THE BREAKING OF BREAD
President Bush sat down Monday night with Muslim diplomats for a traditional Iftar dinner in the White House State Dining Room.
"America is made better by millions of Muslim citizens. America has close and important relations with many Islamic nations. So it is fitting for America to honor your friendship and the traditions of a great faith by hosting this Iftar at the White House," said Bush.
The Iftar dinner is traditionally held at the end of each day's sunrise-to-sunset fast during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which began late last week. White House aides said it is the first time an Iftar meal has been held at the White House. President Clinton held three Eid-al-Fitr dinners to celebrate the traditional three-day holiday that marks the end of Ramadan.
STARS AND STRIPES
The American flag that New York City firefighters raised at the site of the demolished World Trade Center will be flying aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt when it returns to the United States from the war in Afghanistan, a Navy admiral said Monday.
The flag -- given to the ship by New York Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani -- first flew above the Roosevelt's flight deck Oct. 17, the day "The Big Stick's" complement of F/A-18 Hornets and F-14 Tomcats first pounded Taliban and al Qaida targets in Afghanistan.
A plane delivered the flag to the Roosevelt when the ship was one day out of Gibraltar.
A small ceremony had been planned for its arrival. But word spread among the ship's crew and more than 2,000 sailors, aviators and Marines turned out on deck and spontaneously broke out into "God Bless America."
"It has become a very valuable and very coveted commodity on the ship," Rear Adm. Mark Fitzgerald said. "Everybody wants to have their picture taken with it."
The Roosevelt is based in Norfolk, Va., and will return there after completion of its mission. According to scuttlebutt, efforts are underway to gain Pentagon permission to first fly the flag into New York harbor and personally return it to those who honored the ship and its crew before the carrier travels to homeport.
Fitzgerald would neither confirm nor deny the rumor. When asked, he simply smiled.
Singing New York City police officer Daniel Rodriguez has signed a recording deal with Manhattan Records, a division of Capitol/EMI Records. His first single, "God Bless America," plus a new song specifically written for him "We Will Go On", will be released Dec. 11, and his debut album will follow in January.
Championed by New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, Rodriguez has sung "God Bless America" and the National Anthem at public events all around New York. He also has performed on "The Today Show," "The Late Show With David Letterman," "LIVE With Regis and Kelly," "Good Morning America" and "Larry King Live."
The release of "God Bless America" will come on the three-month anniversary of the terrorist attacks. Profits from its sale will be donated to the Twin Towers Fund.
(Web site: angelrecords.com)
REASONS TO CELEBRATE TODAY:
TUESDAY: This is Name Your PC Day. Hey, we name our boats, and sometimes our cars. Why not our computers? (Web site: wellcat.com)
Mexico observes the 1910 anniversary of the social revolution launched by Francisco I. Madero as a national holiday.
And today is Africa Industrialization Day and Universal Children's Day, as declared by the United Nations.
(Thanks to Chase's 2001 Calendar of Events)
BY THE WAY...
Which state was the first to ratify what became known as the Bill of Rights?
New Jersey, on this date in 1789.