“Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men who find it easier to live in the world they’ve been given than to explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact. It’s an opinion. Impossible is not a declaration. It’s a dare. Impossible is potential. Impossible is temporary. Impossible is nothing.”
1781 – At 10:00 P.M., John “Jack” Jouett, Jr., began a 40-mile ride from Louisa to Charlottesville to warn Thomas Jefferson, then the governor of Virginia, and the Virginia legislature of the approach of British cavalry, who had been sent to capture them. At about 4:30 A.M. on June 4, he reached Monticello, Jefferson’s home.
After leaving Monticello, Jouett rode to the Swan Tavern (owned by his father) in Charlottesville where most of the legislators were staying. Jouett’s warning allowed most of them to escape. Although infamous British Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton was able to capture a few of the legislators he had targeted, the “Paul Revere of the South” had saved the day and the fledgling American Revolution.
Recognizing its debt to Jouett, the legislature passed a resolution on June 15 to honor him. The legislature resolved to give Jouett a pair of pistols and a sword in gratitude. Jouett received the pistols in 1783, but it took 20 years before he got the promised sword.
1800 – John Adams, the second president of the United States, became the first president to reside in Washington, D.C., although that residence wasn’t the White House. It was the Union Tavern in Georgetown.
The White House – or President’s Mansion or President’s House as it was called then – was not yet finished, so Adams moved into a temporary stay at Tunnicliff’s City Hotel – above the tavern – near the also half-finished Capitol building.
On November 1, Adams finally moved into his official residence, with the plaster and paint still drying and the building surrounded by weeds.
1888 – There was no joy in Mudville! The poem Casey at the Bat (technically titled Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888) by Ernest Lawrence Thayer was first published, in The Daily Examiner, now known as the San Francisco Daily Examiner. It has become one of the best-known poems in American literature.
1937 – The Sporting News reported that catcher Josh Gibson of the Negro League’s Homestead Grays hit a ball two feet from the top of the façade of Yankee Stadium, 580 feet from home plate.
If Negro League records were kept alongside those of the National and American Leagues, Gibson’s home run would eclipse Mickey Mantle’s record 565-foot home run in Washington’s Griffith Stadium as the longest ever hit.
1937 – In France, the Duke of Windsor – formerly King Edward VIII of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – married Wallis Warfield, an American divorcee for whom he abdicated the British throne in December 1936.
A Church of England clergyman conducted the service, which was witnessed by only 16 guests. The new king, George VI, issued an edict forbidding members of the royal family to attend.
1940 – The German air force bombed Paris, killing 254 people, 195 of them civilians. Determined to wreck France’s economy and military, reduce its population, and in short, cripple its morale as well as its ability to rally support for other occupied nations, the Germans bombed the French capital without regard to the fact that many of the victims were schoolchildren.
The bombing succeeded in provoking just the right amount of terror; France’s minister of the interior could only keep government officials from fleeing Paris by threatening them with severe penalties.
1965 – 120 miles above the earth, Major Edward H. White II opened the hatch of the Gemini 4 and stepped out of the capsule, becoming the first American astronaut to walk in space.
Attached to the craft by a 25-foot tether and controlling his movements with a hand-held oxygen jet-propulsion gun, White remained outside the capsule for just over 20 minutes.
As a spacewalker, White had been preceded by Soviet cosmonaut Aleksei A. Leonov, who on March 18, 1965, was the first man ever to walk in space.
2011 – Actor James Arness died of natural causes at the age of 88. He was best known for portraying Marshal Matt Dillon for 20 years in the television series Gunsmoke.
As a rifleman, he landed on Anzio Beachhead on January 22, 1944, with the 7th Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Infantry Division. Arness was severely wounded in his right leg during the battle. His wounds would bother him for the rest of his life.
In later years he had to cope with chronic leg pain that often became acute, particularly when he mounted horses during his performance on Gunsmoke.
2016 – Muhammad Ali, former heavyweight champion and one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century, died from septic shock after a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Nicknamed “the Greatest” and ranked as the greatest athlete of the 20th century by Sports Illustrated, Ali was involved in several historic boxing matches. Notable among these were his two fights with Sonny Liston, the trilogy of bouts with Joe Frazier, and “The Rumble in the Jungle” against George Foreman.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2018 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.