On May 14, 2019, our DAVA Juniors helped with a Support the Troops Bake Sale, shopping for special presents for some special guests, and posing for a minute before work on Color Guard practice with Chapter 62 Auxiliary Commander, Yvonne Piland and National Junior Chair, Icilda V M Marley.
We are so blessed to
have our dedicated DAVA Juniors.
Auxiliary units with its Chapter’s prior consent, may conduct one Forget-Me-Not Drive annually, offering Forget-Me-Not flowers purchased through the DAV National Headquarters, and where a paid promoter is not involved.
Income from Forget-Me-Not Drives shall be used solely for the service to disabled veterans, their dependents and survivors and for NO other purpose.
National Constitution and Bylaws , Standard State Department Bylaws, Standard Local Unit Bylaws and Rituals of the Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, Article XV, Section 4.
The following is an excerpt from a news story published by the DAV many years ago pertaining to the origin of Forget-Me-Not drives:
In the Meuse-Argonne Forest the last big decisive “push” of the World War was fought and won by the allies on Argonne Day, which was September 26th. The Disabled American Veterans of the World War enlisted the aid of the general public in waging the battle for justice still being fought by thousands of unfortunate disabled veterans whose claims for government treatment and compensation had been denied because of the deficiencies of the law or of the evidence submitted by them.
On that date Forget-Me-Nots were first offered for sale in every large town and city throughout the nation, to a grateful people who had not forgotten their wartime promises that nothing would be too good for the returned soldier. The wearing of a Forget-Me-Not on Argonne Day, therefore, meant much more than the expression of a sentiment; it carried with it as well, the fact that the wearer was performing an unselfish service in assisting unfortunate and needy Disabled American Veterans. By remembering the living, we can best honor the dead. Through the sale of the little blue flowers of remembrance, the DAV hoped to realize sufficient funds to carry on its important work for the coming years.
The first Forget-Me-Not Day was February 24, 1926.
At the Detroit Convention, July 31, 1929, Argonne Day, September 26, and Armistice Day, Nov. 11, were designated as Forget-Me-Not Days with the understanding that units may conduct a drive on dates other than the above because of weather conditions or other local circumstances.
In accordance with the custom established at the White House at the time of the Disabled Veterans of the World War’s first annual appeal to the public through the medium of the Forget-Me-Not sale, President Calvin Coolidge, while at the summer White House, issued a proclamation calling upon the people of the U.S. to support the organization’s call for assistance in which he commended the DAV as one of the agencies which has given the government needed assistance by assisting in every possible way in alleviating the sufferings of those veterans of the recent conflict for whom the war still endures.
There are many legends and stories concerning the Forget-Me-Not, of course none have been verified; however, here are two such tales:
“God was looking at the world that He had created and felt that He needed to place beautiful colors as a finishing touch to make the world a joy for the eye and the soul. He then told the little cherubs that they would be sent to earth to give pleasure to man by blooming as bright and glorious flowers,” said the account. ‘These will remind man that whenever there is desperation and the feeling that all is lost they have only to look around and see one of you in all your majesty.’ After He had almost completed His work the tiniest, chubbiest and youngest cherub came to Him for the third time and jumped on His lap. ‘Father what am I supposed to be?’ God looked down at him and with a smile and a pat on the cherub’s head He said, ‘Forget Me-Not.’”
According to history, during the reign of King Edward, a young man and his lady were strolling on the margin of a lake. They discovered some flowers some distance from the lake’s inner bank. In the true spirit of chivalry, the lad swam to the off shore island and plucked the flowers for the lady. As he was returning, feeling that he could not reach the shore, he cast a last affectionate look toward the lady, threw the flowers and said, “Forget-Me-Not.”
A spokesperson said, “It is our ‘Forget-Me-Not’ sale that says to everyone throughout the year ‘Remember Me.’ When we pass the flowers to eager hands upon the street we are saying, ‘Remember and Forget me not, I am a Disabled American Veteran.’”
May 1st – Observed as May Day, a holiday and
spring festival since ancient times, also observed in socialist countries as a
workers’ holiday or Labor Day.
May 1, 1707 – Great Britain was formed from a union
between England and Scotland. The union included Wales which had already been
part of England since the 1500’s. The United Kingdom today consists of Great
Britain and Northern Ireland.
May 1, 1960 – An American U-2 spy plane flying at
60,000 feet was shot down over Sverdlovsk in central Russia on the eve of a
summit meeting between President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Soviet
Russia’s Premier Nikita Khrushchev. The sensational incident caused a
cancellation of the meeting and heightened existing Cold War tensions. The
pilot, CIA agent Francis Gary Powers, survived the crash, and was tried,
convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison by a Russian court. Two years
later he was released to America in exchange for an imprisoned Soviet spy. On
his return to America, Powers encountered a hostile public which apparently
believed he should not have allowed himself to be captured alive. He died in a
helicopter crash in 1977.
May 1, 2004 – Eight former Communist nations and two
Mediterranean countries joined the European Union (EU) marking its largest-ever
expansion. The new members included Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic,
Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, along with the island of Malta
and the Greek portion of the island of Cyprus. They joined 15 countries already
in the EU, representing in all 450 million persons.
Birthday – Irish-born American labor leader Mary
‘Mother’ Jones (1830-1930) was born in County Cork, Ireland. She endured
misfortune early in life as her husband and four children died in the yellow
fever epidemic of 1867. She also lost all her belongings in the Chicago Fire of
1871. She then devoted herself to organizing and advancing the cause of Labor,
using the slogan, “Join the Union, boys.” She also sought to prohibit
child labor. She remained active until the very end, giving her last speech on
her 100th birthday.
Birthday – World War II General Mark Clark (1896-1984)
was born in Madison Barracks, New York. He commanded the U.S. Fifth Army
which invaded Italy in September of 1943, fighting a long and brutal
campaign against stubborn German opposition.
Birthday – African American Olympic athlete Archie
Williams (1915-1993) was born in Oakland, California. Williams, along with
Jesse Owens, defeated German athletes at the 1936 Berlin Olympics and helped
debunk Adolf Hitler’s theory of Aryan racial superiority. Williams won a gold
medal in the 400-meter race. After the Olympics, he went on to earn a
mechanical engineering degree from the University of California-Berkeley but
faced discrimination and wound up digging ditches. He later became an airplane
pilot and trained Tuskegee Institute pilots including the Black Air Corp of
World War II.
May 2, 2011 – U.S. Special Operations Forces killed
Osama bin Laden during a raid on his secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The raid marked the culmination of a decade-long manhunt for the elusive leader
of the al-Qaeda terrorist organization based in the Middle East. Bin Laden had
ordered the coordinated aerial attacks of September 11th, 2001, in which four American
passenger jets were hijacked then crashed, killing nearly 3,000 persons. Two
jets had struck and subsequently collapsed the 110-story Twin Towers of the
World Trade Center in New York, while another struck the Pentagon building in
Washington, D.C. A fourth jet also headed toward Washington had crashed into a
field in Pennsylvania as passengers attempted to overpower the hijackers on
Birthday – Pope Leo XIII (1810-1903) was born in
Carpino, Italy (as Gioacchino Pecci). He was elected Pope in 1878 at age 67 and
lived to govern the church another 25 years, laying the foundation for
modernization of Church attitudes toward a rapidly industrializing and changing
Birthday – Italian writer and statesman Niccolo
Machiavelli (1469-1527) was born in Florence, Italy. He offered a blunt,
realistic view of human nature and power in his works The
Prince and Discourses on Livy.
Birthday – Golda Meir (1898-1978) was born in Kiev,
Russia. She was one of the founders of the modern state of Israel and served as
prime minister from 1969 to 1974.
May 4, 1494 – During his second journey of exploration
in the New World, Christopher Columbus discovered Jamaica.
May 4, 1886 – The Haymarket Square Riot occurred in
Chicago after 180 police officers advanced on 1,300 persons gathered in the
square listening to speeches of labor activists and anarchists. A bomb was
thrown. Seven policemen were killed and over 50 wounded. Four anarchists were
then charged with conspiracy to kill, convicted and hanged while another
committed suicide in jail. Three others were given lengthy jail terms.
May 4, 1970 – At Kent State University, four students
– Allison Krause, 19; Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20; Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20; and
William K. Schroeder, 19 – were killed by National Guardsmen who opened fire on
a crowd of 1,000 students protesting President Richard Nixon’s decision to
invade Cambodia. Eleven others were wounded. The shootings set off tumultuous
campus demonstrations across America resulting in the temporary closing of over
450 colleges and universities.
May 5th – Celebrated in Mexico as Cinco de Mayo, a
national holiday in remembrance of the Battle of Puebla in 1862, in which
Mexican troops under General Ignacio Zaragoza, outnumbered three to one,
defeated the invading French forces of Napoleon III.
May 5, 1865 – Decoration Day was first observed in the
U.S., with the tradition of decorating soldiers’ graves from the Civil War with
flowers. The observance date was later moved to May 30th and included American
graves from World War I and World War II and became better known as Memorial
Day. In 1971, Congress moved Memorial Day to the last Monday in May, thus
creating a three-day holiday weekend.
May 5, 1893 – The Wall Street Crash of 1893 began as
stock prices fell dramatically. By the end of the year, 600 banks closed, and
several big railroads were in receivership. Another 15,000 businesses went
bankrupt amid 20 percent unemployment. It was the worst economic crisis in U.S.
history up to that time.
May 5, 1961 – Alan Shepard became the first
American in space. He piloted the spacecraft Freedom 7 during a
15-minute 28-second suborbital flight that reached an altitude of 116 miles
(186 kilometers) above the earth. Shepard’s success occurred 23 days after the
Russians had launched the first-ever human in space, cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin,
during an era of intense technological competition between the Russians and
Americans called the Space Race.
Birthday – Communism founder Karl Marx (1818-1883) was
born in Treves, Germany. He co-authored Das Kapital and The
Communist Manifesto, advocating the abolition of all private property and
a system in which workers own all the means of production, land, factories and
Birthday – Pioneering American journalist Nellie
Bly (1867-1922) was born in Cochran’s Mills, Pennsylvania (as Elizabeth
Cochrane). She was a social reformer and human rights advocate who once posed
as an inmate in an insane asylum to expose inhumane conditions. She is best
known for her 1889-90 tour around the world in 72 days, beating by eight days
the time of Phileas Fogg, fictional hero of Jules Verne’s novel Around the
World in Eighty Days.
May 6, 1527 – The Renaissance ended with the Sack of
Rome by German troops as part of an ongoing conflict between the Hapsburg
Empire and the French Monarchy. German troops killed over 4,000 Romans,
imprisoned the Pope, and looted works of art and libraries. An entire year
passed before order could be restored in Rome.
May 6, 1937 – The German airship Hindenburg burst into
flames at 7:20 p.m. as it neared the mooring mast at Lakehurst, New Jersey,
following a trans-Atlantic voyage. Thirty six of the 97 passengers and crew
were killed. The inferno was caught on film and witnessed by a commentator who
broke down amid the emotional impact and exclaimed, “Oh, the
humanity!” The accident effectively ended commercial airship traffic.
Birthday – Psychoanalysis founder Sigmund Freud
(1856-1939) was born in Freiberg, Moravia. His theories became the foundation
for treating psychiatric disorders by psychoanalysis and offered some of the
first workable cures for mental disorders.
Birthday – Explorer Robert E. Peary (1856-1920) was
born in Cresson, Pennsylvania. He organized and led eight Arctic expeditions
and reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909. In another expedition, he proved
Greenland is an island. He also proved the polar ice cap extends beyond 82°
north latitude and discovered the Melville meteorite.
May 7, 1915 – The British passenger ship Lusitania was
torpedoed by a German submarine off the coast of Ireland, losing 1,198 of its
1,924 passengers, including 114 Americans. The attack hastened neutral
America’s entry into World War I.
May 7, 1945 – In a small red brick schoolhouse in
Reims, Germany, General Alfred Jodl signed the unconditional surrender of all
German fighting forces thus ending World War II in Europe. Russian,
American, British and French ranking officers observed the signing of the
document which became effective at one-minute past midnight on May 9th. Jodl
was then ushered in to see Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D.
Eisenhower, who curtly asked Jodl if he fully understood the document.
Eisenhower then informed Jodl that he would be held personally responsible for
any deviation from the terms of the surrender. Jodl was then ushered away.
May 7, 1954 – The French Indochina War ended with the
fall of Dien Bien Phu, in a stunning victory by the Vietnamese over French
colonial forces in northern Vietnam. The country was then in divided in half at
the 17th parallel, with South Vietnam created in 1955.
May 7, 1992 – The 27th Amendment to the U.S.
Constitution was ratified, prohibiting Congress from giving itself pay raises.
Birthday – Composer Johannes Brahms (1833-1897) was
born in Hamburg, Germany. He composed over 300 songs and numerous orchestral,
choral, piano, and chamber works, including his German
Requiem commemorating the death of his mother.
Birthday – American poet Archibald MacLeish
(1892-1982) was born in Glencoe, Illinois. He was awarded three Pulitzer
Prizes, and was also a playwright, editor, lawyer, professor, farmer, and
served as Librarian of Congress from 1939 to 1944.
May 8, 1942 – During World War II in the Pacific,
the Battle of the Coral Sea began in which Japan would suffer its first defeat
of the war. The battle, fought off New Guinea, marked the first time in history
that two opposing naval forces fought by only using aircraft without the
opposing ships ever sighting each other.
May 8, 1945 – A second German surrender ceremony was
held in Berlin. Soviet Russia’s leader Josef Stalin had refused to
recognize the German surrender document signed a day earlier at Reims. This
time, German Field Marshal Wilhelm Keitel signed the surrender document which
declared, as did the first, that hostilities would end as of 12:01 a.m. on May
Birthday – International Red Cross founder and Nobel
Prize winner Henri Dunant (1828-1910) was born in Geneva, Switzerland. He was
also a founder of the YMCA and organized the Geneva Conventions of 1863 and
Birthday – Harry S. Truman (1884-1972) the
33rd U.S. President was born in Lamar, Missouri. He became president upon the
death of Franklin D. Roosevelt in April 1945. Two weeks after becoming president
he was informed of the top-secret Atomic bomb project. In the war against
Japan, an Allied invasion of Japan was being planned which would cost a minimum
of 250,000 American lives. Truman then authorized the dropping of the bomb. On
August 6, 1945, the first bomb exploded over Hiroshima, followed by a second
bomb dropped on Nagasaki on August 9th. The next day, Japan sued for
peace. Truman served as President until January of 1953. He was the last of
only nine U.S. Presidents who did not attend college. His straightforward,
honest, no-nonsense style earned him the nickname, “Give ’em hell,
May 9th – Victory Day in Russia, a national holiday
commemorating the defeat of Nazi Germany during the “Great Patriotic
War” (World War II) honoring the 20 million Russians who died in the war.
May 9, 1862 – During the American Civil War,
General David Hunter, Union commander of the Department of the South, issued
orders freeing the slaves in South Carolina, Florida and Georgia. He did so
without congressional or presidential approval. The orders were countermanded
by President Abraham Lincoln ten days later.
Birthday – Abolitionist leader John Brown (1800-1859)
was born in Torrington, Connecticut. He led an attack on the federal arsenal at
Harpers Ferry in October of 1859, to secure weapons for his “army of
emancipation” to liberate slaves. Inside the arsenal, Brown and his
followers held 60 hostages and managed to hold out against the local militia
but finally surrendered to U.S. Marines under the command of Colonel Robert E.
Lee. Ten of Brown’s men, including two of his sons, were killed. Brown was
taken prisoner. He was convicted by the Commonwealth of Virginia of treason,
murder, and inciting slaves to rebellion, and hanged on December 2,
May 10, 1869 – The newly constructed tracks of the
Union Pacific and Central Pacific railways were first linked at Promontory
Point, Utah. A golden spike was driven by Leland Stanford, president of the
Central Pacific, to celebrate the linkage. It is said that he missed the
spike on his first swing which brought roars of laughter from men who had
driven thousands upon thousands of spikes themselves.
May 10, 1889 – A riot erupted outside the Astor Place
Opera House in New York as British actor William Charles Macready performed
inside. Angry crowds revolted against dress requirements for admission and
against Macready’s public statements on the vulgarity of American life. The mob
then shattered theater windows. Troops were called out and ordered to fire,
killing 22 and wounding 26.
May 10, 1994 – Former political prisoner Nelson
Mandela was inaugurated as president of South Africa. Mandela had won the first
free election in South Africa despite attempts by various political foes to
deter the outcome.
May 11, 1862 – To prevent its capture by Union forces
advancing in Virginia, the Confederate Ironclad Merrimac was
destroyed by the Confederate Navy. In March, the Merrimac had fought
the Union Ironclad Monitor to a draw. Naval warfare was thus changed
forever, making wooden ships obsolete.
May 11, 1969 – During the Vietnam War, the Battle
of “Hamburger Hill” began. While attempting to seize the Dong Ap Bia
Mountain, U.S. troops repeatedly scaled the hill over a 10-day period and
engaged in bloody hand-to-hand combat with the North Vietnamese. After finally
securing the objective, American military staff decided to abandon the
position, which the North Vietnamese retook shortly thereafter. The battle
highlighted the futility of the overall American military strategy.
Birthday – Songwriter Irving Berlin (1888-1989) was
born (as Israel Isidore Baline) in Tyumen, Russia. At the age of four, Berlin
moved with his family to New York City and later began singing in saloons and
on street corners to help his family following the death of his father.
Although he could not read or write musical notation, he became one of
America’s greatest songwriters, best known for songs such as God Bless
America, White Christmas, There’s No Business-Like Show
Business, Alexander’s Ragtime Band, Puttin’ On the Ritz, and Oh!
How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning.
Birthday – Modern dance pioneer Martha Graham (1893-1991)
was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She began her dance career at age 22 in
the Greenwich Village Follies. She later incorporated primal emotions and
ancient rituals in her works, bringing a new psychological depth to modern
dance. In a career spanning 70 years, she created 180 dance works. She
performed until the age of 75.
May 12, 1937 – George VI was crowned at Westminster
Abbey in London, following the abdication of his brother, Edward VIII. King
George reigned until his death in 1952. He was succeeded by his daughter
Elizabeth, the current reigning monarch.
May 12, 1949 – Soviet Russia lifted its blockade of
Berlin. The blockade began on June 24, 1948 and resulted in the Berlin airlift.
For 462 days – from June 26, 1948, until September 30, 1949, American and
British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food,
coal and medical supplies to two million isolated West Berliners. A plane
landed in Berlin every minute from 11 Allied staging areas in West Germany. The
planes were nicknamed ”candy bombers” after pilots began tossing sweets to
children. They also flew out millions of dollars’ worth of products manufactured
in West Berlin.
Birthday – British nurse and public health activist
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was born in Florence, Italy. She volunteered
to aid British troops in Turkey where she improved hospital sanitary conditions
and greatly reduced the death rate for wounded and sick soldiers. She received
worldwide acclaim for her unselfish devotion to nursing, contributed to the
development of modern nursing procedures, and emphasized the dignity of nursing
as a profession for women.
May 13, 1846 – At the request of President James
K. Polk, Congress declared war on Mexico. The controversial struggle eventually
cost the lives of 11,300 U.S. soldiers and resulted in the annexation of lands
that became parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, California, Utah
and Colorado. The war ended in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
May 13, 1943 – During World War II in North Africa,
over 250,000 Germans and Italians surrendered in the last few days of the Tunis
campaign. British General Harold Alexander then telegraphed news of the victory
to Winston Churchill, who was in Washington attending a war conference.
The victory re-opened Allied shipping lanes in the Mediterranean.
May 13, 1981 – Pope John Paul II was shot twice at
close range while riding in an open automobile in St. Peter’s Square in Rome.
Two other persons were also wounded. An escaped terrorist, already under
sentence of death for the murder of a Turkish journalist, was immediately
arrested and was later convicted of attempted murder. The Pope recovered and
later held a private meeting with the would-be assassin and then publicly
May 14, 1607 – The first permanent English settlement
in America was established at Jamestown, Virginia, by a group of royally
chartered Virginia Company settlers from Plymouth, England.
May 14, 1804 – Meriwether Lewis and William Clark
departed St. Louis on their expedition to explore the Northwest. They arrived
at the Pacific coast of Oregon in November of 1805 and returned to St. Louis in
September of 1806, completing a journey of about 6,000 miles.
May 14, 1796 – Smallpox vaccine was developed by Dr.
Edward Jenner, a physician in rural England. He coined the term vaccination for
the new procedure of injecting a milder form of the disease into healthy
persons resulting in immunity. Within 18 months, 12,000 persons in England had
been vaccinated and the number of smallpox deaths dropped by two-thirds.
May 14, 1942 – During World War II, an Act of Congress
allowed women to enlist for noncombat duties in the Women’s Auxiliary Army
Corps (WAAC), the Women Appointed for Voluntary Emergency Service (WAVES),
Women’s Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron (WAFS), and Semper Paratus Always Ready
Service (SPARS), the Women’s Reserve of the Marine Corp.
Birthday – German physicist Gabriel Fahrenheit
(1686-1736) was born in Danzig, Germany. He introduced the use of mercury in
thermometers and greatly improved their accuracy. His name is now attached to
one of the major temperature measurement scales.
Birthday – British landscape and portrait painter
Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788) was born in Sudbury, Suffolk, England. Among
his best-known works: The Blue Boy, The Watering
Place and The Market Cart.
May 15, 1972 – George Wallace was shot while
campaigning for the presidency in Laurel, Maryland. As a result, Wallace was
permanently paralyzed from the waist down.
May 16, 1862 – During the American Civil War,
Union General Benjamin Butler, military governor of New Orleans, issued
his “Woman Order” declaring that any Southern woman showing
disrespect for Union soldiers or the U.S. would be regarded as a woman of the
town, or prostitute. This and other controversial acts by Butler set the stage
for his dismissal as military governor in December 1862.
May 17, 1792 – Two dozen merchants and brokers
established the New York Stock Exchange. In good weather they operated under a
buttonwood tree on Wall Street. In bad weather they moved inside to a
coffeehouse to conduct business.
May 17, 1875 – The first Kentucky Derby horse race
took place at Churchill Downs in Louisville.
May 17, 1954 – In Brown v. Board of Education, the
U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that segregation of public schools
“solely based on race” denies black children “equal educational
opportunity” even though “physical facilities and other ‘tangible’
factors may have been equal. Separate educational facilities are inherently
unequal.” Thurgood Marshall had argued the case before the Court. He went
to become the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court.
May 18, 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte became Emperor of
France, snatching the crown from the hands of Pope Pius VII during the actual
coronation ceremony, and then crowning himself.
May 18, 1980 – Mount St. Helens volcano erupted in
southwestern Washington State spewing steam and ash over 11 miles into the sky.
This was the first major eruption since 1857.
May 18, 1998 – In one of the biggest antitrust
lawsuits of the 20th century, American software giant Microsoft Corporation was
sued by the U.S. Federal government and 20 state governments charging the
company with using unfair tactics to crush competition and restrict choices for
consumers. The lawsuits alleged Microsoft used illegal practices to deny
personal computer owners the benefits of a free and competitive market and
alleged Microsoft extended its monopoly on operating systems to “develop a
chokehold” on the Internet browser software market.
Birthday – Hollywood director Frank Capra (1897-1991)
was born in Palermo, Sicily. His quintessential American films were
affectionate portrayals of the common man and examined the strengths and
foibles of American democracy. Best known for It’s a Wonderful
Life (1946), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), It
Happened One Night (1934) and You Can’t Take It with You (1938).
Birthday – Pope John Paul II (1920-2005) was born (as
Karol Wojtyla) in Wadowice, Poland. In 1978, he became 264th Pope of the Roman
Catholic Church, the first non-Italian elected in 456 years and the first
May 19, 1943 – During World War II in Europe,
Royal Air Force bombers successfully attacked dams in the German Ruhr Valley
using innovative ball-shaped bouncing bombs that skipped along the water and
exploded against the dams. The dams had provided drinking water for 4 million
persons and supplied 75% of the electrical power for industry in the area.
Birthday – Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Minh (1890-1969)
was born in the central Vietnamese village of Kim Lien (as Nguyen That Thanh).
In 1930, he organized the Indo-Chinese Communist party and later adopted the
name Ho Chi Minh, meaning “he who enlightens.” In 1945, he proclaimed
the independence of Vietnam and served as president of North Vietnam from 1945
to 1969. He led the longest and most costly war during the 20th Century against
the French and later the Americans. On April 29, 1975, six years after his
death, the last Americans left South Vietnam. The next day the city of Saigon
was renamed Ho Chi Minh City.
Birthday – Black nationalist and civil rights activist
Malcolm X (1925-1965) was born in Omaha, Nebraska (as Malcolm Little). While in
prison he adopted the Islamic religion and after his release in 1952, changed
his name to Malcolm X and worked for the Nation of Islam. He later made a
pilgrimage to Mecca and became an orthodox Muslim. He was assassinated while
addressing a meeting in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem on February 21, 1965.
Birthday – African American playwright Lorraine
Hansberry (1930-1965) was born in Chicago, Illinois. She is best known
for A Raisin in the Sun (1959) a play dealing with prejudice and
black pride. The play was the first stage production written by a black woman
to appear on Broadway. She died of cancer at the age of 34. A book of her
writings entitled To Be Young, Gifted, and Black was published
May 20, 325 A.D. – The Council of Nicaea, the first
ecumenical council of Catholic Church was called by Constantine I, first
Christian Emperor of the Roman Empire. With nearly 300 bishops in attendance at
Nicaea in Asia Minor, the council condemned Arianism which denied Christ’s
divinity, formulated the Nicene Creed and fixed the date of Easter.
May 20, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln signed
the Homestead Act opening millions of acres of government owned land in the
West to “homesteaders” who could acquire up to 160 acres by living on
the land and cultivating it for five years, paying just $1.25 per acre.
May 20, 1927 – Charles Lindbergh, a 25-year-old
aviator, took off at 7:52 a.m. from Roosevelt Field, Long Island, in
the Spirit of St. Louis attempting to win a $25,000 prize for the
first solo nonstop flight between New York City and Paris. Thirty-three hours
later, after a 3,600-mile journey, he landed at Le Bourget, Paris, earning the
nickname “Lucky Lindy” and becoming an instant worldwide hero.
May 20, 1932 – Amelia Earhart became the first woman
to fly solo across the Atlantic. She departed Newfoundland, Canada, at 7 p.m.
and landed near Londonderry, Ireland, completing a 2,026-mile flight in about
13 hours. Five years later, along with her navigator Fred Noonan, she
disappeared while trying to fly her twin-engine plane around the equator.
Birthday – Founder of modern Zionism Theodore Herzl
(1860-1904) was born in Budapest, Hungary. He advocated the establishment of a
new land for the Jews rather than assimilation into various, historically
anti-Semitic, countries and cultures.
May 21, 1881 – The American Red Cross was founded by
Clara Barton. The organization today provides volunteer disaster relief in the
U.S. and abroad. Community services include collecting and distributing donated
blood and teaching health and safety classes.
May 21, 1991 – Former Indian Prime Minister Rajiv
Gandhi was assassinated during a re-election campaign, killed by a bomb hidden
in a bouquet of flowers. He had served as prime minister from 1984 to 1989,
succeeding his mother, Indira Gandhi, who was assassinated in 1984.
Birthday – Russian physicist and human rights activist
Andrei Sakharov (1921-1989) was born in Moscow. Although he helped construct
the first atomic and hydrogen bombs for Soviet Russia, he later denounced the
Soviet government and was exiled from 1980 to 1986. He was instrumental in
formulating the political reform concept called perestroika and in
encouraging glasnost (openness) in restrictive communist countries.
May 22, 1972 – President Richard Nixon became
the first American president to visit Moscow. Four days later, Nixon and Soviet
Russia’s leader Leonid Brezhnev signed a pact pledging to freeze nuclear
arsenals at current levels.
May 22, 1947 – Congress approved the Truman Doctrine,
assuring U.S. support for Greece and Turkey to prevent the spread of Communism.
Birthday – German composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883)
was born in Leipzig, Germany. He made revolutionary changes in the structure of
opera and is best known for The Ring of the Nibelung, a series of operas
based on old German myths which include: Das Rheingold, Die Walkure,
Siegfried, and Gõtterdammerung.
Birthday – Sherlock Holmes creator Arthur Conan Doyle
(1859-1930) was born at Edinburgh, Scotland. He was also deeply interested in
and lectured on spiritualism.
Birthday – Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) was
born in Dorking, England. Considered one of the most influential actors of the
20th Century, he was honored with nine Academy Award nominations, three Oscars,
five Emmy awards, and a host of other awards. His repertoire included most of
the major Shakespearean roles, and films such as The
Entertainer, Rebecca, Pride and Prejudice, The Boys from Brazil, Marathon
Man and Wuthering Heights. He was knighted in 1947 and made a peer of the
throne in 1970.
Birthday – Journalist Margaret Fuller (1810-1850) was
born in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts. She became the first American woman to
serve as a foreign correspondent, reporting for the New York Tribune. Her
book Women in the Nineteenth Century, published in 1845, is
considered the first feminist statement by an American writer, and brought her
international acclaim. Sailing from Italy to the U.S. in 1850, she died, along
with her husband and infant son, in a shipwreck off Fire Island, New York.
Birthday – The first American female attorney Arabella
Mansfield (1846-1911) was born near Burlington, Iowa (as Belle Aurelia Babb).
She was certified in 1869 as an attorney and admitted to the Iowa bar, but
never practiced law. Instead she chose a career as a college educator and
administrator. She was also instrumental in the founding of the Iowa Suffrage
Society in 1870.
May 24, 1844 – Telegraph inventor Samuel Morse sent
the first official telegraph message, “What hath God wrought?” from
the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., to Baltimore.
May 24, 1881 – A boating disaster occurred in Canada
when Victoria, a small, double-decked stern-wheeler carrying over 600
passengers on the Thames River keeled over then sank, killing 182 persons.
May 25, 1787 – The Constitutional Convention began in
Philadelphia with delegates from seven states forming a quorum.
May 25, 1994 – After 20 years in exile, Russian author
Alexander Solzhenitsyn returned to his homeland. He had been expelled from
Soviet Russia in 1974 after his three-volume work exposing the Soviet prison
camp system, The Gulag Archipelago, was published in the West.
Birthday – American author and philosopher Ralph Waldo
Emerson (1803-1882) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. His works
include: Nature (1836), Essays, First
Series (1841), Essays, Second
Series (1844), Poems (1847, 1865), Representative
Men (1850), English Traits (1856), The Conduct of
Life (1860), and Society and Solitude (1870).
May 26, 1940 – The Dunkirk evacuation began in order
to save the British Expeditionary Force trapped by advancing German
armies on the northern coast of France. Boats and vessels of all shapes and
sizes ferried 200,000 British and 140,000 French and Belgian soldiers across
the English Channel by June 2nd.
Birthday – Interpretive dancer Isadora Duncan
(1878-1927) was born in San Francisco. She revolutionized the entire concept of
dance by developing a free-form style and rebelled against tradition,
performing barefoot in a loose-fitting tunic. She experienced worldwide acclaim
as well as personal tragedy. Her two children drowned, her marriage failed, and
she met a bizarre death in 1927 when a scarf she was wearing caught in the wheel
of the open car in which she was riding, strangling her.
Birthday – Actor, singer Al Jolson (1886-1950) was
born in St. Petersburg, Russia (as Asa Yoelson). One of the premier American
vaudeville entertainers of his day, he appeared in the first motion picture
with full sound, The Jazz Singer, in 1927.
May 27, 1937 – In San Francisco, 200,000 people
celebrated the grand opening of the Golden Gate Bridge by strolling across it.
Birthday – Legendary Wild West figure Wild Bill Hickok
(1837-1876) was born in Troy Grove, Illinois. He was a frontiersman, lawman,
legendary marksman, army scout and gambler. On August 2, 1876, he was shot dead
during a poker game by a drunk in the Number Ten saloon in Deadwood, in
the Dakota Territory. In his hand he held a pair of eights and a pair of aces
which became known as the ‘dead man’s hand.’
Birthday – American politician Hubert H. Humphrey
(1911-1978) was born in Wallace, South Dakota. Humphrey was a mainstay of
liberal Democratic politics, championed civil rights, and was considered by
political friends and foes alike to be a truly decent man. He served as vice
president under Lyndon Johnson. In 1968, Humphrey was the Democratic candidate
for president, but lost to Republican Richard Nixon in a very close race.
May 28, 1961 – Amnesty International was founded by
London lawyer Peter Berenson. He read about the arrest of a group of students
in Portugal then launched a one-year campaign to free them called Appeal for
Amnesty. Today Amnesty International has over a million members in 150
countries working to free prisoners of conscience, stop torture and the death
penalty, and guarantee human rights for women.
Birthday – William Pitt the Younger (1759-1806) was
born at Hayes, Kent, England. Following in his father’s footsteps, he became
British prime minister at age 24 and served from 1783 to 1801 and again from
1804 to 1806. Pitt was influenced by Adam Smith’s economic theories and reduced
Britain’s large national debt brought on by the American Revolution.
Birthday – All-around athlete Jim Thorpe (1888-1953)
was born near Prague, Oklahoma. He won the pentathlon and decathlon events at
the 1912 Olympic Games and played professional baseball and football.
May 29, 1453 – The city of Constantinople was captured
by the Turks, who renamed it Istanbul. This marked the end of the Byzantine
Empire as Istanbul became the capital of the Ottoman Empire.
May 29, 1660 – The English monarchy was restored with
Charles II on the throne after several years of a Commonwealth under Lord
Protector Oliver Cromwell.
May 29, 1787 – At the Constitutional Convention in
Philadelphia the Virginia Plan was proposed calling for a new government
consisting of a legislature with two houses, an executive chosen by the
legislature and a judicial branch.
May 29, 1865 – Following the American Civil War,
President Andrew Johnson issued a proclamation granting general
amnesty to Confederates. The amnesty excluded high ranking Confederates and
large property owners, who had to apply individually to the President for a
pardon. Following an oath of allegiance, all former property rights, except
slaves, were returned to the former owners.
Birthday – American revolutionary leader Patrick
Henry (1736-1799) was born in Studley, Virginia. He is best remembered for
his speech in 1775 declaring: “I know not what course others may
take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”
Birthday – German historian Oswald Spengler
(1880-1936) was born in Blankenburg-am-Harz, Germany. He authored the
influential book The Decline of the West which argued that
civilizations rise and fall in regular cycles.
Birthday – John Fitzgerald Kennedy (1917-1963)
the 35th U.S. President was born in Brookline, Massachusetts. He was the
youngest man ever elected to the presidency and the first Roman Catholic. He
was assassinated in Dallas, November 22, 1963, the fourth President to killed
by an assassin.
May 30, 1783 – The Pennsylvania Evening
Post became the first daily newspaper published in America.
May 30, 1943 – During World War II in the Pacific,
the Aleutian Islands off the coast of Alaska were retaken by the U.S. 7th
Infantry Division. The battle began on May 12 when an American force of 11,000
landed on Attu. In three weeks of fighting U.S. casualties numbered 552 killed
and 1,140 wounded. Japanese killed numbered 2,352, with only 28 taken prisoner,
as 500 chose suicide rather than be captured.
Birthday – Founder of the Russian empire Peter the
Great (1672-1725) was born near Moscow. He vastly increased the power of the
Russian monarchy and turned his backward country into a major power in the
Western world. Among his accomplishments, he completely overhauled the
government and the Greek Orthodox Church as well as the military system and tax
structure. He built St. Petersburg, established printing presses and published
translations of foreign books, modernized the calendar, simplified the Russian
alphabet and introduced Arabic numerals. He died at age 52 and was succeeded by
his wife Catherine.
May 31, 1862 – During the American Civil War, the
Battle of Seven
Pines occurred as Confederate General Joseph E.
Johnston’s Army attacked Union General George McClellan’s troops in front
of Richmond Virginia and nearly defeated them. Johnston was badly wounded.
Confederate General Robert E. Lee then assumed command, replacing the wounded
Johnston. Lee renamed his force the Army of Northern Virginia.
May 31, 1889 – Over 2,300 persons were killed in the
Johnstown flood in Pennsylvania. Heavy rains throughout May caused the
Connemaugh River Dam to burst sending a wall of water 75 feet high pouring down
upon the city.
Birthday – American poet Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
was born in Long Island, New York. His poem Leaves of Grass is
considered an American classic. His poetry celebrated modern life and took on
subjects considered taboo at the time.