Archive for the History Category

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.

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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:

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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.

R.I.P. Maj. Dick Winters, American hero

Posted in Books, History, Movies, TV, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 13, 2011 by macmystery

I first learned of Dick Winters’ death from a Facebook post by my friend Chris Otto of the York Daily-Record. He linked to a story Monday night from a Pennsylvania TV station reporting the World War II veteran’s death a week before. Here’s the Washington Post obit.

Winters became widely known, thanks to the Stephen Ambrose book and HBO miniseries “Band of Brothers,” which followed the E company, second battalion (Easy Company), of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Infantry from their formation through the Normandy invasion and on through Germany’s surrender.

As a history major, I found the book interesting, but honestly, the miniseries, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, is where I, and I’m guessing millions of other Americans, truly came to know about Winters. It’s hands down the best television I’ve ever seen.

The book, culled from interviews with surviving members of Easy Company, is historically accurate, and the miniseries follows the trend of the past 15 years where filmmakers, instead of glorifying war, have tried to accurately portray the horror and savagery of conflict and illustrate the sacrifices of those who risked or lost their lives.

Winters wasn’t originally in command of Easy Company. But just like in so many other situations in the group’s story, Winters took the reins and led by example when he was called to. He was concerned about each and every one of his men. And his men respected him for it and loved him in return.

According to the Washington Post, late in the war, one of Mr. Winters’s soldiers, Floyd Talbert, wrote a letter to the officer from a hospital in Indiana expressing gratitude for his loyalty and leadership.

“You are loved and will never be forgotten by any soldier that ever served under you,” Talbert wrote to Winters in 1945. “I would follow you into hell.”

We’ve reached a point in our history where the people who risked their lives and served their country are dying off and leaving us at an ever-increasing rate. Soon, what little first-hand knowledge we have of the great sacrifice the men like those of Easy Company made to, not only preserve our freedom, but to defeat the powers of evil, will have gone away.

I’m saddened by Winters’ passing, but I’m thankful he served. He lived to the age of 92 before losing his battle with Parkinson’s Disease. News of his death, more than a week ago, was kept quiet at his request. He didn’t seek glory. He exhibited class, even in death.

Thank you, Dick Winters. Though you may not have chosen the label, there’s no denying you are a hero.

List of the week: Fiction and nonfiction

Posted in Books, History, Journalism with tags , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2010 by macmystery

How would Papa feel about Glenn Beck being on this list?

Only eight authors have reached No. 1 on the New York Times Bestseller List for both fiction and nonfiction. Those authors include:

  1. Ernest Hemingway
  2. John Steinbeck
  3. William Styron
  4. Irving Wallace
  5. Dr. Seuss
  6. Mitch Albom
  7. Glenn Beck
  8. Jimmy Buffett

And that’s the way it is … Walter Cronkite, 1916-2009

Posted in History, Journalism, TV with tags , on July 19, 2009 by macmystery

I know I’m a couple of days behind here, but putting out two papers a night can be time-consuming and all, and sometimes, you just don’t have time to stop and think.

If something big happened during a large part of the 20th century, CBS newsman Walter Cronkite reported on it.

Cronkite, who died July 17, brought the news into a lot of Americans’ homes during the golden age of television, when most Americans’ window to the world  was that box in their living room tuned to one of the big three networks.

Since then, the way we get news has changed. First CNN emerged, the 24-hour news cycle, the Internet, and now, the news with a nice spin to the left or the right, depending on what you choose to believe.

But none of them do it like Cronkite did.

And that’s a shame.

At the top of this post was the seven-minute piece CBS ran the evening he died. Below are a couple of big broadcasts he did.

Man on the Moon

Posted in History, Music with tags , , on July 19, 2009 by macmystery

Here’s a tune in honor of the 40th anniversary Monday of the United States putting men on the moon (or a Hollywood soundstage, or the Mojave Desert … whatever you believe).

Not that the song is related, really, but it’s fun.