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Archive for the month “April, 2011”

WASHINGTON INAUGURATED AS FIRST PRESIDENT

April 30, 1789


WASHINGTON INAUGURATED AS FIRST PRESIDENT


George Washington was inaugurated today as the 1st President of the United States under the Constitution of the United States in New York City.


The ceremony took place at Federal Hall.  The President-elect took his position on the balcony & with his hand on the Bible took the oath of office from New York Chancellor Robert Livingston.


Washington wore a dark brown suit with white silk stockings.


After repeating the oath as prescribed in the Constitution, Washington added the words: “So Help Me God” & then kissed the Bible used for the ceremony.


Afterwards, the President presented his inaugural address to the Congress inside Federal Hall.


In his inaugural address, the President said:


“No people can be bound to acknowledge and adore the invisible Hand which conducts the affairs of men more than the people of the United States.”



     Swearing-in of the 1st US President
          Federal Hall, New York City
                      April 30, 1789
 Painting by Ramon de Elorriaga (1899)


April 30, 1939


WORLD’S FAIR OPENS IN NEW YORK CITY


The opening ceremonies of the 1939 World’s Fair were held in New York City today.


The Fair is located on 1200 acres at Flushing Meadow Park.


The ceremonies, attended by more than 200,000,  included speeches by President Franklin D. Roosevelt & New York Governor Herbert Lehman.


The ceremonies, televised for the 1st time in history, were held on the 150th anniversary of the inauguration of George Washington.


New technologies on display at the Fair include FM radio & fluorescent lighting.


Sixty-three nations will participate in the Fair.



         1939 New York World’s Fair


April 30, 1975


SAIGON FALLS TO THE COMMUNISTS


The long war in Vietnam finally ended today as North Vietnamese troops easily occupied the South Vietnamese capital city of Saigon.


North Vietnamese tanks crashed through the gates of the Presidential Palace.  


North Vietnamese Colonel Bui Tin accepted surrendered from South Vietnamese General Duong Van Minh.


Colonel Tin said to General Van Minh:


“You have nothing to fear.  Between Vietnamese there are no victors & no vanquished.  Only the Americans are beaten.”



South Vietnamese Attempt to Enter US Embassy in Saigon


April 30, 1945


HITLER COMMITS SUICIDE IN BUNKER


German Fuhrer Adolf Hitler committed suicide today in his Bunker 55 feet below the Reich Chancellery in Berlin.


Hitler, who had been in the Bunker since January 16, took a cyanide capsule & shot himself with a pistol.


His wife, Eva Braun, joined her husband in suicide.


With Soviet troops nearby & in the process of bombarding the city, the bodies were taken, following Hitler’s orders, to the garden outside the entrance to the Bunker where they were cremated.



            Photo Outside The Bunker
         From Deutsches Bundesarchiv
                         July 1947


April 30, 1948


ORGANIZATION OF AMERICAN STATES CHARTERED


Representatives of the United States & 20 nations of Latin America signed the charter of the Organization of American States today.


The OAS is designed to help establish better political relations between member countries as well as provide a buffer against the threat of communist infiltration into the Western Hemisphere.


The OAS was chartered a year after the Rio Pact set up a defensive military alliance between the US & Latin America.


The OAS Charter condemns international communism & says “no state has the right to intervene in the affairs of any other state.”



        OAS Building, Washington, D.C.
       Photo by Joshua Sherurcij (2008)

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JFK WELCOMES NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS

April 29, 1962


JFK WELCOMES NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS


President John F. Kennedy hosted a state dinner tonight for the winners of the Nobel Prize of the Western Hemisphere.


The dinner was held in the elegant State Dining Room at the White House.


The President began his remarks with these words:


“I want to tell you how welcome you are to the White House.  I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.”



                       State Dining Room
                        The White House


April 29, 1968


MUSICAL “HAIR” PREMIERS ON BROADWAY


The musical “Hair” opened tonight at New York City’s Biltmore Theater.


Some, if not all, in the premier audience may have been shocked to see the cast completely nude at the end of Act I, although the stage was dimly lit at the time.


It is yet to be seen whether or not the controversial play will be accepted by Broadway theater patrons.*


*”Hair” will be the 1st rock musical to win success on Broadway.  The musical’s song, “Aquarius” will be a #1 hit.



April 29, 1974


NIXON AGREES TO RELEASE TAPE TRANSCRIPTS


Under fire in the ongoing “Watergate” scandal, President Richard M. Nixon announced tonight that he will release transcripts of 46 taped White House conversations.


His decision comes long after a subpoena for the tapes was issued in July of last year.


In his statement, the President said:


“I want there to be no question…that the President has nothing to hide….”*


*Nixon will finally be forced to resign on August 8, 1974.



         Nixon With Tape Transcripts


April 29, 1986


“ROCKET” STRIKES OUT 20 BATTERS IN BOSTON


William Roger Clemens of the Boston Red Sox has become the 1st major league pitcher to strike out 20 batters in a 9 inning game.


The record was set at historic Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts.


Clemens, nicknamed “Rocket” because of his blazing fastball, starred for the Texas Longhorns before being signed to a major league contract by the Red Sox.


The victims of the record setting game were the Seattle Mariners.  


Clemens broke the old record of 19 strikeouts in 9 innings held jointly by Steve Carlton of the St. Louis Cardinals & Tom Seaver of the New York Mets.



           Roger Clemens, Boston Red Sox


April 29, 2004


WORLD WAR II MONUMENT IS OPEN


The National World War II Memorial opened today in Washington, D.C.


The new monument is located on the National Mall between the Washington Monument & Lincoln Memorial.


It is made of granite & bronze & features fountains between arches which symbolize hostilities in both Europe & the Far East.


The monument also includes a wall of 4000 gold stars.  Each gold star represents 100 Americans killed in the war.


A stone on the monument pays tribute to the “Americans who took up the struggle during the Second World War & made sacrifices to perpetuate the gift our forefathers entrusted to us:  A nation conceived in liberty & justice”.



           World War II Memorial
                 Washington, D.C.


April 29, 1945


US 7TH ARMY LIBERATES DACHAU


The 1st Nazi concentration camp, Dachau, located 10 miles NW of Munich, was liberated today by the US 7th Army’s 45th Infantry Division.


The camp became a model for other Nazi camps & was the 1st to use prisoners for medical experimentation.


Thousands of prisoners died or were executed at Dachau.


American soldiers found 30 railroad cars full of bodies.



      US Soldiers At Dachau Gate (1945)


April 29, 1854


1ST AFRICAN AMERICAN COLLEGE CHARTERED


Ashmun Institute was established today by the Pennsylvania Legislature.


The college, located in Chester County, is the 1st in the United States to provide an education exclusively for African American students.


The Institute is named after an American agent who helped preserve the African colony of Liberia.*


*Ashmun Institute opens its doors on January 1, 1857.  In 1866, it is renamed Lincoln University.



                      photo by Pap18s


UT “College For A Day”
The Civil War


I attended today an event sponsored by the University of Tennessee Office of Alumni Affairs. 


The program is called “College For A Day” & includes a luncheon with presentations by three excellent University of Tennessee historians.  


They are: Dr. Joan Markel, Dr. Daniel Feller & Dr. Bruce Wheeler.


The topics were “Civil War Maps & Orlando Poe”, “What Caused the Civil War?” & “East Tennessee & the Civil War.”


This was an excellent program. 


I enjoyed & learned from all 3 presentations & particularly enjoyed Dr. Wheeler who was my history professor at UT many years ago.



                      Dr. Bruce Wheeler
                     Professor Emeritus
                            History
           The University of Tennessee
           Photo by John White (2011)

VICE PRESIDENT SENDS JFK MEMO ON US SPACE PROGRAM

April 28, 1961


VICE-PRESIDENT SENDS JFK MEMO ON US SPACE PROGRAM


Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson sent President Kennedy a memo today in response to his request for an evaluation of the US space program.


Following are a few of the points LBJ made in the memo (complete memo available at the JFK Library website):


*The Soviets are ahead in the space race


*US has failed to make “hard decisions” to achieve leadership in space


*Space achievement is a major indication of a nation’s world leadership


*US leadership in space is achievable


*Manned exploration of the moon is an “essential” objective


Also, in response to JFK’s questions, LBJ says:


*We can beat the Soviets to the moon by 1966 or 1967.


*It will cost $1,000,000,000 a year for 10 years

                1960 Campaign Poster


April 28, 1963


JOINT US-USSR STATEMENT ON LAOS ISSUED


The US & USSR issued a joint statement today in support of an independent Laos.


The statement was issued despite an earlier refusal on the part of Soviet ministers to meet with US envoy, W. Averell Harriman.



           Molotov, Harriman & Churchill



April 28, 1965


US TROOPS LAND IN DOMINICAN REPUBLIC


President Lyndon B. Johnson has ordered 22,000 American troops to the Dominican Republic to restore order.


US forces will be supported by troops from member nations of the Organization of American States.


The President says that he is hopeful of stopping a takeover by a communist dictator.


Troubles began in the island nation when dictator Rafael Trujillo was assassinated in 1961.*


*Over the next few months the fighting ends with the US helping to install a conservative, non-military government in the Dominican Republic



April 28, 1967


ALI REFUSES ARMY INDUCTION


Heavyweight Champion of the World, Muhammad Ali, was stripped of his title today for refusal to be inducted into the United States Army.


Ali, a Muslim, cited “religious reasons” for his refusal.


Ali said: 


“I ain’t got no quarrel with those Viet Cong”.*


*Ali will be found guilty of draft evasion in June & banned from boxing for 3 years.



                      Muhammad Ali 
                World Journal Tribune
       Photograph by Ira Rosenberg (1967)


April 28, 1969


CHARLES DE GAULLE RESIGNS 


French President Charles de Gaulle resigned today after his proposals for constitutional reform were rejected.


De Gaulle’s prestige & power were weakened by last year’s student demonstrations & workers’ strikes.


Mr. De Gaulle is 79 years old.*


*De Gaulle passed away the following year.



                   Charles de Gaulle


April 28, 1986


USS ENTERPRISE SAILS TO THE MEDITERRANEAN 


The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise has become the 1st nuclear powered aircraft carrier to transit the Red Sea to the Mediterranean Sea.


The aircraft carrier is to relieve the USS Coral Sea.



                     USS Enterprise
      Commissioned November 21, 1961


April 28, 1945


MUSSOLINI & MISTRESS SHOT DEAD


Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini & his mistress, Clara Petacci, were shot dead today by partisans after they attempted escape to Switzerland.


The border guards, who were partisans, discovered Mussolini’s identity despite his attempt to disguise himself as a German airman.


After they were shot dead, the couple’s bodies were transported to a gas station in Milan where they were hung upside down for public viewing & ridicule.



             Benito Mussolini in 1944
             Deutsches Bunde sarchiv

LITTLE PEGGY MARCH HAS #1 HIT

April 27, 1963


LITTLE PEGGY MARCH HAS #1 HIT


Margaret Annemarie Battavio, better known as “Little Peggy March”, was awarded her first #1 on US pop charts today for “I Will Follow Him”.


“I will follow him. 
Follow him wherever he may go.
There isn’t an ocean too deep,
A mountain so high it can keep,
Keep me away.” 


The 15 year old high school freshman becomes the youngest female singer ever to top the “Billboard Hot 100s.”*


*Although Miss March would never have another Top 10 hit in the US, she became very popular in  Europe, particularly in Germany where she would live for 20 years.



April 27, 1963


TROUBLE IN THE CARIBBEAN


After Haitian troops occupied the Dominican Embassy in Port-au-Prince, the Dominican Republic is threatening military action against its island neighbor.



April 27, 1968


VICE-PRESIDENT HUMPHREY ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY 


Vice-President Hubert H. Humphrey announced today that he is a candidate for the 1968 Democratic nomination for President of the United States.


Mr. Humphrey’s announcement follows the decision of President Johnson on the last day of March that he would neither seek nor accept the nomination of his party for another term.*


*Mr. Humphrey, who was defeated by JFK in the West Virginia primary in 1960, would go on to win the nomination but lose in the general election to Richard Nixon.


Note:  I was 20 years old in 1968 & was ineligible to vote in that election.



         Humphrey-Muskie Ticket 1968


April 27, 1805


US MARINES ACCOMPLISH MISSION IN TRIPOLI


American agent William Eaton led a small force of Marines to the Tripolitan port city of Derna in an attempt to depose the ruling pasha, Yusuf Karamanli.


Supported by the USS Argus & USS Hornet, the mission was accomplished.*


*The Marine commander, Lt. Presley O’Bannon, will be presented a sword by the former pro-American pasha which will serve as a pattern for the swords carried by Marine officers today.


The phrase in the “Marines Hymn”, “to the shores of Tripoli” comes from this mission.

               USMC Marmeluke Sword


April 27, 1521


MAGELLAN KILLED IN THE PHILIPPINES


Portuguese navigator, Ferdinand Magellan, was killed today on Mactan Island in the Philippine Islands.


The explorer, leading an effort to circumnavigate the globe, was hit by a poisoned arrow & left to die by his retreating crew.*


*Survivors of the expedition were able to return to Spain in September 1522 becoming the 1st to circle the globe.



          Ferdinand Magellan of Portugal







MARIA SHRIVER WEDS SCHWARZENEGGER

April 26, 1986


MARIA SHRIVER WEDS SCHWARZENEGGER


Maria Shriver, JFK’s niece & daughter of his Peace Corps director, Sargent Shriver & Eunice Kennedy Shriver (JFK’s sister), married former bodybuilder turned actor, Arnold Schwarzenegger today in Hyannis, Massachusetts.


The match seemed unlikely since Shriver is a Democrat from the Kennedy family while Mr. Schwarzenegger is a Republican.


Miss Shriver graduated from Georgetown University in 1977 & became a prominent newswoman.


The ceremony took place at St. Francis Xavier Church where there were 500 guests.


The bride’s cousin, Caroline Kennedy, JFK’s daughter, was the maid of honor while former Mr. Universe, Franco Columbu, was best man.


The wedding reception was held at the Kennedy Compound.



Maria Shriver & Governor Schwarzenegger
2007 Special Olympics*
Shanghai, China Photo by Silvia Cestari


*Eunice Shriver was founder of the Special Olympics.


April 26, 1986


NUCLEAR POWER ACCIDENT AT CHERNOBYL


The world’s worst nuclear power accident occurred today at Chernobyl, 65 miles north of Kiev in the Ukraine, USSR.


Experiments were being conducted by Soviet nuclear scientists at the time of the mishap.


The Soviet government will not confirm the accident, but unidentified sources report 32 people have been killed & dozens more have suffered radiation burns.*


*The accident is described as a “chemical explosion driven by the ignition of gases & steam generated by a runaway reaction.” 


The radiation released at Chernobyl was several times more than that released as a result of the atomic weapons dropped on Japan in 1945.


Eventually, 5000 Soviet citizens died from illnesses incurred as a result of the disaster.


                          Chernobyl


April 26, 1984


PRESIDENT & MRS. REAGAN ARRIVE IN CHINA


Ronald Wilson Reagan became only the 2nd US President to visit China today.  


Mr. & Mrs. Reagan will be in China for 6 days. Mr. Reagan is the guest of China’s President Li Xiannian.


President Reagan has already made an impression by attempting to speak Chinese.*


*President Nixon & First Lady Pat Nixon visited China in 1972.



        President & Mrs. Reagan in China


April 26, 1961


JFK SENDS MESSAGE TO SIERRA LEONE


President Kennedy sent a message of congratulations today to the people of the African nation of Sierra Leone.


The message is in honor of the gaining of independence of the African country after more than 50 years of British rule.



                  Flag of Sierra Leone


April 26, 1962


“RANGER 4” CRASHES INTO THE MOON


Just 3 months after US spacecraft “Ranger 3” failed to reach the moon, “Ranger 4” today made a crash landing on the moon.  


The “Ranger 4” was supposed to transmit pictures of the lunar surface back to earth for a 10 minute period before crashing, but an on board computer failure prevented that from happening.



                  Ranger 4 Spacecraft


April 26, 1954


CONFERENCE AT GENEVA BEGINS TODAY


Representatives of the world powers gathered in Geneva, Switzerland today in an effort to resolve ongoing problems in Southeast Asia.*


*The Geneva Conference will conclude in July with French troops leaving North Vietnam.  Vietnam itself will be divided a the 17th parallel pending elections within 2 years to reunify the country & elect a president.



           Geneva Conference (1954)


April 26, 1865


JOHN WILKES BOOTH SURROUNDED & SHOT IN VIRGINIA


12 days after having shot President Abraham Lincoln in Ford’s Theater, the actor & Southern sympathizer, John Wilkes Booth, was surrounded today by US soldiers in Virginia.


Booth, 26 years years old, was accompanied by accomplice David Herold.  The 2 fugitives were hiding in a tobacco barn on the farm of Mr. Richard Garrett.


Herold gave up without a struggle, but Booth refused.  Soldiers then set fire to the barn & with Booth still inside, a shot was fired & the assassin fell to the ground.


Soldiers rushed in & pulled Booth out of the flaming barn.  He was dragged up to the porch of the Garrett farmhouse where he died.



                    Garrett Farmhouse
                   Port Royal, Virginia









US RESUMES NUCLEAR TESTING

 April 25, 1962


US RESUMES NUCLEAR TESTING


Today the United States detonated a nuclear bomb over Christmas Island in the South Pacific.


This was the 1st atmospheric nuclear test by the US since an agreement to stop such tests was signed with the USSR in 1958.


President Kennedy authorized the test after the Soviets stated their intention to violate the agreement & launched a series of 45 tests over a 2 month period.



                     Christmas Island


April 25, 1964


LBJ APPOINTS WESTMORELAND HEAD OF MACV


President Lyndon B. Johnson has appointed General William Westmoreland as head of the Military Assistance Command in South Vietnam.


General Westmoreland is to assume the post from Paul Harkins on June 20.*


*Westmoreland held the post until March 3, 1968 when LBJ announced his appointment to Army Chief of Staff.



Westmoreland Awards West Point Diploma to Roy F. Busdiecker


April 25, 1947


TRUMAN OPENS 1ST WHITE HOUSE BOWLING ALLEY


President Harry S Truman opened the 1st bowling alley in the West Wing of the White House today.


The 2 lane bowling alley was presented to the President as a gift from some fellow Missourians.


Mr. Truman’s “1st ball” knocked down 7 of 10 pins.*


*Eisenhower, an avid golfer, apparently had little use for the bowling alley & had it turned into a copy room in 1955.  


When Nixon became President, he had a single lane bowling alley installed.



Truman’s White House Bowling Alley 


April 25, 1945


EAST MEETS WEST AT THE ELBE 


Soviet & American soldiers met each other today at the Elbe River in Germany.


The Americans were from the US 1st army patrol.


The 1st meeting took place on the west bank of the Elbe & was followed by a 2nd meeting at Torgau.


In attendance at the event was Soviet Marshal Georgi K. Zhukov.



       Historic Marker for Elbe Day


April 25, 1831


“LION OF THE WEST” OPENS IN NEW YORK


“Lion of the West”, a drama about a backwoods character based on the real-life David Crockett of Tennessee, opened today at the Park Theater in New York City.


Crockett, a congressman from the Volunteer State, has become a legend in his own time.


The play stars the popular actor, James Hackett, as Colonel Nimrod Wildfire.*


*2 years later, Crockett was back in the news with the publication of “Sketches & Eccentricities of Colonel David Crockett of West Tennessee”.



     Portrait of Colonel David Crockett
           by John Gadsby Chapman


April 25, 1990


HUBBLE TELESCOPE IN ORBIT


The crew of the shuttle Discovery put the Hubble Space Telescope, named after astronomer Edwin Hubble, into a low orbit around the earth today.


The solar powered telescope should give astronomers a never before seen close-up view of the solar system, galaxy & universe.


The telescope will orbit the earth every 97 minutes.*


*The Hubble Telescope is expected to continue working until 2014.



          Hubble Telescope in Orbit 
            photo by NASA (2009)

EASTER RISING BEGINS

April 24, 1916


EASTER RISING IN IRELAND BEGINS


The Irish Republican Brotherhood, a secret organization of nationalists, launched an armed uprising against British rule on this Easter Monday.


The revolt is led by Patrick Pearse.


After seizing the General Post Office in Dublin & attacking British government headquarters, the IRB proclaimed the independence of Ireland.


A counteroffensive late in the day, however, puts the success of the rising in doubt.*


*The British government was able to crush the Easter Rising by April 29.  Pearse & 14 other nationalists were executed but became martyrs for the cause of Irish independence.



       Flag Flown Over Dublin GPO
           Made by Mary Shannon
        National Museum of Ireland
                      Dublin
          Photo by Scolaire (2008)


April 24, 1961


JFK SAYS “BLAME ONLY ME” FOR THE BAY OF PIGS


The White House issued a statement tonight telling the American people that President Kennedy, as the “responsible officer” of the executive branch of government,  bears sole responsibility for the failure of the recent invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs.


The statement reads:


“President Kennedy has stated from the beginning that as president he bears sole responsibility for the events of the past few days.  He has stated it on all occasions & he restates it now so that it will be understood by all.”*


*JFK’s approval rating, 70% before the invasion, climbed to 83% after.  


The American people obviously admired his willingness to take full blame.  JFK said privately that it seemed the worse he did, the more popular he became.



April 24, 1963


PRESIDENT CONDEMNS MURDER OF MOORE


President Kennedy today publicly condemned the murder of William Lewis Moore.


Moore, a postal worker & former Marine from Baltimore, Maryland, was making a solo march from Tennessee to Mississippi to deliver a letter to the governor of Mississippi asking that he integrate the University of Mississippi.


Before he could reach Mississippi, however, William Moore was murdered near Attalla, Alabama.



April 24, 1967


WESTMORELAND SAYS SOLDIERS ARE DISMAYED BY UNPATRIOTIC ACTS AT HOME


General William Westmoreland, Senior Commander of US military forces in South Vietnam, says that the enemy has “gained support in the US that gives him hope that he can win politically that which he cannot win militarily.”


Westmoreland went on to say that the American soldiers fighting in Vietnam are “dismayed…by recent unpatriotic acts at home.”


The General added (and) “so am I”.



         Rusk, Westmoreland, & LBJ
                 The White House
                    April 7, 1968


April 24, 1980


OPERATION EAGLE CLAW SCRUBBED


The attempt to free 52 American hostages held in Tehran, Iran has been scrubbed.


The operation, authorized by President Jimmy Carter, began having problems when 3 of the 8 helicopters employed for the mission failed.


One of the helicopters, after the scrubbing of the mission, collided with a C-130 US transport plane resulting in the deaths of 8 American servicemen.  5 more were injured in the collision.*


*President Carter took full responsibility for the failure & would not see the hostages released until just after his successor, Ronald Reagan, was inaugurated.



                Eagle Claw Memorial
         Arlington National Cemetery
            Photo by Jtesla16 (2009)


April 24, 1955


THE BANDUNG CONFERENCE CONCLUDES


A meeting of 29 representatives from “non-aligned” countries in Indonesia has concluded today.


The representatives of Africa, Asia & the Middle East condemned colonialism, racism & expressed reservations about the Cold War.


The United States opposed the conference & declined to send an “official observer”.*


*President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, believed there could be no “middle ground” between communism & freedom.



     Gedunng Merdeka in Bandung (1955)


April 24, 1945


TRUMAN BRIEFED ON MANHATTAN PROJECT


Less than 2 weeks after becoming President of the United States, Harry Truman was briefed today on the Manhattan atomic bomb project.


Secretary of War Stimson, appointed by FDR, told Truman shortly after he was sworn in as president on April 12, of work in progress on a “new, terrible weapon” but he did not provide any details.


After the briefing, President Truman authorized the continuation of the Manhattan Project & agreed to form a committee to advise the President on the use of the atomic bomb.



      Manhattan District Shoulder Patch



JUDY GARLAND A HIT AT CARNEGIE HALL

 April 23, 1961


JUDY GARLAND A HIT AT CARNEGIE HALL


Judy Garland, who won her 1st Oscar nomination for her role as “Dorothy” in the acclaimed “Wizard of Oz”, performed this evening at Carnegie Hall in New York City to a packed house.


Miss Garland received a standing ovation from an appreciative audience even before she sang a note.


She sang 27 songs, all which were interrupted by ovations.*


*Judy Garland’s performance at Carnegie Hall has been called “the greatest in showbiz history”.



         Judy Garland Concert Program


April 23, 1961


JFK PRAISES CHARLES DE GAULLE


President Kennedy, who along with the 1st Lady will be visiting France in a few weeks, praised the President of France, Charles De Gaulle, today.


JFK was complimentary of the French President’s fast response to stop an attempted coup by French generals in Algeria.



 French President Charles De Gaulle
      Photograph by Egon Steiner
                May 20, 1961


April 23, 1963


CASTRO FREES LAST BAY OF PIGS PRISONERS


Premier Fidel Castro of communist Cuba has freed the last group of prisoners of war taken at the failed Bay of Pigs invasion in April 1961.


Attorney General Robert Kennedy called on Cuban exiles to form a unified group for more effective interaction with the administration on Cuban policy.



                          Fidel Castro


April 23, 1967


Russian Cosmonaut Plunges To His Death


Soviet Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov lost his life today as the parachute which was to bring him safely back to earth failed to deploy.


Komarov, who made his 1st space journey in 1964, had completed 24 hours & 16 orbits aboard Soyuz I when he experienced problems on re-entry to the earth’s atmosphere.


He made 2 additional orbits, re-entered successfully, but his previous issues had caused the parachute to jam.  


At 23,000 feet the chute failed to deploy & the spacecraft plunged to the earth.


Mr. Komarov is to be cremated & his ashes will be buried in the Kremlin Wall.



   Soviet Comonaut Vladimir Komarov


April 23, 1969


RFK’S KILLER GETS DEATH PENALTY


Sirhan Sirhan, the man who shot Senator Robert Kennedy on June 5, 1968, has received the death penalty.


Senator Kennedy, formerly JFK’s Attorney General, ran for the Democratic nomination for President in 1968. 


RFK announced his candidacy by saying:  “I run not to oppose any man, but to propose new policies.”  


He was particularly concerned about the war in Vietnam.


After winning the California Primary on June 4, RFK had just completed a short victory speech in the ballroom of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles when he was shot.*


*In 1972, California abolished the Death Penalty & Sirhan’s sentence was changed to Life. 


 He continues to serve his sentence today.

        RFK Assassin, Sirhan Sirhan


April 23, 1945


TRUMAN TELLS MOLTOV “LIKE IT IS”


Harry S Truman, less than 2 weeks after assuming the Presidency, told Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov today that his government has been breaking agreements & that Premier Joseph Stalin needs to keep his word.


Molotov, in shock, replied that he had never been treated in such a fashion.


President Truman answered if the Soviets kept their word then he wouldn’t have to be so treated.


Molotov stormed out of the meeting, but the President seemed quite pleased with his own performance.



  Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov 
                     (center)


April 23, 1564
April 23, 1616


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE’S BIRTH & DEATH DATES


Records show that playwright William Shakespeare was Baptized on April 26, 1564 but since there is no birth certificate, it is assumed he would have been born on April 23 because it was customary in those days to baptize newborns 3 days after birth.


If this assumption is correct, Shakespeare died on his 52nd birthday in 1616.


Shakespeare was born in Strafford-on-Avon, England.


Today his plays are still read & performed around the world.


Ben Johnson said: “He was not of an age, but for all time.”




“All the world’s a stage
and all men & women merely players
they have their exits & their entrances
and one man in his time plays many parts.”


As You Like It, Act II, Scene 7.





                  William Shakespeare
                        (1564-1616)


April 23, 1014


HIGH KING BRIAN OF IRELAND ASSASSINATED


Brian Boru, High King of Ireland, was assassinated today by a group of Norsemen.



The King, who was the 1st to resist the Norse invaders, had just won a victory over them but after the battle, which took place near Dublin, the retreating enemy came across his tent & killed him.*


*The Irish Kennedys take their name from the nephew of High King Brian Boru.  Kennedy is the anglicized form of the Irish name O’Cinneide.







PRESIDENT NIXON IS DEAD

April 22, 1994


PRESIDENT NIXON IS DEAD


Richard Milhous Nixon, 37th President of the United States, died today of complications of a stroke he suffered four days ago.


Mr. Nixon was stricken at his home in Park Ridge, New Jersey.  He was taken by ambulance to the hospital where he slipped into a coma.


President Nixon died at 9:08 p.m. with daughters Tricia & Julie by his side.
His wife, Pat, preceded him in death.


Nixon served as Vice-President under Dwight D. Eisenhower & then was defeated by JFK for President in the Election of 1960.


He then lost a bid to be Governor of California in 1962 & told reporters “You won’t have Nixon to kick around anymore.”


Nevertheless, Nixon made a comeback in 1968 & defeated Hubert Humphrey to become the 37th President.


Nixon’s 1st term was marked by notable foreign policy achievements including his monumental visit to Communist China.


Elected to a 2nd term in 1972, Nixon’s administration was mired in the “Watergate” scandal which culminated in his resignation in 1974.


Richard Milhous Nixon is to be buried at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.



                   Richard M. Nixon
                   37th US President


April 22, 1970


FIRST EARTH DAY CELEBRATED


To increase public awareness of environmental issues, EARTH DAY is celebrated today in the United States for the first time.


Earth Day is the idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, an environmentalist, who said:


“The objective (is) to get a nationwide demonstration of concern for the environment so large that it (will) shake the political establishment out of its lethargy.”


On April 22, 1970, the 20th anniversary of EARTH DAY, 200 million people in  141 countries took part in the Earth Day celebrations.



April 22, 1968


CLIFFORD SAYS SVA HAS “INCREASED CAPABILITY”


Secretary of Defense, Clark Clifford, said today that the South Vietnamese Army “has acquired the capacity to begin to insure their own security (&) to take over more & more of the fighting.”


Secretary Clifford replaced Robert S. McNamara in the Defense Department who had been appointed by President Kennedy & had served President Johnson.



        Clark Clifford Talks With LBJ


April 22, 1954


ARMY-McCARTHY HEARINGS BEGIN TODAY


Senator Joseph McCarthy (R-Wisconsin) begins his investigation into the United States Army today.


McCarthy has accused the army of being “soft” on communism.


The hearings, televised live around the nation, will give Americans their 1st opportunity to see Senator McCarthy in action.*


*The hearings will largely discredit McCarthy by exposing not only his abusive tactics but also lack of hard evidence.  He will be censured by the Senate for his conduct.



        Senator McCarthy & Roy Cohn


April 22, 1889


LAND RUSH IN OKLAHOMA BEGINS


The former Indian Territory has been officially opened for settlement.


At noon today, a cannon shot was fired at Fort Reno which set off a stampede of more than 50,000 settlers for “1st come, 1st served” claims to cheap land.


Nearly 2 million acres of land was opened up for settlement & by the day’s end most participants had staked claims to land.



            Oklahoma Land Rush of 1889

JFK OPENS WORLD FAIR IN SEATTLE

 April 21, 1962


JFK OPENS WORLDS FAIR IN SEATTLE 


The Seattle World’s Fair was officially opened today by President Kennedy who declared “Let the fair begin!”


The President, on holiday with his family in Palm Beach, Florida, closed a telegraph key which in turn activated a signal to turn on a strand of lights in Seattle, Washington.


There were 12,000 people at the fair waiting for the lights to come on.


JFK said:  


“This manner of opening the fair is in keeping with the exposition’s space age theme.  Literally,we are reaching out through space…to a star which we have never seen, to intercept sound in the form of radio waves.”





          1962 Seattle World’s Fair 


April 21, 1961


JFK ANNOUNCES FIRST PEACE CORPS PROJECT


Just happy to talk about anything but Cuba, President Kennedy today announced the 1st project of the Peace Corps will be to build a road in Tanganyika.


Peace Corps volunteers will lend expertise & assistance in the construction of the road.


Volunteers for the new corps have been applying at the rate of 1500 a week.


Thomas Quimby, who is in charge of recruits, says volunteers should have “serviceable skills” not necessarily “college degrees”.


Quimby remarked:


“We want surveyors, people to lay out roads & drainage systems.  We need teachers, especially those who can teach the English language.”


Quimby was asked why there were so many volunteers for the Peace Corps.  He answered:


“I think it springs from a desire to be significant in the development f a peaceful world.”



                   Peace Corps Volunteers

April 21, 1865



LINCOLN’S FUNERAL TRAIN LEAVES WASHINGTON


President Abraham Lincoln’s Funeral Train departed Washington, D.C. today for the long journey to his burial in his hometown of Springfield, Illinois scheduled for May 4.


The train will be traveling through 180 cities & 7 states.


At various stops including cities like Indianapolis & Chicago, the martyred President’s coffin will lie in state for public viewing.





April 21, 1836


SANTA ANNA SURRENDERS AT SAN JACINTO


The Texan Revolution came to a close today on the banks of the San Jacinto River.


Texas General Sam Houston launched an attack on the Mexican encampment along the river.


The attack proved to be a rout as hundreds of Mexican soldiers were taken prisoner including Santa Anna himself.


As the Texans charged cries of “Remember the Alamo” & “Remember Goliad” could be heard.*


*Santa Anna signed a document which gives Texas her independence in return for his freedom.


Sam Houston would become President of the “Lone Star Republic” & Governor in 1845 when Texas became the 28th state.




Battle of San Jacinto










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