This Day in History – November 2 – 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… NOVEMBER 2

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1932 – Great Emu War.

Marauding hordes of Emus, large flightless birds resembling ostriches, were terrorizing western Australia. Their crops being destroyed by this merciless enemy, farmers pleaded with the government for help. So war was declared. The 7th Heavy Battery of the Australian Army, armed with Lewis machine guns, marched into the field. On their side the Emus mobilized 20,000 birds. The army proved to be overmatched. Attempts to surround the birds were a failure. Their speed and elusiveness made them difficult to hit with machine gun fire, and when hit, they seemed to shrug off the effects of a bullet. A major with the artillery stated: “If we had a military division with the bullet-carrying capacity of these birds it would face any army in the world. They can face machine guns with the invulnerability of tanks.” The Lewis guns were mounted on trucks but the Emus could outrun the trucks. Admitting defeat, the army retreated from the field of battle. Perhaps to save face, it was announced that the Australian Army had suffered no casualties in the war.

This kind of reminds me of those old “Roadrunner” cartoons.

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1962 – “Rhythm of the Rain” released.

This song, released by the Cascades, rose to #1 on the charts by March of the next year. Billboard listed the song as the #4 hit for 1963. In 1999 it was ranked as the 9th most played song on radio in the 20th century. The Cascades, originally calling themselves the Silver Strands, were U.S. Navy sailors who first practiced together on the fantail of the USS Jason. Discharged from the Navy, they changed their name to the The Thundernotes, and later, inspired by a box of laundry detergent, became the Cascades. They played clubs and recorded together for years but never again achieved the success of “Rhythm of the Rain.”

I served aboard the USS Jason also. I wasn’t there until fall of 1963, so our times didn’t overlap. The song was still popular and someone said it had originated aboard the Jason. I thought they were putting me on and didn’t believe it.

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1963 – Thomas Arthur Vallee arrested.

An unknown source revealed that Vallee was going to make an assassination attempt on President Kennedy in Chicago. This was twenty days before the assassination in Dallas. Vallee was a right-wing extremist who had a large cache of guns and ammunition. This arrest is notable because of some similarities between Vallee and Lee Harvey Oswald. Both were ex-Marines, both had served at U-2 spy plane bases in Japan, and both had recently started new jobs in a building overlooking the president’s parade route. That could all be nothing more than mere coincidence. Enough so, it appears, that the Warren Commission never investigated any connection. But when a Secret Service agent, Abraham Bolden, contacted the Warren Commission to tell them about Vallee, he was arrested. Charged with accepting a bribe, Bolden was sentenced to six years in prison. One of his accusers, a convicted counterfeiter, later admitted he had lied while testifying against Bolden.

Now it becomes a bit more strange. Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m a conspiracy theorist, at least when it comes to the JFK assassination. Why did the Warren Commission not even bother to check out this possible connection, even if it was purely coincidental? It also appears Bolden was railroaded for trying to pursue this avenue. But then again Bolden was the first African-American to be a Secret Service agent. JFK called him the Jackie Robinson of that agency. I guess that alone would be justifiable cause to set him up.

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Birthdays:

1734 – Daniel Boone.

Frontiersman. Perhaps the most famous one in American history. His story is well known but here are a few less widely-known things about him. In the French and Indian War Boone was in the same unit as George Washington as they marched to defeat at Fort Duquesne. Boone had ten children and lost two sons killed in encounters with Indians. He’d be gone long periods of time leaving his wife and children alone. At one point he was gone so long his wife assumed he was dead. She had a child with his brother, Ned. When he returned Boone accepted the situation and raised the child as his own. Ned was later killed by Indians who celebrated, thinking it was the more famous Boone. He had a daughter who was kidnapped by Indians, and he tracked them for two days before rescuing her. This account was fictionalized in James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Last of the Mohicans.” At one point during the Revolutionary War he was captured by the British, but later released. Later in life, he left the United States to go to Missouri which was then Spanish territory. He made verbal deals with the Spanish and then lost most of his land after the Louisiana Purchase. Boone died in 1820.

Despite reading about his exploits, I’ve never got a sense of the man. Other than the story about his brother and his wife.

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1913 – Burt Lancaster.

Actor. Lancaster was a one time circus acrobat turned Hollywood film star. He starred in such movies as “From Here to Eternity,” “Run Silent, Run Deep,” and late in his career, “Atlantic City.” He was also a political activist, speaking out for racial equality, which landed him on Nixon’s “Enemies List” and also targeted him for FBI investigation. He opposed the Vietnam War and supported Eugene McCarthy’s run for president. One of his last film roles was as Moonlight Graham in “Field of Dreams.” Lancaster died in 1994.

One of my favorite actors. In researching him I learned his first wife’s maiden name was Ernst. My mother’s maiden name was Ernst. Kind of a common name but hey, maybe I had some remote family connection to him.

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1955 – Ricardo Eichmann.

Archaeologist. Eichmann is the youngest son of Adolf Eichmann, the architect behind Hitler’s Final Solution. Unlike his three older brothers, Eichmann has denounced his father. He was five years old when his father was kidnapped in Argentina and brought to Israel, and seven when he was executed, so he has only sparse, confused memories of him. He said that he thinks of Adolf Eichmann more as a historical figure than his father. His mother never talked about Adolf, so as he got older he did research on his own. He has been vocal in condemning what his father stood for and his crimes against humanity. Some don’t hear him. He receives calls from Neo-Nazis thinking they have reached a kindred spirit and is hated by others, believing because of his name he has evil in his blood. Asked why he hadn’t changed his name, he replied that he didn’t want to try run away from history. For years he refused interviews, wanting to be judged on his work in archaeology, rather than his father’s past. Finally he relented, mostly for his children’s sake, thinking if he talked freely maybe someday they wouldn’t be hounded about a grandfather they never knew.

He sounds like a good and decent man, unlike two of his brothers who had espoused their father’s Nazi philosophy.

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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

Wikipedia.org

22November1963.org

AustralianGeographic.com.au

HistoricMissourians.SHSMO.org

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

* Lead-In Image (Emu ) – Photo by Sharon Co Images on Unsplash

* Rhythm Of The Rain (video) – ksabond / YouTube.com

* Daniel Boone (video) – Mr. Beat / YouTube.com

* Burt Lancaster (video) – The Hollywood Collection / 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 21

June 22

June 24

June 27

June 28

June 29

July 2

July 3

July 4

July 9

July 10

July 13

July 14

July 15

July 19

July 20

July 23

July 24

July 25

July 29

July 30

July 31

August 2

* August 3

August 6

August 7

August 10

August 11

August 13

August 16

August 17

August 19

August 21

August 23

August 24

August 25

August 28

August 29

August 31

September 2

September 4

September 5

September 6

September 10

September 11

September 12

September 15

September 16

September 17

September 20

September 21

September 23

September 25

September 26

September 27

September 29

September 30

October 1

October 3

October 4

October 5

October 6

October 7

October 10

October 11

October 12

October 13

October 14

October 15

October 16

October 18

October 19

October 20

October 23

October 24

October 25

October 26

October 27

October 29

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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