Today in 1942 FDR broadcast a message directed to Vichy France’s leader and collaborator Marshall Petain, appealing to French patriotism as Allied ships arrived to begin “Operation Torch” the invasion of North Africa, led by General Dwight Eisenhower. Petain answered the same day that “it is with stupor and sadness that I learned tonight of the aggression of [American] troops against North Africa.” He promised to defend French territory against any aggressor, America included.
German occupiers were routed from North Africa by May 1943.
“It ain’t over ’til it’s over”
“It’s déjà vu all over again.”
“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.”
Who doesn’t love Yogi Berra’s sayings that confuse the intellect? They have come to overshadow Berra’s career as a catcher for the New York Yankees.
Today in 1951 Yogi Berra was voted the Baseball Writers Association of America, American League Most Valuable Player. Berra responded to reporters, “It’s great to be classed with fellows like DiMaggio and Rizzuto who have won the award. I sure hope I can win it a couple of more times, like Joe did.” Yogi would be the league MVP again in 1954 and 1955. 1951 was a great season for Berra; he was the Yankee’s greatest batter-up with 27 homers and 88 RBI’s.
Berra was the second catcher to win the AL MVP award. (Mickey Cochrane was the first.) That same year Roy Campanella of the Dodgers, another catcher, was the National League MVP.
Oh, if you have a favorite piece of Yogi Berra wisdom, by all means feel free to share it.
Today in 1994 the Republican Party won control of both the House and Senate for the first time in 40 years. Under the leadership of House Speaker Newt Gingrich the GOP united under the “Contract with America” and the majority carried out its “Republican Revolution” to reduce federal taxes, balance the budget and dismantle social welfare programs. Nine of ten points of the Contract with America were passed within the first 100 days of the 104th Congress. A term-limits constitutional amendment did not carry.
Today in 1965 army medic Specialist Five Lawrence Joel’s action in Vietnam earned him the Medal of Honor, making him the first living black American since the Spanish-American War to receive the award. President Johnson presented Spec. Joel the medal in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House on March 9, 1967.
Happy birthday Margaret Mitchell, author of “Gone with the Wind” (1936), born today 1900 at Atlanta, Georgia. Mitchell’s novel about Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara during and after the Civil War became a publishing sensation, selling 1 million copies in the first six months of print; 8 million by the time Mitchell died in 1949; and at least 25 million to the present day.
The book was made into a now classic movie of the same title (1939). A sequel titled “Scarlett”(1991) written by Alexandra Ripley was purchased by Warner Brothers. The book was not a critical success though it did become a best seller. Likewise, the TV miniseries did not impress the critics or the public.
Rest in peace John Henry “Doc” Holliday, old west gunslinger and gambler, who died today in 1887 of tuberculosis at a sanitarium at Glenwood Springs, Colorado, at the age of 36.
Holliday was born August 14, 1851 at Griffin, Georgia. He is best known as a loyal friend of Wyatt Earp and a participant at the Tombstone gunfight at the O.K. Corral. Earp said that Holliday saved his life from an attempted ambush. At one time, Earp described Holliday as “the deadliest man alive.”
Congratulations Edward W. Brooke, Massachusetts Republican who became the first black American elected to the Senate today in 1965.
Congratulations to Ronald Reagan, who was elected Governor of California today in 1965.
Congratulations Abraham Lincoln who was elected to a second term today in 1864 with an overwhelming victory over Democrat George B. McClellan. Lincoln’s reelection made any hope of a negotiated settlement with the Confederacy an impossibility.
More significant, is that the election was held at all during a military emergency. Lincoln said, “We cannot have free government without elections; and if the rebellion could force us to forego, or postpone a national election, it might fairly claim to have already conquered and ruined us.”
Congratulations John F. Kennedy, 35th President elected today 1960. JFK was 43 years old at his inauguration, making him the youngest president and the first Catholic to the Oval Office.