“Maybe history wouldn’t have to repeat itself if we listened once in awhile.”
1813 – On this day, the United States got its nickname, Uncle Sam. The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the United States Army during the War of 1812.
Wilson stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to the food as “Uncle Sam’s.” The local newspaper picked up on the story and Uncle Sam eventually gained widespread acceptance as the nickname for the U.S. federal government.
1864 – Union General William T. Sherman ordered residents of Atlanta, Georgia, to evacuate the city. The mayor of Atlanta, James Calhoun, protested, but Sherman curtly replied, “War is cruelty and you cannot refine it.”
Sherman’s order surely didn’t win him any fans among the Southerners, but he was only starting to build his infamous reputation with the Confederates. In November, he embarked on his march to the sea, during which his army destroyed nearly everything that lay in its path.
1876 – Attempting a bold daytime robbery of the Northfield, Minnesota bank, the James-Younger gang suddenly found itself surrounded by angry townspeople and was nearly wiped out. The bandits began with a diversion: five of the men galloped through the center of town, hollering and shooting their pistols in the air. As the townspeople ran for cover, three other men wearing wide-brimmed hats and long dusters took advantage of the distraction to walk unnoticed into the First National Bank.
Once the alarm had been sounded, the citizens of Northfield ran to surround the bank and shot at the robbers as they tried to escape. Two gang members, Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell were gunned down while Charlie Pitts, Jesse James, and Jesse’s brother, Frank, were wounded. All three of the Younger brothers – Jim, Bob, and Cole – were also wounded.
Aftermath: Two weeks after the Northfield raid, Pitts was killed in a gunfight with a posse and the Youngers were wounded further. The Youngers surrendered and pleaded guilty to murder in order to avoid execution. Frank and Jesse fled west across southern Minnesota, turning south just inside the border of the Dakota Territory. In the face of hundreds of pursuers and a nationwide alarm, Frank and Jesse escaped, but the infamous James–Younger Gang was no more.
1892 – The first world heavyweight title fight to use the Marquis of Queensberry Rules (including boxing gloves and three-minute rounds) was held in New Orleans, LA. “Gentleman” James Corbett knocked out John L. Sullivan in round 21.
1930 – Dagwood and Blondie made their first appearance in comic strips. The Blondie cartoon was created by Chic Young and over time, the characters were heard on the radio, seen in 28 movies, and on two TV series.
1940 – After the successful occupation of France, it was only a matter of time before the Germans turned their sights across the Channel to England. On this date, the appearance of German bombers in the skies over London heralded a tactical shift in Adolf Hitler’s attempt to subdue Great Britain.
During the previous two months, the Luftwaffe had targeted RAF airfields and radar stations for destruction in preparation for the German invasion of the island. With invasion plans put on hold and eventually scrapped, Hitler turned his attention to destroying London in an attempt to demoralize the population and force the British to come to terms. At around 4:00 PM, 348 German bombers escorted by 617 fighters blasted London until 6:00 PM. Two hours later, guided by the fires set by the first assault, a second group of raiders commenced another attack that lasted until 4:30 the following morning.
This was the beginning of the “blitzkrieg” (lightning war) – a period of intense bombing of London. For the next 57 days, London was bombed either during the day or night. Fires consumed many portions of the city. Residents sought shelter wherever they could find it – many fleeing to the Underground stations that sheltered as many as 177,000 people during the night. In the worst single incident, 450 were killed when a bomb destroyed a school being used as an air raid shelter. Londoners and the world were introduced to a new weapon of terror and destruction in the arsenal of twentieth century warfare. 43,000 civilians were killed and more than one million London houses were destroyed or damaged in those two months.
1967 – U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara announced plans to build an electronic anti-infiltration barrier to block communist flow of arms and troops into South Vietnam from the north at the eastern end of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). The “McNamara Line,” as it became known, employed state-of-the-art, high-tech listening devices to alert U.S. forces when North Vietnamese troops and supplies were moving south so that air and artillery strikes could be brought to bear on them.
But in the end, the concept proved impractical as the North Vietnamese just shifted their infiltration routes to other areas.
1977 – President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos signed a treaty agreeing to transfer control of the Panama Canal from the United States to Panama at the end of the 20th century. The Panama Canal Treaty also authorized the immediate abolishment of the Canal Zone, a 10-mile-wide, 40-mile-long U.S.-controlled area that bisected the Republic of Panama.
Many in Congress opposed giving up control of the Panama Canal – an enduring symbol of U.S. power and technological prowess – but America’s colonial-type administration of the strategic waterway had long irritated Panamanians and other Latin Americans.
The formal turnover took place in December 1999.
1978 – Keith Moon, legendary drummer with The Who, died at the age of 32 from an accidental overdose of the prescription sedative Heminevrin (clomethiazole). The prescription – given to alleviate his alcohol withdrawal symptoms – instructed him to take one pill when he felt a craving for alcohol but not more than three pills per day.
Excess was always Moon’s attitude in life and in the end, it was excess that killed him. An autopsy determined that there were 32 clomethiazole pills in Moon’s system. Six were digested, sufficient to cause his death; the other 26 were undigested when he died.
1988 – Barry Sadler (The Ballad of The Green Berets) was shot by unidentified robbers as he returned to his home just outside Guatemala City. Sadler suffered severe brain damage and would die from those injuries the next year.
2003 – Warren Zevon died of cancer at the age of 56.
It’s easy to remember Zevon for Werewolves Of London but his musical legacy was much more than that quirky tune. The gifted singer/songwriter also gave fans memorable songs such as Lawyers, Guns And Money, Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner, Excitable Boy, Poor, Poor Pitiful Me, Accidentally Like A Martyr, Mohammed’s Radio, Hasten Down The Wind, and I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead.
2008 – James Lockhart, director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency , announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were being placed into conservatorship of the FHFA. The action was one of the most sweeping government interventions in private financial markets in decades.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2023 RayLemire.com / Streamingoldies.com All Rights Reserved.