August 16 has four celebrations. National Airborne Day was created by President George ‘W’ Bush in 2001.
On August 16, 1940, a “Test” Platoon led by Major William Lee and consisting of 48 volunteers of the U.S. 29th Infantry Regiment at Fort Benning, GA, made the first U.S. Army parachute jump from an aircraft in order to explore its applications in battle:
During the time between the World Wars, the 29th Infantry Regiment trained infantry soldiers and leaders, demonstrated tactics and tested innovations in Infantry warfare at Fort Benning including providing soldiers for the first parachute unit in the U.S. armed forces.
So, let’s all have a rum drink, ride a roller coaster, tell a joke and cheer on our Airborne folks! Enjoy, everyone!
One hundred years ago, today, August 13, 1918, Opha May (Jacob) Johnson, born May 4, 1879, enlisted in the Marine Corps Reserve during World War I. She just happened to be the first one in line with 300+ other women behind her.
From the U.S. World War One Centennial Commission:
At the onset and throughout the First World War, women in the United States were still denied the same basic rights and privileges as male citizens, including the right to vote. Suffragists would continue to battle on through this time, but their efforts would not culminate into a constitutional revision until 1920. Not only was the political arena considered off-limits for women, but military service was also denied to them. Though legends of women dressing as males to fight for the United States had been spoken of since the Revolution, women were not allowed to legally enlist in the armed services, the Marine Corps being no exception. By the summer of 1918 however, the Corps was in need of more soldiers, many of whom occupied vital administrative and clerical positions throughout the war department at the time. The idea was circulated and eventually approved to allow women into the marines to fill these non-combat positions, relieving this men to head for the front. From Kokomo, Indiana, Opha May Johnson was first in line when the recruiting station in Washington D.C. opened its doors to women and would become a legend as the first woman Marine.
She passed away August 11, 1955 but, her funeral services were held on August 13, 1955…37 years to the day that she first stood in line.
August 10 has four reasons to celebrate. National Connecticut Day showcases the fifth state to join the United States. It is known, officially, as ‘The Constitution State‘ but, has other interesting nicknames:
The Nutmeg State
The Provisions State
The Land of Steady Habits (my favorite!)
It is the southernmost state in the New England area, settled by the Dutch. Early colonists were noted for their production of brass and, supplied buttons and munitions to the Revolutionary Army. It is the home state of the infamous Benedict Arnold.
Nathan Hale – Patriot (June 6, 1755 – September 22, 1776)
Noah Webster, Jr. – Educator (October 16, 1758 – May 28, 1843)
Charles Goodyear – Chemist (December 29, 1800 – July 1, 1860)
Phineas Taylor ‘P.T.’ Barnum – Entertainer (July 5, 1810 – April 7, 1891)
Harriet Beecher Stowe – Author (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896)
Samuel Colt – Manufacturer (July 19, 1814 – January 10, 1862)
John Pierpont ‘J.P.’ Morgan – Banker (April 17, 1837 – March 31, 1913)
Charles Henry Dow – Journalist (November 6, 1851 – December 4, 1902)
Edith Kermit Carow Roosevelt – Theodore’s First Lady (August 6, 1861 – September 30, 1948)
Alfred Pritchard Sloan, Jr. – General Motors CEO (May 23, 1875 – February 17, 1966)
Dr. Benjamin McLane Spock – Pediatrician (May 2, 1903 – March 15, 1998)
Ralph Nader – Activist Attorney (February 27, 1934)
Gene Francis Alan Pitney – Musician (February 17, 1940 – April 5, 2006)
Joseph Isadore ‘Joe’ Lieberman – Political Attorney (February 24, 1942)
George “W” Bush – 43rd President (July 6, 1946)
Richard Carpenter – Musician (October 15, 1946)
Anna-Lou ‘Annie’ Leibovitz – Photographer (October 2, 1949)
Karen Anne Carpenter – Musician (March 2, 1950 – February 4, 1983)
Kathleen Hartington Kennedy Townsend – Lt. Governor of Maryland (July 4, 1951)
Michael ‘Bolton’ Bolotin – Singer/Songwriter (February 26, 1953)
Cheers and enjoy!
On this day in 1964, Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, effectively entering the U.S. into a conflict that still affects us to this day. This resolution, brought about by the questionable Gulf of Tonkin Incident (also referred to as the USS Maddox incident), gave President Johnson the legal justification for sending U.S. troops to Vietnam, under the guise of assisting a country under the treat of communist aggression.
“The resolution marked the beginning of an expanded military role for the United States in the Cold War battlefields of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. By 1964, America’s ally, South Vietnam, was in serious danger of falling to a communist insurgency. The insurgents, aided by communist North Vietnam, controlled large areas of South Vietnam and no amount of U.S. military aid and training seemed able to save the southern regime. During the presidencies of Dwight D. Eisenhower and John F. Kennedy, hundreds-and then thousands-of U.S. military advisers had been sent to South Vietnam to train that nation’s military forces. In addition, hundreds of millions of dollars in military and economic assistance had been given to South Vietnam. The administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson made the decision that only direct U.S. military intervention in the conflict could turn the tide. However, Johnson was campaigning in the presidential election of 1964 as the “responsible” candidate who would not send American troops to fight and die in Asia. In early August, a series of events occurred that allowed Johnson to appear statesmanlike while simultaneously expanding the U.S. role in Vietnam. On August 2, North Vietnamese torpedo boats attacked an American destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. Johnson responded by sending in another destroyer. On August 4, the two destroyers reported that they were under attack. This time, Johnson authorized retaliatory air attacks against North Vietnam. He also asked Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. This resolution declared, “The United States regards as vital to its national interest and to world peace the maintenance of international peace and security in Southeast Asia.” It also gave Johnson the right to “take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.” The House passed the resolution by a unanimous vote. The vote in the Senate was 88 to 2. Johnson’s popularity soared in response to his “restrained” handling of the crisis. The Johnson administration went on to use the resolution as a pretext to begin heavy bombing of North Vietnam in early 1965 and to introduce U.S. combat troops in March 1965. Thus began a nearly eight-year war in which over 58,000 U.S. troops died. In a wider sense, the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution can be considered America’s Cold War policy toward all of Southeast Asia at the time. The resolution was also another example of the American government’s less than candid discussion of “national security” matters during the Cold War. Unspoken during the Congressional debate over the resolution was the fact that the commanders of the U.S. destroyers could not state with absolute accuracy that their ships had actually been attacked on the night of August 4, nor was any mention made of the fact that the U.S. destroyers had been assisting South Vietnamese commandos in their attacks on North Vietnamese military installations. By the late 1960s, the tangle of government deceptions and lies began to unravel as public confidence in both Johnson and the American military effort in Vietnam began to erode.”
[My father was in college from 1963 to 1967 and was in the ROTC. I was born at the beginning of his senior year. He came very, very close to going to Vietnam as a 2LT. He became more and more disturbed by reports and stories of what was actually happening over there. The young men that had graduated before him and entered combat…weren’t coming home. Many of the officers that he had started out with during his early years with the ROTC…weren’t coming back. The ones that did manage to return spoke of a “war without direction or purpose” and horrible “death traps”. My father had a crisis of faith, in a way. As a 2LT in the Army, he would have been an Officer that could, potentially, send other young men under him to their deaths. If friends were telling him that the purpose of the war was not completely understood, how could he, in good conscience, participate. He took his concerns to his ROTC CO. That conversation devolved into a shouting match, complete with threats. My father resigned his ‘impending’ commission, despite the protestation of an older officer, stating that “Men like you, we need. We need the common sense approach and conscience you display. You would be a voice of reason and strength that could steady the others.” He would hear none of it. He turned in his uniforms, graduated…and never looked back. My father is still alive, today, because of his decision not to participate. He was never sent a draft card. ~Victoria]
July 20 has three celebrations. The most notable of the three is National Moon Day, commemorating Apollo 11 and the 1969 moon walk. Everyone knows about that one.
But, today is also National Pennsylvania Day, a recognition of the second state to join the Union. Known as the ‘Keystone State’, Pennsylvania also served as a temporary Capitol for the U.S….Philadelphia, the site of the signing of The Declaration of Independence and The U.S. Constitution. It is the home of the Original Philly Cheesesteak, the Original Banana Split, Hershey’s Chocolate, Marshmallow Peeps and Twizzlers. It is also the home of the largest concentration of U.S. ‘Pennsylvania Dutch’ Amish.
Daniel Boone – Frontiersman (November 2, 1734 – September 26, 1820)
Elizabeth Griscom ‘Betsy’ Ross – Flag Maker (January 1, 1752 – January 30, 1836)
James Buchanan – 15th U.S. President (April 23, 1791 – March 4, 1861)
Louisa May Alcott – Author (November 29, 1832 – March 6, 1888)
Elizabeth Cochrane Seaman [Nellie Bly] – Journalist (May 4, 1864 – January 27, 1922) [NOTE: Wikipedia reflects May 5]
Lee Iacocca – Auto Executive [Ford & Chrysler] (October 15, 1924)
Arnold Palmer – Golfer (September 10, 1929 – September 25, 2016)
Reginald Reggie Jackson – Baseball Player (May 18, 1946)
Gee. After all that, I think I need to visit!
Also celebrated today:
National Lollipop Day
Cheers and enjoy!
The 1st of July is a very busy day of celebration for the nation, leading up to Independence Day. It’s National Postal Worker Day, established in 1997 by a Seattle area carrier. I have two high school classmates that are postmen. They both really enjoy it. It can be a tough job, though.
If you are thinking “Neither rain nor sleet nor snow…” or something along those lines, the U.S. Post Office doesn’t have an “official” motto, really. There seems to be a bit of confusion from a modified translation of Herodotus’ quote regarding the courier service of the Persian Empire:
There is nothing in the world which travels faster than the Persian couriers. The whole idea is a Persian invention, and works like this: riders are stationed along the road, equal in number to the number of days the journey takes – a man and a horse for each day. Nothing stops these couriers from covering their allotted stage in the quickest possible time – neither snow, rain, heat, nor darkness. The first, at the end of his stage, passes the dispatch to the second, the second to the third, and so on along the line, as in the Greek torch-race which is held in honour of Hephaestus.
It’s also U.S. Postage Stamp Day…naturally. The very first postage stamp was issued on July 1, 1847 but, no one seems to know who created the National Day for it. Lost to history, I suppose.
Cheers and enjoy!
The United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, quickly sprang to the defense of South Korea and fought a bloody and frustrating war for the next three years. Korea, a former Japanese possession, had been divided into zones of occupation following World War II. U.S. forces accepted the surrender of Japanese forces in southern Korea, while Soviet forces did the same in northern Korea. Like in Germany, however, the “temporary” division soon became permanent. The Soviets assisted in the establishment of a communist regime in North Korea, while the United States became the main source of financial and military support for South Korea. On June 25, 1950, North Korean forces surprised the South Korean army (and the small U.S. force stationed in the country), and quickly headed toward the capital city of Seoul. The United States responded by pushing a resolution through the U.N.’s Security Council calling for military assistance to South Korea. (Russia was not present to veto the action as it was boycotting the Security Council at the time.) With this resolution in hand, President Harry S. Truman rapidly dispatched U.S. land, air, and sea forces to Korea to engage in what he termed a “police action.” The American intervention turned the tide, and U.S. and South Korean forces marched into North Korea. This action, however, prompted the massive intervention of communist Chinese forces in late 1950. The war in Korea subsequently bogged down into a bloody stalemate. In 1953, the United States and North Korea signed a cease-fire that ended the conflict. The cease-fire agreement also resulted in the continued division of North and South Korea at just about the same geographical point as before the conflict. The Korean War was the first “hot” war of the Cold War. Over 55,000 American troops were killed in the conflict. Korea was the first “limited war,” one in which the U.S. aim was not the complete and total defeat of the enemy, but rather the “limited” goal of protecting South Korea. For the U.S. government, such an approach was the only rational option in order to avoid a third world war and to keep from stretching finite American resources too thinly around the globe. It proved to be a frustrating experience for the American people, who were used to the kind of total victory that had been achieved in World War II. The public found the concept of limited war difficult to understand or support and the Korean War never really gained popular support.