Notes of American History

Grunk

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I was stationed at Fort Hood as an E-5 Infantry team leader during this attack. I had actually just returned home from my second deployment. My company was responsible for entering and clearing the AAFES PX
I had no idea. Glad you & your guys were ok. Again, if I made any errors, please let me know & I'll fix them. Also, please add anything you want to the thread.
 
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Jds556762

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I had no idea. Glad you & your guys were ok. Again, if I made any errors, please let me know & I'll fix them. Also, please add anything you want to the thread.
Your break down seems correct. I PCS’d to Alaska a few weeks after the incident. No one from my unit was in the building he was at. He was working as a mental health professional (ironic) screening soldiers during re-deployment processing. He used a FN 5.7 As one of of his firearms. I never crossed paths with the guy, Ft.Hood, like you mentioned, is huge. I was there from late 2004 to late 2009 under both 4th ID and 1st Cav. Alaska was so much nicer, even if it meant -40 degrees and a gangster ass deployment to Afghanistan lol
 
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Grunk

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November 6, 1906
President Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt embarks on a 17-day trip to Panama & Puerto Rico, becoming the 1st president to make an official diplomatic tour outside of the continental US. Roosevelt entered office in 1901 with the firm intention of asserting American influence over Central & South American politics, partly as a result of his own past experiences in the area. In 1897, he became Secretary of the Navy under President William McKinley, whose administration worked to secure access to ports & industries in countries with close proximity to the US. At the time of Roosevelt’s appointment to the Navy’s highest civilian office, American sea power was on the rise, enabling the US to become a greater influence in world affairs.

5 years later, now-President Roosevelt visited Panama to check on the progress of the Panama Canal, the construction of which had suffered many setbacks, including worker accidents & disease outbreaks. Roosevelt’s tenacious demands for improvements in health care & better working conditions pushed the canal project forward just when it appeared doomed to failure. His trip to the construction site in 1906 –which included the taking of a Nov. 15 photo of the president himself working the controls of a large steam shovel—helped to boost flagging morale.
Roosevelt’s next stop was Puerto Rico, which had become a US protectorate after the Spanish-American War of 1898. In 1900, President William McKinley promised to help establish a civilian government there without becoming an occupying power. McKinley was assassinated in 1901, & Roosevelt, who was then serving as McKinley’s vice president became president, inheriting the stewardship of Puerto Rico. In 1906, he traveled to the country to recommend that Puerto Ricans become US citizens. He stopped short of suggesting Puerto Rico become another US state, however, & vowed to allow the island a certain amount of autonomy. (It was not until 1916, under President Woodrow Wilson, that the Jones Act was passed, extending the option of US citizenship to Puerto Ricans while preserving Puerto Rico’s autonomy.)

Although presidents before Roosevelt had traveled outside the US in other diplomatic capacities prior to or after serving as president, Roosevelt was the first to make a “state” visit while in office. His trip to Panama & Puerto Rico signaled a new era in how presidents conducted diplomatic relations with other countries.
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November 6, 1977
The Toccoa Falls Dam in Georgia gives way & 39 people die in the resulting flood. At least 60 people were seriously injured. 90 miles north of Atlanta, the Toccoa (Cherokee for “beautiful”) Falls Dam was constructed of earth across a canyon in 1887, creating a 55-acre lake 180 feet above the Toccoa Creek. In 1911, R.A. Forrest established the Christian & Missionary Alliance College along the creek below the dam. According to legend, he bought the land for the campus from a banker with the only $10 he had to his name, offering God’s word that he would pay the remaining $24,990 of the purchase price later.

66 years later on Nov. 5, a volunteer fireman inspected the dam & found everything in order. However, just hours afterward, in the early morning of Nov. 6, the dam suddenly gave way. Water thundered down the canyon & creek, approaching speeds of 120 mph. The National Weather Service said poor communications in the area prevented an accurate record of rainfall. But a spokesman said 1 station north of Toccoa reported 5.25 inches of rain in the 24 hours that ended at 7 am.

Although there was a tremendous roar when the dam broke, the residents of the college had no time to evacuate. 3 members of the school's fire patrol tried to give some warning of the flood. 2 died in the effort. Eldon Elseberry, the surviving patrol member, said "I looked up & I saw red water that was really starting to move down Toccoa Creek. We ran & got into a jeep. We were going to turn the sirens on & wake the people up. We didn't even get to the bridge." The jeep was swamped, pitching Elseberry & his companions into the swirling water. Elseberry said he was swept 125 feet downstream. "I grabbed a little tree. I saw the bank. I said, 'This is my chance,' & I made it for the bank." He found a more substantial tree & scrambled up onto the bank to safety.

Within minutes, the entire community was slammed by a wave of water. One woman managed to hang onto a roof torn from a building & ride the wave of water for thousands of feet. Her daughters, however, were not so fortunate: They were among the 39 people who lost their lives in the flood. Bodies were found as far as 2 miles from the dam, which held back the 80-acre Kelly Barnes Lake. Waterlogged mattresses, battered window frames and scores of uprooted trees littered the banks of Toccoa Creek. First lady Rosalynn Carter visited the college to offer her support in the wake of the tragedy. She later wrote, “Instead, I was enveloped by hope & courage & love.”
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November 7, 1848
The 1848 US presidential election was the 16th quadrennial presidential election, & held on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 1848. It was also the 1st time Presidential Election Day was held on the same day nationwide. From 1792 through 1844, Congress allowed states to have their US elections for president & vice president to occur any day between the 1st Wednesday of Dec. & any of the 34 days prior to that day. The 1st Wednesday in Dec. was the day when the Electoral College met & all the votes needed to be cast & counted prior to then. During those years, US elections were held on various days, depending on the state. Having elections on different days in different states led to corruption. Politicians & political parties would send people state-to-state to vote, which resulted in people voting numerous times. Holding US elections on different days also meant that the states which had their elections last were often influenced by the results of the earlier states.

In 1845 Congress declared that the 1st Tuesday after the 1st Monday in Nov. as US election days for the office of President & Vice President. They had opted for early Nov. because that still allowed enough time for vote counting before the Electoral College met in Dec. but was after the harvest that kept most farmers too busy earlier in the year. Early November also meant less likelihood of snow causing travel burdens. Tuesday was chosen due to the extensive travel, at least 1 day, that faced many farming Americans trying to get to the county seat to vote. Congress could not choose the days surrounding Sundays for US elections since people were at church honoring the Sabbath & could not be traveling those days. In many towns, Wednesdays were market days so voters needed to be back at their home towns on those days so they could purchase & sell goods. Tuesdays were the best option because a voter could travel on Monday, vote 1st thing on Tuesday & be back for market Wednesdays. In 1872 Congress determined that all congressional elections occur on that same Tuesday & this has not changed the US election day since then.

In the 1848 election, held In the aftermath of the Mexican–American War, Gen. Zachary Taylor of the Whig Party defeated Sen. Lewis Cass of the Democratic Party. Despite Taylor's unclear political affiliations & beliefs, & the Whig opposition to the Mexican–American War, the 1848 Whig National Convention nominated the popular general over party stalwarts such as Henry Clay & Daniel Webster. For vice president, the Whigs nominated Millard Fillmore, a New York Whig known for his moderate views on slavery. Incumbent President James K. Polk, a Democrat, honored his promise not to seek re-election, leaving his party's nomination open. Taylor's victory made him the 2nd of 2 Whigs to win a presidential election, following William Henry Harrison's victory in the 1840 presidential election. Like Harrison, Taylor died during his term, and he was succeeded by Fillmore.
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November 7, 1940
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses due to high winds barely 4 months after opening. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built in Washington during the 1930s & opened to traffic on July 1, 1940. It spanned the Puget Sound from Gig Harbor to Tacoma, which is 40 miles south of Seattle. The channel is about a mile wide where the bridge crossed the sound. Sleek & slender, it was the 3rd longest suspension bridge in the world at the time, covering 5,959 feet.

Leon Moisseiff designed the bridge to be the most flexible ever constructed. Engineers of the time believed that the design, even though it exceeded ratios of length, depth & width that had previously been standard, was completely safe. Following the collapse, it was revealed that the engineers had not properly considered the aerodynamic forces that were in play at the location during a period of strong winds. At the time of construction, such forces were not commonly taken into consideration by engineers & designers.

On Nov. 7, high winds buffeted the area & the bridge swayed considerably. The 1st failure came at about 11 am, when concrete dropped from the road surface. Just minutes later, a 600-foot section of the bridge broke free. By this time, the bridge was being tossed back & forth wildly. At one time, the elevation of the sidewalk on one side of the bridge was 28 feet above that of the sidewalk on the other side. Even though the bridge towers were made of strong structural carbon steel, the bridge proved no match for the violent movement, & collapsed. Subsequent investigations & testing revealed that the bridge was vulnerable to vibrations generated by wind. When the bridge experienced strong winds from a certain direction, the frequency oscillations built up to such an extent that collapse was inevitable.

A replacement bridge opened on Oct. 14, 1950, after more than 2 years of construction. It is the 5th longest suspension bridge in the US, 40 feet longer than the original. Construction of the new bridge took into account the lessons learned in the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, as did that of all subsequent suspension bridges. Today, the remains of the bridge are still at the bottom of Puget Sound, where they form one of the largest man-made reefs in the world. The spot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in order to protect it against salvagers.
1940 TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE COLLAPSE IN COLOR (SILENT FILM)
 

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November 8, 1887
Doc Holliday–gunslinger, gambler, & occasional dentist–dies from tuberculosis. Though he was perhaps most famous for his participation in the shootout at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ, John Henry “Doc” Holliday earned his bad reputation well before that famous feud. Born in Georgia, Holliday was raised in the tradition of the southern gentleman. He earned his nickname when he graduated from the Pennsylvania College of Dental Surgery in 1872. However, shortly after embarking on a respectable career as a dentist in Atlanta, he developed a bad cough. Doctors diagnosed tuberculosis & advised a move to a more arid climate, so Holliday moved his practice to Dallas, TX.

By all accounts, Holliday was a competent dentist with a successful practice. Unfortunately, cards interested him more than teeth, & he earned a reputation as a skilled poker & faro player. In 1875, Dallas police arrested Holliday for participating in a shootout. Thereafter, the once upstanding doctor began drifting between the booming Wild West towns of Denver, Cheyenne, Deadwood, & Dodge City, making his living at card tables & aggravating his tuberculosis with heavy drinking & late nights.

Holliday was famously friendly with Wyatt Earp, who believed that Holliday saved his life during a fight with cowboys. For his part, Holliday was a loyal friend to Earp, & stood by him during the 1881 shootout at the O.K. Corral & the bloody feud that followed. In 1882, Holliday fled Arizona & returned to the life of a western drifter, gambler, & gunslinger. By 1887, his hard living had caught up to him, forcing him to seek treatment for his tuberculosis at a sanitarium in Glenwood Springs, CO. He died in his bed at only 36 years old.
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November 8, 1942
US & British forces land in French North Africa. Operation Torch (8–16 November 1942) was an Anglo–American invasion of French North Africa during the Second World War. It was aimed at reducing pressure on Allied forces in Egypt, & enabling an invasion of Southern Europe. It also provided the '2nd front' which the Soviet Union had been requesting since it was invaded by the Germans in 1941. The region was dominated by the Vichy French, officially in collaboration with Germany, but with mixed loyalties, & reports indicated that they might support the Allied initiative. American Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, commanding the operation, planned a 3-pronged attack, aimed at Casablanca (Western), Oran (Center) & Algiers (Eastern), in advance of a rapid move on Tunis.

The Allies believed that the Vichy French forces would not fight, partly because of information supplied by American Consul Robert Daniel Murphy in Algiers. The French were former members of the Allies & the American troops were instructed not to fire unless they were fired upon. However, they harbored suspicions that the Vichy French navy would bear a grudge over the British attack on Mers-el-Kebir in 1940. An assessment of the sympathies of the French forces in North Africa was essential, & plans were made to secure their cooperation, rather than resistance.

The Western Task Force encountered unexpected resistance, as well as bad weather, but Casablanca, the principal French Atlantic naval base, was captured after a short siege. The Center Task Force suffered some damage to its fleet, trying to land in shallow water, but the enemy ships were sunk or driven off, & Oran surrendered after heavy fire from British battleships. The Eastern Task Force met less opposition because the French Resistance had staged a coup in Algiers, & the Allies were able to push inland & compel surrender on the 1st day. The success of Torch caused the commander of French forces in the region, Admiral Darlan, to order full co-operation with the Allies, in return for being retained as High Commissioner, with many Vichy officials keeping their jobs. When Adolf Hitler learned of Darlan's deal with the Allies, he immediately ordered the occupation of Vichy France & sent troops to Tunisia.

The Eisenhower/Darlan agreement meant that the officials appointed by the Vichy regime would remain in power in North Africa. No role was provided for Free France, which was supposed to be France's government-in-exile, & which had taken charge in other French colonies. This deeply offended Charles de Gaulle as head of Free France. It also offended much of the British & American public, who regarded all Vichy French as Nazi collaborators, & Darlan as one of the worst. Eisenhower insisted however that he had no real choice if his forces were to move on against the Axis in Tunisia, rather than fight the French in Algeria and Morocco. Though de Gaulle had no official power in North Africa, much of the population now publicly declared Free French allegiance, putting pressure on Darlan. Then, on Dec. 24, 1942, Fernand Bonnier de La Chapelle, a French resistance fighter & anti-fascist monarchist, assassinated Darlan. (Bonnier de La Chapelle was arrested on the spot & executed days later.) Soon after, De Gaulle's Free French gradually came to dominate the government.

Operation Torch was the 1st mass involvement of US troops in the European–North African Theatre, & saw the 1st major airborne assault carried out anywhere by the US.
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Airborne or seaborne?

Nevermind. Looked it up. First time US paratroopers fought in WWII. Dang, you really do learn something new every day!

 
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November 7, 1940
The Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapses due to high winds barely 4 months after opening. The Tacoma Narrows Bridge was built in Washington during the 1930s & opened to traffic on July 1, 1940. It spanned the Puget Sound from Gig Harbor to Tacoma, which is 40 miles south of Seattle. The channel is about a mile wide where the bridge crossed the sound. Sleek & slender, it was the 3rd longest suspension bridge in the world at the time, covering 5,959 feet.

Leon Moisseiff designed the bridge to be the most flexible ever constructed. Engineers of the time believed that the design, even though it exceeded ratios of length, depth & width that had previously been standard, was completely safe. Following the collapse, it was revealed that the engineers had not properly considered the aerodynamic forces that were in play at the location during a period of strong winds. At the time of construction, such forces were not commonly taken into consideration by engineers & designers.

On Nov. 7, high winds buffeted the area & the bridge swayed considerably. The 1st failure came at about 11 am, when concrete dropped from the road surface. Just minutes later, a 600-foot section of the bridge broke free. By this time, the bridge was being tossed back & forth wildly. At one time, the elevation of the sidewalk on one side of the bridge was 28 feet above that of the sidewalk on the other side. Even though the bridge towers were made of strong structural carbon steel, the bridge proved no match for the violent movement, & collapsed. Subsequent investigations & testing revealed that the bridge was vulnerable to vibrations generated by wind. When the bridge experienced strong winds from a certain direction, the frequency oscillations built up to such an extent that collapse was inevitable.

A replacement bridge opened on Oct. 14, 1950, after more than 2 years of construction. It is the 5th longest suspension bridge in the US, 40 feet longer than the original. Construction of the new bridge took into account the lessons learned in the collapse of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, as did that of all subsequent suspension bridges. Today, the remains of the bridge are still at the bottom of Puget Sound, where they form one of the largest man-made reefs in the world. The spot was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in order to protect it against salvagers.
1940 TACOMA NARROWS BRIDGE COLLAPSE IN COLOR (SILENT FILM)
I've heard of this, read about it, seen several films of it, some in classes in high school and college.
But I never knew it swinging for 70+ minutes. Kinda explains the idiot walking and driving on it.

Personally, I think the designers intended it to move like that (to some degree). But they didn't understand, or underestimated, resonance. Or the impact of that cross-sectional shape. With the solid vertical sides, it caught the wind and increased the growing swing. The wind found a frequency that matched the structure and kept it increasing.
 
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I've heard of this, read about it, seen several films of it, some in classes in high school and college.
But I never knew it swinging for 70+ minutes. Kinda explains the idiot walking and driving on it.

Personally, I think the designers intended it to move like that (to some degree). But they didn't understand, or underestimated, resonance. Or the impact of that cross-sectional shape. With the solid vertical sides, it caught the wind and increased the growing swing. The wind found a frequency that matched the structure and kept it increasing.
I had heard of it. but not much. I came across that little film clip & was stunned. I assume that there weren't permanently installed film cameras there in 1940, so the length of time it was swaying, I assume, gave some news crew time to get there. I think you're right, they completely misunderstood or underestimated resonance or the wind speeds that day were more than they calculated possible.. i tried to find any info on the wind speed being abnormally high that day, but couldn't. And yeah, I'm assuming it wasn't swinging as much when el idiota started driving across & he thought he was goona be cool!
 
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November 9, 1965
At dusk, what was at the time the biggest power failure in US history occurs as all of New York state, portions of 7 neighboring states, & parts of eastern Canada are plunged into darkness. The Great Northeast Blackout began at the height of rush hour, delaying millions of commuters, trapping 800,000 people in New York’s subways, & stranding thousands more in office buildings, elevators, & trains. 10,000 National Guardsmen and 5,000 off-duty policemen were called into service to prevent looting.

The blackout was caused by the tripping of a 230-kilovolt transmission line near Ontario, Canada, at 5:16 pm, which caused several other heavily loaded lines also to fail. This precipitated a surge of power that overwhelmed the transmission lines in western New York, causing a “cascading” tripping of additional lines, resulting in the eventual breakup of the entire Northeastern transmission network. All together, 30 million people in 8 US states & the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec were affected by the blackout. During the night, power was gradually restored to the blacked-out areas, & by morning power had been restored throughout the Northeast. The Great Northeast Blackout remained the largest blackout in US history until the blackout caused by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico in 2017.
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November 9, 1989
On the 51st anniversary of Kristallnacht (The Nazi campaign of terror against Jewish people & their homes & businesses in Germany & Austria. Dubbed “Night of Broken Glass,” after the countless smashed windows of Jewish-owned establishments, left approximately 100 Jews dead, 7,500 Jewish businesses damaged & hundreds of synagogues, homes, schools& graveyards vandalized.), East German officials opened the Berlin Wall, allowing travel from East to West Berlin. The following day, celebrating Germans began to tear the wall down. One of the ugliest & most infamous symbols of the Cold War was soon reduced to rubble that was quickly snatched up by souvenir hunters. The East German action followed a decision by Hungarian officials a few weeks earlier to open the border between Hungary & Austria. This effectively ended the purpose of the Berlin Wall, since East German citizens could now circumvent it by going through Hungary, into Austria, & thence into West Germany.

The decision to open the wall was also a reflection of the immense political changes taking place in East Germany, where the old communist leadership was rapidly losing power & the populace was demanding free elections & movement toward a free market system. The action also had an impact on President George Bush & his advisors. After watching television coverage of the delirious German crowds demolishing the wall, many in the Bush administration became more convinced than ever that Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s statements about desiring a new relationship with the West must be taken more seriously. Unlike 1956 & 1968, when Soviet forces ruthlessly crushed protests in Hungary & Czechoslovakia, respectively, Gorbachev actually encouraged the East German action. As such, the destruction of the Berlin Wall was one of the most significant actions leading to the end of the Cold War.
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November 10, 1775
During the American Revolution, the Continental Congress passes a resolution stating that “two Battalions of Marines be raised” for service as landing forces, onboard security & conduct ship-to-ship fighting for the recently formed Continental Navy. The resolution, drafted by future US president John Adams & adopted in Philadelphia, created the Continental Marines & is now observed as the birth date of the United States Marine Corps. During the American Revolution, many important political discussions took place in the inns & taverns of Philadelphia, including the founding of the Marine Corps. Tradition has it that a committee of the Continental Congress met at Tun Tavern to draft the resolution calling for 2 battalions of Marines. As the 1st order of business, Samuel Nicholas became Commandant of the newly formed Marines. Tun Tavern's owner & popular patriot, Robert Mullan, became his 1st captain & recruiter. They began gathering support & were ready for action by early 1776.
Marines joined Commodore Esek Hopkins of the Continental Navy's first squadron on its 1st cruise in the Caribbean. They landed twice in Nassau, in the Bahamas, to capture naval supplies from the British. The 1st landing in March 1776, named the Battle of Nassau, led by Capt. Samuel Nicholas, consisted of 250 marines & sailors who landed in New Providence & marched to Nassau Town. There, they wrought havoc & seized naval stores of shells, shot, & cannon, but failed to capture any of the desperately needed gunpowder. The 2nd landing, led by a Lt. Trevet, landed at night & captured several ships along with the naval stores. Sailing back to Rhode Island, the squadron captured 4 small prize ships. American independence was achieved in 1783, the Continental Navy was demobilized & its Marines disbanded.

In the next decade, however, increasing conflict at sea with Revolutionary France led the US Congress to establish formally the US Navy in May 1798. 2 months later, on July 11, President John Adams signed the bill establishing the US Marine Corps as a permanent military "force in readiness" under the jurisdiction of the Dept. of Navy. US Marines saw action in the so-called Quasi-War with France & then fought against the Barbary pirates of North Africa during the 1st years of the 19th century. Since then, Marines have participated in all the wars of the US & in most cases were the 1st soldiers to fight. In all, Marines have executed more than 300 landings on foreign shores.

Today, there are more than 200,000 active-duty & reserve Marines, divided into 3 divisions stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC; Camp Pendleton, CA; & Okinawa, Japan. Each division has 1 or more expeditionary units, ready to launch major operations anywhere in the world on 2 weeks’ notice. Marines expeditionary units are self-sufficient, with their own tanks, artillery, & air forces. The motto of the service is Semper Fidelis, meaning “Always Faithful” in Latin.
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November 10, 1975
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks in Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew members on board. It was the worst single accident in Lake Superior’s history. The ship weighed more than 13,000 tons & was 730 feet long. It was launched in 1958 as the biggest carrier in the Great Lakes & became the 1st ship to carry more than a million tons of iron ore through the Soo Locks.

On November 9, the Fitzgerald left Superior, WI, with 26,000 tons of ore heading for Detroit, MI. The following afternoon, Ernest McSorely, the captain of the Fitzgerald & a 44-year veteran, contacted the Avafor, another ship traveling on Lake Superior & reported that his ship had encountered “one of the worst seas he had ever been in.” The Fitzgerald had lost its radar equipment & was listing badly to one side. A couple of hours later, another ship made contact & was told that the Fitzgerald was holding its own. However, minutes afterward, the Fitzgerald disappeared from radar screens. A subsequent investigation showed that the sinking of the Fitzgerald occurred very suddenly; no distress signal was sent & the condition of the lifeboats suggested that little or no attempt was made to abandon the ship.

The Fitzgerald was eventually found 530 feet below the surface, 17 miles from Whitefish Bay, at the northeastern tip of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The ship had broken into two parts that were found approximately 150 feet apart. As there were no survivors among the 29 crewmembers, there will likely never be a definitive explanation of the Fitzgerald‘s sinking. The Fitzgerald‘s sinking was the worst wreck in the Great Lakes since Nov. 29, 1966, when 28 people died in the sinking of the Daniel J. Morrell in Lake Huron.

One possible reason for the wreck is that the Fitzgerald was carrying too much cargo. This made the ship sit low in the water & made it more vulnerable to being overwhelmed by a sudden large wave. The official report also cited the possibility that the hatches to the cargo area may have been faulty, leading to a sudden shift of the cargo that capsized the boat. After Edmund Fitzgerald foundered, Great Lakes shipping companies were accused of valuing cargo payloads more than human life, since the vessel's cargo hold of 860,950 cubic feet had been divided by 2 non-watertight traverse "screen" bulkheads. The NTSB Edmund Fitzgerald investigation concluded that Great Lakes freighters should be constructed with watertight bulkheads in their cargo holds. The USCG had proposed rules for watertight bulkheads in Great Lakes vessels as early as the sinking of Daniel J. Morrell in 1966 & did so again after the sinking of Edmund Fitzgerald, arguing that this would allow ships to make it to refuge or at least allow crew members to abandon ship in an orderly fashion. The LCA represented the Great Lakes fleet owners & was able to forestall watertight subdivision regulations by arguing that this would cause economic hardship for vessel operators. A few vessel operators have built Great Lakes ships with watertight subdivisions in the cargo holds since 1975, but most vessels operating on the lakes cannot prevent flooding of the entire cargo hold area.

The NTSB investigation concluded that the NWS failed to accurately predict wave heights on Nov. 10. In 2005 NOAA & the NWS ran a computer simulation, including weather & wave conditions, covering the period from Nov. 9, 1975, until the early morning of Nov. 11. Analysis of the simulation showed that 2 separate areas of high wind appeared over Lake Superior at 4:00 pm on Nov. 10. After running these computer models using actual meteorological data from November 10, 1975, Hultquist of the NWS said of Edmund Fitzgerald's position in the storm, "It ended in precisely the wrong place at the absolute worst time."

A group of 3 rogue waves, often called "3 sisters," was reported in the vicinity of Edmund Fitzgerald at the time she sank. The "3 sisters" phenomenon is said to occur on Lake Superior as a result of a sequence of 3 rogue waves forming that are one-third larger than normal waves. The 1st wave introduces an abnormally large amount of water onto the deck. This water is unable to fully drain away before the 2nd wave strikes, adding to the surplus. The 3rd incoming wave again adds to the 2 accumulated backwashes, quickly overloading the deck with too much water.

The USCG investigation of Edmund Fitzgerald's sinking resulted in 15 recommendations regarding load lines, weathertight integrity, search & rescue capability, lifesaving equipment, crew training, loading manuals, & providing information to masters of Great Lakes vessels. NTSB's investigation resulted in 19 recommendations for the USCG, 4 recommendations for the American Bureau of Shipping, & 2 recommendations for NOAA.
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November 1, 1918: Armistice Day & Veteran's Day both have their origins on this day in 1918
At the 11th hour on the 11th day of the 11th month of 1918, the Great War ends. At 5 am that morning, Germany, bereft of manpower & supplies & faced with imminent invasion, signed an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car outside Compiégne, France. The First World War left 9 million soldiers dead & 21 million wounded, with Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, France, & Great Britain each losing a million or more lives. In addition, at least 5 million civilians died from disease, starvation, or exposure.

For the most part, the people of Europe greeted the outbreak of war with jubilation. Most patriotically assumed that their country would be victorious within months. Of the initial belligerents, Germany was most prepared for the outbreak of hostilities, & its military leaders had formatted a sophisticated military strategy known as the “Schlieffen Plan,” which envisioned the conquest of France through a great arcing offensive through Belgium & into northern France. Russia, slow to mobilize, was to be kept occupied by Austro-Hungarian forces while Germany attacked France.

The Schlieffen Plan was nearly successful, but in early Sept. the French rallied & halted the German advance at the bloody Battle of the Marne near Paris. By the end of 1914, well over a million soldiers of various nationalities had been killed on the battlefields of Europe, & neither for the Allies nor the Central Powers was a final victory in sight. On the western front—the battle line that stretched across northern France & Belgium—the combatants settled down in the trenches for a terrible war of attrition. In 1915, the Allies attempted to break the stalemate with an amphibious invasion of Turkey but failed. The year 1916 saw great offensives by Germany & Britain along the western front, but neither side accomplished a decisive victory. In the east, Germany was more successful, & the disorganized Russian army suffered terrible losses, spurring the outbreak of the Russian Revolution in 1917. By the end of 1917, the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia & immediately set about negotiating peace with Germany. In 1918, the infusion of American troops & resources into the western front finally tipped the scale in the Allies’ favor. Germany signed an armistice agreement with the Allies on Nov. 11, 1918.

World War I was known as the “war to end all wars” because of the great slaughter & destruction it caused. Unfortunately, the peace treaty that officially ended the conflict—the Treaty of Versailles of 1919—forced punitive terms on Germany that destabilized Europe & laid the groundwork for World War II.

On Nov. 11, 1919, US president Woodrow Wilson issued a message to his countrymen on the first Armistice Day, in which he expressed what he felt the day meant to Americans:

ADDRESS TO FELLOW-COUNTRYMEN
The White House, November 11, 1919.
A year ago today our enemies laid down their arms in accordance with an armistice which rendered them impotent to renew hostilities, & gave to the world an assured opportunity to reconstruct its shattered order and to work out in peace a new & juster set of international relations. The soldiers & people of the European Allies had fought & endured for more than 4 years to uphold the barrier of civilization against the aggressions of armed force. We ourselves had been in the conflict something more than a year & a half.
With splendid forgetfulness of mere personal concerns, we remodeled our industries, concentrated our financial resources, increased our agricultural output, & assembled a great army, so that at the last our power was a decisive factor in the victory. We were able to bring the vast resources, material & moral, of a great & free people to the assistance of our associates in Europe who had suffered & sacrificed without limit in the cause for which we fought.
Out of this victory there arose new possibilities of political freedom & economic concert. The war showed us the strength of great nations acting together for high purposes, & the victory of arms foretells the enduring conquests which can be made in peace when nations act justly & in furtherance of the common interests of men.
To us in America the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service, & with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us & because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace & justice in the councils of nations.
The US Congress adopted a resolution on June 4, 1926, requesting that President Calvin Coolidge issue annual proclamations calling for the observance of Nov. 11 with appropriate ceremonies. A Congressional Act approved May 13, 1938, made Nov. 11 in each year a legal holiday: "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace & to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

In 1945, World War II veteran Raymond Weeks from Birmingham, AL, had the idea to expand Armistice Day to celebrate all veterans, not just those who died in World War I. Weeks led a delegation to Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, who supported the idea of National Veterans Day. Weeks led the first national celebration in 1947 in Alabama & annually until his death in 1985. US representative Ed Rees from Emporia, KS, presented a bill establishing the holiday through Congress. President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the bill into law on May 26, 1954. It had been 8 1/2 years since Weeks held his first Armistice Day celebration for all veterans. Congress amended the bill on June 1, 1954, replacing "Armistice" with "Veterans," & it has been known as Veterans Day since. President Reagan honored Weeks at the White House with the Presidential Citizenship Medal in 1982 as the driving force for the national holiday. Elizabeth Dole, who prepared the briefing for President Reagan, deemed Weeks as the "Father of Veterans Day."

Veterans Day is distinct from Memorial Day, a US public holiday in May. Veterans Day celebrates the service of all US military veterans, while Memorial Day honors those who have died while in military service. There is another military holiday, Armed Forces Day, a US remembrance that also occurs in May, which honors those currently serving in the US military.
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November 11, 1921
Exactly 3 years after the end of World War I, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated at Arlington Cemetery in Virginia during an Armistice Day ceremony presided over by President Warren G. Harding.

2 days before, an unknown American soldier, who had fallen somewhere on a World War I battlefield, arrived at the nation’s capital from a military cemetery in France. On Armistice Day, in the presence of President Harding & other government, military, & international dignitaries, the unknown soldier was buried with highest honors beside the Memorial Amphitheater. As the soldier was lowered to his final resting place, a two-inch layer of soil brought from France was placed below his coffin so that he might rest forever atop the earth on which he died.

The Tomb of the Unknown Solider is considered the most hallowed grave at Arlington Cemetery, America’s most sacred military cemetery. The tombstone itself, designed by sculptor Thomas Hudson Jones, was not completed until 1932, when it was unveiled bearing the description “Here Rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier Known but to God.” The World War I unknown was later joined by the unidentified remains of soldiers from America’s other major 20th century wars and the tomb was put under permanent guard by special military sentinels.

In 1998, a Vietnam War unknown, who was buried at the tomb for 14 years, was disinterred from the Tomb after DNA testing indicated his identity. Air Force Lieutenant Michael Blassie was returned to his hometown of St. Louis, MO, & was buried with military honors, including an F-15 jet “missing man” flyover & a lone bugler sounding taps.
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November 12, 1864
Union Gen. William T. Sherman orders the business district of Atlanta destroyed before he embarks on his famous March to the Sea. When Sherman captured Atlanta in early Sept. 1864, he knew that he could not remain there for long. His tenuous supply line ran from Nashville, TN, through Chattanooga, then 100 miles through mountainous northern Georgia. The army he had just defeated, the Army of Tennessee, was still in the area & its leader, John Bell Hood, swung around Atlanta to try to damage Sherman’s lifeline. Of even greater concern was the Confederate cavalry of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a brilliant commander who could strike quickly against the railroads & river transports on which Sherman relied.

During the fall, Sherman conceived of a plan to split his enormous army. He sent part of it, commanded by Gen. George Thomas, back toward Nashville to deal with Hood while he prepared to take the rest of the troops across Georgia. Through Oct., Sherman built up a massive cache of supplies in Atlanta. He then ordered a systematic destruction of the city to prevent the Confederates from recovering anything once the Yankees had abandoned it. By 1 estimate, nearly 40% of the city was ruined. Sherman would apply to the same policy of destruction to the rest of Georgia as he marched to Savannah. Before leaving on Nov. 15, Sherman’s forces had burned the industrial district of Atlanta & left little but a smoking shell.
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November 12, 1954
Ellis Island, the gateway to America, shuts it doors after processing more than 12 million immigrants since opening in 1892. Today, an estimated 40% of all Americans can trace their roots through Ellis Island, located in New York Harbor off the New Jersey coast & named for merchant Samuel Ellis, who owned the land in the 1770s.

On Jan. 2, 1892, 15-year-old Annie Moore, from Ireland, became the 1st person to pass through the newly opened Ellis Island, which President Benjamin Harrison designated as America’s 1st federal immigration center in 1890. Before that time, the processing of immigrants had been handled by individual states. Not all immigrants who sailed into New York had to go through Ellis Island. 1st- & 2nd-class passengers submitted to a brief shipboard inspection & then disembarked at the piers in NY or NJ, where they passed through customs. People in 3rd class, though, were transported to Ellis Island, where they underwent medical & legal inspections to ensure they didn’t have a contagious disease or some condition that would make them a burden to the government. Only 2% of all immigrants were denied entrance into the US.

Immigration to Ellis Island peaked between 1892 & 1924, during which time the 3.3-acre island was enlarged with landfill (by the 1930s it reached its current 27.5-acre size) & additional buildings were constructed to handle the massive influx of immigrants. During the busiest year of operation, 1907, over 1 million people were processed at Ellis Island. With America’s entrance into World War I, immigration declined & Ellis Island was used as a detention center for suspected enemies. Following the war, Congress passed quota laws & the Immigration Act of 1924, which sharply reduced the number of newcomers allowed into the country & also enabled immigrants to be processed at US consulates abroad. After 1924, Ellis Island switched from a processing center to serving other purposes, such as a detention & deportation center for illegal immigrants, a hospital for wounded soldiers during World War II & a Coast Guard training center. In Nov. 1954, the last detainee, a Norwegian merchant seaman, was released & Ellis Island officially closed.

Beginning in 1984, Ellis Island underwent a $160 million renovation, the largest historic restoration project in US history. In Sept. 1990, the Ellis Island Immigration Museum opened to the public & today is visited by almost 2 million people each year.
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November 1, 1775
Continental Army Brig. Gen. Richard Montgomery takes Montreal, Canada, without opposition. Montgomery’s victory owed its success in part to Ethan Allen’s disorganized defeat at the hand of British General & Canadian Royal Governor Guy Carleton at Montreal on Sept. 24, 1775. Allen’s misguided & undermanned attack on Montreal led to his capture by the British & imprisonment in Pendennis Castle in Cornwall, England. Although a failure in the short term, Allen’s attack had long-term benefits for the Patriots. Carleton had focused his attention on suppressing Allen’s attack, while refusing reinforcements to Fort St. Jean, to which Montgomery’s expedition laid siege from Aug. 21 to Nov. 3, 1775. Fort St. Jean’s commander, Maj. Charles Preston, surrendered on Nov. 3, fearful of the hardship the town’s civilians would face during a winter under siege. With the final fortification between Montgomery & Montreal in Patriot hands & Carleton’s defenses depleted by the conflict with Allen, Montgomery’s forces entered Montreal with ease on Nov. 13.

After Montgomery’s success at winning Montreal for the Patriots, Carleton escaped & fled to Quebec City, where he & Montgomery would, in December, again face one another in a climatic battle that would determine the fate of the Patriot invasion of Canada. Facing the year-end expiration of their troops’ enlistment, Patriot forces advanced on Quebec under the cover of a blizzard at approximately 4 am on Dec. 31, 1775. The British defenders under Carleton were ready, however, & when Montgomery’s forces came within 50 yds of the city’s fortifications, the British opened fire with a barrage of artillery & musket fire. Montgomery was killed in the 1st assault, & after several more attempts at penetrating Quebec’s defenses, his men were forced to retreat. Meanwhile, Col. Benedict Arnold’s division suffered a similar fate during their attack on the northern wall of the city. By the time the rest of Arnold’s army finally arrived, the British had reorganized, forcing the Patriots to call off their attack. Of the 900 Americans who participated in the siege, 60 were killed or wounded & more than 400 were captured.

The remaining Patriot forces then retreated from Canada. Benedict Arnold remained in Canadian territory until the last of his soldiers had crossed the St. Lawrence River to safety. With the pursuing British forces almost in firing range, Arnold checked one last time to make sure all his men had escaped, then shot his horse & fled down the St. Lawrence in a canoe. Carleton had successfully snatched victory from the jaws of defeat & secured Canada for the British empire.
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November 13, 1982
Near the end of a weeklong national salute to Americans who served in the Vietnam War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, DC after a march to its site by thousands of veterans of the conflict. The long-awaited memorial was a simple V-shaped black-granite wall inscribed with the names of the 57,939 Americans who died in the conflict, arranged in order of death, not rank, as was common in other memorials.

The designer of the memorial was Maya Lin, a Yale University architecture student who entered a nationwide competition to create a design for the monument. Lin, born in Ohio in 1959, was the daughter of Chinese immigrants. Many veterans’ groups were originally opposed to Lin’s winning design, which lacked a standard memorial’s heroic statues & stirring words. However, a remarkable shift in public opinion occurred in the months after the memorial’s dedication. Veterans & families of the dead walked the black reflective wall, seeking the names of their loved ones killed in the conflict. Once the name was located, visitors often made an etching or left a private offering, from notes & flowers to dog tags & cans of beer.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial soon became 1 of the most visited memorials in the nation’s capital. A Smithsonian Institution director called it “a community of feelings, almost a sacred precinct,” & a veteran declared that “it’s the parade we never got.” “The Wall” drew together both those who fought & those who marched against the war & served to promote national healing a decade after the divisive conflict’s end.
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November 14, 1882
The gunslinger Franklin “Buckskin” Leslie shoots the Billy “The Kid” Claiborne dead in the streets of Tombstone, AZ. (Not the legendary "Billy the Kid" aka William Bonney.)

The town of Tombstone is best known today as the site of the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral. In the 1880s, however, Tombstone was home to many gunmen who never achieved the enduring fame of Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday. Franklin “Buckskin” Leslie was 1 of the most notorious of these largely forgotten outlaws. There are few surviving details about Leslie’s early life. At different times, he claimed to have been born in both Texas & Kentucky, to have studied medicine in Europe, & to have been an army scout in the war against the Apache Indians. No evidence has ever emerged to support or conclusively deny these claims. The first historical evidence of Leslie’s life emerges in 1877, when he became a scout in Arizona. A few years later, Leslie was attracted to the moneymaking opportunities of the booming mining town of Tombstone, where he opened the Cosmopolitan Hotel in 1880.

That same year he killed a man named Mike Killeen during a quarrel over Killeen’s wife, & he married the woman shortly thereafter. Leslie’s reputation as a cold-blooded killer brought him trouble after his drinking companion & fellow gunman John Ringo was found dead in July 1882. Some Tombstone citizens, including a young friend of Ringo’s named Billy “The Kid” Claiborne, were convinced that Leslie had murdered Ringo, though they could not prove it. Probably seeking vengeance & the notoriety that would come from shooting a famous gunslinger, Claiborne unwisely decided to publicly challenge Leslie, who shot him dead.

The remainder of Leslie’s life was equally violent. After divorcing Killeen in 1887, he took up with a Tombstone prostitute, whom he murdered several years later during a drunken rage. Even by the loose standards of frontier law in Tombstone, the murder of an unarmed woman was unacceptable, & Leslie served nearly 10 years in prison before he was paroled in 1896. After his release, he married again & worked a variety of odd jobs around the West. He reportedly made a small fortune in the gold fields of the Klondike region before he disappeared forever from the historical record.
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November 14, 1965
In the 1st major engagement of the war between regular US & North Vietnamese forces, elements of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) fight a pitched battle with Communist main-force units in the Ia Drang Valley of the Central Highlands. It was the 1st large scale helicopter air assault & also the 1st use of Boeing B-52 Stratofortress strategic bombers in a tactical support role.

On this morning, Lt. Col. Harold G. Moore’s 1st Battalion, 7th Cavalry conducted a heliborne assault into Landing Zone X-Ray near the Chu Pong hills. Around noon, the North Vietnamese 33rd Regiment attacked the US troopers. The fight continued all day & into the night. American soldiers received support from nearby artillery units & tactical air strikes. The next morning, the North Vietnamese 66th Regiment joined the attack against the US unit. The fighting was bitter, but the tactical air strikes & artillery support took their toll on the enemy & enabled the 1st Cavalry troopers to hold on against repeated assaults. At around noon, 2 reinforcing companies arrived & Col. Moore put them to good use to assist his beleaguered soldiers. By the 3rd day of the battle, the Americans had gained the upper hand. The 3-day battle resulted in 834 North Vietnamese soldiers confirmed killed, & another 1,000 communist casualties were assumed. In a related action during the same battle, 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry, was ambushed by North Vietnamese forces as it moved overland to Landing Zone Albany. Of the 500 men in the original column, 150 were killed & only 84 were able to return to immediate duty; Company C suffered 93% casualties, half of them deaths.

Senior American officials in Saigon declared the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley a great victory. The battle was extremely important because it was the 1st significant contact between US troops & North Vietnamese forces. The action demonstrated that the North Vietnamese were prepared to stand & fight major battles even though they might take serious casualties. Senior American military leaders concluded that US forces could wreak significant damage on the communists in such battles–this tactic lead to a war of attrition as the US forces tried to wear the communists down. The North Vietnamese also learned a valuable lesson during the battle: by keeping their combat troops physically close to US positions, US troops could not use artillery or air strikes without risking injury to American troops. This style of fighting became the North Vietnamese practice for the rest of the war.

The US Army hadn't set up casualty-notification teams this early in the war. The notification telegrams at this time were handed over to taxi cab drivers for delivery to the next of kin. Col. Hal Moore's wife, Julia Compton Moore, followed in the wake of the deliveries to widows in the Ft. Benning housing complex, grieving with the wives & comforting the children, & attended the funerals of all the men killed under her husband's command who were buried at Ft. Benning. Her complaints about the notifications prompted the Army to quickly set up 2-man teams to deliver them, consisting of an officer & a chaplain. Mrs. Frank Henry, the wife of the battalion executive officer, & Mrs. James Scott, wife of the battalion command sergeant major, performed the same duty for the dead of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Cavalry.

In 1992 Lt. Gen. Harold G. "Hal" Moore (Ret.) & war journalist Joseph L. Galloway published the book about the battle entitled We Were Soldiers Once… and Young . The book was a New York Times best-seller. David Halberstam called it "A stunning achievement—paper & words with the permanence of marble. I read it & thought of The Red Badge of Courage, the highest compliment I can think of." General H. Norman Schwarzkopf said "We Were Soldiers Once...and Young is a great book of military history, written the way military history should be written." Since at least 1993 the book had been on the Marine Corps Commandant's Reading List for Career Level Enlisted. It was adapted into the 2002 film We Were Soldiers.
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November 15, 1777
After 16 months of debate, the Continental Congress, sitting in its temporary capital of York, PA (The British had captured Philadelphia on Sept. 26, 1777.), agrees to adopt the Articles of Confederation & Perpetual Union. Not until March 1, 1781, would the last of the 13 states, Maryland, ratify the agreement.

In 1777, Patriot leaders, stinging from British oppression, were reluctant to establish any form of government that might infringe on the right of individual states to govern their own affairs. The Articles of Confederation, then, provided for only a loose federation of American states. Congress was a single house, with each state having 1 vote, & a president elected to chair the assembly. Although Congress did not have the right to levy taxes, it did have authority over foreign affairs & could regulate a national army & declare war and peace. Amendments to the Articles required approval from all 13 states. On March 2, 1781, following final ratification by the 13th state, the Articles of Confederation became the law of the land.

Less than 5 years after the ratification of the Articles of Confederation, enough leading Americans decided that the system was inadequate to the task of governance that they peacefully overthrew their 2nd government in just over 20 years. The difference between a collection of sovereign states forming a confederation & a federal government created by a sovereign people lay at the heart of debate as the new American people decided what form their new government would take.

In 1787, an extra-legal body met in seclusion during Philadelphia’s summer heat to create this new government. Although the Convention was authorized by the states to revise the league of states & first system of government under the Articles of Confederation, the intention from the outset of many of its proponents, chief among them James Madison of Virginia & Alexander Hamilton of New York, was to create a new government rather than fix the existing one. The delegates elected George Washington of Virginia, former commanding general of the Continental Army in the late & also a proponent of a stronger national government, to become President of the Convention. On March 4, 1789, the modern United States was established when the US Constitution formally replaced the Articles of Confederation. Between 1776 & 1789, Americans went from living under a sovereign king, to living in sovereign states, to becoming a sovereign people. That transformation defined the American Revolution.
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November 15, 1806
Approaching the Colorado foothills of the Rocky Mountains during his 2nd exploratory expedition, Lieutenant Zebulon Pike spots a distant mountain peak “which appeared like a small blue cloud.” The mountain was later named Pike’s Peak in his honor.

Pike’s explorations of the newly acquired Louisiana Territory of the US began before the nation’s 1st western explorers, Lewis & Clark, had returned from their own expedition up the Missouri River. Pike was more of a professional military man than either Lewis or Clark, & he was a smart man who had taught himself Spanish, French, mathematics, & elementary science. When the governor of Louisiana Territory requested a military expedition to explore the headwaters of the Mississippi, Gen. James Wilkinson picked Pike to lead it.

Although Pike’s 1st western expedition was only moderately successful, Wilkinson picked him to lead a 2nd mission in July 1806 to explore the headwaters of the Red & Arkansas Rivers. This route took Pike across present-day Kansas & into the high plains region that would later become the state of Colorado. When Pike 1st saw the peak that would later bear his name, he grossly underestimated its height & its distance, never having seen mountains the size of the Rockies. He told his men they should be able to walk to the peak, climb it, & return before dinner. Pike & his men struggled through snow & sub-zero temperatures before finally taking shelter in a cave for the night, without even having reached the base of the towering mountain. Pike later pronounced the peak impossible to scale.

The first documented climb of the peak came 14 years after Pike, in the summer of 1820. Edwin James, a young student who had just graduated from Middlebury College in Vermont, signed on as the relief botanist for Stephen Harriman Long's expedition after the 1st botanist had died. The expedition explored the South Platte River up as far as present-day Denver, then turned south & passed close to what James called "Pike's highest peak". James & 2 other men left the expedition, camped on the plains, & climbed the peak in 2 days, encountering little difficulty. Obviously, being summer in the Rockies made the nature of the climb very different from Pike's. Along the way, James was the 1st to describe the blue columbine, Colorado's state flower.

The remainder of Pike’s expedition was equally trying. After attempting for several months to locate the Red River, Pike & his men became hopelessly lost. A troop of Spanish soldiers saved the mission when they arrested Pike & his men. The soldiers escorted them to Santa Fe, thus providing Pike with an invaluable tour of that strategically important region, courtesy of the Spanish military. After returning to the US, Pike wrote a poorly organized account of his expedition that won him some fame, but little money. Still, in recognition of his bravery & leadership during the western expeditions, the army appointed him a brigadier general during the War of 1812. He was killed in an explosion during the April 1813 assault on Toronto.
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November 16, 1821
The Santa Fe trail is open for business. William Alexander Becknell was born in the Rockfish Creek area of Amherst County, VA in 1787 or 1788. Young Becknell's father & grandfather were veterans of the American Revolution, as were 2 uncles who died in the war. In 1810 he & his young family migrated to the new Missouri Territory, homesteading west of present-day St. Charles. During the War of 1812, Becknell served in the US Mounted Rangers under Captain Daniel Morgan Boone, son of the famed explorer. He participated in several engagements, including the Battle of Credit Island & the defense of Fort Clemson, near St. Louis. In the latter engagement, he took control of the defense after senior officers fell. For this he was promoted to the rank of captain, & was long known as Capt. Becknell. Following his discharge from Federal service in June 1815, Becknell moved west to the area known as the Boonslick in central Missouri. Becknell supported his family by working as a ferryman on the Missouri river & by managing the Boone's Lick Salt Works. In early 1820 he purchased 180 acres in Howard County, Missouri & moved the family there.

In 1821 Becknell faced substantial debt. He had bought out the Boone family interest in the aforementioned salt works around 1818. In 1820 he ran unsuccessfully for the Missouri Legislature & borrowed money to finance the campaign. The Panic of 1819 took its toll on his business activities by limiting the amount of credit & hard currency available. He was briefly jailed in debtor's prison until a friend posted bail. The judge in the case gave Becknell until early 1822 to pay his creditors or face more jail time.

Under pressure, Becknell left Franklin in Sept. 1821 on an extended trading trip, including hunting for furs, as the fur trade was still lucrative. He bought $300 worth of trade goods for his trip. According to an advertisement Becknell placed in the Missouri Intelligencer newspaper, his intent was "for the purpose of trading for horses & mules & catching wild animals of every description. Every man joining the expedition will fit himself for the trip with a horse, a good rifle, & as much ammunition as the company may think necessary. Every man will furnish an equal part of the fitting out for trade & receive an equal part of the product." Ever since Zebulon Pike had been arrested & removed from New Mexico, Spanish officials had chased American traders & trappers out of the territory, which was rumored to be rich in fur, silver & livestock. In 1821, Becknell had heard reports of Mexican independence from Spain, so he decided to risk a trading & trapping expedition.

Becknell & his group were not the only ones searching for a convenient trade route to Santa Fe, but that fall they were the 1st to arrive, in on Nov.16, 182. Becknell's timing was near perfect. Mexico had recently truly become independent of Spain & lifted the ban against trade with outsiders. The people of Santa Fe were eager for the variety of goods Becknell offered from his string of pack horses. They were willing to pay high prices, with some cotton cloth & calico bringing the then-unheard of sum of $3/yd. After a month of trading, Becknell & his party left Santa Fe on Dec. 13 with their saddlebags overflowing with silver. His investment of $300 in trading goods had returned approximately $6000 in coin.

Reaching Missouri in January 1822, Becknell almost immediately began planning his next trading trip to Santa Fe. For his 2nd journey, he chose to haul trade goods by wagon instead of pack horse. He had to slightly alter his original route to accommodate the width of wagons & draft teams. The wagon train left Franklin in May 1822 & suffered considerable hardship, with both animals & people nearly dying of thirst in the parched Cimarron Desert. The 'train' arrived in Santa Fe 48 days later. The 2nd trip proved to be even more profitable than the 1st. Taking an estimated $3,000 in goods to Santa Fe, Becknell's party returned with a profit of around $91,000 dollars. They paid some of that total as dividends to shareholders who had helped fund the trip, & even the smallest investor reaped great returns. Soon other exultant Missouri traders were heading west on the 900 mile "Santa Fe Trail."

Becknell made a 3rd profitable trip to Santa Fe in 1824. The following year in 1825, he helped map the trail for surveyors hired by the US Congress. For his efforts in opening up an improved route for regular traffic & military movement, William Becknell became known as the "Father of the Santa Fe Trail."
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William Becknell & an actual photo of wagons on the Santa Fe Trail from the California Historical Society

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November 17, 1863
Confederate Gen. James Longstreet places the city of Knoxville, TN, under siege. After 2 weeks & 1 failed attack, he abandoned the siege & rejoined General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia.

The Knoxville campaign began in November when Longstreet took 17,000 troops from Chattanooga & moved to secure eastern Tennessee for the Confederates. Longstreet’s corps was normally part of Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, but after the Battle of Gettysburg in July 1863, Longstreet took 2 of his divisions to shore up the Confederate effort in the West. He & his troops participated in the victory at Chickamauga in September & the siege of Chattanooga in October & November. Longstreet quarreled with Braxton Bragg, the Confederate commander in the West, & was given independent command of the Department of East Tennessee.

Longstreet took his troops & moved toward Knoxville. Facing him was General Ambrose Burnside & 5,000 Yankees. Burnside fought a delaying action at Campbell Station on Nov. 16 before retreating into the Knoxville defenses. The next day, Longstreet pulled into position around the north side of the city, but could not cut off supplies to the Union troops. Longstreet waited for reinforcements to arrive, which they did on Nov. 28. He attacked, but was repulsed with heavy loses. Longstreet continued the siege in order to draw troops away from Chattanooga. The ruse worked, & 25,000 Union troops were dispatched from Chattanooga to chase Longstreet’s force away.

Ultimately, Longstreet retreated back to Virginia. His Knoxville campaign was disappointing for the Confederates, who had hoped to secure eastern Tennessee. Longstreet rejoined Lee in the spring after his disappointing turn as head of an independent command.
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November 17, 2003
John Muhammad is found guilty of 1 of a series of sniper shootings that terrorized the metropolitan Washington, DC area & dominated national headlines in Oct. 2002. Police charged that Muhammad & his 17-year-old accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo, killed 10 people & wounded 3 others during a 3-week killing spree. After just over 6 hours of deliberation, a jury convicted Muhammad of the Oct. 9, 2002, shooting of Dean Meyers while he pumped gas at a Sunoco station in Manassas, VA.

The 1st of the “Beltway sniper” attacks occurred on Oct. 2, 2002, when 5 people died after being shot from a distance over a 15-hour span in suburban Montgomery County, MD. Sniper-style shootings continued over the next 3 weeks—at gas stations & in parking lots within Washington, DC’s Beltway area & along Interstate 95 in Virginia. Local residents, frightened by the seemingly random nature of the shootings, which crossed racial, gender & socioeconomic lines, crouched behind their cars while pumping gas & avoided outdoor activities. Schools held recess indoors & sports teams cancelled outdoor practices. The killers left a series of cryptic clues at crime scenes including tarot cards & notes & even called the police hotline, apparently trying to engage investigators in a dialogue. The attacks came to an end when police arrested Muhammad & Malvo at a rest area off a Maryland highway. Their car, a dark blue Chevrolet Caprice, had been rigged with a hole in the trunk through which the shooter could fire without being seen.

Muhammad, 41 at the time of the shootings, was a father of 4 who had been divorced twice. Although he had a clean criminal record, Mildred Mohammad, 1 of his former wives, had filed a restraining order against him. In 1985, Muhammad had converted to Islam, changing his name from John Allen Williams. He was reportedly a member of the Nation of Islam. In the aftermath of his arrest, police asserted that Muhammad had expressed some sympathy with the Sept. 11 attacks & might have been acting out of anti-American sentiment. Later reports, which coincide with a letter he left on the scene of 1 of the murders, alleged that the murder spree was part of an attempt to extort $10 million from the government.

Muhammad served in the U.S. Army from Nov. 1985 until he was honorably discharged as a sergeant in April 1994. He was a veteran of the 1st Gulf War. While in the army, he qualified as an “expert” with an M-16 rifle, the highest of the army’s 3 levels of marksmanship for an ordinary soldier. During his arrest, police found a Bushmaster .223-caliber rifle in Muhammad’s car. All of the DC.sniper victims had been hit by .223-caliber bullets.

In the 6-week trial, the prosecution produced more than 130 witnesses & 400 pieces of evidence. Though their case was largely circumstantial (there was no eyewitness to prove that he had actually pulled the trigger) Muhammad was convicted on all 4 counts against him: the murder of Dean Meyers, murder with the intent to terrorize the government or public, conspiracy to commit murder, & the illegal use of a firearm.

John Muhammad was sentenced to death on March 9, 2004. Muhammad was executed by lethal injection on Nov. 10, 2009, at 9:06 pm EST at the Greensville Correctional Center near Jarratt, VA, & was pronounced dead at 9:11 pm EST.

After a separate trial, Lee Boyd Malvo, who was a minor at the time of the shootings, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. On May 26, 2017, a federal district court judge in Virginia overturned Malvo's sentences of life without parole on the grounds that it was unconstitutional under Miller v. Alabama because Malvo was 17 years old at the time of the killings. However, on August 16, 2017, Montgomery County, Maryland Circuit Court Judge Robert Greenberg decided that the Virginia federal court ruling did not apply to the Maryland cases since the sentences were not mandatory in the state of Maryland. Greenberg wrote, "The 6 consecutive life-without-parole sentences were imposed after a full consideration of Defendant's physical, mental, & emotional state". He went on to state that the judge who imposed the original sentence "considered all relevant factors at play & the plain import of his words at the time was that Defendant is 'irreparably corrupted.'" On June 21, 2018, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously upheld a lower court's decision that Malvo's sentences of life without parole were unconstitutional. On June 29, 2018, Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said in a statement that his office was seeking to have the Supreme Court of the United States review the case. On March 18, 2019, the Supreme Court granted certiorari, & will likely hear the case during its fall term.
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John Muhammad

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---------------------------------Lee Boyd Malvo then & now----------------------------------------------