What is history and why is it taught?
I was a school teacher in Middle School for twenty seven years. In each of those years we had a parent night where the parents of our students would come and see the classrooms and try to hear how their children were doing in class. Usually each period for this was twenty five minutes and then the next class parents would come in.
I would start by introducing myself and tell them of what we were studying. Usually at this time of the year it was the American Revolution. I would tell them of the following men:
And how they put up their lives for this country. No one recognized them. I continued but still no recognition. Not surprising and I explained to them that most Americans did not recognize the four names above.
Who are they? They were the four men from New York who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Not noted in the teachings in the classroom. We know George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and maybe the Adams. We all know Ben Franklin but Morris, Livingston, Lewis and Floyd have gathered the dust of time.
Yet they put their lives on the line just as Paul Revere did. If the British had won and they were close to doing just that, these men would have been hung as traitors.
I would conclude that history is important for without it we forget the sacrifices made by some many to begin and continue the democratic freedoms we have in this country.
1945 – A B-25 bomber crashes into the Empire State Building killing 14 people
On the foggy morning of Saturday, July 28, 1945, Lt. Colonel William Smith was piloting a U.S. Army B-25 bomber through New York City. He was on his way to Newark Airport to pick up his commanding officer, but for some reason he showed up over LaGuardia Airport and asked for a weather report. Because of the poor visibility, the LaGuardia tower wanted to him to land, but Smith requested and received permission from the military to continue on to Newark. The last transmission from the LaGuardia tower to the plane was a foreboding warning: “From where I’m sitting, I can’t see the top of the Empire State Building.”1
At 9:49 a.m., the ten-ton, B-25 bomber smashed into the north side of the Empire State Building. The majority of the plane hit the 79th floor, creating a hole in the building eighteen feet wide and twenty feet high. The plane’s high-octane fuel exploded, hurtling flames down the side of the building and inside through hallways and stairwells all the way down to the 75th floor.
World War II had caused many to shift to a six-day work week; thus there were many people at work in the Empire State Building that Saturday. The plane crashed into the offices of the War Relief Services of the National Catholic Welfare Conference. Catherine O’Connor described the crash: [block quote shade=”no”] the plane exploded within the building. There were five or six seconds – I was tottering on my feet trying to keep my balance – and three-quarters of the office was instantaneously consumed in this sheet of flame. One man was standing inside the flame. I could see him. It was a co-worker, Joe Fountain. His whole body was on fire. I kept calling to him, “Come on, Joe; come on, Joe.” He walked out of it.2 Joe Fountain died several days later. Eleven of the office workers were burned to death, some still sitting at their desks, others while trying to run from
This happened in 1945. I wonder if it was read by those of 9-11 who got the idea for that tragedy. Ideas are born by the smallest mention of an idea. I just wonder.
As usual man got it wrong. He is barking up the wrong tree and is filled with the thought he is so great. Yes, Christ was the son of God. But there is also a counterpoint. One that fell through the crack. There is a daughter of God. One who sacrificed even more than the physical being? The one left behind who had to get the ball rolling and get people into believing of the gift of the sacrifice of her brother. And she, unnamed and forgotten is the true story.
After the death of her brother, Jesus, she convinced the other members, the disciples to stay as a team and build the church. She prompted St. Peter to build, she convinced the people not to revolt but stay peaceful for that is what she believed her brother would want.
And for all that she sacrificed there is no mention of her.
Jesus suffered? The Son of God felt no pain, and because he was going to his reward looked with a smile on his human kind and smiled. His greatest words were one of kindness. Not hatred.
But the big smile was to his sister who witnessed his sacrifice for he knew she would continue work.
He would live in the hearts of many and it is due to her strength and perseverance.
No statues for her. No mention of her. But she is a true miracle.
A Note of something that happened today in history.
Mavis Hutchison (born 24 November 1924) is a South African athlete
She became famous as the first woman to run across the United States, from Los Angeles to New York City. Her route, run in 1978 as a 53-year-old grandmother, took her 2871 miles and 69 days, 2hours and 40 minutes. This record was not broken until 1993, when Lorna Michael (age 34) crossed the continent in 64 days as part of the Trans-America Footrace in 1993.
Mavis Hutchinson, 53, became the first woman to run across America. The 3,000-mile trek took her 69 days. She ran an average of 45 miles each day.
For all you couch potatoes. A grandmother puts us to shame. I am not a runner, in fact the only thing that I have run is the runs.
But my hats off to this lady. Note this was 1978 and Mavis is not in the kitchen with Dinah, she is not birthing the babies, and she is not bare footing. She is a runner. And at fifty three a tough bird. Sixty nine days of running. Damn over three months. Forty five miles per day. This is incredible.
Now get off your behinds and move. Run around the block, run for your life or run for a position. Just do it. To follow my own advice I will be running to the bathroom.
A History Lesson: Matching
I know you hate tests so this is as easy as pie or isn’t it?
Here are five phrases used in a conflict the United States has been in.
Match them to the conflict.
- Remember the Alamo.
- Remember the Maine.
- Give me Liberty or Give me Death
- Kilroy was Here
- Sherman’s March
Now here are the answers.
Remember the Alamo: If you are from Texas and did not know this I am surprised.
Remember the Maine.
“The Maine entering Havana harbor. January 1898.” HD-SN-99-01929. Resized version of the original downloaded from the source listed. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
USS Maine entering Havana Harbor on 25 January 1898, where the ship would explode three weeks later. On the right is the old Morro Castle fortress
||State of Maine
||3 August 1886
||New York Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York
||17 October 1888
||18 November 1890
||Alice Tracy Wilmerding
||17 September 1895
||Sunk by mysterious explosion in Havana Harbor, Havana, Cuba, 15 February 1898
||Remains scuttled in the Strait of Florida, 16 March 1912
Actually happened before the Spanish American War.
Give me Liberty or Give Me Death:
“Give me liberty, or give me death!” is a quotation attributed to Patrick Henry from a speech he made to the Virginia Convention in 1775, at St. John’s Church in Richmond, Virginia, he is credited with having swung the balance in convincing the Virginia House of Burgesses to pass a resolution delivering the Virginia troops to the Revolutionary War. Among the delegates to the convention were future U.S. Presidents Thomas Jefferson and George Washington.
Kilroy was Here! Kilroy was here is an American popular culture expression that became popular during World War II; it is typically seen in graffiti. Its origins are debated, but the phrase and the distinctive accompanying doodle — a bald-headed man (sometimes depicted as having a few hairs) with a prominent nose peeking over a wall with the fingers of each hand clutching the wall — became associated with GIs in the 1940s.
Engraving of Kilroy on the WWII Memorial in Washington DC
Sherman’s March: Sherman’s March to the Sea commenced on November 15, 1864, after the capture of Atlanta by Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman. Marching to the port of Savannah,
Now, I am happy for you know some history. Let me know if I peaked your appetite in comments.
LeMay Cuban Missile Crisis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Coincidences in History
It happens all the time but when you are in the forest you sometimes can not see the trees. I have studied history for years and have lived it for sixty seven years. I went through all sorts of what students study. The Cuban Missile Crisis, the assassination of Kennedy, King and Kennedy and the election of the first Black President. I was on the sidelines but I remember the reports in the newspapers and felt the reaction on the street. We did not have the internet and cell phones were not heard of. We twisted with Chubby and Checkers was a game. We watched Genie and Beverly Hill Billies. Mannix chased the bad guys and Peter Gunn had theme music. Movies were Steve McQueen’s Blob and How I Love To Love The Bomb. Father Knew Best and we all had Leave It to Beaver. Stamps were cheap and there were pen pals.
The past creeps up on you and little things tend to come out as big things later on. I am fascinated by The Spanish American War of 1898.
Many things happened then which have ramifications later. Teddy Roosevelt went up San Juan Hill and because of that became a household name. He became the vice president under McKinley because of his drawing power. Then McKinley is killed and Roosevelt becomes the president. He lived out west due to his need for isolation after the death of his wife. There he learned conservation of the land. He met Muir who traveled the rivers of the Grand Canyon and loved the wilderness. He set up the National Park System which today is shut down as our Congress squabbles.
After the peace treaty the United States had some new territories. One of them was the Hawaiian Islands. We built up Pearl Harbor and put in a fleet there to watch the Asian Theater. In 1945 the fleet is attacked and started World War Two. If we had not gotten Hawaii and did not build up Pearl Harbor we probably would have gotten into the war later and who knows if England could have held out that long.
Life is connections and circumstances. You met people bring them into your lives, even create them, and your world changes. Were you have been affects were we are going. Hope you are going on a good path.
800 women strikers for peace on 47 St near the UN Bldg / World Telegram & Sun photo by Phil Stanziola. Group of women from holding placards relating to the Cuban missile crisis and to peace. Wikipedia abstract: “Women Strike for Peace (WSP, also known as Women for Peace) is a United States women’s peace activist group. It was founded by Bella Abzug and Dagmar Wilson, and was initially part of the movement for a ban on nuclear testing.” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)