Flight attendants were ordered to collect the passports of all passengers. The flight attendants complied with this request,but during the collection of the passports, one stewardess, Neerja Bhanot, the senior flight purser, believed passengers with American passports would be singled out by the hijackers. She proceeded to hide some of the American passports under a seat, and dumped the rest down a trash chute. Twenty of the passengers were killed during the hijacking, of which 12 were from India and the rest were from United States, Pakistan and Mexico. All the hijackers were arrested and sentenced to death in Pakistan. However, the sentences were later commuted to life in prison against the wishes of India and the United States. Hijacker Zayd Hassan Abd al-Latif Safarini was captured by US authorities after his release from prison in Pakistan. He is serving his 160 year sentence at the Federal Correctional Complex in Terre Haute, Indiana. Anotehr, Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim, was reported killed in a drone strike on January 9, 2010 in Pakistan. His death was never confirmed and he remains on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists and Rewards for Justice lists.
1990 – Iraqi President Saddam Hussein urged Arabs to rise up in a Holy War against the West and former allies who had turned against him.
1990 – USS Acadia (AD-42) departs San Diego for first war-time deployment of male-female crew on combat vessel.
1991 – Jury selection began in Miami in the drug and racketeering trial of former Panamanian ruler Manuel Noriega.
2002 – The U.S. military stated that American and British planes attacked an air defense command and control facility at a military airfield 240 miles southwest of Baghdad.
2002 – Afghan President Hamid Karzai survived an assassination attempt in the southern city of Kandahar. The attack, by a man dressed in military uniform, occurred shortly after a powerful car bomb in the capital killed at least 26 people and wounded 150.
2003 – Afghan forces in the southern province of Zabul captured five fugitive Taliban militants, including an insurgent leader, after a battle that killed scores of rebels. Coalition forces killed Mullah Abdul Razzaq Hafees, a Taliban commander, and 19 other militants in fighting in southern Afghanistan.
2004 – Iraqi forces reportedly captured Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, the King of Clubs and most wanted member of Saddam Hussein’s ousted dictatorship. DNA evidence revealed that the suspect was only a cousin of al-Douri. An ensuing battle left as many as 70 people dead. A mortar attack killed 2 US soldiers.
2004 – A Turkish company said it was withdrawing from Iraq a day after Iraqi militants threatened to behead its employee unless it ceased operations there.
2008 – Condoleezza Rice becomes the first United States Secretary of State to visit Libya since 1953.
2014 – Iranian air traffic control requires a plane chartered by US-led coalition forces in Afghanistan to land over issues with the flight plan. The flight later resumes without further incident.
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