trackback thursday: remember the Alamo

 

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photo credit: history.com

On March 6, 1836 For Alamo fell to Mexican troops after a siege that lasted around thirteen days.

The bravery and resistance of those at the Alamo made for the rallying cry, “Remember the Alamo!” The Texans went on to defeat General Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto in April.

Many months before this, Texans had driven Mexican troops out of Mexican Texas. About 100 Texans were garrisoned at the Alamo, and the forces only grew slightly when joined by co-commanders James Bowie and William B. Travis. On February 23rd, around 1500 Mexicans marched to retake Texas.

Over the next ten days, the armies engaged in many skirmishes with few casualties. Travis was aware that his men could not withstand an attack by such a large force; he wrote multiple letters pleading for more men and supplies, but they were reinforced by fewer than 100 men.

In the early morning hours of March 6th, the Mexican Army advanced on the Alamo. After repelling two attacks, the Texans were unable to fend the Mexican Army off a third time.

“Remember the Alamo” created two sparks: a rush of men, wishing to join the Texan army, and a panic that led to many soldiers and settlers fled the new Republic of Texas, away from the advancing Mexican Army.

 

Honestly, when I think of the Alamo, I think of the movie that came out years ago… 2004… with Dennis Quaid and Billy Bob Thornton. I know, kind of pathetic. But it’s one place I would love to visit! Raise your hand (or leave a comment) if you’ve been there.

REMEMBER THE ALAMO!

 

trackback thursday: bombardment of Ellwood

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Map of Ellwood/ Ellwood Offshore Oil Field showing location of well damaged during 1942 attack. Map credit: wikipedia.com

Just two-and-a-half months after Pearl Harbor (Dec. 7, 1941), the first attack on the U.S. mainland happened on February 23, 1942.

The Bombardment of Ellwood was a naval attack when a Japanese submarine targeted an oil refinery near Santa  Barbara, California. An oiler named G. Brown later told reporters that the enemy submarine looked so big to him he thought it must be a destroyer, until he realized that just one gun was firing.

Although there was minimal damage, this attack was key in triggering West Coast invasion scare and influenced the decision to intern Japanese-Americans.

I have to admit that there is so much WWII history that is beyond my personal knowledge bank, and it’s something I absolutely love to learn more and more about.

What’s your favorite period of history?

trackback thursday: the boy scouts of america is founded

unknownIn February 1910, William Boyce founded The Boy Scouts of America (BSA), modeling it after the Boy-Scout Association in Britain.

Boyce founded BSA in Washington, D.C. There is a “legend” that Boyce, who was an American newspaper man, was lost on a foggy street in London one day when an unknown Scout came to his aid, guiding him to his destination. When Boys offered a tip, the Scout refused- explaining he was just doing his duty as a Boy Scout. Boyce immediately sought the head of the Scouts in Britain, then returned to America and, four months later, founded the Boy Scouts of America.

Of course, this is legend. The truth of it is that a Scout did actually help Boyce, and he asked for the address of the Boy-Scout Association headquarters, but he never met with the head of the scouts in Britain, and it took much longer for the BSA to officially take flight.

BSA isn’t new to controversies. There have been protests for the inclusion of African Americans, and it took a few years before the Catholics and LDS would accept the organization since it had firm ties with a Protestant organization (YMCA).

BSA has survived a century of growth and change, and although there is recent controversy over the laws and acceptance of the association, it is one that was founded in tradition and good intentions and will always have that at it’s roots.

trackback thursday: all-American bombing raid on Germany

Consolidated B-24 "Liberator"

Photo courtesy from the 8th Air Force History Office, found here

On January 27, 1943, the United States 8th Air Force conduced the first all-American bombing raid on Germany.

As 55 bombers targeted Wilhelmshaven, Germany, they dropped 137 tons of bombs on warehouses and industrial plants, losing three aircraft and shooting down 22 German fighters.

The 8th Air Force was activated in February 1942 as a heavy bomber force based in England. Commanded at the time by Brig. Gen. Newton Longfellow, the 8th Air Force was amazingly effective and accurate in bombing warehouses and factories in this first air attack against the Axis power.

The success of this first raid encouraged U.S. military planners to begin regular daylight bombing raids. However, these raids resulted in high casualty rates for the American soldiers involved.

 

 

trackback thursday:Hattie Caraway- first female senator

hattie-carawayIn January of 1932, Hattie Caraway, a Democrat from Arkansas, was appointed to the U.S. senate to fill the term of her deceased husband, Thaddeus Caraway. Before Caraway, Rebecca Felton had been the only woman who had served as a senator in 1922– for a single day only.

In May 1932 Caraway surprised Arkansas politicians by announcing that she would run for a full term in the upcoming election, when the prominent candidates assumed she would step aside.

She told reporters, “The time has passed when a woman should be placed in a position and kept there only while someone else is being groomed for the job.”

Caraway was the first woman elected as a U.S. Senator.

In 1938 Caraway entered a fight for reelection, challenged by Representative John Little McClellan, who argued that a man could work for and represent the state’s interests better. With support from government employees, women’s groups, and unions, Caraway won a narrow victory in the primary, but then took the general election with 89.4 percent of the vote!

During her time in the Senate, three other women, Rose McConnell Long, Dixie Bibb Graves, and Gladys Pyle, held brief tenures of two years or less in the Senate. None of them overlapped, however, so there were never more than two women in the body.

The 115th Congress (2015-2016) had 21 women out of 100 senators. While we have made strides since 1938, it is still not ratio that is close enough (if you ask me).

 

trackback thursday: birth of the american civil rights movement

rosa_parks_bookingOn December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks was arrested in Montgomery, Alabama for refusing to give up her seat to a white man and move to the back section of the bus.

Because she sat down and refused to give up her seat to a white passenger, Parks was arrested for disobeying an Alabama law requiring blacks to relinquish seats to whites when the bus was full. African Americans were also supposed to sit at the back of the bus, which Parks refused to do.

Her arrest sparked a 381-day boycott, by African Americans and others involved in the Civil Rights Movement, of the Montgomery bus system. It also led to a 1956 Supreme Court decision banning segregation on public transportation.

Parks and her husband were active in the Montgomery Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). While working as a tailor’s assistant, Mrs. Parks served as chapter secretary. Later, she advised the NAACP Youth Council. Denied the right to vote on at least two occasions because of her race, Rosa Parks also worked with the Voters League to prepare blacks to register to vote.

Rosa Parks became known as the “Mother of the Civil Rights Movement,” honored with awards around the world.

 

trackback thursday: first presidential library

unknownNovember 19, 1939: construction of the first presidential library began.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt laid the cornerstone next to his home in Hyde Park, New York. Roosevelt actually donated the land, but public donations funded the library building which was dedicated on June 30, 1941.

When President FDR first proposed the idea of building a library to house his papers and memorabilia, some thought he was just interested in constructing a monument to himself. FDR, however, saw the library as a way to preserve and provide public access to the records of his presidency. He had an “open government” attitude, believing that the people of the USA were entitled to a good look at how their government was working, even at the executive level.

Seems like we should go back to the “good ‘ole days” sometimes, huh? But then, who knows if they were were the good ‘ole days.

The library contains not only FDR’s collections of personal and family papers, but manuscripts related to his career at the state and national level, pictures, sound and motion picture recordings, books, and more. It even has his vast collection of ship models, prints and paintings, gifts from the American people, and family items.

At the cornerstone laying ceremony for the library, Roosevelt said:

“Of the papers which will come to rest here I personally attach less importance to the documents of those who have occupied high public or private office, than I do the spontaneous letters which have come to me and my family and my associates from men, from women, and from children in every part of the United States, telling me of their conditions and problems, and giving me their opinions.”

Talk about a pretty cool guy, am I right?

Have you visited it before? If you’re in the neighborhood, you should check it out– here’s the LINK to the library’s website.

 

trackback thursday: howard hughes’ “spruce goose”

history_hughes_on_spruce_goose_speech_sf_still_624x352On November 2, 1947, the first and only flight of Howard Hughes’ “Spruce Goose” flying boat  took place in Long Beach Harbor, CA.

This flying boat few about a mile at an altitude of 70 feet. It wasn’t exactly like The Jolly Roger with pixie dust, but it can still be called a success.

This flying boat weighed 200-tons, made of plywood, and had eight-engines. It was the world’s largest airplane, designed/built/flown by Hughes.

Oh, and it cost a whopping $25 million to make.

Later this flying boat became a tourist attraction alongside the Queen Mary ship at Long Beach, and has since been moved to Oregon.

Also known as the Hughes H-4 Hercules, the Spruce Goose is the largest flying boat ever built and has the largest wingspan of any aircraft in history.

Want to see for yourself? Just head to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

You can also see the picture above and check out the video below of the one and only epic flight!

 

trackback thursday: the end of the revolutionary war

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Surrender of Lord Cornwallis by John Trumbull, 1820

On October 19, 1781, the British General Lord Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington in Yorktown, Virginia.

The Siege of Yorktown, otherwise known as the Battle of Yorktown, was a decisive win for the continental troops, assisted by the French (commanded by Comte de Rochambeau). The beginnings of this win began as early as 1780, when the first French soldiers landed in Rhode Island. The French and American armies then united north of New York City during the summer of 1781.

I could go into all the battle history, but ultimately that would get super long and detailed and I might lose some of you (myself included).

So, let’s cut to the chase, shall we?

As The British band played The World Turned Upside Down (because they weren’t bitter or anything), they marched out in formation and surrounded to the Americans. How many were there? I’m glad you asked– more than 7,000 British and Hessian troops.

The war between Britain and its American colonies was ended. Now we no longer shout, “God save the queen!” since we pretty much can’t shout “God save” anything without someone else shouting, “OFF WITH HIS HEAD!”

See what I did there?

Anyway.

The final peace treaty was signed in Paris on September 3, 1783. Yep– about two years later. Talk about beating around the bush to give us our FREEDOM.

I’m sure they had their reasons.

‘Merica.

trackback thursday: the jazz singer

the-jazz-singer-movie-poster-1927-1020143206In October 1927, The Jazz Singer was released in New York– breaking the sound barrier in movies as the first “talkie” film.

Vaudeville crooner Al Jolson starred as a Jewish cantor’s son who goes against his family’s traditions to make it in show business.  The usual plea for, “there’s no business like show business!”

The first successful sound feature heralded the end of silent films. It received an Oscar nod for Best Adapted Screenplay and features a collection of oldies (“My Mammy,” “Toot, Toot, Tootsie Goodbye”).

The Jazz Singer was recently selected as one of the top 100 American films of all time by the prestigious American Film Institute. And it has been inducted into the Library of Congress National Film Registry.

 

Have you ever seen this film? Truthfully, I haven’t! I learned about it in a few classes that I have on my transcripts, but I think it’s about time I see it. It’s available on Amazon and Vudu (from what I’ve looked into). Let me know if you watch, and let me know what you think!