February 15, 2018

Remember the Maine - An Amelia Island's Mark of a Man Excerpt

Excerpt from                                           
 in E-book and Paperback

Amelia Island's Mark of a Man               

February 15, 1898
Fernandina, Florida

     "I'm ready, Sheriff." Stepping away from his parents, Pat said, "I'm sorry for this embarrassment, Mama. I'm sorry I can't go with you, Daddy. I'm hoping for the best for Aunt Kathleen." He added in afterthought, "Oh, you may want to have a look at that newspaper extra I brought in to show you. The Spanish sunk the Maine in Havana Harbor. My guess is we'll be declaring war on them any day." 
     "Dear God!" Miss Ella put her hands flat to her chest in distress, thinking how everyone alive would remember where they were when they heard this ghastly news. 
     Aunt Noreen, mercifully, was still passed out and unaware of the dispatch. However, by this time, most others in the building had filled Michael's office and were listening. Officer and prisoner walked through the grasping, sobbing maze of relatives, secretaries, clerks and draftsmen.
     Pat noticed Angelique running out the back way, her arm thrown across her weeping eyes. Had he meant that much to her? Of course not. Thunderation! He could be a conceited bastard, he concluded. She must have other troubles. 
     As he climbed into the barred prisoners' wagon, he saw Marie sitting on the front porch railing, swinging her legs and smiling his way. Her ice-blue eyes cut through him. Her attitude seemed somehow—reckless. What had gotten into her? What might happen to her with him not there for protection?  

     The U.S. Battleship Maine was sent to Havana Harbor, January 26, 1898, by President McKinley, to protect United States interests and the Cuban rebels. She was mysteriously blown up while at anchor on February 15, 1898, killing 260 Americans on board. William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer of the New York Journal printed the cry: Remember the Maine. Spain declared war on the United States, April 24, 1898. It was the beginning of the Spanish-American War.