On this fateful day in 1989, Robert Vance, who is a judge, was sitting with his wife in the kitchen of their home when he opened a package addressed to him that exploded and killed him immediately. The same day, another mailed bomb killed an attorney, Robert Robinson, in his office in Savannah, Georgia. Two days later, bomb packages were sent to the federal courthouse in Atlanta and to the Jacksonville, Mississippi office of the NAACP. If not for the timely intervention of the police, the NAACP vice-president would have suffered the same fate as Robert Vance. In addition, Robert Vance is one of the few judges in American history to have been killed as the result of his judicial service. Immediately, the FBI assigned a team to find the terrorist, naming their operation VANPAC (for Vance package bomb). The team utilized almost every forensic technique accessible: from DNA profiles were made using the spit on the stamps and both the paint on the containers and the nails used in building the bomb were traced back to the manufacturer. Initially, the investigators thought it was the handy work of a white supremacist campaign, but when no group claimed responsibility, they began to suspect it was the work of a loner.Later, an FBI agent recalled that Walter LeRoy Moody had been convicted in 1972 for setting off a pipe bomb with a similar pattern to that of the 1989 bombs. Searching Moody's home there was no evidence that linked to the VANPAC bombs, however bomb specialists compared his 1972 bomb with the VANPAC explosives and verified that there was little uncertainty that a similar man had made them all. Roy Moody was a loner filled with grudge against the judicial system for sentencing him to five years in prison for setting off a bomb that caused a first and second degree burns on his wife. A ruling he tried appealing at the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals but was unsuccessful.A federal jury found Moody guilty on charges relating to bombing and in June of 1991, he was sentenced to seven life terms plus 400 years in prison. The murder case was finally arranged after his second wife agreed to testify against her husband. She explained in detail about the room she was not allowed to enter, how she disguised in order to buy bomb ingredients for him and how she helped him mail packages that she was not allowed to check. In 1997, an Alabama judge sentenced Moody to the electric chair for Vance's murder.
Today in 1998, President Bill Clinton declares he has ordered air strikes against Iraq since the country declined to collaborate with United Nations (U.N.) weapons inspectors. A development that most of the key congressmen did not welcome because Clinton was in the midst of an impeachment proceedings, and many of them believe the President was just using the air strikes to direct their attention off the case. A day before the announcement, the House of Representatives had issue a 265-page report suggesting the impeachment of President Bill Clinton for " abuse of power and gross misconduct" coupled with the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal, which he denied.The order for air strikes on Iraq was the result of the country's attempts to building weapons of mass destruction, which includes nuclear, chemical and biological agents. In 1997, because of Saddam Hussein's violent manners, and the fear that he may tried using those nuclear weapons against his own people, the United Nations sent an envoy to inspect whether the country is building any weapon of mass destruction. After denying the inspectors access to certain sites several times, Clinton was left with no other option than to use the air strikes to force Hussein to cooperate. The majority House leader Trent Lott and many others were of the opinion that the planning of the air strikes was hasty and questionable. They maintained that the president is using the air strikes as a ploy to shift the public eye away from the impeachment proceedings and that Hussein would never agree to comply with the U.N.'s demands. Lott and his partners opined that the best way to end Iraq's weapons program is by immediate seizure of power from Hussein.When Clinton was addressing the press that same day, he stylishly ignored the criticism, saying that Iraq president was wrong if he thought "…the impeachment proceedings going on would disturb or weaken America's interest in Iraq." He maintained that his decision to launch air strikes was because of America's interest in the region and for the world security.At last, the American attention and that of the press maintained focus on the impeachment proceedings that is rocking Clinton's administration. However, the impeachment threat and Iraq air strikes did not yield any meaningful result. In February of 1999, the Senate vindicated Clinton while the air strikes on Iraq hardened the heart of Hussein because he did not allow U.N.'s inspectors full access to Iraq's weapons facilities.
On this date in 1961, the Nazi Secret Service officer Adolf Eichmann who organized Adolf Hitler's "final resolution to ending Jews in Europe" is finally sentenced to death in Israel.Adolf Eichmann was born in 1906, in Solingen, Germany. In November 1932, he joined the Nazi's elite SS called "Schutzstaffel" whose members later became key players in Nazi Germany and were responsible for policing, intelligence, and the authorization of Adolf Hitler's anti-Semitic policies. Within few years, Eichmann rose in the SS chain of command, and with the German invasion of Austria in 1938, he was sent to Vienna with the sole purpose of clearing the city of Jews. He did an effective job in the city and even set up a Jewish deportment center before he was moved to Prague in 1939 for a similar mission. That same year, Eichmann was assigned to the Jewish section of the SS headquarters in Berlin. In January 1942, according to Hermann Goering (one of Nazi's leader), Eichmann met with top Nazi authorities at the Wannsee Conference close to Berlin in order to discuss the "final resolution to ending Jews in Europe". The Nazis chose to eliminate Europe's Jewish populace. Eichmann was assigned the responsibility to facilitate the identification, gathering, and transportation of millions of Jews in Europe to the Nazi concentration camps, where they were either gassed or worked to death. Eichmann was efficient at his work, and about four million Jews died in the concentration camp by the end of the Second World War, while another two million were killed in other death camps.After World War II, Eichmann was caught by U.S. troops. Unfortunately, he managed to escape prison in 1946, before he could face Nuremberg International War Crimes Tribunal. Eichmann travelled between Europe and the Middle East under a false identity, and in 1950, he permanently settled in Argentina, which is known to be a refuge for Nazi war criminals because of his slack immigration policies. In 1957, a German prosecutor secretly leaked the information that Eichmann was living in Argentina to Israel's intelligence service. Israel's Mossad agents were sent to Argentina, where they found Eichmann living in the San Fernando area of Buenos Aires under the name of Ricardo Klement.During Argentina's 150th anniversary of its revolution against Spain in 1960 and many tourists were trooping in to Argentina to join in the celebration. The Mossad utilized the chance to sneak-in more agents. Israel, realizing that Argentina may never agree to hand over Eichmann for trial, had chosen to abduct him and take him to Israel illegally. On May 11, Mossad agents stormed Garibaldi Street in San Fernando and grabbed Eichmann away as he was strolling from the bus to his home. In addition, his family called nearby hospitals but not the police, and Argentina remained unaware of the operation. On May 20, a sedated Eichmann was flown out of Argentina masked as an Israeli airline worker who had suffered head injury in an accident. After three days, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion declared that Eichmann was in Israeli custody.Argentina requested Eichmann's return, while Israel maintained that given his status as an international war criminal, they have the right to continue with the trial. On April 11, 1961, Eichmann's trial started in Jerusalem, making it the first broadcast trial ever. Eichmann faced 15 count charges ranging from crimes against humankind, persecution of the Jewish race, and war crimes. However, Eichmann claimed the he was simply following orders, which the judges disagreed, and on December 15, he was found guilty on all charges and sentenced to death. On May 31, 1962, he was hanged near Tel Aviv. His body cremated and the ashes tossed into the ocean.
On this day in 1799, one of the founding fathers of United States of America and the first president George Washington dies at the age of 67 in his home in Mount Vernon, Virginia. Born in 1732 to a family of planters who owned tobacco plantations and slaves, in Westmoreland County, Virginia, George Washington had his first direct military experience as a lieutenant colonel in the Virginia colonial militia in 1754, when on behalf of Virginia governor, he led a small crusade against the French in the Ohio River valley. In 1756, during the French and Indian War, Washington took control of the defenses of the western Virginian frontiers. When the war's battleground moved somewhere else, he resigned from his military post, went back to his family's business and won a seat at Virginia's House of Burgesses. The next two decades saw Washington openly opposed the ever-increasing British taxation and oppression of the American settlements. He was selected to represent Virginia at the Continental Congress in 1774, and after the American Revolution crises began in 1775, Washington was chosen as the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army. However, some members of the Continental Congress opposed his appointment, arguing that there were men that are more competent and suitable for the position, but he was eventually selected because of his leadership roles as a Virginian who played a key role in uniting the Southern colonies.With his unprepared and poorly equipped civilian army, General Washington led an effective war that the defeated the British forces in America while urging the French army to join forces with the colonists. On October 19, 1781, British General Charles Lord Cornwallis' surrendered the British army at Yorktown, Virginia.When the war ended, Washington returned to his estate at Mount Vernon but returned in 1787 when he was called back into politics to chair the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Unknowingly to him, the drafters of the constitution had created the office of the president with his name in mind, and in February 1789, Washington was unanimously chosen as the president of the United States of America.Washington strived to unite the country and protect the interests of the new republic at home and abroad. He said of his administration, "Here I am, walking a new path. There is hardly any piece of my actions, which may not from this point forward be use as a point of reference." He effectively implemented the executive power, and made good use of great minds for example, Alexander Hamilton and Thomas Jefferson in his cabinet and did not use the presidency to cause tyranny. He won a reelection in 1792 and later rejected a third term bid.He finally retired in 1797 at his estate in Virginia. Two years later, Washington died of acute laryngitis. His longtime friend Henry Lee gave an acclaimed tribute to the father of the United States: "First in war, first in peace, and first in the hearts of his people."
History has recorded explorations achieved by man for centuries. When looking at the technology that is available to those seeking to explore today, one cannot help but wonder how early explorers were able to accomplish all that they did. One particular boon for exploration was that it was not limited to one nation which meant there was more of a chance of areas around the world to be discovered. Spain was known for the success of their explorers as one of them is celebrated today as a national holiday; the holiday is Columbus Day which is named after the Spanish explorer known as Christopher Columbus. Although a certain British explorer does not have a holiday named after him, what he did was an achievement in the eyes of the British people.Francis Drake was an English seaman who set sail from Plymouth, England on December 13th, 1577 with 164 men on five ships. Their assignment was to sail to the Pacific coast to acquire Spanish holdings in the New World as well as to explore the Pacific Ocean. Drake’s voyage back to Plymouth three years later marked the first time a British explorer had circumnavigated the earth. Drake had to leave behind two of his vessels in South America once he crossed the Atlantic and then with the ships remaining set forth into the Straits of Magellan. Unfortunately, several destructive storms had devastating effects on his expedition within the treacherous straits; one vessel had to sail back to England while the other was destroyed. The only ship to reach the Pacific Ocean was The Golden Hind but Drake still sailed on up the western coast of South America; Drake and his crew was able to secure a wealthy treasure vessel as well as raiding Spanish settlements.Looking for an alternative northeast route back to the Atlantic, Drake sailed up the western coast of North America. He ended up as far north as where Washington presently is, he turned back end stopped to repair his vessel in June of 1579 close to San Francisco; Drake was getting prepared for his voyage across the Pacific. He acknowledged the territory for Queen Elizabeth I and named it “Nova Albion.”The ship began its’ voyage across the Pacific in July and investigated some islands until returning to the Atlantic Ocean by rounding Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. The Golden Hind had finally arrived in Plymouth, England on September 26th, 1580 with spice, treasure and important information regarding the greatest oceans of the world. Drake had accomplished being the original captain to travel on his own vessel completely around the world. Portuguese’s explorer Ferdinand Magellan did travel three quarters of the journey around the world earlier in the century; however, he had been murdered in the Philippines which left the Basque navigator Juan Sebastian de Elcano to finish the voyage.During a visit to Drake’s ship in 1581, Queen Elizabeth I knighted the son of a tenant farmer; Francis Drake. Sir Francis Drake would soon play a pivotal part in the Spanish Armada’s defeat as well as being remembered as the most renowned of the Elizabethan seamen.
American oil tycoon Armand Hammer purchases a notebook at an auction on December 12th, 1980 for $5,126,000; it held writings of the famous artist Leonard de Vinci. The manuscript was one of 30 books that were somewhat the same of books created by Leonardo created while alive on different subjects around 1508. The contents held 72 loose pages featuring roughly 300 detailed drawings and notes relating to the concept of water and on its motion. Experts have commented on how da Vinci referred to it when painting the background for the Mona Lisa; now viewed today as his masterwork. Written in chalk and brown ink, the text appeared from right to left which was an example of mirror-writing technique; this was a technique Leonardo favored. The notebook was discovered by painter Giuseppi Ghezzi in a chest of paperwork that was owned by Guglielmo Della Porto in 1690; he was a 16th-century Milanese sculptor who had learned about da Vinci’s work. Thomas Coke, known as the first earl of Leicester, purchased the manuscript in 1717 and placed it at his family estate in England with his recognized collection of art. The notebook would become known as the Leicester Codex over 200 years later as it eventually appeared on auction in London’s Christie as the Lord Coke of present was compromised regarding paying taxes on inheritance of collection of art and the estate; therefore, he had no choice but to sell. The press and art experts guessed that the notebook would fetch a price from $7 to $20 million days prior to the auction. Interestingly, the starting bid was $1.4 million and within minutes, several others began to bid where the amount being raised each time was $100,000. The final price tag of $5.12 million was the largest price tag ever spent for a manuscript during this period in time; the legendary Gutenberg Bible copy sold in 1978 for merely $2 million. Hammer would say later “I’m very happy with the price. I expected to pay more. There is no work of art in the world I wanted more than this.” Unfortunately for Lord Coke, he was only “reasonably happy” with the fetching price because he said the proceeds would not be enough to pay off the amount he owed.Hammer is the president of a corporation named Occidental Petroleum and before adding his trophy to his valuable art collection, changed the notebook’s name to the Hammer Codex. The notebook and his other various works eventually went to the Armand Hammer Museum of Art and Cultural Center at the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) after his death in 1990. The museum offered to sell the manuscript several years later saying it had no choice being the funds were needed to pay for legal costs incurred when the niece and only heir of Hammer’s late wife, Frances, went after the estate insinuating he robbed Frances of what was rightfully her part of his fortune. The Hammer Codex was eventually bought at the steep and new record price of $30.8 million at an auction in New York by an unknown bidder later to be identified as Bill Gates; Microsoft’s billionaire founder. Gates restored the manuscript back to the Leicester Codex and presently has let several museums borrow the manuscript for the public to view.
Today, it seems that at least once a month there is a story in the news regarding a shooting at a school or college campus. When the incident happens, the suspect is usually of an age where there is no issue of the accused to be indicted as an adult. Sadly, there are times when a student either brings a gun to a school for show or to fire it at people but the suspect is not an adult. The severity of the event usually determines if the accused should be tried as a youth offender or an adult, in which case any sentencing would become harsher. One example of this occurred at Heath High School located in West Paducah, Kentucky as fourteen-year-old student Michael Carneal is indicted as an adult on December 12th, 1997 on the charges of three counts of murder as well as five counts of attempting to murder. Michael pulled out a gun on December 1st and fired 11 times in the school’s lobby at a group of students.When looking closely at Michael Carneal, he came from a good family and appeared on the surface to be your average teenager. He was considered to be in the middle in regards to he was not a social outcast nor very popular. His older sister, Kelly drove him to school on December 1st in which Michael was said to tell his sister that the bundle that was blanketed on his lap was a prop to be used in a school project; actually, underneath was two shotguns and two rifles. Adding to his arsenal was a .22-caliber gun and all of his weapons had been taken several weeks earlier from the garage of a neighbor. Arriving at school, Michael walked in the direction of a school prayer meeting that had just ended. Carneal proceeded to put earplugs on, loaded his .22-caliber pistol and methodically fired upon eight students 10 feet away from him. During the carnage, a fellow student named Ben Strong persuaded Michael to let go of his gun and restrained him until the principal of the school escorted Carneal away.Carneal began to cry and asked authorities to terminate him when asked what his motivation for his deadly rampage was. Later on, Carneal said the movie The Basketball Diaries that starred Leonardo DiCaprio was his inspiration. For their supposed role in the tragedy, families of those shot submitted a lawsuit for $130 million against the 21 entertainment companies associated with the film; included in those being sued were the creators of the video games Doom and Quake. Michael was educated on how to fire accurately from using these games according to those that were suing them.Michael’s young age voided him from the death penalty even though indicted as an adult. Carneal pleaded guilty due to mental illness and received a life in prison sentence although in 25 years he would be eligible for parole. Remarkably, the Paducah community showed kindness to Michael’s family during this time of tragedy as they offered their condolences as well as Kelly being welcomed back to school after the shooting event.
Today in 1992, in Mogadishu, Somalia, 1,800 United States Marines arrive in the city in an effort to lead the multinational force ordered by the U.N. to reestablish peace and order in the conflict-turn country. Mogadishu became the capital of Somalia in 1960 after several years of being under colonial masters like Portugal, Britain and Italy. However, 10 years later, Major General Said Barre led a military coup that seize control of the government and declared Somalia a communist state. In mid-1970, famine hit the country while an ethnic Somalis living in a province of Ethiopia territory denied many of food. By 1981, nearly 2 million of the country's citizens were displaced. In 1988, the country signed a peace treaty with Ethiopia yet, it did little to curb the internal conflict going on within different Somalia rival clans and in January 1991 Barre fled the capital city. Throughout the following 23 months, the country's civil war killed close to 50,000 people, while another 300,000 died of hunger as United Nations peacekeeping forces effort to reestablish order and help the country did not yield any tangible result. In December of 1992, as part of the peace mission tagged "Operation Restore Hope" President George H.W. ordered the deployment of U.S. Marines to the country, and within few months, the troops were able to restore food distribution and other humanitarian aid operations with the help of international aid workers and the backing of the U.s Army. However, violence was still rampant in the region and this led to the death of 24 United Nations soldiers from Pakistan in 1993. The death of the soldiers made the U.N. ordered for the arrest of General Mohammed Farah Aidid one of the leaders of the rebel group. On October 3, 1993, during the offensive attack, two of the U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopters were shot down and 18 soldiers were killed.The following day, General Mohammed Farah Aidid's followers drag the dead body of one of the U.S. Marines on the street of Mogadishu with joy as viewers from around the world watched the disturbing scene on TV. Immediately, President Bill Clinton ordered all American troops to withdraw from Somalia before March 31, 1994. This new development made other Western Powers follow suit. In 1995, the last U.N. peacekeepers left the country without finishing the mission that had cost more than $2 billion. However, Mogadishu does not have a stable government even though a peace treaty was signed in Kenya in 2002, and a new government was installed in 2004 yet, it failed to stop the violence that has destroyed the country. Until this present day, Somalia is facing war from different factions in several regions of the country, each struggling to seize power of the conflict-ridden country.
Today in 1992, the British Prime Minister John Major announced the formal separation of Charles, Prince of Wales and heir to the British royal throne, and his wife Diana. According to the Prime Minister, the couple was separating in an amicable manner. Rumors of separation between the royal couple had long been carried by newspaper agencies several years before the time of the announcement alleging that Charles and Diana spent their holidays separately and official visits in different rooms It was a memorable day on July 29, 1981, as almost one billion viewers in some 74 countries across the globe tuned in their TV to watch the marriage of Prince Charles, heir to the British royal throne, to Lady Diana Spencer, a young English teacher. The marriage was held stylishly at St. Paul's Cathedral in the sight of 2,650 invitees, making the wedding ceremony the talk of the town. A year later, the royal couple welcomed the birth of their first child Prince William, while the second child Prince Henry was born in 1984. It did not take long before the couple grew apart, which was an awful experience in the eyes of those that had expected much from the couple and especially the media who were watching the couple closely. Unfortunately, in 1992, Charles and Diana separated but still kept on doing their royal duties. In addition, Queen Elizabeth II advised the couple to divorce, which they did after reaching a final agreement two months later in August of 1996. In order to relinquish the title of "Her Royal Highness" along with any other future claims to the British throne, Lady Diana received a bourgeois settlement, the right to retain her apartments at Kensington Palace and her title of Princess of Wales.A year after the divorce, on August 31, the popular princess was in France for an event with his friend Dodi Fayed when their car was involved in a ghastly car accident that claimed their lives. Investigation into the incident by the French Police revealed that the driver who also died during the accident was heavily intoxicated and was the cause of the accident while attempting to get away from the paparazzi photographers who were found of following the princess anytime she is at any event.On April 9, 2005, Prince Charles married the Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla Parker Bowles.
When your average person looks back in history, some would say they wish it was them who had invented something famous or lived in a time where there was no such thing as an atomic bomb. However, would any wish they were the President of the United States during a time of world crisis? Would anyone wish they could be President Franklin Roosevelt right after Pearl Harbor was bombed? While we have the luxury of not having to be in his shoes, Roosevelt would have to decide very quickly on how to respond to such a devastating attack on a U.S. naval base. So, President Roosevelt made his decision on December 8th, 1941 to stand before Congress and ask them to declare war against the nation responsible for the attack; Japan. Perhaps the most memorable and most important address of his presidency, he declared the action committed by Japan a “deliberate deception” and the speech was responded with a thunderous applause from Congress. Shortly after his address, the United States stated officially it was entering World War II. Japanese pilots had attacked the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor by bombing it on the day before Roosevelt’s speech. The surprise attack decimated most of the U.S. warships in the Pacific Fleet as well as the majority of Navy aircraft and Air Corps stationed on the island of Oahu. The bombing raids resulted in wounding almost 1,200 individuals and killing 2,403 people that included 68 civilians.Roosevelt and those advising him were notified of intelligence reports suggesting an imminent assault by Japan days earlier; however, he hoped that American and Japanese diplomats that were in Washington negotiating on what was hoped would be a peaceful solution. Roosevelt was enraged when realizing that while Japanese and American diplomats were trying to resolve their issues regarding recent military actions by Japan not only in China but in other areas in the Pacific; aircraft carriers from Japan were traveling to Hawaii with the purpose of attacking it. His words on December 8th expressed his personal fury and indignation.Previously, he had demonstrated his oratorical abilities when his “fireside chats” during the Great Depression raised the morale of the nation. He already had said memorable things such as “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself” stated with equal conviction that the United States “would never forget the character of Japan’s onslaught against us.” Roosevelt had also vowed that the “unbounding determination of our people… will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.”Regardless, the motivating address was hardly necessary as millions of Americans and Congress, who already had heard in the news the details of the assault, shared the president’s anger and commitment to defending the nation. The next day, young men swarmed to armed forces recruiting stations while both the Republicans and Democrats immediately declared war against Japan; there was only a single vote of dissension.
On the island of Oahu, out of the clouds suddenly appeared a Japanese dive bomber and on its’ wings could be seen the red picture of the Rising Sun of Japan at 7:55 a.m. Hawaii time. Suddenly, descending on the U.S. naval base stationed at Pearl Harbor was 360 Japanese war planes and began a vicious assault. The U.S. Pacific fleet suffered a critical blow as a result of the unexpected assault on December 7th, 1941 and would eventually influence the United States to enter World War II.President Franklin D. Roosevelt along with his advisers realized that a Japanese assault was not only probable but could happen at any time; yet, the important base at Pearl Harbor showed no signs of increased security. Lots of military personnel on Sunday morning had been granted passes to go off the base to attend religious services. Although two operators watching radar viewed big groups of aircrafts at 7:02 a.m. approaching from the north to the island, they were ordered not to sound the alarm due to the United States had arranged for a flight of B-17s to arrive at the island at that time. Therefore, it was a disastrous shock to the naval base when the assault from Japanese aircrafts started. Most of the fleet in the Pacific was rendered useless as over 200 airships were demolished as well as five of the eight battleships, three destroyers and seven additional vessels were severely damaged or sunk. While trying to valiantly attempting to stop the attack, many of the 1,200 got injured as a result of this and 2,400 in total Americans had perished. Japan’s losses were less than 100 men, roughly 30 aircraft and five small submarines. The United States would have had more losses but fortunately out on training maneuvers at sea were all three Pacific fleet carriers. However, revenge would be dealt by these huge aircraft carriers six months later against Japan at the Battle of Midway; their stupendous victory against what was thought of as an invincible Japanese navy reversed the tide of the war.President Roosevelt appeared in front of the joint session of Congress the morning after Pearl Harbor was attacked and declared, “Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” After a forceful and quick speech, he implored Congress to agree to a resolution acknowledging the state of war between Japan and the United States. The vote was 82 to 0 in the Senate to approve of going to war against Japan while the vote was 388 to 1 in the House of Representatives to approve of going to war. The only dissenter was a devout pacifist, Representative Jeannette Rankin of Montana, who ironically had done the same thing by voting against the U.S. from participating in World War I. Italy and Germany would declare war against the United States three days later in which the U.S. government responded accordingly.Although the contribution by America to the Allied war effort was successful, it would take four long years and the total of American lives that were lost exceeded 400,000.
Anyone who has been fortunate to visit the Washington Monument must have been impressed on its’ actual size. Others may have been in awe at looking at it and wonder how on Earth was this able to be built? To answer those and other questions that people may wonder about this huge structure, the answers go back to the 1800s when this monument was finally finished as well as further back to why it was constructed in the first place.Workers in Washington, D.C. place a nine-inch aluminum pyramid on top of a white marble tower that finishes the building of an awesome monument to the nation’s original president and the city’s namesake George Washington on December 6th, 1884. Looking back to when the U.S. Congress had basically started, a decision was reached in 1783 that a statue of the great Revolutionary War general, George Washington, should reside close to wherever the site would be for the new Congressional building. Architect Pierre L’Enfant would be asked by President Washington to craft a new federal capital that would reside on the Potomac River in 1791; Pierre left a spot for the statue to be placed at the western end of the sweeping National Mall which is close to the present day location of the monument. Ironically, it wasn’t until thirty-three-years after the death of Washington that someone finally did something to have the monument built in 1832 and the same year saw the birth of the private Washington National Monument Society. They held a design competition and the winner was architect Robert Mills for his elaborate Greek temple-like creation. Then, a fundraising drive was held by the society in an attempt to acquire funds for the creation of the statue. Although this action, as well as appealing to the nations school children for assistance, $230,000 thousand was raised; unfortunately, this was well-short of the needed $1 million. Nevertheless, construction began as the society’s representatives worked to create the monument’s cornerstone; this was a pure white marble block that weighed 24,500 pounds on July 4th, 1848.Regrettably, construction would be halted after six years due to lack of funds. Author Mark Twain would later comment about the unfinished monument by it looking like a “hollow, oversized chimney” around the time of the start of the Civil War in 1861. Sadly, no progress would be made about completing the monument for another fifteen years until the centennial of American independence as authorization for completing the monument’s building by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1876.The monument became the tallest building in the world at that time as it was made of roughly 36,000 blocks of granite and marble that was stacked 555 feet in the air; it was finished in December of 1884. More than 10,000 individuals climbed the roughly 900 steps to the Washington Monument’s top just after the dedication ceremony six months prior. Presently, the trip to the top is made easier through the use of an elevator and each year, more than 800,000 individuals visit the monument. The city passed a law in 1910 that the height of new buildings would be limited to make sure that the tallest building in Washington, D.C. remains the monument; this is a fitting tribute to the individual remembered as the “Father of His Country.”
Usually, individuals remembered throughout history are seen in a positive light when something good is accomplished while viewed in a negative light when something bad is achieved. Sometimes an individual can be remembered as having a favorable reputation while at the same time known for a devastating failure. One such person was born in Harrison County, Ohio on December 5th, 1839. Although Union General George Armstrong Custer is mostly remembered in history for his death in Montana at the Battle of the Big Horn by the Cheyenne Indians in 1876, he is also remembered for his reputation during the Civil War as an effective and dashing cavalry leader.Custer’s reputation was much different years before the Civil War when in 1857, he attended West Point and was known for the many demerits he received for his disobedient behavior as well as earning poor grades. While graduating at the bottom of his class in 1861, Custer would shortly be put into military action despite his showing of bad academic’s. He would be involved in fighting at Virginia in July of 1861 during the First Battle of Bull Run; this occurred roughly two months after his departure from West Point. During the entire war, Custer was a part of the Army of the Potomac. Being a part of almost all the important battles that involved the army, Custer accomplished being the youngest general in the Union army at age 23 in June of 1863. Custer would command the Michigan cavalry brigade in General Judson Kilpatrick’s third Cavalry Division. Custer and his troop known as his “Wolverines” played an important part in halting the cavalry attack by Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart, who assisted the victory of the Union in Pennsylvania at the Battle of Gettysburg. Custer achieved this just shortly after his promotion. He would personally lead every attack in battle which helped earn the admiration of his men as a leader. An observer of Custer’s command wrote, “So brave a man I never saw and as competent as brave. Under him a man is ashamed to be cowardly. Under him our men can achieve wonders.”During the campaigns of 1864, Custer secured his greatest battlefield success. He would lead the attack in Virginia at the Battle of Yellow Tavern on May 11th, 1864; the attack resulted in Stuart’s death. Custer would one month later lead an attack at Trevilian Station on a train carrying supplies that resulted in the Confederate cavalry surrounding them. Nonetheless, his soldiers created a triangle and fought valiantly to stop the Rebels until the arrival of reinforcements. Custer’s men in October achieved an impressive victory at Tom’s Brook in the Shenandoah Valley over the Confederate cavalry; this would become the best one-sided Yankee cavalry win of the war in the East.When the Civil War was finished, downsizing occurred which resulted in the demotion of Custer to lieutenant colonel. Fighting Native Americans, his postwar missions were not as effective which on June 25th, 1876 Custer’s reckless attack on the camp at Little Big Horn led to his demise; this earned him an undesirable reputation that reduced his previous success in the Civil War.
The Bermuda Triangle has been an area of intrigue and mystery for centuries. Whether it is a boat or airplane that ventures into this location, most of the time that whatever enters into it never leaves or is never the same again. One of the many strange occurrences that happened in the Bermuda Triangle happened around the time of World War II. Five United States Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers known as Flight 19 departed from Ft. Lauderdale Naval Air Station in Florida on December 5th, 1945 on a routine training mission that was to last for three hours. The plan filed for Flight 19 was to travel 120 miles due east, then head 73 miles north and then return back during a 120-mile leg that would have them land at the naval base; Flight 19 never returned.The leader of the squadron within two hours into the mission suddenly contacted the base saying that his whereabouts was unknown due to both his regular compass and reserve compass was no longer functioning; the leader had previously flown in the area for over six months. Curiously, the rest of the squadron was suffering the same malfunctions with their instruments. Meanwhile on land, radio facilities were asked to try and pinpoint the position of the missing squadron but were unable to. Confusing transmissions from the fliers continued for another two hours until a garbled radio message from the leader of the squadron was received at 6:20 p.m. The transmission seemed to suggest that because of lack of fuel, the leader ordered everyone to abandon their aircrafts.While the squadron’s leader last communication was being heard, several radar stations on land finally decided that Flight 19 was located between east of the Florida coast and north of the Bahamas. A search and rescue Mariner aircraft left the base with a crew of 13 men at 7:27 p.m. The home base was radioed three minutes later from the Mariner aircraft that the mission had started; the Mariner aircraft disappeared and was never heard from again. A report from a tanker would eventually report that while traveling off the coast of Florida, an explosion was seen at 7:50 p.m.The 13 men of the Mariner aircraft and the 14 men of Flight 19 disappearance led to one of the biggest sea and air searches to that time period. Hundreds of aircraft and ships searched thousands of square miles of distant areas within Florida’s interior as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean; they found no trace of the aircrafts or of bodies.While officials from the navy insisted that the remains of the 27 men and 6 aircrafts were lost due to any evidence being swept away from stormy weather, the tale of the “Lost Squadron” only established firmly the Bermuda Triangle Legend; a section of the Atlantic Ocean where aircraft and ships supposedly disappear without a trace. The Bermuda Triangle’s supposed location is from the southern U.S. coast through Bermuda and down to the Atlantic coast of Santo Domingo and Cuba.
The Enron Corporation filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a New York court on this day in 2001. This became one of the biggest cooperate scandal in America history. Enron Corp. was formed in 1985, following a merger between two gas companies, Huston Natural Gas Co. and InterNorth Inc. The energy supplier and trading company gained dramatic heights under the supervision of Kenneth Lay, CEO and chairman who rebranded the company. Quickly, the company was ranked seventh on Fortune magazine's list of the top 500 U.S. companies. By the year 2000, the company had hired 21,000 workers and reported earnings of $111 billion. However, throughout the following year, Enron's stock cost started collapsing by dropping from $90.75 in August 2000 to $0.26 by the end of November 30, 2001. Following the drop in stock price, Lay sold the largest part of his own Enron stock, while at the same time urging Enron workers to purchase more shares and promising them that the company will soon recover. However, things did not go as planned because Enron's stock value kept falling while workers watch as their retirement investment accounts is wiped out. After that, Enron was hit badly when Dynegy (another energy company), cancelled an arranged $8.4 billion buy-out in late November, which made the company filed for bankruptcy. Within few days investors had lost billions of dollars to Enron's crash, another 5,600 workers lost their jobs while $2.1 billion in pension plans was paid.The bankruptcy made the name Enron synonymous with one of America's largest cooperate scandal. Afterwards, the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and the Department of State Justice investigations exposed that the company had intentionally inflate its reported earnings while keeping debt and losses in another firm. This new development made government charge Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling who were the company's CEO from February to August 2001 for concealing their company's financial debts and losses from investors. Further investigations shows that the chief accounting officer Arthur Anderson had ask the company's auditors to destroy documents s that may implicate Enron.In July 2004, Skilling was arraigned before a Huston court on 35 counts charges, which includes fraud, conspiracy and insider trading. On the other hand, Lay was accused of 11 similar charges. On January 30, 2006, during the trial, former employees of the company appeared to testify including Enron's ex-CFO Andrew Fastow, who had earlier pleaded guilty on two counts charges of conspiracy and agreed to testify against his former bosses. Throughout the trial, Skilling who emptied some $60 million worth of Enron stock not long after his resignation from the company denied knowing about the company's impending doom. In addition, Skilling, 52, became the only one many people identified with the scandal. In May 2006, Skilling was found guilty of 19 of 35 charges and was sentenced to 24 years in prison, while Lay's was found guilty of 10 charges but a Huston judge dissolve the case because he died of heart disease two months later.
On this exact day in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte is crowned Napoleon I in Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, making him the first Frenchman to have the title of an emperor in a thousand years. The conqueror of Europe had placed the crown on Pope Pius VII who now proclaimed Napoleon emperor of France.Born on August 15, 1769, in Ajaccio, Corsica, France to an average family from the minor nobility, he became one of the most celebrated leader and military strategist in the history of the West. Napoleon served as an artillery officer in the French army during the French Revolution of 1789. By 1798, Napoleon led a military expedition to Egypt but returned in 1789 when France was at war with most of Europe, and engineered a coup to take over the French government and save his country from destruction. In February of 1800, he became the First Consul and later led an organized military campaign that defeated Austria. Two years later, he created the Napoleonic Code, another arrangement of French law, and in 1804, he set up the French empire and was proclaimed emperor of France. By 1807, Napoleon's reign had extended from the River Elbe in the north, down through Italy in the south, and from the Pyrenees to the Dalmatian coast in the west.Napoleon experienced his first major military defeat in 1812, when Austria and Prussia joined Russia forces against France, and then he lost Spain to the Duke of Wellington in the Peninsula War, and in 1813, a full military crusade was launched by the Allied Forces against France, which led to the fall of his empire. Captured and banished to the island of Elba near Rome, yet he found his way back into France in 1815, raised another Grand Army and took over France once again. However, his success did not last before the Allied Forces responded and defeated him in the Battle of Waterloo in June of the same year.Captured again, Napoleon was exiled to the Island of Saint Helena in the southern Atlantic off the coast of Africa, where he was placed under house arrest along with a few of his followers. He was allowed to do what he want in his new home, he write often and read a lot. Unfortunately, Napoleon died of possibly stomach ulcer in May 1821, at the age of 51. In 1840, Louis Philippe I received permission from the British to return Napoleon's remains to France. A glorious funeral service was held in his honor. A hearse carried his body through the Arc de Triomphe, before buried under the dome at Les Invalides.
On this day in 1959, the Antarctica Treaty, which is the first arms control, was signed after the cold war period. The United States, Soviet Union and twelve countries, sign the Antarctica Treaty, which bans military activity and weapons testing on the continent. Back as the 1800s, Great Britain, Australia, Chile, and Norway, including several countries had claimed to own parts made of Antarctica. As a result, there were diplomatic disputes as well as armed conflicts between countries that had interest in the region. In fact, Argentina military forces opened fire on British troops concerning an area claimed by both countries in 1948. All these armed clashes coupled with proof linking the Soviet Union to having interest in the continent made the United States recommend that Antarctica should be made a trustee of the United Nations. Immediately, countries that were interested in the continent reject the idea claiming they cannot surrender their claims of sovereignty to the U.N.Additionally, in the early 1950s, some of United States government officials started agitating for a more active U.S. role in Antarctica hoping that the continent might be useful for military activities and nuclear weapon testing. However, President Dwight D. Eisenhower devised an alternative strategy to settle territorial claims by concerned nations. United States diplomats alongside their Soviet partners drafted a treaty that made Antarctica a military-free zone and adjourned settling regional cases for future discussion. The Antarctica Treaty emphasize that there would be no military presence on the continent, and no testing of weapons of any kind, including nuclear weapons.In addition, scientific research was permitted, and researchers would not be barred from going through any of the regions claimed by different countries. Twelve countries signed the treaty, and since the document did not specifically alter issues of territorial claims in Antarctica, countries with territorial claims on the continent append their signatures to the document. In view of this, the treaty indicated little but major move towards U.S. - Soviet arms control and political cooperation. On June 1961, the treaty became effective, setting the standard for the fundamental policies that keep on governing Antarctica.The main purpose of the Antarctica Treaty is to safeguard the interest of every human, and make Antarctica a peaceful continent and not a ground to creating international disharmony.
Today in 1950, the 33rd president of United States of America President Harry S. Truman declares during a press conference that he is ready to make use of nuclear weapons to achieve peace in Korea. During the time that the president made the announcement, the republic of China had joined forces with North Korea in attacking United Nations troops most especially U.S. soldiers who were planning to stop communist expansion into South Korea. The President accused the Soviet Union for making use of communist Chinese rebels as part of a tricky plan of promoting communism and spreading it all across Asia. Truman hereby promised to increase the defense in order to safeguard the interest of the masses and stand for the right thing until they settle the issue. The press then pushed further by asking for Truman's plan in case the Chinese Nationalist agitating against the spread of communism in their own country failed to join the Korea movement, which the president replied that the U.S. would take "necessary steps that needs to be taken" to curb communist spread in Korea. Afterwards, a reporter asked "does the necessary step include the use of nuclear weapons?" and the president respond, "We are going to make use of the entire weapon that we have."In 1945, Truman approved the use of two nuclear bombs to end the war with Japan. The bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, even though the Japanese surrendered, and until this day, the memories of the horrible incident is still new in everyone's heart. The reason why the U.S. was able to achieve its aim is that America was the only country to possess of such a weapon of mass destruction. In addition, the Soviet Union also develops their nuclear weapon because of the Korea conflict.Following the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki President Truman expressed his fear over the weapon and said he never wish that the nuclear bomb will be used again. In one of his remark concerning the bombing, he said, the nuclear weapon is terrible and should not be used on innocent men, women and children.At last, the Korean clash did not end as planned, it became a stalemate and both sides agreed not to make use of any nuclear weapon again. Finally, Korea was divided into democratic south and communist north respectively along with a neutral ground dividing the two countries, which the America Army keeps watch over until this very day.
The conflict between Arabs and the Jewish people have been going on for decades. Sadly, it is a conflict that has cost life on both sides with no real solution in the immediate future. While history marks the original fallout between the two groups occurring roughly a century ago, an event that occurred in the 1940s did not help the situation. Although there was a fierce opposition from Arabs, the United Nations votes for an independent Jewish state to be created and the partition of Palestine.Looking back at how the conflict had started between the two in Palestine, it dates all the way back to the 1910s when Jews and Arabs tried to lay claim to British-controlled territory. The Jewish people were called Zionists as they were newly immigrants from Russia and Europe who traveled to their ancient homeland in order to settle and create a Jewish national state. The Palestinian Arabs native to the land wanted to stop Jewish immigration while creating a secular Palestinian state. Jews and Arabs battled openly in Palestine starting in 1929 and Britain tried to win over the Arabs by trying to limit immigration of the Jewish people. Jewish immigration into Palestine was considered illegal during WWII and was happening during the time of the Holocaust. Feeling that the British had betrayed the cause of the Zionists, Jewish radical groups used terrorist tactics against forces of the British in Palestine. The United States would eventually support the Zionist cause in 1945 as WWII was coming to an end. Being unable to come up with a beneficial solution, Britain decides to turn to the United Nations for a remedy in which they voted for the partition of Palestine on November 29th, 1947.Even though the Jewish people made up less than half of the population of Palestine, it was voted that more than half of Palestine would be owned by the Jewish people. However, with the support of volunteers from other countries, the Palestinian Arabs battled the forces of the Zionists; however, they would hold total control of their share declared by the U.N. in Palestine which included some Arab territory. Britain eventually withdrew when their mandate expired which led to the Jewish Agency Chairman David Ben-Gurion to proclaim the existence of the State of Israel. Unfortunately, this led forces from Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, Transjordan and Syria to invade the next day.Even though they were not as well equipped, the Israelis not only were able to fend off the attack by the Arabs but were able to acquire key territories such as the Palestinian coast, Galilee and a section of territory that linked the western section of Jerusalem to the coastal region. The U.N.-brokered cease-fires in 1949 granted the State of Israel control of the areas that were obtained permanently. During the war, hundreds of thousands of Palestinian Arabs left Israel which then gave a huge Jewish majority within the country.
Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan arrives with three ships at the Pacific Ocean, previously navigating through the deadly straits under South America that currently has his name; Magellan officially has become the original European explorer to sail from the Atlantic to the Pacific.Ferdinand decides to leave Spain to set sail in an attempt to discover a western sea route to reach Indonesia’s rich Spice Islands on September 20th, 1519. Magellan traveled to West Africa and continued to Brazil in control of 270 men and five ships, where Ferdinand looked through the South American coast to find a strait that would lead him to the Pacific. Trying to find a way through, he looked through a big estuary south of Brazil known as the Rio de la Plata; unsuccessful, he moved south down the coast of Patagonia. The expedition prepared winter quarters at Port St. Julian at the end of March in 1520. Eventually, the Spanish captains rebelled against Magellan at midnight on Easter day; however, the mutiny was crushed and punishment was one of the leaders was left on shore after leaving St. Julian in August while the other leader was executed. Finally, Ferdinand had found the strait he had been looking for on October 21st, 1520. Now known as the Strait of Magellan, it can be found roughly at the tip of South America, separating the continental mainland and Tierra del Fuego. Unfortunately, only three vessels made it to the passage as one had to be deserted while the other was wrecked. Navigation of the deadly strait took 38 days and when the ocean could be seen at the strait’s end, Ferdinand wept with happiness. His fleet achieved the crossing westward of the ocean in a total of 99 days; the waters were strangely peaceful in which the ocean earned the name of Pacific which comes from the Latin word pacificus meaning tranquil. The men had no food by the end and survived by eating leather parts from their gear. An expedition arrived on the island of Guam on March 6th, 1521.Only roughly being 400 miles away from the Spice Islands ten days later, the ships dropped anchor on the Philippine island of Cebu. The chief of Cebu met with Magellan and after the tribe was converted to Christianity, the chief convinced the Europeans to aid him in attacking a rival tribe on the nearby island of Mactan. Ferdinand was shot and struck by a poisoned arrow during the attack on April 27th and his retreating comrades left him to his death.The remaining two ships that held the survivors set sail to the Moluccas after Magellan’s death and filled their ships with spice. Sailing in different directions, one ship made an effort to head back through the Pacific failed. The other ship known as the Vittoria, sailed west lead by Basque navigator Juan Sebastian de Elcano. His ship traveled through the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope and finally arrived on September 6th, 1522 at the Spanish port of Sanlucar de Barrameda; they succeeded in becoming the original vessel to circumnavigate the world.
On this day in 1986, Attorney General Edwin Meese reported that the returns from the illegal weapons sold to Iran were diverted to the anti-communist Contras in Nicaragua. This happened three weeks after a Lebanese magazine exposed that the United States had been secretly selling arms to Iran. The Lebanese magazine called "Ash" on November 3, reported that the United States had been selling weapons to Iran secretly in order to secure the release of seven American prisoners held by Iranian groups in Lebanon. This came as a surprise to officials that were not part of the inner caucus of President Ronald Reagan's administration and against the stated policy of the administration. This act contradicts the U.S. arms ban against Iran, and the weapon deals opposed President Reagan's stance on not negotiating with terrorist. Controversy over Reagan's administration undisclosed dealings with Iran worsened when on November 25, Attorney General Meese reported that the proceeds from the weapons sold was redirected to sponsor Nicaraguan rebels "The Contras" who were fighting a guerrilla tactics war against the elected radical government of Nicaragua. This revelation caused uproar in the Congress who in 1982 passed the Boland Amendment barring the use of federal money "to fund the toppling of the Nicaraguan government." On that same day, the Iran-Contra link was exposed, forcing President Reagan to receive the resignation of Vice Admiral John Poindexter, the government's national security adviser and fired Poindexter aide Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North. Both men played key parts in the Iran-Contra deal. President Reagan claimed responsibility for the sold arms deals in exchange for the U.S. prisoners but claimed not to be aware of any funds diversion to sponsor the Contras.Lawrence Walsh was given orders to investigate the matter in December 1986, and in the late spring of 1987 Congress held a TV broadcast of the hearings on the Iran-Contra deal. The investigations uncovered that North and other officials in Reagan's administration had tried to conceal their unlawfully dealings with the Contras and Iran. Investigations further revealed that eleven White House, State Department, and officials of the intelligence unit were found guilty on charges ranging from perjury, to withholding evidence from Congress, and plan to defraud United States. Walsh final report explained that neither President Reagan nor Vice President George Bush disregarded any laws regarding the affair, though Reagan had first set the path for the illegal acts whereby others follow suit by his continued support for the Contras even after Congress had banned it.President George Bush gave presidential pardon to six people who played a major role in the Iran-Contra scandal when he lost his reelection bid to Bill Clinton on Christmas Eve in 1992. Out of the six was the former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger and former head of CIA operations Duane Clarridge, both had trails for fabrication of truth pending.
On this day in 1950, a heavy storm tagged "storm of the century" hits the Eastern United States causing heavy rains and significant winds that destroyed properties worth millions of dollars and claiming the lives of more than 300 while over 160 people were injured. Called the "Appalachian Storm," it deposited a large amount of snow in the western slopes of the mountain chain. The storm hovered over North Carolina before Thanksgiving Day but later moved upward north hitting western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio and West Virginia, making these regions covered with a few feet of snow for several days and making traveling impossible for almost a week in some part of the states. In New York, a wind gust of 94 miles per hour (151 km/h) was recorded, while additional cyclone covered other parts of the city. The storm caused havoc across New York as part of the city was flooded and there was a power shortage. Towards the north of the city, at Bear Mountain, 140 miles per hour windblast was recorded. Throughout New England, the storm came in a hurricane-like manner. High tides and wind-driven surf hit the coastline, while low temperatures were recorded in Tennessee and North Carolina. In Mount Mitchell, North Carolina, an all-time low record was set at temperature of 26 degrees below zero.Expert believed that the storm was special, because not only did it include hurricane-force winds and heavy snow, but also it recorded high and low temperatures. For example, 30 inches of snow fell in what can be called a striking snowstorm in Pittsburgh, while up in the north, no snow or snowstorm was recorded in Buffalo, except a 50 mile-per-hour winds and 50-degree temperatures that was experienced. Weather Channel Expert, Paul Kocin, said that the storm had the greatest difference of weather elements most likely in any storm, including the 1993 March Superstorm."The hurricane-force wind was responsible for more than 300 lives over several days. In addition, insurance firms in the U.S. paid out more money to their clients for damages resulting from the extreme weather than any other previous storms or hurricane. "The storm of the century" is regarded as one out of the seventeen storms to be ranked as a category 5 or extreme under the Regional Snowfall Index scale.
Today in 1963, John F. Kennedy is buried with full military honors at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia, following his assassination in Dallas, Texas three days earlier. John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy, popularly called JFK (by his initials) the 35th president of the United States, was assassinated on Friday November 22, 1963, while riding in an open-auto presidential motorcade with his spouse Jacqueline and Texas Governor John Connally alongside his wife Nelie through the boulevards of downtown Dallas. Immediately, Kennedy was rushed to Dallas' Parkland Hospital, where the doctors confirmed him dead 30 minutes later. Kennedy was 46 at the time of his death. The alleged assassin was a former U.S. Marine and communist supporter by name Lee Harvey Oswald who had defected to the Soviet Union years back before returning to the U.S. with his Russian wife Marina and settled in Dallas. Kennedy's VP Lyndon Johnson, who was also at the scene of the incident but was in the third car behind President Kennedy in the motorcade, was confirmed as the 36th president of the United States in less than two hours after the assassination. President Lyndon Johnson took the oath of office on board Air Force One as it sat on the runway at Dallas Love Field air terminal. Around 30 people were present at the swearing in of the new president including Kennedy's wife Jacqueline who was yet to change the bloodstained cloth she was wearing when her husband was shot. Following the swearing-in, the presidential jet took off for Washington D.C.On November 23, the following day, President Johnson issued his first public statement where he announced November 25 to be a day of national grieving for the killed president. On November 25, hundreds of thousands of sympathizers gathered around street in Washington watching as a horse-drawn caisson carried Kennedy's body from the Capitol Rotunda to St. Matthew's Catholic Cathedral for a memorial Mass. The memorial mass was preceded by a solemn procession to Arlington National Cemetery, where heads-of-state of 99 countries assembled for the state burial service. Kennedy was buried with full military honor at Arlington National Cemetery, as his wife lit an eternal flame to mark his grave.Within 1964-1966, an estimated number of 16 million tourists visit his grave before it was eventually moved to a permanent burial plot in the same cemetery on March 14, 1967.
Today in 1859, British naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin published a noteworthy scientific work on the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, in England. In the work, Darwin hypothesis argued that organisms develop through a procedure he called "natural selection." During the process, organisms with hereditary variations, which fit their surrounding have a tendency to multiply a larger number of offspring than organisms of similar species that do not have the variation thus, affecting the general genetic existence of the species. Born on February 12, 1809, Darwin was inspired by the work of French naturalist Jean-Baptiste de Lamarck and the English economist Thomas Mathus. He obtained the vast majority of the proof for his hypothesis amid a five-year voyage on board the HMS Beagle in the 1830s. The expedition took him to places like the Galapagos Islands and New Zealand, known for their diversity, where he obtained accurate information of the flora, fauna, and geology of several places. This data, alongside his studies in variation and interbreeding helped improve his theory of the organic evolution when he returned to England. The possibility of natural evolution of organisms was not new. Among others, his grandfather Erasmus Darwin, a notable English scientist who with the help of Lamarck who in the mid nineteenth century drew the first evolutionary diagram had earlier suggested the evolution theory. Nevertheless, Darwin made science have a handy clarification for the mystery of evolution.By 1844, Darwin had detailed his theory of natural selection by, but to make the theory public made Darwin uneasy because it clearly opposed the scriptural account of creation. In 1858, while Darwin was yet to make is discoveries public, a British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace published a paper that was the whole summary of Darwin's theory. In 1858, before the Linnean Society of London, Darwin and Wallace gave a joint lecture on evolution. Following the lecture, Darwin arranged for the publication of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.By November 24, 1859, Origin of Species became published and sold out. Immediately, most scientists accepted the theory because it shed lights on the mystery behind biological science, yet conventional Christians denounced the work as a blasphemy to God and the Christian faith. Subsequently, his publication of The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex (1871), in which he proved that man evolved from apes made matter worse.His evolution theory had been widely acknowledged before his death in 1882. To pay tribute to his notable work, Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey alongside kings, queens, rulers, and other celebrated figures from British history. Until this day, Darwin's theory remains the bedrock of the evolution theory.
The now-famous magazine Life had its’ first issue premiere on November 23rd, 1936 with Margaret Bourke-White’s photo of the Fort Peck Dam featured on the cover. The pictorial magazine actually appeared in the 20th century earlier as a humor publication seen weekly which could be compared to The New Yorker seen today for its’ use of cultural reporting, tart cartoons and humorous pieces. The Great Depression caused the first Life magazine to stop appearing; however, it would be reborn again when the name was purchased by Henry Luce, an influential American publisher who morphed it into a picture-based periodical on November 23rd, 1936. By now, Henry was successful being the publisher of a weekly news magazine called Time.Luce was considered as a newsman going back to his days at high school where he served as managing editors of their school newspaper with his friend, Briton Hadden. The partnership would continue throughout college as they were both managing editors and chairmen at Yale University of the Yale Daily News. After college, the pair joined in 1921 the Baltimore News and was there that both of them created the idea for Time magazine. Their goal was being able to produce the news about the world from the vision of those who made it and it launched in 1923. While the starting goal of Time was to tell the news, showing it was the purpose of Life. From the mouth of Luce, the purpose of the magazine was to supply a means for the people of America “to see life; to see the world; to eyewitness great events … to see things thousands of miles away… to see and be amazed; to see and be instructed… to see, and to show…” The tone of the magazine was established by Luce using Margaret Bourke-White’s breath-taking cover picture of the Fort Peck Dam. The photograph has not only been considered today iconic of the 1930s but also an example under President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal of great public works that were built.During the first year of it being circulated, Life was a huge success. Practically overnight, the magazine influenced how individuals viewed the world by adapting the way individuals could see the world. The images flourished which painted distinct pictures in the mind of the public that captured the public and the personal; the world would absorb the display that was put in front of them. At its’ height, the circulation for Life had reached more than eight million while exerting major influence on life in America at the start and in the middle of the twentieth century.Though the driving force that enabled the magazine to be so popular was the picture-heavy content, Life was negatively affected when society’s main form of communication became television. The loss of advertising money and their audience to television in 1972 resulted in the magazine would no longer being published as a weekly publication. Fortunately, Life resumed once again as a weekly publication in 2004 as a substitute to newspapers in the U.S. The magazine’s combined circulation was again in the millions when it re-launched.
Have you ever wanted to have a nickname that people would seem meaningful and that it would go down in the history books? What about what does a person have to do in order to achieve such notoriety? Good or bad, people throughout history have been remembered for their deeds as well as the nickname he/she had earned while alive. One such person who has been remembered for almost three hundred years was not because of his good deeds but quite the opposite. Edward Teach, known to the world of the past and present as Blackbeard, is killed around North Carolina’s Outer Banks on November 22nd, 1718 while engaged in a bloody conflict with a British navy force originating from Virginia.Edward Teach was thought of as hailing from England and it was assumed in 1713 that he began his career as a pirate by joining a pirate ship commanded by Benjamin Hornigold of the Caribbean Sloop. Hornigold would soon retire from being a pirate as well as accepting an offer from the British crown of a general amnesty in 1717. Now that Hornigold was retired, Teach decided to take command of a seized twenty-six-gun French merchantman in which he renamed the ship the “Queen Anne’s Revenge” as well as taking its’ armament and increasing it to forty guns. The Queen Anne’s Revenge became the flagship of a fleet of pirates over the next six months that had over 200 men on four vessels. Being the most notorious pirate of his time, he eventually became known as Blackbeard for his obvious long, dark beard but also was said to be able to scare his enemies by setting his beard on fire during battle. His pirate fleet spread terror through the coast of North America as well as the Caribbean while their cruelty towards others was well-known.Despite his reputation, the infamous Blackbeard finally saw his Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwrecked with another vessel. This event forced him to abandon a third vessel and a large number of his force due to lack of supplies. Blackbeard took his last vessel and sent sail to meet with Governor Charles Eden in Bath in North Carolina. The governor made an agreement that Blackbeard must give a part of his sizable treasure to Eden in order to secure a pardon; Blackbeard agreed to the terms.However, the North Carolina planters had other ideas as per their request; Governor Alexander Spotswood of Virginia sent a British naval force to North Carolina in order to confront Blackbeard under the command of Lieutenant Robert Maynard. What followed was a bloody battle at Ocracoke Island and Blackbeard’s forces were defeated on November 22nd; Blackbeard was also killed during the conflict. Meanwhile, those who believe in Blackbeard’s legend say that the man responsible for seizing over thirty vessels during his short pirating career; it is said that before dying Blackbeard had received twenty sword lacerations and five musket-ball wounds.
There are those who say that man makes his own destiny while others feel that life has been pre-ordained. Looking back at American history, it makes me wonder which view Continental Commander in Chief General George Washington would believe in if he knew what the end result of a certain decision was. The fateful day in question happened on November 21st, 1776 when Washington sent a letter to General Charles Lee in Westchester County, New York to order Lee to come to New Jersey with his troops because Fort Lee was no longer theirs.Washington was forced to wait impatiently for Lee and his reinforcements to arrive because he took his time to cross the Delaware River in order to get to New Jersey as he wanted to stay in New York as long as possible. Another reason for the delay was his feeling of being slighted by Washington for being given control of the Continental Army. Lee finished military school when he was twelve and was immediately given a commission in the British army as well as serving in the Seven Years’ War in North America; so, he had no desire to rush to Washington’s aid. The Mohawk had named Lee “Boiling Water” for his well-known intemperance and temper. His marriage to a Mohawk woman made him an adopted tribesman although his desire for prostitutes had not changed. This proved to be his downfall as on December 13th, Lee was continuing to waste time before joining Washington and decided to ride into New Jersey, without much protection, to look for female companionship at the Widow White’s Tavern in Basking Ridge. Two days later, Lee found himself that morning being captured by British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton and the 16th Queen’s Light Dragoons.Ironically being former soldiers in the British army, Lee and Tarleton were now captive and captor. Lee’s unsuccessful attempts to acquire a lucrative royal position led him to leave in 1773 to the colonies and immediately sided with the Patriot cause. Tarleton in a London club vowed to hunt down the now traitor to Britain and remove his head! Although Lee was originally grateful that Tarleton had not kept his vow, the conceited general might have wanted an immediate end to his humiliation as he was removed from the tavern to New York City clothed only in his nightdress.While Washington tried his best to secure Lee’s release, The British celebrated the capture of the best-trained commander of the Patriots. Surprisingly, Lee was happy with being a prisoner as he offered to his captors a battle plan from fancy accommodations. Also, Lee had his own servant who cleaned his three rooms while most likely served his wine and food in civilized fashion. All things must come to an end as he was set free in May of 1778 and reported to Valley Forge; Britain failed to follow through with his battle plan. Washington and Lee had many quarrels which found Lee being suspended in December of 1778 from the army and in 1780 was finally dismissed.
Time magazine makes the decision to feature the week-old Holland Tunnel on November 21st, 1927 on its cover. The tunnel runs beneath the Hudson River between Jersey City, New Jersey and New York City while the week before opened up to traffic at midnight on November 13th. President Calvin Coolidge had ceremonially opened, earlier that day, the tunnel from his yacht on the Potomac by using the original key that had “opened” the Panama Canal in 1915 by turning it. Time named it “the golden lever of the Presidential telegraphic instrument” that at the tunnel’s entrances rang a huge brass bell. The tunnel recorded 51, 694 vehicles traveled through the tunnel on the first day it was opened. The tunnel’s important stats were posted in Time such as the cost being $48.4 million, the total length said to be “the longest of its kind in the world” measured at 9,250 feet, excavation measured as being 500,000 cubic yards of rock and soil, the river length underneath is 5,480 feet as well as the yearly and hourly vehicle capacity respectively being 15,000,000 and 3,800. Also, the article pointed out the most unique thing regarding the tunnel was a ventilation system that was sophisticated.Obviously, this was extremely important to have as it would be a foolish and deadly idea to build an underground road for trucks and cars if the there wasn’t a way to refrain from carbon monoxide existing in the air by the engineers. Fortunately, a group of scientists from the Bureau of Mines, Yale and the University of Illinois determined that the air could be deadly when four parts of the lethal gas reaches 10,000; therefore, the recommendation was to create a two-duct ventilation system by the tunnel’s engineers so that anyone in the tunnel would be provided to breathe in fresh air. Time described in the article that “To prevent disaster absolutely Chief Engineer Holland installed 84 ventilating fans in four 10 story buildings, two on each side of the Hudson. Part of them blow fresh air into the tunnel floor through vents; others suck vitiated air through ducts in the tunnel ceiling. Thus they change the tunnel air completely 42 times an hour and but 56 of the fans are needed to do so.” However, 28 of these fans would be in stand-by in case of an emergency. The amount of time then and presently for the air to be replaced with fresh air throughout the tunnel is roughly 90 seconds.Sadly, one thing that has changed over the decades is the price of the tolls. When the tunnel originally opened, the amount for the toll in both directions per car was 50 cents. The Port Authority of New Jersey and New York made the change from the toll being charged for both directions to one-way tolls in 1970. Decades later, the price for tolls increased and had reached $8 for a one-way toll by 2009.
Traditionally, it is not uncommon for a structure to start off being called one name and then changed to another at a later date. Sometimes the reason can be related to someone’s act of heroism or it may have to do with an individual being disgraced. Looking back in history, there are plenty of examples that demonstrates this which includes one stemming back several centuries earlier. Going back to the days of the American Revolution, there was a structure known at one time as Fort Washington. However, British Commander in Chief General William Howe decides to rename it “Fort Knyphausen” on November 18th, 1776 in honor of Lieutenant General Wihelm von Knyphausen as he has rushed the post five days before.Fort Washington was the scene of an assault launched by Knyphausen on November 16th, 1776 using a force comprised of 5,000 Redcoats and 3,000 mercenaries at the tallest point and the northern end of Manhattan Island. Wihelm met harsh resistance from inside by Patriot riflemen through the course of the morning; however, the Patriots could no longer hold the upper hand by the afternoon and the result was an order of surrender was issued by garrison commander Robert Magaw. The Hessians were now in control of important supplies and ammunition as well as taking 3,000 Patriots prisoners. Unfortunately, a dire fate was waiting for the captured Patriots as a large number of them were anchored in New York Harbor aboard British prison ships where they died.Patriots Margaret and John Corbin of Virginia were among the 96 wounded and 53 dead. After John had perished in action, Margaret took over for her husband the canyon where she loaded, cleaned and fired the weapon until she became wounded severely. Margaret survived as well as being the first female to have battled for the Continental Army; tragically, she could no longer use her left arm.An officer for Magaw, William Demont, had two weeks prior left the Fifth Pennsylvania Battalion and became a traitor by giving information regarding the defense and whereabouts of Fort Washington to British Intelligence. Demont had now for the Patriots become their first traitor and his treachery significantly contributed to the victory for Knyphausen.Presently, Fort Washington stood where now exists Bennet Park that rests in the Washington Heights area of New York City. The park is not far away from the George Washington Bridge while being at the corner of 183rd Street and of Fort Washington Avenue. Another point of interest is that Fort Washington Point and Fort Washington Park reside under the site beside the Hudson River. While tourists may stop to admire the area, historians will remember the location as one of the tragic battles that occurred during the American Revolution.
Peoples Temple founder Jim Jones on November 18th, 1978 organizes his flock to commit mass murder-suicide in a secluded part of the South American nation of Guyana at their agricultural commune. Many of the followers were forced to ingest poison-laced punch at gunpoint or did so willingly. The recorded loss of life was 909 and one third of them were children.The 1950s gave rise to the Peoples Temple of Indianapolis which was a Christian sect led by a charismatic churchman named Jim Jones. He was able to attract African Americans due to his preaching’s against racism. Jones and his integrated congregation traveled to Ukiah in Northern California in 1965 and once again to San Francisco in 1971. During this time, accusations surfaced within the media that the church mistreated children, financial fraud and its members being physically abused. Jones was forced by the increasing criticism and his paranoia to invite his congregation to relocate to Guyana so they could create a socialist utopia. A small group of his followers journeyed to the small nation three years prior to a tract of jungle that would become Jonestown. Unfortunately, their so-called paradise that was promised turned out to be untrue as members were severely disciplined for questioning their leader’s authority and worked out in the fields for most of the day. Members were persuaded to tell on one another, passports were hidden, late-night meetings had to be attended and letters being sent home were censored. Jones had reached a point where he assumed others as well as the U.S. government were out to get him as a result of his dependency on drugs and a deteriorating mental state. Temple members at night were expected to be a part of mock suicide drills.U.S. Congressman Leo Ryan was persuaded by worried relatives and former members to go to Jonestown and investigate in 1978. The Californian Democrat landed with observers and journalists on November 17th, 1978. Although the trip went well, several residents of Jonestown approached the group the next day to ask if they could leave Guyana with them. Upset over the defection from some of his members, a lieutenant of Jones used a knife to attack the congressman. While Ryan escaped unharmed, Jones ordered that Ryan and his group should be killed before they could leave. The congressman and four other were victims of a surprise attack while attempting to board their planes; all of them were murdered.Meanwhile, Jones ordered everyone in Jonestown to meet in the main pavilion and perform what he said was a “revolutionary act.” The Peoples Temple’s children were first to perish as nurses and parents took syringes to drop a lethal mix of powdered juice, cyanide and sedatives into their throats. Armed guards protected the pavilion while adults took turns in consuming the lethal concoction.Hundreds of bodies were found carpeted inside the structure when the next day Guyanese arrived to investigate. Although a majority was discovered with their arms around each other as they perished, some residents escaped into the jungle while the suicides were happening. Also, several dozens of Peoples Temple’s members and several sons on Jones’ survived because they were somewhere else in Guyana during the suicides.
When it comes to compromise, it is almost a guarantee that some time will pass before both sides can agree on a given plan. Sometimes it can be achieved in a short span of time while other times it can be longer; then again, there are cases where no compromise can be reached. One example of this process goes back centuries to the colonial times of our fore-fathers. In fact, Congress had to find a way for everyone to be comfortable with the Articles of Confederation that was finally sent to all of the states for ratification on November 17th, 1777.Congress had signed the Articles two days prior but it took roughly sixteen months of debating before a compromise could be reached. Even though it took Congress about a year-and-a-half before they would sign the Articles, the quarreling between Maryland and Virginia over land claims had postponed the final agreement for roughly four more years. The last state to finally give permission to accept the Articles was Maryland on March 1st, 1781; this would now become the outline for the legitimate government of the United States. This document would lead our nation until 1789 where the present Constitution of the United States was implemented. There is an important distinction between the U.S. Constitution and the Articles of Confederation as the states authority can be best comprehended by comparing specific lines of each document. The beginning of the Articles of Confederation says, “To all to whom these Present shall come, we the undersigned Delegates of the States…” However, the Constitution starts off in contrast by saying, “We the People of the United States…do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”When looking at the Articles of Confederation, it becomes apparent that the emphasis of importance is on the states than on the people or individual. Another line that these claims become more explicit are found in Article II that says, “Each state retains its sovereignty, freedom, and independence, and every power, jurisdiction, and right, which is not by this Confederation expressly delegated to the United States, in Congress assembled.”Even though the states were committed to the Articles of Confederation, almost five years after this document was ratified saw leading Americans reach the conclusion that a mistake was made. The new system was inadequate to fulfill this new government, so Americans once again overthrew another government in almost twenty years but this time it was done peacefully. The heart of the discussion was should a confederation be formed by sovereign states or should sovereign people create a federal government; the decision of how the government should be shaped was in the hands of the new American people.History would remember how the American Revolution transformed what would become the United States. Americans from 1776-1787 went from existing under a sovereign king, to living in states that were sovereign and finally becoming a sovereign people.
Today in November 16, 1532, a Spanish explorer and conquistador Francisco Pizarro led an expedition that conquered Incan empire. With less than 200 men against a few thousand, Pizarro baits Incan's emperor, Atahualpa to a banquet in his honor and afterward starts shooting at the unarmed Incans. Pizarro's men slaughtered the Incans and catch Atahualpa, compelling him to change over to Christianity before in the end murdering him. Pizarro had perfectly planned for his victory of the empire. In 1532, the Inca Empire was involved in a civil war that had crushed the population of the empire, divided them and they could no longer act like one. Atahualpa, the younger child of previous Incan ruler Huayna Capac, had quite recently ousted his half-brother Huascar and was amidst rejoining his kingdom when Pizarro landed in 1531, with the support of Spain's King Charles V. Pizarro heard of the war and started enlisting soldiers that were faithful to Huascar before he got to Incan's capital. Atahualpa and his men were outside Cajamarca when he met Pizarro. They met in a little Incan town buried in the valley of Andes. Meeting Atahualpa, Pizarro sent his sibling Hernan as an emissary to the emperor and then invited Atahualpa back to Cajamarca for a banquet to pay tribute to Atahualpa's ascendance to the throne. With Atahualpa in the mountains were 80,000 soldiers, yet he decided to attend the banquet with just 5,000 unarmed men. On getting to the feast, he met Vicente de Valverde, a monk traveling with Pizarro, while Pizarro men lay in wait. The monk Valverde advised Atahualpa to denounce his religion and acknowledge Charles V as sovereign, which he rebuffed angrily. The monk realized Atahualpa would not change his mind, and then gave the signal for Pizarro to start shooting. Caught in the middle with no way of escaping, the already frightened Incan men became an easy prey for the Spanish. Pizarro's men butchered the 5,000 Incans in only 60 minutes, with Pizarro being the only one who sustained a minor injury, a cut on his hand as he spared Atahualpa from death.Acknowledging Atahualpa was more important alive than dead, the emperor was kept in bondage while Pizarro arranged to assume control over his empire. Realizing that his captors were greedy, Atahualpa offered them a room brimming with gold and silver in return for his freedom. Pizarro agreed, however, after he got the payoff, charges of insubordination was brought up against Atahualpa. Fortunately, he was able to play his part in uniting the kingdom before Pizarro thought of him as a threat. Atahualpa was sentenced to death and was to be burned at the stake (the type of death Spanish believed pagans deserved). Eventually, Valverde offered him mercy if he would only denounce his faith and embrace Christianity, which he accepted. On August 29, 1533, Atahualpa was killed by strangling.The battle between the Spanish and the Incas continued even after the death of Atahualpa. However, Pizarro's triumph at Cajamarca paved way for European colonization of South America and ended the Inca Empire.
Today marks the birth of German Commander Erwin Rommel, born in Heidenheim, Germany, who is popularly known as the "Desert Fox" for his craftiness in launching surprise attacks on the Allied forces in North Africa during World War II. Born to a family of teachers, however, Rommel decided not to follow his family's profession and chose a military career for himself. In 1910, he was recruited into the German army as an officer cadet. While serving as a lieutenant in the First World War, he was decorated for bravery and recognized for his leadership skills. Instead of following the path, which other young officers took by settling for paper pushing positions, he chose to stay in the infantry as a frontline officer, teaching at different military academies and even publish a textbook on infantry strategy. Following the breakout of the Second World War in 1939, Rommel was given the appointment to command the Seventh Panzer Division in the invasion to France. Having no prior knowledge of the armored warfare, Rommel was quick in grasping the potentials and advantages of the new machine, which helped him winning most of the battles in France between May and June 1940.A year after his victory in France, Adolf Hitler chose him as the commander of the German divisions deployed to Libya to help the already defeated Italian army. On getting to Libya, it was obvious that the British commanders stationed in Libya were not up to his standard. By May, Rommel had won back most of the lost territory lost by the Italians to the Allied forces. This audacious style made the Allied forces tagged him the Desert Fox because he was good at manipulating and deceiving his enemies. This made Hitler to promote him to the rank of field marshal.In March 1943, Rommel was summoned back to Europe to defend the invasion of northern France from Allied forces before the Axis forces eventually surrendered in North Africa. Unfortunately, on June 6, 1944, the Allied eventually gained a strong foothold at Normandy.Back home in Germany, there have been rumors of a plot against Hitler among his generals who sensed that the Fuller was leading the country to destruction with his iron hand. This made the conspirators to approach Rommel and told him of their plan. He did agreed to their plan, but made sure he had no active role in the planning of Hitler's assassination. In addition, it was rumored that after Hitler's death, Rommel will become Germany's head of state.Rommel narrowly escape death when British a warplane attacked his car three days before the attempted coup, he was badly injured and admitted to the hospital. Unfortunately, on July 20, Hitler manage to escape another bomb explosion, arrest were made and the plotters (after been tortured) confessed that Rommel was involved in the planning of the failed coup. Immediately, Hitler send two of his generals to Rommel who was still in the hospital recovering from the head injuries he sustained and offered him two choices, which was suicide or trial. Rommel decided to go for the former and on October 14, he poisoned himself. After his death, Rommel was buried with full military honors.
On this day in 1914, the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declares an Islamic holy war on behalf of the Ottoman government on France, Russia, Britain, Montenegro and Serbia in World War I in Constantinople (now Istanbul) the capital city of the Ottoman Empire, which was founded by Osman Mehmed II in 1453. The empire grew in strength and numbers under the leadership of Suleiman the Magnificent in the sixteenth century stretching from Caucasus up in the north down to Egypt in the south, to Persian Gulf in the east and to Hungary in the west.In 1912, the First Balkan war between the Ottoman Empire and Balkans was a great defeat for the Ottoman Empire after losing nearly all of Europe she has already conquered. Following the defeat, coupled with the heavy migration of its inhabitants to territories belonging to the Balkans and Anatolia, it became a necessity to regain its power, wealth and the shrinking military size. As the First World War began in the summer of 1914, the Ottoman Empire decided to merge it forces with one of the great European powers in order to protect the empire against future loss having lost the Balkan War two years earlier. The leaders of Ottoman Empire including members of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) also known as the Young Turks quickly responded to the proposals made by Germany in August of 1914. Although the Germans and the Ottomans did not openly declare their treaty, yet a secret military alliance had already been concluded on August 2 thus establishing the Ottoman-German Alliance aimed at fighting a common enemy Russia, even though they did not officially involve in the WWI until several months later. The Ottoman Empire entered the war officially on October 29, when the Ottoman navy alongside the two German ships "Geoben and Breslau," which it gave safe harbor to after fleeing British ships. The ships were transferred to the Ottoman navy but still under the Germans control attacked Russian ports of Sevastopol in the black sea signifying the involvement of the Ottoman Empire in the Great War.Ottoman leader Sheikh-ul-Islam declaration of a holy war made two weeks later encouraging all Muslims all over the world including those in the Allied countries to come together in defending the Ottoman Empire against their common enemies. In his words, "the fate of those that are alive is happiness, while that of the dead is martyrdom. In accordance with Allah's promises, those who fight the Jihad war for the sake of the truth will have their rewards not in this world alone, but hereafter."
On this day, the leader of the banned Solidarity movement in communist Poland Lech Walesa made a return back home after being in detention for 11 months in a remote hunting lodge towards the Soviet border. Prior to his release, hundreds of supporters had already pegged their tent outside his home, waiting for his arrival when news reached them that he was in the process of being released. On this exact day, as Walesa made his appearance, the crowd who had gathered lifted him high above and carried him to the entrance of his apartment where his wife was standing to welcome him back home, and then proceeded into the second story window from where he addressed his followers. Born in Poland in 1943, Walesa worked as an electrician at the Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk where he was later fired for his involvement in agitation for union in 1976. In August 1980, following a protest by workers of the shipyard in Gdansk after food prices increased, Walesa joined the thousands of workers inside the shipyard. His involvement led to him being chosen as the chairman of the strike committee, and their demands were met within three days. Following his success, Walesa then helped in organizing other strikes in Gdansk and later demanded the Polish government to allow the free formation of trade unions and giving them the right to strike. Eventually, the government agreed to their demands and on August 30, trade unions were legalized and freedom to express one's religious and political views was given. The met demands paved way for millions of Polish workers and farmers to form unions and Solidarity movement was formed as a national federation of unions, with Walesa as its chairman. Walesa leadership skills made the organization grew in size and political strength, making it a major threat to the Polish government authorities. On December 13, 1981, Solidarity was banned, Walesa and other union leaders were arrested and martial law was declared in Poland.The public outcry forced the government to release Walesa in November 1982, while Solidarity was still outlawed. The following year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Walesa, but he declined to receive it in Norway fearing he may be forced to exile. Working underground as the leader of the Solidarity movement, he was constantly subjected to harassment.The economic recession that hit Poland in 1988 resulting in labor strikes forced the authorities to renegotiate with Walesa, and in April of 1989, Solidarity movement regained freedom and some of its members were allowed to contest at the upcoming elections. This gave way for a Solidarity-led coalition government in September of that same year, and Tadeusz Mazowiecki, Walesa's right hand became the premier. In 1990, Poland held her first presidential election in which Walesa emerge as the winner.Poland witness successful reforms during President Walesa's regime, however, he was more of an effective labor leader than he was a president. He was defeated in his reelection bid in 1995 by the communist former head of the Democratic Left Alliance Aleksander Kwasniewski.
When finding out that the so-called Olive Branch Petition was rejected by England on November 12th, 1775, Abigail Adams decides to write a letter to her husband. She writes, “Let us separate, they are unworthy to be our Brethren. Let us renounce them and instead of supplications as formerly for their prosperity and happiness, let us beseech the almighty to blast their councils and bring to Nought all their devices.” The Olive Branch Petition was adopted by Congress the previous July and written by John Dickinson. The purpose of it was directed towards King George III in an effort for reconciliation between Great Britain and the colonies. Dickson desperately hoped to avoid a permanent break with the king explained opposition to British policies from the colonies saying that: “Your Majesty’s Ministers, persevering in their measures, and proceeding to open hostilities for enforcing them, have compelled us to arm in our own defense, and have engaged us in a controversy so peculiarly abhorrent to the affections of your still faithful Colonists, that when we consider whom we must oppose in this contest, and if it continues, what may be the consequences, our own particular misfortunes are accounted by us only as parts of our distress.” Their discontent was phrased this way as Congress attempted to explain to the king it was the ministerial policy that the American colonists were upset over rather than his own. With a last statement of fidelity to the throne, they ended their plea by saying, “That your Majesty may enjoy long and prosperous reign, and that your descendants may govern your Dominions with honor to themselves and happiness to their subjects, is our sincere prayer.”However, what was presented in the Declaration of Independence in July of 1776 was somewhat different: “The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.”To understand why the language from Congress changed means paying attention to events that occurred roughly one year ago. British Redcoats that were shot at by the militia at Concord and Lexington in April of 1775 were upset with Parliament and not the king. They wanted only great things for each of his subjects around the world since they still trusted him. However, the king’s act of refusing to accept the Olive Branch Petition soon changed their opinion of King George. The main reasons for arms to be taken up by Americans were now different.The response from Abigail Adams basically put to words what the colonists were thinking which was that Patriots prayed that the rights of colonists that were being taking away by Parliament was done without the king’s knowledge; therefore, the petition would give the king the opportunity to come to the defense of his subjects. George III demonstrated to Patriots like Abigail that he knew what Parliament was doing by not even looking at the sent petition. The English-born radical Thomas Paine only increased the patriotic rage of the Americans with his publication of his persuading pamphlet in January of 1776 that was against the monarchy. Paine felt they had permitted “crowned ruffians” to “impoverish the nation and set it together by the ears.”
One thing I have noticed over the years is hearing how the training of police officers is supposed to better prepare them to do their job successfully. Others will see that no matter what level of training is provided; it cannot prepare you for everything. Although I am not a police officer and what I hear is a combo of statements made that are based on news, social media, movies and some actual police officers; I feel that life provides situations that are too unpredictable to know how to react when it happens. After all, how could an officer be trained to handle something grisly that deals with the elderly?The scene is Sacramento, California and police are seen at the residential home of 59-year-old Dorothea Puente unearthing a corpse concealed in her lawn. This alone would be tragic to hear; however, an investigation of the home used to house elderly people would lead authorities to find six more individuals that were buried there. The grisly revelation would stay in the minds of investigators for the rest of their lives. Sadly, as with many cases, Dorothea was no stranger to law enforcement. She had a prison record and served time for picking up individuals in different bars where she would drug and rob them as well as committing check forgery. Being diagnosed as a schizophrenic did not help her any and when it came time for her release, Puente decided to open a boarding house to assist elderly people. Social worker Peggy Nickerson started working with Puente in 1986 by sending over19 clients to stay at her home. However, Nickerson grew concerned when finding out that some of the people staying there strangely could not be found. Peggy’s suspicions were justified as the odor of decaying flesh was reported by Dorothea’s neighbors coming from her vicinity. Unfortunately, Nickerson must have assumed something terrible must have happened to the missing residents as well as feeling guilty since she was the one who had sent them to Dorothea’s house in the first place.Considering Puente’s criminal background, this still would not be a simple open and shut case. While the unearthed bodies were tested and discovered to each have traces of a sedative called Dalmane, the primary cause of death was never determined by the coroner. Regardless, Dorothea Puente went on trial for murdering the missing elderly people. Finally, after lasting five months and presenting 3,100 pieces of evidence, the prosecution was successful in proving beyond a reasonable doubt that Dorothea Puente was responsible for murdering her residents for the probable motive of using their Social Security Checks for her own use. What stands out is that she was formally charged for actually nine counts of murder but only got convicted for three of them. Truth be told, investigators believed that Dorothea could have been responsible for murdering as many as 25 people.
Going as far back as to the American Revolution, a resolution was agreed upon by the Continental Congress stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” to be used as landing forces for the newly assembled Continental Navy. Future U.S. president John Adams and taken up in Philadelphia, a resolution brought about the Continental Marines and is today honored as when the United States Marine Corps was born. However, many do not know the history regarding why the Marines were formed in the first place or that there was a time when they were actually disbanded with no thought of ever needing them again.Throughout the Revolutionary War, the first U.S. Marines separated themselves through a variety of important operations that served on both sea and land. The first landing of Marines on a dangerous shore happened when under the command of Captain Samuel Nicholas, took a group of Marines to take control of New Province Island that resides in the Bahamas on March of 1776 that was under British control. Captain Samuel is known as the first officer that was commissioned in the Continental Marines and is also recognized as the first Marine commandant. The Continental Navy demobilized and its’ Marines went their separate as a result of America achieving their independence in 1783. With growing conflict occurring at sea with Revolutionary France a decade later, the U.S. Congress decided to formally create in May of 1798 the U.S. Navy. President John Adams signed the bill a mere two months later on July 11th that designated the U.S. Marine Corps as a fixed military force that would fall under the authority of the Department of the Navy. During the beginning of the 19th century, U.S. Marines were involved in the so-called Quasi-War with France and later battled against the Barbary pirates in North Africa. After that, Marines have been involved in the United States wars and in a majority of times were the first soldiers to engage the enemy. Today, more than 300 landings on hostile shores have been executed by Marines.With the expansion of the United States’ population over the centuries, the amount of enlisted Marines has increased as well. Presently, the number of reserve and active-duty Marines totals over 200,000. They are stationed into three divisions with one being in Camp Pendleton, California; another at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and the last at Okinawa, Japan. Strategically placed, each division has a minimum or more than one expeditionary unit that when given at least two weeks’ notice, they will be prepared to go ahead with important operations no matter where they may be needed in the world. Expeditionary units of Marines are completely self-reliant as they use their own air force, tanks and artillery. Semper Fidelis is the motto of the Marines in Latin and translated into English means “Always Faithful.”
It was on November 9th of 1938 gave birth to an event that would launch what would be known as the Holocaust of Jewish people throughout the world. Nazis German’s create a campaign of terror where they singled out people of Jewish descent, their businesses and their dwellings in Austria and Germany. The horrific violence that occurred and continued throughout the next day was later officially named “Kirstallnacht,” which means “Night of Broken Glass.” The name was appropriate due to the large number of broken windows of establishments owned by Jewish people, roughly 100 Jews were left for dead, a total of 7,500 businesses of Jewish-owned were damaged and hundreds of graveyards, synagogues, schools and homes ended up being vandalized. Shockingly, an estimated number of 30,000 men of Jewish-faith ended up being arrested. Then, a large amount of them were tragically placed in concentration camps for several months until they were released; however, each had to promise they would have to Germany. This event was the creation of Adolf Hitler and escalated his plan that started in 1933 to force the Jewish population out of Germany and was the year he became chancellor. The Nazis were able to use the murder of a low-level German diplomat that was in Paris that was committed by a Polish Jew that was only 17-years-old as the catalyst for the attacks on Kristallnacht. Two days prior to the infamous attacks, Ernst vom Rath was shot while outside the German embassy by a young man named Herschel Grynszpan because he craved vengeance due to his parents being forced to leave Germany and having to go to Poland. Also, it was due to tens of thousands of other Jews that were Polish being forced to leave Germany. Joseph Goebbels, who was a Nazi propaganda minister, used vom Rath’s murder to their advantage by carrying out destructive riots by “spontaneous demonstrations” that were committed by disguised storm troopers against Jewish people. Adding to the mayhem was the fact that fire departments and local police were told to look away and not to offer assistance. Sadly, some Jewish people, who included whole families, committed suicide as a result of the destruction that happened.The Nazis accused their Jewish citizens for the aftermath caused by Kristallnacht and were told to pay 1 billion marks (the 1938 equivalent of $400 million dollars) for the diplomat’s murder. The government used as payment insurance money belonging to Jewish citizens as well as seized property. The Nazi government carried out more policies of discrimination that basically isolated Jews from public life; this was done in an attempt to give birth to a master Aryan race. Kristallnacht also led to over 100,000 thousand Jewish people fleeing from Germany to other safer countries. Although other countries expressed their condemnation for what happened on those two destructive days, the worst thing that happened was the breaking of diplomatic relations with Germany. Since the Nazis had not suffered anything harmful to their cause, this led them to think there would be no repercussions for committing mass murder on a scale of approximately 6 million European Jews dying and would be later known as the Holocaust.
Today been the 16th anniversary of '"The Fuller" Adolf Hitler's Beer Hall Putsch, a bomb exploded right after he had delivered his speech to a group of his loyalist. Luckily, Hitler left the place injured. The anniversary is a yearly ritual of his infamous 1923 coup d'états, (been Hitler's first touch of power but resulted to his arrest and led to the extinction of his National Socialist party). Therefore, on this day in 1939, Hitler was addressing his old party members, soldiers and loyalist of his fascist party, and entertaining them with his dreams and ambitions however, twelve minutes when he left the hall with some Nazi's leader who were present at the occasion, a bomb exploded behind the podium, leaving seven people dead and 63 wounded. Following the incident, the Nazi official newspaper called "Voelkischer Beobachter" did not hesitate to blame the British secret agents and even accuse British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain for the attack. Although it was a plot to stir up the German people to go into war and develop hatred for the British. However, the Nazi inner-Party members were aware that the move was propaganda, believing the murder attempt was probably the work of an anti-Nazi German military conspiracy.Using a clever means to put the blame on the Britain, while in actuality closing up on the perpetrators, Gestapo chief, Heinrich Himmler decided to send a junior officer called Walter Schellenberg to Holland in order to make contacts with the British intelligence agents. The plan of the meeting with the British agents was to have the strong backing of the British government in the case an anti-Nazi coup succeeded. Not aware of the original plot, the British agents were willing to gain all the inside information they could about anti-Hitler's movement going on in the German military camp, while Schellenberg who was disguising as a German general called Major Schaemmel was after every information the British intelligence may have gathered on such a conspiracy within the German military.Nevertheless, Heinrich Himmler desired more than talk or pieces of gathered Intel, what he wanted was the British intelligence agents themselves. Therefore, on November 9, secret service agents in Holland kidnapped two British agents Payne Best and R.H. Stevens with the help of Schellenberg, and drove them across the border into Germany. On arriving Germany, Himmler announced to the German people that he had captured the British conspirators alongside the man who planted the explosive upon their request named Georg Elser, who is a carpenter and a member of the German communist movement.Certainly, it was Elser who planted the bomb, but the masterminds behind the crime is to this day a mystery, whether it is the German military or British intelligence. Payne, Stevens and Elser (the three official conspirators) were sent to Sachsenhausen concentration camp. In addition, Gestapo murdered Elser on April 16, 1945; therefore, history could not get his own part of the story. On the other hand, Hitler did not have the courage to hold a public trial because the loopholes in the story were just too much.
Today in 1916, Jeannette was elected as a legislature to the U.S. House of Representatives. Making her the first woman ever in history of United States of America to won a seat at the congress.Jeannette Rankin was born and bred on a farm close to Missoula, Montana. Born of liberal parents, they urged her at a tender age to think past the limited chances, which was allowed to women of the mid twentieth century. Years later, she graduated from the University of Montana and the New York School of Philanthropy, after working as a social worker for a short period, she later became actively involved in politics to fight for women's right to vote and be voted for. Her endeavors took her back home to Montana in 1914, where she trusted pioneer conditions had made prominent admiration for women's work and talent, making it to an extent simpler to persuade men to allow them the privilege to vote. In addition, some western states like Wyoming and Colorado had officially endorsed women's' right to vote years prior to that, with Rankin's leadership and authoritative skills the state of Montana was able to join them in 1914.Now that women's right to vote had been secured, Rankin had to test the waters of her political strength in Montana by contesting in 1916, for one of the two seats in Congress as a Progressive Republican. Her courage and ability to stand out among others helped her in securing the support of the women and men alike. In the end, Rankin turned out to be the first woman in history to be elected into Congress.Moving to Washington, D.C. the following year, all eyes was on her to check whether a woman could deal with the duties of the high office. Rankin soon demonstrated she could; in fact, she likewise exhibited that she would not go against her own strongly held belief in political pragmatism. A committed pacifist, Rankin's first vote as a U.S. congresswoman was against U.S. entry into World War I. As she was being celebrated for her brave stand, yet others asserted her vote demonstrated that ladies were unequipped for boring the heavily laid burdens accustomed with national leadership, even though 55 congressmen had likewise voted against the war.Unfortunately, her vote against World War 1 did not favor her reelection bid in 1918. This made her to dedicate the next 20 years of life to peace work. Unexpectedly, she again won a seat in the U.S. Congress in 1940, at the time the country was going to World War II. Right after the bombarding of Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Rankin turned out to be the only legislature in the history of Congress to vote against U.S. going into both world wars. However, she was the only one who voted against the war this time around.
Today in history, Abraham Lincoln won the presidential election to become the 16th president of the United States of America over a severely partitioned Democratic Party, thus, making him the first ever Republican to win the White House race. He was able to get only 40 percent of the electorate, yet Lincoln beat the other three different candidates from Southern Democrat John C. Breckinridge, Constitutional Union candidate John Bell, and Northern Democrat Stephen Douglas, a onetime rival and U.S. congressman for Illinois. Born and bred in Kentucky, Lincoln became a lawyer, and even the former Whig representative to the Congress. He gained popularity during the great debate against Stephen Douglas of Illinois for U.S. Senate seat in 1858. The senatorial battle highlighted an astounding arrangement of well-constructed open arguments on the matter relating to slavery, which is widely known as the "Lincoln-Douglas debates" where Lincoln opposed the spread of slavery, while Douglas argued that every region ought to have the privilege to choose whether it would turn out to be free or slave. In the final analysis, Lincoln lost the Senate race, however his campaign conveyed national awareness regarding the youthful Republican Party. Two years later, Lincoln won the party's presidential primaries.At the presidential election in November 1860, Lincoln once again had to compete against Douglas, who is representing a faction of a vigorously separated Democratic Party, and additionally Breckinridge and Bell. The declaration of Lincoln's triumph flagged the withdrawal of the Southern states, which since the start of the year had been openly threatening to secede if the Republicans won the White House race.As at the time of Lincoln's inauguration on March 4, 1861, the Confederate States of America had been formally formed with only seven Southern Democratic states. The Confederate States decided to make Jefferson Davis as president of the newly established states. This event led to the American Civil War that started one month later when Confederate armies under General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Eventually, in 1863, the Confederacy lost the battle, Lincoln liberated the slaves and in 1864, he was reelected for a second term as the president of the United States. At Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. in April 1865, a Confederate supporter named John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln. The assault came just five days after the American Civil War ended with the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee at Appomattox.To this day, Abraham Lincoln is regarded as one of the greatest American presidents ever for his role in protecting the Union, abolishing slavery, and for his exceptional character and effective eloquence.
Although Rochester attorney George Selden had never personally invented nor built a car, he did have the intelligence to submit a patent that made it seem like he did. On November 5, 1895, Selden was granted the U.S. Patent No. 549,160 for an enhanced car engine, the patent of which should broadly apply to any form of liquid-hydrocarbon engine of the compression type. The patent submitted by Selden was unclear to begin with. On top of that, it was really someone else’s idea. He saw a two-cylinder internal combustion engine at the 1872 Philadelphia Exposition and copied it. In 1899, he made the decision to make money from the patent and sold this to Electric Vehicle Company. It so happened that someone else had already been building gas-powered cars, the Winton Motor Carriage Company. Investors at the Electric Vehicle Company thought that this was in violation of the patent they acquired from Selden and made the decision to sue Winton Motor Carriage Company which was the largest car manufacturer in the US during that time. The court upheld Selden’s patent in 1903 while Winton Motor Carriage Company on the other hand was forced to settle. At first, automobile makers were dismayed by the existence of the patent but soon realized that it was possible to turn the situation around. The patent was one way for them to leverage competition in a very competitive industry. Winton and other car companies met with Selden and the Electric Vehicle Company and together, they agreed to establish the Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM). Manufacturers who built gas-powered cars but were not members of the organization ended up getting sued. The organization also threatened their potential buyers, saying that they would be slapped with a lawsuit if they bought a car from an unlicensed company.Most of the members of the Selden group were Eastern carmakers that catered only to the affluent buyers. The Midwestern manufacturers that targeted ordinary people were excluded. One of the Midwestern manufacturers that tried to get into the group but got denied was Henry Ford. He found the demands of ALAM unreasonable and was irked by it. Instead of giving in to these, he went ahead with his plans and ignored ALAM, which got him sued by the organization on October 22, 1903 for patent infringement. The case went to trial in 1909, seven months after the company’s Model T was introduced. Although Ford failed to impress ALAM and its members, he did get most Americans to side his case because they were pleased when Ford made cars accessible to most of them. The judge on the other hand thought that Ford violated the Selden patent and ruled against him.Things took a different turn in January 11, 1911 when the appeals court ruled in favor of Ford. The court issued a statement saying that the patent was only applicable to replicas of the same exact engine that Selden saw in 1872.
On November 4, 1956, the Soviets made a drastic move to stop the 12-day old revolution in Hungary. Soviet tanks and troops rushed to the country, leaving thousands of people killed and wounded by their attack while almost a quarter million of the country’s population were forced to flee as refugees.The revolution began in October 1956 when protesters from Hungary went to the streets and cried out for freedom from oppression from the Soviets. They demanded for a more democratic government. As a result, the Communist Party officials chose Imre Nagy as their new premier – Nagy was a former premier but has been terminated because he openly criticized Stalinist policies. The new premier responded to the needs of the protesters by trying to reinstate peace. He also asked the Soviets to pull out their troops. The Soviets agreed to his demand. However, Nagy became a threat when he promised his people of open elections and that he would put an end to the one-party rule for good. He also promised for the country to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact (Soviet’s version of NATO), with the intention of becoming a neutral nation. On November 4, 1956, Soviets came back to Budapest, now with even more tanks than before. They had but one goal – to put an end to the Hungarian revolution once and for all. It was a catastrophic event for the Hungarians who were easily overpowered by the Soviets. By 5:20A.M., Prime Minister Imre Nagy broadcast the event to the whole nation. He told his people how their own troops were doing their best to defend their country and that the government was still in control. However, only a few hours have passed and Nagy already sought refuge at the Yugoslav Embassy in Budapest. He ended up being captured and got executed two years later. The Soviets were adamant in taking over the country once again and immediately found someone else to take over Nagy’s former position. The person whom they found suitable was none other than Nagy’s former colleague, János Kádár, whom they secretly flew to the country from Moscow.Leaders from the West were shocked by what happened but were caught up in their own dilemmas and were not willing to risk getting entangled in a war in order to save Hungary. Before the incident, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev promised to abolish Stalinist policies along with its domineering ways but the incident in Budapest was a clear indication that he was not yet ready to embrace change. The event in Budapest killed about 2,500 Hungarians while 200,000 of them were forced to escape the country as refugees. The violence did not stop after November 4. There were resistance movements, strikes, and mass arrests months later, which affected the economic standing of the country. The United States, who were busy with their own affairs at that time, failed to help which made the Hungarians frustrated and angry. While the radio broadcasts from voice of America suggest that President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Secretary of State John Foster Dulles verbally issued a statement that encouraged freedom in communist countries, they did not extend physical support at the time that the Soviet tanks were in Budapest to terrorize the Hungarians.
On November 3, 1986, the world discovered through a report released by the Lebanese magazine Ash Shiraa that the United States was involved in a serious scandal – this has been selling weapons to Iran in exchange for the freedom of American hostages who were being held against their will by pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon. Much to their surprise, officials outside President Ronald Reagan’s inner circle would soon come to know this when this was confirmed by U.S. intelligence sources on November 6. This clearly contradicted the stated policy of the current administration and was in violation of the U.S. arms embargo against Iran. President Reagan promised that he would never tolerate negotiations with terrorists but the arms sales were in opposition of this vow.On November 25, Attorney General Edwin Meese exposed that the profit coming from the arms sale transaction were used to fund Nicaraguan rebels, known as the Contras, who at that time were caught up in a guerilla warfare against the leftist government of Nicaragua. His revelation made the dealings even more controversial for all the ones who were involved. The Congress went in an uproar – they believed that no such thing could happen after passing the Boland Amendment in 1982, which was intended to prevent the exploitation of federal money in overthrowing the Nicaraguan government. On the day that Iran-Contra scandal was exposed, Vice Admiral John Poindexter submitted his resignation which was immediately approved by President Reagan. Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, a Poindexter aide, on the other hand was fired by Reagan. Both Poindexter and North were key figures in the Iran-Contra scandal. While Reagan accepted responsibility for the incident, he however denied any knowledge of the said deal.Lawrence Walsh was appointed as the special prosecutor in December 1986 for the investigation of the Iran-Contra scandal. This was made into a public hearing and televised in the summer of 1987. Through the investigation, the people found out that North as well as other administration officials tried to cover up the unlawful transactions with the Contras and the Iran. A total of eleven White House, State Department, and intelligence officials were also accused guilty of the illegal dealings. They were charged with the following crimes – perjury, withholding information from Congress, and conspiracy to defraud the United States. According to Walsh’s final report, Reagan and Vice President George Bush did not in any way violate laws concerning the Iran-Contra dealings. However, he also determined that Reagan’s decision to order continued support of the Contras even when the Congress clearly banned this initiated the illegal acts of the others. The prosecutor’s report showed that there came a continued effort to deceive the Congress and the public in connection to the Iran-Contra dealing because Reagan and Bush became involved in dealings which encouraged it.President George Bush used his power to pardon people from crimes to six of the notable figures who were involved in the Iran-Contra affair on the Christmas Eve of 1992, just after he was defeated by Bill Clinton for the presidency. Two of them, Former defense secretary Caspar Weinberger and former chief of CIA operations Duane Clarridge, were still being tried for perjury, but because of the pardon issued by Bush, were given the chance to enjoy freedom once again.
Few names are as well-known for strictly positive reasons as Martin Luther King Jr. During the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, King emerged as the face (and voice) of black Americans who simply wanted to live their lives in peace and enjoy the same rights as their white neighbors. King’s message of peaceful, non-violent protest, built mainly on his deep Christian faith, resonated not only with blacks but also with many whites. Through racism was certainly a problem at the time, many younger Americans were being exposed to black culture and to black people themselves, finding that they were just like them: They liked the same music, the same television programming, and ate the same things. Some older Americans, too, were beginning to soften in their stance on race relations, thanks in no small part to the work of Martin Luther King Jr.Born the son of a Baptist minister in 1929 Atlanta, King He received a doctorate degree in theology from Boston University in 1955. That same year, he organized the first major protest of the civil rights movement: the successful Montgomery Bus Boycott. The Boycott was in reaction to the Rosa Parks incident: A black woman refused to give up her seat to a white man, and was arrested. In 1957, he helped to found the Southern Leadership Conference, which sought the help of black churches in protesting racial injustice. The peaceful protests he led throughout the American South were often met with violence, the images of blacks being beaten, attacked by police dogs, and shot with fire hoses airing on the nightly news and shocking more moderate Americans. In 1963, King and others were arrested in Birmingham, Alabama, while protesting segregation. It was his 13th arrest. And it wouldn’t be his last. In 1963, King led the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom where, in front of thousands, delivered his famous “I Have A Dream” speech, saying, in part:I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: 'We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.' I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification; one day right there in Alabama, little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today.In 1964, King was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. In 1968, he was assassinated in Memphis Tennessee by a sniper – James Earl Ray, a racist and escaped convict.King’s work was officially recognized by the US government when, on November 2, 1983, President Ronald Wilson Reagan signed into law a bill making the third Monday of January “Martin Luther King Day.”
Attempts on the life of the President are as American as apple pie: According to a recent report, there have been twenty attempts and plots to slay the leader of the free world. Four were successful: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. All of them were killed by a gunshot. Attempts have been made on both sitting and former presidents. Former president Theodore Roosevelt was shot in 1912 while campaigning as a third party candidate. The bullet struck him in the chest, its thrust drastically slowed by a steel eyeglasses case and a folded copy of his fifty-page speech. Known for his robust masculinity, Roosevelt decided to continue, reasoning that since he was not coughing up blood, the bullet had not hit his lungs and that the injuries would be minor. In September 1975, President Gerald R. Ford was shot at twice in the span of seventeen days. Interestingly, both of his would be assassins were women (a rarity), and amazingly, one of them was a former member of the Charles Manson Family. The very first attempt on a president’s life came in January 1835, when a mentally ill former house painter took aim at President Andrew Jackson with two pistols. Both malfunctioned. Jackson, a noted roughneck, charged his assailant and beat him with a cane before being dragged off.On November 1, 1950, President Harry S. Truman suffered a failed assassination attempt.Built during the presidencies of George Washington and John Adams, the White House, by 1945, was in a shambles, due largely to neglect during the Great Depression. When Truman took office following the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945, he found the White House sorely in need of repairs. It was so bad that in 1948, a piano leg went through a second story floor. The floorboards were found to be rotted. A building commissioner claimed that the second floor was sinking, and that the ceilings were remaining where they were by sheer force of habit.In 1949, Congress created a commission for the reconstruction of the White House. The interior was almost entirely gutted and rebuilt.In the autumn of 1950, Truman was staying in Washington’s Blair House. On the afternoon of November 1, the Trumans were upstairs when a commotion broke out in the street below: Yelling, shouting, and gunfire. When the smoke cleared, two men were dead: Secret Service Agent Leslie Coffelt and Griselio Torresola.Torresola, a Puerto Rican nationalist, had, along with Oscar Collazo, strolled up to the front stairs of the Blair House and opened fire. Coffelt was mortally wounded by Torresola, but managed to kill him with a shot to the head before falling. Collazo and several D.C. police officers were wounded in the attack.Torresola and Collazo launched their poorly-planned attack (they didn’t even know if Truman would be there) on behalf of Puerto Rican independence, despite Truman’s support for the matter.Collazo was sentenced to death, but Truman himself commuted the sentence to life in prison. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter commuted it further to time served. That same year, he was honored by Cuba’s communist dictator Fidel Castro.Photos of Torresola and Collazo hang in Chicago’s Puerto Rican Cultural Center.
On this day in 1950, the 21-year-old Earl Francis Lloyd made his first season debut for the Washington Capitols, and as the first black person to play in the NBA. Born in Alexandria, Virginia on April 3, 1928 to a father who worked in the coal industry and a stay-at-home mom, Earl Lloyd received a scholarship to play basketball at West Virginia State. At West Virginia State, he became the new superstar of the championship basketball team. Unaware the NBA would draft him, until a friend told him that she heard he was moving out of the state to Washington. Later it became obvious that the Capitols had selected him in the ninth round of the draft. In addition, the NBA also drafted three other black players that same year. Celtics, New York Knicks and Tri-Cities Blackhawks selected Chuck Cooper, Nathaniel Clifton and Hank DeZonie respectively. However, the other teams did not start the 1950-51 NBA season until November, which makes Earl Lloyd become the first African-American to play in the National Basketball Association.Lloyd later recalled that joining a white dominated team was at first scary but most of his teammates had played in college teams (where it was a mixture of different race) were friendly and made him feel at ease. However, the first match of the season was a little bit frightening when some fans shout in disgust as the announcer read the Capitols lineup for the game. It was reported by a fan, a white man who sat in the front row yelled: "do y'all think this black man can play any basketball?" but got a reply from Lloyd's mother who sat at the next role answered, and assured the man not to worry, that "the nigger can play."Having played only seven games with the Capitols, he was enlisted into the army and sent to Korea for two years. After his return to the United States, his former club had already gone out of the league; therefore, he joined the Syracuse Nationals (now known as Philadelphia 76ers). Lloyd played for a total number of nine seasons and retired his career in Detroit. After his retirement, he worked in the Motor City before becoming the assistant coach for the Pistons. He later became the first black head coach of a team in the NBA league, coaching the Detroit team for a year; afterwards, he moved to work in the police department and finally as a school administrator. In 2003, Earl Francis Lloyd was accepted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
On this day in 1974, Muhammad Ali aged 32, becomes, for the second time, the world heavyweight champion after knocking out 25-year-old champion George Foreman in the eighth round of the fight named "Rumble in the Jungle" in Kinshasa, Zaire. Ali who had lost his title seven years before after he was accused by the government for draft-dodging, which led to the withdrawer of his license by the boxing commission. Muhammad Ali became the second dethroned champion in the history of boxing to reclaim the title following his victory in Zaire. Don King who was the show promoter had initially named the fight "From the Slave Ship to the Championship!" However, the title had to be changed when the President of Zaire Mobutu Sese Seko, believed the title had another hidden meaning and then ordered that all flyers and banners be burned. In addition, the heavyweight championship match was the first of its kind on Africa soil. It was reported that the government of West African republic staged the event, while the President of Zaire paid each fighter $5 dollar for honoring the call. The move was part of the plot to display the nation's rich culture and heritage to the rest of the world. In Ali's words, "I agreed because I wanted to establish a keen relationship between black Americans and Africans," he also added, "personally, I believed the fight was more about racism, Vietnam, and the likes". He stated further, "the fight, Rumble in the Jungle made the whole country more conscious."The organizers of the fight timed the fight to correspond with the time in the U.S. and exactly 4:30 in the morning of October 30, more than 60, 000 spectators gathered in the moonlight at the Stade du 20 Mai to watch the fight. The crowd were heard shouting in their local dialect "Ali, bomaye" meaning "Ali, kill him". Ali who had been provoking Foreman for several weeks, while the young champ was excited to beat the hell out of the ex-champ. As soon as the bell rang, Foreman started punching Ali with his famous sledgehammer blows, Ali leans against the rope and tactically block as many as he could, believing that he would wear Foreman out.Not long into the fifth round, the young champion was getting tired; all his sledgehammer punches became weak and vague. By the eighth round, a hard left punch caused Foreman to lose his grip and fell flat on the ring. He was counted out by the referee in just two seconds to go in the round.Muhammad Ali retired in 1981 after regaining the title once more. While Foreman on the other hand, retired in 1977 but kept training making him to become the oldest heavyweight champion in the history of boxing.
Although war is never a good thing, sometimes leaders feel it is necessary to defend their country’s interest or retaliation for a severe action. Thus, armed forces from Israel head toward the Suez Canal which begins the Suez Crisis. This would lead to British and French forces joining Israel and start in the Middle East a Severe Cold War problem.The event that led to the joined forces attacking Egypt was due to the nationalization of the Suez Canal. This happened during July of 1956 and was ordered by the Egyptian leader General Gamal Abdel Nasser. Actually, this should not have been a surprise as trouble had been brewing in the area for a couple of years. Going back two years, the British were beginning to be pressured by Egyptian Military to remove their military forces from the Canal Zone since the 1936 Anglo-Egyptian Treaty gave permission to do this. During this time, the Egyptian leader also was having his armed forces perform on and off battles with soldiers from Israel along the two nation’s border.Another thing about Nasser was his visible hatred toward the Zionist nation and showed no signs of his feelings changing. So, being that he was receiving money and arms from the Soviet Union and extremely angry with the U.S. for going back on their promise of providing the means to complete the building of the Aswan Dam on the Nile River; the Egyptian leader instructed his forces to take control and nationalize the Suez Canal. This move angered the British in which they decided to enlist the support of France (they believed the General was giving support in Algeria in rebels living in the French colony), and Israel (since they needed little reason to fight an enemy on their boarder), in a joint venture to retake the canal. While Israel started first, it was followed by the sudden realization that French and British forces did not follow through with their support right away. The quick strike from a massive force was replaced with a reduced attack that eventually stalled. The United Nations voted on a resolution calling for an end to the hostilities.Things began to get worse as the Soviet Union was starting to issue ominous warnings regarding giving aid to Egypt. Now, a dire situation was escalating quickly as Eisenhower’s administration had hoped it would quiet down before causing a U.S.-Soviet confrontation. While the United States seriously warned the Soviet’s from entering this conflict, equal amount of pressure was coming from the U.S. to have Israel, French and British remove their forces from the area. Eventually, their forces were removed in late 1956 and early 1957.
The year is 1775 Major General Sir William Howe, the new commander in chief of the British army, makes a serious declaration to those who reside in Boston on this day. Rather than speaking to the citizens up close, he decides to deliver this notice from another location. Making his speech in Boston from the British headquarters, the Major orders citizens to become part of military companies as well as forbidding any individual from exiting the city. The reason for this was for everyone to do everything possible to maintain an effective and disciplined government within Boston. Roughly four months ago, a man by the name of George Washington had accepted the command of the Continental Army on July 3rd, 1775. The new commander, a veteran of the war between the Indian and the French as well as being a distinguish Virginia planter, was given the position of commander in chief by the Continental Congress just two weeks prior to the attempt to turn the impromptu attack of Boston. This was started by New Englanders that were furious over the Battle of Concord and Lexington that occurred the past April into an organized congressionally revolt within the colony against the harsh rule by the parliament. The spontaneous attack of Boston reached its’ greatest success when Israel Putnam and William Prescott led New Englanders who accomplished wounding 838 and killing 226 members of world-renowned British army until June 17th, 1775, in which they withdrew their rag-tag group from Bunker Hill.Despite what they had accomplished and perceived to be a tremendous victory several weeks ago, Washington seemed unimpressed when first meeting these men who considered themselves an army. Thinking back to the war between the Indian and the French, the stupidity apparent in that war was evident in these enlisted men; they had grown accustomed to being commanded by their neighbors in militias instead of elected officers. Immediately, Washington ordered that officers should act accordingly while the enlisted men show the proper respect toward rank. While this practice showed signs of working with this first army, it was inevitable that the New Englanders would return to their lands and as 1775 was reaching its’ end, Washington had no choice but to work with new soldiers in 1776.Nevertheless, the British would finally leave Boston on March 27th, 1776. This was due to Washington being able to successfully take over Dorchester Heights some 13 days earlier. The victory was obtained by using a cannon, acquired at Fort Ticonderoga from the British on May 10th, 1775, that was let loose on the British-held city. Being fearful more of their own cannon being used on them instead of the Patriot soldiers, the British fled and the Boston citizens finally could move around in their own city; something they had not been able to do for the past six months.
History was made in Tombstone, Arizona as the Clanton-McLaury gang face off against the Earp brothers involving a shootout at the OK Corral on October 26th, 1881.Tombstone immediately rose in stature as being one of the wealthiest mining towns in the Southwest when silver was found nearby in 1877. The “law and order” of the town was represented by a prior Kansas police officer that worked as a security guard for the bank named Wyatt Earp. Assisting him were his two brothers Morgan and the town marshal Virgil although their reputations has them as being ruthless and power-hungry. The McLaurys and Clantons were cowboys who resided outside of town on a ranch as well as being murderers, rustlers and thieves. The conflict between the two groups over control of Cochise County and Tombstone would conclude at the OK Corral in blazing gunfire in October of 1881. Both Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury ventured into Tombstone to acquire supplies on the morning of October fifth. Both men had a few violent run-ins with the Earp and a friend of theirs named Doc Holiday. The next day at approximately 1:30 p.m., Frank McLaury, Billy Claiborne and Ike’s brother Billy rode into town to meet up with them. Venturing into the local saloon, the first individual the group encounters is Doc Holiday who is ecstatic to inform them that the Earps both pistol-whipped their brothers. Vowing revenge, Billy and Frank quickly left the saloon.Five members of the Clanton-McLaury gang were spotted in a deserted lot behind the OK Corral, which is located where Fremont Street ends, by Holiday and the Earp roughly at 3 p.m. The historic gunfight that ensued lasted only 30 seconds while roughly 30 shots were fired. Even though today that there is still an ongoing debate on who actually pulled the trigger first, the majority of reports suggest it was started by Virgil Earp pulling out his gun and hitting point-blank in the chest Billy Clanton. Meanwhile, Doc Holiday joined in with a shotgun blast in the chest of Tom McLaury. However, Billy was able to unload a few shots before collapsing as did Frank McLaury after being shot and wounded in the stomach by Wyatt Earp. Finally, when the dust cleared, Claiborne and Ike Clanton retreated into the hills; the McLaury brothers and Billy Clanton were dead while Doc Holiday, Morgan and Virgil Earp had been wounded.Although this ends with what happened on this historical day, the story does not end there. The aftermath of the gunfight led to the arrest of the Earp brothers and Doc Holiday by Cochise County Sheriff John Behan, who was an actual witness to the event, and charged all of them with murder. The defendants and the citizens of Cochise County only had to wait one month before a verdict would be decided on. The judge in Tombstone declared that the three of them were found to be not guilty being that their action was “fully justified in committing these homicides.” What transpired at the OK Corral is more than simply a story that has been passed down through the generations or mentioned in an encyclopedia. The historic shootout has also appeared in movies making it immortalized for future generations to actually see. Some of these movies, not in order of when they appeared, include “Wyatt Earp” in 1994, “Frontier Marshal” in 1939, “Tombstone” in 1993 and “Gunfight at the OK Corral” in 1957.
One of the most famous and greatest artist of the 20th century known for as the co-creator of Cubism is born in the city of Malaga, Spain.Born of a father who is a professor at drawing, Picasso was brought-up in the family way of academic art. Naturally talented, he had his first exhibition at the age of 13, however, he was not comfortable with what he is been taught, and eventually quit school of art so that he can have enough time to experiment with modern art styles. In 1900, he moved to Paris, by 1901, he had already secured an exhibition at an art gallery on rue Lafitte in Paris, a notable street for its impressive art galleries. Now 19 years of age, Picasso had produced hundreds of paintings in his name. After receiving positive comments from art lovers, he deiced to stay in Paris for the rest of the year and then he moved to the country to settle permanently. Picasso had more than 50,000 paintings, beautiful drawings and engravings, sculptures and ceramics produced for a period of 80 years in his collection, which is in a series of corresponding periods. The Blue Period includes famous paintings like Blue Nude and La Vie. It was the first notable period he did after his first Paris exhibit. Another works of his called The Old Guitarist was produced in 1903; it was painted with the blue color depicting the miserable world of the poor. Afterwards, he created the Rose Period, among the works includes Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, which depicts five nude prostitutes with abstract and distorted features that reflects the human form. This spectacular work gave birth to Cubism, an imaginative style created by Picasso and his fellow painter Georges Braque.Cubism is divided into two phases called analytical and synthetic. Picasso and Braque created the modern norm to display that artwork does not necessarily need to represent reality in other to have real artistic value. His major Cubist works comprises his costumes and collections he made for Sergey Diaghilev's Ballets Russes in 1917, The Three Musician in 1921. Cubist experiments of both Picasso and Braque pave way for various modern inventions such as collage.He later moved on to explore classical and Mediterranean themes, with pictures of violence and suffering surfaced in his works. By the end of 1937, the theme had already turned to another masterpiece called Guernica, which showcase the horrific suffering bore by the people of Basque town of Guernica after the German warplanes destroyed the town in the Spanish Civil War. During Nazi's occupation, Picasso spent most of his time in France but refused fascism and joined the French Communist Party after the war ended.Unfortunately, most of his works after the Second World War were not critically studied as his earlier designs. However, he continued to work fervently, made profits, and receives critical success. He produced great works of art until his death in 1973 at the age of 91.
Today in 1945, the United Nations became effective and ready to promote international cooperation. The organization begins its duty as the supreme governing body of all countries in order to foster world unity. The charter had already been adopted and signed on June 26, 1945. With the ongoing World War II, it became a necessity for the Allies, (United States, Britain, and the Soviet Union) to formulate the United Nations Declaration that was signed by 26 nations in January 1942 as a means to opposing the Axis Powers i.e. Germany, Italy and Japan. The main objective of the organization is to ensure world peace, settling of conflicts between nations in a manner that is far better than the ineffective Old League of Nations. Before the birth of the UN, there were numerous international treaty organizations and conferences created to regulate conflicts among nations, which includes International Committee of the Red Cross, Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 among many others. Because of the huge loss of life in WW1, the League of Nations was created at the Paris Peace Conference to maintain world peace. The new organization was able to resolve some international disputes and establish international structures in areas such as aviation, regulating opium etc. Nevertheless, the League of Nations failed is some major aspect such as failing to act against the Japanese invasion of Manchuria and China in 1931 and 1937 respectively, and to curb Adolf Hitler's quest for expanding Germany that eventually led to World War II.On April 25, 1945, the principles of the United Nations was formulated by the Allied Big Four (U.S. Britain, China and the Soviet Union) at the Dumbarton Oaks Conference. The meeting, which was attended by 50 government delegates and a number of non-governmental organizations, and presided over by the United states of America President Franklin Roosevelt, Prime Minister Winston Churchill OF Great Britain and Premier Joseph Stalin of the Soviet Union. To maintaining world peace, the conference created a structure for a new international organization in order to prevent future conflicts, to reestablish fundamental human rights, promote social and economic development, improve the standard of living of living, and provide humanitarian assistance.After the war ended, it became the responsibility of the United Nations Security council, which consists of 15 member states and 5 permanent members (United States, Britain, France, China and the Soviet Union) to negotiate and maintain world peace. In addition, each member of the Security Council has veto power over the other.The headquarters of the U.N. is located in Manhattan, New York City, and other main offices sited in Geneva, and Nairobi. It is financed by assessed and voluntary donations from its member states. Presently, there are now 193 member states as opposed to the initial 51 founding members.
About 50 Chechen rebels stormed their way into a Moscow theater much to the surprise of the hundreds of people who were inside the establishment at that time. The up to 700 people who thought that they would be enjoying the sold-out performance ended up being held captive as hostages instead on October 23, 2002 by the rebels.The cast of the musical “Nord Ost” was set for their second act at the Moscow Ball-Bearing Plant’s Palace of Culture when suddenly, an armed man from out of nowhere started firing his machine gun in the air. When people thought that it could not get any worse, other terrorists came rushing into the scene, explosives were strapped to their bodies, an obvious threat that that they were not afraid to die right then and there. They soon identified themselves as belonging to the Chechen Army. They only had but one demand – Russian military forces ought to back out and stay away from Chechnya, a war-devastated area in the northern part of Caucasus Mountains. The predominantly Muslim populated country of Chechnya has long been crying out for its independence. The country clashed with Russian forces in a two-year period war when the latter tried to regain control over the place. The war ended in 1996 but the Russians eventually returned three years later after suspecting the Chechens as being responsible for the series of bombing incidents that transpired in the Russian territory. President Vladimir Putin was elected in year 2000 right after promising his people that he will deal with the Chechens accordingly and will not give the “terrorists” room for negotiation.It was a grueling 57 hours for all of those who were trapped inside the Palace of Culture. To add to their horror, two hostages ended up being killed. The Russian special forces initiated their attack against the terrorists is the morning of October 26th. The Russians reportedly pumped a powerful narcotic in the building before breaking into the walls and roof of the theater. This let them gain the upper hand – nearly all of the terrorists and hostages were rendered unconscious by the narcotic gas. Most of the rebels were killed by the Russian forces. One hundred twenty of the hostages ran out of luck and died during the raid. Some thought that the security forces went overboard when they opted to use the dangerous gas. The security forces defended their decision, saying that the surprise attack became necessary because this was the only way that they could have disarmed the rebels while purposefully taking into account that they also needed to detonate the explosives.The theater crisis marked the beginning of the bloody feud between the two countries. Putin’s government held Chechnya responsible for torture, kidnapping, and other grueling crimes. The Chechen rebels on the other hand tried their best to overpower the Russians in any way they can, instigating terrorist attacks whenever they could. The rebels were accused of initiating a suicide bombing a Moscow subway in February 2004 as well as the major hostage crisis in a Beslan school on September that same year.
On October 22, 1962, President John F. Kennedy told the American people about his decision to issue a blockade of Cuba following the discovery that the Soviets were secretly keeping missiles in the said location. The president openly criticized Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in his televised speech, accusing him of threatening world peace. JFK also issued a warning against the soviets saying that US is not afraid to conduct necessary actions, and if needed, will be forced to retaliate, should the missiles be launched for any reason.Four days before the blockade announcement, photographic proof of the 40 ballistic missile site which were being built by the Soviets were presented to Kennedy. The president was alarmed after learning that these were strategically located within a striking distance from the United States. JFK and his closest advisors discussed the matter in their secret meetings. They concluded that they can only deal with the situation in three ways. The first option was to persuade the Russians to remove the missiles through negotiation. The second was to obliterate the missile sites with bombs. And the last was to issue a blockage order, which was what JFK decided to do. He will choose to push through with the second choice however if it became necessary for them to do so.On October 21st, the blockade was made official. JKF informed the American people about it the next day. The president was honest about the situation and admitted to the American people that if the Soviets chose to do so, the missiles in Cuba could go as far as the Washington, D.C, the southeastern portion of the country, Panama Canal, Mexico City, Hudson Bay, Canada, or even as far as the south in Lima, Peru. In short, the missiles were very dangerous. The audience were already expecting that there will be a military confrontation soon after the president informed them that the U.S. base at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba will be evacuated and that military units will be put on standby. He went on to encourage the people that they will in no way choose surrender or submission from their nemesis.Likewise, Khrushchev was not about to back out. Instead of retreating, he sent more ships that were thought to carry military cargo toward Cuba. He also instructed his men to continue building the missile sites. The following six days (later named as the Cuban Missile Crisis) made the world really tense since it almost pushed the two clashing nations to the brink of starting a global nuclear war. During this period, negotiations were being made by its leaders where messages were sent via telegram and letter.The world was only able to let out a sigh of relief on October 28th when both Kennedy and Khrushchev came to an agreement. Khrushchev agreed to dismantle the Cuban missile sites provided that the US will likewise abandon the U.S. missile sites in Turkey.
On October 21, 1918, Germany decided to cancel their unrestricted warfare and fired their last torpedo for World War 1. The unrestricted warfare was supposed to be their hope to win against the British if the US had not intervened.Germany was determined to overpower the British and thus declared an unrestricted submarine warfare in early 1915 during World War I. The country declared that the sea around the British Isles will become a war zone where the German navy were instructed to attack all merchant ships, including the ones that come from neutral countries. To make sure that they will subdue the British navy at sea, the Germans sent their most feared weapon to carry out the plan – the stealthy U-boat submarine. Following the declaration, merchant ships were attacked. The British ship Lusitania was one of those that fell victim to the German’s cruelty, where 1,201 suffered fatality, 128 of which were Americans.Woodrow Wilson who was the president of the United States at that time was very much displeased by what happened and demanded that the Germans put a stop to their attacks against unarmed merchant ships. The Germans were afraid that if they did not adhere to Wilson’s demands, they might provoke the U.S. into participating in the war. Over the next year, the German navy limited their attacks with the expectancy that upon doing so, the U.S. leader will somewhat be appeased with their effort.However, at the start of 1917, naval and army commanders convinced Kaiser that the U-boat warfare would be advantageous for Germany in the fight against the British. They told him that victory could easily be theirs by the end of fall if they persisted with the unrestricted submarine policy. On February 1st, the Germans officially resumed their attacks, following the same orders as before. Just two days after, Wilson broke U.S. diplomatic relationship with Germany and entered into World War I. They joined forces with the Allied powers on April 6, 1917.Germany believed that the naval war would give them advantage despite the fact that they were not progressing on the battlefields of the Western Front. Their hope only grew fainter when the Allied showed up once again in France and Belgium by summer in 1918. It didn’t also help that their own soldiers and sailors started to get frustrated and discontented. By mid-October, Admiral Reinhardt Scheer issued an order to all navy submarines to return to German bases. This was made at the time that Germany was caught up in the dilemma of how they could possibly get a truce that would give Germany favorable peace terms.Before the Admiral Reinhardt Scheer’s issued his order, the last German torpedo fired during the World War I was able to sink a small British merchant ship, the Saint Barcham, in the Irish Sea on October 21st. eight men were drowned by this incident. The German warfare killed 318 seamen during this month. When they left the Belgian coast, the Allied forces took over.
Aerosmith were having an upcoming tour in 1977 and needed an airlift to fly them to their destinations. They considered chartering a Convair 240 which was operated out of Addison, Texas. However, the members decided to look elsewhere after finding out that there were some questionable concerns regarding the airplane’s flight crew. This saved them from a serious injury. Their stroke of luck however became a sad fate for another band. On October 20, 1977, members of the band Lynyrd Skynyrd boarded the said Convair 240 in question. It was supposed to have been a flight from Greenville, South Carolina to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, but the airplane crashed in a wooded area of southeastern Mississippi instead. The pilot failed to make a successful emergency landing, killing three band members – Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and Cassie Gaines – along with their assistant road manager in the process. The pilot and co-pilot were also part of the casualty while the twenty others were able to survive the crash. The members Ronnie Van Zant, Bob Burns, Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, and Larry Junstrom originally made up the Lynyrd Skynyrd band. They were first known as the “My Backyard” in 1964, having met as teenagers in Jacksonville, Florida. They were known for several other names, and through this transition stage, were able to develop their own kind of melody from 1960s to early 1970s. Finally in 1973, they were able to claim national recognition, the same time that they adopted the name “Lynyrd Skynyrd”. According to the band, the name was a mocking tribute to their high school teacher named Leonard Skinner, whom they considered a nemesis because he strictly enforced the school’s policy against long hair during their high school years (they became friendly in the later years). Their debut album, (pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd), became a major hit. It contained one of the most joked-about rock songs of all time, Free Bird. The band was recognized as a giant in the southern rock subgenre after the release of their next album Second Helping in 1974. One of its singles, the Sweet Home Alabama, was a bigger hit compared to Free Bird.Their band came to include backup singer Cassie Gaines and her guitarist brother, Steve during the release of their fifth album Street Survivors on October 17, 1977. Just like their first and second albums, this was received well by the public, earning them a double platinum. When everyone thought that they were on the rise, tragedy struck three days later. The Convair 240 was up 6,000ft on its way to Baton Rouge when it ran out of fuel. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, the plane’s crew was responsible for the said accident. Their accident report showed that the pilot radioed Houston air-traffic control and asked for directions to the nearest airfield. The pilot was in distress because they were running low on fuel by 6:42PM and pleaded for help, but unfortunately, assistance was not given on time and they crashed approximately just 13 minutes later.
In 1765, certain influential members of Colonial American society began to protest the British government. They felt that Parliament had no right to pass laws without at least boasting representative from the colonies. Liberty fever spread across the thirteen colonies, and in 1775, Massachusetts militiamen engaged British Redcoats for the first time, leading to the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783). One July 4, 1776, after a long debate in the sweltering Philadelphia summer, the Second Continental Congress ratified the Declaration of Independence. It was official. America was its own nation. The next five years saw stiff fighting across the former British holdings. Though the Continental Army was outgunned, outclassed, and never far from starvation or nakedness, they managed to impress France, Britain’s sworn enemy, to support their cause. General George Washington, a gentleman planter from Virginia and former British Army officer, proved a tremendous leader, and by 1781, the war was hugely unpopular in Britain (think Vietnam) and the Redcoats were unable to stand long against the Americans. What had started the war as a rag-tag collection of farmers, blacksmiths, lawyers, slaves, Indians, freedmen, and plantation owners had become, in six short years, a capable fighting force more than able to stand up to the world’s greatest army.In 1781, General Cornwallis, one of the Queen’s top commanders in the American theater, withdrew to the coastal Virginia City of Yorktown after a number of hit-and-run attacks by men under the Marquis de Lafayette. Cornwallis’s decision to entrench at Yorktown was not his own: He had been ordered to choose a position on the Virginia Peninsula by his superior, Sir Henry Clinton. Cornwallis surely must have known that he was backing himself into a corner, but he did as he was told, reaching the city in August with several hundred battle-weary men. At once they set about fortifying the city.Knowing Cornwallis’s position, Washington, who was in New York at the time, ordered Lafayette to make sure that Cornwallis didn’t escape. Then, with 2,500 of his own men, he linked up with a French regiment of 4,000 under the Count de Rochambeau and began marching south. The plan was to decapitate Cornwallis’s army once and for all with help from a French naval fleet commanded by the Count de Grasse.In early September, Cornwallis’s expected reinforcements failed to break through a French blockade. By the end of the month, the French and Americans had completely surrounded Yorktown and began overtaking the city’s outer defenses.After a near two week siege, General Cornwallis, on October 19, 1781, surrendered his forces to Washington and Lafayette. Though the war would continue for another two years, the victory at Yorktown effectively ended hostilities in the colonies proper, and convinced not only Britain but also the world that America was here to stay.
In 1632, the Calvert family was given a land grant by Maryland up to the 40th parallel. In 1681, Charles II gave a royal charter to William Penn, thus creating Pennsylvania. Because Charles had taken his information from an inaccurate map, the charter included land belonging to Maryland and the Calverts. Matters were further complicated in 1682 when Pennsylvania took possession of modern-day Delaware, territory that Maryland considered its own.In 1730, settlers in the disputed area took up arms against each other in a series of violent clashes. In 1736, Maryland militiamen were sent into present-day Pennsylvania by Lord Baltimore. During one scuffle, a Marylander killed a Lancaster County, PA, Sherriff’s deputy. When Pennsylvania demanded Maryland arrest him for murder, Maryland made him a captain in the militia. In 1760, the British Crown, sick of continuing violence, demanded something be done. Two surveyors – Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon – were given the task of defining the border. They began in 1763 and wrapped up on October 18, 1767, determining the boundary at a northern latitude of 39 degrees and 43 minutes.In the Missouri Compromise of 1820, it was decided that states north of the Mason-Dixon Line would be free while those south of it would be slave-holding. This led directly to the Mason-Dixon Line becoming a symbol of the cultural differences between the North and the South. The North was free and largely industrialized, while the South retained its use of slavery and relied heavily on agriculture. To non-Americans, the most apt comparison one can make is of the Berlin Wall. Though only a few feet from each other, East and West Germany were vastly different in terms of culture, government, and society. The differences between lands flanking the Mason-Dixon Line weren’t quite as stark, but as time wore on, it became apparent that the North and the South might as well be two different countries. In 1861, the South attempted to break away from the Union. The North fought to keep them from leaving. The American Civil War (1861-1865) remains even today the bloodiest conflict in the history of the United States, claiming the lives of 620,000 people (all other wars combined claimed 644,000).Today, the Antebellum South, with its stately plantation homes and Southern belles, is a romanticized memory. All things that go with it as well. Including the Mason-Dixon Line, perhaps one of the most well-known borders in all of history.
A popular saying says “the bigger they are, the harder they fall.” Well, the case of Alphonse “Al” Capone is the exception to the rule.Born on January 7, 1899 to a pair of Italian immigrants living in the borough of Brooklyn, New York, Capone was an apt student, but struggled with discipline. As a teen, he became involved with amateur street gangs including the Junior Forty Thieves and the Bowery Boys. While working as a bouncer for a small-time racketeer, Capone insulted a woman and was slapped by her brother, a known Mafioso. The smack left Capone with a scar along the left side of his face, leading to the infamous nickname “Scarface.” In 1918, Capone married a woman and fathered a child. Two years later, he moved to Chicago and began working for Johnny Torrio, who in turn was an enforcer for James "Big Jim" Colosimo, the city’s Italian crime boss. In 1920, Colosimo was murdered, and Torrio took over. “The Chicago Outfit” as the organization came to be know, was centered on prostitution, gambling, and racketeering. At the onset of Prohibition, however, the Outfit began dealing in bootleg alcohol (transporting and manufacturing). Corrupt police and city politicians ensured that the Outfit was virtually safe from legal interference. In 1925, Torrio was ambushed by members of a rival gang and shot. Cutting his losses, he stepped down and handed the reins of power to Capone, who was 26.Capone quickly built a reputation as a flamboyant dresser, ladies’ man, and violent thug: When a speakeasy refused to buy Capone’s bootleg hooch, he simply had the place blown up. It is estimated that Outfit bombings killed at least one hundred people during the latter half of the Roaring Twenties.In 1929, Capone ordered the notorious St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in an attempt to kill Bugs Moran, leader of the predominately Irish North Side Gang, the Outfit’s most bitter enemy (the North Side Gang had made several attempts on Capone’s life). The North Side Gang was based in a warehouse at 2122 North Clark Street, and Capone had several of his men rent an apartment across the street and run surveillance. On February 14, 1929, a team of gangsters dressed in police uniforms raided the warehouse, standing seven men against a wall and spraying them with machine gun fire and shotgun blasts. Moran, who was supposed to be there, was running late, arriving only after the real police had shown up.The massacre shocked the nation, and Capone’s reputation was tarnished.In 1931, Capone was tried and convicted of simple tax evasion, as none of the weightier charges ever stuck. He entered prison on October 17; he served some of his sentence at the famous Alcatraz.Capone, who had been sentenced to 11 years, was released in 1939 due to good behavior. By now, Capone was suffering from advanced syphilis. In 1940, weak and sickly, he moved to Florida, where he died in 1947 at the age of 48.
On this present day in 1854, an American politician and lawyer who comes from the state of Illinois by the name Abraham Lincoln delivers a speech concerning the Kansas-Nebraska Act, which was passed by the Congress five months earlier. The future president of the United States of America condemned the act, while giving his own views concerning slavery in an outline called "immoral". He believed there is nothing moral about enslaving one man by another.The new Kansas-Nebraska Act specified that the two new states of Kansas and Nebraska will be allowed into the Union and the citizens of each new territory have the power to decide whether slavery will be allowed within their walls. According to abolitionist, the new law would serve as a yardstick in determining the legitimacy of slavery in other new territories that would be created. There were many debates over the act among political races throughout the country. Abolitionist, like Lincoln who believed slavery to be inhumane tried convincing lawmakers in the newly found states to reject slavery. At the time, Lincoln who was still practicing law campaigned for the abolitionist Republicans in the state of Illinois and condemned the Kansas-Nebraska Act. Lincoln attacked members of the Democratic Party for backing the law of enslaving one man by another. In his opinion, the law had gone totally against everything the founding fathers of America believed in, that is "all men are born equal". He disliked slavery; however, he realized that campaigning against slavery in states where it has been in existence might lead to civil war. Rather, he advocated and focused all his attention on outlawing the widespread of slavery to newly created states. A plan he hoped would preserve the Union and gradually eliminate slavery while confining it to the south, in which, it will soon die a slowly.Eventually, Kansas voted a pro-slavery candidate into Congress in November, a move that left Lincoln and his fellow abolitionist discouraged. Over the next several years, Lincoln's political career continually gathered momentum and he would refer to the Kansas-Nebraska Act as act of violence that was conceived in violence, passed in violence, maintained in violence and finally executed in violence.He did not give-up the fight against slavery, rather he continued to actively campaign against it in Kansas. In fact, he helped in raising funds to support anti-slavery candidates in the state. Still practicing law, Lincoln contested for the United State Senate in 1859, but lost to Democrat Stephen Douglas. He was actively involved in national politics and he began to make a name for himself, which later earned him increasing support from the North and abolitionist across all across the nation. His persistency helped in winning the presidency race and landed him in the White House in 1860. Abraham Lincoln became the 16th president of United State of America in November 6, 1860, after beating the same Democrat candidate Stephen Douglas and John C. Breckinridge of the Southern Democrats.
On this present day in 1917, the classic charming female undercover agent Mata Hari was executed for espionage by a French firing squad in Vincennes outside of Paris. She found fame as a talented performer of Oriental dances when she came to Paris in 1905. Then she began touring all of Europe, and telling people of her birth in an Indian temple where a priestess taught her ancient Indie dances, and named her Mata Hari, which means "eye of the era", in Indonesia dialect. However, Mata Hari was not born in India neither was she taught any ancient dance by a priestess, she was born in August 7, 1876 in Leeuwarden, a small town in northern Netherlands, and her real name was Margaretha Geertruida Zelle, Her father was a hat trader who went bankrupt after bad investments, while her mother Antje Zelle died of illness when she was 15 years of age. Eventually, she and her three brothers were sent to live with different relatives, where she realized that her sexuality is the greatest possession she had. The Indian and Javanese dances she claimed to be taught by a priestess were the result of her several years she and her former husband Rudolf MacLeod, a military captain in the Dutch colonial army lived in Malaysia. Whether living a fabricated life or not, France to Russia, everywhere she performed was always filled because she is fond of stripping nude during her shows.Mata Hari became popular, and her register of lovers began including government and high-ranking military personnel from several countries during World War 1. In February 1917, she was arrested by the French authorities for working as a secret agent and was imprisoned at St. Lazare Prison, Paris. Later in the month of June, she was accused of revealing details of the Allies' new weapon, "The Tank", which caused death of thousands of French soldiers. On October 15, she was found guilty of espionage and sentenced to death. At the firing squad, Mata Hari removed her blindfold, and blew the soldiers a kiss as they aim to fire her. She was killed instantly when the gunshots hit her.It is possible that Mata Hari was a German spy, and acted as a double agent for the French authorities. However, the Germans had written her off as an inefficient agent after her gathered intelligence is of no value. However, her military trial was shallow with little evidence to support the claim that she was a spy. The only real crime she may have committed was falsifying her identity. In addition, the French authorities may have vented their anger on her at a time when the Allies were failing to beat back the Germans on the western front. Moreover, French authorities may probably made her as a scapegoat for the distracting military officers, whereas, all she wanted was to live a life of love and pleasure.
In October 14, 1918, Adolf Hitler was among the German soldiers that were wounded in Ypres Salient in Belgium; he was blinded temporarily because of a British gas shell blast. Immediately, Hitler was moved to a German military hospital at Pasewalk, in Pomerania. At a young age, Hitler enlisted into Austrian military service, which he later turned down due to lack of fitness. He later moved to Munich, and at the beginning of the First World War in the midsummer of 1914, young Hitler requested for and was granted special permission to enlist as a German soldier. He was named as a member of the 16th Bavarian Reserve Infantry Regiment. Afterwards he travelled to France in October 1914. During the first battle of Ypres, Hitler saw heavy action, which earned him the Iron Cross award for saving the life of a wounded soldier in December. Two years that followed saw Hitler take part in some of the deadliest offensive part of the war, which include the Battle of Neuve Chappelle, the battle of Ypres and the Battle of the Somme. Near Bapaume, France in October 7, 1916, young Hitler was wounded in the leg by a shell blast. He was move to a treatment camp near Berlin, and 4 months later, he returned to his unit by February 1917. One of the soldiers in Hitler's unit, named Hans Mend, said, "Whenever Hitler has the chance, he will preach on the lack of confidence by soldiers and then move on teaching on dedication to the cause on the home front Germany. He will sit in the corner of our mess with his head buried in his hand in deep thought. Then suddenly, he would jump to his feet, start running around and feeling excited. The following year, Hitler received more awards for bravery, and in August received an Iron Cross 1st Class for single handedly catching a group of French soldiers that were hiding in a hole during the German final offensive on the Western Front. However, the injury he sustained in October of that year ended Hitler's career in WW1. While recovering at Pasewalk, he heard the news of German surrendering; he felt the German people had betrayed him and his fellow soldiers. Angry and frustrated he wrote down the in his own account "when I heard the news, I almost collapse and hurriedly I went back to the ward where buried my head in between the pillows and sobbed bitterly".By the beginning of 1941, when Hitler named himself the fuller, it was obvious and clear to an extent how far he had been shaped by the experience of the First World War. In his words, I came back from the war with the experiences I gathered at the front, and from them I built the National Socialist community.
On this present day in 1943, the Italian government declared war on its former partner Federal Republic of Germany and joins the battle with the Allies.During the fall of the fascist government in July, which also saw Mussolini overthrown, General Pietro Badoglio who was Mussolini's former chief of staff and the man who had gained power in the Duce's stead by the order of King Emanuel started negotiations with General Eisenhower as regards the conditional surrendering of Italy to the Allies. By September 8, it was a known fact that the Italian government is allowing the Allies to land in Salerno, southern Italy, as part of the quest to defeat the Germans. Without hesitating, the Germans swiftly move into action. Adolf Hitler had already sensed that since Mussolini has turned to a weakling, which means that is the best chance to win the war. He began making plans on how to invade Italy to stop the Allies from gaining a strong foothold in other not reach Balkans, a Germans occupied territory. The day Italy surrendered, Hitler countered with his Operation Axis. Immediately the German troops entered Rome, Gen. Badoglio alongside the royal family fled to Brindisi, in southeastern Italy to start a new anti-fascist government. On October 13th, Gen. Badoglio quickly moved into the next stage of its agreement with Eisenhower, which is the full integration of Italian troops into the Allied operation as a way to recapture Rome from the Germans. A British general describe the whole process as extremely slow. Starting with the error of beginning a full operation from the far south in the peninsula, the process of consolidating coupled with the establishment of a firm base of operations and conjoining divisions every time a new region was captured, and bad weather made the whole race of capturing Rome far away from reality. Eventually, Rome was regained and once again freed. Which means it remains yet another bold step in freeing the whole of Italy from the fascist.
On October 12, 1810, Bavarian Crown Prince Louis who was later known as King Louis I of Bavaria tied the knot with Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. The event was graced with the presence of the citizens of Munich who were invited by the Bavarian royalty to join the celebration. The festivities held on the fields in front of the city gates were concluded with horse races, done in the presence of the royal family. These events happened all across Bavaria and celebrated in varying forms. The fields were later named Theresienwiese or “Therese’s fields” in honor to the crown princess. The name was abbreviated by the locals and fondly called these as “Wies’n” instead.The festivities were repeated in the following years and this gave birth to the Oktoberfest tradition. Today, this is being celebrated from late September through the first Sunday of October where alcohol consumption has become a big part of it. In fact, it is estimated that more than one million gallons of beer is consumed yearly during Oktoberfest celebrations.
Japanese ships were on their way to provide reinforcement to their troops in Guadalcanal on October 11, 1942 but they were intercepted by the American Navy. The battle ended with the Navy sinking most of the Japanese ships that were in route. The Guadalcanal Campaign (also known as the Battle of Guadalcanal) was the first offensive campaign of the Allied Forces against Japan. This began in August at the time that the marines landed on the islands of Guadalcanal. The Allies wanted to prevent the Japanese from threatening the Allies’ supply and thus initiated the offense. The U.S. troops made sure that they would gain an advantage with the ground fights, eliminating military units in a brutal combat. The Japanese were not easily dissuaded. They too initiated their counterstrikes from the air and sea. They harassed the Marines with bomb attacks, threatening their decreasing supply. However, the Navy members were smart; they went to work before the Japanese could successfully reinforce their own troops.Threatened by Allied aircraft, the Japanese were unable to use large slow-moving transport to deliver supplies to their troops on the island. To minimize exposure to air attacks, warships were used to deliver the goods at night instead. This operation was nicknamed “Tokyo Express” by the Allies. The Battle of Cape Esperance commenced in the evening at the northwest coast of Guadalcanal Island where the battle was first fought by the surface ships of the opposing forces. The Navy lost one of their destroyers but was able to sink the cruiser Furutaka along with three other Japanese destroyers. Japanese soldiers who were splashing in the water declined the rescue offered the Americans and chose instead to be devoured by sharks; being captured was considered more shameful for them.The American lost hardware during the fight, but what was more saddening was the fact that they lost 48 people aboard the American destroyer Duncan. Another hundred more were lost when an American cruiser made the mistake of turning on a searchlight. This backfired for the American soldiers. Instead of acting as a searchlight, the ship illuminated its own sailors which made them an easy target by the Japanese.The Americans pursued and attacked the Japanese ships that tried to provide reinforcement to their soldiers on the islands. Only a few Japanese troops successfully made to shore. The Japanese succumbed to defeat and prepared to evacuate the island by the end of 1942.
The Mutual Security Act was signed by President Harry S. Truman on October 9, 1951. This announced to the world, particularly to the communist countries, the nation’s resolve to provide military aid to democratic countries at the time that their services are needed. On October 9, prior to its signing, the Soviet Union exploded their second nuclear weapon in a test. The Mutual Security Act was similar to the Marshall Plan, America’s economic initiative during the post-World War II to help European countries rebuild war-devastated regions. Unlike the Marshall Plan, however, the Mutual Security Act’s purpose was not solely to provide economic aid. Stipulated on the act was the country’s emphasis to increase military assistance to democratic nations. The congress designated the required monies needed to fund guns, tanks, raw materials, technicians and books, fertilizer and seeds, irrigation pumps, and medical supplies, things that were needed for the movement.Truman and the Congress believed that the joint effort of nations to help one another, U.S. included, was the key to preventing the spread of communism and building a better world. He identified developing areas in Asia that especially needed help in building stronger defense against possible communist attacks. The help given to these countries was in the hopes that they use the funds and technical assistance given to them for their own economic growth following the economic system capitalism, eventually discouraging them from being lured into practicing the communist model.Truman understood that the Mutual Security Act would put a strain on its relationship with the Soviets given that building armaments was part of the process. In his announcement after signing the act, he explained that while the arms race against the communist nation that most people feared could eventually be further aggravated, he stressed that there’s gain in the Mutual Security Act despite the conflict – the U.S. will play a key role in rebuilding the productive power of war-shattered countries. The countries that received constant threat from the Soviets – the nations of Europe, including the divided section of Germany and its capital, Berlin – continued to receive economic help, although to a much lesser degree because of the act.
On October 9, 1967, Che Guevara, a socialist revolutionary and guerilla leader, died in the hands of the Bolivian army at the age of 39. His death was swift – he and his fellow guerilla members were captured on October 8th and were immediately executed the next day after. His body was buried in an unmarked grave while his hands were cut off to prove his death. In 1997, he was sent to his final resting place in Cuba where President Fidel Castro and other fellow Cubans attended his reburial ceremony. Ernesto Rafael Guevara de la Serna was born in Argentina to a wealthy family. He was studying medicine at the University of Buenos Aires when he decided to take some time off to go on a motorcycle adventure around South America. During this time, his eyes were opened to the reality that poverty and oppression were rampant especially to the lower classes. After getting his degree in 1953, he decided to continue his travels around Latin America. He became interested in left-wing organizations and got involved. His fate led him to meet Fidel Castro and his fellow revolutionaries in Mexico sometime in mid 1950s.In 1959, Castro overthrew the Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. Guevara played a key role in the event which gave him the privilege of serving as Castro’s right hand man and minister of industry. Guevara was very vocal about his disdain of U.S. dominion in Latin America and openly supported peasant-based revolutions in an attempt to fight social discrimination in Third World countries. Castro admired this in him and described Guevara as a revolutionary warfare artist.In April 1965, it was announced that Guevara resigned from the post given to him by the Cuban government. Others on the other hand speculated that this was not the real case. Some believed that he was dismissed because he and Castro had conflicting interests over the nation’s economic and foreign policies. Guevara left Cuba and went to Africa. He was last seen in Bolivia where he would eventually meet his end. He was proclaimed a hero after his death, recognized by the world as a revolutionary leader and a symbol for anti-imperialism. Guevara’s photo in a beret which was taken by Alberto Korda became an iconic image and got printed on posters and T-shirts for countless of times. Although many celebrated his contribution to human history, not everyone was convinced. Some questioned his hero status, accusing him of crimes such as ordering the death of hundreds of Cuban prisoners during the revolution.
On Sunday, October 8th of 1871, the Great Chicago Fire was started by accident. The fire destroyed 3.3 square miles of the city of Chicago, and killed as many as 300 people. About a hundred thousand more people were left homeless. The fire had started at about 9pm, in a small barn belonging to the O'Leary family. The story goes that the fire started when Mrs. O'Leary's cow kicked over a lantern, but no one really knows how the fire got started. However, we do know how the fire spread. The Great Chicago Fire was fueled by the city's wood framed architecture, topped with highly flammable shingle roofs. Even the city's roads and sidewalks were made of wood at that time. Adding to the severity of the catastrophe was the unusually dry weather and strong southwest winds. It was a deadly combination of factors. In 1871, the Chicago fire department consisted of only 185 overworked firefighters on the job, with just 17 horse drawn steam engines to assist them in protecting the whole city of Chicago. What's more, the firefighters were directed to the wrong location during the Great Fire. This gave the fire time to spread.Firefighters kept trying to fight the fire, but eventually, the water mains dried up and left the city helpless. Firefighters hoped the river area would create a natural firebreak. However, the river was loaded with warehouses, coal yards and barges, so the fire made its way across the river, consuming everything in its path.Mayor Roswell B. Mason began sending messages to other towns for help, but when the courthouse caught fire, he ordered it evacuated and ordered the prisoners being held in the basement to be freed. A short while later, the cupola of the courthouse collapsed, and the giant bell came crashing to earth. People said they could hear it from a mile away.Across the river, the fire grew, as the southwest wind intensified and became super-heated. When hot air rises and mixes with the cold air above it, it creates what amounts to a tornado made of fire, also known as a fire whirl, throwing sparking embers in all directions. Flaming debris flew across the river and set fire to the buildings on the other side. All anyone could do was watch it happen.Early on Tuesday of October 10th, it finally started to rain in Chicago, but the fire had already pretty much extinguished itself by then. There was very little left to burn.At the end of it all, the Great Chicago Fire had destroyed an area about four miles long and averaging ¾ of a mile wide. It encompassed an area of more than 2,000 acres. About a third of the city's residents were left homeless. There were 120 bodies recovered, but the death toll may have been much higher. The fire also caused the destruction of 73 miles of roads, 120 miles of sidewalks, about 2,000 lampposts, and roughly 17,500 buildings, totaling (in today's dollars) more than 4 billion dollars in property damage, or a third of what the entire city of Chicago is worth.
On October 7th of 2003, former actor and word class body builder Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected the 38th Governor of California, in a special recall election. Arnold Schwarzenegger was born in Austria in 1947. His father was the local Chief of Police in the town where Arnold grew up, and had voluntarily joined the Nazi party back in 1938. Schwarzenegger grew up in a Roman Catholic family who attended mass every Sunday. The family was so poor that Arnold recalls one of the highlights of his youth being the time his family got a refrigerator. Schwarzenegger began weight training at the age of 15. He won the Mr. Universe title at age 20 and the Mr. Olympia title seven times. He is considered to be one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time, and has written many books and articles on the sport. Following his successful body building career, Schwarzenegger gained worldwide fame in action films such as Conan the Barbarian and The Terminator, while also appearing in funny movies like Twins and Kindergarten Cop. In all, he has appeared in more than 30 movies, and has made many guest appearances. Since the age of 10, Schwarzenegger had dreamed of moving to the United States of America. His dream was realized at the age of 21, when he moved to the United States, despite being somewhat unprepared and not speaking very much English. He may have even been an illegal immigrant at some point. However, at the age of 23, Schwarzenegger won his first Mr. Olympia in New York City.He gained his United States citizenship in 1983. On April 26th of 1986, Schwarzenegger married Maria Shriver. The relationship would last 25 years and produce four children – Katherine, Christina, Patrick, and Christopher.Arnold Schwarzenegger officially took office as the Republican governor of California on November 17th of 2003, when he was sworn in to replace Governor Grey Davis. Arnold Schwarzenegger's political aspirations should come as no surprise, as he was married to Maria Shriver, who is a member of the Kennedy family. However, Maria Shriver is a Democrat. In any case, Arnold Schwarzenegger was elected again as the Republican governor of California in 2008.Schwarzenegger left office on January 3rd of 2011, and was succeeded by Jerry Brown. That same evening, Arnold confessed to his wife that he had fathered a child fourteen years earlier with one of their household employees. On May 9th of 2011, Shriver moved out of their home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles, and filed for divorce.The net worth of Arnold Schwarzenegger is conservatively estimated to be about 100 million to 200 million dollars. Over the years, his investments have netted him profits, making his actual net worth hard to calculate.When Arnold was asked which events in his life he is least proud of, he replied “I'm least proud of the mistakes I made that caused my family pain and split us up."Schwarzenegger's autobiography, Total Recall, was released in 2012.
The first day of the Yom Kippur war was on October 6th of 1973.Also known as the 1973 Arab Israeli war, the Yom Kippur war started when Egyptian and Syrian forces launched a coordinated attack on Israel during Yom Kippur, the holiest day on the Jewish calendar. This took the Israeli Defense forces completely by surprise, and some of the Israeli soldiers had vacated, as posts in observance of Yom Kippur. What's more, that year, Yom Kippur coincided with the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. Most of the fighting during the Yom Kippur war had taken place on the Sinai and Golan Heights. These territories had been occupied by Israel since the Six Day War of 1967. Armed hostilities continued thereafter, and eventually escalated to the War of Attrition, which was an attempt to wear down the Israeli position by way of long term pressure. Just as the lid of the international pressure cooker was ready to pop, a ceasefire was signed in August of 1970. Only about a month later, in September of 1970, Egyptian President Gamar Abdel Nasser died, and Anwar Sadat succeeded him as the President of Egypt.The Yom Kippur war was part of the ongoing (forever, it seems) Arab Israeli conflict, which led to many battles since 1948, the year of the founding of Israel. During the six-day war of 1967, which the other side had started, Israel had captured the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, as well as about half of Syria's Golan Heights. These West Bank territories had been held by Jordan since 1948. The Yom Kippur war was an attempt by Egypt and Syria to get the land back.The United States and the Soviet Union began massive resupply efforts to their respective allies, bringing the Yom Kippur war to the brink of nuclear disaster.The intention of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat was to reopen the Suez Canal. In fact, the 1973 Yom Kippur war had started with the crossing of the Suez Canal by many thousand Egyptian troops. Both Syrian and Egyptian forces had crossed ceasefire lines to infiltrate the Sinai Peninsula.Neither the Syrians nor the Egyptians actually planned to destroy Israel, but the people of Israel were not convinced of their intentions. Israel fought back ferociously for about for nineteen days, pushing the Syrian forces back behind the lines of ceasefire. Sadat ordered Egyptian soldiers to go back to the offensive position, but the Egyptians were swiftly repelled.The Israelis then counter attacked at the seam between two Egyptian armies, crossed the Suez Canal into Egypt, and slowly advanced to the city of Suez. It took the Israelis about a week to do this, causing much bloodshed on both sides of the military equation. The battle went on until October 25th, when Israel finally emerged victorious.In response to a United Nations inquiry, the Syrians and the Egyptians blamed each other for crossing ceasefire lines to begin with. At later peace talks, Israel basically agreed to return the land in exchange for peaceful relations.
On October 5th of 1877, less than one month after the great Lakota Chief Crazy Horse was killed, Chief Joseph, a famous Chief of the Wallowa band of the Nez Perce tribe, surrendered to U.S. Troops, after a heart wrenching chase of almost 1,200 miles that ended just about three hundred yards short of the Canadian border. This is what became known as the Nez Perce war. Chief Joseph had planned to seek asylum with Lakota Chief Sitting Bull, who had already escaped to Canada, but would soon be forced to return to the United States. Chief Joseph was born Hinmuuttu Yalatlat in 1840, somewhere in northeastern Oregon. In English, his name meant Thunder Rolling Down the Mountain. His father, Joseph the Elder, signed a treaty with the United States government in 1855, which separated settlement lands from Indian lands. The treaty allowed 7.7 million acres set aside for the Nez Perce reservation. The land occupied parts of eastern Oregon, eastern Washington, and Idaho. Joseph the Elder made his son (Joseph the Younger) promise never to sell this land, and to protect his father's burial site at all costs.In 1863, the U.S. Government asked the Nez Perce to accept a much smaller piece of land, in exchange for hospitals and schools being built there, as well as financial rewards. Some Nez Perce Chiefs signed the new treaty, while others (including Chief Joseph the Elder) did not. This caused a rift between the treaty Indians, who entered the smaller land area, and the non-treaty Indians, who stayed where they were.Then Joseph the Elder surrounded the Wallowa valley with markers and signs that said “Inside this boundary, all our people were born. It circles the graves of our fathers, and we will never give up these graves to any man.”As his father lay dying, Joseph the Younger became the leader of the Wallowa band of Nez Perce. Once again, his father made him promise to protect the graves of his parents (in other words, don't sell the land). Chief Joseph later remarked, “I clasped my fathers hand and promised to do as he asked. A man who would not defend his father's grave is worse than a wild beast.”Chief Joseph went on to lead his Wallowa band through the most difficult part of their history, as they were increasingly outnumbered by white American settlers. For fear of reprisal by the American military, Chief Joseph would not allow any violence, preferring to just give in to the settlers demands whenever possible. Despite his reputation for pacifism, eventually, all Nez Perce were forced to move to the smaller land area in Idaho Territory.In the end, Chief Joseph and his band of about 750 men outmaneuvered the United States Army for more than three months. Their traveling took them through the rugged terrain of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana.Finally, on October 5th of 1877, Chief Joseph surrendered.In September of 1904, Chief Joseph died, still in exile from his homeland. His doctor listed the cause of death as “a broken heart.”
At 10:49 PM on October 4, 1957, almost 12 years of competition between the US and the then-USSR (Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, now Russia) began. No, it wasn’t a boxing match, it wasn’t an eating contest and it wasn’t tag; it was the Space Race. Sputnik marked the first successful launch of a spacecraft into orbit, and it continued to send messages for three months before burning up in the atmosphere upon re-entry. Sometimes the messages were radio signals, and sometimes they were beeps. Both the spoken Russian and mindless beeps terrified Americans caught in the heat of Red Fever – or, at least, those who could tune in with their home radios to hear the communiques. That’s right, Sputnik’s signals were strong enough that even amateur radios could pick them up, despite being hundreds of miles away and in a vacuum! Sputnik followed an egg-shaped path around the Earth, making a complete pass in roughly an hour and a half. The spacecraft clocked in at around 18,000 miles per hour and traveled, through the course of its orbit, between 143 and 584 miles from Earth. People could even have the chance of spotting Sputnik, with the help of telescopes, at dawn and dusk! For all its historical significance, Sputnik only weighed roughly that of a grown man (184 pounds) and was less than two feet across.It wasn’t until after Sputnik had already completed its mission that US launched their own satellite, Explorer, on January 31, 1958. Unfortunately for them, by then Sputnik 2 had already made headlines with the First Dog in Space. The USSR was largely successful in monopolizing the number of space “firsts” in the following years; from first man and woman in space to first moon impact, orbit and soft-land. Even the first spacewalk and first impact on Venus were claimed by the USSR’s outstanding space program! Still, it was the US spacecraft Apollo II that carried two astronauts, not cosmonauts, to the moon in July 1969. From that landing, the US went down in history as having the First Man to walk on the Moon. It was truly a hard-won victory by NASA after over a decade of work trying to catch up with the USSR.
On October 3rd of 1995, O.J. Simpson was acquitted of the double murder of his estranged wife and her friend Ron Goldman, despite overwhelming evidence against him. The trial had lasted 252 days. All anyone in the world could say was “He got away with it... He got away with it...” Nobody existed who thought he hadn't done it. It was a long, sad fall from grace. In the 1970s, O.J. Simpson was a good looking NFL star who played for the Buffalo Bills and later, for the San Francisco 49ers. He even won the Heisman Trophy. He also had a successful career as an actor, even before he retired from football. By all accounts, O.J. Simpson was an American hero. O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown were married in 1985, and had two children. Nicole had called police repeatedly while the couple were married, and there was heaping evidence that O.J. had regularly abused his wife. Nicole filed for divorce in 1992.Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were slashed and stabbed to death outside her Los Angeles home on June 12th of 1994. She had left her glasses in a restaurant. Ron, a waiter at the restaurant, decided to drop them off at her house.The legal “dream team” representing O.J. Simpson included Johnny Cochran, Robert Shapiro, and Robert Kardashian. Robert Kardashian was the father of the now famous Kardashian sisters, but Kris Kardashian left Robert when he was sequestered for the O.J. trial and didn't come home for more than a year. So Kris moved on with Bruce Jenner, while watching her now ex-husband defend the man everyone knew was guilty of killing her friend, Nicole. The Kardashian family and the Simpson family had been friends, which is how Robert Kardashian got dragged into it all.Not only was O.J. acquitted, but he also got the two children back that he had with Nicole. They had been staying with one of Nicole's sisters during the trial.O.J. swore that he would not rest until he found the killers. A short while later, he was seen playing golf on several occasions. This gave rise to the joke that O.J. had the suspects narrowed down to Jack Niklaus and Lee Trevino.A civil suit soon followed, and the verdict was just the opposite. O.J. was ordered to pay 33.5 million dollars in damages to the Brown and Goldman families in a wrongful death suit. The years that followed were filled with arrests and legal issues that dragged on and on. O.J. Had trouble staying out of trouble. In fact, the state of California claims that Simpson owes 1.4 million dollars in back taxes.Some years later in 2007, O.J. thought he noticed some of his belongings in a pawn shop. Taking the law into his own hands once again, he went in with several armed men and took whatever he thought was his from the pawn shop. He is now serving about 33 years in prison (with at least nine years without parole) for armed robbery, kidnapping, and various other felonies.
On October 2nd of 1985, film actor Rock Hudson became the first major celebrity to die from AIDS. Rock Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer Jr. on November 17th of 1925 in Winnetka, Illinois. His father, an auto mechanic, abandoned the family in the heart of the Great Depression. His mother worked as a telephone operator to support him. Roy was an only child. In school, he could not get any parts in school plays, because he could not remember his lines. This problem plagued him throughout his life, but he seems to have found his way around it. Hudson is known for his work as a leading man in movies of the 1950s and 1960s. He was a Hollywood heart throb of the Golden Age, along with actors such as Marlon Brando, James Dean, and Tony Curtis. Mostly, Hudson found his niche in a succession of romantic comedies. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Giant, a film he made with James Dean and Elizabeth Taylor. After starring in many movies through the 1960s, Hudson began a second career as a TV actor, appearing in McMillan and Wife, among others. In the four decades of his career, Rock Hudson appeared in more than 70 films, and made numerous TV appearances.It may have been common knowledge in Hollywood that Rock Hudson was gay, but that was something female movie watchers who adored him would not want to think about. Image is everything in Hollywood. So all those gay actors had to hide their homosexuality and pretend to be getting with women. Otherwise, ticket sales would plummet.A heart bypass procedure in 1981 required Rock Hudson to have blood transfusions. He continued to experience declining health after that. He looked increasingly gaunt and ashen when he was filming Dynasty, leading to speculation that he might have liver cancer. On June 5th of 1984, Rock Hudson was diagnosed with HIV, just three years after the existence of the virus was discovered. He eventually admitted to having the disease. This caused panic in Hollywood, where scripts were rewritten to avoid kissing scenes, and Linda Evans was thought to be dying of AIDS at any minute, since Rock Hudson had kissed her in Dynasty.Rock Hudson died at his home on October 2nd of 1985, at the age of 59. His death was not in vain. Contributions soon came pouring in for AIDS research and treatments.Until then, Ronald Regan had not even discussed the topic of AIDS, as it was considered a “gay disease” at the time. Even after his death, Regan made no public statement about the condition of Rock Hudson. Despite the fact that Rock Hudson was secretly gay, he was a also a good friend of Ronald Regan. Regan, formerly an actor himself, probably didn't know he had any gay friends. After the death of Rock Hudson, Regan called for support for AIDS research, and care for the victims of AIDS.In dying, Rock Hudson put a face on the disease called AIDS.
On September 28th of 1991, musician, composer, and bandleader Miles Davis passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 65. Miles Davis was born in 1926, and raised in a wealthy African American family in Alton, Illinois, where his father had worked as a dentist. Miles was given his first musical instrument, a trumpet, for his 13th birthday. After practicing on his trumpet for a while, Miles eventually learned to play the flugelhorn, piano, synthesizer, and organ. By the age of 15, he was a legit member of the local musician’s union in St. Louis. As a young adult, Miles Davis left St. Louis to go to college at the prestigious Julliard School of Music in New York City. During his studies at Julliard, Miles began performing in New York City with saxophonist Charlie Parker. Davis soon recorded his first album, The Birth of Cool, which made him a pioneer of cool jazz. He also played on some of the earliest recordings of the style of music that would one day become known as be-bop. His popular albums from the height of his popularity in the fifties include Miles Ahead, Sketches of Spain, MilesTones, and Kind of Blue.In a career that spanned well over 50 years, Miles Davis recorded many dozen albums, and appeared in at least eight movies. He eventually became one of the most acclaimed and influential figures in the entire history of jazz music. No matter which direction his music took, he did not just work individually, but dragged the whole jazz world along with him, creating or influencing new sounds everywhere he went. In his own words, “I have to change. It's like... a curse.”His brilliant innovations continued through the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s, with groundbreaking albums such as Someday My Prince Will Come (1961), Miles Smiles (1967), In a Silent Way (1969), and Bitch's Brew (1970), to name just a few.During the seventies, Miles took a year’s long hiatus due to poor health (or was it heroin addiction?), but recovered, and eventually recorded The Man With the Horn in 1981, You're Under Arrest in 1985, and Tutu in 1986. His best-selling album is Kind of Blue. In fact, Kind of Blue is the best-selling album in the history of jazz music.Miles Davis was right there in the thick of almost every new jazz innovation, and even ventured into punk and new wave. All in all, Miles Davis recorded 48 studio albums and 36 live albums, while also collaborating on other types of albums. In 1986, the New England Conservatory awarded him an honorary doctorate for his astoundingly inventive contributions to music. In 1990, about a year before he died, Miles Davis received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.Miles Davis worked on his music until very near his death on September 28th of 1991. He died from the combined effects of stroke, pneumonia, and respiratory failure. It is suspected that he had AIDS, although his publicist denied it.
On September 27th of 1854, two ships collided about fifty miles off the coast of Newfoundland, killing at least 322 people of the 400 who were onboard. Even stranger, all of the women and children onboard died, and most of the survivors were members of the ship's crew. The collision was caused by a sudden, heavy fog that obscured the view of both ships' Captains. The larger ship was the wood hulled paddle steamer called SS Arctic. The smaller ship was called the SS Vesta, an iron hulled, propeller driven French ship. The SS Arctic was a luxury ship, which had been built only four years earlier, for the purpose of transporting passengers across the Atlantic Ocean and back. The SS Arctic had a wood hull, and could reach speeds of up to 13 knots an hour, which was an impressive speed for those days. On September 20th, the SS Arctic had left Liverpool, England, on its way to North America. When the ship entered heavy fog seven days later, the Captain, James Luce, did not take any fog precautions, such as slowing down the ship, or sounding the ship's horn, or employing extra watchmen. At around 12:25, the Arctic crashed head on into the iron hull of the SS Vesta, which was captained by Alphonse Puchesne.At first, Captain Luce tried to help the passengers on the Vesta, but it was soon realized that more damage was done to the SS Arctic than to the SS Vesta. So Captain Luce tried to beach the SS Arctic. He aimed for Cape Race, which was about four hours away. In so doing, he ran over some of the lifeboats, drowning more than a few people. He even ran over a lifeboat launched from the SS Vesta, killing all but one of its dozen occupants when they were crushed under the Arctic's paddle wheels. Then his engine failed before he reached land. What's more, there were not enough lifeboats to accommodate all the passengers, and many of the ones there were had capsized in the choppy ocean waters.Mostly crew members and able bodied men made it onto the rafts, by grabbing them away from the women and children who were trying to escape. When a high ranking officer tried to stop them, he was instantly killed by the ship's crew. The remaining 70 people who were left onboard struggled to build a makeshift raft, but most were unable to leave the ship, as the SS Arctic sank to the ocean floor, four hours after collision. It is believed that only one in this group survived. All women and children went down with the ship.Despite angry calls for investigation into the disaster, no investigation took place, and no criminal charges were ever filed. Some of the surviving crew chose not to return to the United States. Captain Luce was not blamed, as he had done all he could to help, and had even lost his son in the ordeal.On that day, chivalry was dead.
On September 26th of 1969 was the premiere of the immortal TV show everyone loves to hate. Here's the story...Of a lovely lady, Carol Brady, a widowed mother (because people didn't get divorced on TV in those days), who was raising three charming blond haired little girls. She met Mike Brady, a widowed father, who had three dark haired sons. This group somehow formed the perfect family (as long as Alice the housekeeper was around to clean up), and that's the way they all became the Brady Bunch. That's also the way The Brady Bunch became an icon of American pop culture.The show was unanimously panned by critics, then and now, despite the many reruns, spinoffs, movies, and Brady Bunch souvenirs they keep churning out. Even back then, kids felt they needed some sort of excuse for watching a silly, sickeningly sweet show like The Brady Bunch. Fortunately, they had an excuse. Back then, there was just so little else to do, and not much else to watch around the time when kids came home from school. On TV, they pretty much had a choice between daytime talk shows, soap operas, and the Brady Bunch. Sometimes the boredom was relieved with an occasional after school special. At the time, there was no such thing as a personal computer or the internet.So we started watching the Brady Bunch, if for no other reason, just to sit there making fun of it. There was never a time when anyone in America took these people too seriously. During the show's entire run, from 1969 until 1974, it never reached the top ten in the Nielsen ratings. The Brady Bunch covered such serious topics as getting braces, puberty, and sibling rivalry, while avoiding controversial issues that ran so rampant during that time.One of the last of the old style sitcoms, The Brady Bunch presented a wholesome view of American family life, with all family members behaving perfectly. The implication seemed to be that there was some way to achieve that. When a parent called the children, they all came running immediately, then stood at attention in a perfectly straight line, boy girl boy girl, in size order no less!Still, most of us secretly wished we had families like that, and the chosen time slot for the show was a brilliant move, enticing bored suburban kids from all over America, who would rather watch TV than do their homework.The old style sitcom would eventually give way to bolder shows like Roseanne. Roseanne was the first TV show that had the kids talking back to, and generally disobeying, their parents. What a welcome relief! That's exactly what real kids do.The ABC network cancelled the Brady Bunch after 177 episodes. The last original episode aired on August 30th of 1974. However, the show was soon in syndication, and back on TV again, because we miss that nonexistent perfect family that we used to believe existed. Someday, our children would watch The Brady Bunch.
On September 25th of 1789, the Bill of Rights was passed by the first Congress of the United States. Congress approved twelve amendments to the United States Constitution, and sent them to the states to be ratified. These twelve amendments were known as the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights was adopted from the English Bill of Rights of 1689, and also from Virginia's Declaration of Rights, drafted by George Mason in 1776. Some ideas were even taken from earlier documents, such as the Magna Carta from 1215. In June 8th of 1789, Representative (and future president) James Madison introduced nine constitutional amendments to the House of Representatives. This Bill of Rights had previously been introduced at the Philadelphia Convention, which took place in Philadelphia between May 14th and September 17th of 1787. At the convention, it was learned that James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and quite a few others wanted to create a new government instead of fixing the old one. At first, Madison had been an opponent of the Bill of Rights, calling it “parchment barriers,” which offered only an illusion of protection.The 55 delegates who drafted the Constitution (including James Madison and Alexander Hamilton) are known as the Founding Fathers of our nation. Rhode Island refused to send delegates to the convention. At first, ratification opportunities were reserved for the federal government. The door opened for state governments sometime in the 1860s.The United States Bill of Rights was designed to protect the rights of the people of America. The provisions included freedom of speech, freedom of press, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion. It also provides for the right to a fair trial and the right to bear arms. Finally, it states that any powers not reserved for the federal government are powers of the states and the people. The United States Bill of Rights is entrenched, meaning it cannot be modified or appealed by the legislature of a country through any normal procedure.In December of 1791, Virginia became the 10th of fourteen states (at that time) to accept ten of the twelve Bill of Rights amendments. This gave America the two-thirds majority of states it needed to make the Bill of Rights legal. Soon thereafter, the Bill of Rights was added to the United States Constitution. So, the Bill of Rights of the United States basically refers to the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution. It basically guarantees citizens their personal freedom, and limits government power over the people.Of the two amendments not ratified, one involved a population system of representation, and the other had to do with the payment of the members of Congress. One of these amendments was never ratified. The other one was finally ratified more than 200 years later, in 1992.In practice, the rights stated within the Bill of Rights are not always enforced.A copy of the Bill of Rights of the United States is on permanent public display at the National Archives in Washington DC.
On October 1st of 1946, twelve high ranking Nazi officers were sentenced to death by the International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg, for the hideous crimes they had committed during WWII. Nuremberg is located in the German state of Bavaria, which is about 110 miles north of Munich, the German capital. Nuremberg is the second largest city in Bavaria, behind Munich. A population of more than half a million people makes Nuremberg the 14th largest city in Germany today.The Soviet Union had wanted the trials to be held in Berlin. However, Nuremberg was chosen as the site of the trials, for several important reasons. For one thing, Nuremberg was a centrally located city, and had been the site of Nazi rallies during World War II. In fact, the laws that stripped Jewish people of their citizenship had been passed in Nuremberg. Making that city the place of Nazi demise had a certain symbolic value attached to it, especially since the city was now marred by the Nazi architecture constructed during the Second World War. Also, the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, one of the few undamaged public buildings anywhere near the capital, seemed like an appropriate place to hold the trials. It was spacious enough to accommodate the many who were accused of wartime atrocities, and the many more who were witnesses to the horrors of the war. The Palace of Justice complex also contained a large prison.So it was agreed that the first trial of the International War Crimes Tribunal would take place in the city of Nuremberg, with subsequent trials to be held in Berlin. However, due to the Cold War era, no further Nazi war crime trials took place.Among the men condemned to die by hanging were Joachim von Ribbentrop (minister of foreign affairs), Hermann Goering (founder of the Gestapo), and William Frick, minister of the interior. Seven others were also sentenced to death, and seven more were given prison sentences ranging from ten years to life. Three other men were acquitted. Survivors spoke as witnesses.The trial was conducted by an International Tribunal made up of representatives from the United States, the Soviet Union, France, and Great Britain. The defendants were charged with crimes of war and crimes against humanity. It was the first trial of its kind. About two weeks later, on October 16th of 1946, ten of the men involved in these crimes were hanged, one by one. For them, there would be no chance to hire lawyers who could drag the case out for many years, thus postponing their executions. They were simply convicted, and two weeks later they were hanged. Hermann Goering was not executed, because he committed suicide by poison on the night before his execution was scheduled to take place.A man named Martin Bormann was also condemned to death for these unspeakable crimes, despite not being present at the Nuremberg Trials. It was later learned that Bormann had died in Berlin at the end of the war.
On September 30th of 1927, Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season, setting a new record that would stand for 34 years. In his entire career, he scored 714 home runs. George Herman Ruth was born on February 6th of 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland. He was the oldest of eight children, but only he and his younger sister Mamie survived infancy. George caused trouble from a young age. Running the streets, drinking when his father wasn't looking, and cutting classes got him sent to a reform school called St. Mary's Industrial School for Boys. It was a place where all boys got a good education, and were forced to work all the time. George worked there as a shirt maker, and also as a carpenter. His parents rarely visited. One of the teachers there, Brother Matthias, was pretty good at baseball, and taught George how to play. In 1926, Ruth would repay Brother Matthias with a $5,000 Cadillac. That's about $50,000 in today's money.George was not allowed to see his family much, and his mother died when he was twelve years old. So he continued to play baseball at school, as most of the boys there did. He later estimated that he played 200 baseball games a year at St. Mary's. George lived at the reform school until the age of 19, when he was signed on as a minor league pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles.The major leagues were not far off. Although he initially played for the Boston Red Sox, Ruth earned his greatest fame as a hard slugging outfielder for the New York Yankees. The New York Yankees of 1927 were considered one of the best teams to ever take the field. They were known as Murderer's Row because of their powerful lineup. When Ruth switched from the Red Sox to the Yankees, he hit more home runs than the whole Red Sox team combined. With the pennant already clinched, America turned its attention to Ruth's single season home run record of 59. On September 30th, Ruth hit his 60th homer of the season.Going into the 1928 season, Ruth signed an unprecedented contract for $80,000 a year.Ruth helped the Yankees win seven American League championships, and four World Series championships. Ruth's MLB career spanned 22 seasons, from 1914 until 1935, when he briefly played for the Boston Braves. He broke a lot of world slugging records, some of which still stand today. In 1936, Ruth was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame, as one of its first five inaugural members.Babe Ruth's legendary power and personal appeal made him a popular figure of the “Roaring Twenties.” He was always being hounded and chastised by the press, as much for his drinking and womanizing as for his accomplishments on the baseball field.But what the heck? A man's got to have a little fun sometimes. Babe Ruth also did good things, like making generous donations to charities, and visiting children in orphanages, so he could tell them that he grew up without parents, too.
Babi Yar is a ravine in Kiev, which is the capital of Ukraine. The Babi Yar ravine is about 150 meters long, about 30 meters wide, and about 15 meters deep. On September 29th of 1941, Babi Yar became the site of one of the most notorious massacres of the Second World War. The massacres were carried out by German forces trying to invade the Soviet Union. More than 33,000 Jewish men, women, and children were killed when they were forced to the edge of Babi Yar, then ordered to remove their clothes, then machine gunned into the ravine. The massacre lasted until the following day, because it takes a while to kill that many people, however methodically it was done. The Jewish people were forced to lie down on bodies that were already dead. Then a marksman walked across the bodies and shot each living person in the neck with a submachine gun. The Jewish massacre at Babi Yar is considered to be the largest single massacre in the history of the Holocaust to that date, although after that, two massacres surpassed it in the number of victims killed. Other massacres also took place at Babi Yar, with a total body count of anywhere from 100,000 to 150,000 for that location. Also killed in the same ravine were communists, Gypsies, and prisoners of war. The Jewish people of Kiev were asked to go to the Babi Yar ravine for supposed resettlement. When they arrived, they were forced to release all their personal belongings, even their underwear. Belongings were placed in separate piles. Jewelry in one pile, shoes in another pile, coats in another pile, and so on. Once their belongings were taken, more than 30,000 naked Jewish men, women, and children were gunned down and fell into the ravine. Their bodies were covered with dirt and rocks.There were 29 survivors of the Jewish massacre at Babi Yar. Most of them had fallen into the ravine before being shot, and had played dead on the piles of corpses, remaining still as other bodies fell upon them. Then they were buried under a layer of dirt, but crawled out after the sun went down and the German soldiers had left. Only 29 lived to tell the tragic tale. Someday, some of them would take the witness stand.Among those responsible for ordering the massacre were Commander Dr. Otto Rasch and Sonderkommando Paul Blobel. Wall posters had requested the Jewish population to move, and gave directions. Although only five or six thousand Jews were expected to show up, more than 30,000 Jews arrived, each of them believing the resettlement story until the moment of their execution. The crowd was large enough that many of these people would not know what was happening until it was too late. By the time they heard the machine guns, there was no escape.In 2006, some Jewish organizations started to try to identify the victims of the Babi Yar Jewish massacre. So far, only ten percent of the victims have been identified.
On September 22nd of 1862, President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation, which effectively freed three out of four African American people from the imprisonment of slavery. Some states were still exempt. The Proclamation also called for African American soldiers in the military. The Proclamation set the date for the freedom of more than three million slaves, who were forced to work on wealthy plantations in the southern states. The Proclamation shed a new light on the Civil War, suddenly revealing it as a war against slavery. Previously, President Lincoln had claimed that the Civil War was meant to restore the Union. Lincoln, who personally found the notion of slavery morally repugnant, needed to move cautiously until he could gain wide enough support to carry out his plan. The original Emancipation Proclamation was an executive order, ordained by the President himself, as opposed to an act passed by Congress. The original proclamation would exempt states that had slaveholders, but were still loyal to the Union. In any case, the Emancipation Proclamation would set three out of four slaves free. President Lincoln's cabinet advised him not to make the announcement about freeing slaves until a Union victory occurs. So on September 22nd at the end of the battle of Antietam, President Lincoln announced that slaves still held in states that were still in rebellion would be free within 100 days.Lincoln probably had his personal motives for issuing the Emancipation Proclamation. Aside from finding slavery personally repugnant, maybe some states would stop rebelling against the Union if they thought it meant they could keep their slaves. Maybe Lincoln knew that freed slaves would make good war soldiers. In any case, on January 1st of 1863, President Lincoln made the announcement outlining the main points of the Emancipation Proclamation. At the same time, he also established black military units. As many as 180,000 African Americans were sent to serve in the Army, with another 18,000 more serving in the Navy.Abraham Lincoln was born in 1809, and raised on the western frontier in Kentucky and Indiana. He was largely self-taught, but eventually studied law in Illinois. While in Illinois, he became a Whig party leader and a member of the Illinois House of Representatives. In 1854, he became the leader of a brand new political party called the Republicans. He was elected president in 1860, with very little support from the slave states. His term of office lasted from March 4th of 1861 to April 15th of 1865, when he was assassinated. Abraham Lincoln was the sixteenth president of the United States.After the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, it became impossible for anti-slavery nations such as Britain and France to side with the Confederacy. Lincoln then pushed for an anti-slavery amendment to the Constitution, to be sure of its permanence. The passing of the 13th Amendment in 1865 abolished slavery in America for good.Lincoln's final, hand written draft of the Emancipation Proclamation was destroyed in the Chicago fire of 1871.
On September 24th of 1996, Stephen King released not one, but two novels. The first one, called Desperation, was released under his own name, Stephen King. The second book, called The Regulators, was released under his pseudonym, Richard Bachman. He may have arranged this so people would not guess that Stephen King and Richard Bachman were one and the same. Stephen King was born in Portland, Maine, in 1947. His father exited the family when Stephen was two years old, under the pretense of going out to buy a pack of cigarettes. From then on, Stephen's mother struggled to support her two sons. The family moved around a lot, first to Wisconsin, then to Indiana, then to Connecticut. At the age of 11, Stephen returned to Maine, where his mother took care of her parents until they died. As a young adult, Stephen studied English at the University of Maine. There, he met a lady named Tabitha, who would eventually become his wife. Their daughter Naomi was born in the same year Stephen graduated college. For a while after King graduated, he and his wife and baby daughter lived in a trailer, as he worked at various jobs to support the family. He taught classes and worked at a laundry, all while writing four novels, all of which were rejected. He considered giving up writing, but his wife encouraged him to continue. So Stephen supplemented his wages by selling short stories to men's magazines.His first big break came in 1973, when Doubleday paid him $2,500 for the book called Carrie. A short while later, he got $420,000 for the paperback rights. The book was a huge bestseller, and was eventually made into a movie starring Sissy Spacek. On the heels of the success of Carrie, King wrote 30 more novels, all of them bestsellers. This has cemented his place in the world of literature as an award winning horror, mystery, fantasy, and science fiction writer.Stephen King continued writing, as he and his wife raised their three children.At some point, Stephen King, who by that time was already famous, wanted to see if writers would buy his books on the merit of the writing alone. So King created a pseudonym: Richard Bachman. Another pseudonym used by King was John Swithen. King joked that it was not him, but Richard Bachman who wrote under the pseudonym John Swithen.Altogether, the books of Stephen King (and Richard Bachman, and John Swithen) have sold more than 350 million copies. Many of King's books have been adapted into feature films, TV movies, TV mini-series, and comic books. From his most notable works came the movies Carrie, Creepshow, The Shining, The Shawshank Redemption, Misery, The Dark Tower, It, and many others.Despite being plagued with drug and alcohol problems for much of his life (one time requiring family intervention), and despite being critically injured when he was hit by a car in 1999, Stephen King continues to write novels and short stories today.
On September 23rd of 1944, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt defended his beloved dog, Fala, when he opened his presidential campaign with a speech to the International Brotherhood of Teamsters Union. The president could not resist talking about his dog, using him in anecdotes, telling funny stories about him. Obviously, FDR was quite attached to Fala. In the Teamsters Union speech, the president addressed a rumor going around that he had accidentally left Fala on the Aleutian Islands, and had sent a Navy destroyer (or was it a battleship? Or maybe a submarine?) over to fetch the dog, at a cost to taxpayers of two, eight, twelve, sixteen, or twenty million dollars, depending on who you ask. Roosevelt made it clear that, although he and his wife and his sons don't mind the constant abuse, he claimed his right to object to false, libelous statements about his dog. He scolded his Republican critics for sullying the reputation of a defenseless dog. The speech was received with laughter, all over America. This became known as President Roosevelt's Fala Speech. In reality, Orson Welles was helping FDR with his “less important speeches,” and defending Fala against the vicious Republican attack was actually Orson's idea.Fala, the presidential pet, was a Scottish terrier. He was given to FDR by one of his cousins as an early Christmas gift in 1940, when Fala was still a puppy. The president named him Murray the Outlaw of Falahill, after one of FDR's Scottish ancestors. This was soon shortened to Fala. The president became very attached to his little dog. Fala eventually became America's most famous presidential pet.Fala lived in the lap of luxury at the White House, and everywhere President Roosevelt went, Fala followed along. Fala could be seen everywhere from the Oval Office to overseas, standing at the side of his master, or sometimes sitting in his master's lap. Fala even once met Prime Minister Winston Churchill. At home, Fala slept at the foot of his master's bed.Fala could also do tricks, and FDR spoke of him frequently, with always an amusing story to tell. The White House antics of Fala the dog were constantly covered by media writers and cartoonists all over America.When FDR died in 1945, Fala immediately woke up barking, then ran from the house and raced barking up a hill, then just stood there quietly. After the death of his beloved master, Fala accepted FDR's widow, Eleanor, as his caretaker. But even Eleanor noticed that Fala only saw her as a temporary replacement until the day his master would finally come home. The world's most famous Scottie lived to be almost 12 years old, outliving FDR by seven years.When Fala died, he was buried next to his master at their home in New Hyde Park, New York. A statue of Fala sitting beside FDR can be seen at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington DC. Fala is the only presidential pet to be honored in such a way.
On September 21st of 1780, sometime during the American Revolution, Benedict Arnold committed the act of treason. For this, he became so well known that, these days, anyone who switches sides in a conflict (in other words, anyone who is a traitor) might be referred to as a “Benedict Arnold.”It started when American General Benedict Arnold met with British Major John Andre to discuss handing over West Point to the British, in exchange for a large sum of money, and a high position in the British Army. The plot was unsuccessful, and Benedict Arnold was caught in the act of treason. Once an American Hero, now he was shamed, and the name Benedict Arnold, all of a sudden, became another word for traitor. Benedict Arnold was born in 1741 to a respectable colonial family in Norwich, Connecticut. When he grew up, he was a member of the militia during the French and Indian War, and later joined the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War.Benedict Arnold had his good qualities. He was a brave and competent leader. This was a skill that earned him a promotion to the rank of brigadier general. He distinguished himself in various military campaigns, and even gained the support of George Washington. His successes included the Capture of Ticonderoga in 1775. The following year, Arnold established himself at the battle of Valcour Island, and the battle of Ridgefield, among others. He was injured in the battle of Saratoga, and his combat career ended for a few years.For some reason, in 1777, five men of lesser rank were promoted to ranks above him. Over the next few years, Benedict Arnold withdrew from combat, got married, and lived an elite lifestyle in Philadelphia. This sent him heavily into debt. Any of these events might have influenced his decision to become a traitor. Even sheer greed may have been the motivating factor.In 1780, Benedict Arnold was awarded the position of commanding West Point. Back then, West Point was an American fort on the Hudson River. It did not become a military academy we know today until 1802. From his lofty position at West Point, Arnold contacted the head of the British forces, Sir Henry Clinton, to discuss handing over West Point, and all of the men therein.On September 21st, Benedict Arnold met with John Andre. There, Benedict Arnold became a turncoat by signing the pact. The conspiracy was discovered, and Andre was captured and executed by the colonials. To avoid execution, Arnold fled to the enemy side, where he fought for the British Army in Virginia. Then he fled to Great Britain, and lived in England for the rest of his life, despite that the British did not deliver as promised. After all, the plot was foiled. Benedict Arnold died in London on June 14th of 1801.When the Revolutionary War finally ended in 1783, the colonies had won their independence from Great Britain and became the United States of America, no thanks to Benedict Arnold.
On September 20th of 1806, on their way back from their famous expedition, Lewis and Clark reached the first white settlement they had seen since leaving the east back in 1804. The settlement was located along the Missouri River. It was a frontier village called La Charette. President Jefferson had chosen Meriwether Lewis as the expedition's commander, because of his reputation for having all the qualities needed to undertake such a journey. Lewis chose his friend, William Clark, as second in command. In 1803, Jefferson sent Lewis to Philadelphia to study medicine and astronomy. In 1804, Meriwether Lewis and his friend, William Clark, embarked on an expedition that would take them all the way from Saint Louis, Missouri to Fort Klatsop, in northwestern Oregon. It would be the first expedition to cross the western part of the continental United States. The expedition was called Corps of Discovery.Along the way, Lewis and Clark experienced many adventures, and met a few friendly Indian tribes. They even traded with a Brule (Lakota / Sioux) chief named Black Bull, near what is now Pierre, South Dakota. Black Bull was the grandfather of the famous Chief Crazy Horse, although Crazy Horse had not yet been born. Black Bull was actually the father of Crazy Horse's mother, but even she had not yet been born.Of all the different native tribes Lewis and Clark met, there was only one violent confrontation, when a group of Blackfeet from the Piikani nation tried to steal rifles from Lewis' group. A fight broke out and two Native American people were killed.Eventually, Lewis and Clark arrived at their destination. Their travels had taken them from Missouri, into Iowa, through Nebraska, into South Dakota, up to North Dakota, through Montana, through Idaho, and finally into Fort Klatsop, at the extreme northwestern corner of Oregon, near the border of the state of Washington. The crew wintered at Fort Klatsop, before commencing their return to Saint Louis.La Charette was the last white settlement if you were heading west, and the first white settlement for those moving east. Lewis & Clark reunited with the people of La Charette when they had almost completed their journey. According to Lewis' journal entry, the people of La Charette gave Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, and all their U.S. Army volunteers a hero's welcome home.Before embarking on the last leg of their journey, Meriwether Lewis asked that the mail be held at the post office in La Charette, just long enough so he could write a letter to President Thomas Jefferson, who had commissioned the voyage, which was intended to explore newly purchased territory, to find a manageable route from east to west, and to establish an American presence in the west, before the Europeans would try to claim it. On a secondary note, to study the area's plants, animals, and geography, to draw maps, and to establish trade with local native tribes.In the letter, Commander Lewis let President Jefferson know that the expedition had been a success.
On September 19th of 1995, the Washington Post and the New York Times printed a 35,000-word rant, written by the Unabomber. He had threatened both newspapers with continuing to carry out a series of bombings if they failed to publish the manifesto. The Washington Post and the New York Times, in collaboration with Janet Reno and the FBI, obliged. The manifesto was basically a rant against modern technology and industrialized society. The bomber believed that modern life had led to an “erosion of human freedom.” Since the late 1970s, the Unabomber had carried out a series of bomb attacks across the United States, killing three people and wounding 23, all the while eluding the police and the FBI. It happens that the manifesto was read by the Unabomber's sister in law, who showed it to her husband, the Unabomber's brother, a man named David Kaczynski. David read the manifesto and agreed that the writing style reminded him of his brother, Ted. After checking some of Ted's writings at the home of their mother, David Kaczynski called the FBI. On April 3rd of 1996, Ted Kaczynski was arrested at his isolated cabin near Lincoln, Montana, where evidence was found that identified him as the Unabomber.Theodore Kaczynski was born in a suburb of Chicago called Evergreen Park in 1942. At school, he excelled in math, and entered Harvard University at the age of 16. He eventually received his PhD in math from the University of Michigan. In 1967, at the age of just 25, Ted Kaczynski got a job as an assistant professor for a while at UC Berkeley. In 1969, Ted Kaczynski abruptly quit his job at UC Berkeley.In 1971, he went to live in an isolated cabin near Lincoln, Montana. The cabin had no electricity and no running water. There, he lived the lifestyle of a recluse, and learned survival skills as a means of becoming what he imagined was self-sufficient. Still, he received occasional financial support from his family.Between 1978 and 1995, Kaczynski carried out sixteen bombings, frustrating the FBI and causing them to stage a nationwide manhunt. The FBI code named him UNABOM, because he was a Bomber who attacked mostly Universities and Airports. This resulted in the media referring to him as the Unabomber. Among his victims were professors, scientists, and corporate entities. Kaczynski was basically staging a nationwide bombing campaign against people who were involved in modern technology. Without an accomplice, he either planted or mailed numerous homemade bombs. The FBI's search for the Unabomber was one of its costliest investigations.On January 22nd of 1998, Ted Kaczynski pleaded guilty as charged, and received four life sentences without the possibility of parole. He had wanted to dismiss his court appointed lawyers, who had planned on pleading insanity to avoid the death penalty. Kaczynski did not believe he was insane. The FBI has labeled him a “domestic terrorist.” He will now spend the rest of his days at the super max federal prison in Florence, Colorado.We hope.
On September 18th of 1960, Fidel Castro visited New York City. He was leading the Cuban delegation to the United Nations. The trip included his four-hour speech to the United Nations, in which he attacked what he called American “aggression” and “imperialism.” Fidel Castro was born in Cuba in 1926. His father was a migrant from northwest Spain, who had become financially successful from growing sugar cane. Fidel's mother was the household servant, who later became his second wife. Together they had seven children. Starting at the age of six, Fidel was sent to live with his teacher. Starting from age eight, he attended a series of boarding schools. In 1945, Castro began studying law at the University of Havana, where he engaged in leftist political activism. He was critical of the corrupt government under President Ramón Grau. In November of 1946, Castro delivered a public speech that was covered on the front pages of several newspapers. In 1947, he joined the Party of the Cuban People, whose leader, Eduardo Chibás, promoted social justice, honest government, and political freedom. Although Chibás lost the election, Castro remained committed to the cause. He soon received death threats insisting that he leave the University, but instead he armed himself and surrounded himself with friends who were also armed.In 1948, he married Mirta Balart, a Cuban student from a wealthy family. Mirta set about having babies while Fidel continued endangering himself with his political activism. Despite having a child between them, they divorced seven years later when Castro was in exile.In 1959, Castro became Cuba's Prime Minister. However, the U.S. was afraid of him because of his friendly relations with the Soviets. So the U.S. tried to get rid of him, by way of assassination. In March of 1960, President Eisenhower ordered the CIA to train Cuban exiles to overthrow Castro's regime. So Castro allowed the Soviets to place nuclear missiles on the island of Cuba, leading to what is now known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Richard Nixon believed that Castro was leaning dangerously toward communism, although Castro had not yet declared himself a communist.It was under these chilly conditions that Fidel Castro visited the United States on September 18th of 1960. He stayed at the Theresa Hotel in Harlem, where he met with many famous African American leaders, including Malcolm X. Then he delivered his blistering speech, which severed the already fragile relations between America and Cuba.On December 2nd of 1976, Fidel Castro became President of Cuba. In 1980, he married Dalia Soto, with whom he had eight more children. He held the presidential office until February 24th of 2008, when he handed it over to his younger brother, Vice President Raúl Castro.Fidel Castro was always a controversial political figure, with some people seeing him as a brave fighter for social justice, while others considered him a heartless dictator.Despite the many hundred attempts on his life, Castro lives on. He is now in his 90s.
Train trips have never been much of a joy ride, but the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail was an exceptionally bumpy example of early American pioneer ground travel. Passengers alternated between frost bite and sun stroke most of the time, as they bumped clumsily across the undeveloped Midwestern landscape. The Overland Mail was a stage coach service led by teams of horses. It carried both passengers and mail over rough, transcontinental terrain between the years of 1857 and 1869. Based on the increasing demand for better, faster mail service, Congress passed an act in March of 1857. A contract of $600,000 would be awarded to any company that could successfully deliver mail twice a week from St. Louis to San Francisco, and do so within a time limit of 25 days. The first contract of this kind was awarded to the Overland Mail Company. The company eventually spent one million dollars improving the routes, expanding its feet of horses, and building way stations every fifteen miles or so, where tired horses could be replaced with fresh ones. Then they charged passengers exorbitant fees to ride along. On September 15th of 1858, the first transcontinental mail train service left the city of St. Louis on its way from east to west. It arrived in San Francisco well within the 25-day time frame. The stage coming back from San Francisco took only 23 days and four hours. At its height, the Butterfield Overland Stage Company had more than 800 employees, 1,800 horses, 139 relay stations, and 250 Concorde stage coaches.California was still booming from the California Gold Rush of 1849, when hordes of prospectors and their wagon teams came rushing to San Francisco, scaring away the wild animals that native people had been using for food and warmth.The Overland trip took at least three weeks, but most passengers did not want to sleep at any of the “home stations” along the way, for fear that the next train might be full and leave them stranded. So they tried to spend the whole trip sleeping in the carriage, which was just about impossible, as the carriage was always in motion. Not only that, but the food was substandard and overpriced, and a bath or a toilet was hard to find. What's more, the stage drivers were often drunk and abusive, and stage coach robbery was an actual threat.Soon enough, other faster mail services started competing with Overland. The most famous of these was the Pony Express. Then, the first transcontinental railroad was completed on May 10th of 1869. On that day, the United States government canceled its final 6-year contract for the Overland Mail Trail. However, modern remnants of the Overland Trail, such as crumbling way stations and rusty old stage coaches, still exist today at various locations across the American landscape.How odd it is that the comfort level on trains, even today, is not that much better than it was when horse drawn carriages were all the rage.
On September 17th of 1976, the world got its first look at the first Space Shuttle, as NASA unveiled its hot new creation at an Air Force base in Palmdale, California. The ship was called Enterprise, after many hundred thousand die hard Star Trek fans (pop culturally known as trekkies) wrote to President Gerald Ford, requesting the name change. The shuttle's former name was Constitution. On hand at the ceremony were all the NASA CEOs, along with most of the cast of the immortal TV show called Star Trek. Cast members who joined the festivities included Leonard Nimoy (Mr. Spock), deForest Kelly (Dr. McCoy), Nichelle Nichols (Lieutenant Uhura), James Doohan (Chief Engineer Montgomery “Scotty” Scott), George Takei (Mr. Sulu), and Walter Koenig (Ensign Chekov). Even Gene Roddenbury, the show's creator, was there. The only major cast member missing the fun was William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk). This first space shuttle was not really meant for space travel. It was more of a prototype than anything else. For instance, the exterior covering was made of fiberglass, which would not sufficiently withstand the conditions in space. Also, the ship was never outfitted with the equipment needed for it to be able to orbit the earth. For instance, a lack of two main engines. However, Enterprise was the precursor to other space shuttles of similar design. And the Enterprise space shuttle would fly free when it was released from a Boeing 747 jet, then it would glide in for a safe, soft landing back at Edwards Air Force base.Over the following year, NASA engineers put the Enterprise through a series of flight tests and ground tests, to demonstrate its airworthiness and landing capabilities. Five space ready orbiters were subsequently developed: The Columbia in 1979, the Challenger in 1982, the Discovery in 1983, the Atlantis in 1985, and the Endeavor in 1991. Early space shuttles carried equipment into space and ran various scientific experiments. Later, manned space shuttles traveled into space to maintain and repair the Hubble Space Telescope, and also to build and maintain the International Space Station (ISS).The Columbia space shuttle exploded near the end of its 28th journey, in a reentry accident that happened on February 1st of 2003. The Challenger space shuttle blew up just over a minute after take-off in January of 1986. In both cases, all seven people onboard were killed.Between 1978 and 1985, the Enterprise was taken around the country to assorted NASA space centers, where it served as a useful practice tool. In 1983, the Enterprise toured the world as a museum quality showpiece. Stops included Canada, France, Italy, Germany, England, and the 1984 World's Fair in New Orleans.In 1985, the Enterprise was donated to the National Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian will soon donate the Enterprise space shuttle to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum in New York City, in order to make room for its new exhibit – the Discovery space shuttle.These days, all space shuttles are on their way to museums.
On September 16th of 1940, Congress passed the Burke Wadsworth Act, by which the United States government imposed the first peace time draft on American men, in anticipation of its entrance into World War Two. Young men between the ages of 21 and 36 were required to sign up for the draft at a draft board office, under the provisions of the Selective Training and Service Act. Fifty percent of the 20 million young men who registered for the draft were rejected in the first year, either for health problems or for illiteracy. One out of five men who initially tried to register at the draft was illiterate. Exactly one month after the Selective Training and Service Act was passed, the government began registering American men between the ages of 21 and 35. Then Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson started drawing draft numbers out of a large bowl. The draft was conducted by way of a lottery system. Men who were chosen must serve for 12 months.However, by early summer of 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt had asked Congress to extend the American soldiers' tour of duty. On the 12th of August, the extended tour of duty was approved by a single vote. The soldiers revolted on hearing the news, and insisted that they would desert at the end of the initially agreed upon 12-month term. Many of them painted the letters O H I O on the walls in protest. The letters were an acronym for Over the Hill In October. It meant they were going home when they had said they were going home, and not a moment later. At the end of the 12-month tour of duty, some soldiers deserted, but the habit was not widespread.On December 7th of 1941 was the attack on Pearl Harbor. By November of 1942, the United States was actively participating in the war. At that point, the government developed a new selective service, with the age requirement for the draft then increased to 45. African American men were ineligible for the draft because of racism. But even this changed in 1943, when a “quota” was imposed on black soldiers to reflect their percentage in the American population. African Americans were restricted to labor units at first, but this too ended as the war intensified. Finally, African Americans were found useful in combat.Conscientious Objector (CO) status could be given to people who could prove sincerity of belief in religious teachings and a moral aversion to war. CO status was awarded mostly to people of the Quaker faith. Still, three out of four Quakers who were drafted fought. Also, Conscientious Objectors had to do some kind of alternate work in civilian public service camps, with long hours and for no pay. Those who refused to serve their country at all (about 5,000 to 6,000 men) were jailed if they were caught.By the war's end, roughly 34 million men had registered, and approximately 10 million men had served.
On September 14th of 1959, an unmanned space probe that had been launched by the Soviet government crashed into the moon. In so doing, it became the first man made object from planet earth to hit the moon. This gave the Soviets an edge in the so called “space race” of the era, and encouraged the United States government to further develop its own space program. The space race started back in 1957, when the Soviet government got the world's attention by sending a satellite into orbit around the earth. The name of the satellite was Sputnik. Every radio and TV set was tuned in. The people of the United States were concerned during that cold war era that the Soviet government would develop new, inventive, high tech weapons, capable of firing ammunition from space. The United States Government was also concerned, as this event directly refuted their claim to the American people that they were edging out the Russians in the space race. It was a stunning propaganda victory for the Soviets. Now the Soviets had the attention of the American people, not to mention lesser developed countries of the world who would see the benefits, and be drawn to the more advanced Soviet technology.The United States government responded by paying closer attention to its own space program, recruiting engineers, and making more funding available for the research. The result was that a few months after Sputnik took orbit, The United States government sent its own satellite into orbit. This provoked a reply from the Soviet government.In September of 1959, the Soviet government sent another rocket, this one carrying the Soviet flag, to the moon. This caused the United States government to inform the Soviet government that sending their flag to the moon does not make the moon their property. It was also pointed out by the American government (Vice President Nixon, to be exact) that it had taken the Soviets “four tries” to get it right. In a speech, Vice President Nixon announced that the United States was “way ahead” in the space race.In 1960, Presidential candidate John F. Kennedy made the space race one of his campaign pledges. He guaranteed that the United States government would put an actual man on the actual moon, and would do so by the end of the actual decade.Politicians make a lot of empty promises, but this one (however unbelievable) was not so empty after all.In 1969, American astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon, bouncing around in his lead space suit, as gravity threatened to lift him from the moon's surface at any moment, and fly him off into space. Every radio and TV set in the world had the moon landing on every radio and TV channel. What's more, almost every radio and TV set in the world were turned on.When Neil Armstrong touched back down on God's green earth, he was hailed as a hero.
On September 13th of 1814, a writer named Francis Scott Key penned a poem, which was later set to music. On March 3rd of 1931, the song, by then called The Star Spangled Banner, became America's National Anthem. Key wrote the poem after watching the bombing of the Maryland Fort by the British during the War of 1812. He witnessed it from about eight miles away. When the flag still flew at daybreak, the poem's narrator can hardly believe his eyes. He wants to be sure the flag is still flying. So he asks someone nearby, Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light, what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Key was inspired by the sight of that lone United States flag still flying, which he was able to see the previous night because of the bombs exploding (… and the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still there). Many people are unaware that the poem actually has four verses. Most of us are only familiar with the first verse, which is the part sung at baseball games. Here is the poem in its entirety:O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light, What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming, Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming? And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there, O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deepWhere the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam, In full glory reflected now shines in the stream, ’Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion A home and a Country should leave us no more? Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand Between their loved home and the war’s desolation! Blest with victory and peace may the heaven rescued land Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation! Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just, And this be our motto - “In God is our trust,” And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
On September 12th of 1940, thousands of ancient works of art were discovered on the walls of a cave now known as Lascaux Grotto. The cave was discovered when four teenagers had followed their dog down a narrow passageway. The artworks, mostly representing animals, are believed to be at least fifteen thousand years old, created during the Upper Paleolithic period. The main cavern of the Lascaux Grotto is sixty-six feet wide and sixteen feet in height. It is part of a network of caverns located in southwestern France, near the village of Montignac. The walls are adorned with about 600 paintings and drawings, along with about 1,500 engravings where the rock is softer. Detailed depictions of animals appear everywhere you look, including horses, bison, red deer, stags, cats, cows, mythical creatures, and even a man with a bird's head. Fossil evidence shows that many of the creatures drawn on the walls lived in that area in Paleolithic times. The bird-headed man is the only human figure among these works of art. The walls of the cavern also feature many abstract signs and geometric shapes. Out of more than 900 positively identified images, 364 of them are horses, and 90 of them are stags. One is a rhinoceros. Researchers have spent all these years trying to interpret the images on the walls of the Lascaux Grotto.Archeologists believe the cave was used as a headquarters for hunting expeditions, and maybe even a temple for religious rites. On the other hand, maybe four ancient, long forgotten, teenage tattoo artists hung out there, smoked leaves, and graffitied the walls. Or maybe a little bit of both. Perhaps we'll never know. In any case, the images were expertly designed, magnificently preserved, and prolifically created, not to mention old!The Lascaux Grotto was opened to the public in 1948. Scores of tourists flocked to France from all over the world to see it. The cavern had at least 1,200 visitors each day. Unfortunately, the Grotto was closed in 1963, because light had faded the vibrant colors, in the same way that merchandise is bleached lighter colors when it sits in store window displays.In 1983, a replica of the Lascaux Grotto was opened nearby the original. This little tourist trap sees tens of thousands of visitors each year.Unfortunately, the original cave continued to decay. Once the snowball is rolling, there's no stopping it. Despite herculean efforts at preservation, many of the paintings were visibly damaged, and some of them had even started to grow algae. Since 1998, the cave has been attacked by a fungus. In 2001, the authorities changed the air conditioning system, hoping it would help, but it only made things worse. White mold spread fast across the cave walls and ceiling. In 2008, black mold was discovered there. These days, not even scientists and preservationists are allowed to enter the cave.The discovery of the Lascaux Grotto is considered to be one of the greatest finds of the 20th century.
On September 11th of 2001, starting at 8:46 am, New York City's Twin Towers were attacked by two passenger jets on suicide missions. At the time, President George Bush was on his way to Booker Elementary School in Sarasota, Florida. He had planned to make a scheduled visit with some school children when he received the first terrible message. At first, Bush thought the mishap was due to some sort of hideous pilot error. Within an hour, Bush was reading to the children in the classroom when he received word that a second plane had crashed into the second World Trade Center tower. Earlier that morning, Bush had received news that there was a slightly increased (but non-specific) threat of terrorist attack that day. Undeterred, President Bush continued with his plans to visit Booker Elementary School.Bush arrived at the school soon after the first report, and was waiting in an empty classroom when he saw the news footage of the attack on one of the school's TV screens. Almost immediately (and just moments before the second plane crashed), he was whisked into a classroom full of children to read a story book to a group of first graders.People were filming Bush's reading session when House Chief of Staff Andrew Card walked into the room at 9:06 am, and whispered into the president's ear that the second plane had hit the second tower, and that the nation was under attack by an unknown entity. Bush looked shaken for a moment, as the children continued to read. He let them continue reading for another eight or nine minutes. When the reading was done, Bush commended the children on their wonderful reading skills, and encouraged them to read more, and to watch less TV. Meanwhile, the whole Twin Tower catastrophe was being broadcast on TV. Then Bush posed for pictures with children, parents, and school administrators. A reporter was heard asking the president if he was aware of the attacks. Bush said he'd talk about it some other time.Bush was then escorted to an empty classroom, where he spoke on the phone with Vice President Cheney and New York governor George Pataki.Secret Service agents hurried Bush over to Air Force One, which was located at an airport in Sarasota. On his way to the plane, while trying to decide where would be the safest place for him, Bush received a message that the Pentagon had been hit by yet another passenger plane, and that a third passenger plane had crashed into a field in Pennsylvania. No one ever learned where that last plane was headed.The pilot of Air Force One flew around in circles at cruising altitude, as George Bush spoke with his advisors on the phone to decide where they should land. Air Force One stopped briefly at an Air Force Base in Louisiana, followed by landing in Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska. By 6:42 pm, President George W. Bush was back in Washington DC.
On September 9th of 1850, California officially became America's 31st state, without ever having been a territory. A territory had to have 60,000 people before it achieved statehood. This usually took quite a while. However, it happened quickly in California. The whole non-native population of the United States wanted some of that California gold, which was rumored to be lying around in the streets in chunks the size of a man's fist, just waiting to be picked up by anyone who happened by. Until 1846, California was a remote northern province of Mexico. It was estimated to have about eight thousand non-native Americans, and about 100,000 Native Americans. The land was dominated by cattle ranches owned by Californios (Spanish speaking Californians). Settlers defeated the Mexican Californians in what came to be known as the Bear Flag Revolt. After the fighting, the rebels raised the Bear Flag at Sonoma, and the Republic of California was born. The Bear Flag is still used as the California state flag today.However, the Republic of California did not stay a Republic for long. In fact, it died in its infancy. In 1846 came the outbreak of the Mexican American War. That was when Commodore John D. Sloat of the United States Navy staged a military occupation of California by the United States. On January 13th of 1847, the Treaty of Cahuenga was signed by the Californios, securing United States control over California.The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 effectively ended the Mexican American War. Mexico had officially relinquished California to the United States. In the same transaction, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, and Utah became United States territories.Mexico didn't see it as a big sacrifice at the time. But the Mexicans did not know that gold had been discovered in Coloma, California, just a few days earlier. Suddenly, the greatest gold rush in history was on. The 49ers came running with their pails and sifters. The population of California exploded. Because prospectors had found gold a year earlier, about sixty thousand people came to California in 1849 alone. Between 1847 and 1870, the population of San Francisco increased from 500 to 150,000.So many were the wagon trains that they chased off all the animals that were being hunted for food and warmth by Native American people. The people were also susceptible to European diseases for which they had developed no natural immunity. Many thousand Native American people died in America's search for gold. Of course, the native people fought back, with mixed results, for at least 35 years. This series of battles became known as the Indian Wars. The United States military had funded militia to protect settlers from Native American people. Native people were massacred by the hundreds, some of them while they slept.California is now the most powerful economic and political force in the far west, not to mention the most populous state in the United States, and the third largest state in square miles. California's most populous city, Los Angeles, is the second largest city in America, behind only New York City.
On September 10th of 1919, nearly a year after the official end of the First World War, veterans of World War One were honored with a parade in New York City. The parade was hosted as a welcome home to General John J. Pershing, long with 25,000 soldiers who had served with him in the First Division of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) on the Western Front. At first, the United States had declared neutrality when the war broke out in 1914. However, America eventually got dragged in, and finally declared war on Germany in April of 1917. By the end of the First World War in November of 1918, President Woodrow Wilson had sent more than two million American soldiers to the battlefields of Western Europe. Roughly fifty thousand soldiers died at that place called The Western Front. In late 1918, the American government started bringing the soldiers home. There still remained an occupation force of 16,000 U.S. troops that stayed until 1923, living in the town of Coblenz, Germany. They were the post war allied presence, in accordance with the Treaty of Versailles. But by September of 1919, the last living American combat soldiers had come home. This was indeed a cause for a parade.So twenty-five thousand soldiers marched, fully armed and in full uniform, down Fifth Avenue, all the way from 107th Street to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, to the exuberant cheers of many thousand enthusiastic spectators that lined both sides of the Avenue. The loudest cheers were for General John Pershing himself, according to the New York Times' exuberant reporters. Pershing was named the U.S. General of the Armies. Pershing had led those 25,000 soldiers to victory. John J. Pershing was actually the only person to be named U.S. General of the Armies in his own lifetime.Said one reporter, “It was the town's first opportunity to greet the men of the 1st Division, and to let them know that it remembered their glorious part in the American army's smashing drives at Toul, at Cantigny, at Soissons, at St. Mihiel, and at the Meuse and the Argonne.”Pershing also participated in a similar parade that traveled down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC on September 17th.Born on a farm in Missouri in 1860, Pershing grew up with his five surviving siblings, as three of them had died in infancy. During the American Civil War, Pershing's father supported the Union. John was sworn in as a cadet at West Point in 1882. He said he did this not so much because he wanted to fight in wars, but simply because the education at West Point was better than what you could get in rural Missouri. Still, he is most noted for his service on The Western Front during the First World War. On Pershing's retirement from military service in 1924, he oversaw a commission that supervised the construction of American war memorials in France.General John J. Pershing died in 1948, at the age of 87.