“My fellow Americans, we gather here today to right a grave wrong. More than 40 years ago, shortly after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry living in the United States were forcibly removed from their homes and placed in makeshift internment camps. This action was taken without trial, without jury. It was based solely on race.
“Yes, the Nation was then at war, struggling for its survival, and it’s not for us today to pass judgment upon those who may have made mistakes while engaged in that great struggle. Yet we must recognize that the internment of Japanese-Americans was just that: a mistake.”
~President Ronald Reagan
Signing Civil Liberties Act of 1988 Bill
1846 – An act establishing the Smithsonian Institution was signed into law by President James K. Polk.
In 1829, British scientist James Smithson died in Italy, leaving behind a will with a peculiar footnote. In the event that his only nephew died without any heirs, Smithson decreed that the whole of his estate would go to “the United States of America, to found at Washington, under the name of the Smithsonian Institution, an Establishment for the increase and diffusion of knowledge.”
Six years after his death, his nephew, Henry James Hungerford, died without children, and on July 1, 1836, the U.S. Congress authorized acceptance of Smithson’s gift.
After considering a series of recommendations, including the creation of a national university, a public library, or an astronomical observatory, Congress agreed that the bequest would support the creation of a museum, a library, and a program of research, publication, and collection in the sciences, arts, and history.
The photo above shows the Smithsonian as it was in 1936. Today, it is composed of 19 museums and galleries, nine research facilities throughout the United States (and the world) and the national zoo.
Smithsonian Factoid: James Smithson died in 1829 and was buried in Genoa, Italy. At the request of Alexander Graham Bell, a regent for the Smithsonian, Smithson’s remains were moved to Washington, DC in 1904. It was the first time Smithson had ever touched American soil.
1861 – The struggle for Missouri erupted with the Battle of Wilson’s Creek, where a motley band of raw Confederates defeated a Union force in the southwestern section of the state.
Union General Nathaniel Lyon, who commanded a force of 6,400 soldiers, was up against two Rebel forces commanded by Generals Sterling Price and Ben McCulloch.
Although the Confederates were poorly equipped and trained at this early stage of the war, Price and McCulloch had a combined force nearly twice the size of Lyon’s. But the impetuous Union commander did not want to cede the region without a fight.
Lyon sent General Franz Sigel with 1,200 men to attack the rear while he struck the surprised Confederates just after dawn. At first, the artillery barrage sent the Rebel camp into a panic, and the day seemed to belong to the Yankees. At that point, however, Sigel made a deadly mistake.
He mistook a force emerging from the smoke for an Iowa regiment, when it was actually a Louisiana regiment clad in similar uniforms since many of the Rebel units were dressed in colors of their own choosing.
The Confederates pushed Sigel back, and the tide turned against Lyon’s force as well. In intense heat and humidity, the armies battled throughout the morning. Lyon was killed during one of the Confederate assaults, but the Union line managed to hold their ground.
Although the Rebels withdrew from the field, the Union army was disorganized and running low on ammunition. Losses were heavy, with both sides suffering about 1,200 casualties. The Federals soon retreated to Springfield and then back to the railhead at Rolla, Missouri, 100 miles to the northeast.
Southwestern Missouri had been secured for the Confederates.
1921 – Former Assistant Secretary of the Navy (and future Governor of New York and president of the United States) Franklin D. Roosevelt was vacationing at Campobello Island (one of the Fundy Islands and part of Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada) when he fell seriously ill.
His main symptoms were fever; symmetric, ascending paralysis; facial paralysis; bowel and bladder dysfunction; numbness and hyperesthesia; and a descending pattern of recovery.
Roosevelt was left permanently paralyzed from the waist down. He was diagnosed with poliomyelitis at the time, but his symptoms are more consistent with Guillain–Barré syndrome – an autoimmune neuropathy which Roosevelt’s doctors failed to consider as a diagnostic possibility.
1945 – One day after the bombing of Nagasaki, Japan submitted its acquiescence to the Potsdam Conference terms of unconditional surrender. In return, President Harry S. Truman ordered a halt to atomic bombing.
Emperor Hirohito, having remained aloof from the daily decisions of fighting the war, finally felt compelled to do more.
At the behest of two Cabinet members, the emperor summoned and presided over a special meeting of the Council and implored them to consider accepting the terms of the Potsdam Conference, which meant unconditional surrender.
“It seems obvious that the nation is no longer able to wage war, and its ability to defend its own shores is doubtful.“
The Council had been split over the surrender terms, but in light of the bombing of Hiroshima on August 6, Nagasaki on August 9, and the Soviet invasion of Manchuria, as well as the emperor’s own request that the Council “bear the unbearable,” it was agreed: Japan would surrender.
Tokyo released a message to its ambassadors in Switzerland and Sweden, which was then passed on to the Allies. When the message reached Washington, President Truman, unwilling to inflict any more suffering on the Japanese people, especially on “all those kids,” ordered a halt to atomic bombing.
And now, a short break for something humorous…
1948 – Candid Camera premiered on ABC. The program continued – on various networks – into the 1970s.
The show, created by Allen Funt, involved concealed cameras filming ordinary people being confronted with unusual situations, sometimes involving trick props, such as a desk with drawers that pop open when one is closed or a car with a hidden extra gas tank.
When the joke was revealed, victims would be told the show’s catchphrase, “Smile, you’re on Candid Camera!”
In one episode that didn’t quite work as planned, the show filmed the reactions of citizens after they saw former President Harry S. Truman walking down the street. After being advised that the former president and his Secret Service entourage would be taking a walk in downtown Manhattan, the program tracked them with a hidden camera in a van.
A young woman who was a champion runner was planted at a street corner they would pass, and she was asking directions from a passerby when she saw Truman and shouted hello. She then ran around the block so she could be ahead of Truman and was at the next corner where she again said hello to him as he approached.
After this was done several times, she asked President Truman if something seemed familiar. The former president replied he expected she had something to do with the van that had been following him, and pointed straight into the camera with his walking stick without turning to look.
Sorry, that’s the end of the humorous stuff…
1969 – A day after murdering Sharon Tate and four others, members of Charles Manson’s cult killed supermarket executive Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary.
Six “Family” members — Leslie Van Houten, Steve “Clem” Grogan, and the four from the previous night – Tex Watson, Susan Atkins, Patricia Krenwinkel, and Linda Kasabian – drove to the house, accompanied by Manson.
Displeased by the panic of the victims at Cielo Drive the previous night, Manson accompanied the six “to show them how to do it.”
According to Watson, Manson woke the sleeping Leno LaBianca from his couch at gunpoint and had Watson bind his hands with a leather thong. After Rosemary was brought briefly into the living room from the bedroom, Watson followed Manson’s instructions to cover the couple’s heads with pillowcases.
He bound these in place with lamp cords. Manson left, sending Krenwinkel and Van Houten into the house with instructions that the couple be killed.
I will spare you the incredibly graphic details of what followed.
While the murders were taking place, Manson, Grogan, Atkins and Kasabian continued to Venice Beach where Manson sent the trio to kill actor Saladin Nader, but Kasabian led them to the wrong apartment and the plan was aborted.
1977 – 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz was arrested and charged with being the “Son of Sam,” the serial killer who terrorized New York City for more than a year, killing six young people and wounding seven others with a .44-caliber revolver.
There was some question about whether Berkowitz was mentally fit to stand trial, but on May 8, 1978, he withdrew an insanity defense and pleaded guilty to the six .44-caliber murders. He was given six 25-years-to-life sentences for the crime, the maximum penalty allowed at the time.
He has since been denied parole. Since 1987, he has been held at the Sullivan Correctional Facility in upstate New York
1988 – President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese Americans who were either interned in or relocated by the United States during World War II.
Japanese American internment was the forced removal and confinement of approximately 120,000 Japanese Americans (62% of whom were United States citizens) from the West Coast of the United States during World War II.
Some 5,500 Japanese American men arrested by the FBI after the bombing of Pearl Harbor were sent directly to internment camps run by the Department of Justice, and approximately 5,000 were able to “voluntarily” relocate to other parts of the country before forced evacuations began.
The remainder were sent to “relocation centers,” hastily constructed camps in remote portions of the nation’s interior, run by the War Relocation Authority.
President Franklin Roosevelt authorized the internment with Executive Order 9066, which allowed local military commanders to designate “military areas” from which “any or all persons may be excluded.”
This power was used to declare that all people of Japanese ancestry were excluded from the entire Pacific coast region, including all of California and most of Oregon and Washington, except for those in government custody.
In 1944, the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the exclusion, removal, and detention, arguing that it is permissible to curtail the civil rights of a racial group when there is a “pressing public necessity.”
1993 – Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sworn in as the second female Supreme Court justice.
During her testimony before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the confirmation hearings, she affirmed her belief in a constitutional right to privacy and explained at some length her personal judicial philosophy and thoughts regarding gender equality.
However, she refused to answer questions about her view on the constitutionality of some issues such as the death penalty as it was an issue that she might have to vote on if it came before the court.
Nominated to the Court by President Bill Clinton, the U.S. Senate confirmed her by a 96 to 3 vote.
The three negative votes came from Don Nickles (R-Oklahoma), Bob Smith (R-New Hampshire), and Jesse Helms (R-North Carolina), while Donald W. Riegle Jr. (D-Michigan) did not vote.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2018 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.