This Day in History – July 28th – 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… JULY 28

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1932 – Bonus March.

The U.S. was in the throes of the Great Depression when unemployed veterans of WWI began descending on Washington D.C. Almost a decade earlier Congress had passed a bill authorizing a bonus payment to veterans, payable in 1945. The destitute, penniless veterans, described by one scribe as “out of work and out of luck,” were demanding early payment of the bonus. Somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 veterans were gathered at a shantytown encampment at Anacostia Flats, across the Potomac from the White House. About 20 percent of them were disabled from their service in France. The camp was organized in military fashion and the leaders allowed no drinking or panhandling. President Hoover refused to address them and Congress considered but rejected their demands. There was fear the protest was Communist inspired although most of the marchers were fervently anti-Communist. The intelligence received by General Douglas MacArthur corroborated that fact. Nevertheless Hoover ordered the marchers removed from Pennsylvania Avenue and on the morning of July 28th MacArthur acted. He sent his infantry, cavalry and tanks, led by Major George Patton, against the veterans who were quickly routed. Hoover, worried how this might be viewed by the public, twice ordered MacArthur to stop. MacArthur ignored his orders and pursued the Bonus Army across the bridge into their shantytown in Anacostia Flats. One of MacArthur’s junior aides, Major Dwight Eisenhower, future president of the U.S., advised him against taking action against fellow veterans. Or as Eisenhower later stated, “I told that dumb son-of-a-bitch not to go down there.” Tear gas, bayonets, sabers were used against the veterans and their families. Two veterans were killed, dozens injured, a woman had a miscarriage and later, a ten-year-old boy died from the effects of tear gas. The camp was set on fire and many lost all their possessions. A day later a veteran who had saved Patton’s life in a battle in the Argonne Forest approached him to plead their case. Patton ignored him. Photos of smoke rising from the veterans’ camp was the optic Hoover had feared and it cost him politically, although it did not hurt the career of any of the Army officers involved. The press was critical of the government’s action and this is from the New York Times shortly after the incident. “Flames rose high over the desolate Anacostia flats at midnight tonight, and a pitiful stream of refugee veterans of the World War walked out of their home of the past two months, going they knew not where.”

This was all justified because of the perceived Communist threat. Whenever challenged those of a certain political bent has a history of drawing out that old convenient bogeyman.

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1943 – President Roosevelt ends coffee rationing.

Due to a shortage of shipping and much of the coffee going to the military, the U.S. government for eight months had limited the amount of coffee available to civilians. FDR, himself a coffee lover, ended the rationing on July 28th.

If the same attitudes had existed then as during the recent COVID-19 pandemic, we would have had upset civilians decrying the coffee rationing as a violation of their personal liberties.

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1965 – President Lyndon Johnson sends 50,000 troops to Vietnam.

Backed by most members of Congress, the additional forces increased the total number of troops in Vietnam to 125,000.

That should do it, victory guaranteed, they all be home by Christmas. 

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Birthdays:

1866 – Beatrice Potter.

English writer, illustrator, naturalist. Potter wrote mostly illustrated children’s books, including “The Tale of Peter Rabbit.” With the proceeds of her writing she purchased a number of farms in the Lake District area of northwest England. Her intent was to preserve the natural beauty of the area. After she died she left her land to a trust and much of it now is a national park. Seven decades after her death her books are still being sold world wide.

Kept the developers at bay, good for her. Although she is responsible for some personal childhood angst. I mixed up Peter Rabbit with the Easter Bunny and I had a great deal of difficulty sorting it all out in my pre-school mind.  

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1946 – Linda Kelsey.

Actress. After appearing in guest roles on a number of TV shows, “M.A.S.H.”, “Mary Tyler Moore,” and “Rockford Files,” Kelsey landed the role of Billie, an intrepid reporter on “Lou Grant”. She was nominated for five Emmy Awards for that role but never won. After “Lou Grant” ended she moved back to her home state of Minnesota and acted in regional theaters in the Twin Cities. In 2021 Kelsey is still being seen in local productions. 

When I go to a stage play I predictably forget to bring my reading glasses, so I am unable to peruse the program. It’s happened to me twice and it’s a nice surprise when the show begins and I recognize her in the cast.

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1958 – Terry Fox.

Runner. Fox grew up in Port Coquiltan, British Columbia, not too far from Vancouver. He competed in basketball and long distance running in high school. At age eighteen he was diagnosed with cancer and his right leg was amputated above his knee. Within three weeks he was walking with the aid of an artificial leg and eventually began running again. While in the hospital he was appalled by the lack of money available for cancer research. To raise both money and awareness about the disease Fox decided to run across Canada. On April 12, 1980, Fox dipped his right leg in the Atlantic Ocean near Newfoundland and then began his quest. He had a friend in a support van accompanying him and later his younger brother joined them also. Fox ran the equivalent of a marathon each day. At first he was disappointed, angered even at the lack of support and money raised. Soon, however his run gained more publicity and after that cheering crowds would line the streets of towns he ran through. Fox became famous as day after day he continued his run. Sadly though, his body was breaking down. Outside Thunder Bay on September 1st, chest pains and a coughing fit forced him to have his friend drive him to a hospital. The cancer had spread to his lungs and after 143 days and 3,339 miles he was forced to abandon the run. At that point he had raised 1.7 million dollars, 5 million in 2020 dollars. Despite treatment Fox died of the disease the following June. His legacy lives on in that each year a Terry Fox Run is held and so far it has raised 750 million for cancer research. 

In stories like this I’m not sure whether it’s the tragedy or the inspiration that dominates. 

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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 sites and newspapers.

Sources:

OnThisDay.com

PBS.org

Wikipedia.org

New York Times

CoffeeCrossroads.com

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

* Lead-In Image (Rabbit, Toledo Botanical Garden Board Inc, Toledo, United States) – Photo by Gary Bendig on Unsplash

* Beatrix Potter (video) – Timeline – World History Documentaries / YouTube.com

* Terry Fox (video) – terryfoxcanada / YouTube.com

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

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OTHER DAYS IN HISTORY …

December 2

December 3

December 5

December 8

* December 9

December 11

December 12

* December 13

* December 15

December 16

December 18

* December 19

December 22

December 23

December 24

December 25

December 28

January 1

January 3

* January 4

January 6

January 7

January 8

January 11

* January 12

* January 14

January 15

January 17

January 19

January 22

January 23

January 24

January 28

January 29

February 1

February 2

February 3

February 5

* February 9

February 10

* February 12

February 14

February 15

February 20

February 21

February 22

February 25

February 28

February 29

March 2

March 4

March 6

* March 9

March 11

March 12

March 14

March 15

March 17

March 19

March 21

March 22

March 23

March 27

March 28

March 29

April 2

April 3

April 4

April 6

April 9

* April 11

April 13

April 16

April 18

April 21

* April 22

April 23

April 26

April 28

April 29

May 1

May 2

* May 3

May 5

May 6

May 9

May 10

May 11

* May 13

May 16

May 17

* May 22

May 24

May 26

May 27

* May 28

May 29

May 31

June 1

June 3

June 4

June 8

June 10

June 11

June 13

June 16

June 17

June 18

June 20

June 21

June 25

June 27

June 28

June 29

July 1

July 2

July 3

July 5

July 9

July 11

July 13

July 15

July 19

July 21

July 23

* July 24

* July 29

July 30

July 31

* August 3

August 7

August 10

August 11

August 16

August 17

August 21

August 24

August 25

* August 28

August 31

September 2

September 5

September 6

September 8

September 11

September 12

September 15

September 16 

September 17

September 21

September 23

September 25

September 26

September 27

September 30

October 1

October 3

October 4

October 5

October 7

October 10

October 11

* October 12

October 14

October 15

October 16

October 18

October 20

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 27

October 30

October 31

November 1

November 3

* November 4

November 5

November 6

November 8

November 9

November 10

November 11

November 13

November 14

November 15

November 16

* November 17

November 18

* November 19

November 20

November 23

November 24

November 26

November 28

November 29

November 30

* Stay tuned for more!

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