History of the Diet of Worms: Martin Luther on Trial Over 500 Years Ago

Luther Memorial, Worms

HISTORY OF THE DIET OF WORMS: MARTIN LUTHER ON TRIAL 500 YEARS AGO Over five hundred years ago, on April 17, 1521, Martin Luther was tried before the most powerful ruler in Europe, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. While the name may sound unappetizing, the Diet of Worms was a formal imperial deliberative assembly…

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History of Christmas Eve and the Battle of the Bulge: 79 Years Ago

Snow Fighters

HISTORY OF CHRISTMAS EVE AND THE BATTLE OF THE BULGE: 79 YEARS AGO On Christmas Eve, 1944, my father, Staff Sergeant John Petro, entered the frontline at Strasbourg with the 42nd “Rainbow” Infantry Division in 20-degree weather. Eight days earlier, the Battle of the Bulge had begun. The 42nd Division, along with others, supplied much-needed…

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History of October 31: What’s Martin Luther got to do with it?

October 31

HISTORY OF OCTOBER 31 See my mini-series here on the life of Martin Luther. On October 31, 1517, the story goes, an Augustinian monk named Martin Luther nailed to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, 95 propositions or theses and marked the beginning of the Reformation. Of course, the Reformation began long…

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History of Oktoberfest: Why Does it Start in September?

Oktoberfest

HISTORY OF OKTOBERFEST Why is the famous German beer festival held in September if it’s called Oktoberfest? Officially, the beer festival starts on the third Saturday in September and lasts 16 to 18 days through early October. Oktoberfest 2020 and 2021 were canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It’s back again this year, starting tomorrow.…

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History of VE-Day: End of WWII in Europe 78 Years Ago

front page ve day

HISTORY OF VE-DAY Seventy-eight years ago today, World War II ended in Europe with the acceptance by the Allies of unconditional surrender from Germany on VE-Day.   Or did it?   May 7, 1945, VE-Day Adolf Hitler had committed suicide in his Berlin bunker a week earlier, on April 30, 1945, as I describe in…

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History of Beethoven: 250th Anniversary — 5 Things You Didn’t Know

Beethoven

HISTORY OF BEETHOVEN: 250TH ANNIVERSARY — 5 THINGS YOU DIDN’T KNOW The renowned German composer and virtuoso pianist Ludwig van Beethoven celebrates his 250th anniversary today. Anniversary of what? Here are 5 things you may not have known about the famous composer who came to fame between the Classical and Romantic periods of European music.  …

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History of the Liberation of Dachau — a Personal Reflection

Rainbow

HISTORY OF THE LIBERATION OF DACHAU, a Personal Reflection On April 29, 1945, 75 years ago, toward the end of World War II, the Allies captured and liberated Dachau. My father, Staff Sergeant John Petro, was one of the liberators. It was one of the few stories from The War that my father told me…

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History of the Liberation of Dachau: Present Day. Part 3

HISTORY OF THE LIBERATION OF DACHAU: Present Day. Part 3 In Part 1, I discussed the Nazi Concentration Camps and Dachau. In Part 2, I talk about my father’s involvement in the liberation as part of the 42nd “Rainbow” Division and his subsequent capture of the Nazi general in charge of Munich’s anti-aircraft artillery. Epilogue:…

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History of Starkbier Festival

Munich Starkbierfest

HISTORY OF STARKBIER FESTIVAL March 13 begins the Starkbierfest. The heart of this festival is in Munich, Germany, specifically at Paulaner am Nockherberg Brewery, where it all began, and lasts about two weeks. It is unlike its more well-known sibling Oktoberfest in a few ways.   Little Known Outside of Germany and Munich in particular, it’s not widely known,…

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History of Martin Luther: Part 8 – Legacy

HISTORY OF MARTIN LUTHER: PART 8 – LEGACY If you stand outside the door of the house where Martin Luther was born in Eisleben, you can see above the rooftops the towers of St. Andreas Church. You can walk to it in 5 to 10 minutes. St. Andreas is still in use today. It rises…

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History of Martin Luther: Part 7 – Family Man

HISTORY OF MARTIN LUTHER: PART 7 – FAMILY MAN How did Martin Luther, the bull in the China shop, the… “…fox [that had] arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard, [the] wild boar from the forest [that] seeks to destroy it…” …how did he become the very model of a modern Christian Family Man? My Lord…

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History of Martin Luther: Part 6 – Monk Marries Nun

HISTORY OF MARTIN LUTHER: PART 6 – MONK MARRIES NUN When Martin Luther returned from the Wartburg Castle to Wittenberg, he had much to do (see Part 5). The religious unrest and political protests that had occurred in the city while he was in seclusion needed to stop. At the beginning of Lent, he resumed…

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