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Archive for the month “February, 2011”

ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER, JR.

February 28, 2007


NEW FRONTIER “COURT HISTORIAN” DIES


Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., former Special Assistant to President John F. Kennedy, died today of natural causes at the age of 89 in New York City.


Mr. Schlesinger joined JFK’s presidential campaign in 1960 as a speech writer.


Born on October 15, 1917 in Columbus, Ohio, Schlesinger graduated from Harvard University, where he would later serve as a professor, & won the Pulitzer Prize in 1945 for his book The Age of Jackson.


He won another Pulitzer for his memoir of the Kennedy White House entitled: A Thousand Days.*


JFK speech writer, Theodore Sorenson, wrote this tribute to Schlesinger in 2007:


“Arthur played many roles in the Kennedy White House:  a counselor who advised, in vain, against the Bay of Pigs, a bridge to the American intellectual & academic community….& to the rising young leaders in the 3rd world & Europe.” 


Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. wrote in his introduction to A Thousand Days:


“(President Kennedy) offered young people the faith that individuals can make a difference to history.  The Kennedy generation brought new ideas, hopes, vision, generosity & vitality to the national life.”


JFK loved history & had a special affection for Mr. Schlesinger who wrote:


“If we are to survive, we must have ideas, vision & courage.  These things are rarely produced by committees.  Everything that matters in our intellectual & moral life begins with an individual confronting his own mind & conscience in a room by himself.”*


*Personal note:  I was honored to attend a speech given by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. 



Courtesy of the JFK Library, Boston


February 28, 1961


JFK SENT LETTER FROM CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER


A letter was sent today from civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. to a Special Assistant to the President, attorney Frank D. Reeves.


The letter is accompanied by copies of an article that King wrote which appeared in The Nation.


King writes:


“the powerful things that the President can do in civil rights are through executive orders” & “I know that President Kennedy has a marvelous opportunity & I believe in his good faith on the issue.” 



February 28, 1844


PRESIDENT NARROWLY ESCAPES DEATH


President John Tyler, cruising on the Potomac on the USS Princeton, was fortunate to escape death today when a 12 inch, 27,000 pound cannon, known as “The Peacemaker”, exploded sending shrapnel in all directions.



The President, who was half way up a ladder leading to the upper deck when the explosion occurred, was unhurt.


There were about 400 people on board at the time of the accident including former 1st Lady Dolley Madison.


The cannon had been fired twice, previous to the blast, without incident.


The explosion killed several persons including members of the President’s cabinet & the father of his fiancee.*


*Tyler’s 1st wife, Latitia, had died & he was courting 23 year old, Julia Gardiner.  They would be married on June 26, 1844.



                     Julia Gardiner Tyler


February 28, 1784


METHODIST CHURCH CHARTERED


John Wesley chartered the 1st Methodist church in the United States today.  


Although an Anglican, Wesley sees the need for a new church in America to replace the Anglican Church which he feels has abandoned Americans after the revolution.*


*John Wesley rode on horseback preaching 2 to 3 times a day.



Wesley Statue in Melbourne, Australia
Photo by Adam Carr (2005)
























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DIEM COUP ATTEMPT

February 27, 1962


DIEM SURVIVES COUP ATTEMPT


South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem narrowly escaped assassination today when the presidential palace was bombed & strafed by 2 Vietnamese Air Force pilots.


Lt. Pham Pho Quo was arrested after his plane crash landed near Saigon while Lt. Nguyen Van Cu managed to escape to Cambodia.*


*Diem was to be killed in a successful coup on November 2, 1963 just weeks before JFK’s assassination.



February 27, 1951


22nd AMENDMENT IS RATIFIED


“No person shall be elected to the office of President more than twice….”


Thus begins the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution which was ratified by the required # of states today.


While George Washington set the precedent of not seeking a 3rd term, no law or   constitutional amendment had ever been enacted making it illegal.


Franklin D. Roosevelt became the 1st incumbent President to seek a 3rd term in 1940 & was the 1st also to win a 3rd term.  He would go on to seek & be elected to a 4th term in 1944.*



*While there have been some presidents since the 22nd amendment was ratified who spoke in favor of its repeal, JFK voted for the proposed law as a senator & supported it as president.  He, like Washington, believed 2 terms was enough.






February 27, 1973


WOUNDED KNEE TAKEN HOSTAGE


200 Sioux led by members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) occupied the site of the 7th cavalry massacre in South Dakota today.


11 residents of the Pine Ridge reservation have been taken hostage by the group.


The leaders of AIM say that they will not surrender until the government pledges to investigate their complaints against the Bureau of Indian Affairs.*


*Gunfire is exchanged the following day & the occupation lasts 71 days.  Finally, on May 8, the standoff ends after the government promises to investigate the complaints.



February 27, 1991


BUSH SAYS “KUWAIT IS LIBERATED”


President George H.W. Bush announced today that Kuwait has been liberated after having been seized August 2, 1990 by Iraqi troops of Sadam Hussein.


When Hussein refused to remove his troops, a coalition of allies led by the United States began military action.


The invasion of Kuwait not only represented a violation of international law, the country has the 5th largest oil reserves in the world.*


*President Bush ordered a suspension of military operations the following day.





February 27, 1933


REICHSTAG DESTROYED BY FIRE


Today the Reichstag, or German legislative building, was gutted by a fire.  The fire, according to Herman Goring, was not an accident.


Goring told Adolf Hitler: “This is a communist outrage.”


Chancellor Hitler, saying this is a “sign from heaven,” has asked for civil liberties in Germany to be suspended.*


*The next day, President Hindenburg granted Hitler’s request & by the Reichstag Fire Decree, most civil liberties were suspended.  Many historians believe this is the “pivotal” event leading to the establishment of the Nazi state.  The cause of the fire itself, however, continues to be debated today.



February 27, 1900


BRITAIN’S LABOUR PARTY FOUNDED


A center-left democratic socialist political party was founded today in Great Britain.


The party was formed at a conference at Memorial Hall on London’s Farringdon Street.*


*The most recent Labour Party Prime Ministers of Great Britain were Tony Blair (1997-2007) & Gordon Brown (2007-2010).
















VICTORIA REGGIE KENNEDY

February 26, 2011


HAPPY BIRTHDAY VICKI 


Victoria Reggie Kennedy, the widow of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy, celebrates a birthday today.



Vicki was born on February 26, 1954 in Crowley,Louisiana.  She is of Lebanese descent.


Her father was a delegate to the 1956 Democratic Convention & delivered the state of Louisiana to JFK in his unsuccessful bid for the Vice-Presidential nomination.


She graduated from Newcomb College in 1976 & received a JD from Tulane Law School in 1979.


Mrs. Kennedy is an attorney & advocate for issues impacting women, children & families.


The primary caregiver for Senator Kennedy in his final days, she stood at the side of President Obama when he signed the Health Care Reform Act into law.



Vicki & Ted support Obama, Feb. 8, 2008


February 26, 1963


NATIONAL SECURITY MEMORANDUM 223


McGeorge Bundy, JFK’s national security adviser, issued NSM 223 in behalf of President Kennedy on this date.



The memo says JFK wants an analysis of the possibility that China “might return to the attack on India at any time this spring”.


It also indicates the President needs a political & military investigation of this potentiality. 


February 26, 1993


WORLD TRADE CENTER BOMBED


A bomb exploded today in a basement parking garage of the North Tower of the World Trade Center in New York City.


The bomb with 1500 pounds of explosives has been traced by the FBI to the remains of a rental truck found in the aftermath of the tragedy.


6 people have died including a woman who was 7 months pregnant.*


*The FBI finds that the bomb was the work of terrorists.  The mastermind was Ramzi Yousef, an AL-Qaeda trained terrorist, who arrived in the US on September 1, 1992.  All involved are found guilty & each is sentenced to 240 year prison terms.



February 26, 1984


LAST MARINES LEAVE BEIRUIT


Just 4 months after President Reagan announced the US would continue its peace-keeping efforts in Lebanon, the last of the marines stationed there departed today.


In 1982 a force of 800 marines were sent to Beiruit as part of a multi-national force to oversee Palestinian withdrawal from the country.


On April 18, 1983 a suicide bomber drove a truck into the US Embassy killing 63 people including 17  Americans.


Then on October 23 another suicide bomber drove a truck into the marine base in Beiruit killing 241 American military personnel.



February 26, 1929


GRAND TETON  BECOMES A NATIONAL PARK


President Calvin Coolidge signed a law today at the White House establishing the Grant Teton National Park in Wyoming.



February 26, 1919


GRAND CANYON BECOMES A NATIONAL PARK


The Interior Department announced today that the Grand Canyon will be a national park.


More than 800,000 acres have been designated for the park by President Woodrow Wilson.



Photograph by Phil Konstantin, October 10, 2007





Old North Church Lanterns

February 25, 1961


OLD NORTH CHURCH LANTERNS TO HANG IN JFK’S OVAL OFFICE


President Kennedy accepted today a pair of lanterns crafted by Colonial Williamsburg’s master silversmith, William de Matteo.


These lanterns are functional electric reproductions of the original tin lantern that hung in the Old North Church in Boston, Massachusetts on the night of Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride, April 18 & 19, 1775.


JFK will display these lanterns on the wall of the oval office behind his desk.*



*Information & photographs courtesy of JFK Library, Boston





February 25, 1964


CLAY WINS IN 7TH ROUND ON TKO


Cassius Clay of Louisville, Kentucky was declared the winner of a heavyweight championship fight today in Miami Beach, Florida.


Clay, who won a gold medal in the Summer Olympic Games in 1960, won the match in the 7th round over reigning world champion, Sonny Liston.



Despite his opponent being an 8 to 1 favorite, Clay said before the fight that he would “float like a butterfly & sting like a bee” & predicted a victory in 8 rounds.


Liston, who did not come out for the 7th round, had become champion in 1962 by defeating Floyd Patterson.*


*Two days later Clay announced he had joined the Nation of Islam & was changing his name to Muhammad Ali.


In 2005, Ali was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.



February 25, 1986


FERDINAND MARCOS ESCAPES PHILIPPINES


President Ferdinand Marcos along with his wife, Imelda, has been airlifted by US helicopter from the presidential palace in Manila to Hawaii.


Marcos, who has faced mass demonstrations against his regime, will go into exile.


He was 1st elected president of the Philippines in 1966 but assumed dictatorial powers in 1972.



LBJ welcomes Marcos to the White House in 1966


February 25, 1948


COMMUNISTS TAKEOVER IN CZECHOSLOVAKIA


The Communist Party officially took control of the government of Czechoslovakia today.



Having been concerned with Soviet influence in the country, the United States had ended a loan to Czechoslovakia.*


*Communists control the country until the “Velvet Revolution” in 1989.


February 25, 1870


1st AFRICAN AMERICAN SENATOR IS SWORN


Hiram R. Revels, Republican of Mississippi, was sworn in today at the 1st African American to both serve in the congress of the United States, but also to be a U.S. senator.





Senator Revels photographed by Matthew Brady


Revels, a college-educated minister of the AME church, served the Union army as a chaplain & helped organize African-American fighting units.


He holds the senate seat once occupied by former Confederate president, Jefferson Davis.*


*Hiram R. Revels, who died in 1901, is only 1 of 6 African-American US senators to this day.







Alamo Siege Begins

February 24, 1836


SIEGE OF THE ALAMO BEGINS IN TEXAS


General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, whose forces number several thousand & surround less than 200 Texan rebels within the compound of an old abandoned Spanish mission at San Antonio de Bexar, demanded its’ commander, Colonel William B. Travis, to surrender today.


Travis, assisted by Jim Bowie, commander of volunteers, answered the demand with a cannon shot.


Congressman David Crockett, accompanied by some of his “Tennessee volunteers”, is also at the Alamo.*


*This begins what will be a 13 day siege culminating in a final assault on March 6, 1836.  All Texans inside the walls of the Alamo are either killed in the battle or put to the sword thereafter.



February 24, 1803


SUPREME COURT HANDS DOWN RULING IN MARBURY


Chief Justice John Marshall has announced the high court’s decision in the landmark case Marbury v. Madison.


The majority ruling is that President Thomas Jefferson was wrong when he permitted his Secretary of State, James Madison, to prevent William Marbury from receiving his commission as Justice of the Peace in Washington, D.C.


The court, also ruled, however, that it has no jurisdiction in the case & that the Judiciary Act of 1789 which allows it jurisdiction is unconstitutional.


This marks the 1st time the high court has ruled a federal law does not meet the test of the United States Constitution & is therefore invalid.  The decision firmly establishes the principle of judicial review.



                       William Marbury


February 24, 1868


ANDREW JOHNSON IS IMPEACHED


The House of Representatives voted 11 articles of impeachment today against President Andrew Johnson of Tennessee.


9 of the 11 articles relate to Johnson’s violation of the Tenure of Office Act by the removal of Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, a radical, who like many members of congress oppose Johnson’s reconstruction policies which they consider to be too lenient.


Andrew Johnson becomes the 1st President in history to be impeached or charged with “high crimes & misdemeanors.”*


*The Senate impeachment trial, lasting from March 13 to March 26, 1868, ends with Johnson’s acquittal.  He will complete his term which began with the death of President Lincoln.



February 24, 1917


GERMAN TELEGRAM INTERCEPTED BY BRITISH


US ambassador to Great Britain, Walter H. Page, announced today he was presented with a copy of  a coded message from German foreign secretary, Arthur Zimmerman to German ambassador to Mexico, Count Johann von Bernstoft.


The “Zimmerman telegram”, deciphered by British intelligence, says the German government is prepared to see that Mexico will regain her lost territories of Texas, New Mexico & Arizona if there is war between the US & Germany & Mexico takes Germany’s side.


Page sent a copy of the “note” to President Woodrow Wilson.*


*The Zimmerman telegram will prove to be one of key events which will lead to a declaration of war by the United States on Germany in April 1917.



February 24, 1938


MGM BUYS MOVIE RIGHTS TO “WIZARD”


“Variety” announced today that MGM has purchased the motion picture rights to L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.


The magazine also says that the studio has cast 16 year old Judy Garland in the lead role of Dorothy Gale.*


*The Wizard of Oz (1939) ranks 6th as one of the 100 greatest movies of all time.  It pioneered the use of “technicolor” & is known for its signature song, sung by Garland, “Over the Rainbow”.



February 24, 1961


JFK OUTLINES ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAM


President Kennedy presented today in a message to congress a program on natural resources emphasizing solution to potential water problems including comprehensive river basin development, stream pollution control & saline water conversion.


February 24, 2008


CASTRO RETIRES AS PRESIDENT OF CUBA


Fidel Castro retired today as President of Cuba.  He has occupied this position for nearly 50 years.







US Marine Corps Memorial

February 23, 1945


MARINES RAISE US FLAGS ON SURIBACHI


During the ongoing battle of Iwo Jima in the Pacific today, US Marines captured the crest of the island’s highest peak, Mount Suribachi.


Two groups of Marines of the 3rd platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalion, 28th Division raised 2 flags at the top.  


The 1st flag raisers were photographed by Louis Lowery & then a few hours later the 2nd flag raising was captured on film by AP photographer Joe Rosenthal.*



*Rosenthal would win the Pulitzer Prize for his famous photograph which was to become the model for the US Marine Corps War Memorial.


The War Memorial, located near Rosslyn, Virginia, was dedicated in 1954. 


JFK issued a proclamation in 1961 which provides for the American flag to fly from the memorial 24 hours a day.


The US Marine Corps War Memorial honors all Marines who have died in battle since 1775.


On the base of the memorial is a quote from Admiral Chester Nimitz who honored the American Marines on Iwo Jima:


“Uncommon Valor was a Common Virtue”*


*The 6 flag raisers who are depicted in the memorial are: Ira Hayes, Franklin Sousley, John Bradley, Harlon Block, Michael Strank & Rene Gagnon.


Block, Sousley & Strank were killed on Iwo shortly after the flag raising.  The 3 survivors quickly became national heroes.

February 23, 1961

JFK MEETS WITH FBI DIRECTOR HOOVER

President Kennedy met today at the White House with long time director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, J. Edgar Hoover.

Also attending the meeting was Hoover’s boss in the Justice Department & JFK’s brother, Robert F. Kennedy.


JFK also met today with the Joint Chiefs & Staff of the US military & sent to congress a message on the nation’s natural resources.

February 23, 1961

BRAZIL’S PRESIDENT FAVORS DEBATE ON RED CHINA

President Janio Quadros of Brazil spoke in favor today of a debate at the United Nations on the admission of communist China to the world organization for peace.

Brazil becomes the second Latin American country along with Cuba to support such debate.

The government of the United States has remained opposed to debate on the issue.

February 22, 1954

POLIO VACCINE GIVEN TO SCHOOL CHILDREN

The 1st polio vaccine, developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, was administered today to children at the Arsenal Elementary School in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.*


*After mass inoculations were begun, 4 million polio shots were given in the U.S. by August 1955. 

Personal note: I was one of the “baby boomers” who stood in a long line to get my polio shot.  I remember a lot of kids crying, including myself, & as a child had a dream that the needle went all the way through my arm.



February 23, 1861


LINCOLN AVOIDS BALTIMORE


President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived in Washington, D.C. after his train bypassed a stop in Baltimore, Maryland.


Detectives of the Pinkerton Agency uncovered a plot about a week ago to assassinate Lincoln during his stop in Baltimore.


While Mr. Lincoln expressed the desire to make the stop in any case, his wife, Mary Todd Lincoln, convinced him it would not be advisable.


After arriving early this morning, the President was whisked to Willard Hotel where he plans to reside until the inaugural early next month.



This drawing appeared in “Harper’s Weekly” on March 9, 1861 depicting Lincoln sneaking into the Nation’s Capital



TED KENNEDY

February 22, 1932


TED KENNEDY BORN IN BROOKLINE


Mr. & Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. announced today the birth of Edward Moore “Ted” Kennedy in Brookline, Massachusetts.*


*Teddy was 1st elected to fill the US Senate seat vacated by his brother, Jack, in 1962.



 He would go on to serve nearly 47 years in the senate where he proposed more than 300 bills which were enacted into law.


When JFK was asked by a reporter if the new comedy record by Vaughn Meader mimicking the Presidents voice brought “annoyment or enjoyment” the President answered he thought the record “sounded more like Teddy than it did me…..so he’s annoyed.”


Ted Kennedy made an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination for President in 1980.  In his concluding speech he said:


“For me….this campaign (has ended).  For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives & the dream shall never die.”


Edward M. Kennedy died at the age of 77 on August 25, 2009.





February 22, 1968


TET OFFENSIVE ENDS


The “TET” offensive in Vietnam finally ended today.  President Johnson says the offensive was a complete failure.


Despite the fact that North Vietnam lost 20 times the number of casualties as her enemies, defense positions, previously thought to be solid, have proven to be suspect.



February 22, 1946


KENNAN SENDS TELEGRAM TO STATE DEPARTMENT


American Charge d’affaires in Moscow, George Kennan, sent a telegram to the US Department of State today explaining his views on US policy toward the Soviet Union.


He says the Soviets are very suspicious of the west & cannot envision a “permanent peace” between the USSR & USA.*


*Kennan’s views will become the basis of the American policy of the containment of communism.  Mr. Kennan died at the age of 101 in 2005.



February 22, 1942


MACARTHUR ORDERED TO LEAVE PHILIPPINES


President Roosevelt announced today that he has sent an order to General Douglas MacArthur to leave the Philippine Islands.  He cannot risk having an officer of MacArthur’s caliber lost to the Japanese after the collapse of American forces on the islands.*


*While MacArthur delays the escape, he does obey the order in March 1942 & is spirited by PT boat to Melbourne, Australia.


February 22, 1819


US ACQUIRES SPANISH FLORIDA


Do Louis de Onis of Spain & Secretary of State John Quincy Adams of the United States have negotiated the Florida Purchase Treaty today.



By the terms of the treaty, Spain will cede the remainder of the Florida province to the U.S.*


*Andrew Jackson of Tennessee will be appointed Military Governor of the Florida territory.


February 22, 1732


GEORGE WASHINGTON BORN IN VIRGINIA


George Washington was born today in Westmoreland County, Virginia.*


*His 1st job was as a surveyor in the Shenandoah Valley at age 17.  He served in the French & Indian War & was elected to the Virginia House of Burgesses & the Continental Congress.  He was the unanimous choice of the congress to be Commander-in-chief of the Continental Army.  In 1789, he was elected the 1st President of the United States.  After serving 2 terms, he retired to Mount Vernon where he died on December 14, 1799.



February 22, 1980


“MIRACLE ON THE ICE” AT THE WINTER OLYMPICS


The U.S. hockey team defeated the USSR by a score of 4 to 3 in the Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid, New York today.


The heavily-favored Soviet team had been expected to win easily over the Americans.*



*Later the USA defeated Finland to win the gold medal.  The U.S. coach was Herb Brooks who was the hockey coach at the University of Minnesota.







Washington Monument

February 21, 1885


WASHINGTON MONUMENT DEDICATED


The tallest structure in the world was dedicated today here in the Nation’s Capital.


The ceremony, which began at 11 a.m., had 800 people in attendance enduring very cold temperatures & a brisk wind.


The 555′ monument, designed by Robert Mills, was begun on July 4, 1848.


Made of marble, granite & sandstone, the Washington Monument was completed at a cost of $1,817,710.



   Photo by John White, 2007


The proceedings were called to order by Senator Sherman and concluded with the acceptance of the monument “on behalf of the people of the United States” by President Chester A. Arthur.


Following is an excerpt from President Arthur’s remarks:


“I do now, as President of the United States in behalf of the people, receive this monument from the hands of its builder & declare it dedicated from this time forth to the immortal name & memory of George Washington.”*


*from “Marking a People’s Love”, The New York Times, February 22, 1885.



February 21, 1965


MALCOLM X IS MURDERED IN NEW YORK CITY


Malcolm X, born as Malcolm Little & founder of the Organization of American Unity, was giving a speech to the group when he was shot & killed.


Malcolm X grew up in Omaha, Nebraska the son of a Baptist preacher who supported the ideas of Marcus Garvey.


After being found guilty of burglary, he served 6 years in prison.  After his release, he became a minister of the Nation of Islam in Harlem.


Malcolm X was suspended from his ministry by the group’s leader, Elijah Muhammad, when Malcolm X said that JFK’s assassination was a case of the “chickens coming home to roost”.



February 21, 1981


DOLLY PARTON’S “9 to 5” #1 IN POP


Country music singer & songwriter, Dolly Parton, achieved a career boost today as her crossover hit, “Nine to Five”, made it to the top of the popular music charts.


Miss Parton, born in Sevierville, Tennessee, wrote and sang the song that is also the theme of the motion picture by the same name.


Dolly Parton left the Smoky Mountains for Music City USA, Nashville, Tennessee, on the day of her graduation from high school.*


*Dolly won both Oscar & Grammy nominations for “9 to 5”.



Dolly & Tennessee Senator Bob Corker
at the re-dedication of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park
September 2, 2009


February 21, 1948


NASCAR FOUNDED


The National Association for Stock Car Racing has been officially incorporated today.  


NASCAR was organized by mechanic & auto shop owner, William France, Sr.*


*The 1st NASCAR track will open at Darlington Raceway in South Carolina.  Daytona International Raceway opens in 1959 & Lee Petty wins the 1st “Daytona 500”.





Yesterday’s Daytona 500 race was won by Knoxville, Tennessee native, Trevor Bayne. 


He is just 20 years old & was driving a Ford Fusion for the Wood Brothers, the oldest NASCAR team.


He is the youngest driver to win the race which was also his 1st in a Daytona 500.


*Note from JFK+50’s author


I want to thank each & every visitor to my JFK+50 blog over the past few months.  It has been most gratifying to me to have had such a great response.


I would like to know what you like or dislike about the blog & what you would like to see more or less of in future postings.


Feel free to post a comment at the end of each posting or if you prefer your comments not be public then click on my profile on the left side of the page & you will be taken to a page where you can send me a private email.


I promise to respond to each email & keep your comments confidential.


Again, thanks for your continued interest in JFK+50.


John White
Knoxville, Tennessee USA

JOHN GLENN

February 20, 1962


“GOD SPEED JOHN GLENN”



With these words, US astronaut, Lt.Col. John Glenn (USMC), lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida to become America’s 1st man to orbit the earth.


Glenn lifted off successfully aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury space capsule at 9:47 a.m. eastern time with 100,000 people watching on the ground & millions on television.



John Glenn is a man who has a history of bravery & service.  He has flown 150 combat missions in WW II & the Korean War.


While his 3 orbits around the globe were not without some technical issues, the Friendship 7 reentered the earth’s atmosphere & splashed down safely in the Atlantic where it was retrieved by a helicopter from the USS Noa.


The flight lasted almost 5 hours. 


John Glenn becomes the 3rd man to have orbited the earth.  The 1st was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin followed by his fellow cosmonaut Gherman Titov.


Glenn is also the 3rd American astronaut to fly in space.  He follows fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard & Virgil “Gus” Grissom.


The success of putting a man in orbit represents a huge step toward achieving President Kennedy’s goal, set last year, of “landing a man on the moon & returning him safely to the earth” by the end of the decade.*


*JFK visits Cape Canaveral on February 23 to pin a medal on John Glenn who later addresses congress & is given a ticker tape parade.





February 20, 1920


KATHLEEN KENNEDY BORN IN BROOKLINE


Mr. & Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. announced today the birth of their 1st daughter, Kathleen.


She is welcomed by brothers Joseph P.  (Joe) Kennedy, Jr. & John F. (Jack) Kennedy.*



*Kathleen will be nicknamed “Kick” & will have a close bond with her older brothers. 


When her dad becomes ambassador to Britain, she spends more than a year in London, returning in 1943 to serve in the American Red Cross.   



Joe, Jr., Kick & Jack in London


Kick was known for her beauty & vivacious spirit. She married William Cavendish, Marquis of Hartington, in 1944 but he was to be killed in the war a few months later. 


Lady Hartington died in an air crash in France on May 13, 1948 & is buried in Chatsworth, England.


February 20, 1862


PRESIDENT’S SON, WILLIE, IS DEAD


Willie Lincoln, the 3rd son of President Abraham & Mary Todd Lincoln, died today at the White House having been stricken by typhoid fever just 2 weeks ago.  


A typhoid epidemic has existed in the nation’s capital for some time.


Willie was pronounced dead at 5 o’clock this evening & the body was placed in the Green Room.


The President sadly commented:


“My poor boy.  He was too good for this earth……It is so hard to have him die.”


Mrs. Lincoln, who is reported to be taking the death of her son with great difficulty, was not available for comment.*


*Willie will be buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown but after his father’s death in 1865 the remains are transferred to Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.



February 20, 1985


IRISH PARLIAMENT APPROVES BIRTH CONTROL


The parliament of Ireland today approved the sale of contraceptives. 


This action follows the 1973 decision of the Irish Supreme Court to approve the use of contraceptives as a matter of “marital privacy” & the 1980 Health Act which allows them to be sold to those with prescriptions.*


*This is the 1st time the Catholic Church has lost a battle with the government of Ireland.
























The Feminine Mystique

February 19, 1963


THE FEMININE MYSTIQUE PUBLISHED


Betty Friedan published her non-fiction work, The Feminine Mystique, today.  The idea for the book came from a survey Miss Friedan gave to 200 of her fellow classmates of Smith women’s college.



The survey results proved what Friedan suspected:  American women are unhappy & do not know why.


In The Feminine Mystique, Friedan places blame for women’s unhappy state on the “idealized image of femininity” which confines women to the role of housewife thus limiting their ability to pursue career goals.*


*The Feminine Mystique launches a 2nd feminist movement.



February 19, 1945


MARINES INVADE IWO JIMA


The USMC launched an invasion today of Japanese occupied Iwo Jima, an island just 660 miles from mainland Japan.


The island is defended by 21,000 soldiers who are protected by a network of caves.


The amphibious landings were resisted by 7 Japanese battalions.  


*By evening, the Marines lost 550 dead & 1800 wounded.  On February 23 the US flag will be raised on Mt. Suribachi (return to blog entry on Feb 23 for more info).  


The Battle of Iwo Jima ended with a decisive US victory on March 26, 1945.



February 19, 1942


FDR SIGNS ORDER TO MOVE JAPANESE-AMERICANS


President Roosevelt signed Executive Order #9066 today authorizing the removal of all people from military areas “as deemed necessary.”


The military has determined this includes all of the west coast of the United States*



*By June 1942, 110,000 Japanese-Americans were moved to internment camps where they lived in poor conditions & under guard.  They would not be allowed to return to their homes until December 17, 1944.



San Francisco store owner is relocated
Photo by Dorothea Lange, March 1942


President Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act in 1988 which will give each survivor of the internment camps $20,000 tax free along with the government’s apology.





February 19, 1970


“CHICAGO 7” ACQUITTED OF CONSPIRACY


The 7 accused “conspirators” of being responsible for violent demonstrations at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago have been found innocent of the charge of conspiracy.


Originally known as the “Chicago 8” their number dropped to 7 when it was decided to try the 8th member, Bobby Seale, separately.


The group has used the trial as a platform for an attack on the war in Vietnam & President Nixon.


The seven were, however, found guilty of inciting riot.*


*Despite receiving prison sentences, none served time because the court of appeals overturned the original verdict.



February 19, 1878


EDISON AWARDED PATENT FOR PHONOGRAPH


The Wizard of Menlo Park, Thomas Alva Edison, was awarded US Patent #200,521 today for his phonograph.


Edison has devised a system that will transfer the vibrations of a diaphragm to an embossing point & then onto a tin-foil wrapped cylinder.  The recording then can be played back on the machine.*


Edison will go on to receive over 1000 patents, more than any other inventor.  The phonograph will be his favorite invention because it brings music into the home.



February 19, 1674


PEACE OF WESTMINSTER SIGNED


Today the 3rd Anglo-Dutch War came to an official end as England & the Netherlands sign a peace agreement at Westminster.


Provisions of the treaty include the regulation of commerce in the East Indies & the transfer of New Amsterdam to England.*


*New Amsterdam will become New York.




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