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October 3, 2011


                        Union Station
                    Washington, D.C.
         Photo by John White (2011)

Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) During our recent visit to the nation’s capital, we took the metro to Union Station located on Massachusetts Avenue NE, just a short walk to the Capitol.

Union Station, designed by architects Daniel Burnham & Pierce Anderson, opened on October 27, 1907.

Today the station, which houses 130 stores & a food court, is described as “the most visited destination in Washington, D.C.” 25 million people visit each year.

                     Lunch at Union Station
                          Washington, D.C.
                Photos by John White (2011)

Union Station serves Amtrak, MARC & the Virginia Railway Express as well as the Washington Metro System.  The station underwent renovation from 1981-1989.

        Train Schedules at Union Station
                          Washington, D.C.
               Photo by John White (2011)

October 3, 1962


                       Wally Schirra
                Gemini 6 Flight Test
            Cape Kennedy, Florida
                NASA Photo (1965)

Cape Canaveral, Florida (JFK+50) US astronaut Wally Schirra  (Sheer-rah) orbited the Earth 6 times today during a 10 hour flight & safely splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.

Once aboard the USS Kearsarge, Schirra received a call from President Kennedy.  He said to JFK:

“The spacecraft did everything I wanted it to do & I was able to accomplish everything I wanted…during the flight.”*

*Shirra is the only astronaut to fly on all 3 of our 1st space programs: Mercury, Gemini & Apollo.

October 3, 1967


                    Woody Guthrie
  Library of Congress Photo (1943)

Queens, New York (JFK+50) Woodrow Wilson “Woody” Guthrie, the godfather of 1950s folk music, died today at Creedmore Center here in Queens, New York.

The 55 year old singer-songwriter was under treatment of Huntington’s Disease, a progressive genetic neurological disorder.

Guthrie was born on July 14, 1912 in Okemah, Oklahoma.

His most famous folk song, written in the 1940s, is “This Land Is Your Land”.

             “This land is your land
               This land is my land
               From California
               To the New York island
               From the redwood forest
               To the gulf stream waters
               This land was made 
               For you & me.”

The song was written in 1940 in response to Guthrie’s dislike for Irving Berlin’s “God Bless America”.

Guthrie once said: “I am out to sing the songs that make you take pride in yourself & in your work.”*

*Bob Dylan was inspired by Woody Guthrie & visited him regularly during his long illness.

October 3, 1990


Berlin, Germany (JFK+50) The people of Germany are celebrating “Unity Day” today.  For the 1st time since it was divided at the end of WWII, Germany is one nation.

“Unity Day” is to be a national public holiday in Germany.

*2 months later, German elections will be held & Helmut Kohl will become the 1st chancellor of a unified Germany.

                    Unity Day Celebration
               At the Reichstag in Berlin
                         October 3, 1990
                  Photo by Peer Grimm
               German Federal Archive

October 3, 1952


                 British Nuclear Blast 
                     October 3, 1952

Monte Bello Island, Australia (JFK+50) Great Britain became the 3rd nation to have nuclear capability today as it successfully exploded a nuclear bomb off the coast of Monte Bello Island off the northwest coast of Australia.

The Brits have been working on the atomic bomb project, named “Operation Hurricane”, since 1947.  

This particular bomb, rated at 25 kilatons, was detonated in the hull of the frigate HMS Plym.

October 3, 1942


                 Replica of a V2 Rocket
                 Peenemunde Museum
            Photo by A Elfwine (2004)

Berlin, Germany (JFK+50) The Germans have successfully fired a V-2 rocket from Peenemunde, an island off Germany’s Baltic coast.

The V-2 traveled a distance of 118 miles.

Scientists have been working on development of the V2 since the 1930s.  The project was led by Wernher Von Braun.

The advantages of the V2 over the earlier V1 rocket is that it can be fired from a portable launch pad, can reach a speed of 4000 mph, & is virtually impossible to detect or intercept.*

*The 1st V2s were fired at Paris on September 6, 1944.  More than 3000 were launched during WWII resulting in thousands of deaths.  The rockets were built at Mittelwerk by prisoners of the Mittelbau-Dora concentration camp.

Von Braun, a decorated Nazi war hero, was brought to the US after his surrender to work on US Army ballistic missiles.  He became director of the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama on July 1, 1960.

 Von Braun was the chief architect of the Saturn V rocket which took American astronauts into space & to the moon.

                      Von Braun & JFK
                     Redstone Arsenal
                Huntsville, Alabama
                        May 19, 1963
                         NASA Photo

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