On April 28…
“Yes, a dictator can be loved. Provided that the masses fear him at the same time. The crowd love strong men. The crowd is like a woman.”
1789 – Three weeks into a journey from Tahiti to the West Indies, the HMS Bounty was seized in a mutiny led by Fletcher Christian, the master’s mate, along with 25 petty officers and seamen. Captain William Bligh (shown above) and 18 of his loyal supporters were set adrift in a small, open boat, and the Bounty set course for Tubuai south of Tahiti.
By setting him adrift in an overcrowded 23-foot-long boat in the middle of the Pacific, Christian and his conspirators had, in reality, handed him a death sentence. By remarkable seamanship, however, Bligh and his men reached Timor in the East Indies on June 14, 1789, after a voyage of about 3,600 miles.
1881 – William Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid, was awaiting execution for the 1878 murder of Sheriff William J. Brady when he escaped from the Lincoln, NM Courthouse, killing two deputies in the process. He was tracked down and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett three months later in Fort Sumner, NM.
1944 – The Forgotten Dead: Nine German E-boats attacked U.S. and UK units during Exercise Tiger, the rehearsal for the Normandy landings, killing 946.
Eight tank landing ships, full of servicemen and military equipment, had converged in Lyme Bay, off the coast of Devon, making their way towards Slapton Sands for the rehearsal. So vital was the exercise that the commanders ordered the use of live naval and artillery ammunition to make the exercise as real as possible, to accustom the soldiers to what they were soon going to experience.
But a group of German E-Boats, alerted by heavy radio traffic in Lyme Bay, intercepted the three-mile long convoy of vessels. Because of the impending invasion of Normandy, the incident was under the strictest secrecy at the time and was only nominally reported afterward. All survivors were sworn to secrecy by their superiors.
1945 – Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were shot by Italian partisans who had captured the couple as they attempted to flee the country.
The 61-year-old deposed former dictator of Italy, disguised in a Luftwaffe coat and helmet, had made it to the Swiss border on April 27, but were stopped near the village of Dongo in the Italian region Lombardy by partisans.
On this date, Mussolini and Petacci were both shot, along with most of the members of their 15-man entourage, primarily ministers and officials of the puppet Italian Social Republic. The shootings took place in the small village of Giulino di Mezzegra.
The following day, the bodies of Mussolini, Petacci and the other executed Fascists were loaded into a van and moved south to Milan, where they were hung upside down and savagely beaten by the angry mob.
1947 – A six-man expedition set sail from Peru aboard a balsa wood raft named the Kon-Tiki on a 101-day journey across the Pacific Ocean to Polynesia.
1965 – In an effort to forestall what he claimed would be a “communist dictatorship” in the Dominican Republic, President Lyndon B. Johnson sent more than 22,000 U.S. troops to restore order on the island nation. Johnson’s action provoked loud protests in Latin America and skepticism among many in the United States.
As evidence of the “communist infiltration,” Johnson provided American reporters with lists of suspected communists in that nation. Even cursory reviews of the list revealed that the evidence was extremely flimsy – some of the people on the list were dead and others could not be considered communists by any stretch of the imagination.
1967 – Boxing champion Muhammad Ali, saying “I ain’t got no quarrel with those Vietcong,” refused to be inducted into the U.S. Army and was immediately stripped of his heavyweight title. Ali, a Muslim, cited religious reasons for his decision.
1970 – Ed Begley (12 Angry Men, The Unsinkable Molly Brown, and winner of the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Sweet Bird of Youth) died of a heart attack at the age of 69.
1970 – President Richard Nixon gave his formal authorization to commit U.S. combat troops, in cooperation with South Vietnamese units, against communist troop sanctuaries in Cambodia.
Secretary of State William Rogers and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird, who had continually argued for a downsizing of the U.S. effort in Vietnam, were excluded from the decision. Three National Security Council staff members and key aides to presidential assistant Henry Kissinger resigned in protest over what amounted to an invasion of Cambodia.
1993 – James “Jimmy V” Valvano, former head basketball coach at North Carolina State, where his team won the 1983 national championship, died at the age of 47.
After coaching, Valvano became a broadcaster for ESPN and ABC Sports. Gravely ill with cancer, he gave an inspirational and courageous speech in 1993 at the ESPY Awards. That speech included some memorable statements, including these three:
“To me there are three things everyone should do every day. Number one is laugh. Number two is think. Spend some time in thought. Number three, you should have your emotions move you to tears. If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day.”
“Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever.”
“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
Less than 10 weeks later, Jim Valvano was dead.
The Jimmy V Award, given to “a deserving member of the sporting world who has overcome great obstacles through perseverance and determination,” at the annual ESPY Awards is named after him.
The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded by ESPN and Valvano with one goal in mind: to achieve Victory Over Cancer. Since its start in 1993, the V Foundation has awarded over $200 million in cancer research grants nationwide and has grown to become one of the premier supporters of cutting-edge cancer research funds.
1994 – Former CIA official Aldrich Ames, who had betrayed U.S. secrets to the Soviet Union and then Russia, pleaded guilty to espionage and tax evasion and was sentenced to life in prison without parole.
1996 – 28-year old Martin Bryant opened fire with a semi-automatic rifle and murdered 35 and injured another 23 in and around the Broad Arrow Cafe in Tasmania, Australia. He was arrested the next day after setting fire to a house where he had taken hostages after the massacre.
No motive has ever been established for the attack. He is currently serving 35 life sentences plus an additional 1,035 years without parole.
As a response to the spree killing, Australian State and Territory governments placed certain restrictions on semi-automatic rifles, repeating shotguns (holding more than 5 shots) and high-capacity rifle magazines.
2007 – Actor Dabs Greer died of renal failure and heart disease at the age of 90. While Greer had a prominent continuing role as Reverend Alden in the NBC series Little House On The Prairie, he made numerous appearances in other television shows, including Adventures of Superman, Twilight Zone, The Rifleman, Perry Mason, and many others.
Greer’s last feature film was a prominent role as the 108-year-old version of the character played by Tom Hanks in 1999’s The Green Mile.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2018 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.