The History Of Flag Day: June 14

The Fourth of July was traditionally celebrated as America’s birthday, but the idea of an annual day specifically celebrating the Flag is believed to have first originated in 1885. BJ Cigrand, a schoolteacher, arranged for the pupils in the Fredonia, Wisconsin Public School, District 6, to observe June 14 (the 108th anniversary of the official adoption of The Stars and Stripes) as ‘Flag Birthday’. In numerous magazines and newspaper articles and public addresses over the following years, Cigrand continued to enthusiastically advocate the observance of June 14 as ‘Flag Birthday’, or ‘Flag Day’.

On June 14, 1889, George Balch, a kindergarten teacher in New York City, planned appropriate ceremonies for the children of his school, and his idea of observing Flag Day was later adopted by the State Board of Education of New York. On June 14, 1891, the Betsy Ross House in Philadelphia held a Flag Day celebration, and on June 14 of the following year, the New York Society of the Sons of the Revolution, celebrated Flag Day.

Following the suggestion of Colonel J Granville Leach (at the time historian of the Pennsylvania Society of the Sons of the Revolution), the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames of America on April 25, 1893 adopted a resolution requesting the mayor of Philadelphia and all others in authority and all private citizens to display the Flag on June 14th. Leach went on to recommend that thereafter the day be known as ‘Flag Day’, and on that day, school children be assembled for appropriate exercises, with each child being given a small Flag.

Two weeks later on May 8th, the Board of Managers of the Pennsylvania Society of Sons of the Revolution unanimously endorsed the action of the Pennsylvania Society of Colonial Dames. As a result of the resolution, Dr. Edward Brooks, then Superintendent of Public Schools of Philadelphia, directed that Flag Day exercises be held on June 14, 1893 in Independence Square. School children were assembled, each carrying a small Flag, and patriotic songs were sung and addresses delivered.

In 1894, the governor of New York directed that on June 14 the Flag be displayed on all public buildings. With BJ Cigrand and Leroy Van Horn as the moving spirits, the Illinois organization, known as the American Flag Day Association, was organized for the purpose of promoting the holding of Flag Day exercises. On June 14th, 1894, under the auspices of this association, the first general public school children’s celebration of Flag Day in Chicago was held in Douglas, Garfield, Humboldt, Lincoln, and Washington Parks, with more than 300,000 children participating.

Adults, too, participated in patriotic programs. Franklin K. Lane, Secretary of the Interior, delivered a 1914 Flag Day address in which he repeated words he said the flag had spoken to him that morning: “I am what you make me; nothing more. I swing before your eyes as a bright gleam of color, a symbol of yourself.”

Inspired by these three decades of state and local celebrations, Flag Day – the anniversary of the Flag Resolution of 1777 – was officially established by the Proclamation of President Woodrow Wilson on May 30th, 1916. While Flag Day was celebrated in various communities for years after Wilson’s proclamation, it was not until August 3rd, 1949, that President Truman signed an Act of Congress designating June 14th of each year as National Flag Day.

http://www.usflag.org/history/flagday.html

JUNE: THIS MONTH IN HISTORY

June 1

Birthday – Founder of Utah and patriarch of the Mormon church Brigham Young (1801-1877) was born in Whittingham, Vermont. Called the “American Moses,” he led thousands of religious followers across the wilderness to settle over 300 towns in the West, including Salt Lake City, Utah.

Birthday – Marilyn Monroe (1926-1962) was born in Los Angeles (as Norma Jean Mortensen). Following an unstable childhood spent in foster homes and orphanages, she landed a job as a photographer’s model which led to a movie career. She later married baseball legend Joe DiMaggio. Beneath her glamorous movie star looks she was fragile and insecure and eventually succumbed to the pressures of Hollywood life. She died in Los Angeles from an overdose of sleeping pills on August 5, 1962. Best known for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), The Seven Year Itch (1955), Bus Stop (1956), Some Like It Hot (1959), and The Misfits (1961).

June 2

Birthday – Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) was born in Paris. He was a military leader, governor-general, and author, whose acts of extreme cruelty and violence resulted in the term sadism being created from his name to describe gratification in inflicting pain.

June 3, 1937 – The Duke of Windsor married Wallis Warfield Simpson in Monts, France. As King Edward VIII, he had abdicated the British throne in December of 1936 amid tremendous controversy to marry Simpson, an American who had been divorced. Following the wedding, the couple lived in France and had minimal contact with the British Royal family. The Duke died in Paris on May 28, 1972 and was buried near Windsor Castle in England.

June 3, 1972 – Sally Jan Priesand was ordained a rabbi thus becoming the first woman rabbi in the U.S. She then became an assistant rabbi at the Stephen Wise Free Synagogue in New York City.

June 3, 1989 – Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, died. On February 1, 1979, after 15 years in exile, he had staged a triumphant return to Iran which led to the downfall of the Shah. Khomeini then reorganized the government on Islamic principles. On November 11, 1979, a group of students loyal to Khomeini seized 66 hostages in the American Embassy in Teheran after the former Shah had entered the U.S. for medical treatment. Thus, began an international political crisis lasting until January 20, 1981, when they were released.

Birthday – Confederate president Jefferson Davis (1808-1889) was born at Todd County, Kentucky. After the Southern states formed the Confederacy in 1861, he hoped to be named commander of the Confederate military forces but was instead chosen to be president, serving until 1865. Following the Civil War, he was imprisoned but never brought to trial. He died at age 81 in New Orleans.

June 4, 1944 – During World War II in Europe, Rome was liberated by the U.S. 5th Army, led by General Mark Clark. Rome had been declared an open city by German Field Marshal Albert Kesselring amid Allied concerns the Germans might stage a Stalingrad-style defense that would devastate the historic ‘Eternal’ city.

June 4, 1972 – An express train packed with more than 600 people rammed into a stalled train at full speed in the main station of Jessore, Bangladesh, killing 76 and injuring over 500 persons.

June 4, 1989 – The Chinese government ordered its troops to open fire on unarmed protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The protest had started on April 16 as about 1,000 students marched to mourn the death of Hu Yaobang, a pro-reform leader within the Chinese government. Despite government warnings, pro-reform and pro-democracy demonstrations continued for a month drawing ever-larger crowds of young people, eventually totaling over a million persons. On May 13, three thousand students began an eight-day hunger strike. The government imposed martial law on May 20 and brought in troops. On June 2, in their first clash with the People’s Army, demonstrators turned back an advance of unarmed troops. However, in the pre-dawn hours of June 4, the People’s Army, using tanks, machine-guns, clubs and tear gas, opened fire on the unarmed protesters. Armored personnel carriers then rolled into the square crushing students still sleeping in their tents. The Chinese government later claimed only 300 died in the attack. U.S. estimates put the toll at over 3,000. Following the massacre, over 1,600 demonstrators were rounded up and jailed, with 27 being executed.

Birthday – King George III (1738-1820) was born. He ruled England for 60 years from 1760 to 1820 and was the British King against whom the American Revolution was directed.

June 5, 1783 – The first sustained flight occurred as a hot-air balloon was launched at Annonay, France, by brothers Joseph and Jacques Montgolfier. Their 33-foot-diameter globe aerostatique ascended about 6,000 feet. In September, they repeated the experiment for King Louis XVI, using a sheep, rooster and duck as the balloon’s passengers.

June 5, 1968 – Robert F. Kennedy was shot and mortally wounded while leaving the Hotel Ambassador in Los Angeles. The shooting occurred after a celebration of Kennedy’s victory in the California presidential primary. He died at 1:44 a.m., June 6, at age 42, leaving behind his wife Ethel and eleven children, the last one born after his death. President John F. Kennedy had named his brother and campaign manager, Robert Francis Kennedy, to the post of U.S. Attorney General in 1961. Robert served as the president’s closest confidant. After the assassination of JFK, Robert remained as Attorney General until 1964, when he resigned to make a successful run for the U.S. Senate from New York. Allied with the plight of the poor and disadvantaged in America, he spoke out against racial discrimination, economic injustice and the Vietnam War. In March of 1968, he had announced his candidacy for the presidency. And with the win in California, appeared headed for the nomination.

Birthday – Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith (1723-1790) was born in Kirkcaldy, Scotland. He wrote An Enquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. The book described the workings of a market economy and established him as one of the most influential figures in the development of modern economic theory.

Birthday – British economist John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946) was born in Cambridge, England. He wrote The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money in 1936, stating his ideas about government responsibility and commitment to maintaining high employment. He claimed that business investors and governments, not consumers, were the source of business cycle shifts.

June 6, 1872 – Pioneering feminist Susan B. Anthony was fined for voting in a presidential election at Rochester, New York. After voting rights had been granted to African American males by the 15th Amendment, she attempted to extend the same rights to women. She led a group of women that voted illegally, to test their status as citizens. She was arrested, tried and sentenced to pay $100, which she refused. Following her death in 1906 after five decades of tireless work, the Democratic and Republican parties both endorsed women’s right to vote. In August of 1920, the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was finally ratified, allowing women to vote.

June 6, 1944 – D-Day, the largest amphibious landing in history, began in the early-morning hours as Allied forces landed in Normandy on the northern coast of France. Operation Overlord took months of planning and involved 1,527,000 soldiers in 47 Allied divisions along with 4,400 ships and landing craft, and 11,000 aircraft. The Germans had about 60 divisions spread along France and the Low Countries. American forces landed on two western beaches, Utah and Omaha, while British and Canadian troops landed farther east on Gold, Juno and Sword beaches. By the end of the day 150,000 Allied soldiers and their accompanying vehicles had landed with 15,000 killed and wounded.

June 6, 1978 – By a vote of almost two to one, California voters approved Proposition 13, an amendment to the state constitution severely limiting property tax rates.

Birthday – American patriot Nathan Hale (1755-1776) was born in Coventry, Connecticut. During the American Revolution, he volunteered for a dangerous spy mission in Long Island and was captured by the British on the night of September 21, 1776. Brought before British General William Howe, Hale admitted he was an American officer. Howe ordered him to be hanged the following morning. As Hale mounted the gallows he uttered, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

June 7, 1965 – The U.S. Supreme Court struck down a Connecticut law banning contraception. In Griswold v. Connecticut, the Supreme Court guaranteed the right to privacy, including freedom from government intrusion into matters of birth control.

Birthday – French painter Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) was born in Paris. He worked as a stockbroker, then became a painter in middle age. He left Paris and moved to Tahiti where he developed an interest in primitive art. Among his best-known paintings; Vision After the Sermon (1888), When Shall We Be Married? (1892), Holiday (1896), and Two Tahitian Women (1899). His style using broad, flat tones and bold colors, inspired artists such as Edvard Munch, Henri Matisse, and the young Pablo Picasso.

June 8, 1874 – Apache leader Cochise died on the Chiricahua Reservation in southeastern Arizona. After a peace treaty had been broken by the U.S. Army in 1861, he waged war against settlers and soldiers, forcing them to withdraw from southern Arizona. In 1862, he became principal chief of the Apaches. He and 200 followers avoided capture by hiding in the Dragoon Mountains. In June of 1871, Army General George Crook assumed command in Arizona and managed to win the allegiance of many Apaches. Cochise then surrendered. He disappeared briefly in the spring of 1872 but returned and settled on the reservation where he died.

Birthday – American architect Frank Lloyd Wright (1867-1959) was born in Richland Center, Wisconsin. He designed about 1,000 structures and is considered the most influential architect of his time. He became the leader of a style known as the Prairie School featuring houses with low-pitched roofs and extended lines that blend into the landscape. He once wrote, “No house should ever be on any hill or on anything. It should be of the hill, belonging to it, so hill and house could live together each the happier for the other.”

June 9, 1898 – The British signed a 99-year lease for Hong Kong, located on the southeastern coast of China. Hong Kong, consisting of an area measuring 400 square miles, was administered as a British Crown Colony until July 1, 1997, when its sovereignty reverted to the People’s Republic of China.

Birthday – Composer and lyricist Cole Porter (1893-1964) was born in Peru, Indiana. He published his first song The Bobolink Waltz at the age of ten. His Broadway career was launched in 1928 when five of his songs were used in the musical play Let’s Do It. Among his many contributions to the Broadway stage; Fifty Million Frenchmen, The Gay Divorcee, Anything Goes, Leave It to Me, Du Barry Was a Lady, Something for the Boys, Kiss Me Kate, Can-Can and Silk Stockings.

June 10, 1652 – In Massachusetts, silversmith John Hull opened the first mint in America, in defiance of English colonial law. The first coin issued was the Pine Tree Shilling, designed by Hull.

June 10, 1942 – In one of the most infamous single acts of World War II in Europe, all 172 men and boys over age 16 in the Czech village of Lidice were shot by Nazis in reprisal for the assassination of SS leader Reinhard Heydrich. The women were deported to Ravensbrück concentration camp where most died. Ninety young children were sent to the concentration camp at Gneisenau, with some later taken to Nazi orphanages if they were German looking. The village was then completely leveled until not a trace remained.

Birthday – African American actress Hattie McDaniel (1889-1952) was born in Wichita, Kansas. She won an Academy Award in 1940 for her role as ‘Mammy’ in Gone with the Wind.

Birthday – Judy Garland (1922-1969) was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota (as Frances Gumm). She is best remembered for her portrayal of Dorothy Gale in The Wizard of Oz (1939) and other films including Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) and Easter Parade (1948). She became one of the most popular concert performers of the 1950s and ’60s and broke box-office records in New York City and London. She was found dead of an overdose of sleeping pills in London on June 22, 1969.

June 11, 1991 – Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines erupted, spewing ash into the air, visible over 60 miles. The surrounding areas were covered with ash and mud created by rainstorms. Nearby U.S. military bases were also damaged.

June 11, 1994 – After 49 years, the Soviet military occupation of East Germany ended. At one time there had been 337,800 Soviet troops stationed in Germany. Over 300,000 Russians died during World War II in the Battle for Berlin.

Birthday – German composer Georg Richard Strauss (1864-1949) was born in Munich. His best-known works include; Till Eulenspiegel (1895), Also Sprach Zarathustra (1896) and Don Quixote (1898).

Birthday – American feminist and politician Jeannette Rankin (1880-1973) was born in Missoula, Montana. She was the first woman elected to the U.S. Congress. She was a reformer and a pacifist and was the only member of Congress to vote against a declaration of war against Japan following the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941.

Birthday – Undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997) was born in Ste-Andre-de-Cubzac, France. In 1943, he helped invent the first underwater breathing apparatus, called the Aqualung. He is best known for his Emmy Award winning television series, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau, which premiered in the U.S. in 1968.

Birthday – American football coach Vince Lombardi (1913-1970) was born in Brooklyn, New York. In 1959, he became head coach of the Green Bay Packers, winning five NFL titles and two Super Bowls in nine seasons. He is generally regarded as the greatest coach and the finest motivator in football history. He retired in 1968 but was lured back to coach the Washington Redskins. He contracted cancer after coaching the Redskins for just one season and died September 3, 1970, in Washington, D.C.

June 12, 1898 – The Philippines declared their independence from Spain. The islands were named after King Philip II. Once freed from Spain, the islands were then invaded and occupied by U.S. forces. They became an American colony and remained so until after World War II.

June 12, 1963 – Civil rights leader Medgar Evers was assassinated in Jackson, Mississippi, by a rifle bullet from an ambush. He had been active in seeking integration of schools and voter registration for African Americans in the South. Widespread public outrage following his death led President John F. Kennedy to propose a comprehensive Civil Rights law. Evers was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.

Birthday – George Bush, the 41st U.S. President, was born in Milton, Massachusetts, June 12, 1924. During World War II, he became the youngest pilot in the U.S. Navy. Following the war, he co-founded a Texas oil equipment manufacturing company. He then entered politics, serving in a variety of roles including in the U.S. Congress, the United Nations, as U.S. liaison to China, C.I.A. director, and two terms as vice-president under Ronald Reagan. Elected to the presidency in 1988, President Bush is best remembered for forging a successful multinational military alliance following the invasion of Kuwait on August 2, 1990, by Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi army. However, following the defeat of Iraq, Bush was beset by domestic problems in the U.S. which resulted in a significant drop in popularity and his loss in the 1992 election to Bill Clinton.

Birthday – Anne Frank (1929-1945) was born in Frankfurt, Germany. She is perhaps the best-known victim of the Nazi Holocaust. Anne and her family moved from Germany to Amsterdam to flee Nazi persecution, then went into hiding in a small attic after Holland was invaded by Nazis. Anne, a girl on the verge of womanhood, was unable to go outside for any reason. In 1942, she began a diary to cope with the boredom, fear, annoyances, and loneliness of captivity. Her family’s hiding place was eventually discovered, and Anne and her family were deported to Nazi concentration camps. She contracted typhus and died at Bergen-Belsen in 1945. After the war, her father published her diary, which inspired the world, revealing a young woman who had managed to remain hopeful, despite it all.

June 13, 1971 – The New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers, a collection of top-secret documents exposing U.S. strategy in the Vietnam War.

June 13, 1966 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) in the case of Miranda v. Arizona that an accused person must be apprised of certain rights before police questioning including the right to remain silent, the right to know that anything said can be used against the individual in court, and the right to have a defense attorney present during interrogation. American police officers now routinely read prisoners their ‘Miranda’ (constitutional) rights before questioning.

Birthday – Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet and dramatist William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was born in Dublin, Ireland. Among his plays; The Countess Cathleen (1892) and Cathleen ni Houlihan (1902).

Birthday – American Army General Winfield Scott (1786-1866) was born in Petersburg, Virginia. Nicknamed “Old Fuss and Feathers” because of his formality, he served in three wars; the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the American Civil War. He was also nominated for the presidency by the Whig party in 1852 but was defeated by Franklin Pierce.

June 14, 1775 – The first U.S. Military service, the Continental Army consisting of six companies of riflemen, was established by the Second Continental Congress. The next day, George Washington was appointed by a unanimous vote to command the army.

June 14, 1777 – John Adams introduced a resolution before Congress mandating a United States flag, stating, “…that the flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation.” This anniversary is celebrated each year in the U.S. as Flag Day.

June 14, 1922 – Warren G. Harding became the first U.S. President to broadcast a message over the radio. The event was the dedication of the Francis Scott Key Memorial in Baltimore.

June 14, 1951 – Univac 1, the world’s first commercial electronic computer was unveiled in Philadelphia. It was installed at the Census Bureau and utilized a magnetic tape unit as a buffer memory.

Birthday – Photojournalist Margaret Bourke-White (1906-1971) was born in New York City. In 1936, she became one of four original staff photographers for Life Magazine. She was the first woman to become an accredited war correspondent during World War II. She covered the Italian campaign, the siege of Moscow and the American crossing of the Rhine into Germany. Her photographs of Nazi concentration camps stunned the world. She later photographed Mahatma Gandhi and covered the migration of millions of people after the Indian subcontinent was subdivided. She also served as a war correspondent during the Korean War. Her best-known book was a study of rural poverty in the American South, You Have Seen Their Faces (1937).

Birthday – American writer Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) was born in Litchfield, Connecticut. She wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, an anti-slavery novel containing vivid descriptions of the sufferings and oppression of African Americans. The book provoked a storm of protest and inflamed people in the North against slavery in the South. The names of two characters from the novel have become part of the English language – the slave, Uncle Tom, and the villainous slave owner, Simon Legree. During the Civil War, as Harriet Beecher Stowe was introduced to President Abraham Lincoln, he reportedly said, “So you’re the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war.”

Birthday – American editor and compiler John Bartlett (1820-1905) was born in Plymouth, Massachusetts. Although he had little formal education, he created Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations, one of the most-used reference works of the English language, which today contains 22,000 entries.

Birthday – German psychiatrist and pathologist Alois Alzheimer (1864-1915) was born in Markbreit am Mainz, Germany. In 1907, he published an article first describing ‘Alzheimers,’ a degenerative disease, usually beginning at age 40-60, affecting nerve cells of the brain and leading to severe memory impairment and progressive loss of mental faculties.

June 15, 1215 – King John set his seal to Magna Carta, the first charter of British liberties, guaranteeing basic rights that have since become the foundation of modern democracies around the world.

Birthday – Pianist and composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) was born in Bergen, Norway. He incorporated the rhythms and melodies of Norwegian folk music into his songs and instrumentals including Piano Concerto in A Minor, Peer Gynt Suite, Norwegian Peasant Dance, and Ich liebe Dich.

June 16, 1963 – Valentina Tereshkova, 26, became the first woman in space as her Soviet spacecraft, Vostok 6, took off from the Tyuratam launch site. She manually controlled the spacecraft completing 48 orbits in 71 hours before landing safely.

Birthday – Film comedian Stan Laurel (1890-1965) was born in Ulverston, England. He teamed up with Oliver Hardy as Laurel & Hardy delighting audiences for more than 30 years.

Birthday – American author and photographer John Griffin (1920-1980) was born in Dallas, Texas. He darkened his white skin using chemicals and ultraviolet light, then kept a journal on his experiences while posing as an African American traveling through the deep South. The journal was published as the book, Black Like Me.

June 17, 1972 – Following a seemingly routine burglary, five men were arrested at the National Democratic Headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C. However, subsequent investigations revealed the burglars were actually agents hired by the Committee for the Re-election of President Richard Nixon. A long chain of events then followed in which the president and top aides became involved in an extensive cover-up of this and other White House sanctioned illegal activities, eventually leading to the resignation of President Nixon on August 9, 1974.

Birthday – Russian composer Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) was born near St. Petersburg. Among his best-known works, the ballets The Firebird (1910), Petrushka (1911) and The Rite of Spring (1913), and the choral work Symphony of Psalms (1930).

June 18, 1812 – After much debate, the U.S. Senate voted 19 to 13 in favor of a declaration of war against Great Britain, prompted by Britain’s violation of America’s rights on the high seas and British incitement of Indian warfare on the Western frontier. The next day, President James Madison officially proclaimed the U.S. to be in a state of war. The War of 1812 lasted over two years and ended with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent in Belgium on December 24, 1814.

June 18, 1815 – On the fields near Waterloo in central Belgium, 72,000 French troops, led by Napoleon, suffered a crushing military defeat from a combined Allied army of 113,000 British, Dutch, Belgian, and Prussian troops. Thus ended 23 years of warfare between France and the other powers of Europe. Napoleon was then sent into exile on the island of St. Helena off the coast of Africa. On May 5, 1821, the former vain-glorious Emperor died alone on the tiny island, abandoned by everyone.

June 18, 1983 – Dr. Sally Ride, a 32-year-old physicist and pilot, became the first American woman in space, beginning a six-day mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger, launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Birthday – British explorer George Mallory (1886-1924) was born in Mobberley, Cheshire, England. When asked why he wanted to climb Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, he simply answered, “Because it is there.” He disappeared while climbing through the mists toward its summit on the morning of June 8, 1924. His body, perfectly preserved due to the cold conditions, was discovered by climbers in 1999, just 600 meters (2,030 feet) from the summit.

June 19, 1953 – Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were executed by electrocution at Sing Sing Prison in New York. They had been found guilty of providing vital information on the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union during 1944-45. They were the first U.S. civilians to be sentenced to death for espionage and were also the only married couple ever executed together in the U.S.

Birthday – Baseball great Lou Gehrig (1903-1941) was born in New York City. He played in 2,130 consecutive games and seven World Series for the New York Yankees and had a lifetime batting average of .340. He contracted the degenerative muscle disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, now called ‘Lou Gehrig’s disease,’ and died on June 2, 1941.

June 20, 1782 – The U.S. Congress officially adopted the Great Seal of the United States of America.

Birthday – American military hero and actor Audie Murphy (1924-1971) was born in Kingston, Texas. He was the most decorated American soldier of World War II, awarded 37 medals and decorations, including the Medal of Honor for single-handedly turning back a German infantry company by climbing on a burning U.S. tank destroyer and firing its .50-cal. machine gun, killing 50 Germans. He later became an actor in western and war movies and made 45 films including; The Red Badge of Courage (1951), Destry (1954), and To Hell and Back (1955), based on his autobiography. He died May 28, 1971, in a plane crash near Roanoke, Virginia.

June 21, 1964 – Three white civil rights workers – James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner – left Meridian, Mississippi, at 9 a.m. to investigate a church burning. They were expected back by 4 p.m. When they failed to return, a search was begun. Their murdered bodies were discovered on August 4th.

Birthday – French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980) was born in Paris. Dubbed the “father of existentialism,” in 1964, he rejected the Nobel Prize for Literature when it was awarded to him.

Birthday – Britain’s Prince William (William Arthur Philip Louis) was born in London, June 21, 1982.

June 22, 1918 – A Michigan Central Railroad troop train struck the rear of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus train in Ivanhoe, Indiana. Fifty-three circus performers were killed. Of the circus animals not killed, most were maimed and had to be destroyed. The performers, of whom only three could be identified, were buried in a mass grave.

June 22, 1941 – Starting at 3:15 am, some 3.2 million German soldiers plunged headlong into Russia across an 1800-mile front, in a major turning point of World War II. At 7 am that morning, a proclamation from Hitler to the German people announced, “At this moment a march is taking place that, for its extent, compares with the greatest the world has ever seen…”

June 23, 1865 – The last formal surrender of Confederate troops occurred as Cherokee leader and Confederate Brigadier General Watie surrendered his battalion comprised of American Indians in the Oklahoma Territory.

June 24, 1948 – Soviet Russia began a blockade of Berlin. Two days later the Allies responded with an emergency airlift to relieve two million isolated West Berliners. During the Berlin Airlift, American and British planes flew about 278,000 flights, delivering 2.3 million tons of food, coal and medical supplies. A plane landed in Berlin every minute from eleven Allied staging areas in West Germany. The Russians lifted their blockade of Berlin on May 12, 1949, however the airlift continued until September 30th.

June 24, 2010 – Labor Party deputy Julia Gillard became Australia’s first female Prime Minister. She was born in Wales and had moved to Australia as a child. She worked as a lawyer before entering politics.

Birthday – Boxing champ Jack Dempsey (1895-1983) was born in Manassa, Colorado. Dubbed “The Manassa Mauler,” he reigned as world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926. Following his boxing career, he became a successful New York restaurant operator.

June 25, 1862 – During the American Civil War, the Seven Days Campaign began as Confederate General Robert E. Lee launched a series of assaults to prevent a Union attack on Richmond, Virginia. The Campaign included battles at Oak Grove, Gaine’s Mills, Garnett’s Farm, Golding’s Farm, Savage’s Station, White Oak Swamp and Malvern Hill, resulting in over 36,000 casualties on both sides. Despite losing the final assault at Malvern Hill, the Confederates succeeded in preventing the Union Army from taking Richmond.

June 25, 1876 – General George A. Custer, leading 250 men, attacked an encampment of Sioux Indians near Little Bighorn River in Montana. Custer and his men were then attacked by 2000-4000 Indian braves. Only one scout and a single horse survived ‘Custer’s Last Stand’ on the Little Bighorn Battlefield. News of the humiliating defeat infuriated Americans and led to all-out war. Within a year, the Sioux Indians were a broken and defeated nation.

June 25, 1950 – The Korean War began as North Korean troops, led by Russian-built tanks, crossed the 38th parallel and launched a full-scale invasion of South Korea. Five days later, U.S. ground forces entered the conflict, which lasted until July 27, 1953, when an armistice was signed at Panmunjom, formally dividing the country at the 38th parallel into North and South Korea.

June 25, 1990 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that it was unconstitutional for any state to require, without providing other options, a minor to notify both parents before obtaining an abortion.

June 25, 1991 – Following the collapse of Soviet rule in Eastern Europe, the republics of Croatia and Slovenia declared their independence from Yugoslavia. Ethnic rivalries between Serbians and Croatians soon erupted. In 1992, fighting erupted in Bosnia-Herzegovina between Serbians and ethnic Muslims. A campaign of terrorism and genocide, termed ‘ethnic cleansing,’ was started by the Serbs against the Muslims. At least two million people became refugees, and about 200,000 were missing and presumed dead. Violence in the region raged on through 1995 despite economic sanctions and the efforts of U.N. peacekeeping forces in the area.

Birthday – British satirist George Orwell (1903-1950) was born at Montihari in Bengal (as Eric Arthur Blair). He is best known for two works of fiction Animal Farm (1944), and 1984 (1949).

June 26, 1893 – Illinois Gov. John P. Altgeld issued a controversial pardon for three anarchists convicted after the Haymarket Riot. The riot had occurred in Chicago in May of 1886, after 180 police officers advanced on 1,300 persons listening to speeches by labor activists and anarchists. A bomb was thrown. Seven police 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, then pardoned by Gov. Altgeld in a move that likely cost him his political career.

June 26, 1945 – The United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco by 50 nations. The Charter was ratified on October 24, 1945.

Birthday – American author Pearl Buck (1892-1973) was born in Hillsboro, West Virginia. She became a noted authority on China and wrote books including The Good Earth which revealed the mysterious Chinese culture to Western readers. She received a Nobel Prize in 1938 for her many books.

Birthday – Champion athlete Mildred “Babe” Didrikson (1914-1952) was born in Port Arthur, Texas. Nicknamed after baseball legend Babe Ruth, she won two gold medals at the 1932 Olympics, setting world records in the javelin throw and high hurdle. She then took up golf, winning the 1946 U.S. Women’s Amateur Tournament. In 1947, she won 17 straight golf championships and became the first American winner of the British Ladies’ Amateur Tournament. As a pro golfer, she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1950 and 1954. She also excelled in softball, baseball, swimming, figure skating, billiards, and even football. In 1950, she was named ‘woman athlete of the first half of the 20th century’ by the Associated Press. She died of cancer at age 42.

June 27

Birthday – American musician Mildred J. Hill (1859-1916) was born in Louisville, Kentucky. She composed the melody for what is now the world’s most often sung song, Happy Birthday to You.

June 28, 1862 – During the American Civil War, the siege of the Confederate city of Vicksburg began as Admiral David Farragut succeeded in taking a fleet past the Mississippi River stronghold. The siege continued over a year.

June 28, 1914 – Archduke Francis Ferdinand, Crown Prince of Austria and his wife were assassinated at Sarajevo, touching off a conflict between the Austro-Hungarian government and Serbia that escalated into World War I.

June 28, 1919 – The signing of the Treaty of Versailles formally ended World War I. According to the terms, Germany was assessed sole blame for the war, forced give up Alsace-Lorraine and overseas colonies, and pay reparations of $15 Billion. The treaty also prohibited German rearmament.

Birthday – Flemish painter and diplomat Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640) was born in Siegen, Westphalia, Germany. Regarded as the greatest of Flemish painters, he was considered the master artist of his day. He was also skilled in science and politics and spoke seven languages. Among his masterpieces; Le Coup de Lance and The Descent from the Cross.

Birthday – Philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778) was born in Geneva, Switzerland. His book The Social Contract stated that no laws are binding unless agreed upon by the people, a concept that deeply affected the French. In his novel Emile he challenged harsh child-rearing methods of his day and argued that young people should be given freedom to enjoy sunlight, exercise and play. “Man is born free,” he wrote in The Social Contract, “and everywhere he is in chains.”

Birthday – German American physicist Maria Goeppert Mayer (1906-1972) was born in Kattowitz, Germany. She participated in the secret Manhattan Project, the building of the first atomic bomb. She later became the first American woman to win the Nobel Prize, sharing the 1963 prize for physics for works explaining atomic nuclei, known as the nuclear shell theory.

June 29, 1972 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled (5-4) that capital punishment was a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibiting “cruel and unusual punishment.” The decision spared the lives of 600 individuals then sitting on death row. Four years later, in another ruling, the Court reversed itself and determined the death penalty was not cruel and unusual punishment. On October 4, 1976, the ban was lifted on the death penalty in cases involving murder.

Birthday – Social worker Julia Lathrop (1858-1932) was born in Rockford, Illinois. She fought to establish child labor laws and was instrumental in establishing the first juvenile court in the U.S. In 1912, President Taft named her to head the newly created Children’s Bureau. In 1925, she became a member of the Child Welfare Committee of the League of Nations.

Birthday – American surgeon William Mayo (1861-1939) was born in LeSeuer, Minnesota. He was one of the Mayo brothers, pioneers of the concept of the group clinic, bringing together specialists from a number of medical fields to better perform diagnoses and treatment. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, became an internationally known medical center.

June 30, 1971 – The 26th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was enacted, granting the right to vote in all federal, state and local elections to American citizens 18 years or older. The U.S. thus gained an additional 11 million voters. The minimum voting age in most states had been 21.

June 30, 1997 – In Hong Kong, the flag of the British Crown Colony was officially lowered at midnight and replaced by a new flag representing China’s sovereignty and the official transfer of power.

http://www.historyplace.com

DAV Missouri State Convention 2019

This year DAV/DAVA State Convention at Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City was amazing. We were honored to have a very special guest join us this year, National DAVA Sr. Vice Commander Diane J Franz.

Welcome Diane J Franz, National Sr. Vice Commander.

A View of the parking lot after severe weather these past couple of weeks. Please keep families of Capitol Plaza Hotel in your prayers. It is our understanding that about 12 families under the Hotel’s employ lost part or entire homes during tornadoes in past week. May God bless them.

Our DAV Auxiliary Unit 62 Juniors gave service this weekend at the State DAV/DAVA meeting in Jefferson City helping with Color Guard, handing out programs, door prizes, escorting Past Commanders in ceremonies, as well as newly elected officers, and working some of the booths as needed. So proud of all their efforts and their involvement. Well done!


DAV/DAVA Registration Jefferson City MO. May 31 and June1:

May 31

DAVA Forget-Me-Not luncheon:

DAV State Commander’s dinner and games:

June 1

Forget Me Not Memorial Service:

Beautiful and an honor to present Forget-Me-Nots for DAVA members that have passed in the last year. Our DAV Auxiliary Junior Lydia played Taps at the Forget-Me-Not ceremony.

State of MO DAVA installation of new officers.

Commander: Kathy Chaney

Sr. Vice Commander: LaVena Jones

Jr. Vice Commander: Peggy Roberts

Adjutant/Treasurer: Linda Gerke

Chaplain: Beverly Mauer

Judge Advocate: Bonita Mitchell

Past Commander: Sharon Keyes

Dinner and joint installation of new officers for State of Missouri

Bake and Craft Sale:Support Our Troops

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.

Credits: Becky Schnapp

Forget Me Not Drive

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.

forget me not flowers

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.’”

THIS MONTH IN HISTORY: MAY

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 board.

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 world.

May 3

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 machinery.

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 9th.

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 1864.

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, Harry.”

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, 1859.

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 forgave him.

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 Polish Pope.

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 posthumously.

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.

May 23

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, 1922 – The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., was dedicated. The Memorial was designed by architect Henry Bacon and features a compelling statue of “Seated Lincoln” by sculptor Daniel Chester French.

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.

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