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This Day In History – December 29 – Hijinx, Humor and Insight

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NewsWhistle is pleased to feature Gary Jenneke’s “This Day In History” column.

You can read the original at Gary’s THIS DAY IN HISTORY blog — or scroll down to enjoy Gary’s unique look at life’s comings and goings.

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THIS DAY IN HISTORY… DECEMBER 29

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1835 – Treaty of New Echota signed.

This treaty ceded all Cherokee land east of the Mississippi River to the U.S. government. The treaty was signed by a minority faction within the tribe, while the majority opposed it. There had been a push for Cherokee land in Georgia for a number of years. President John Quincy Adams supported Indian sovereignty, so their land was protected. That changed when Andrew Jackson was elected. In the original document that the Cherokee signed, any Indian that wanted to remain would be given 160 acres of land and allowed to become a citizen of the state of Georgia. Jackson struck that clause from the document before he signed it. The U.S. Senate ratified it by one vote and the Indians’ fate was sealed. Their forced removal began in 1838 and would ultimately become known as the “Trail of Tears.”

The Trail of Tears is just one section of the road that led America to its heralded greatness. 

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1890 – Wounded Knee Massacre.

At Wounded Knee Creek, 150 men, women, and children of the Lakota Sioux were killed by the U.S. Army. The actual number killed may have been higher than that. Massacre is the proper term, although it has often been referred to as a battle. To further validate that perception, the army awarded 20 Medals of Honor to soldiers for shooting down mostly unarmed Indians. It was the last confrontation between the government and any Indian tribe.

As if the Trail of Tears wasn’t merciless enough.

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1975 – Bombing at LaGuardia airport.

Eleven people were killed and 74 injured when a bomb exploded in the baggage claims area of the airport. The case has never been solved, leaving open all kinds of theories. Croatian terrorists were one. (How a bombing in NYC would help in seeking separation from Communist Yugoslavia remains murky.) Equally weak is the theory that Communist Yugoslavia planted the bomb to make the Croatians look bad. The PLO and Puerto Rican nationalists were also suspects. The misguided intention behind most bombings is to bring attention to a cause. But in this instance no one ever claimed responsibility. The FBI took over the investigation from the New York Police Department, and since then has released no information. This has furthered speculation toward conspiracy, that the FBI is withholding information. Whatever the real facts are, it remains a cold case.

I have been a news junkie my whole life. So it is strange that I have no memory of this incident at all. Maybe I was wrapped up in some of my own personal drama at that time.

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Birthdays:

1917 – Tom Bradley.

Mayor of Los Angeles from 1973 to 1992, he served longer than anyone else, and he also is the only African-American mayor the city has had. Bradley got his law degree while also working as a Los Angeles police officer, then served on the city council before being elected mayor. Some of the accomplishments during his term were the 1984 Summer Olympics, expansion of the Los Angeles International airport, development of a light rail system, and the city’s first homosexual rights bill. Criticism of his handling of the riots relating to the Rodney King incident helped bring about his eventual defeat. In his first run at mayor in 1969, Bradley was beaten by incumbent Sam Yorty who played the race card. Finding success with that tactic, Democrat Yorty switched to the Republican Party.

No need commenting on the obvious.

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1953 – Stanly Tokie Williams.

Co-founder of the street gang, the Crips. Williams led a violence-filled life, and in 1979 was convicted of four murders and sentenced to death. On death row for 26 years, he proclaimed his innocence the whole while. Those arguing for clemency maintained that he had found redemption while in prison. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger rejected that argument and all appeals, and Williams was put to death on December 13, 2005, by lethal injection. In a radio interview just hours before his execution, Williams made this rather eloquent statement.

“My lack of fear of this barbaric methodology of death, I rely upon my faith. It has nothing to do with machismo, with manhood, or with some pseudo former gang street code. This is pure faith, and predicated on my redemption. So, therefore, I just stand strong and continue to tell you, your audience, and the world that I am innocent and, yes, I have been a wretched person, but I have redeemed myself. And I say to you and all those who can listen and will listen that redemption is tailor-made for the wretched, and that’s what I used to be…That’s what I would like the world to remember me. That’s how I would like my legacy to be remembered as: a redemptive transition, something that I believe is not exclusive just for the so-called sanctimonious, the elitists. And it doesn’t—is not predicated on color or race or social stratum or one’s religious background. It’s accessible for everybody. That’s the beauty about it. And whether others choose to believe that I have redeemed myself or not, I worry not, because I know and God knows, and you can believe that all of the youths that I continue to help, they know, too. So with that, I am grateful…I say to you and everyone else, God bless. So take care.”

Even assuming guilt without a reasonable doubt, quite often the person being executed is no longer the person who committed the crime.

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1966 – Jason Gould. Son of Eliot Gould and Barbra Streisand.

1985 – Alexa Ray Joel. Daughter of Billy Joel and Christie Brinkley.

Both recognized artists in their own right…maybe. That is the blessing and curse of having celebrity parents. The doors open more easily, but will they ever be truly recognized for their talents?

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ABOUT GARY JENNEKE

At various junctures of his life, Gary has been an indifferent grade school student, poor high school student, good Navy radioman, one-time hippie, passable college student, inveterate traveler, dedicated writer, miscast accountant (except for one interesting stint at a Communist café), part-time screenwriting teacher, semi-proud veteran, unsuccessful retiree and new blogger.

You can reach him at gary@newswhistle.com.

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CREDITS

The above information was sourced from the following websites:

Wikipedia.org

History.com

OnThisDay.com

We’d also thank to the following photographers and videographers for the use of their images:

* Lead-In Image –  Everett Historical/ Shutterstock.com – “Cherokee Tribe. Advertisement from the Cherokee Phoenix newspaper, William McConnell will no longer pay the debts of his wife Delilah McConnell as she has left him. New Echota, Georgia, May 28, 1828.”

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* Treaty of New Echota (video) – opensourceintegrity / Shutterstock.com

* Wounded Knee Massacre (video) – Bob Daugherty / Youtube.com

* LaGuardia Airport Bombing (audio) – danieljbmitchell / Youtube.com

* Outro (Man-In-Museum Cartoon) – SkyPics Studio / Shutterstock.com

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OTHER DAYS IN HISTORY …

December 5

* December 11

* December 16

December 18 

* December 22

December 28

January 3

January 7

January 11

January 14

January 19

January 24

January 27

February 1

February 5

February 9

* February 15

February 20

* February 25

March 2

March 9

March 14

March 19

* March 23

March 29

April 3

April 13

April 18

April 23

April 28

May 2

May 6

May 10

May 15

May 19

* May 26

June 1

June 8

June 13

June 18

June 24

June 29

July 3

July 9

* July 13

July 17

July 23

July 30

* August 3

August 10

August 16

August 21

August 25

* August 31

September 5

September 11

September 16

September 21

September 25

September 30

October 7

October 12

October 16

October 25

October 30

November 4

* November 5

November 8

November 9

November 14

* November 19

November 23

November 30

* Stay tuned for more!

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