Day By Day

Thursday, September 10, 2009

This Day In History

Today is Pinkie Cleugh day, commemorating the decisive battle in the War of the Rough Wooing. Just thought you’d like to know [look it up].

Today is also National Sewing Machine Day — that’s because on this day in 1846 Elias Howe invented the first sewing machine. My grandmother had one of those old pedal-powered contraptions in her home [a Singer I believe]. She seldom used it but it was there — testament to an invention that had a huge effect on the lives of American women. Before the machine became common sewing chores took up a lot of a woman’s time but it was often a social activity — women would get together as a group to do it and many seamstresses made house calls. After women got their own personal machines sewing chores became easier than hand-stitching and quicker too, but sewing also became an isolated, individual thing. At least that’s the way feminist historians tell it. You should hear what they say about the vacuum cleaner.

On this day in 1813 Oliver Hazzard Perry defeated a British fleet in the Battle of Lake Erie [also known as the Battle of Put In Bay]. This was a decisive battle in the War of 1812 because U. S. control of the Great Lakes cut the supply lines for British forces south of the Lakes. As a result of this battle U. S. forces were able to retake Detroit and to defeat Tecumseh’s forces at the Battle of the Thames, thus securing the West.

And on this day in 1914 German troops began their retreat in the Battle of the Marne. The battle was fought over six days, involved two million troops and resulted in the deaths of half a million young men. Think about it, half a million men slaughtered in less than a week. This battle signalled the fact that the Twentieth Century would see a new kind of warfare, more horrible than anything in human memory. The enormous carnage of the battle forced both sides to adopt a strategy of static trench warfare which continued for years and drained the resources of an entire continent.

On this day in 1929 in Latrobe, Pennsylvania Arnold Palmer was born. He grew up to be one of the world’s greatest sportsmen, a great humanitarian, and an all-around good guy. The Golf Channel has been running a two-hour documentary on Arnie all month. Check it out if you get a chance. He’s someone we can all be immensely proud of.

And in 1913 the Lincoln Highway [Rte. #30 today] opened along its full length. It was the first paved coast to coast road. Just think of that — less than one century ago there was no paved road stretching the length of the country. What a wonderful/horrible century it has been! A drive along the Lincoln Highway is a wonderful adventure for Pennsylvanians. It follows the track of the old Forbes Road and takes you through some fascinating historical sites. Try it some weekend. You’ll have fun!

And on this day in 1963 the Phillies beat up on the hapless Houston Colt 45’s, 16-0.

Back in 1950 two Puerto Rican assassins tried to kill President Truman. One of them was killed in the attempt, the other, Oscar Collazo, was arrested, tried, and sentenced to death. The death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment by President Truman. Then in 1954 four Puerto Rican nationalist revolutionaries, led by Lolita Lebron, entered the gallery of the House of Representatives, produced guns and began firing. Five congresscritters were wounded. All four assassins were arrested and sentenced to life in prison. Then on this day in 1979 President Jimmy Carter, as part of negotiations with Fidel Castro, commuted the sentences of the four assassins remaining in jail [Carter had earlier commuted the sentence of one assassin on "compassionate" grounds because of his ill health] and they were set free. They returned to Puerto Rico where they were hailed by local Lefties as heroes. Lebron supposedly got religion, became a devout Catholic, and said she was horrified by the events of September 11th 2001 alathough she still leads Lefty protests. Eva Longoria is set to play her in an upcoming film celebrating her life. Jimmy Carter won the Nobel Peace Prize.