“Every true history must force us to remember that the past was once as real as the present and as uncertain as the future.”
~George Macaulay Trevelyan
1912 – Before a campaign speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Theodore Roosevelt, the presidential candidate for the Progressive Party, was shot at close range by saloonkeeper John Schrank while greeting the public in front of the Gilpatrick Hotel.
Schrank’s .32-caliber bullet, aimed directly at Roosevelt’s heart, failed to mortally wound the former president because its force was slowed by a glasses case and a manuscript in the breast pocket of Roosevelt’s heavy coat – a manuscript containing Roosevelt’s evening speech.
Roosevelt, who suffered only a flesh wound from the attack, went on to deliver his scheduled speech with the bullet still in his body. After a few words, the former “Rough Rider” pulled the torn and bloodstained manuscript from his breast pocket and declared, “You see, it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose.” He spoke for nearly an hour and then was rushed to the hospital.
1913 – 439 workers died in a massive coal-mine explosion at Senghenhydd colliery (coal mine) eight miles from Cardiff in Wales. The incident was one of Britain’s worst-ever mining disasters. The mine consisted of two pits, side by side, which held nearly 1,000 miners in total.
At 8:12 a.m., a tremendous explosion ripped through one of the pits. Dust and debris were sent hundreds of feet into the air and bright red and orange flames went nearly as high. Nearly 500 miners were brought up safely, but with no further signs of life evident, mine officials, concerned about the stability of the mine, decided to seal the mine and leave the rest of the bodies deep within the earth.
1918 – Among the German soldiers wounded in the Ypres Salient in Belgium was Corporal Adolf Hitler, temporarily blinded by a British gas shell and evacuated to a German military hospital at Pasewalk, in Pomerania.
1933 – Nazi Germany renounced its role in the Conference for the Reduction and Limitation of Armaments, setting the stage for its complete withdrawal from the League of Nations a week later.
1943 – Prisoners at the Nazi German Sobibór extermination camp in Poland revolted against the Germans, killing eleven SS guards, and wounding many more. About 300 of the Sobibor Camp’s 600 prisoners escaped, and about 50 of these survived the end of the war.
1944 – Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, nicknamed “the Desert Fox,” was given the option of facing a public trial for treason (as a co-conspirator in the plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler) or taking cyanide. He chose the latter. The German government gave Rommel a state funeral and attributed his death to war wounds.
1947 – U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound. Yeager flew the Bell X-1 (nicknamed Glamorous Glennis) over Rogers Dry Lake in Southern California. The X-1 was lifted to an altitude of 25,000 feet by a B-29 aircraft and then released through the bomb bay, rocketing to 40,000 feet and exceeding 700 miles per hour.
Because of the secrecy of the project, Bell and Yeager’s achievement was not announced until June 1948.
1962 – Although the Cuban Missile Crisis began in earnest on October 16, it was on this date that a U-2 flight piloted by Major Richard Heyser took 928 pictures which captured images of a SS-4 construction site at San Cristóbal, Pinar del Río Province (now in Artemisa Province), in western Cuba. The following day, the CIA’s National Photographic Interpretation Center reviewed the photographs and identified objects that they interpreted as medium range ballistic missiles.
The discovery offered incontrovertible evidence that Soviet-made missiles in Cuba – capable of carrying nuclear warheads – were now stationed 90 miles off the American coastline and led the United States and the Soviet Union to the brink of nuclear conflict.
1964 – Civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nonviolent resistance to racial prejudice in America. At 35 years of age, the Georgia-born minister was the youngest person ever to receive the award.
1964 – U.S. Defense Department officials announced that the Army and Marines would be sending about 24,000 men back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours because of the length of the war, high turnover of personnel resulting from the one year of duty, and the tight supply of experienced soldiers.
This decision had an extremely negative impact on troop morale and the combat readiness of U.S. forces elsewhere in the world as troops were transferred to meet the increased personnel requirements in Vietnam.
1964 – Nikita Khrushchev was ousted as both premier of the Soviet Union and chief of the Communist Party after 10 years in power. He was succeeded as head of the Communist Party by his former protégé Leonid Brezhnev, who would eventually also become the chief of state.
1975 – Ronald DeFeo Jr. went on trial for the killings of his parents and four siblings in their Amityville, New York, home. His attorney argued for an insanity defense; however, that November, he was found guilty of six counts of second-degree murder and later sentenced to six consecutive sentences of 25 years to life in prison. In 1977, Jay Anson published The Amityville Horror. The book became a best-seller and inspired a 1979 movie of the same name.
1977 – Bing Crosby, actor (The Bells Of St. Mary’s, The Country Girl, Going My Way, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor) and singer (‘Swinging On A Star’, ‘Too-Ra-Loo-Ra-Loo-Ral’, ‘White Christmas’), suffered a fatal heart attack after finishing a round of golf at a course near Madrid, Spain. His final words, as he approached the clubhouse, were, “That was a great game of golf, fellas.” He was 74.
1983 – Actor Paul Fix (appeared in more than a hundred movies and dozens of television shows but is best known for portraying Marshal Micah Torrance in The Rifleman television series) died of kidney failure at the age of 82.
1987 – A media frenzy occurred when hundreds of rescuers came to the aid of little 18-month-old Jessica McClure, who had fallen 22 feet into an abandoned well in her backyard in Midland, Texas. She was brought out of the well 58 hours later and was rushed to the hospital, where she underwent minor surgery. Gifts, especially stuffed animals, pouring into the hospital from well-wishers, most of whom had never met Jessica or her family.
1994 – Pulp Fiction opened in theaters. The film earned more than $100 million at the box office and was also a huge critical hit, winning the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival and earning seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.
1994 – Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres, and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shared the Nobel Peace Prize “for their efforts to diminish the part played by nuclear arms in international politics and in the longer run to eliminate such arms.”
2003 – A Chicago Cubs fan named Steve Bartman plucked a fly ball out of the air before outfielder Moises Alou could catch it – a catch that would have been a crucial out – in the sixth game of the league championship series against the Florida Marlins.
Bartman was escorted from Wrigley Field by security guards as bloodthirsty fans hurled beer cans and other debris at his head. Florida won the game – and the seventh and deciding game the next day. The Curse continued.
2012 – Austrian daredevil Felix Baumgartner jumped from a capsule attached to a helium balloon approximately 24 MILES above Earth and became the first person to break the sound barrier without the protection or propulsion of a vehicle. After making his record-setting jump, which was witnessed live by a global audience via cameras mounted on his capsule, the 43-year-old Baumgartner landed safely in the desert near Roswell, New Mexico.
And on this day, Ray Lemire decided he had said enough and written more than enough. This is the final history lesson.
On a side (pardon the pun) note, the Fifties Radio Stream
will has disappeared from the menu on the right. The reason is simple. Despite the fact that links to it often received a lot of “Likes” whenever it was posted on Facebook, the reality is this: one … one single person on the entire planet, has listened in the past 14 days. I pay substantial royalty fees on every song – whether people listen or not – so it made no sense whatsoever to continue it.
The Oldies Radio Stream (which gets a lot of listeners every single day) will continue to appear in the menu column on the right but there will be no more links posted on Facebook, with the sole exception being to announce the “Weekend Blastoff” (when nothing but classic rock gets played for two hours) every Friday afternoon.
The overwhelming majority of “Oldies” listeners (about 75%) come from Canada, Japan, England, Ireland, France, Germany, and Finland. I have very few Facebook friends from any of those countries (3 from Canada), so because posting links to the music on Facebook has failed to generate traffic – even if those posts get a lot of those misleading “Likes” – I’m not going to needlessly clutter anyone’s news feed.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2016 RayLemire.com. All Rights Reserved.