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!

 

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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: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: 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!

trackback thursday: nathan hale’s execution

nathan-hale-statueOn September 22, 1776, Nathan Hale was executed without a trial after he was caught spying on British troops on Long Island during the Revolutionary War. He was only 21 years old.

Hale was an American soldier and spy for the Continental Army. He volunteered for intelligence but was captured. Hale is most famous for his last word before he hanged:

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

He has long been considered a hero in the US of A, and in 1985 was officially designated as the “state hero of Connecticut.”

Yes, that’s a real thing. I didn’t know, either, until I did some research.

Fun fact: Nathan was sent to Yale at the age of 14, graduated with honors at the age of 18 and became a teacher. He first joined a local militia in 1775 once the war began. Just a few days after July 4, 1775, Hale accepted a commission as first lieutenant in the 7th Connecticut Regiment.

Though many only know Hale for his famous last words, upon further investigation it seems Hale had quite a bit of brains behind them.

But what would you expect?

 

What would your last words be if you had been caught spying and were about to be hanged? Share in the comments!

trackback thursday: burning of D.C. in 1814

classroom_1812-02On August 24, 1814, a British force led by Major General Robert Ross occupied Washington, D.C., and set fire to many public buildings– including the White House, the Capitol, and other U.S. government facilities.

The Burning of Washington was an attack during the War of 1812, between British forces and the USA. The attack was partially a “tit for tat” response to America’s destruction of Port Dover in Upper Canada. (This is when American troops went to destroy grain and mills that were used to provide flour for British soldiers on the Niagara Peninsula.)

This is the only time in history that Washington, D.C. has been occupied by a foreign force.

Less than a day after the attack, a heavy rainstorm put out the remaining fires. After this heavy storm (which also provided a tornado that went through D.C.), British troops retreated to their ships– which were also damaged. This allowed Americans to regain control, making the occupation of Washington last somewhere around 26 hours.

History Buster:

This is where the story of First Lady Dolley Madison comes into play. It circulated (and still does) that she saved the portrait of President Washington from the flames, cutting it from the frame that held it to the wall.

BUT

Paul Jennings, President James Madison’s personal slave, published his memoir in 1865 (after purchasing his freedom from none other than Mrs. Madison), and said it was not Mrs. Madison who saved the painting! She would have, apparently, needed a ladder and other tools to accomplish this– and he said there was not time for her to do it. Who were the saviors of this famous art?

According to Jennings, it was John Suse (the French doorkeeper) and Magraw (the president’s gardner).

In 2009, President Obama held a ceremony to recognize Jennings for his bravery and assistance in saving the painting and other valuables from the fire. Several of his descendants attended, and even took a family portrait in front of the very painting.

 

Have you ever visited The White House? I have actually never been to Washington (D.C.).  I say “actually” because I’ve been a crazy amount of places, (stateside) but D.C. is still on my bucket list!

 

trackback thursday: first transatlantic hot air balloon flight

In August 1978, three Americans made history by being the first to cross the Atlantic Ocean via hot air balloon. Before this, (debatably) thirteen attempts had been made and failed.

The lucky gentlemen traveled in Double Eagle II over 3,000 miles in 137 hours, taking off from Presque Isle, Maine and landing about 60 miles west of Paris in Miserey, France. They were: Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman. All of them were from Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Why was it Double Eagle II, you ask? It was the second attempt for Mr. Abruzzo and Mr. Anderson, who tried their first attempt at crossing in the first Double Eagle.

Why does this matter, you ask?

Because hot air balloons are magical.

I have a small obsession with them, though I’ve actually never been in one myself (bucket list). Also, if you see a picture of this balloon, you’ll be amazed, too. It was fitted with a gondola in case they had to have an emergency landing, which is on display at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum annex at Washington Dulles International Airport. But if you can’t make it there, here’s a picture that probably doesn’t do it justice:

I moved to the Southwest in 2013, and though there had been hot air balloon events where I had previously lived(ish), I had never looked into or thought of them much. But when we moved, the first thing we saw when we reached our new “hometown” were three hot air balloons just hanging out– and come to find out we could see them from our backyard! It made the move not so horrible, and I still swear by ‘balloon days.’

(OK, I don’t really swear by them, but it’s always a pick-me-up because it lets me know that it’s not TOO hot for the balloons and something about seeing them makes a person happy.)

Have you ever been in a hot air balloon?

 

 

Also, today in history, my mother was born. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM! I won’t put the year because she might kill me, but here’s a picture for your viewing pleasure of the last time we were together:

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