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Today in History with a Twist: November 20, 2013

Crisis Averted!

     1962 - The Cuban missile crisis comes to an end as the Soviet Union agrees to remove its nuclear capable missiles from Cuba in exchange for the United States removing some missiles from Turkey.  President Kennedy ended the quarantine of the Caribbean nation with the agreement.  The threat of a nuclear attack against the Southeast and Central United States would at least for the time being be ended.  It would be the closest the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. would come to having the Cold War turn Hot. - Technological advancements would soon make this all a mute point.

     Hooray we survived so that we could celebrate Children's Day.  If you ever want to get confused about when a holiday is held, this is the one.  My source has done extensive research, and found that there is really a number of Children's Day observances around the world.  Here is a recap of what was found, with the most common listed first:  Universal Children's Day - Observed on November 20th each year.  In 1954, the UN General Assembly recommended that all countries should establish a Universal Children's Day on an "appropriate" day. It is not certain, but perhaps each country did.....at various different dates during the year.  The resolution was adopted on November 20, 1954:  International Children's Day - The second Sunday in December.  This is a joint initiative between UNICEF and the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  It's a day when broadcasters "tune in to kids";  World Children's Day - Always November 20th.  This is a day McDonald's uses as a fund raiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities.  The first official WCD was held on November 20th, 2002 and was celebrated around the world as a way to celebrate children and benefit RMHC chapters around the world.  This now annual celebration is officially held on November 20th each year, however fundraising opportunities often extend beyond the day;  Children's Day in Japan - This is a national holiday in Japan celebrated on May 5th.  Started in 1948, Children's Day is a festive day to celebrate your child's life.  The holiday is believed to have begun in china where they would hang medicinal herbs to ward off childhood diseases.  In Japan it is often celebrated by giving children kites and hanging streamers.  The Children's Festival was originally called the "Boy's Festival" while the girls had the "Doll Festival";  Children's Day in other countries is celebrated often on different dates and with varying customs. (www.holidayinsights.com)

     1969 - In over a year since the massacre occurred The Plain Dealer blew the cover off the Army's cover up of the My Lai massacre by publishing explicit photographs of dead villagers.  This would help cause a dramatic turn in the public sentiment to opposing our involvement in the war. - Never does any good to hide bad news.

     1917 - The Battle of Cambrai begins.  Typical World War One battle in that one side, in this case the British, would make early progress in their attack on German positions only to later being pushed back.  The battle would be noteworthy in that it was the first battle in which tanks were used. - It's one thing to have new equipment, it's another to know how to use it.

     1977 - Egyptian President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel, when he meets Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and speaks before the Knesset in Jerusalem, seeking a permanent peace settlement. - Nixon had nothing on Sadat.

     1979 - About 200 Sunni Muslims revolt in Saudi Arabia and seize the Grand Mosque, the site of the Kaaba, in Mecca during the pilgrimage and take about 6000 hostages.  The Saudi government receives help from Pakistani special forces to put down the uprising. - Nothing is sacred to these people.

     1820 - The Essex, a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts, is attacked by an 80-ton sperm whale 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America (Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby-Dick is in part inspired by this story). - That's some fish story.

Today's birthdays:

     1900 - Chester Gould - Cartoonist (d. 1985) - Those two-way wrist radios are so yesterday!

     1925 - Robert F. Kennedy - 64th United States Attorney General (d. 1968) - Not quite what he had in mind when he said he wanted to follow in his brother's footsteps.

     1927 - Ed Freeman - Army officer and pilot, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 2008)

Freeman's official Medal of Honor citation reads: Captain Ed W. Freeman, United States Army, distinguished himself by numerous acts of conspicuous gallantry and extraordinary intrepidity on 14 November 1965 while serving with Company A, 229th Assault Helicopter Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile).  As a flight leader and second in command of a 16-helicopter lift unit, he supported a heavily engaged American infantry battalion at Landing Zone X-Ray in the Ia Drang Valley, Republic of Vietnam.  The unit was almost out of ammunition after taking some of the heaviest casualties of the war, fighting off a relentless attack from a highly motivated, heavily armed enemy force.  When the infantry commander closed the helicopter landing zone due to intense direct enemy fire, Captain Freeman risked his own life by flying his unarmed helicopter through a gauntlet of enemy fire time after time, delivering critically needed ammunition, water and medical supplies to the besieged battalion.  His flights had a direct impact on the battle's outcome by providing the engaged units with timely supplies of ammunition critical to their survival, without which they would almost surely have gone down, with much greater loss of life.  After medical evacuation helicopters refused to fly into the area due to intense enemy fire, Captain Freeman flew 14 separate rescue missions, providing life-saving evacuation of an estimated 30 seriously wounded soldiers - some of whom would not have survived had he not acted.  All flights were made into a small emergency landing zone within 100 to 200 meters of the defensive perimeter where heavily committed units were perilously holding off the attacking elements.  Captain Freeman's selfless acts of great valor, extraordinary perseverance and intrepidity were far above and beyond the call of duty or mission and set a superb example of leadership and courage for all of his peers.  Captain Freeman's extraordinary heroism and devotion to duty are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Army.     - You know I always recognize these guys.

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

The Secret Cuban Missile Crisis Documents by Central Intelligence Agency
Amazon Says: For 13 days in October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US and the USSR came perilously close to nuclear war. President Kennedy said later the chances were "between more...
Amazon Says: For 13 days in October 1962, during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the US and the USSR came perilously close to nuclear war. President Kennedy said later the chances were "between one-in-three and even." Although the confrontation is one of the most studied events of all time, the previous unavailability of classified material left many questions unanswered. This book is a product of the CIA's new openness. It contains many of the CIA's formerly top-secret cables, maps, memorandums, estimates and briefing papers, organized according to the date of the subject matter - the Cuban Missile Crisis. The book includes documents on Operation Mongoose, the CIA's clandestine programme to destabilize the Castro regime. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Take a ride in a long submarine or fly away in a hot air balloon. Whatever you do, just be sure to bring your favorite book! Rafael López's colorful illustrations perfectly c more...
Amazon Says: Take a ride in a long submarine or fly away in a hot air balloon. Whatever you do, just be sure to bring your favorite book! Rafael López's colorful illustrations perfectly complement Pat Mora's lilting text in this delightful celebration of El día de los niños/El día de los libros; Children's Day/Book Day. Toon! Toon!Includes a letter from the author and suggestions for celebrating El día de los niños/El día de los libros; Children's Day/Book Day. Pasea por el mar en un largo submarino o viaja lejos en un globo aerostático. No importa lo que hagas, ¡no olvides traer tu libro preferido! Las coloridas ilustraciones de Rafael López complementan perfectamente el texto rítmico de Pat Mora en esta encantadora celebración de El día de los niños/El día de los libros. ¡Tun! ¡Tun! Incluye una carta de la autora y sugerencias para celebrar El día de los niños/El día de los libros.The author will donate a portion of the proceeds from this book to literacy initiatives related to Children's Day/Book Day.La autora donará una porción de las ganancias de este libro a programas para fomentar la alfabetización relacionados con El día de los niños/El día de los libros. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: An illustrated A-Z catalogue of tanks, armoured vehicles, tank destroyers, command versions and specialized tanks from 1914-1945, from the prototype No.1 Lincoln Machine Littl more...
Amazon Says: An illustrated A-Z catalogue of tanks, armoured vehicles, tank destroyers, command versions and specialized tanks from 1914-1945, from the prototype No.1 Lincoln Machine Little Willie to the Panzers and D-Day Funnies. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: The Hadj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, has long been a central tenet of the Muslim religion and has, as well, fascinated Western adventures enchanted by the holy city's mystery and more...
Amazon Says: The Hadj, or pilgrimage to Mecca, has long been a central tenet of the Muslim religion and has, as well, fascinated Western adventures enchanted by the holy city's mystery and hostility toward nonbelievers. One Thousand Roads to Mecca collects significant texts from the last ten centuries by writers from the East and West including Ibn Battuta, whose Travels is the most famous adventure book of Arabic literature; Ali Bey al-Abbasi, a nineteenth-century Spanish Muslim; Sir Richard Burton, who daringly entered the city in disguise; and Malcolm X. Part travelogue, part history, part holy literature, this diverse anthology will appeal to anyone interested in one of the most influential cities in human history. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Soon to be a major motion picture starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and directed by Ron Howard. "With its huge, scar more...
Amazon Says: Soon to be a major motion picture starring Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Ben Wishaw, and Brendan Gleeson, and directed by Ron Howard. "With its huge, scarred head halfway out of the water and its tail beating the ocean into a white-water wake more than forty feet across, the whale approached the ship at twice its original speed--at least six knots. With a tremendous cracking and splintering of oak, it struck the ship just beneath the anchor secured at the cat-head on the port bow. . ." In the Heart of the Sea brings to new life the incredible story of the wreck of the whaleship Essex--an event as mythic in its own century as the Titanic disaster in ours, and the inspiration for the climax of Moby-Dick. In a harrowing page-turner, Nathaniel Philbrick restores this epic story to its rightful place in American history. In 1820, the 240-ton Essex set sail from Nantucket on a routine voyage for whales. Fifteen months later, in the farthest reaches of the South Pacific, it was repeatedly rammed and sunk by an eighty-ton bull sperm whale. Its twenty-man crew, fearing cannibals on the islands to the west, made for the 3,000-mile-distant coast of South America in three tiny boats. During ninety days at sea under horrendous conditions, the survivors clung to life as one by one, they succumbed to hunger, thirst, disease, and fear. In the Heart of the Sea tells perhaps the greatest sea story ever. Philbrick interweaves his account of this extraordinary ordeal of ordinary men with a wealth of whale lore and with a brilliantly detailed portrait of the lost, unique community of Nantucket whalers. Impeccably researched and beautifully told, the book delivers the ultimate portrait of man against nature, drawing on a remarkable range of archival and modern sources, including a long-lost account by the ship's cabin boy. At once a literary companion and a page-turner that speaks to the same issues of class, race, and man's relationship to nature that permeate the works of Melville, In the Heart of the Sea will endure as a vital work of American history.     less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: In 1931, the Chicago Tribune introduced the public to an exciting new comic strip destined to become a classic: Dick Tracy. Tracy's creator, Chester Gould, would spend the nex more...
Amazon Says: In 1931, the Chicago Tribune introduced the public to an exciting new comic strip destined to become a classic: Dick Tracy. Tracy's creator, Chester Gould, would spend the next 46 years of his life developing the dynamic, crime-fighting character, and his work on the strip won him the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year in both 1959 and 1977. A revolutionary in the comics industry, Gould invented both a genre and an icon. The personal story of this pioneer cartoonist is now presented in a biography written by Gould's only child. Beginning with his young life in a three-room house in Pawnee, Oklahoma, this book traces all the steps Gould took to eventually achieve remarkable distinction at the top of his field. The early pages relate his ancestors' part in the Oklahoma land rush, drawing on the unpublished memoir of his father, Gilbert Gould. Chester Gould's story is then augmented by his own personal commentary, taken directly from recorded conversations with his daughter. Throughout these conversations, Gould recollects the evolution of his career, from painting advertisements on barn roofs at age 17 to documenting the violent crime life of Chicago, from which he drew inspiration for his Dick Tracy strip. Discussion of his ambitions, disappointments, popular accomplishments, and family moments comprise a thorough account of Chester Gould's fascinating life. Appendices include commentary from his two grandchildren and a comprehensive list of his awards and distinctions, which included formal recognition from three American presidents. less...
Amazon

Amazon Says: Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book that he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 more...
Amazon Says: Each year, the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps selects one book that he believes is both relevant and timeless for reading by all Marines. The Commandant's choice for 1993 was We Were Soldiers Once . . . and Young. In November 1965, some 450 men of the 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry, under the command of Lt. Col. Hal Moore, were dropped by helicopter into a small clearing in the Ia Drang Valley. They were immediately surrounded by 2,000 North Vietnamese soldiers. Three days later, only two and a half miles away, a sister battalion was chopped to pieces. Together, these actions at the landing zones X-Ray and Albany constituted one of the most savage and significant battles of the Vietnam War. How these men persevered--sacrificed themselves for their comrades and never gave up--makes a vivid portrait of war at its most inspiring and devastating. General Moore and Joseph Galloway, the only journalist on the ground throughout the fighting, have interviewed hundreds of men who fought there, including the North Vietnamese commanders. This devastating account rises above the specific ordeal it chronicles to present a picture of men facing the ultimate challenge, dealing with it in ways they would have found unimaginable only a few hours earlier. It reveals to us, as rarely before, man's most heroic and horrendous endeavor. less...
Amazon
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