“The United States in general and the army in particular is in a hell of a mess and there seems to be no end to it . We disregard the lessons of history. Even the most enlightened of our politicians are blind and mad with self-delusion. They believe what they wish may occur not what history teaches will happen. “
~Gen. George Patton
1776 – Nathan Hale, a 21-year old Connecticut schoolteacher and captain in the Continental Army, was executed as a spy by hanging.
He had volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission in New York City but was captured by the British.
Over the years, there has been speculation as to whether he specifically uttered the line: “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” No official records were kept of Hale’s speech, but Frederick MacKensie, a British officer, wrote this diary entry for the day:
“He behaved with great composure and resolution, saying he thought it the duty of every good Officer, to obey any orders given him by his Commander-in-Chief; and desired the spectators to be at all times prepared to meet death in whatever shape it might appear.”
Statues dedicated to Hale – such as the one shown above – typically show him with feet tied together and arms bound behind his back at the moment of his execution.
1862 – President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation, in which he said he would order the emancipation of all slaves in any state (or designated part of a state) that did not end their rebellion against the Union by January 1, 1863.
None of the Confederate states restored themselves to the Union, and Lincoln’s executive order, signed and issued on the date he promised, took effect.
1927 – The night of the long count: Jack Dempsey failed to return to a neutral corner after knocking down champ Gene Tunney in a title match in Chicago.
Dempsey waited five seconds before heading to the neutral corner, at which point the referee began the 10-count as the rules dictated. As the referee reached nine seconds, Tunney got back up to his feet. He had actually been down for 14 seconds. Tunney went on to win the bout in a 10-round decision.
1945 – Gen. George S. Patton told reporters that he did not see the need for “this denazification thing” and compared the controversy over Nazism to a “Democratic and Republican election fight.” Once again, “Old Blood and Guts” had put his foot in his mouth.
His statements questioning the policy resulted in General Dwight Eisenhower removing him as U.S. commander in Bavaria. He was transferred to the 15th Army Group, but in December 1945 he suffered a broken neck in a car accident and died less than two weeks later at the age of 60.
1957 – Maverick premiered on ABC. Eight episodes into the first season, James Garner – who played Bret Maverick – was joined by Jack Kelly as his brother Bart, and from that point on, Garner and Kelly alternated leads from week to week, sometimes teaming up for the occasional two-brother episode.
1964 – The musical Fiddler On The Roof opened the Imperial Theater on Broadway. It was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine, including Best Musical, score, book, direction and choreography, and acting awards for Zero Mostel and Maria Karnilova (both shown above).
It transferred in 1967 to the Majestic Theatre and in 1970 to The Broadway Theatre.
In total, the original production ran for a total of 3,242 performances.
1966 – The New York Yankees, mired in 10th place in the American League, drew a record low crowd of 413 fans at Yankee Stadium (which had a capacity of 65,000).
WPIX announcer Red Barber asked the TV cameras to pan the empty stands as he commented on the low attendance. Although denied the camera shots on orders from the Yankees’ head of media relations, he said, “I don’t know what the paid attendance is today, but whatever it is, it is the smallest crowd in the history of Yankee Stadium, and this crowd is the story, not the game.”
A week later, Barber was told his contract wouldn’t be renewed after 12 seasons with the team.
1970 – In the wake of the unrest at Kent State earlier that year, President Richard Nixon requested 1,000 new FBI agents for college campuses.
Virtually every college was affected by the legislation, which moved Federal agents into affected colleges and universities even if they had been requested to stay away by college administrators.
1975 – Just seventeen days after the first attempt on his life, President Gerald Ford was the subject of another assassination attempt when Sara Jane Moore fired a single shot at him in San Francisco.
By sheer coincidence, standing beside her was Oliver Sipple, a 33-year-old decorated U.S. Marine and Vietnam veteran. After Moore took her first shot – and missed Ford’s head by inches – Sipple sprang into action.
He quickly grabbed Moore’s arm as her second shot was fired, sending the bullet far from her intended target. Immediately after the event occurred, Sipple was hailed a hero by the public. But his status was short-lived.
Sipple had been working on a political campaign for Harvey Milk, a friend and colleague. Without seeking Sipple’s permission, Milk alerted the press that his good friend, Oliver Sipple, was – like Harvey Milk – gay.
While Sipple was indeed gay, he had not come out to his family or friends back home in Detroit. The news devastated him and caused the media to focus solely on his sexual activities than on his heroic act.
At the time, there was an enormous stigma attached to being gay and his family was facing a huge amount of gossip focused around his outed identity. It was a situation they were stunned by and completely unprepared to deal with and it caused an irreparable rift in their relationship.
His family disowned him – not even allowing him to attend his mother’s funeral.
Sipple’s mental and physical health sharply declined over the years. He drank heavily and was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
On February 2, 1989, an acquaintance found Sipple dead in his San Francisco apartment, with a bottle of Jack Daniel’s next to him and the television still on. He had been dead for approximately 10 days.
The hero died alone. He was 47.
1980 – The Republic of Iraq invaded the Islamic Republic of Iran. The ensuing war – which lasted nearly eight years – cost both sides in lives: half a million Iraqi and Iranian soldiers, as well as civilians, are believed to have died.
1982 – Family Ties debuted on NBC. The series, which focused primarily on the the relationship between young Republican Alex P. Keaton (Michael J. Fox) and his ex-hippie parents, Steven and Elyse Keaton (Michael Gross and Meredith Baxter-Birney) lasted seven seasons.
1994 – Friends premiered on NBC, beginning a 10-year run. Along the way, the series was nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning six.
Jennifer Aniston and Lisa Kudrow were the only main cast members to win an Emmy, while Courtney Cox was the only member never nominated.
2003 – David Kim Hempleman-Adams became the first person to cross the Atlantic Ocean in an open wicker basket balloon.
No big deal, really, for the man who was the first person in history to reach the Geographic and Magnetic North and South Poles as well as climb the highest peaks in all seven continents.
2003 – Gordon Jump (best known as the clueless radio station manager Arthur “Big Guy” Carlson in the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati) died from pulmonary fibrosis, leading to respiratory failure. He was 71.
2015 – Yogi Berra died at the age of 90.
The Hall of Fame catcher played 19 seasons (all but the last for the New York Yankees) and is widely regarded as one of the greatest catchers in baseball history.
Berra was also known for his Yogi-isms, such as “It ain’t over ’til it’s over”, “You can observe a lot by watching” and “Always go to other people’s funerals; otherwise they won’t go to yours.”
Note: No lesson tomorrow. I’ll be back on Monday. Have a wonderful weekend!
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2018 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.