Tag Archives: Anniversary

50th Anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Updated)

1968 was a most awful, horrible, tragic year that left its events forever seared in my memories. I can still recall those events as if they occurred only yesterday. The sense of shock, loss and grief are revived and felt anew on days like today.

On April 3, 1968, the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his last speech in Memphis, Tennessee, his now famous I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech, in which Dr. King recalled a previous assassination attempt on his life that almost took his life, and the current threats to his life for coming to Memphis in support of a sanitation workers strike. His closing remarks proved to be prophetic:

Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now, because I’ve been to the mountaintop.

And I don’t mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I’m happy, tonight.

I’m not worried about anything.

I’m not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

At 6:01 p.m. on April 4, 1968, Dr. King was assassinated on the steps of his motel room at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. The “breaking news” reports of his assassination on the network television news resulted in angry riots breaking out in American cities across the country.

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Happy Independence Day!

Excerpts from the Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776:

The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

Declaration_independence

Celebrations, yes, but never forget the solemn sacrifice that generations of Americans have made to maintain and defend our democracy from its inception.

You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.

Happy 240th birthday, America!

Two op-eds today on the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson

There are two op-eds today on the fifth anniversary of the mass shooting in Tucson, one from former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who was wounded in the shooting, and one from President Barack Obama.

Gabrielle Giffords writes at the Washington Post, We can no longer wait for a Congress in the gun lobby’s grip to act:

Screenshot from 2016-01-08 12:43:11The new year is a time of optimism and new commitments. For me, it’s also a powerful time for an additional reason: Every Jan. 8, I think about how close I came to losing my life on a bright winter morning five years ago in Tucson, when a would-be assassin opened fire on me and a group of my constituents, injuring 12 others and killing six.

I was shot in the head from three feet away, but somehow I survived.

I made a decision that my new life would be lived as my old life was: in service of our country. One thing that means for me today is using my second chance to do everything I can to make this great country safer from the kind of gun violence that took the lives of those around me and changed many others’, and mine, forever.

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70th Anniversary of V-J Day

On August 14, 1945, it was announced that Japan had surrendered unconditionally to the Allies, effectively ending World War II. Emperor Hirohito gave a recorded radio address across the Empire on August 15 (August 14 in the United States), announcing the surrender of Japan to the Allies.

President Harry S. Truman announced news of Japan’s surrender in a press conference at the White House: “This is the day we have been waiting for since Pearl Harbor. This is the day when Fascism finally dies, as we always knew it would.” Truman Announces Japan’s Surrender (audio). Jubilant Americans declared August 14 “Victory over Japan Day,” or “V-J Day.”

On September 2, Allied supreme commander General Douglas MacArthur, along with the Japanese foreign minister, Mamoru Shigemitsu, and the chief of staff of the Japanese army, Yoshijiro Umezu, signed the official Japanese surrender aboard the U.S. Navy battleship Missouri, effectively ending World War II.

V-J3

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80th Anniversary of the Social Security Act

SoSecToday is the 80th anniversary of President  Frankin Delano Roosevelt signing the Social Security Act into law. A message from the SSA Commissioner: Social Security 80 Years | Celebrating the Past and Building the Future:

I am thrilled to join our employees and stakeholders in celebrating Social Security’s 80th anniversary. Eighty years ago, on August 14, 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt marked the signing of the Social Security Act into law with profound and relevant words:

Today, a hope of many years standing is in large part fulfilled…We have tried to frame a law which will give some measure of protection to the average citizen and to his family against the loss of a job and against poverty-ridden old age.

We continue to embody President Roosevelt’s vision of hope and protection for the most vulnerable members of the public. In field offices across the country, our frontline employees provide world-class service to millions each day. We provide secure online services for our customers who prefer to do business online—including the my Social Security suite of services, the Retirement Estimator, and the online retirement application.

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50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act – still necessary today

Since our sad small town newspaper the Arizona Daily Star did nothing to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, here is the editorial from the New York Times and an op-ed by Ari Berman of The Nation.

The Times editorializes, The Voting Rights Act at 50:

voting-rights-act-signed-16x91For the first 48 years of its existence, the Voting Rights Act — signed by President Lyndon Johnson 50 years ago this week — was one of the most popular and effective civil rights laws in American history. Centuries of slavery, segregation and officially sanctioned discrimination had kept African-Americans from having any real voice in the nation’s politics. Under the aggressive new law, black voter registration and turnout soared, as did the number of black elected officials.

Recognizing its success, Congress repeatedly reaffirmed the act and expanded its protections. The last time, in 2006, overwhelming majorities in both houses extended the law for another 25 years. But only seven years later, in 2013, five Supreme Court justices elbowed in and concluded, on scant evidence, that there was no longer a need for the law’s most powerful tool; the Voting Rights Act, they claimed, had done its job.

In truth, the battle for voting rights has had to be unrelenting, and the act itself has been under constant assault from the start. As Ari Berman writes in his new history of the law, “Give Us the Ballot,” the act’s revolutionary success “spawned an equally committed group of counterrevolutionaries” who have aimed to dismantle the central achievements of the civil rights movement.

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