Monday, September 30, 2013

SEPTEMBER 30 = "Peace in our time..."

"My good friends, this is the second time in our history there has come back from Germany to Downing Street (the offices of the British Prime Minister) peace with honor. I believe it is peace in our time."
- British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain (pictured above, center, holding up the piece of paper).

On this date, Septpember 30 in 1938 England concluded the Munich Agreement with Hitler's Germany. In the spring of 1938, Germany's leader Adolf Hitler announced his support for demands by german-speaking citizens of Czechoslovakia's Sudeten region for closer ties to Germany.

Chamberlain's Policy of Weakness and Appeasement In the Face of Nazi Aggression 

 The crisis over the Sudetenland was a cover for Hitler's larger design of creating a "greater Germany". An agreement was forged between Hitler, and England's Prime Minister Chamberlain, and French Premier Deladier during meetings in the city of Munich. Hitler had threatened to take military action if his demands weren't met, and Chamberlain, who was fully determined to preserve the peace at any price, gave in to virtually all of the Nazi leader's demands, pushing the reluctant Deladier to do the same. The Czech diplomats, who were never admitted to the meetings were presented with an agreement which left their country militarily indefensible. In his book "The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich", author William Shirer described the Czech reaction to the Munich agreement:

"For (Czech) President Benes....there was no alternative but to submit. Britain and France had not only deserted his country, but would now back Hitler in the use of armed force should he turn down the terms of the Munich agreement."

Speaking to the British Parliament on October 5, Winston Churchill put his view of the Munich agreement very bluntly indeed:

 "We have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat...the most  
that my right honorable friend the Prime Minister has been able to secure by all of his immense exertions...has been that... the German dictator, instead of snatching his victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course."

In March of 1939, Germany marched into the rest of the now helpless Czechoslovakia, and annexed the entire country to Germany. On Sept.1, 1939, German forces invaded Poland, and war was declared by Britain and France on Sept.3. Chamberlain's appeasement of the belligerent Hitler had failed completely. His "peace in our time" had proven to be a fallacy which lasted less than one year.

READERS!! If you would like to comment on this, or any "Today in History" posting, I would love to hear from you!! You can either sign up to be a member of this blog and post a comment in the space provided below, or you can simply e-mail me directly at: I seem to be getting hits on this site all over the world, so please do write and let me know how you like what I'm writing (or not!)!!


by William L. Shirer, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1960.

"Blood, Sweat and Tears"  by Winston Churchill, 1941.

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+ 64.

Monday, September 23, 2013


Captain Pearson = "Do you surrender? Do you strike?"
Captain Jones = "No sir! I have not yet begun to fight!"

These were the immortal fighting words bellowed by John Paul Jones at the height of his battle with the British frigate the Serapis, on today's date, September 23 in the year 1779.

The Rise of John Paul Jones

John Paul Jones had been born as John Paul in Scotland on July 5, 1747. He began his career on the sea at age 13. In a hard life that included many scrapes with insubordinate crewmen, he rose to prominence as a ship's leader, and eventually gained his first commission in the newly forming Continental Navy. Jones (as he now called himself) had a reputation as a harsh disciplinarian with his men and frequently had disagreements with those who had political influence over him. Nevertheless he championed the American cause as
a commerce raider along the Canadian coast before winding up in France and taking command of the American warship Ranger. After successfully attacking commerce around the coast of Great Britain Jones boldly took the Ranger into an engagement with the larger and more heavily armed British warship Drake. And on April 24, 1777 in one hour shot the British ship to pieces. Despite difficulties with his First Lieutenant, Thomas Simpson over the disposition of this prize, American naval prestige, and Jones' own reputation were given a significant boost with this first victory over a major British warship by the Americans. But political maneuverings in Paris left Lt. Simpson in command of the Ranger, and Jones found himself beached for nearly a year.

John Paul Jones While Beached in France

During this period, Jones became convinced that John Adams, present in France and awaiting his return to America was one of those working against him, calling him "a wicked and conceited upstart." For his part, Adams, who was definitely not working to undermine Jones, nonetheless looked upon him as quite an ambitious man, and had this observation of the young american officer:

"Eccentricities and irregularities are to be expexted from him. They are in his character, they are visible in his eyes. His voice is soft and small; his eye has keeness, and wildness and softness in it."

In the end, Jones was able with the help of the American Minister in Paris, Benjamin Franklin to secure a decrepit old cargo ship, the Duras and immediately began refitting her as a warship. Renaming her the Bonhomme Richard after the character from the writings of his friend and sponsor, Franklin, he added new decks, and streamlined her hull for increased speed. He armed his old, but newly christened frigate with 28 twelve pound cannons for the gun deck, eight nine pounders for the upper decks and six older 18 pounders from the French naval arsenal. On August 14, 1779 Jones set sail from the French port of L'Orient with a motley, and not altogether reliable squadron of smaller ships to raid commerce shipping in and around the coast of the British Isles.

The Bonhomme Richard -vs- the H.M.S. Serapis

It was during the latter portion of this successful mission that a British Baltic Sea convoy was sighted on September 23 under the guard of the brand new 50 gun British frigate HMS Serapis. In the battle that followed, the larger and more powerful Serapis delivered blow after punishing blow to the Richard, "aided" by the bizarre behavior of one of Jones' squadron members in the Alliance, under the command of Pierre Landais, who at one point fired at the Richard. Many of her guns both on the gun decks and the upper decks had been knocked out of action. At one point, with only a few of the Richard's nine pound guns still in operable condition, the commander of the British ship, Captain Richard Pearson, certain that his foe was done for called out to ask if Jones had given up, and got the famous reply which typified Jone's tenacity and fighting skill. As his only way of beating his enemy was

now to close with him and fight it out hand to hand, Jones was able to close with the Serapis and lash Richard to her stern to bow and blast away. In this configuration, the men on the Richard were able to rake the deck of the Serapis with musket fire, and a grenade thrown down the main hatchway of the British ship ignited a number of the cartridges in her gun-room. The resulting explosion spread aft of the gun deck, killing 38 men in one blow. With this dramatic turn of events, Jones and the Bonhomme Richard emerged triumphant.

The carnage aboard both ships had been dreadful. Although historians would glorify this battle, Jones himself wrote that "Humanity cannot but recoil from the prospect of such finished horror." Indeed, the damage done to Jones' own ship, the Bonhomme Richard had been destructive enough that she had to be abandoned in heavy seas two days later, as Jones, his crew and his prisoners watched her sink from the decks of the beaten Serapis. Nevertheless, Jones' pugnacity and fierce determination to fight on had won the day, and set an example of fighting spirit that secured his fame in the annals of US naval history.


John William Coltrane (also known as "Trane"; September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967) was an American jazz saxophonist and composer.
Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes in jazz and later was at the forefront of free jazz. He was prolific, organizing at least fifty recording sessions as a leader during his recording career, and appeared as a sideman on many other albums, notably with trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk.

Ray Charles Robinson (September 23, 1930 – June 10, 2004), known by his shortened stage name "Ray Charles", was an American
musician. He was a pioneer in the genre of soul music during the 1950s by fusing rhythm and blues, gospel, and blues styles into his early recordings with Atlantic Records. He also helped racially integrate country and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his Modern Sounds albums.While with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be given artistic control by a mainstream record company. Frank Sinatra called Charles “the only true genius in show business.”

Carlann Telzerow Evans (September 23, 19??), Violinist, Musician, Jazz Saxophonist, Composer, Free-Lance Musician on the Florida
circuit, Mother, Wife to Alan Evans of Wales, and most importantly (to me anyway) one of the very finest and most loyal and supportive friends I have ever had. Really, baby... I cannot imagine my life without you!! I am not entirely certain what the year of your birth is, and even if I was, you would likely give me serious hell for daring to publish it, so let's just say it was somewhere between 1965-1975 (I think!!) Anyway, take a bow darling!!

ALSO born this date:

Roy Buchanan (September 23, 1939 – August 14, 1988) was an American guitarist and blues musician.

Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949), nicknamed "The Boss."

READERS!! If you would like to comment on this, or any "Today in History" posting, I would love to hear from you!! You can either sign up to be a member of this blog and post a comment in the space provided below, or you can simply e-mail me directly at: I seem to be getting hits on this site all over the world, so please do write and let me know how you like what I'm writing (or not!)!!


"A Pictorial History of the U.S. Navy" - Theodore Roscoe & Fred Freeman
Bonanza Books, New York, 1956, pp. 178-204.

Fighting Ships (Wainwright) by Richard Hough
G.P. Putnam & Sons, New York, 1969, pp. 151-52.

John Adams - David Mc Cullough
Simon & Schuster, New York pp. 213-14.

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

SEPTEMBER 22 = "Forever free..."

"By the President of the United States of America:
A Proclamation.
Whereas, on the twenty-second day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:
That on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the Executive Government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom."

On today's date, September 22 in the year 1862, a mere 155 years ago, United States President Abraham Lincoln issued the statement quoted above: the Emancipation Proclamation.  This document (pictured above), to become effective on January 1, 1863, was limited; it only affected states of the Confederacy.   But it changed the very purpose of the war, and it eventually lead to the end of legal slavery in the United States for good and all. Lincoln had written a draft of  the document earlier that summer, but had been advised that it would be best to wait until a military victory had occurred, so the act would not seem to be a desperation measure.  The Federal victory at the Battle of Antietam, five days earlier brought the right moment, and made Emancipation possible. From this point on, the Civil War became a crusade for freedom itself.

The Need for Emancipation

The need for the Emanci- pation of the slaves had been pressed on Lincoln since the very start of the war.  Repeatedly he had been pressed by Abolitionists both in America and abroad of the need to make Abolition a clear aim of the war.  "The quarrel, cover it with cotton as we may is between freedom and slavery, right and wrong, the dominion of God and the dominion of the Devil..." declared the British paper "the Spectator" in June of 1861.   "We ask you to consider that slavery is everywhere the inciting cause and the sustaining base of treason." wrote Horace Greeley in an open letter on Aug. 20, 1862.  Lincoln had in fact told some of his cabinet members that he was planning a move towards Emancipation as early as July 13 of 1862. But he maintained throughout the war that his main goal was to save the Union. "My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union,...." he declared in reply to Greeley on August 22. "...and is not either to save or destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do it. If I could save it by freeing all of the slaves, I would do it.  And if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I would also do that." But the possibility that the Confederacy might gain recognition by England or France was very real.  The Southern victories at the Battles of Bull Run, and the recent wins by Lee on the Peninsula, and the Seven Days had Prime Minister Palmerston of England speaking openly of the need for European brokered negotiations for peace and separation of the two states.

Lincoln Announces Emancipation to his Cabinet.

So it was that on July 22, 1862, in the scene depicted above that Lincoln announced to his astonished cabinet that he had written up and was planning on delivering in public a proclamation to
free the slaves.  There were various comments, but Lincoln had made it clear that he had already decided upon this step.  Then his Secretary of State, William Seward (left) said: "Mr. President, I approve of the proclamation, but I question the expediency of its issue at this juncture.  The depression of the public mind consequent upon our repeated reverses is so great that I fear the effect of so important a step. It may be viewed as the last measure of an exhausted government, ...our last shriek on the retreat." Lincoln said: "(This) was an aspect of the case that in all my thought upon the subject, I had entirely overlooked." So Lincoln put his draft aside for the moment, changing  a few words here and there waiting for a success on the battlefield. "Finally came the week of Antietam." he said. "I determined to wait no longer. The news came that the advantage was on our side.. I called the cabinet together to hear it, and it was published the following Monday."

The Reaction: Worries, Acrimony, Colored Regiments!

 Lincoln had believed that neither he, nor the congress had the power to alter slavery where it already existed.  But as a war measure to weaken the might of the rebellious states to make war, he definitely had the power as the Commander in Chief to take whatever steps he thought necessary to secure the safety of the Union.  By use of the Emancipation Proclamation, he had not only struck at the main economic base for the Southern economy, but he had also authorized the arming of black men, and the formation of "Colored Regiments", which proved to be an important source of manpower for the rest of the
war. His Navy Secretary, Gideon Welles (left) was worried that this was a dangerous usurpation of power: " exercise of extraordinary power which cannot be justified on mere humanitarian principles..." But welcomed the freed slaves to the fight: "The slaves must be with us or against us in the War.  Let us have them." The Southern reaction was to say the least, acrimonious. Jefferson Davis called the Proclamation "the most execrable measure recorded in the history of guilty man."  But almost immediately the ennobling effect of this raising of the war's aims to the eradication of slavery began to be felt.  Lincoln's Secretary John Hay noticed the new attitude towards the war at a Washington dinner he attended: "It was no longer a question of the Union as it was that was to be re-established. It was the Union as it should be; that is to say washed clean of it's original sin. We were no longer merely the soldiers of a political controversy.  We were the missionaries of a great work of redemption." And abroad the Proclamation had exactly the effect that Lincoln had been hoping for. Neither France nor England was willing to support the South against a Union declared to end slavery.  On January 22, 1863, Henry Adams wrote to Seward: "I feel safe in saying there will be an end to all effective sympathy in Great Britain for the rebellion."  And so did the Union victory at Antietam, however Pyrrhic it was make possible the raising of the war to a higher cause, and thus change the course of the war and of American history itself.


I should also mention that today is also important for another reason:
On this date, 57 years ago Betty Jane and Stuart Woolley brought into the world, their fourth son, Stacey Glenn Woolley.  He has grown up into a dedicated conservative, a truly talented musician, a member of the Detroit and Cincinnati Symphony Orchestras, a devoted husband, an excellent dad, a first rate trouble-maker and not least of all my best friend in the world since we met in Mrs. Preston's Kindergarten Class at Westwood Elementary School in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1964.  A truly goofy man AND a FIRST-RATE Trouble-Maker!! Happy Birthday, Bubby!!


Another important person was born on this date as well... my friend from my High School days, a fellow graduate with Stacey and I of Western Hills High School right here in Cincinnati,  Ms. Tammy Hicks Jeffcoat whom I have come to know more recently as one of the more dedicated followers and supporters of this Blog.  Thank you Tammy for your friendship and support of my humble effort here in the "Blogosphere", and also for reading what I write carefully and for coming up with some of the most perceptive questions about my writings that I've ever gotten in the comments on FB.  Do have a Happy Birthday today, and keep on reading!!


"The Diary of Gideon Welles" , Houghton Mifflin Co., New York, 1911

"The Inner Life of Abraham Lincoln" by F.B. Carpenter, Houghton, Osgood & Co., Boston, 1879

- Episode 3, "Forever Free", Dir. by Ken Burns, PBS Video, 1989.

By Doris Kearns Goodwin, Simon & Schuster Paperbacks,
New York, 2006.

By Bruce Catton, American Heritage Publ..Co. Inc., New York, 1960.

+ 194.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

SEPTEMBER 19 = Krushchev in Disneyland? "NYET!!"

"And I say, I would very much like to go and see Disneyland. But then, we cannot guarantee your security, they say. Then what must I do? Commit suicide? What is it? Is there an epidemic of cholera there or something? Or have gangsters taken hold of the place that can destroy me?"

And thus did Soviet Premier Nikita Krushchev cement his place in the hearts of the American people by throwing a hissy fit for the press after his exclusion from a tour of Disneyland on today’s date, September 19 in 1959. Krushchev had come to the United States to confer with President Eisenhower. Ike was very worried that an arms race would ensue between the United States and the Soviet Union which might bankrupt both countries if tensions between the two nations were not eased. With his presidency nearing its end, Ike was determined to do whatever he could to head this off. It was with this in mind that he had invited the gruff and blunt Soviet leader to the United States for a visit in 1959. But before coming to Washington, Kushchev was to stop first in California on a sort of good-will, get acquainted visit to the heart of Americas popular culture in Hollywood.

Marilyn Monroe Meets Nikita

A visit to the studios of 20’th Century Fox was arranged. The cream of what was then Hollywood’s elite lunched with the Soviet leader. Bob Hope, Frank Sinatra, David Niven and even Marilyn Monroe met the odd-looking, and rather fat little man who had his finger on the other end of the nuclear red button. Monroe’s reaction was quite, well… quite Marilyn.

“According to her maid she later said, ‘ I could tell Krushchev liked me. He smiled more when he was introduced to me than for anybody else…. He squeezed my hand so long and hard that I thought he would break it. I guess it was better than having to kiss him.’ She could not see how someone ‘fat and ugly’ with ‘warts on his face’ could become the leader of so many people. ‘Who would want to be a Communist with a President like that? …. I guess there’s not much sex in Russia.’”

Mickey Bar the Door!!

Problems arose when the subject of a visit to Disneyland in Anaheim was raised. Accounts available on-line differ as to the genesis of the Premier’s request. Some say that Krushchev simply expressed a desire to see the amusement park. Other accounts say that a visit had been planned for Mrs. Krushchev all along, and that her husband decided to go along. Whatever the case, when security officials were consulted they said that there simply wasn’t the time to arrange the extensive security precautions that would be necessary for the Soviet Premier to visit the park in safety. So this man who clearly was not accustomed to hearing the “N” word had to be told just that, and he was furious. It was at a meeting with the press later that day that his temper boiled over, and he let loose with the regrettable tirade above.

So, Where Was Walt in All of This??

There was some talk that Walt Disney, a staunch conservative had torpedoed the idea. But Blogger Jim Hill has said that quite the
contrary– old Walt was actively looking forward to getting the publicity that Krushchev’s visit would certainly have brought to his Amusement Park which was then only four years old. As a matter of fact he even had some lines prepared to banter with Nikita:

“Disneyland's PR staff envisioned creating a photo opportunity by having Walt and Khrushchev stand on the ‘Submarine Voyage’'s loading dock as all eight of the ride's faux subs floated by. Disney's gag writers even provided a quip for Walt to casually toss off at this photo op. As Nikita looked out at all of those subs, Disney was supposed to say: ‘Well, now, Mr. Khrushchev, here's my Disneyland submarine fleet. It's the eighth largest submarine fleet in the world.’”

Peter Ustinov as Krushchev????

According to Hill, Walt Disney even had a comedy film based on the incident in mind, and that he even had an “A – list” actor,
Peter Ustinov lined up and quite anxious to shave his head and play the role of a Soviet leader, who when denied his opportunity to visit this wondrous play-land, disguised himself, dodged his own security people and sneaked off to visit the place on his own. And of course, hilarity would ensue. Unfortunately, Walt Disney died in 1966, just as the project was nearing fruition. And the rather timid souls who took over in his place, considered the idea too risky and canned the project permanently. A pity, that!!

READERS!! If you would like to comment on this, or any "Today in History" posting, I would love to hear from you!!  You can either sign up to be a member of this blog and post a comment in the space provided below, or you can simply e-mail me directly at:  I seem to be getting hits on this site all over the world, so please do write and let me know how you like what I'm writing (or not!)!!

Sources  =

"May Day - Kruschev, Eisenhower and the U-2 Incident" by Michael R. Beschloss, Harper & Row Publ., New York, 1986

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+ 1023.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

SPECIAL: The Washington Navy Yard: History, HONOR.

The Navy Yard at Washington D.C. does indeed have a long and illustrious history.  It has always been a fine and impressive location to work at in full view of the wonders of our democracy,  and the strength and the superb traditions of the United States Navy.  The reason behind my posting this today -- the attack Monday by a deranged mad-man upon the people who work there in order to assist our Navy in keeping us free and the world safe -- is a truly sad reason to be mentioning this fine and venerable place.  But I want to remind my readers of the tradition and history of this place before the tales of Monday's tragic events become so ingrained in our minds that we think of little else.  I hope that in the future, we think of the history and honored service of this place and not just the actions one sick man. The rest of this posting can be found at:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

SEPTEMBER 17 = The Battle of Antietam

"There was a single item in our advan- tage but it was an impor- tant one. McClellan had brought superior (above: Lincoln & General McClellan, October 3, 1862)  forces to Sharpsburg.  But he had also brought himself"

- An aide to General Lee.

"In making his battle against great odds to save the Republic, General McClellan had committed barely 50,000 infantry and artillerymen to the contest.  A third of his army did not fire a shot.  Even at that, his men repeatedly drove the Army of Northern Virginia to the brink of disaster, feats of valor entirely lost on a commander thinking of little beyond staving off his own defeat."

- Stephen W. Sears, historian.

The Battle of Antietam was fought on this date, September 17 in 1862, 151 years ago. It was certainly the most significant battle of the American Civil War up to that point.  But some historians believe it was the most significant battle of the entire war, perhaps even in American history.  However, this claim is based not so much on what happened during the battle, but what happened five days after the battle.  So for those of my "Today in History" readers who groan at the thought of another posting devoted to another bloody battle, just read the following sentence, and then move on to my posting for September 22:  the Union "won" the Battle of Antietam, and showed that however impressive the Confederacy was on the battlefield, it could still, in fact probably would still be beaten. But for those of you interested in the contest of wills, the poignancy, as well as the tragedy of armed combat, read on.

General George B. McClellan: the Little Napoleon.

General George B. McClellan (right) was a brave officer. He had the complete confidence of his troops who affectionately called him "Little Mac". He was also called "the Young Napoleon" because of his way with his army.   He had trained the Union's Army of the Potomac into a first rate fighting force. But once he had them  ready to go, he could not bear to risk them in battle.  He was hampered by caution to a nearly disabling degree.  And in the Peninsula Campaign wherein he laid siege to the Confederate capital of Richmond, he had shown the sort of inability to move quickly which would characterize his entire command history. The Confederacy had appointed Robert E. Lee to command her troops and Lee would soon show the dash and the daring that made him such a legend.   McClellan thought that Lee would be cautious, but had completely misjudged him. And in the Battle of the Seven Days (6/25 - 7/1, 1862) Lee had chased McClellan's much larger force back into Maryland. McClellan was constantly over estimating the size of his opposition, and refusing to move against them.  Even when Lee's battle plans were found wrapped around a bundle of cigars on Sept. 13, he did nothing for 18 crucial hours, thus giving Lee time to assemble his dispersed forces.

The Battle of Antietam

At Antietam, McClellan's failure to bring all of his forces to bear had grave consequences.  Instead of fighting all along his 4 mile front in coordinated attacks, where his superior numbers would make the difference, McClellan had three separate battles. At about 6:00 a.m. the Union forces under Joseph Hooker attempted to turn the rebel left flank held by Stonewall Jackson's men by attacking through a cornfield in front of the Dunker church. The battle raged back and forth across this cornfield for hours.  In the words of reporter George W. Smalley: "In ten minutes the fortune of the day seemed to have changed; it was the rebels now who were advancing pouring out of the woods in endless lines, sweeping through the cornfield which their comrades had just fled." Hooker's men were unable to take the cornfield, and the rebel left flank held.

A Landscape Turned Red - the Sunken Road

The Battle now shifted at about 10:00 a.m. to the center of the rebel line along a sunken road; a natural rifle pit for the Southern defenders. It was dubbed "Bloody Lane." Time and again Federal troops under Generals Sumner and Richardson stormed the road only to be driven back.  Eventually a New York regiment found a spot from which to fire down on the Southern defenders.  Private David Thompson of the 9'th New York Infantry recalled: " we rose and started all the fire which had been  held back so long was loosed.  In a second the air was full of the hiss of bullets and the hurtle of grapeshot.  The mental strain was so great I saw at that moment the singular effect... the whole landscape turned slightly red.  I see again, as I saw it then in a flash, a man just in front of me drop his musket and throw up his hands, stung into vigorous swearing by a bullet behind the ear."  The Confederate line was nearly broken at this spot. A push forward with his reserves would have split Lee's forces. But McClellan thought it imprudent - he was worried about the giant rebel force he thought that he faced.

General Burnside and the Bridge Over Antietam Creek

The battle finally came to the Rebel right flank and the stone bridge over the creek which gave the battle it's name: Antietam. The bridge was just southeast of the town of Confederate-held town of Sharpsburg. The troops of General Ambrose Burnside numbered over 12,000, and the rebels a mere 400.  But the rebels also controlled the bluff overlooking the bridge from which they rained down a steady stream of fire upon the Federals.  Three hours and as many bloody charges went by before the Union finally got across, and started up the slope to Sharpsburg. Then, just when it seemed that the union might
have finally overtaken General Lee's army, A.P. Hill (left) arrived with reinforcements from Harper's Ferry. Henry Kyd Douglas, an aide to Gen. Jackson remembered what happened next: "But then, just then, A.P. Hill, picturesque in his red battleshirt, with 3 of his brigades, 2500 men, who had marched 17 miles from Harper's Ferry and had waded the Potomac, appeared upon the scene. Tired and footsore, the men forgot their woes in that supreme moment, and with no breathing time braced themselves to meet the coming shock. They met it and stayed it. The blue line staggered and hesitated, and hesitating, was lost." Burnside's men were thrown back to the bridge. He begged McClellan to send up reinforcements. But the Little Napoleon was still convinced that the rebels had masses of men waiting to do what Hills' Corps had just done. So McClellan refused to commit his unused reserves, and by nightfall, Burnside was obliged to fall back across the stone bridge for which his men had fought so valiantly.

The Aftermath: the Union Has a "Victory", But Lee Escapes 

On the morning of September 18, Lee prepared for a Union attack which never came.  After a brief truce to gather up the wounded and begin burying the dead, his army which had held off the Union but which was in fact greatly depleted by casualties moved back
across the Potomac into Virginia.  McClellan declined to pursue them.  Confed- erate dead at Antietam (right) numbered 1,546 with total casualties of 10,318. The union lost 12, 401 casualties with 2.108 dead.  This was the greatest number of American casualties in one day ever, double the number on D-Day in Europe some 82 years later.  And at this point Lee was greatly outnumbered.  But despite repeated requests and finally orders from Lincoln to go after the Rebels, McClellan still dallied and stalled. Finally, Lincoln relieved him of command on November 6. The great Battle of Antietam had been a stand-off for all intents and purposes.  The union had suffered more casualties than the Confederacy.  But because Lee's invasion of Maryland had been halted, and because he had left the field, it was cast, and widely seen as a Union "Victory".  And that is it's true significance.  Because it was seen as a Union victory something became possible five days later which changed the nature and the course of the war itself, and of American history.  For more details on that, the real epilogue to this day of   bloodletting, read my posting for September 22......


Episode 3, "Forever Free", Dir. by Ken Burns PBS Home Video, 1989.

Edited by Stephen W. Sears, Literary Classics of the United States Inc.,
New York, 2012.

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Sunday, September 15, 2013

SEPTEMBER 14 = President McKinley Dies.

“So enchanting was the vision of a stateless society, without government, without law, without ownership of property, in which, corrupt institutions having been swept away, man would be free to be good as God intended him, that six heads of state were assassinated for its sake in the twenty years before 1914. They were President Carnot of France in 1894, Premier Canovas of Spain in 1897, Empress Elizabeth of Austria in 1898, King Humbert of Italy in 1900, President Mc Kinley of the United States in 1901, and another Premier of Spain, Canalejas, in 1912. Not one could qualify as a tyrant. Their deaths were the gestures of desperate or deluded men to call attention to the anarchist idea. “

So writes Barbara Tuchman in her book “The Proud Tower” about the world just before World War One. She goes some way in describing the world-wide epidemic of political terrorism that swept the globe in those years, in a way which is very similar to the wave of Muslim terrorism that currently threatens the peace and stability of the free world. This wave culminated with the shooting on September 6 of 1901 of United States President William Mc Kinley. The President had been at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo and had been gunned down by by the crazed anarchist Leon Czolgosz and, his wounds eventually took his life on this day, September 14, 1901.

William McKinley is Elected President

Born on Jan. 29, 1843, in Niles, Ohio, William McKinley (below) had served in the Civil War and got himself elected to the U.S. House of Representatives at the age of 34. Tariffs - taxes imposed on imported goods and services -  were a very hot political issue at that time, and McKinley became a leading Republican authority on the idea of protective tariffs during his 14 years in the House.  But the McKinley Tariff became very controversial and he was redistricted out of his House seat in 1890. Still, McKinley was elected to two two terms as
governor of Ohio in 1891 and '93.  By 1896, he had emerged as the leading Republican candidate for president and with the help of his ally, the wealthy industrialist Mark Hanna, McKinley was elected President in 1896 over the fiery democratic orator William Jennings Bryan by a huge margin.  During his first term, McKinley became a protector of big business interests and promoted the gold standard of currency.   But it was in matters of foreign policy that his administration had its most long lasting effects.  He lent U.S. support to the rebels in Cuba who were fighting for independence from the Spanish empire. This resulted in the thorough thrashing of Spain in the Spanish American War (April to August of 1898), and the loss of what remained of the old Spanish Empire in Cuba and the Philippines. For the first time, the U.S. became an imperial power, and was on her way to becoming a world power. All of this could be said to have enraged these anarchists, but it is unlikely that anything would have satisfied them in their weird world view anyway. Tuchman continues:

The Anarchist Movement

“No single individual was the hero of the movement that swallowed up these lives. The Idea was its hero. It was, as a historian of revolt has called it, 'a daydream of desperate romantics.' It had its theorists and thinkers, men of intellect, sincere and earnest, who loved humanity. It also had its tools, the little men whom misfortune or despair or the anger degradation and hopelessness of poverty made susceptible to the Idea until they became possessed by it and were driven to act. These became the assassins. Between the two groups there was no contact. The thinkers in press and pamphlet constructed marvelous paper models of the Anarchist millennium; poured out tirades of hate and invective upon the ruling class and its despised ally, the bourgeoisie; issued trumpet calls for action, for a 'propaganda of the deed' to accomplish the enemy’s overthrow. Whom were they calling? What deed were they asking for? They did not say precisely. Unknown to them, down in the lower depths of society lonely men were listening. They heard echoes of the tirades and the trumpets and caught a glimpse of the shining millennium that promised a life without hunger and without a boss. Suddenly one of them, with a sense of injury or a sense of mission, would rise up, go out and kill – and sacrifice his own life on the altar of the Idea.”

Anarchist of Yesterday = Islamic Terrorists of Today

Yes, there was a time in the past, just a little over a century ago wherein the bright-eyed mystics of a particular faith went on espousing how that faith would magically rid the world of all of it's demons. And in that same way, the Islamic Terrorist leaders of today preach a global jihad; a war in which by the way they rarely put themselves personally at risk. The Anarchists of old rarely went beyond their dewey-eyed philosophy into the real world inhabited by the hate-filled
dim-wits whom they exhorted to suicidal attacks against the rest of us.  In this same way the hate-filled apostles of world-wide Jihad preach to angry mobs, and terrorist splinter groups calling for attacks against Embassies, individuals, or even fast-food restaurants... anything representing what they hate: freedom and the prosperity it fosters. But they rarely ever risk themselves in the vicious cycle of death into which they throw their young people and their anonymous malcontents. The pattern of today is remarkably similar to the pattern of 100 years ago.

President McKinley is Shot on September 6, 1901.

So it was with McKinley's murderer. With his new running mate, Theodore Roosevelt – who had been the trouble-making reforming Governor of New York, whom New York party boss Thomas Platt had contrived to kick upstairs into the oblivion of the Vice Presidency --
McKinley in 1900 was re-elected as president by huge margins over (yet again) William Jennings Bryan. McKinley was attending the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. On September 6, while standing in a receiving line, McKinley was approached by Czolgosz, an unemployed Polish-American who had a .32 caliber revolver in his hand which was wrapped in a handkerchief. The psycho shot our president twice at close range. One bullet was deflected by a button on McKinleys suit. Unfortunately, the other entered the presidents stomach, passed through the kidneys, and lodged in his back. When he was operated on, doctors failed to find the bullet, and gangrene soon spread throughout his body. For several days it looked as if McKinley might pull through. But his health suddenly took a severe turn for the worse on the 13’th, and early on the morning of this date, he died. Czolgosz ranted on in his confession about the poor man, Emma Goldman and free love. The jury at his trial deliberated one hour before passing a verdict of guilty. He went to the chair on October 1 of that year. And now “that damned cowboy” as party boss Mark Hanna called him, was President!!

READERS!! If you would like to comment on this, or any "Today in History" posting, I would love to hear from you!!  You can either sign up to be a member of this blog and post a comment in the space provided below, or you can simply e-mail me directly at:  I seem to be getting hits on this site all over the world, so please do write and let me know how you like what I'm writing (or not!)!!


The Proud Tower: A Portrait of the World Before the War: 1890-1914 by Tuchman, Barbara by Barbara Tuchman, MacMillan Publ. Co., New York, 1962.

The Life and Times of Theodore Roosevelt by Stefan Lorant, Doubleday & Co., New York, 1959.

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

SEPTEMBER 11 = 9/11 Sixteen Years Later...

"Today, our fellow citizens, our way of life, our very freedom came under attack in a series of deliberate and deadly terrorist acts. The victims were in airplanes, or in their offices; secretaries, businessmen and women, military and federal workers; moms and dads, friends and neighbors. Thousands of lives were suddenly ended by evil, despicable acts of terror. The pictures of airplanes flying into buildings, fires burning, huge structures collapsing, have filled us with disbelief, terrible sadness, and a quiet, unyielding anger. These acts of mass murder were intended to frighten our nation into chaos and retreat. But they have failed; our country is strong. "

- President George W. Bush, September 11, 2001

The Murderers Strike at Our Nation

Early on the morning of this day, September 11 in 2001, nearly 3,000 people were murdered by fanatical muslim terrorists. Their murderers were 19 individuals - members of a terrorist attack group named Al-Qaeda. These murderers had hijacked four commercial passenger jet airliners which they then intentionally crashed. Two of the airliners were flown into the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City, killing all on board as well as many people working in the adjacent buildings of the World Trade Center (WTC) Complex. Both of the Twin Towers collapsed within two hours, destroying several nearby buildings of the WTC and damaging others. The hijackers crashed a third airliner into the Pentagon building in Arlington, Virginia, just
outside of Washington, D.C.(right). The fourth plane went down in a field near Shanksville in rural Pennsylvania (below), after its passengers and flight crew, having determined the hijackers aims, attempted to retake control of the plane, which the hijackers evidently planned to use on some other target in Washington, D.C. , possibly the White House or the Capital building. There were no survivors from any of the flights. A total of 2,980 human beings perished in
in these attacks.  All 19 of their murderers died as well. The vast majority of those who died were innocent civilians - citizens of over 90 countries around the world, although most of them were Americans who along with the freedom and prosperity which they represented were the obvious targets of the killers. A large number of the casualties were brave members of the New York City Fire and Police departments, who responded to the emergency, and sacrificed their lives in the line of duty. In his remarks quoted above President Bush responded to the events that very night. Later, on September 20, in an address to the nation before for a joint session of Congress, he said:

"Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing. Some will remember an image of a fire, or a story of rescue. Some will carry memories of a face and a voice gone forever. Each of us will remember what happened that day, and to whom it happened. We'll remember the moment the news came -- where we were and what we were doing."

An Ordinary Morning at U.T. Austin, Until....

For my own part, I was sitting at my desk in the Brass Woodwind and Percussion Instrument Room of the University of Texas at Austin School of Music. I was working at my computer when
my fine colleague Tony Zapata, the School of Music's Business Manager came in to his job at the Business Office which was then just down the hall from my location. "Brian did you hear that a plane has crashed into the World Trade Center in New York City?" he asked. I had not heard of this. I frequently had a radio playing in my office, but that particular morning I did not. I had images in my mind of a private plane crashing into one of those huge towers in a fog . I turned on the radio, and reports made it sound like considerably more serious than that. So I pulled out a small color TV which I kept in that office, as a part of my job was to check out TV/Video monitors for classroom use. I do not remember the exact time, but the first strike occurred at 8:46 a.m., and as fate would have it I turned on the TV just as the strike on the second tower was being shown. This was not, I think as it happened - which was at 9:03 a.m., but it was only a few minutes later. As I saw this image I was frozen with fear imagining what it must have been like for the passengers on that plane. Clearly, this was more than just the small accident that I had at first imagined.

The Rest of the Day Was a Horrified Blur

I remember a jumble of images from the rest of that day. Calls from friends and colleagues discussing what had happened. E-mails from a former student, as well as questions about whether the University would remain open also came to my office. U.T. did indeed remain open, but I also remember making the morning run for mail across campus, and seeing that every automobile entrance to the University power plant had been blocked with heavy equipment - trucks or bulldozers. I stopped in the student union building, and saw that every television monitor in the food court had small crowds of students huddled around it silently watching as the horror unfolded. The same happened with one of the TV monitors in the Music Building lobby which usually had only announcements on it's screen, but which had been turned on to news reports. It was there that I first saw the picture of the Marines raising the flag atop Mt. Suribachi during tha Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II place alongside of the photo of firemen doing the same with the flag atop the wreckage of the WTC. This photo pairing had a particularly strong significance for me, as my father had been both a combat veteran of the battle on Iwo Jima, and a fireman for 25 years after the war.

Those are my memories of what happened to me in my world on 9/11. What are your memories? Where were you when you heard about it? What were you doing? How did it affect you? Please do write in to this blog and tell me. Or write to me at: Even now, 14 years later, they are relevant and important for you, for ME and for ALL Americans to know about.  Whatever you were doing, it is your small part of history. and I hope that you will write in and tell me, tell us all about it.  I have in the posting just before this one written out the recollections of many of the people I know, and even a few whom I do not know, of what they were doing that day, how they heard about it, and how it affected them. I hope that you will give that a look.

Like a Certain Sunday in 1941....

Clearly our world had changed. In the remainder of his remarks that September 20 speech before congress, our President reminded us of another world changing attack upon us and our freedom that had happened to a previous generation:

"On September the 11th, enemies of freedom committed an act of war against our country. Americans have known wars -- but for the past 136 years, they have been wars on foreign soil, except for one Sunday in 1941. Americans have known the casualties of war -- but not at the center of a great city on a peaceful morning. Americans have known surprise attacks -- but never before on thousands of civilians. All of this was brought upon us in a single day -- and night fell on a different world, a world where freedom itself is under attack.

How Have We Changed Since Then?

We have, as a people become considerably more vigilant about the threat of terrorism. An entire new department of government has since been created: "the Department of Homeland Security." The regime which allowed the terrorist vermin to fester, that of the Taliban in Afghanistan was uprooted and bombed nearly out of existence. Nevertheless, many elements of the Taliban continue to exist and threaten the peace and freedom of the world. A subsequent war was fought in Iraq, which was highly controversial, and was said by many, and not in my opinion without reason, to have taken our national focus away from the Taliban in Afghanistan. But that war ultimately lead to the death of one more middle-eastern despot, and more indirectly in my opinion to the "Arab Spring" that has followed, and to the formation of the terrorist state "ISIS", and all of the murderous activities it promotes.  BUT whatever the paranoia that may exist (or NOT) visa-vie Muslim Americans, I am eternally proud that my generation did NOT resort to the Internment Camps to which Japanese Americans were subjected in the 1940's, nor anything REMOTELY like it. And as to the filthy murdering scum who was the primary author of this violence, Osama Bin Laden, he now is being eaten by the fishes. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu said "Congratulations America, Congratulations, Mr. President, you got Bin Laden... GOOD RIDDANCE!!" To which I can only add may Bin Laden and all of his minions rot in hell.

READERS!! If you would like to comment on this, or any "Today in History" posting, I would love to hear from you!!  You can either sign up to be a member of this blog and post a comment in the space provided below, or you can simply e-mail me directly at:  I seem to be getting hits on this site all over the world, so please do write and let me know how you like what I'm writing (or not)!

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SEPTEMBER 11 = 9/11: What Were YOU Doing That Day?

Betty Mallard, UT Austin School of Music:

I remember exactly where I was and what I was thinking on 9/11/01. I had gone to school early to pick up something. I walked past Charles Ball's office and he had his TV on. I glanced in and SAW a plane fly into the building and thought he was watching a movie. Then went back home, Harry was working in the garden and Dani (Danielle Martin) called me, hysterical, with the news that we, the USA, had been attacked. TV went on and there was the horrifying news. Later that day we had an Executive Committee meeting. It was interesting hearing the differing reactions of the faculty regarding holding the meeting on that day. Rose Taylor spoke about how she felt we were not showing proper reverence for what had happened by holding the meeting--a justified view-point. I think it was Don Grantham who said he had wanted to have the meeting to keep things going--since the people that did this were after disruption of our country.

Jennifer Mc Donough, San Francisco, California:

I remember Jim woke me up very early in the morning 6:00 am (He often gets up early and turns on the news and reports back to me about anything crazy that is going on, usually I would rather get some sleep, the news can wait!) or so, turned on the TV and said "Look what happened!" I was lying with our 2 month old baby Quinn. We both watched ,stunned. Every channel was covering the news!

Donna Messerle, Cincinnati, Ohio:

My story for that day is probably sort of boring. That's why I didn't respond to your question. But I'll share it with you anyway and you can be the judge!

On that horrible day, I was a stay at home mom. My kids were at school, husband at work and I was at home cleaning my house.

My husband called and told me to turn on the TV stating that a plane had crashed into one of the Twin Towers. Not having a TV in his office, he was relying on me to be his eyes. I remember seeing that and instantly feeling ill as I described to my husband the scene that was before me. As I was talking to him the second plane then hit. I screamed into the phone what had just occurred. My husband didn't believe me. He thought it was just a repeat of what had already happened with the first tower. He stayed on the phone with me as I cried and described the horrific scene. A bit of time had passed I remember telling him, "It's going to fall." He said, "No way that building is going to fall" I said it again, "It's going to fall. I'm telling you, It's going to fall." He really didn't believe me.

Honestly Brian, I don't think I was "right" for a couple of months. I remember nothing "felt" right. I couldn't find a place that "felt" the same. Negativity was everywhere. I'd never experienced that feeling before or since.

Amy Alexander Power, Cincinnati, Ohio :

On that horrible day, I was teaching school—Norwood Middle School—6th grade. The school I taught in was not affluent, but we did have old television sets in each of our classrooms. That morning, as my students and I were working on reading comprehension activites, an announcement came over the PA to turn on our TVs as we needed to see an emergency news report. We were also told to stand by for Code Red—which means “teacher talk”—get ready to move students to safe grounds. I had no idea what to expect, and certainly did not expect to see the horror I saw unfolding on the television. What made it particularly terrible for me was that I was watching it with my students—ages 11-13years of age. I will never forget their faces as they watched the planes, the smoke. It was surreal. At first, many of the them, thought it was a movie of some sort. I watched them realize that this was all for real and many began to cry and shake. They asked me what they should do, where should we go. Would there be planes coming for us? Unbelievably, I was able to calmly reassure them that we were together and that I would make sure that nothing happened (although I was not sure of this myself). I began to worry about how I would get to my own daughter who was at her own school. What about my mother? So many things flash through your mind at times like these.

As they day unfolded, with more horror and more information on what was really happening, revealed,  I wondered what is happening to my America? I am proud of how the we, the American people, came together during this tragedy. I am proud of how President Bush responded to the situation. I particularly loved his “Ground Zero” speech to the rescue workers! We are a great and resilient people! Good will win!

Hope Barnett, Mason, Ohio:

I didn't have to work that day, so I slept in. I got up and turned on the radio and heard the
djs talking about what happened. I then turned on the TV just before the second building collapsed. I was all alone except for my dog. Mom was in Colorado (where my sister, Penny lived at the time) babysitting for a month while my sister and her husband were in Manhattan on business. He traveled the country teaching seminars and had to be in New York for that trip, and Penny went with him. When I saw what was happening, I called Mom immediately and said "Where's Penny?" and she said "I haven't heard from her, but Ryan's secretary called and said she is okay." Penny was able to get through to her because it was a 1-800 number and they were not clogged up like all the other lines were, so she called her and asked her to call Mom to let her and her kids know she was okay. Penny said she was in a hotel that was right next door to the Empire State Building, and heard the first plane go by. She was in bed and thought to herself "Wow, that sounded low!", but she didn't get up to look at it until later. We didn't get to hear from her directly until later that night and she was walking around the city and it was a ghost town. The city that never sleeps was like it had never been before - still and quiet. As for me, here at home, my dog followed me around all day - she never left my side. She could tell something was terribly wrong and she wanted to make sure I was okay. I was having anxiety attacks just thinking about what happened to us as a nation. I couldn't stop watching the footage. I was a mess, as we all were!

Marilyn Williams, Indiana:

On the morning of 9/11/2001 my husband and I were in the office of our Eye Dr. We were preparing to leave, when the receptionist got a phone call. It was obviously from a friend or family member, and not a patient. All of a sudden her conversation went from being friendly and upbeat to being VERY SERIOUS. We could tell from the look on her face, that she was being told of something very horrible that was going on. When she hung up, she hurriedly went to the back room of the office and turned on the TV set. She told everyone in the office the news of the first plane crashing into the tower and we watched for a few minutes. We left the office and hurried home to watch the 2nd plane fly into the second tower and were riveted to the TV for the rest of the day.

Carlann Evans, Fort Meyers, Florida:

Normally I have the TV on to the NBC Today Show. But I decided to have a quiet morning, do some cleaning (as I was 8 months pregnant!!) and then the phone rang. No. It wasn't about the attack, just yet. It was my mother-in-law from England. She was deciding on a date for when she should come over after the baby was born. I had so much on my mind with this being our first child that at that moment in time, I was in my own world until....

Then I can't exactly remember how, or who told me, but I was in the living room of my Ft. Myers apartment. I think my husband Alan called me and told me to "Turn the TV on, there’s been an attack". The enormity of it did not immediately sink in as I was trying to figure out what was going on. Then, my father called me from Cleveland. He was visiting my brother there - a rarity for him to travel let me tell you. In a strange way, I was glad he was there and with family. Not on his own like he normally is.

It all seemed too surreal that all we did the rest of the day was watch the TV. I can't really remember much after that as it was more of a feeling - the deepest kind of foreboding, and sadness. Here I was about to experience what should be the most joyous event in anyone’s life, and all these lives had been cut short in front of my eyes. Literally. I could hardly bear to watch, yet, watch I did. And I cried. The emotions are so strong that you can't think you can feel something that deep....and to think of the pregnant women who lost their husbands on that day made me worry that if I got too emotionally involved I might somehow hurt my own unborn was all too much.

We are commemorating this event in our orchestra. I know that I will feel some of those same feelings again, even while on stage, and it will be hard to contain myself, yet I don't care. We should weep for these people who lost their lives. Who steered the plane away from homes. For all those growing up without a parent, son, daughter, mother, father, wife or husband. Time helps, and we do have joy in life, but we should also remember.

Chris Lee, Cincinnati, Ohio

I was asleep. Got a call from my Grandmother in NY city saying the city was getting bombed. My
parents are from NY city so I have a lot of family there. It took me a minute to digest what she said so I turned on the TV and saw the smoking towers. Get this story:
My Mom had an accountant out there that handled my Grandmother’s (who passed away in 1997) accounts. My Mom had to call him about stuff when that happened and couldn’t get hold of him all week... As it turns out... he overslept for the first time in like 30 years, thus missing the train that took him to work at the WTC. So oversleeping saved his life. Everyone in his office was killed. Another story: My Aunt had a job interview in the WTC the week before and also had another job interview closer to home in the Bronx. The WTC job paid more but as I said, the second job was closer to home. My Aunt decided to take the more lucrative job in the WTC. The weekend before, my Mom calls her and says "You should probably take the job closer to home." My Aunt took my Mom's advice and wasn't at the WTC when it went down.

Carol S., Troy, Ohio:

I was a manager for McDonald's at the time. I worked the very early shift and that day happened to be my short day that week. I got off of work at 9am. I was just finishing things up, reports and telling the manager relieving me all the important information you exchange at shift change when a customer came in and said an airplane had just hit one of the twin towers in NYC. We were not very busy so I continued to stand at the counter, speculating what sort of plane and talking with the customer about that poor pilot. We all assumed that the plane was one of those small planes that had somehow gotten too close or gone off course.

As we stood there a few other customers came in and said they had heard the same thing. Then one came in and said it was an airliner, not a private plane. I called my husband and asked him if he'd heard. He worked second shift and had been sleeping. He woke up and as we talked about it, the second plane flew into the other tower. He was in shock. I passed along this information to my co-workers and hurried home. I only lived five minutes from home. Our children were in school and it was so surreal as I sat on the sofa watching everything unfold before my very eyes.

I remember when the first tower collapsed. I couldn't believe it. It seemed like something out of a movie, but this was real. They kept showing the planes flying into the building from different angles as they received them from people that had been recording for one reason or another. The stories started to pour in. Some true, some not. I can't remember if the second tower collapsed before I heard about the Pentagon or after, but I remember my heart racing. Knowing this was not a coincidence. That we were under attack.

I remember the video of the president being informed and I recall thinking, our lives have changed forever on this day. The day just got worse at every turn. Then we then heard about the flight in Pennsylvania crashing into a field and knowing this had to have something to do with these other attack. Everything was a blur the rest of the day, but I can still vividly remember sitting on our sofa, not budging. Afraid I would miss some important information. Hearing those alarms go off from the firefighters that were buried under the rubble of the buildings and hugging my children extra tightly when they came home from school that day. We watched late into the night and for days afterward. I will never forget that day as long as I live.

Larry Noak, Cincinnati, Ohio:

It was a Gorgeous morning in Cincinnati,Crisp,sunny and wonderful. I was sweeping the Anderson branch Library parking lot,a task that I loved. A patron drove to the book drop and, rolled down his window and, asked if I had heard the news. I promptly went inside the branch and told Judy Hollweg Hatfield. She went across the street and got a 13 inch TV. All of this occurred in time for us to watch the second plane hit live. At that point we were all INSTANTLY aware of the significance of the events. I would say we were all rattled and unsure of the future... some have tried to downplay the importance of this day...I find it criminal

Esmail Khalili, UT Austin School of Music:

Woke up with my roomie and listened to it on the radio driving to the music building. I didn’t really know what was going on till we got to campus and saw people watching it on the TVs by the green couches (in the foyer of the UT Austin School of Music). Classes were canceled. I spent the rest of the day just watching and making phone calls. I had quite a bit of family in NY.

Patricia Knueven, Cincinnati, Ohio:

My father picked me up from college and was driving me to the bank. We heard the news on the radio. I had no clue what this meant. Until that day I didn't even know about the World Trade Centers and not even that much about New York City. Once I arrived back on campus, I flipped on the news and in horror watched a video stream of the plane impact. I knew it was significant. I didn't cry though. I believe I was in shock and felt like I was watching a horror movie unfold. It totally did not seem like reality to me for a long time afterwards even. I was a Junior that year. I clearly thought that our lives as citizens of the United States would forever be changed from that moment on.

Cecilia Barker, Cincinnati, Ohio:

I was 6 months pregnant when 9/11 happened. I was getting ready for class at home in Clifton with CNN on in the background. At first, I thought the first plane was a tragic accident and then when the second hit, I knew something was up.

I never made it to class that day at NKU and instead was glued to the tv in anticipation of what was to happen. The following days were the worst. My, then husband, became really paranoid about anthrax and other scares to the point that I was not allowed to bring the mail into our apartment. This lasted until our son was born. Then, my husband, became worse and insisted we needed a fire arm to protect ourselves (he and I are both pacifists, so this was difficult to swallow) and our new son from harm. It was a very stressful way to introduce this new life to the world.

David Bird, Cincinnati, Ohio:

I had been asleep for about 30 minutes, having worked the night shift at the aircraft brake plant in Walton. My youngest son Andrew (11), who had stayed home from school with a sore throat, exploded up the stairs and shook me wide awake by yelling, "Dad, dad, an airplane just hit the World Trade Center in New York!"

Now wide awake with heart racing I inquired in rapid succession, "What kind of airplane? Was it an accident?"

He shot back with, "I don't know." on both counts.

We hurried down stairs to the living room and watched the TV images of a smoldering tower, in shock, but with great interest for several minutes.
My questions were answered when we watched the second airplane hit the other tower a few seconds later. It was horrible, but it was infuriating. Somebody had done this on purpose.

The rest of the day was spent in front of the TV and on the phone calling family and friends just to check in and share the horrible events and of that day.

Many thoughts and images come to mind: the Twin towers collapsing, dust clouds, bodies and debris falling from the sky, people running and grieving, the Pentagon, where is the President?, evacuating the White House, armed F-16s in our skys, airplanes grounded, people celebrating in Gaza, the thought that somebody's gonna pay dearly for this! , I wonder if the Marines will take me back after all these years?

I called my oldest son at Purdue University who reported that some "foreign students were celebrating opening on campus".

They apparently dispersed after an angry crowd began to form.

It also occurred to me late in the afternoon "I gotta get some sleep so I can go back to work and make more airplane brakes". That, I decided, was my part in the battle that would surely follow. My company produced brakes for the USAF C-17, which would ultimately deliver the troops and millions of tons of weapons and materiel that would even this score.

David Wyatt, North Carolina:

On 9/11/01, my wife & I were working 3rd shift, so obviously we were asleep when it all happened. But, I awoke at 11:41 AM, & I can't tell you why I remember the time but I do, & went to the restroom. I saw a message was on our machine, so I thought I might need to check it out. It was my Dad, all worked up, saying that the Twin Towers & the Pentagon had fallen to terrorists. Still a little groggy, I figured he must have been mistaken, but he said to turn on the TV, which I did, & as they say, the rest is history.
Before that time, again, I really don't know why, but I had enjoyed noticing how many planes I could see in the sky at the same time, & I had often counted as many as 6 at once. But that evening as we drove to work, of course, there were absolutely no planes in the air, & it is hard to describe the eeriness of that sight. I also began to think of my relationship with the Lord even more, & though I was not walking as close to Him as I should, it was a joy to realize that would I have been in either of those buildings & had my life snuffed out on earth, I would have immediately been in the presence of my wonderful Savior due to His perfect sacrifice on the cross for me. Working at BBN, the Bible Broadcasting Network, also brought opportunities to share the Gospel with others, & listen to the concerns of others with their fears & heart cries. Thanks for this opportunity to share these thoughts bro. Brian. God Bless.

Tracy Espejo:

To begin with, I was in NYC the weekend before 9/11. I went to a Yankees game at Yankee Stadium on Friday night. On Saturday night, we ate at an Italian Restaurant in SoHo. We ate next to two guys who were in town on business. One stayed at the hotel Millennium that was destroyed. We drove back to Boston (where I was living at the time) on Sunday 9/9.

I went to work on 9/11 like everyday. I worked at a charter school in Lynn, Ma and was there by 7:30. I taught starting at 8, took my students to specials (10:30), and I saw a fellow teacher crying the hall. I asked what happen and she told me. I called my husband (ex), Mike. He told me that a plane had flown into the twin towers and they fell. I called him a liar because I was watching a taped (Live) news cast. He told me that it happened two hours ago. I asked about his cousin, who lived in SoHo, but worked in Jersey. Mike told me that he watched both towers fall out the window of his work. He worked across the Hudson River from Lower Manhattan. His girlfriend was supposed to have to have a meeting at WTC Tower #1 at 9:00. He finally got a hold of her at 3:00 P.M. because of the overloading of the phone lines. She was fine, but was on her way to the meeting when the first plane hit. As far as the gentlemen we ate with them, we don't know what happened to them. I spent the afternoon trying to explain what happened to my 6th grade students. It was difficult because we didn't know much at that time and on top of that, I had a Muslim student too. That evening, Mike's family got together to watch all the news, we spent it with another cousin who lived in New Jersey, but happened to be in Boston that week. It was hard to wrap my brain around what happened.

One month later, we were back in NYC and tried to get as close as were allowed at the time. There was still smoke rising from the debris, and there were windows blocks away that happened to be blown out by the falling of the the towers. By that point, there were hundreds of flyers that were still up for missing people. Pictures, names, info about missing loved ones. All around Manhattan, there were make-shift memorials to those who died on that day.

Kim Moore, Cincinnati, Ohio:

I was at work that morning wehn a co-worker said her husband called with news a plane had hit
the WTC . We assumed it was a small plane. When news came of the second plane we became aware that it was a deliberate attack. We turned on radios to listen in and heard about the pentagon and then Shanksville PA. I felt like my world was spinning. Things have come "right" but have never been the same. I have never been more proud of my countrymen than on that day."

Maurice Russell, Denver, Colorado:

I was getting my 4yr old stepson ready for school when first plane hit. When I took him to school, my then-wife called my cell telling me a second plane hit. I walked back into the school, and pulled my son out and came back home..I was freaking out and crying

Mrs. Sara Batangi Cuthbertson, Sydney, Australia:

On 9/11... I was asleep when it happened and when I turned the TV on before I went to school. It was all over the news and for that day at school it's all anyone was talking about, who did it, conspiracy theories etc... but after about a week it wasn't really mentioned again, down here

Jessica Guilliam Valls, Austin, Texas:

I had just arrived at a middle school in Austin, TX, to teach a few lessons, and heard about the first plane on the radio. They thought it was an accident at that point. When I left the school 2.5 hours later, I heard all the terrible news and arrived home about an hour after the second tower fell. What a sad, sad day it was.

Amy Osweiler Thompson, Cincinnati, Ohio:

I was sleeping when the first plane hit. Woke up when my dad came in from looking at cars...he raced home...the first thing i thought of it was a cargo plane that got lost or something. I know that sounds weird but at the time....hind sight and all...I just couldnt believe it. I do think they need to show the planes hitting the buildings on the anniversary. Too many people have forgotten it. But the news media wont....their afraid it might offend the Muslims...well what about us Christians!!

Mary Anne Bruner, Flagstaff, Arizona:

I was here in Flagstaff, getting ready for classes. A friend caught me on the phone, said "turn on the TV", and hung up. I sat, mesmerized by the unbelievable, unthinkable acts. I taught my afternoon class, but sent out an email blast that we would be talking about "the incidents", and anyone who felt uncomfortable or unable to join in would be excused. More than one of my (college) students asked to be excused, so they could go donate blood. It was an incredible outpouring of caring, a need to DO something. The irony for me is, I was on the 92nd floor of the South Tower in late July.

Annette Benevides, Austin, Texas:

I was sleeping in before my first class my junior year in college. My land line rang and I
immediately thought, "who the hell would call me this early on my "late day?" It was my mother, who told me to turn on the tv, that planes had hit the world trade center. I put the tv on and sat there in shock staring at the replays of the towers being hit. Hearing all of the panic, the misinformation, the radios and tvs were filled with so many shaky voices. It was the first time in my life that something truly awful had ever happened, and I had no idea what was going to come next. I think that's the day I "grew up.”

Merilynn Rose, Cincinnati, Ohio:

I was in the living room with the kids when it came on TV. I was shocked. The boys and I watched not knowing what was really going on. We hugged and said thank you God for all of us here. Right after that, my sister called and said Jenny (my niece) had been in the tower the day before applying for a job. What a difference a day can make in a family’s life. We were so grateful that she didn’t choose 9/11 to go there. We were saddened at the loss and pissed at the same time at the responsible party involved. I never wished anyone dead, but at that moment I wanted our forces to find the S.O.B. and the rest of his posse and do them in.

Amanda Daniel, Austin, Texas:

I was a senior in high school on September 11, 2001. I was in my first period class when the teacher next door came into our classroom to tell my teacher something with a scared look on her face. We tried getting service on the classroom tv, and we all started logging onto the Internet. It was very scary. I went to Del Valle High school, so we were pretty close to Austin Bergstrom International Airport, and we were on lockdown. I'll never forget that day, and watching live on tv the World Trade Center tower collapse. That whole day all we talked about was what happened, and watched it all on tv. It was a very scary day! God bless all the men and women that were lost that dreadful morning.

Judith Camps; UT Austin School of Music:

As for 9/11, it was my mother’s birthday; however, I was at work and Francesca or someone heard it on the news and Elaine (Law) found a TV and we watched it off and on in the conference room up here. Being September everyone was still busy with beginning of the semester stuff so we just watched the TV off and on. We couldn’t believe it.

Associated Press/Justin Lane
Robert Peraza, who lived in Mason at the time of the 9/11 attacks, pauses at his son's name at the North Pool of the 9/11 Memorial before the 10th anniversary ceremony on Sunday Sept. 11, 2011, in New York

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