Day By Day

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

This Day In History

Today is Independence Day in Malaysia and Singapore. It is interesting to track the independent history of the two countries. In Malaysia the Chinese population was persecuted and suppressed by the Malay Muslim majority, in Singapore the Chinese ruled. Singapore today is one of the richest per capita nations in the world [4th highest according to the IMF; 3rd according to the World Bank]. Malaysia, not so much [60th according to the IMF; 48th according to the World Bank -- 2008 figures]. Neither place has much respect for individual freedoms.

And closer to home today is Mexican Independence Day. On this day in 1810 Father Miguel Hidalgo called upon the people to rise up against Spainish rule [the "Grito de Dolores"]. This was the beginning of the Mexican War of Independence.

On this day in 1620 the Mayflower set sail from Plymouth, England for the New World. On board were 48 crew members and 101 settlers [35 of them "Separatists" from the Leyden congregation -- the folks we call "Pilgrims"].

On this day in 1812 Moscow was burning. Retreating Russian troops decided to destroy the city rather than to allow the French to occupy it. In the ensuing fire three quarters of the city was obliterated. Napoleon was not pleased.

And on this day in 1893 the largest and most famous of the Oklahoma land rushes started as the Cherokee Strip was opened to white settlement. At noon a cannon fired and 100,000 hopeful settlers raced to claim their stakes. They found that the best parcels had already been taken by "Sooners" who had jumped the gun. A lot of nastiness resulted. As far as the Cherokee were concerned, the real nastiness had already taken place. Read about it here.

And on this day in 1925 jazzman Charlie Byrd and bluesman B. B. King were both born. Wow!

On this day in 1930 the Phillies and the Pirates played the Greatest! Game! Evah!!! Going into the bottom of the ninth the Pirates were leading 10-5. The Phillies rallied to score five runs and send the game into extra innings. In the top of the tenth the Pirates unloaded for four runs to take a 14-10 lead. Then in the bottom of the inning the Phils scored five times to win 15-14. Whew!!!!

And on this day in 1950 the U.S. Eighth Army, led by General Walton Walker, broke out of the Pusan Perimeter and raced north to link up with Douglas McArthur's forces moving south from Inchon. At the time this seemed to be a good strategic move, but failure to round up and neutralize demoralized North Korean forces proved to be a big problem when China decided to jump into the fray.

And on this day in 1972 Phillies Third Baseman Michael Jack Schmidt hit his first major league home run.

And on this day in 1975 the Pirates beat the Cubs 22-zip with Rennie Stennett getting seven hits in seven at bats. Way to go Rennie!