Archive for the History Category

Memorial Day … why just one day?

Posted in History, Journalism, Politics with tags , , , , , , , on June 1, 2019 by macmystery
MikeMug

I look like a disgruntled something or other.

 

In my relatively new gig as the editor of The Island News, I wrote a column last week about the way we celebrate Memorial Day and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice so that we might be free.

I figured I might as well start sharing my columns here. And this is the first one.

The premise is this … why do we celebrate our fallen patriots only one day a year? Shouldn’t we do better to honor them?

I make that argument here …

Henry Damn Kissinger!

Posted in History, Humor, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 11, 2019 by macmystery
HenryKissinger

Henry Kissinger once dated Murphy Brown.

I took the Jeopardy online test tonight. This marks the third year in a row I’ve taken the test in an effort to compete on the show.

I wish I could say I felt like I was progressing. The first time I took it was a disaster. Last year was better, but obviously not good enough to move on to the second step in the process.

This time, I feel like I may have gotten half of the questions. I just can’t see that being good enough.

Each year, there have been questions I knew the answer to that I have failed to get the correct response typed in the 15 seconds provided for each of the 50 questions. And I know I have just dropped the ball on questions.

Tonight, I simply could not remember Henry Kissinger’s name. I knew he was the answer. I could see his face. But the name was a blank.

So as a response, as I often do when I miss a question at trivia or don’t know something for some reason, I spent some time reading about Mr. Kissinger.

Most of it is and was old hat for me.

He was a German-born Jewish refugee who fled to the United States with his family when Hitler took power. Harvard educated. Advisor to Lyndon B. Johnson. Secretary of State for both Richard M. Nixon and Gerald Ford. Crafted détente with China. Supported coup in Chile. Supported Pakistan in Bangladesh war despite genocide. Won 1973 Nobel Prize for peace  process in Vietnam. Still alive.

But as I was reading about Kissinger on the wonderful World Wide Web, there were three facts I had never known that I found quite interesting.

  1. In his younger years, Kissinger was quite a ladies man before marrying. Among his celebrity girlfriends was Candice Bergen. That’s right, … Henry Kissinger dated Murphy Brown.
  2. After being drafted into the U.S. Army in 1943, Kissinger completed his basic military training at Camp Croft in Spartanburg, S.C. This fact may not be stunning for most, but I lived in Spartanburg for 15 years. Camp Croft was an important U.S. Army training post in World War II that has not existed for decades. It is gone. There are no remains. It’s a state park, and if you’ve been there, you’d be hard-pressed to prove thee was a military base there. I’m always a little surprised anytime I find out someone did their basic training there.
  3. And last but not least, in 1976, Kissinger became the first honorary member of the Harlem Globetrotters. An obvious choice, I think. If you had Kissinger in the pool, enjoy the spoils.

And that’s all I’ve got. I mean, it’s Henry Kissinger.

An anthem and a beating: The irony of a shared date

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2019 by macmystery

I watched no TV today so I have no idea if I missed anyone else making this connection. I didn’t see it on social media. Maybe I’m the only one who finds it ironic.

On this day, March 3, in 1931, President Herbert Hoover officially made Francis Scott Key’s Star Spangled Banner the national anthem of the United States.

Sixty years later in 1991, George Holliday’s 89-second video captured Rodney King’s brutal beating at the hands of four Los Angeles Police Department officers on the side of California State Route 210.

Thanks to Colin Kaepernick, these two totally unrelated moments in American history will be forever linked.

The first viral video somehow wasn’t enough to convict the four LAPD officers, at least initially, of excessive force. (2 of the 4 were later convicted on federal charges.)

And the King beating wasn’t the first time a black citizen (I am making no statement about King’s innocence or guilt.) has been mistreated by police, to put it lightly. But it was one of the few times, thanks to the video, the whole world could witness it.

It was also the moment when I realized the people I’d been taught all my life were the good guys, the people you could always trust, … well, they weren’t always what we were led to believe.

I never feared the police. If I passed an officer on the road, if I wasn’t speeding, I thought nothing of it. My friend Tyrone Walker once told me, though, that anytime a cop was even behind him on the road, he was afraid. And it took me a while to comprehend where Tyrone, a black man, was coming from. But I did. If I hadn’t, I would have gained some insight two summers ago.

I was pulled over by a white Beaufort police officer driving my boss’ truck for work. I was going 45 in a 35, and as it turns out, had an expired tag and no current registration or proof of insurance. And a truck full of equipment I couldn’t prove was mine.

No ticket.

Not even for the speeding. A warning.

I’ve no doubt if I were black, I’d have spent some time face down on the pavement in cuffs. I know why.

There’s a bullshit double standard in this country.

The King video obviously didn’t stop bad behavior by law enforcement. It was just the first in a long line of videos and accounts of police misconduct when it comes to black citizens and motorists. Often they end up shot dead. And usually, no one is held accountable.

Just this week, the Sacramento police officers who killed a black man in his grandmother’s yard for talking on a cell phone found out they would not be charged with a crime.

Meanwhile, in Florida, a white mayor opened fire on police but was taken into custody without any violence.

I honestly had no intention of being this long winded, just pointing out the connection between two events, 60 years apart, on the same date. But thinking about it, I’ve found it’s one more thing about our society that seems upside down to me.

The decision by Kaepernick and others to kneel during the anthem to protest this continued mistreatment of black American citizens offended some people. Despite a clear definition of what they were protesting and a clear right to do so, some insist on seeing it as a slight on the military. (Never mind the issue some of these folks have with color.)

Fine. Have it your way. Be offended.

I’m offended more supposedly good people don’t give a damn about American citizens being beaten or shot to death by the very people paid to serve and protect them, simply for the color of their skin.

D-Day, plus 74 years, Twitter-style

Posted in History, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on June 7, 2018 by macmystery

airborne

Wednesday marked another anniversary, the 74th, of D-Day, the June 6, 1944 invasion of the European mainland by Allied Forces against the occupying Germans in World War II.

On Twitter, the U.S. Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, the #AllAmericanDivision, found a unique way to mark the occasion. Understanding that I’m posting this after the fact, you can check it out in retrospect on the 82nd’s Twitter page (@82ndABNDiv) or give them a follow and make a note to check it out next year.

#AADDayReenactment
We’re in it, folks!  This is our D Day Reenactment.  For the next 17 hours we’ll bring you an “as it happened” play-by-play of The Division’s actions during D Day.
Follow along, ask questions, comment.
We’re typing this as we go cuz we want to interact w/ u

The #AllAmericanDivision used social media to share a 17-hour reenactment of preparations for D-Day and the division’s activities in the invasion itself.

We’re trying to balance between information overload and providing context. There will be periods of up to 10 minutes when we will not have updates. We’ll be going until noon Eastern tomorrow. Once we get into the drops, we’ll provide a more traditional “play-by-play” of events.

The 82nd used photos, first-hand accounts, maps, videos and diagrams to document the invasion. They also worked in some shots at friendly rivals, the 101st Airborne, of Band of Brothers fame.

 

The Freedom Rides turn 50

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2011 by macmystery

A Greyhound bus that had carried Freedom Riders burns beside the highway on May 14, 1961 — Mother’s Day — in Anniston, Ala.

On this day, May 4, in 1961, 13 riders (seven blacks and six whites) set out from Washington D.C. on Greyhound and Trailways buses to the Deep South.

Their journey would become known as the Freedom Rides, and they — and many more after them — would become the Freedom Riders.

Continue reading

50 years ago

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , on January 21, 2011 by macmystery

President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address from Jan. 20, 1961:

Continue reading

Acting like the President

Posted in History, Politics with tags , , , , on January 13, 2011 by macmystery

President Barack Obama’s speech Wednesday at the memorial for the victims of the Arizona massacre.

I won’t say any more. Just watch.