Tuesday, July 29, 2014

History from 1962 on this day and on July 30 through history

What was happening on July 30,1962
On the Billboard Hot 100 Bobby Vinton had the number 1 song with Roses Are Red (My Love)

In Sports the MLB All Star game was won by the American League 9-4 in Chicago at Wrigley
-- MVP: Leon Wagner (LA Angels)

Movies that were released in July- To Kill a Mockingbird & Lawrence of Arabia

The Trans-Canada Highway was opened at a ceremony to mark the completion of the 92 mile long Rogers Pass Highway through the Canadian Rockies, for the final link of the nearly 5,000 mile system between St. John's, Newfoundland and Victoria, British Columbia. B.C. Premier W. A. C. Bennett snipped a ribbon near Revelstoke.

U.S. President Kennedy agreed to halt reconnaissance flights over Soviet ships in the Caribbean Sea, after U.S.S.R. Premier Khrushchev proposed the idea "for the sake of better relations"; in the two months that followed, the ships delivered missiles to Cuba.

On the same day, President Kennedy began tape recording conversations in the White House.

Marilyn Monroe made a final telephone call to the U.S. Justice Department, six days before her death. Monroe had been a regular caller to U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, and historians speculate that he told her during the eight minute phone call that they could no longer see each other. Monroe's phone records would be confiscated by the FBI, but Kennedy's phone logs would be donated to the National Archives after his death.

1818 Emily Bronte
1863 Henry Ford
1890 Casey Stengel
1936 Buddy Guy
1941 Paul Anka
1947 Arnold Schwarzenegger
1956 Delta Burke
1961 Laurence Fishburne
1962 Alton Brown
1963 Lisa Kudrow
1964 Vivica Fox

2003 Sam Phillips, entreprenuer/DJ, started Sun Records, dies at 80
1998 Buffalo Bob Smith, TV personality, The Howdy Doody Show, dies at 80

1619 House of Burgesses Virginia forms, 1st elective U.S. governing body
1715 Spanish gold and silver fleet disappears off St. Lucie, Florida
1916 German saboteurs blow up a munitions plant on Black Tom Island, New Jersey
1928 George Eastman shows 1st color motion picture
1942 German SS kills 25,000 Jews in Minsk, Belorussia
1942 Franklin D. Roosevelt signs bill creating women's Navy auxiliary agency (WAVES)
1945 Philippines Sea: U.S. cruiser Indianapolis torpedoed/sinks, 880 die
1946 1st rocket attains 100 mi (167 km) altitude, White Sands, New Mexico
1956 U.S. motto, In God We Trust, authorized
1965 Lyndon Baines Johnson signs Medicare bill, which goes into effect in 1966
1969 Mariner 6 passes Venus on 3410 km
1971 U.S. Apollo 15 (Scott and Irwin) lands on Mare Imbrium on the Moon
1973 Texas Rangers Jim Bibby no-hits 1st-place Oakland, 6-0
1975 Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa disappears in suburban Detroit
1980 Houston Astro pitcher J R Richard suffers a stroke
1982 U.S.S.R. performs underground nuclear Test

Eisenhower signs law officially declaring "In God We Trust" to be nation's motto

On July 30, 1956, two years after pushing to have the phrase "under God" inserted into the pledge of allegiance, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs a law officially declaring "In God We Trust" to be the nation's official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also mandated that the phrase be printed on all American paper currency. The phrase had been placed on U.S. coins since the Civil War when, according to the historical association of the United States Treasury, religious sentiment reached a peak. Eisenhower's treasury secretary, George Humphrey, had suggested adding the phrase to paper currency as well.

Although some historical accounts claim Eisenhower was raised a Jehovah's Witness, most presidential scholars now believe his family was Mennonite. Either way, Eisenhower abandoned his family's religion before entering the Army, and took the unusual step of being baptized relatively late in his adult life as a Presbyterian. The baptism took place in 1953, barely a year into his first term as president.

Although Eisenhower embraced religion, biographers insist he never intended to force his beliefs on anyone. In fact, the chapel-like structure near where he and his wife Mamie are buried on the grounds of his presidential library is called the "Place of Meditation" and is intentionally inter-denominational. At a Flag Day speech in 1954, he elaborated on his feelings about the place of religion in public life when he discussed why he had wanted to include "under God" in the pledge of allegiance: "In this way we are reaffirming the transcendence of religious faith in America's heritage and future; in this way we shall constantly strengthen those spiritual weapons which forever will be our country's most powerful resource in peace and war."

The first paper money with the phrase "In God We Trust" was not printed until 1957. Since then, religious and secular groups have argued over the appropriateness and constitutionality of a motto that mentions "God," considering the founding fathers dedication to maintaining the separation of church and state.

USS Indianapolis is torpedoed after delivering materials for atom bombs

USS Indianapolis

After dropping off key ingredients for the atomic bomb that would be dropped on Hiroshima a week later, the USS Indianapolis was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. The ship would sink within minutes and only 317 of the 1,196 men on board survived.

The shipment, which was delivered on July 26th, was such a secret mission to Tinian Island that the ship's own crew didn't know the purpose of the mission. After leaving Tinian, the Indianapolis sailed to the U.S. military's Pacific headquarters at Guam and was given orders to meet the battleship USS Idaho at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan.

Shortly after midnight on July 30, halfway between Guam and Leyte Gulf, a Japanese sub blasted the Indianapolis, sparking an explosion that split the ship and caused it to sink in approximately 12 minutes, with about 300 men trapped inside. Another 900 went into the water, where many died from drowning, shark attacks, dehydration or injuries from the explosion. Help did not arrive until four days later, on August 2, when an anti-submarine plane on routine patrol happened upon the men and radioed for assistance.

On August 6th, the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, killing 130,000 and destroying 60% of the city. Meanwhile, the US government kept the Indianapolis tragedy quiet until August 15th, insuring that President Harry Truman's news that Japan had surrendered wouldn't be overshadowed by the tragic news.

           Capt. Charles McVay III
   (July 30, 1898 – November 6, 1968)
In the aftermath of the events involving the Indianapolis, the ship's commander, Captain Charles McVay, was court-martialed in November 1945 for failing to sail a zigzag course that would have helped the ship to evade enemy submarines in the area. McVay, the only Navy captan court-martialed for losing a ship during the war, committed suicide in 1968. Many of his surviving crewmen believed the military had made him a scapegoat. In 2000, 55 years after the Indianapolis went down, Congress cleared McVay's name.

For more information on this tragedy go to http://www.ussindianapolis.org/story.htm.

I first learned of the Indianapolis while watching the movie Jaws as a kid. When they were all drinking and comparing shark bite wound Quint, the shark fisherman, told the story. Much of his story was inaccurate according to historical data but it still made me aware of the event. Here is that scene.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

U.S. Senate approves U.N. charter

Truman signing UN charter on August 8, 1945
On July 28, 1945, in a ringing declaration indicating that America's pre-World War II isolation was truly at an end, the U.S. Senate approves the charter establishing the United Nations. In the years to come, the United Nations would be the scene of some of the most memorable Cold War confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union.

In 1919, following the close of World War I, President Woodrow Wilson implored the U.S. Senate to approve the charter for the League of Nations. Postwar isolationism and partisan politics killed U.S. participation in the League, however. In July 1945, with World War II coming to a close, the U.S. Senate indicated the sea change in American attitudes toward U.S. involvement in world affairs by approving the charter for the United Nations by a vote of 89 to 2. President Harry S. Truman was delighted with the vote, declaring, "The action of the Senate substantially advances the cause of world peace." Acting Secretary of State Joseph Grew also applauded the Senate's action, noting, "Millions of men, women and children have died because nations took to the naked sword instead of the conference table to settle their differences." The U.N. charter would provide the "foundation and cornerstone on which the international organization to keep the peace will be built." Once the charter had been ratified by a majority of the 50 nations that hammered out the charter in June 1945, the U.S. Senate formally approved U.S. participation in the United Nations in December 1945.

Whether the United Nations became a "foundation and cornerstone" of world peace in the years that followed is debatable, but it was certainly the scene of several notable Cold War confrontations between the United States and the Soviet Union. In 1950, with the Russians absent from the U.N. Security Council, the United States pushed through a resolution providing U.N. military assistance to South Korea in the Korean War. And in one memorable moment, during a speech denouncing Western imperialism in 1960, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev took off one of his shoes and pounded his table with it to make his point.

Bonus Expeditionary Force evicted by force from Capital

On July 28, 1932, during the Great Depression, President Herbert Hoover orders the U.S. Army under General Douglas MacArthur to evict by force the Bonus Marchers from the nation's capital.

Two months before, the so-called "Bonus Expeditionary Force," a group of some 1,000 World War I veterans seeking cash payments for their veterans' bonus certificates, had arrived in Washington, D.C. Most of the marchers were unemployed veterans in desperate financial straits. In June, other veteran groups spontaneously made their way to the nation's capital, swelling the Bonus Marchers to nearly 20,000 strong. Camping in vacant government buildings and in open fields made available by District of Columbia Police Chief Pelham D. Glassford, they demanded passage of the veterans' payment bill introduced by Representative Wright Patman.

While awaiting a vote on the issue, the veterans conducted themselves in an orderly and peaceful fashion, and on June 15 the Patman bill passed in the House of Representatives. However, two days later, its defeat in the Senate infuriated the marchers, who refused to return home. In an increasingly tense situation, the federal government provided money for the protesters' trip home, but 2,000 refused the offer and continued to protest. On July 28, President Herbert Hoover ordered the army to evict them forcibly. General MacArthur's men set their camps on fire, and the veterans were driven from the city. Hoover, increasingly regarded as insensitive to the needs of the nation's many poor, was much criticized by the public and press for the severity of his response.

Silas Deane writes letter to Congress of success in France

On July 27, 1776, the secret Congressional emissary to France, Silas Deane, writes a letter to Congress, informing them that he has been successful beyond his expectations in France. The Committee of Congress for Secret Correspondence, consisting of Benjamin Franklin, Benjamin Harrison, John Dickinson, John Hay and Robert Morris, had instructed Deane to meet with French Foreign Minister Charles Gravier, comte de Vergennes, to stress America's need for military stores and to assure the French that the colonies were moving toward "total separation.

Deane managed to negotiate for unofficial assistance from France, in the form of ships containing military supplies, and recruited the Marquis de Lafayette to share his military expertise with the Continental Armys officer corps. He also secured an offer from one affluent Frenchmen to give the colonies credit for the substantial amount of one million French livres. In his letter of July 27, 1776, however, Dean also wrote that further negotiations for arms and supplies, could not proceed until Congress declared independence. Word of Congress' July 4 action had not yet reached Paris. On November 6, 1776, Deane again wrote the committee, expressing his frustration at their lack of specific instructions, and reporting that he had garnered, Two hundred pieces of brass cannon, and arms, tents and accoutrements for thirty thousand man, with ammunition in proportion, and between twenty and thirty brass mortars, which were waiting to leave for the rebelling colonies at Havre de Grace in Nantes.

On December 7, Deane wrote Congress to ask that they ratify the commission of major general that he had promised to Lafayette. Despite these significant contributions to the Patriot cause, Deanes career ended in disgrace. When Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and Arthur Lee came to France to serve as delegates in an open capacity, Lee accused Deane of financial misconduct during his secret mission. Because the French government would not release their confidential documents involving Deanes clandestine mission, he was never able to prove his innocence, nor was he ever proven guilty. He died bankrupt under suspicious circumstances onboard a ship while returning from his exile in Europe to the United States in 1789. Fifty years after his death, Congress granted Deanes granddaughter a payment in apology for the governments ill-treatment of her Patriot grandfather.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Texas History: Spanish flag was lowered for the last time in San Antonio

On July 21, 1821, the flag of Spain was lowered for the last time in San Antonio, ending three centuries of Spanish involvement in Texas.

The successful independence movement in Mexico, led by Agustín de Iturbide and Vicente Guerrero, resulted in a treaty that brought Texas under the newly independent nation. The Mexican War of Independence marked the end of an era in which the Franciscan padres had founded and refounded missions at approximately forty different sites in Texas.

Ten presidios had extended from Central Texas eastward to the site of present Robeline, Louisiana, and southward to Chambers Country. Municipalities ranged from Laredo to San Antonio and Nacogdoches. Ranches and farms dotted the landscape. The majority of the population was probably a combination of European and Native Americans. After Mexican independence, Hispanics in Texas were soon outstripped in numbers by Americans. Modern Texas, however, reflects its Spanish origins in many ways.