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Who Was Theodor Geisel?
On March 2, Read Across America Day is celebrated by students, teachers, and community members in towns throughout the country. They chose that date to pay homage to one of the most beloved children’s authors who was
born that day: Theodor Geisel. That name may sound unfamiliar to you, but “Dr. Seuss” should ring a few bells.
His name alone is so associated with literacy that in 2007, the author of an article in U.S. News & World Report that chronicled the history of 1957 — the year “The Cat in the Hat” was published — wrote, “Greece had Zeus — America has Seuss.” In 2001, Publisher’s Weekly released a list of the bestselling hardcover children’s books of all time in the U.S. Of the books in the top 100, Seuss authored 16, which is more than any other author on the list by a long shot. But Seuss did not break into the children’s literature industry easily. Seuss and his nearly 50 children’s books almost never got off the ground. His first children’s book, “And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry Street,” was denied by more than a dozen publishers. Legend has it that Seuss was on his way home to burn the manuscript when he ran into an old friend who suggested another publisher. The rest is history. Given the enthusiasm for reading Dr. Seuss has fostered in children for the past eight decades, it’s no wonder the National Education Association chose his birthday to mark a day dedicated to celebrating reading. After all, he’s often quoted as saying, “You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read with a child.”
Theft is a serious matter, made even more grave when the victims are fallen war heroes. Such was the situation that stumped police in Hudson, New York, in 2012. The crime was first committed in July of the previous year. Flags had been placed around the graves of soldiers in Cedar Park Cemetery — only to go missing right around Independence Day. Veterans groups and locals were AN INSIDE JOB The Curious Case of the Disappearing Flags
Determined to find out who was to blame, police put up surveillance cameras and recorded the goings-on in the cemetery. As they watched the tapes, sure enough, they saw one of the culprits sitting atop a gravestone with an empty flagpole in front of him. It was a groundhog.
Apparently, the wooden flagpoles attract groundhogs, something other groundskeepers have experienced as well.
outraged and mystified by the crime. Some worried that a hate group was to blame, as the missing flags had adorned the graves
“I’m glad we don’t have someone who has taken it upon themselves to desecrate the stones and the flags in front of them,” said Hudson mayor
of Jewish soldiers. Veterans worked to replace the flags, one by one, and right the wrong. No culprit was found, and the community moved on — until the following July, when the mystery repeated itself.
Bill Hallenbeck. “We can all rest a little easier knowing that it was a critter and not a human defacing our flags, especially those of the veterans,” added Hudson’s police commissioner. Turns out Punxsutawney Phil has some very naughty cousins — ones who aren’t subject to the law.
Like the year before, flags were placed on veterans’ graves in honor of Independence Day, and again, they went missing sometime in the night, this time taken from the graves of African American Civil War soldiers. Cemetery caretaker and veteran Vincent Wallace was appalled, as was the rest of his community. “I just can’t comprehend the mindset that would allow someone to do this,” Wallace said.
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