Edited by Gerald Boerner
There were a number of significant international and domestic events that are associated with this day. We will emphasize one international and three domestic events in this post. The major international event occurred in the mid-20th century India after the partitioning of the former British Colony of India, the Crown of the British Empire, into a Muslim country, Pakistan, and a traditional Indian (Hindu) one. In fact, Pakistan started out as a divided country — East Pakistan (Bangladesh) and West Pakistan. When the country was partitioned under U.N. supervision starting in 1948, a great deal of turmoil and interracial conflict occurred. If a family’s home was in the wrong religious section, the family was forced to yield their homes and move to the other country. This happened both ways — Muslims left the new India for one of the sections of Pakistan and the Hindus left the new Pakistan for India. Much conflict flared on the roads as both groups, upset at leaving their homes, attacked those of the other religion along the roads. It was a mess. In 1950, Rajendra Prasad was elected as the first president of the new Indian state. He faced the task of bringing the new transplants into a very structured, caste-defined society. He was able to accomplish this pretty successfully to bring modern, post-colonial India into the family of nations.
There were also two less attention-grabbing, but historically-important events on this day in the international scope. In 1788, a small convoy of ships landed in Sydney Harbor in Australia under the oversight of Captain Arthur Phillips. His entourage included several ships that carried 700 British prisoners who would be house in a new penal colony in New South Wales; Australia was considered to be an optimal location for housing difficult prisoners due to its isolated location and difficulty in returning to the U.K. This day continues to be celebrated as “Australia Day” down under in commemoration of this initial landing of British citizens.
A second international event to be considered occurred in 1970 when a Navy pilot, Lt. Everett Alvarez, Jr., was shot down over North Vietnam during the bombing campaign against Hanoi and Haiphong harbor. Alvarez was put into a North Vietnamese Prisoner of War camp, becoming the first POW captured over North Vietnam. He would remain a POW for over 2000 days before being released after the signing of the Paris Peace Accords.
On the domestic front, with a tie-in to the international scene, was the recognition of the heroism of a regular soldier, Audie Murphy, for his feats during World War II in Europe. Murphy was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor in 1945 for his defense of the men of his unit against a strong force of German infantry supported by five tanks. Audie Murphy became the the most decorated soldier from World War II. He fought in the Operation Torch landings in North Africa, the landings on the beaches of Anzio in Italy, and in the southern campaign in France. It was in the latter he exhibited his heroic behavior in the face of an overwhelming enemy in defense of the other men in his unit. Murphy also fought in the Korean War. After his wartime feats, he starred in movies among other activities.
On this day we also saw the premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, The Phantom of the Opera, opened in the Majestic Theater on Broadway. I remember watching the performance of this play in Los Angeles with awe of the staging, songs, and performance of the actors. The original production, in 1988, starred the vocal talents of Sarah Brightman (one of my favorite songstresses) and Michael Crawford as the Phantom. I went away from it totally overwhelmed, as I’m sure that the original Broadway crowds did at its opening. It has been performed on Broadway nearly 10,000 times, becoming the longest-running play in Broadway history. Believe me, it deserves all the honors that it has received. I still love to listen to the CDs of the cast of that original ensemble and never tire of it — it lifts up one’s soul!
Also on this day, we saw the appointment of Dr. Janet G. Travell as the personal physician by John F. Kennedy in 1961. After JFKs assassination, Travell stayed on as the personal physician for Lyndon Johnson during his tenure as President. Finally, on a downbeat note, this was the day in 1998 on which President Bill Clinton denied having an affair with former White House intern, Monica Lewinsky, at a White House press conference. His denial statement, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky,” was much discussed when he posed the question, at a later time, “What is Sex?” That was not a highlight of the U.S. Presidency!
Well, that sort of sums things up on this day. As you will see on the timeline of the events on this day, there were some other events associated with this day, but we’ve used up our space for this post. All in all, today bore witness to many notable events that played themselves out on the pages of history. To fully understand them, one needs to read and learn more about the context of these happenings to fully appreciate their importance since the events of today really represent the veritable “tip of the iceberg.” Come back again to catch a small window on the events of another day!
We now will proceed to examine some of the events that are associated with day in history... GLB
These Introductory Comments are copyrighted:
Copyright©2012 — Gerald Boerner — All Rights Reserved
[ 1513 Words ]
Quotations Related to Audie Murphy:
“And freedom is what America means to the world.”
— Audie Murphy
“They were singing in French, but the melody was freedom and any American could understand that.”
— Audie Murphy
“I Knew why I felt at home. The spirit of freedom was hovering over that play yard as it did all over France at that time. A country was free again.”
— Audie Murphy
“I’m glad that it didn’t take as long to get Shepard off the ground as it’s taken this series. I’d begun to think the Congo would be ahead of us in the space race before Whispering Smith ever got on the air.”
— Audie Murphy
“The true meaning of America, you ask? It’s in a Texas rodeo, in a policeman’s badge, in the sound of laughing children, in a political rally, in a newspaper… In all these things, and many more, you’ll find America. In all these things, you’ll find freedom. And freedom is what America means to the world. And to me.”
— Audie Murphy
Notable Events of the Day: January 26th…
Noteworthy Events on this Day:
Benjamin Franklin writes to his daughter that the turkey would be a better national symbol than the bald eagle.
Under the command of Captain Arthur Phillip, the first European settlers to Australia land in present-day Sydney Harbor, as 11 British ships carrying more than 700 convicts arrive to found the penal colony of New South Wales. The anniversary of their arrival is now celebrated as Australia Day.
Michigan becomes the twenty-sixth state.
Louisiana secedes from the Union.
American skater Charles Jewtraw wins the 500-meter speed skating event and takes home the first gold medal of the inaugural Winter Olympic Games, held in Chamonix, France.
Audie Murphy, the most decorated U.S. combat soldier of WWII, is wounded while holding off a German attack in eastern France.
Rajendra Prasad is sworn in as the first president of the newly proclaimed Republic of India, ending nearly a century of British colonial rule.
President John F. Kennedy appoints Janet G. Travell to be his personal physician, making her the first woman to hold the post. After Kennedy’s assassination, Travell, an expert in the treatment of myofascial pain, would serve as President Lyndon B. Johnson’s official physician.
Navy Lt. Everett Alvarez Jr., the first American aviator shot down over North Vietnam, spends his 2,000th day as a prisoner of war.
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical The Phantom of the Opera opens at the Majestic Theater in New York, starring Sarah Brightman and Michael Crawford. With nearly 10,000 performances so far, it is the longest-running play in Broadway history.
President Bill Clinton denies having an affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky, categorically announcing at a White House press conference that "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky."
Audie Murphy Presidential Medal of Freedom Info… (7:00)
Previously Posted Topics:
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Audie Murphy: Most Decorated Soldier of World War II…
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Rajendra Prasad: Sworn in as 1st President of India…
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: John F. Kennedy: Janet G. Travell Appointed Personal Physician…
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Andrew Lloyd Webber: The Phantom of the Opera Opens…