Archive for August 17th, 2008

17
Aug
08

On This Day, 8-17-2008: Woodstock Concludes

Woodstock Music Festival concludes

On this day in 1969, the grooviest event in music history–the Woodstock Music Festival–draws to a close after three days of peace, love and rock ‘n’ roll in upstate New York.

Conceived as “Three Days of Peace and Music,” Woodstock was a product of a partnership between John Roberts, Joel Rosenman, Artie Kornfield and Michael Lang. Their idea was to make enough money from the event to build a recording studio near the arty New York town of Woodstock. When they couldn’t find an appropriate venue in the town itself, the promoters decided to hold the festival on a 600-acre dairy farm in Bethel, New York–some 50 miles from Woodstock–owned by Max Yasgur.

By the time the weekend of the festival arrived, the group had sold a total of 186,000 tickets and expected no more than 200,000 people to show up. By Friday night, however, thousands of eager early arrivals were pushing against the entrance gates. Fearing they could not control the crowds, the promoters made the decision to open the concert to everyone, free of charge. Close to half a million people attended Woodstock, jamming the roads around Bethel with eight miles of traffic.

Soaked by rain and wallowing in the muddy mess of Yasgur’s fields, young fans best described as “hippies” euphorically took in the performances of acts like Janis Joplin, Arlo Guthrie, Joe Cocker, Joan Baez, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Sly and the Family Stone and Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. The Who performed in the early morning hours of August 17, with Roger Daltrey belting out “See Me, Feel Me,” from the now-classic album Tommy just as the sun began to rise. The most memorable moment of the concert for many fans was the closing performance by Jimi Hendrix, who gave a rambling, rocking solo guitar performance of “The Star Spangled Banner.”

With not enough bathroom facilities and first-aid tents to accommodate such a huge crowd, many described the atmosphere at the festival as chaotic. There were surprisingly few episodes of violence, though one teenager was accidentally run over and killed by a tractor and another died from a drug overdose. A number of musicians performed songs expressing their opposition to the Vietnam War, a sentiment that was enthusiastically shared by the vast majority of the audience. Later, the term “Woodstock Nation” would be used as a general term to describe the youth counterculture of the 1960s.

“Woodstock Music Festival concludes.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Aug 2008, 03:13 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=52837.

 

On This Day

1790 – The capital city of the U.S. moved to Philadelphia from New York City.

1807 – Robert Fulton’s “North River Steam Boat” (known as the “Clermont”) began heading up New York’s Hudson River on its successful round-trip to Albany.

1815 – Napoleon began serving his exile when he arrived at the island of St. Helena.

1877 – F.P. Cahill became the first person to be killed by “Billy the Kid.”

1903 – Joseph Pulitzer donated a million dollars to Columbia University. This started the Pulitzer Prizes in his name.

1943 – The Allied conquest of Sicily was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.

1945 – The nationalists of Indonesia declared their independence from the Netherlands.

1960 – The Beatles began their first engagement away from England.

1962 – 18-year-old Peter Fechter was killed by East German border guards when he attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector.

1968 – Deep Purple’s “Hush” was released.

1969 – Hurricane Camille hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast killing 248 people.

1977 – Florists Transworld Delivery (FTD) reported that in one day the number of orders for flowers to be delivered to Graceland had surpassed the number for any other event in the company’s history.

1986 – 42 people were beaten or stabbed at a Run D.M.C. concert in Long Beach, CA.

1987 – Rudolph Hess died after apparently committing suicide. Hess was the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle.

2002 – In Santa Rosa, CA, the Charles M. Schulz Museum opened to the public.

 

 

Dakota (Sioux) uprising begins

Minnesota erupts in violence as desperate Dakota Indians attack white settlements along the Minnesota River. The Dakota were eventually overwhelmed by the U.S. military six weeks later.

The Dakota Indians were more commonly referred to as the Sioux, a derogatory name derived from part of a French word meaning “little snake.” They were composed of four bands, and lived on temporary reservations in southwestern Minnesota. For two decades, the Dakota were poorly treated by the Federal government, local traders, and settlers. They saw their hunting lands whittled down, and provisions promised by the government rarely arrived. Worse yet, a wave of white settlers surrounded them.

The summer of 1862 was particularly hard on the Dakota. Cutworms destroyed much of their corn crops, and many families faced starvation. Dakota leaders were frustrated by attempts to convince traders to extend credit to tribal members and alleviate the suffering. On August 17, four young Dakota warriors were returning from an unsuccessful hunt when they stopped to steal some eggs from a white settlement. The youths soon picked a quarrel with the hen’s owner, and the encounter turned tragic when the Dakotas killed five members of the family. Sensing that they would be attacked, Dakota leaders determined that war was at hand and seized the initiative. Led by Taoyateduta (also known as Little Crow), the Dakota attacked local agencies and the settlement of New Ulm. Over 500 white settlers lost their lives along with about 150 Sioux warriors.

President Lincoln dispatched General John Pope, fresh from his defeat at the Battle of Second Bull Run, to organize the Military Department of the Northwest. Some Dakota fled to North Dakota, but more than 2,000 were rounded up and over 300 warriors were sentenced to death. President Lincoln commuted most of their sentences, but on December 26, 1862, 38 Dakota men were executed at Mankato, Minnesota. It was the largest mass execution in American history.

“Dakota (Sioux) uprising begins.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Aug 2008, 03:05 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2286.

Carlson’s Raiders land on Makin Island

On this day in 1942, Lt. Col. Evans F. Carlson and a force of Marine raiders come ashore Makin Island, in the west Pacific Ocean, occupied by the Japanese. What began as a diversionary tactic almost ended in disaster for the Americans.

Two American submarines, the Argonaut and the Nautilus, approached Makin Island, an atoll in the Gilbert Islands, which had been seized by the Japanese on December 9, 1941. The subs unloaded 122 Marines, one of two new raider battalions. Their leader was Lt. Col. Evans Carlson, a former lecturer on postrevolutionary China. Their mission was to assault the Japanese-occupied Makin Island as a diversionary tactic, keeping the Japanese troops “busy” so they would not be able to reinforce troops currently under assault by Americans on Guadalcanal Island.

Carlson’s “Raiders” landed quietly, unobserved, coming ashore on inflatable rafts powered by outboard motors. Suddenly, one of the Marines’ rifles went off, alerting the Japanese, who unleashed enormous firepower: grenades, flamethrowers, and machine guns. The subs gave some cover by firing their deck guns, but by night the Marines had to begin withdrawing from the island. Some Marines drowned when their rafts overturned; about 100 made it back to the subs. Carlson and a handful of his men stayed behind to sabotage a Japanese gas dump and to seize documents. They then made for the submarines too. When all was said and done, seven Marines drowned, 14 were killed by Japanese gunfire, and nine were captured and beheaded.

Carlson went on to fight with the U.S. forces on Guadalcanal. He was a source of controversy; having been sent as a U.S. observer with Mao’s Army in 1937, he developed a great respect for the “spiritual strength” of the communist forces and even advocated their guerrilla-style tactics. He remained an avid fan of the Chinese communists even after the war.

*My Uncle Ernie may have been one of these guys.

“Carlson’s Raiders land on Makin Island.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Aug 2008, 03:10 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6554.

East Germans kill man trying to cross Berlin Wall

East German guards gun down a young man trying to escape across the Berlin Wall into West Berlin and leave him to bleed to death. It was one of the ugliest incidents to take place at one of the ugliest symbols of the Cold War.

The 1962 incident occurred almost a year to the day that construction began on the Berlin Wall. In August 1961, East Berlin authorities began stringing barbed wire across the boundary between East and West Berlin. In just a matter of days, a concrete block wall was under construction, complete with guard towers. In the months that followed, more barbed wire, machine guns, searchlights, guard posts, dogs, mines, and concrete barriers were set up, completely separating the two halves of the city. American officials condemned the communist action, but did nothing to halt construction of the wall.

On August 17, 1962, two young men from East Berlin attempted to scramble to freedom across the wall. One was successful in climbing the last barbed wire fence and, though suffering numerous cuts, made it safely to West Berlin. While horrified West German guards watched, the second young man was shot by machine guns on the East Berlin side. He fell but managed to stand up again, reach the wall, and begin to climb over. More shots rang out. The young man was hit in the back, screamed, and fell backwards off of the wall. For nearly an hour, he lay bleeding to death and crying for help. West German guards threw bandages to the man, and an angry crowd of West Berlin citizens screamed at the East German security men who seemed content to let the young man die. He finally did die, and East German guards scurried to where he lay and removed his body.

During the history of the Berlin Wall (1961 to 1989), nearly 80 people were killed trying to cross from East to West Berlin. East German officials always claimed that the wall was erected to protect the communist regime from the pernicious influences of Western capitalism and culture. In the nearly 30 years that the wall existed, however, no one was ever shot trying to enter East Berlin.

“East Germans kill man trying to cross Berlin Wall.” 2008. The History Channel website. 17 Aug 2008, 03:07 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2762.

17
Aug
08

Nelson Dewey State Park: Stonefield

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17
Aug
08

A Full Moon

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