“When the war is over and we consider calmly this unprecedented migration of 120,000 people, we as Americans are going to regret the unavoidable injustices that we may have done.”
Letter to Secretary of Agriculture Claude Wickard
Discussing Internment of Japanese-Americans
1845 – John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, died at the age of 70.
Chapman was not a “scatterer of seeds” as many people believe. He actually was very methodical in the selection of his nursery sites and the planting and care of young trees.
Contrary to another myth, was no mere dreamy wanderer. Records reveal him to be a careful, organized, strategic businessman who, over a period of several decades, bought and sold many dozen tracts of land in advance of the frontier expansion.
He created apple orchards in the wildernesses of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Illinois and Indiana, spanning an estimated area of 100,000 square miles.
While staying with friends in Fort Wayne, Indiana, he received word that some cattle had broken through a fence around one of his nurseries 20 miles away.
On his return trip from repairing the fence, he was caught in a snowstorm and became stricken with “the winter plague”, which was probably pneumonia.
1882 – Five months after the Gunfight at The O.K. Corral, Tombstone Special Policeman Morgan Earp was ambushed and killed.
At about 11 p.m., Earp was playing pool at Campbell and Hatch’s Saloon, while his brother Wyatt, a deputy U.S. marshal, watched. As Morgan turned his back to a rear door to play a shot, gunshots tore through the door widows and struck him in the back.
The bullet entered his body just to the left of the spinal column in the region of the left kidney and emerged on the right side of the body in the region of the gallbladder.
Morgan collapsed at the scene and died within the hour at the age of 30.
Witnesses claimed they saw Frank Stilwell – a member of the outlaw Cochise County Cowboys – flee the scene following the shooting.
Although nothing was ever proven, Wyatt took it upon himself to find justice for Morgan’s death.
Two days later, Frank Stilwell’s bullet-riddled body was found.
1892 – Former Governor General Lord Stanley pledged to donate a silver challenge cup as an award for the best hockey team in Canada.
It was known originally as the Dominion Hockey Challenge Cup, but in 1909 it became contested by professional teams exclusively.
Since 1926, only teams of the National Hockey League have competed for the trophy, named after him as the Stanley Cup.
1937 – The New London School explosion in New London, Texas, killed 300 students and teachers.
The school was built on sloping ground and a large air space was enclosed beneath the structure. The school board had overridden the original architect’s plans for a boiler and steam distribution system, instead opting to install 72 gas heaters throughout the building.
Early in 1937, the school board canceled their natural gas contract and had plumbers install a tap into Parade Gasoline Company’s residue gas line to save money.
This practice – while not explicitly authorized by local oil companies – was widespread in the area. The natural gas extracted with the oil was considered a waste product and as there was no value to the natural gas, the oil companies turned a blind eye. This “raw” or “wet” gas varied in quality from day to day, even from hour to hour.
Gas had been leaking from the residue line tap and built up inside the enclosed crawl space that ran the entire 253-foot length of the building’s facade. Students had been complaining of headaches for some time, but little attention had been paid to the issue.
A PTA meeting was being held in the gymnasium, a separate structure roughly 100 feet from the main building. Approximately 500 students and 40 teachers were in the building at the time, although some numbers claim there were roughly 694 students in the building.
At 3:17 p.m., Lemmie R. Butler, an “instructor of manual training”, turned on an electric sander. It is believed that the sander’s switch caused a spark that ignited the gas-air mixture.
The walls of the school bulged, the roof lifted from the building and then crashed back down, and the main wing of the structure collapsed.
The force of the explosion was so great that a two-ton concrete block was thrown clear off the building and crushed a car parked 200 feet away.
Of the deceased, the majority of them were from grades 5 through 11 as the younger students were educated in a separate building and most had already been dismissed from school.
Within weeks of the disaster, the Texas Legislature passed a law requiring an odor to be added to natural gas, which previously was odorless and therefore undetectable.
1940 – Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini held a meeting at the Brenner Pass on the Austria-Italy border during which the Italian dictator agreed to join in Germany’s war against France and England.
The “Pact of Steel” was initially drafted as a tripartite military alliance between Japan, Italy and Germany. While Japan wanted the focus of the pact to be aimed at the Soviet Union, Italy and Germany wanted it aimed at England and France.
Due to this disagreement, the pact was signed without Japan and became an agreement between Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany.
1942 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order authorizing the War Relocation Authority, which handled the internment, i.e. forced relocation and detention, of Japanese-Americans during World War II.
The executive order also applied to Alaska as well, bringing the entire United States West Coast as off-limits to Japanese nationals and Americans of Japanese descent.
Milton S. Eisenhower, the younger brother of Dwight Eisenhower, was the original director, even though he disapproved of the idea of the mass internment.
He tried, unsuccessfully, to limit the internment to adult men, allowing women and children to remain free, but was told it was “politically infeasible,” at a meeting in Salt Lake City in April 1942.
Eisenhower resigned on June 18, 1942.
The West Coast was reopened to Japanese Americans on January 2, 1945 (delayed until after the November 1944 election, so as not to impede Roosevelt’s reelection campaign).
1959 – President Dwight Eisenhower signed “An Act to Provide for the Admission of the State of Hawaii into the Union”.
The statute dissolved the Territory of Hawaii and established the State of Hawaii as the 50th state to be admitted into the Union.
After signing the Act, Eisenhower said, “Under this legislation, the citizens of Hawaii will soon decide whether their Islands shall become our fiftieth State. In so doing, they will demonstrate anew to the world the vitality of the principles of freedom and self-determination.”
In June, those citizens voted on a referendum to accept the statehood bill.
Out of a total population of 600,000 in the islands and 155,000 registered voters, 140,000 votes were cast, the highest turnout ever in Hawaii.
The vote showed approval rates of at least 93% by voters on all major islands.
Statehood became effective on August 21, 1959.
1969 – The United States began secretly bombing the Sihanouk Trail in Cambodia, used by communist forces to infiltrate South Vietnam. It did so without the consent of Cambodian leader Norodom Sihanouk.
Operation Menu wasn’t a totally new idea. It was an escalation of what had previously been tactical (and also secret) air attacks in 1965 under the Johnson administration.
The covert operation ran until May 26, 1970.
In April 1970, President Richard Nixon publicly announced he had sent U.S. and South Vietnamese soldiers into Cambodia to attack North Vietnamese bases, expanding the ground war out of Vietnam for the first time.
The bombing of Cambodia continued until 1973 (Operation Freedom Deal) in support of the Cambodian government which was then battling a Khmer Rouge insurgency in the Cambodian Civil War.
1984 – Paul Francis Webster, lyricist who won three Academy Awards for Best Original Song, died of natural causes at the age of 76.
Those award winning songs were Secret Love, Love Is A Many Splendored Thing and The Shadow Of Your Smile.
Webster was nominated an additional 13 times for Best Song Academy Awards.
Songwriting Factoid: A few (and there were many) of his other songs include Somewhere My Love, The Twelfth Of Never and Masquerade.
1990 – In the largest art theft in U.S. history, 13 paintings, collectively worth around $500 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston.
In the early hours, guards admitted two men posing as police officers responding to a disturbance call. Once inside, the thieves tied up the guards and looted the museum over the next hour.
Among the stolen treasures was The Concert, one of only 34 known paintings by Johannes Vermeer and thought to be the most valuable unrecovered painting in the world, worth an estimated $250-300 million.
Also missing is The Storm on the Sea of Galilee, Rembrandt’s only seascape, valued at $100 million.
Despite efforts by the FBI and multiple probes around the world, no arrests have been made and no works have been recovered. The museum is offering a $10 million reward for information leading to the art’s recovery, the largest bounty ever offered by a private institution.
2001 – Singer/songwriter John Phillips died of heart failure at the age of 65.
He was the principal songwriter for the Mamas and the Papas … California Dreamin’, Monday, Monday, I Saw Her Again Last Night, Creeque Alley, and 12:30 (Young Girls Are Coming to the Canyon).
Phillips also wrote or co-wrote for other artists, including the Grateful Dead (Me and My Uncle), the Beach Boys (Kokomo), and Scott McKenzie (San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair).
His years of drug addiction resulted in health problems that required a liver transplant in 1992. Several months later, photographs of him drinking alcohol in a bar were published in the National Enquirer.
Questioned about the photos, he said “I was just trying to break in the new liver.”
Idle Thought: Brilliant songwriter, but not exactly a rocket scientist.
2005 – Doctors in Florida, acting on orders of a state judge, removed Terri Schiavo’s feeding tube.
On February 25, 1990, at the age of 26, Schiavo sustained a cardiac arrest at her home in St. Petersburg. She was successfully resuscitated, but had massive brain damage due to lack of oxygen to her brain and was left comatose.
After two and a half months without improvement, her diagnosis was changed to that of a persistent vegetative state. For the next two years, doctors attempted occupational therapy, speech therapy, physical therapy and other experimental therapy, hoping to return her to a state of awareness, without success.
In 1998, Schiavo’s husband, Michael, petitioned the Sixth Circuit Court of Florida to remove her feeding tube pursuant to Florida law. He was opposed by Terri’s parents, Robert and Mary Schindler. The court determined that Schiavo would not have wished to continue life-prolonging measures, and on April 24, 2001, her feeding tube was removed for the first time, only to be reinserted several days later.
On October 15, 2003, Schiavo’s feeding tube was again removed. Within a week, when the Schindler’s final appeal was exhausted, State Rep. Frank Attkisson and the Florida Legislature passed “Terri’s Law” in an emergency session giving Governor Jeb Bush the authority to intervene in the case. Governor Bush immediately ordered the feeding tube reinserted.
On May 5, 2004, Judge W. Douglas Baird found “Terri’s Law” unconstitutional, and struck it down.[ Bush appealed this order to the Second District Court of Appeals, but they sent it directly to the Florida Supreme Court, who overturned the law as unconstitutional.
President George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans anticipated the adverse ruling well before it was delivered and used an alternative means of overturning the legal process by utilizing the authority of the United States Congress.
On March 20, 2005, the Senate, by unanimous consent, passed their version of a relief bill. Soon after Senate approval, the House of Representatives passed an identical version of the bill, which came to be called the “Palm Sunday Compromise” and transferred jurisdiction of the Schiavo case to the federal courts.
As in the state courts, all of the Schindler’s federal petitions and appeals were denied, and the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the decision, effectively ending the Schindler’s judicial options.
Terri Schiavo died on March 31, 2005.
2010 – Actor Fess Parker died of natural causes at the age of 85.
He was best known for his portrayals of Davy Crockett in the Walt Disney TV miniseries, and as Daniel Boone in an NBC television series from 1964 to 1970.
After his acting career, Parker devoted much of his time to operating his Fess Parker Family Winery and Vineyards in Los Olivos, California.
The winery – which covers over 1,500 acres of vineyards – has produced several different types of award-winning wines.
2017 – Singer/songwriter/guitarist Chuck Berry died of cardiac arrest at the age of 90.
A pioneer of rock and roll, Berry was a significant character in the development of both the music and the attitude associated with rock music.
With songs such as Maybellene, Roll Over Beethoven, Rock and Roll Music, Sweet Little Sixteen, and Johnny B. Goode, Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics successfully aimed to appeal to the teenage market.
He was a huge influence on the Beatles, Rolling Stones (especially Keith Richards), Bruce Springsteen, Brian Wilson, Elvis Presley, and many, many more.
Berry was the first musician to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986.
Keith Richards inducted Berry with what is still one of the more memorable speeches in Rock Hall Ceremony history: “It’s very difficult for me to talk about Chuck Berry, because I lifted every lick he ever played.”
As Joe Lynch wrote in Billboard magazine, Chuck Berry didn’t invent Rock ‘n’ Roll, but he turned it into an attitude that changed the world.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2020 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.