Archive for May 28th, 2009

28
May
09

White-tailed Deer: Doe in Distress

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With their winter fur gone, White-tailed Deer turn a reddish brown color this time of year.  This deer is trying to comprehend all the noise across the road.  She has gotten separated from the herd.  The deer have rendezvous points inside the park so they can reconnect with the herd when separated.  She wants to go to one of those rendezvous points but can’t because the campers have set up their tents and campers between her and the rendezvous.

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After she spotted me, she looked back toward the woods and decided to run and hide.

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28
May
09

On This Day, May 28: Belgium Surrenders

May 28, 1940

Belgium surrenders unconditionally

On this day in 1940, after 18 days of ceaseless German bombardment, the king of Belgium, having asked for an armistice, is given only unconditional surrender as an option. He takes it.

German forces had moved into Belgium on May 10, part of Hitler’s initial western offensive. Despite some support by British forces, the Belgians were simply outnumbered and outgunned from the beginning. The first surrender of Belgium territory took place only one day after the invasion, when the defenders of Fort Eben-Emael surrendered.

Disregarding the odds, King Leopold III of Belgium had tried to rally his forces, evoking the Belgian victory during World War I. The Belgian forces fought on, courageously, but were continually overcome by the invaders.

By May 27, the king of Belgium, realizing that his army was depleted and that even retreat was no longer an option, sent an emissary through the German lines to request an armistice, a cease-fire. It was rejected. The Germans demanded unconditional surrender. Belgium’s government in exile, stationed in Paris, repudiated the surrender, but to no avail. Belgium had no army left to fight. In the House of Commons, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill defended King Leopold’s decision, despite the fact that it made the British troops’ position, attempting to evacuate Dunkirk, in northern France, more precarious.

King Leopold refused to flee the country and was taken prisoner by the Nazis during their occupation, and confined to his palace. A Belgian underground army grew up during the occupation; its work including protecting the port of Antwerp, the most important provisioning point for Allied troops on the Continent, from destruction by the Germans.

“Belgium surrenders unconditionally,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6467 [accessed May 28, 2009]

On This Day

1533 – England’s Archbishop declared the marriage of King Henry VIII to Anne Boleyn valid.

1774 – The First Continental Congress convened in Virginia.

1863 – The first black regiment left Boston to fight in the U.S. Civil War.

1928 – Chrysler Corporation merged with Dodge Brothers, Inc.

1937 – U.S. President Roosevelt pushed a button in Washington, DC, signaling that vehicular traffic could cross the newly opened Golden Gate Bridge in California.

1961 – Amnesty International, a human rights organization, was founded.

1976 – The Peaceful Nuclear Explosion Treaty was signed, limiting any nuclear explosion – regardless of its purpose – to a yield of 150 kilotons.

1998 – Dr. Susan Terebey discoved a planet outside of our solar system with the use of photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope.

May 28, 1987

Matthias Rust lands his plane in Red Square

Matthias Rust, a 19-year-old amateur pilot from West Germany, takes off from Helsinki, Finland, travels through more than 400 miles of Soviet airspace, and lands his small Cessna aircraft in Red Square by the Kremlin. The event proved to be an immense embarrassment to the Soviet government and military.

Rust, described by his mother as a “quiet young man…with a passion for flying,” apparently had no political or social agenda when he took off from the international airport in Helsinki and headed for Moscow. He entered Soviet airspace, but was either undetected or ignored as he pushed farther and farther into the Soviet Union. Early on the morning of May 28, 1987, he arrived over Moscow, circled Red Square a few times, and then landed just a few hundred yards from the Kremlin. Curious onlookers and tourists, many believing that Rust was part of an air show, immediately surrounded him. Very quickly, however, Rust was arrested and whisked away. He was tried for violating Soviet airspace and sentenced to prison. He served 18 months before being released.

The repercussions in the Soviet Union were immediate. Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sacked his minister of defense, and the entire Russian military was humiliated by Rust’s flight into Moscow. U.S. officials had a field day with the event–one American diplomat in the Soviet Union joked, “Maybe we should build a bunch of Cessnas.” Soviet officials were less amused. Four years earlier, the Soviets had been harshly criticized for shooting down a Korean Airlines passenger jet that veered into Russian airspace. Now, the Soviets were laughingstocks for not being able to stop one teenager’s “invasion” of the country. One Russian spokesperson bluntly declared, “You criticize us for shooting down a plane, and now you criticize us for not shooting down a plane.”

“Matthias Rust lands his plane in Red Square,” The History Channel website, 2009, http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2681 [accessed May 28, 2009]




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