“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 resolved to give Jouett a pair of pistols and a sword in gratitude.
Jouett received the pistols two years later, 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 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.
1921 – A cloudburst opened up over the southern Colorado town of Pueblo, sparing no part of the community.
A 25-foot wall of water roared down the Arkansas River killing 70 – 100 people, destroying six-hundred homes, uncounted livestock and destroying an estimated $20 million in property damage.
It took just two hours before the entire business district was under ten feet of water. The lumberyard caught fire, sending flaming timber down city streets, carried by rapid flood waters.
Boggs Flat, an area southwest of Pueblo, reported 14 inches of rain falling in 24 hours. A paved road running through nearly level terrain was washed out to a depth of 7 feet.
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 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 school children.
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.
1975 – Ozzie Nelson died of liver cancer at the age of 69.
His career started as a big band leader in the 30s and 40s, but in 1944, he originated and starred in The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, a radio series featuring his wife Harriet and two “voice actors” playing their sons, David and Ricky, for the first five years.
In 1949, David and Ricky joined the radio program and then in 1952, the entire family began a 14-year run on television. Although it was never a top-ten hit, the television series attracted large audiences and became synonymous with the 1950s ideal American family life.
1989 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s spiritual leader, died of heart failure at the age of 86.
He was the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the leader of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that saw the overthrow of the Shah of Iran, which resulted in the November 4, 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and a 444-day hostage crisis.
His funeral on June 6 was, as Time magazine put it, “bizarre, frightening – and ultimately incomprehensible.”
Hundreds of thousands of mourners came to bid farewell. Eight people were killed in the crush to approach the body and hundreds more were injured.
As the crowd surged past makeshift barriers, the body, wrapped in a white burial shroud, fell out of the flimsy wooden coffin (photo above), and in a mad scene, people in the crowd reached to touch the shroud, which was promptly torn to pieces for relics.
At one point, the guards lost hold of the body. Firing in the air, the soldiers drove the crowd back, retrieved the body and brought it to a helicopter, but mourners clung on to the landing gear before they could be shaken off.
To thin the crowd, it was announced on television and radio that the funeral had been postponed. Five hours later, three Huey helicopters landed and the body was brought out, sealed in a “metal box resembling an airline shipping container.”
Once again, the crowd broke through the cordon, but by weight of numbers the guards managed to push their way through to the grave.
The metal lid of the casket was ripped off, and the body was rolled into the grave. The grave was quickly covered with concrete slabs and a large freight container.
2001 – Academy Award winning actor Anthony Quinn died of respiratory failure and cancer at the age of 86.
He twice won the Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor; in 1952 for Viva Zapata! and in 1956 for his role in Lust For Life.
Although he appeared in 130 movies, Quinn was probably best known for the title role in Zorba the Greek, but his film credits included many, many magnificent performances; Wild Is The Wind, The Guns of Navarone, Requiem For A Heavyweight, Lawrence of Arabia, Barabbas, The Secret of Santa Vittoria, and The Shoes of the Fisherman.
2008 – In what he called a “defining moment for our nation,” Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois became the first African-American to head the ticket of a major political party.
Obama’s steady stream of superdelegate endorsements, combined with the delegates he received in the South Dakota and Montana primaries, put him past the 2,118 threshold.
By early in the evening, all major news organizations had announced that Obama had clinched the Democratic nomination, and Obama claimed the status of presumptive nominee.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (NY), his main competitor, refused to concede the nomination, saying she would be “making no decisions tonight.”
Four days later, she announced she was suspending her campaign and was endorsing Obama.
Popular Vote Factoid: If you look at the vote totals in the photo above, you will note Obama didn’t win the overall popular vote in the primary campaign, losing to Clinton by almost 275,000 votes.
Despite Clinton winning in big states with larger populations like California, New York, Texas, etc., Obama was still able to win because the delegate system awarded delegates based not only on overall wins in more states, but also based on voting percentages in states.
Winning big states might give someone more delegates at once, but winning more, less-populated states can easily eat into and overcome those gains, which is exactly how Obama was able to win the 2008 primary.
2009 – Actor David Carradine was found hanging by a nylon rope in a hotel room closet in Bangkok, Thailand.
Although immediate speculation was Carradine’s death was a suicide, two autopsies concluded that the death was the result of autoerotic asphyxiation, and the cause of death became widely accepted as “accidental asphyxiation.”
He appeared in more than 100 films, but was best known early in his career for his role as Kwai Chang Caine in the TV series Kung Fu.
2011 – Musician Andrew Gold died of heart failure at the age of 59.
His hit songs included the #7 single Lonely Boy in 1977 and Thank You For Being A Friend, a #25 hit in 1978.
Gold Factoid: As a member of Linda Ronstadt’s band from 1973 until 1977, he played a major role as multi-instrumentalist and arranger for her breakthrough 1974 album, Heart Like A Wheel and her next four albums.
He played the majority of instruments on You’re No Good, Ronstadt’s only #1 single on the Billboard Hot 100, and the same on When Will I Be Loved, Heat Wave and many other classic hits.
2011 – Dr. Jack Kevorkian died of a pulmonary thrombosis at the age of 83.
A medical pathologist, Kevorkian willfully helped terminally ill people end their lives, becoming the central figure in a national drama surrounding assisted suicide.
In arguing for the right of the terminally ill to choose how they die, Dr. Kevorkian challenged social taboos about disease and dying while defying prosecutors and the courts.
He spent eight years in prison after being convicted of second-degree murder in the death of the last of about 130 ailing patients whose lives he had helped end, beginning in 1990.
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 ©2019 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.