On This Date In 1776 In a letter addressed to the president of Congress, American General George Washington recommended raising companies of German-Americans to use against the German mercenaries anticipated to fight for Britain. Washington hoped this would engender a spirit of disaffection and desertion among Britain's paid soldiers.
On This Date In 1798 The convention of the Estates-General of 1789, a general assembly representing the French estates of the realm - the nobility, the church, and the common people - led to the coup d'etat of the 22nd Floreal, Year VI, coming to an impasse as the three estates clashed over their respective powers. It was brought to an end when many members of the Third Estate formed themselves into a National Assembly, signaling the outbreak of the French Revolution.
On This Date In 1812 In London, Spencer Perceval, prime minister of Britain since 1809, was shot to death by demented businessman John Bellingham in the lobby of the House of Commons. Bellingham, who was inflamed by his failure to obtain government compensation for war debts incurred in Russia, gave himself up immediately.
On This Date In 1846 U.S. President James K. Polk sent a message to Congress stating that “Mexico has passed the boundary of the United States, has invaded our territory and shed American blood upon American soil.” Conflict over the Nueces Strip, and the resulting Thornton Affair, in which a 2,000 strong Mexican cavalry routed an American patrol sent into the contested territory of the Rio Grande River in Texas, killing 16 U.S. soldiers of the 70-man unit, along with Mexico's rejection of prior treaties, would lead to Congress approving a declaration of war on May 13.
On This Date In 1858 Known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” Minnesota became the 32nd state admitted into the Union. Minnesota's application for statehood was submitted to President James Buchanan in January, but became entangled with the controversial issue of Kansas statehood, delaying it for several months until it was finally approved by Congress.
On This Date In 1864 The Battle of Yellow Tavern was fought as part of the Overland Campaign of the American Civil War. Union cavalry under Maj. Gen. Philip Sheridan was detached from the Army of the Potomac to conduct a raid on Richmond, Virginia, and challenge legendary Confederate cavalry commander Maj. Gen. J.E.B. Stuart. The Confederate force was outnumbered and outgunned and Stuart was mortally wounded while attempting to rally his men, dying the next day.
On This Date In 1931 “M,” a German drama-thriller directed by Fritz Lang and written by Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou, was released. It was Lang's first sound film, although he had directed more than a dozen films previously. The film has become a classic which Lang himself considered his finest work.
On This Date In 1934 A massive dust storm sent some 350 million tons of topsoil flying from across the parched Great Plains region of the United States as far east as New York, Boston and Atlanta. Even ships some 300 miles offshore saw dust collect on their decks.
On This Date In 1937 “Captains Courageous,” an MGM family adventure film, based on the novel by Rudyard Kipling, had its world premiere at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. The movie was produced by Louis D. Lighton and directed by Victor Fleming. Filmed in black-and-white, Captains Courageous was advertised by MGM as a coming-of-age classic with exciting action sequences.
On This Date In 1942 One of William Faulkner's greatest collections of short stories,
Go Down, Moses, was published. The collection included The Bear, one of his most famous stories, which had previously appeared in the Saturday Evening Post. The seven stories in Go Down, Moses all take place in the fictional county of Yoknapatawpha, Mississippi, and are based on Faulkner's observations of his own native state.
On This Date In 1943 Through May 30, 1943, The Battle of Attu was fought entirely between forces of the United States and the Empire of Japan on Attu Island off the coast of Alaska. The action, which was part of the Aleutian Islands Campaign during the Pacific War, was the only land battle of World War II fought on territory that was part of the incorporated territory of the U.S. It is also the only battle in which Japanese and American forces fought in Arctic conditions. The battle, which lasted for more than two weeks, ended when most of the Japanese defenders were killed in brutal hand-to-hand combat after a final banzai charge broke through American lines.
On This Date In 1944 The Battle of Monte Cassino was fought during World War II by the Allies against Germans and Italians, with the intention of breaking through the Winter Line and seizing Rome. The first assault (May 11 – May 12) on Cassino opened at 23:00 with a massive artillery bombardment with 1,060 guns on the 8th Army front and 600 guns on the 5th Army front, manned by British, Americans, Poles, New Zealanders, South Africans, and French. From January 17 to May 18, the Gustav defenses were assaulted four times by Allied troops. For the last of these, the Allies gathered 20 divisions for a major assault along a twenty mile front and drove the German defenders from their positions, but at a high cost. The Allies suffered around 55,000 casualties in the Monte Cassino campaign. German casualty figures are estimated at around 20,000 killed and wounded. Total Allied casualties spanning the period of the four Cassino battles and the Anzio campaign with the subsequent capture of Rome on June 5, 1944, were over 105,000.
On This Date In 1947 The B.F. Goodrich Company of Akron, Ohio, announced it had developed a tubeless tire, a technological innovation that would make automobiles safer and more efficient.
On This Date In 1961 President John F. Kennedy approved sending 400 Special Forces troops and 100 other U.S. military advisers to South Vietnam. On the same day, he ordered the start of clandestine warfare against North Vietnam to be conducted by South Vietnamese agents under the direction and training of the CIA and U.S. Special Forces troops. Kennedy's orders also called for South Vietnamese forces to infiltrate Laos to locate and disrupt communist bases and supply lines there.
On This Date In 1968 The 1968 Stanley Cup Final was a best-of-seven series between the Montreal Canadiens and the St. Louis Blues. The Canadiens would sweep the series in four-straight games, in the first Stanley Cup series after the NHL expansion to 12 teams.
On This Date In 1969 During the Vietnam War and the Battle of Hamburger Hill, part of Operation Apache Snow, a 2,800-man Allied sweep of the A Shau Valley, Lt. Col. Weldon Honeycutt directed helicopter gunships, from an Aerial Rocket Artillery (ARA) battery, to support an infantry assault. In the heavy jungle, the helicopters mistook the command post of the 3/187th battalion for a Vietnamese unit and attacked, killing two and wounding thirty-five, including Honeycutt. This “friendly fire” incident disrupted battalion command and control and forced 3/187th to withdraw into night defensive positions.
On This Date In 1972 The 1972 Stanley Cup Final NHL championship series was contested by the Boston Bruins and the New York Rangers. It was the Rangers first appearance in the championship final series since 1950. The Bruins were making their first appearance since their victory in the 1970 Final. It was the second Boston-New York Final series, the other being the 1929 Final. The Bruins would win the best-of-seven series four games to two.
On This Date In 1980 “The Return of the King,” an animated musical adaptation of the novel by J. R. R. Tolkien, was released by Rankin/Bass as a TV special. The film was created by the same team which had worked on the 1977 animated version of
The Hobbit. It has since been released on VHS and DVD.
On This Date In 1981 Robert Nesta “Bob” Marley, OM (February 6, 1945 – May 11, 1981), Jamaican singer-songwriter and musician, rhythm guitarist and lead singer for the ska, rocksteady and reggae band
Bob Marley & The Wailers (1963–1981), died in the University of Miami Hospital. He was only 36 years old. The most widely known and revered performer of reggae music, and credited with helping spread both Jamaican music and the Rastafari movement to a worldwide audience, Marley collapsed while jogging in Central Park only days after a successful New York Concert and later received a grim diagnosis: a type of malignant melanoma under the nail of one of his toes had metastasized and spread to Marley's brain, liver and lungs.
On This Date In 1981 “Shut Up 'n Play Yer Guitar,” a triple vinyl album featuring live material recorded by Frank Zappa between February 1977 and December 1980, was released. The final track, “Canard du Jour”, is a duet with Frank Zappa on electric bouzouki and Jean-Luc Ponty on baritone violin dating from a 1972 studio session.
On This Date In 1985 The Bradford City stadium fire occurred when a flash fire consumed one side of the Valley Parade football stadium in Bradford, England. The fire broke out during a football match between Bradford City (the home team) and Lincoln City, on the day that Bradford City were supposed to have celebrated their winning the Football League Third Division trophy. A total of 56 people died and more than 265 others were injured.
On This Date In 1987 Klaus Barbie, the former Nazi Gestapo chief of German-occupied Lyon, France, went on trial in Lyon more than four decades after the end of World War II. He was charged with 177 crimes against humanity. On July 4, 1987, he was found guilty. For his crimes, the 73-year-old Barbie was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison, France's highest punishment. He died of cancer in a prison hospital in 1991.
On This Date In 1987 “Execution Guaranteed,” the second full-length album by the heavy metal band Rage (formed in 1984 under the name, Avenger), was released. The album was remastered by Noise/Sanctuary in 2002 with slightly altered cover art, and six bonus tracks.
On This Date In 1992 “Fear of the Dark,” the ninth studio album by British heavy metal band Iron Maiden, was released. It topped the UK albums chart. It was the final studio album to feature Bruce Dickinson as lead vocalist, who left the band following the album's support tour to pursue a solo career. He was succeeded by Blaze Bayley, formerly of Wolfsbane, for two studio albums until Dickinson returned to Iron Maiden for the 2000 release of
Brave New World.
On This Date In 1995 The Sega Saturn, a 32-bit video game console first released on November 22, 1994 in Japan, was released in North America, and released on July 8, 1995 in Europe. The system was later discontinued in Europe and Australia in 1998, April 1999 in North America, and in 2000 in Japan.
On This Date In 1996 ValuJet Flight 592, a domestic passenger flight between Miami International Airport, Miami, Florida, and William B. Hartsfield Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta, Georgia, crashed in the Browns Farm Wildlife Management area in the Florida Everglades, killing all 110 persons on board.
On This Date In 1997 IBM's supercomputer Deep Blue made chess history by defeating Gary Kasparov, the chess champion widely regarded as the greatest who has ever lived. The Russian master conceded defeat after 19 moves in the sixth game of the tournament, losing the match 2.5 to 3.5. It was the first defeat of a reigning world champion by a machine in tournament play. Big Blue, which can analyze 200 million chess moves a second, had met Kasparov once before, but the human had been able to hold his own against the computer. Before their second meeting, Kasparov had never lost a professional chess match.
Happy Birthday Eric Burdon (1941), Frances Fisher (1952), Alyson Williams (1962), Marguerite MacIntyre (1965), Jeffrey Donovan (1968), Harold Ford Jr (1970), Coby Bell (1975), Laetitia Casta (1978), Cory Monteith (1982), and Matt Leinart (1983).
RIP Chang and Eng Bunker (1811 – 1874), Margaret Rutherford (1892 – 1972), Mari Sandoz (1896 – 1966), Salvador Dali (1904 – 1989), Phil Silvers (1911 – 1985), Foster Brooks (1912 – 2001), Richard Feynman (1918 – 1988), Denver Pyle (1920 – 1997), Doug McClure (1935 – 1995), and Natasha Richardson (1963 – 2009).
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven? Kahlil Gibran
It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge. Albert Einstein
Where self-interest is suppressed, it is replaced by a burdensome system of bureaucratic control that dries up the wellspring of initiative and creativity. Pope John Paul II
If I have a swing, I have a shot. Golfer Bubba Watson, who beat 40-1 odds to win the Masters tournament.
If I were given the opportunity to present a gift to the next generation, it would be the ability for each individual to learn to laugh at himself. Charles M. Schulz
Music is God's gift to man, the only art of Heaven given to earth, the only art of earth we take to Heaven. Walter Savage Landor