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Archive for the month “August, 2014”

JFK SENDS CONDOLENCES TO SERVICEMEN’S FAMILIES

JFK SENT CONDOLENCES TO EVERY SERVICEMAN’S FAMILY WHO DIED IN UNIFORM 

Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) On his last day in the White House, Wednesday, November 21, 1963, President John F. Kennedy signed condolence letters to the survivors of five American servicemen.

This was the last time JFK would undertake this responsibility, but it certainly was not the first time.

William Manchester writes in “Death of a President, 1963,” that President Kennedy wrote the family of EVERY American who died in uniform during his presidency. 

Manchester adds that if a family replied to JFK’s letter, the widow and children were invited to the White House for a talk in the Rose Garden.

In one of his last letters to the children of a serviceman who gave his life for the United States, the President wrote…

“I want you to know that your father was an outstanding soldier who repeatedly demonstrated his loyalty and devotion to duty.  These fine qualities won for him the respect and admiration of those with whom he served.  

As you grow older you will realize the full importance of the service your father rendered his country in the knowledge that his countrymen are deeply grateful for his contribution to the security of the Nation.

Mrs. Kennedy joins me in extending our heartfelt sympathy to you in the loss of your father.”

 

According to the National Archives, there were 16 American servicemen killed in the Vietnam War in 1961, 53 in 1962 and 122 in 1963.  The total is 191.

While 216 servicemen died in the war in 1964, the numbers dramatically increased over the next few years to a maximum of 16,899 in the year 1968.

The total during LBJ’s years as POTUS from 1964 through 1968 is 36,756.


SOURCES


“Statistical Information about Fatal Casualties of the Vietnam War,” National Archives, www.archives.gov


“The Death of a President, November 1963,” by William Manchester, Harper and Row, New York, 1967.

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FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN IN SPACE

FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN IN SPACE 31 YEARS AGO TODAY


Cape Canaveral, Florida (JFK+50) Lt. Col. Guion S. Bluford of the United States Air Force became the 1st African-American to be launched into outer space thirty-one years ago today, August 30, 1983.


Lt. Col Bluford, a mission specialist, was launched with his fellow astronauts aboard the space shuttle Challenger from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 2:32 a.m.


Bluford earned a PhD in the philosophy of Aeronautical Engineering from the United States Air Force Institute of Technology.

 

HOT LINE CONNECTS PENTAGON WITH KREMLIN


Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) A hot line between the Pentagon and the Kremlin was activated fifty=one years ago today, August 30, 1963, making John F. Kennedy the 1st POTUS to have access to the new technology.


Earlier in June, the hot line agreement had been signed by representatives of the United States and the Soviet Union.

The White House issued a statement saying the hotline would…


 “help reduce the risk of war occurring by accident or miscalculation.”


The first test message sent over the wires from Washington was: 


“The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog’s back 1234567890.”

 

The New York Times reported that the hot line was…


“a direct outgrowth of the serious delays that developed in diplomatic communications between the 2 capitals during the Cuban Missile Crisis.”


The hot line had the capability of reducing the time to initiate direct communication between the President of the United States and the Premier of the Soviet Union from hours to minutes.


Despite the improvement, however, the process was not exactly what has been depicted in Hollywood.  


If JFK wanted to place a call on the hotline, he first had to call the Pentagon and have operators there type in his message on the teletype machine* that was part of the system.


The President’s message would then be encrypted, fed to a transmitter and sent to the Kremlin. Premier Khrushchev would then receive the message and a reply would be sent following a similar procedure back to the Pentagon.


While JFK was the first president to have access to the hot line, it was actually LBJ who became the first president to use it in 1967 when he was considering sending Air Force jets to the Middle East.


SOURCE


“August 30, 1963/Communications ‘Hot Line’ Connects Soviet and U.S. Heads of State,”  The Learning Network, www.learning.blogs.nytimes.com/



 

 

FIRST SOVIET ATOMIC BOMB

FIRST SOVIET ATOMIC BOMB DETONATED 65 YEARS AGO TODAY

 

Semipalatinsk, USSR (JFK+50) Sixty-five years ago today, August 29, 1949, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics detonated its first atomic bomb.


The detonation took place at a remote test site here in Semipalatinsk.

 

The explosion, rated at 20 kilotons, was roughly equal to that of the Trinity test explosion by the United States.

 

An American spy plane flying off the coast of Siberia picked up evidence of radioactivity from the explosion on September 3.

 

 

ROBERT FROST ON GOODWILL TOUR OF USSR

 

Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) Fifty-two years ago today, August 29, 1962, New England poet Robert Frost left the United States for a goodwill tour of the USSR sponsored by the State Department.

 

Mr. Frost, who recited a poem at JFK’s Inauguration, gave poetry readings, interviews and lectures while touring the USSR.

 

During the tour, Frost came down with “nervous indigestion” but was still able to meet with Premier Nikita Khrushchev for 90 minutes.  Mr. Frost told Khrushchev…


“A great nation makes great poetry and great poetry makes a nation.”

 

 

HUMPHREY WINS DEMO NOMINATION

 

Chicago, Illinois (JFK+50) Vice President Hubert Horatio Humphrey was nominated by the delegates of the 1968 Democratic National Convention 46 years ago today, August 29, 1968, here in the Windy City.

 

The convention, as well as the Democratic Party, was divided on the Vietnam War.  The Vice-President supported President Lyndon B. Johnson‘s policy in Vietnam while others in the party opposed it.

 

Student protesters let their voices be heard on the streets outside the Convention hall, while Mayor Richard Daley, a Humphrey supporter, used the Chicago police force to attempt to control them.

 

Before becoming LBJs Vice-President in 1965, Humphrey had been a senator from Minnesota since 1948.  Senator Humphrey was an advocate of civil rights, arms control, a nuclear test ban and foreign aid.  

 
Hubert Humphrey Quotes:
 

“Compassion is not weakness and concern for the unfortunate is not socialism.”

 

“It was once said that the moral test of government is how government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly, and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

 

 

 

 

 
 

LBJ’S BIRTHDAY

LBJ BORN 106 YEARS AGO 

Stonewall, Texas (JFK+50) The future 36th President of the United States, Lyndon Baines Johnson, was born 106 years ago, August 27, 1908, here in Stonewall.


Lyndon was the first child of Samuel Ealy Johnson, Jr. and Rebekah Baines Johnson.  Samuel Johnson was a farmer and teacher and also served in the Texas House of Representatives.  Rebekah had also been a schoolteacher.


LBJ’s grandfather, Samuel Ealy Johnson, Sr., predicted on the day his grandson was born that Lyndon would one day be a United States Senator.


When he was 5 years old, the family moved to nearby Johnson City, the town named after his grandfather.  After high school, he attended SW Texas State Teachers College located in San Marcos.


Before graduation, LBJ taught in Cortulla, Texas for a year and after graduation was a public speaking and debate teacher at Sam Houston High School in Houston, Texas.

 

*Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) graduated from Southwest Texas State Teachers College in 1930.  He served as a congressional secretary before being appointed director of the National Youth Administration by FDR in 1935.


LBJ was elected to Congress in 1937 and the US Senate in 1948.  He was Senate Majority leader from 1955-1961, Vice-President 1961-1963 and POTUS 1963-1969.

HOUSE VOTES TO BAN POLL TAX

Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) 52 years ago today, August 27, 1962, the United States House of Representatives voted for a constitutional amendment which would forbid the poll tax as a prerequisite to vote in federal elections.


At that time, 5 states required a poll tax.  They included Alabama, Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas and Virginia.


The vote in favor of the amendment was 295 to 86.


President John F. Kennedy expressed approval for the vote.  The President said…


“This culminates a legislative effort of many years to bring about the end of this artificial bar to the right to vote in some of our states.”

 

 

 


 

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