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Archive for the month “December, 2010”


December 31, 1961
JFK issued a statement of “sincere wishes” to Nikita Khrushchev & the people of the USSR for a “peaceful & prosperous New Year.”
JFK described 1961 as a “troubled” year between their countries & expressed hope for improved relations in 1962. 
Berlin, however, continued to be troublesome & the world would come to the brink of nuclear war in October 1962 in the Cuban Missile Crisis.

         Nikita Khrushchev & JFK in Vienna June 1961

December 31, 1879
Thomas Alva Edison demonstrated his incandescent light for the first time in public.

The demonstration took place in Menlo Park, New Jersey & involved lighting up a city street.

                        Thomas Alva Edison

December 31, 1862

The Battle of Stones River begins near Murfreesboro, Tennessee.  The 3 day battle fought in bitterly cold weather resulted in a Union victory.  Federal General William Rosecrans defeated Confederate General Braxton Bragg.

December 31, 1775

Patriots under Colonel Benedict Arnold & General Richard Montgomery failed to capture Quebec.  Montgomery is killed & Arnold & his forces retreat from Canada.

Happy New Year 2011

In keeping with JFK’s statement on this day in 1961, I would like to wish all of you around the world a “peaceful & prosperous New Year”.

I am going to take a holiday tomorrow & will publish a new post on January 2, 2011.  

I want to thank each of you for your interest in my JFK+50 Blog.


On December 30, 1922, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics replaced the Russian Empire to become the 1st national government based on Marxist Socialism.  The USSR grew to include 15 Republics & with its development of nuclear weapons became a “Superpower”.
President Kennedy served at the height of the “Cold War” leading the “Free World” against the spread of Communism.  His administration confronted the USSR in Berlin in 1961 & Cuba in 1962.
JFK was certain freedom would prevail.  He said:  
“Communism has never come to power in a country that was not disrupted by war or corruption, or both.”
On December 30, 1950, Secretary of State, Dean Acheson, who later was an adviser to JFK in the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, declared the U.S. would “increase efforts to contain Communist aggression”.
Acheson’s statement followed the entry of Chinese Communists into the Korean War.  He said:

“No sacrifices are too great when the future of this nation is at stake.”
On December 30, 1963, the US Congress 
             authorized the KENNEDY HALF DOLLAR.

December 30, 2010

                  NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE
My alma mater, the UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE Volunteers, will play the North Carolina Tarheels in post-season football this afternoon.  
Our state earned the nickname “Volunteers” in the Mexican War of 1848 when Tennessee sent the most volunteers to serve in the United States military.

Our mascot is a Blue Tick Coonhound named “SMOKEY”.  Knoxville is in the foothills of the Great  Smoky Mountain National Park. Our team colors are “Orange & White”.

After I visited JFK’s good friend Dave Powers in the 1980s, then curator of the JFK Library in Boston, I sent him an orange sweatshirt with TENNESSEE across the front.   

The Vols were to play Boston College that fall. He sent me a thank you letter & said:  “I will cheer for Tennessee & pray for B.C.”  This was a play on JFK’s comments in Ireland regarding two opposing teams.

P.S.  Congratulations to the Tarheels on their victory in Double Overtime.

Final Score:  NC 30  UT 27.  

It was a great game!


On December 29, 1890, the Battle of Wounded Knee at the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota resulted in the deaths of 146 Sioux men, women & children.  

The “last battle of the Indian wars” was a consequence of the “Ghost Dance Movement” in which the Sioux hoped to restore their traditional way of life. 

The 7th Cavalry surrounded a band of warriors under Chief Big Foot whose corpse was left in the frozen snow.

                              Chief Big Foot
                Wounded Knee, South Dakota

On December 29, 1808, President Andrew Johnson was born in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

Johnson was Governor of Tennessee (1853-1857) & US Senator (1857-1864) before becoming Lincoln’s Vice-President.

Andrew Johnson became the 1st President to be impeached although he was found not guilty by the US Senate in 1868.  

Andrew Johnson died in 1875 & was buried in Greeneville, Tennessee. 

On December 29, 1845,
         TEXAS became the 28th State.

On December 29, 1940, the German air force bombed the city of LONDON.  

The air raid resulted in 3600 British deaths as well as destruction of many historic buildings. 


On December 28, 1963 the British TV satirical program “That Was The Week That Was” made its’ final broadcast. 

The show aired in 1962 & 1963 to large audiences but for 1964 the BBC canceled the program to avoid controversy in an election year.

The show’s “most acclaimed” production was telecast on November 23, 1963.  

This was a shortened 20 minute non-satirical tribute to JFK & included Millicent Martin singing “In the Summer of His Years”. 

The tune was later recorded by Connie Francis.  The tribute itself was also produced as a record.

On December 28, 1856, Woodrow Wilson was born in Staunton, Virginia.

Wilson graduated from Princeton in 1879, was a law student at the University of Virginia & earned his PhD at Johns Hopkins.  

Wilson entered politics & was elected Governor of New Jersey in 1910 & President of the United States in 1912.

                   Woodrow Wilson Birthplace 

On December 28, 1927, the actor Martin Milner was born in Detroit.  Milner later moved to Seattle & made his film debut in 1947. 

He appeared on television’s “Lone Ranger” & “Dragnet” shows.  

 One of his most famous roles was in the 1960-1964 TV series: “Route 66”.

      Martin Milner & George McHarris



On December 27, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt seized control of the historic mail-order, department store chain Montgomery Ward.  The company was founded in 1872. 

This action was taken because the company refused to comply with a labor agreement negotiated under direction of the National War Labor Board and to avoid strikes in war-related industries.

FDR sent the Army National Guard to Chicago to seize MW’s main plant.  It’s anti New-Deal chairman, Sewell Avery, had to be literally carried out of the plant by Guardsmen (see photo below). The Secretary of War was ordered to seize Ward’s plants in five other states as well.


On December 27, 1947, the “Howdy Doody Show” premiered.  This show featured a wooden puppet named “Howdy Doody” & was hosted by “Buffalo Bob” & a clown named “Clarabell”. 

The kid’s show opened each episode with kids singing the theme song “It’s How…dy Doo..dy Time…..”  

This was the “signature” TV program of my “Baby Boom” generation.


On December 27, 1961, JFK & his family sailed on the “Honey Fitz” at Palm Beach.  The yacht was named in honor of his grandfather, John F. Fitzgerald, his namesake & beloved former Mayor of Boston. 


My JFK Blog on the assassination and related events has been running about one week.  It has received a “new look” & I am converting my US History Power Points used in my classes to this blog.  I realize this topic is most controversial & try to use information which can be supported by evidence.  I also try to give different points of view.  Please check it out.




On December 26, “BOXING DAY” is celebrated in Australia, Austria, Canada,  & New Zealand. 

The origin of the celebration comes from the tradition of tradesmen collecting their boxes/gifts in return for good service throughout the year. 

The day is also celebrated as “St. Stephen’s Day”.  Saint Stephen was the first Christian to be martyred for his faith.


We woke up this morning to a “Winter Wonderland” with five inches of snow on the ground. 

There is more snow on the way for the day & folks up in the Northeast U.S. can expect a foot or more. 

Here is a view out our window.


On December 26, 1791, The Constitution Act was passed by the British Parliament under PM William Pitt.  

Also known as the “Canada Act”, it divided QUEBEC along the Ottawa River into Upper & Lower Quebec.


On December 26, 1941, Winston Churchill became the first British Prime Minister to address the Congress of the United States. 

He urged the support of FDR’s “Arsenal for Democracy” program. 

The U.S. had just entered WWII after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7.


On December 26, 1972, President Harry S Truman died in Independence, Missouri.  

Truman served from 1945 to 1953 as the 33rd US President.  

He made the decision to use the atomic bomb on Japan to bring WWII to an end. 

He also established the Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe after the war.

During the 1960 primary campaign, Truman suggested JFK step down as a candidate for President because of his youth & inexperience.  JFK, of course, did not follow Truman’s advice.

JFK commented later on Truman’s legendary use of bad language.  At a dinner in New York the 1960 Democratic nominee & only the 2nd Catholic candidate for President said:

“I have noted with interest where (President Truman) has suggested those who vote for my opponent should go.  While I understand and sympathize with his deep motivation, I think it is important for our side to refrain from raising the religious issue.”


On December 25, 1776, General George Washington crossed the Delaware River with 5400 troops to surprise Hessian mercenaries at Trenton, New Jersey. 
The victories at Trenton & later at Princeton boosted American morale in the War for Independence.

On December 25, 1914,  just after midnight, German troops began to sing Christmas carols.  They were soon joined by Russian, French & British soldiers. 

In the morning, opposing troops crossed “No Man’s Land” not to kill each other but to exchange handshakes, cigarettes & food.

It is known as the “Christmas Truce”.

Merry Christmas 2010


On December 24, 1961, President Kennedy met with Arturo Frondizi, President of Argentina.  They also had lunch together.  The meeting took place at JFK’s Dad’s residence in Palm Beach, Florida.
Earlier in August, Mr. Frondizi had initiated negotiations between JFK & Che Guevara of Cuba.  This was at the Inter-American Economic and Social Council summit in Montevideo.  This “secret” meeting took place at the presidential residence.

President Fondizi asked Guevara to act as an intermediary between JFK & Cuban Premier Fidel Castro.  This proposed meeting, however, never came about.
I want to wish all visitors to JFK+50 a very Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays and thanks so much for reading my blog.


December 23, 1913

Federal Reserve Act Signed 



“On December 23, 1913, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act into law….(creating) a Federal Reserve System, comprised of a … Board, twelve regional reserve banks, and the underpinnings of a smooth central banking system.

It was the most comprehensive overhaul of the nation’s banking system since the Civil War and represented one of the crowning achievements of President Wilson’s New Freedom program.”
Miller Center of Public  Affairs www.millercenter.org

The Federal Reserve has been the subject of criticism before & after it became law.   In his book, Banking and Currency and the Money Trust (1913), Charles A. Lindbergh, Sr. (father of the famous pilot) wrote:
“This act establishes the most gigantic trust on earth….The worst legislative crime of the ages is perpetuated by this banking and currency bill.”
On June 4, 1963, JFK signed Executive Order 11110 which returned the power to issue currency (as previously established in the United States Constitution) to the United States government without going through the FEDERAL RESERVE (as established by the Federal Reserve Act of 1913).
Between January 1963 & October 1964, $768 million “Silver Certificates” were issued bearing the signature of JFK’s Secretary of Treasury, C. Douglas Dillon.

The website hubpages.com says:  “President Kennedy was on his way to putting the Federal Reserve….out of business.”  
Economics has never been one of my strongest interests & I have found much conflicting information online about the Federal Reserve in regard to JFK.  

Apparently there are some people who believe his Executive Order 11110 has “sinister” implications in regard to powerful interests whom it would impact.   


On December 22, 1775, the Congress created the Continental Navy. Among the 1st 5 lieutenants was John Paul Jones.

A new Admiral appointed by General George Washington, JOHN BURROWS HOPKINS of Rhode Island, flew a yellow flag with a coiled snake & the motto “Don’t Tread On Me.”

On December 22, 1864, General William T. Sherman’s troops occupied Savannah, Georgia.  This was one of the last port cities open to the Confederacy.  

Sherman wired President Lincoln the following message:

“I beg to present to you, as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah with 150 heavy guns and plenty of ammunition and also about 25,000 bales of cotton.”

On December 22, 1968, David Eisenhower, grandson of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, married Julie Nixon, the daughter of former Vice-President Richard M. Nixon.  

Nixon had lost to JFK in 1960 but came back to win the Presidency in November 1968.  

The couple had met at the Republican National Convention of 1956 when they were both 8. 

 They are still married, have 3 children, & live in Pennsylvania.

They have just written a book on General IKE.

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