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Today in History with a Twist: November 11, 2013

Thank You!

     Veteran's Day recognizes and honors all of the military veterans who have served our country.  It is celebrated each year on November 11, the anniversary of the signing of the armistice that ended World War I.  President Wilson proclaimed the first Armistice Day in 1919, and President Eisenhower changed the name to Veterans Day in 1954.  Similar celebrations take place all across the world.  There are over 20 million veterans living in the United States.  Today, we honor all of those men and women for their patriotism, and their willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good of our country. (Punchbowl.com)

     1921 - The Tomb of the Unknowns is dedicated by US President Warren G. Harding at Arlington National Cemetery. - Taking advantage of the holiday. Now off to the sales.

     1918 - Germany signs an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car in the forest of Compiègne, France.  The fighting officially ends at 11:00 a.m., (the eleventh hour in the eleventh month on the eleventh day) and this is annually honored with a two-minute silence.  The war would officially end with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles on 28th June, 1919.  Though Germany was obviously beaten the fact that they still had forces on 'enemy' territory would give rise to the myth that the Army had been 'stabbed in the back' by the politicians.  Coupled with the harsh terms of the treaty and the depression the surrender would set the stage for the Nazi Regime. - While they were at it why didn't they stop the fighting at the 11th minute to make it even cuter?

     1864 - Union General William Tecumseh Sherman begins his March to the Sea by burning Atlanta, Georgia.  Sherman's goal was to march through the Deep South and decisively damage the South's war fighting capability. - Look out Columbia, you're next.

     1972 - In one step closer to total Vietnamization, the United States Army turns over the massive Long Binh military base to South Vietnam.  With what looked like the end of the war in sight the American war plan was turn over the war fighting to the South Vietnamese Army.  An armistice would eventually be put in place in 1973.  President Nixon would secretly promise American air support if the North attacked again.  Unfortunately, none of the parties involved had foreseen Watergate.  With Nixon gone the United States did not live up to the promise and by 1975 the North had overrun the entire country. - 'Peace with honor'

     1926 - The United States Numbered Highway System, including U.S. Route 66, is established.  The system is an integrated network of roads and highways in the United States numbered within a nationwide grid.  As these highways were coordinated among the states, they are sometimes called Federal Highways, but they have always been maintained by state or local governments since their initial designation in 1926.  The route numbers and locations are coordinated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).  The only federal involvement in AASHTO is a nonvoting seat for the United States Department of Transportation.  Generally, north-to-south highways are odd-numbered, with lowest numbers in the east and highest in the west.  Similarly, west-to-east highways are typically even-numbered, with the lowest numbers in the north and highest in the south.  Major north–south routes have numbers ending in "1" while major east–west routes have numbers ending in "0".  Three-digit numbered highways are spur routes of parent highways but are not necessarily connected to their parents.  Divided routes exist to provide two alignments to one route, even though many have been eliminated, while special routes, usually posted with a banner, can provide various routes, such as an alternate or bypass route, for a U.S. Highway. - Got that?

     1911 - Many cities in the Midwestern United States break their record highs and lows on the same day as a strong cold front rolls through.  Known as the Great Blue Norther of 11/11/1911, the extreme weather was caused by a cold snap that affected the central United States on Saturday, November 11, 1911.  Many cities broke record highs, going into the 70s and 80s early that afternoon.  By nightfall, cities were dealing with temperatures in the teens and single-digits on the Fahrenheit scale.  This is the only day in many Midwest cities' weather bureau jurisdictions where the record highs and lows were broken for the same day.  The extreme weather caused at least 16 tornadoes.  Some cities experienced tornadoes on Saturday and a blizzard on Sunday.  A blizzard even occurred within one hour after an F4 tornado hit Rock County, Wisconsin.  The main cause of such a dramatic cold snap was an extremely strong storm system separating warm, humid air from frigid, arctic air.  Dramatic cold snaps tend to occur mostly in the month of November, though they can also come in February or March. - Think weathermen have trouble getting it right now..........

Today we celebrate the birthdays of:

     1885 - George S. Patton - General (d. 1945) - Had a way with words.

     1922 - Kurt Vonnegut - Author (d. 2007) - Vonnegut's experience as a soldier and prisoner of war had a profound influence on his later work.  As a private with the 423rd Infantry Regiment, 106th Infantry Division, Vonnegut was captured during the Battle of the Bulge on December 19, 1944, after the 106th was cut off from the rest of Courtney Hodges's First Army.  "The other American divisions on our flanks managed to pull out; we were obliged to stay and fight. Bayonets aren't much good against tanks".  Imprisoned in Dresden, he was chosen as a leader of the POWs because he spoke some German.  After telling the German guards "what [he] was going to do to them when the Russians came", he was beaten and had his position as leader taken away.  While a prisoner, he witnessed the firebombing of Dresden in February 1945, which destroyed most of the city.  Vonnegut was one of a group of American prisoners of war to survive the attack in an underground slaughterhouse meat locker used by the Germans as an ad hoc detention facility.  The Germans called the building Schlachthof Fünf ("Slaughterhouse Five") which the Allied POWs adopted as the name for their prison. - Does it all make sense now?

To learn more about the above topics check out the following books from the Library's collection:


Amazon Says: Arlington National Cemetery spreads across the rolling hills west of the Potomac, a serene and reverent sanctuary for the presidents, soldiers, and heroes—famous and unsung more...
Amazon Says: Arlington National Cemetery spreads across the rolling hills west of the Potomac, a serene and reverent sanctuary for the presidents, soldiers, and heroes—famous and unsung alike—who lie in eternal rest among its green lawns and quiet glades, a roster dating back to America's birth and including many of the foremost names in our history. A national monument in the truest sense, Arlington's solemn beauty embraces a brave legacy—a heritage remembered and renewed every day as the military buries its own. Bittersweet, breath-taking, sometimes heart-wrenching, always deeply respectful, this commemorative book guides readers gently over tree-lined slopes to share the ceremonies observed throughout the year, from the traditional wreath-laying on Memorial Day, which enshrines centuries of courage with a formality at once austere and profoundly emotional, to the moving graveside services that honor individual men and women who served our country. Captured in stunning color by a select group of gifted photographers, 220 unforgettable images create a portrait as poignant as it is proud. Archival photographs also trace the history of the cemetery from the early National Historic Monument, "Arlington House," to the eternal flame at the Kennedy grave to sections for the lost astronauts and victims of the 9/11 Pentagon attack. With an Introduction by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Rick Atkinson, this lovely volume is both a fitting tribute and a stirring reminder of the values we Americans hold dear. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 will live in history as a great moment--the hour the Armistice went into effect, bringing an end to the Fir more...
Amazon Says: The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918 will live in history as a great moment--the hour the Armistice went into effect, bringing an end to the First World War. Guns were silenced, and worldwide the great and small alike celebrated the end of 51 months of fighting. In this magnificent book, Stanley Weintraub recreates the days leading up to the armistice and documents the reactions of survivors on both sides of the front. Thirty-year-old Major Omar Bradley lamented that his rank would be reduced to that of captain and that he was "professionally ruined." King George V celebrated with a bottle of brandy laid aside for the Battle of Waterloo. In America, for 16-year-old Charles Lindbergh the end of the war meant the purchase of a war-surplus "Flying Jenny." In a German hospital, Corporal Adolf Hitler, temporarily blinded by teargas, wept. Weintraub has delved into the archives, sifted through a large collection of letters and diaries sent to him by survivors and heirs to survivors, and interviewed many eyewitnesses to produce this vivid rendering of the end not just of a war but of an era. Here are notable literary, military, and political figures of the 20th century as young men and women--their careers to come still at the mercy of a last bullet or burst of shrapnel. Here also are the reflections of such figures as Albert Einstein, Thomas Mann and Joseph Conrad on the effects of the war, and eerie premonitions of the Second World War, whose seeds were sown in both the harshness and the paradoxical laxity of the peace agreement. A major evocation of the last days of the Great War, A Stillness Heard Round the World offers both historical vignettes and heartfelt visions of the horror of war and the ecstacy of peace. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: An absolute pleasure to read.” —Civil War News“The freshness of the writing style, the pace of the story, and the handling of an entire campaign is as compelling a more...
Amazon Says: An absolute pleasure to read.” —Civil War News“The freshness of the writing style, the pace of the story, and the handling of an entire campaign is as compelling as Bruce Catton’s landmark Army of the Potomac trilogy.” —Civil War Librarian“Well-researched and well-written. . . . excellent character sketches. . . vivid and moving. . . . maps and diagrams of the battles are outstanding.” —Bowling Green Daily News“Magnificent.”—Civil War NotebookExcellent. . . Bonds provides the reader with a memorable and moving portrait of a besieged city." —Booklist"For all Atlanta’s passion and fiery agony in that long ago time, one must now consult history books, and there is none better than 'War Like the Thunderbolt.'”—John Sledge, Mobile Press-Register"This gripping story of the battles for Atlanta in 1864 provides new insights on a campaign that ensured Lincoln’s reelection and the ultimate destruction of the Confederacy. Russell S. Bonds has an impressive ability to combine combat narrative with shrewd analyses of commanders’ performances.” —James M. McPherson, author of Tried by War: Abraham Lincoln as Commander in Chief“Through the power of Margaret Mitchell’s words and the film they inspired, the struggle for Atlanta became all that most folks needed to know about our nation’s four-year bloodbath. In War Like the Thunderbolt, using his skills as both historian and storyteller, Russell S. Bonds has given us what might have seemed impossible—a fresh, new look back at Atlanta.” —Robert Hicks, author of The Widow of the SouthCalled “the greatest event of the Civil War” by New York diarist George Templeton Strong, the epic struggle for the city of Atlanta in the bloody summer of 1864 was a pivotal moment in American history. Union commander William Tecumseh Sherman’s relentless fight for the city secured the reelection of Abraham Lincoln, sealed the fate of the Southern Confederacy, and set a precedent for military campaigns that endures today. Its depiction in the novel and motion picture Gone with the Wind established the fight for Atlanta as an iconic episode in our nation’s most terrible war. In War Like the Thunderbolt: The Battle and Burning of Atlanta, award-winning author Russell S. Bonds takes the reader behind the lines and across the smoky battlefields of Peachtree Creek, Atlanta, Ezra Church, and Jonesboro, and into the lives of fascinating characters, both the famous and the forgotten, including the fiery and brilliant Sherman; General John Bell Hood, the Confederacy’s last hope to defend Atlanta; Benjamin Harrison, the diminutive young Indiana colonel who would rise to become President of the United States; Patrick Cleburne, the Irishmanturned- Southern officer; and ten-year-old diarist Carrie Berry, who bravely withstood and bore witness to the fall of the city. Here also is the dramatic story of the ordeal of Atlanta itself—the five-week artillery bombardment, the expulsion of its civilian population, and the infamous fire that followed. Based on new research in diaries, newspapers, previously unpublished letters, and other archival sources, War Like the Thunderbolt is a combination of captivating narrative and insightful military analysis—a stirring account of the battle and burning of the “Gate City of the South.” less...
Amazon


Henry Kissinger by Heather Lehr Wagner
Amazon Says: Henry Alfred Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his part in negotiating a cease-fire between North and South Vietnam and the subsequent U.S. withdrawal. A more...
Amazon Says: Henry Alfred Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973 for his part in negotiating a cease-fire between North and South Vietnam and the subsequent U.S. withdrawal. As national security advisor and secretary of state under President Richard Nixon, and secretary of state for Gerald Ford, Kissinger played a pivotal role in American foreign policy. Born into a Jewish family in Bavaria, Germany, Kissinger moved to New York City in 1938 with his family, fleeing Hitler's regime. He became an American citizen in 1943 and served as a German interpreter for the 970th Counter Intelligence Corps in World War II. He attended Harvard University, became a professor there, and joined the Nixon administration in 1968. "Henry Kissinger" provides excellent coverage of the life and work of one of the 20th century's greatest diplomats with selected writings, related sidebars, and balanced commentary. less...
Amazon


Amazon Says: The road that became known as Route 66 holds a unique place in American popular culture. Unlike any other road in world history, this modest two-lane highway took on cult stat more...
Amazon Says: The road that became known as Route 66 holds a unique place in American popular culture. Unlike any other road in world history, this modest two-lane highway took on cult status, bound up with American nostalgia for a recent past in which life was far less complex and mechanized than it has now become. Inaugurated by a group of businessmen in the 1920s, at a time when the automobile was first asserting itself as one of the main preferences for family holiday travel, its life-span was short - less than fifty years - but its mythology goes on and on. While Freddy Langer's text tell's the curious story of Route 66 in some detail, it is Gerd Kittel's extraordinary photographs that tell the story of the road as it is now. Wistful, brutal and beautiful at the same time, these documents of today show what has become a once powerful symbol of American hopes and pleasures: the wrecks of abandoned automobiles, the deserted diners and souvenir shops; the battered remnants of failed silos and warehouses; derelict towns; surviving personalities and buildings, as well as some of the views the road offers as it passes through seven states between Chicago and the Pacific Ocean. Before the advent of interstate superhighways, that was the main attraction of the road - its appeal to the American drive towards the West, where opportunity and success were believed to be waiting. less...
Amazon


Patton: A Genius for War by Carlo D'Este
Amazon Says: A comprehensive biography of General George Patton draws on hitherto unavailable letters, diaries, and memoirs, uncovering many new facts to create an insightful and definitiv more...
Amazon Says: A comprehensive biography of General George Patton draws on hitherto unavailable letters, diaries, and memoirs, uncovering many new facts to create an insightful and definitive portrait of an American military hero. less...
Amazon


Understanding Kurt Vonnegut by William Rodney Allen
Amazon Says: "Understanding Kurt Vonnegut" is a critical analysis of Vonnegut's novels. After dealing with his early work in science fiction in the 1950s - "Player Piano" and "The Sirens o more...
Amazon Says: "Understanding Kurt Vonnegut" is a critical analysis of Vonnegut's novels. After dealing with his early work in science fiction in the 1950s - "Player Piano" and "The Sirens of Titan" - this study pays special attention to Vonnegut's "major phase" in the 1960s, which consists of four extremely diverse but fully realized novels: "Mother's Night"; "Cat's Cradle"; "God Bless You, Mr Rosewater" and "Slaughterhouse-Five"; the critical backlash that resulted after Vonnegut published "Breakfast of Champions" and "Slapstick" in the 1970s, two admittedly weak novels. In the 1980s, Vonnegut turned away from his characteristic mode of science fiction to what the study calls "social/political realism". "Jailbird", "Deadeye Dick", "Galapagos" and "Bluebeard" are compelling works that prove Vonnegut is still a vital force in contemporary American literature. less...
Amazon

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