This Day in History – September 6th – 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… SEPTEMBER 6

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1917 – Georges Guynemer shoots down 54th German plane.

The French pilot was one of the top aces of the Great War. Rejected for military service five times because of physical frailty, he persevered and was finally accepted, became a mechanic and then a pilot. On September 11th he failed to return from a mission. Shot down by German aircraft, his body was never recovered. Guynemer was a French national hero at the time of his death.

It had been fourteen years since the Wright brothers had made their first short flight. Only fourteen years to turn a marvelous idea into an instrument of death.

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1945 – Charles George punches umpire Joe Rue.

Otherwise known as Greek George, he was a light-hitting catcher for the Philadelphia Phillies at the time. He disagreed with a call umpire Rue made and an argument ensued. Greek George later claimed Rue uttered a nasty remark so he punched him. George was suspended for ninety days and ultimately never played in the major leagues again.

His lifetime .177 batting average may also have had something to do with that.

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1949 – Howard Unruh kills thirteen neighbors.

War veteran and closeted homosexual (homosexuality was a crime at the time) Unruh went on a killing spree in his Camden, New Jersey neighborhood. It has been called the first mass murder in U.S. history, at least one committed by a “lone wolf” type of killer. Technically not true, but it was the first of its type with an automatic weapon, and the first to garner so much publicity. He was a tank gunner at the Battle of the Bulge and it was noted that he kept a disturbing journal of every German he had killed. His brother said he was never the same after he came back from the war. He lived with his mother and kept a list of grievances against his neighbors, many of whom he killed, so it wasn’t random killings. Unruh was paranoid and thought people were talking about him behind his back, and also that they suspected him of being a homosexual, both of which were probably true. Unlike most current day mass murderers, Unruh did not commit suicide when confronted with the police. Surrendering he stated, “I am no psycho. I have a good mind.” The authorities thought otherwise and declared him mentally unfit to stand trial. He was committed to a mental asylum where he lived the rest of his life.

In researching this event, I found no comment by America’s longest-standing civil rights organization defending Howard Unruh’s right to own a gun.

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Birthdays:

1888 – Joseph Kennedy, Sr.

Entrepreneur and political figure. Kennedy made a fortune through his dealings in real estate, movie studios, and liquor distribution. He was also politically connected within the Democratic Party, was friends with FDR, and was ambassador to Great Britain at the start of WWII. While there he annoyed FDR with a published article pessimistic about England’s chances in the war, and he declared democracy dead. His own political career over, he concentrated on his businesses and accumulating wealth. Politically however, his three sons, John, Robert, and Ted, achieved great fame and power. Kennedy suffered a debilitating stroke in 1961 and died in 1969 leaving behind a still active family legacy.

Ill begotten wealth? Probably. Or at the least, questionable. But if every super rich person’s wealth were examined, including a certain current office holder, I sure something shady would be found. That’s the key to getting filthy rich.

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1907 – Johnny Kelley.

American runner. Kelley ran in the Boston Marathon sixty-one times. He won the race twice and came in second seven times. In 1992, at the age of eighty-four, he completed the race for the fifty-eighth time. Kelley also ran the Yonkers Marathon twenty-nine times. Runner’s World magazine named him runner of the century.

That’s a lot of running.

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1917 – Philipp von Boeselager.

One of the conspirators in the plot to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Disgusted by Germany’s war crimes and extermination programs, von Boeselager turned against the Third Reich. He supplied the explosives that were placed in a suitcase and brought to a meeting Hitler was attending. The bombing killed several people but Hitler escaped with minor injuries. A field lieutenant at the time, von Boeselager was to lead his troops to Berlin to seize control after the assassination. He aborted that plan when he learned Hitler was not dead. Von Boeselager had been involved in an earlier attempt on Hitler’s life. In March, 1943, while Hitler and Himmler were to be on a visit to the front lines, von Boeselager intended to shoot them both at a dinner table. That plan was abandoned at the last minute when Himmler canceled going to dinner. The conspirators were afraid to leave him alive to become leader, assuming he would be just as bad as Hitler.

After the failed bombing attempt about 200 of the conspirators were rounded up and executed. Von Boeselager’s role, however, somehow escaped detection. He survived the war and afterwards, when his role in the plot became public, he became a national hero in both Germany and France. Von Boeselager lived to be ninety-years-old and the entrance to his house bore a Latin motto, “Even if all, not I.”

Would the world been better off if the plot had succeeded? All military decisions had to have Hitler’s stamp of approval. This placed an extra burden on the German generals who were unable to operate and strategize as they best saw fit. Without Hitler’s misguided interference the war might have been prolonged.

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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 

Baseball-Reference.com 

SmithsonianMag.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 (Georges Guynemer stamp) – Zoltan Katona / Shutterstock.com – “EQUATORIAL GUINEA – CIRCA 1977: a stamp printed in Equatorial Guinea shows Georges Guynemer, french pilot.”

georges guynemer stamp shutterstock

* George Guynemer (video) – The Great War / Youtube.com

* Joe Kennedy, Sr. (video) – A&E, Biography & Daiyan M Chowdhury / YouTube.com

* Johnny Kelley (video) – WGBH News / 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 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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