Today in History with a Twist: November 20, 2013
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.
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.
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