The Anvil’s Ring: Freedom > Freedumb

Is Freedom Just Another Word For Nothing Left To Lose?

Very little attention was paid in the press to Bloody Sunday this year. Not the Bloody Sunday of Ireland but here in the United States. It seemed odd to me what with all the talk of voting rights, human rights, and civil rights that, other than one photo I saw with Vice President Harris at the Edmund Pettus bridge, little was said about it.

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The Anvil’s Ring: The More Things Change

Now for something different. I entered a publisher’s writing contest 6 weeks ago. It was a Short/Short Story contest where you were given a topic, a short paragraph in this case. Your story needed to just touch the topic some how and you had 24 hours and less than 900 words to write about it. Much to my surprise I won a prize. My choice of an e-book on writing which is great because I can always use all the help I can get. I Tweeted out my triumph on Twitter and some followers suggested I print it so…this is all their fault! Hope you enjoy it.

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Primal in the Grass

By John O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

O’Connell photo

We at Montana Historian recently returned from an overnight trip to Yellowstone Park and Island Park, Idaho. I had an idea about an article. Yellowstone tourists and railroads. We discovered it’s a large topic and we needed to break it down into smaller bites for our readers. To that end we focused on the Union Pacific Railroad line from Saint Anthony, Idaho to West Yellowstone, Montana and how their transportation of tourists helped change this part of Montana forever.

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The Answer is in the Past

By John O’Connell, Montana Historian Magazine

“You must also study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time. People on every continent have stood in your shoes, through decades and centuries before you. The truth does not change, and that is why the answers worked out long ago can help you find solutions to the challenges of our time. Continue to build union between movements stretching across the globe because we must put away our willingness to profit from the exploitation of others.” (Excerpt of a letter to the people of the United States by Congressman John Lewis. Published on the occasion of his death, July 30, 2020)

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The first Montana Historian Magazine was published by Rey Advertising in 2010. Mike Rey, of Rey Advertising, is a student of history and wanted a way to connect with fans of Montana’s somewhat brief (in historical terms) but colorful past. He offered a way for specific businesses who have their own rich history, to share their stories in the magazine.

Montana Historian Magazine, 2019/2020 issue.

Montana Historian Magazine was available mainly in the Bozeman area at various grocery stores and racks throughout Gallatin County.

The stories that have been printed in Montana Historian are as diverse as the people who populate our great state. Yellowstone Park has been featured more than once, stories on the changes in transportation over the years, how vigilantes proved to be such prominent sculptors of where we are today, the growth of the recreation and tourism industries, and biographical stories of prominent names in Montana’s history have all colored the pages of the magazine.

In early 2020, Mike Rey of Rey Advertising, passed the reins of the magazine to O’Connell Publishing. John and Kerry O’Connell were honored to take over a publication which has grown to mean so much to followers of Montana history.

We cannot emphasize enough that we are not professional historians. We do take great pains to be sure what we say about Montana’s history is accurate and separate that history from our opinions.

The challenges that emerged from COVID in 2020 were numerous. We made the difficult decision to delay publication from its normal October/November timeframe to early in 2021. Then in 2021 we made the decision to keep it a digital magazine and to write almost all of the articles in-house.

We’ve been on the road more often doing research, creating photos and videos, and enjoying the wonderful state of Montana. We are also inviting guest columns for the website and if you are interested you can read more about this opportunity here.

We look forward to adding some longer and more deeply researched stories than we have in the past two years. What we’ve found has surprised even us and made us a bit uncomfortable. But that’s the way history is supposed to be, isn’t it?

Thank you,

John and Kerry O’Connell,

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