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American Minute for September 8th:

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    SEPTEMBER 8th, 70 AD, the destruction of Jerusalem was complete.

Titus, the future Roman Emperor, had starved the city for months.

At the end of July, they broke through the walls and, according to historian Josephus, the Romans killed over a million Jews in their conquest.

The Second Temple was burned to the ground on the date in Jewish calendar called Tisha B'Av, (the 9th of Av).

This coincidentally was the same date that the First Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylonians in 587 BC.

Temple treasures were carried to Rome, being memorialized on the Arch of Titus, and used to finance the building of the Roman Colosseum.

Tish B'Av, the saddest day in the Jewish Year, is believed to have been the day 10 of the 12 spies Moses sent into the Promised Land discouraged the children of Israel from entering.

It is also the date in 132 AD that Romans massacred another 100,000 Jews at Betar, as well as the date of other Jewish massacres through the centuries, including the Nazi Holocaust.

In 135 AD, after Bar Kokhba's revolt, Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed the Province "Syria Palaestina," and renamed Jerusalem "Aelia Capitolina," in an attempt to erase Jewish history from the area.

Jews were banned from entering Jerusalem on pain of death, though in 325 AD, Jews were allowed to enter once a year to pray at the Western Wall on Tisha B'Av.

The Land of Israel was invaded or occupied by:

390 AD Byzantine Empire
614 AD Sassanid Persians
635 AD Umayyad Caliphate
750 AD Abbasid Caliphate
909 AD Fatimid Caliphate
1071 AD Seljuk Turks
1099 AD Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
1187 AD Ayyubid Sultanate
1260 AD Mongolian Empire
1291 AD Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt
1517 AD Ottoman Sultanate
1660 AD Druze Dynasty
1799 AD French Napoleon
1844 AD Tanzimat Ottoman Empire
1864 AD Ottoman Vilayet of Syria
1917 AD Britain Mandate, issuing the Balfour Declaration establishing the Jewish homeland.

On May 14, 1948 AD, the Nation of Israel came into being again, and after the 1967 War, Jerusalem was once again under Jewish control.

Jerusalem was reaffirmed as Israel's capital with "The Basic Law: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel," passed in 1980.

For centuries, people desired to pilgrimage to Jerusalem, including Abraham Lincoln.

A scrapbook in the Library of Congress contains the account of Rev. N.W. Miner of Springfield, who officiated at Lincoln's burial, recalling President Lincoln's last words while at Ford's Theater with his wife:

"Mrs. Lincoln informed me that...the very last moments of his conscious life were spent in conversation with her about his future plans...

He said he wanted to visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footprints of the Saviour. He was saying there was no city he so much desired to see as Jerusalem."

Israel was pressured by the U.S. to evacuate its Gaza region in exchange for a promise of peace, with the last residents being forced out on August 22, 2005.

The next day, on the other side of the world, a tropical depression turned into Hurricane Katrina which headed for New Orleans, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate.

With property damage estimated at $81 billion and nearly 2,000 people dead, it was one of the deadliest hurricanes in U.S. history.

On SEPTEMBER 8, 2005, President Bush declared a Day of Prayer and Remembrance, saying:

"Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in our Nation's history and has caused unimaginable devastation and heartbreak throughout the Gulf Coast Region...

Communities...decimated... Lives...lost... Hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans are suffering great hardship."

President Bush continued:

"To honor the memory of those who lost their lives, to provide comfort and strength to families of the victims...

I call upon all Americans to pray to Almighty God and to perform acts of service...

Across our Nation, many selfless deeds reflect the promise of the Scripture:

'For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in.'"

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