Edited by Gerald Boerner
After looking back at the importance of books, it is interesting to look at the various events that have occurred on this day in history. This was the day that witnessed the publication of that great American novel by Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter. It was also a great day in the history of space travel and exploration, witnessing the launch of the first liquid-fueled rocket by Robert Goddard, the "Father of Modern Rocketry." It was also the day, thirty-five years later, that honored that pioneer in rocketry with the naming of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. It also marked the first American visit to the Soviet’s Mir Space Station by Astronaut Norman Thagard.
The U.S. Military Academy (West Point) was founded on this day while we also learned about the first major atrocity of the Vietnam War, the My Lai Massacre, led by Lt. William Calley who was convicted of murdering 22 civilians, but served less than four years for his offense; this was a miscarriage of justice! Finally, this day witnessed the announcement that Robert Kennedy would run for the U.S. Presidency only to be assassinated after winning the California primary less than three months later. This day was also marked the day that former Italian Prime Minister, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped by members of the Red Brigades; he would be found dead 55 days later after the Italian government refused to negotiate with the kidnappers. So this was quite an eventful day…
On this day in 1802, the U.S. Congress founded the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. This academy would be used to train potential young officers in military science. Some of the outstanding graduates included Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, George Armstrong Custer, Jefferson Davis, Douglas MacArthur, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. This was, indeed, a watch list of our greatest generals. To set this event into a historical perspective, this academy was established just a year before Thomas Jefferson commissioned Lewis & Clark to explore the western lands along the Missouri River. It was also two years before the Louisiana Purchase of lands west of the Mississippi River to the boundaries of the Spanish holdings in North America. These two events would be linked together during the settlement of those western lands following the Civil War.
On this day in 1850, that great American novelist, Nathaniel Hawthorne, published the novel, The Scarlet Letter. This novel was based upon the male-centered, religiously bigoted society of the Massachusetts Colony. It portrayed the harsh treatment of a young woman who was considered immoral and who refused to identify her companion. Ironically, but not unexpectedly, the male companion was one of the religious leaders of the colony who failed to admit to his misdeed! So much has not changed in society since then, hasn’t it?
This was a great day for the "Father of Modern Rocketry," the American physicist Robert Goddard. In 1926 he launched his first liquid-fueled rocket. This rocket technology would be used by the great German rocket scientist, Wehrner von Braun, and later American rocket scientist, especially those at the fledgling California Institute of Technology, Cal Tech. In 1961, exactly 35 years after Goddard’s first successful rocket launch, the new NASA research facility, the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, was named in Goddard’s honor. Ultimately, through Goddard’s research, the development of the V-2 rocket by von Braun, and the work of the Cal Tech researchers, the United States would launch its first successful satellite in the early 1958 to recover from the embarrassment from the Soviet’s launch of Sputnik I in 1957. We started to recover from the embarrassment of the Soviet’s space first.
This was also a day of shame on several fronts. On this day, in 1968, Senator Robert Kennedy announced that he would run for the U.S. Presidency for the Democratic Party. Less than three months later, Kennedy would be killed by the assassin Shirhan Shirhan in the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after finding out that he had won the California primary election. This was a sad day for the Kennedy family and a sad day for the American people.
Also, on this day in 1968, the worse atrocity of the Vietnam War would occur at Mỹ Lai. Several hundred unarmed civilians by a platoon of soldiers led by Lt. William Calley. The Mỹ Lai Massacre would be covered up for about a year and a half later; Calley would be convicted of killing twenty-two civilians, but would only serve less than four years. This was not justice!
On this day, in 1978, the former Prime Minister of Italy, Aldo Moro, was kidnapped by terrorist from the Red Brigade and held for ransom. When the Italian government refused to negotiate for Moro’s release, his body was found fifty-five days later. This was the beginning of a wave of terror in Italy and other parts of Europe.
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
[ 1501 Words ]
Quotations Related to Robert F. Kennedy:
“I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.”
— Robert Kennedy
“Now I can go back to being ruthless again.”
— Robert Kennedy
“One-fifth of the people are against everything all the time.”
— Robert Kennedy
“Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.”
— Robert Kennedy
“I was the seventh of nine children. When you come from that far down you have to struggle to survive.”
— Robert Kennedy
“All of us might wish at times that we lived in a more tranquil world, but we don’t. And if our times are difficult and perplexing, so are they challenging and filled with opportunity.”
— Robert Kennedy
Notable Events of the Day: March 16th…
Noteworthy Events on this Day:
James Madison, the fourth U.S. president, is born in Port Conway, Virginia.
The United States Military Academy (West Point), founded by the U.S. Congress to train students in military science, is established at West Point, N.Y. Famous West Point graduates include Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee, George Armstrong Custer, Jefferson Davis, Douglas MacArthur and Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne is published.
American physicist and father of modern rocketry Robert Goddard, one of the first people to envision the future of space travel, launches the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket from his aunt’s farm in Auburn, Mass. The rocket, known as “Nell,” travels 41 feet in the air during its 2.5 second flight.
Exactly 35 years after Robert Goddard launched the first liquid-fueled rocket, the Goddard Space Flight Center — a $27 million NASA research facility named in his honor — is dedicated in Greenbelt, Md. Goddard’s pioneering rocket, known as "Nell," traveled 41 feet in the air during its 2.5-second flight on March 16, 1926.
Sen. Robert F. Kennedy announces he will run for the Democratic Party’s nomination for president. Kennedy will be assassinated less than three months later in Los Angeles after claiming victory in the California primary.
A platoon of U.S. soldiers led by Lt. William Calley kills several hundred unarmed men, women and children in the South Vietnamese village of Mỹ Lai. The event is covered up for more than a year and a half until journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the story to the American public. Only Calley, found guilty of personally murdering 22 civilians, is convicted of crimes related to the Mỹ Lai Massacre; he serves less than four years under house arrest.
Former Italian prime minister Aldo Moro is kidnapped by members of the Italian left-wing terrorist group known as the Red Brigades, hours before he was to sign a historic compromise between his Christian Democratic Party and the Italian Communist Party. The Italian government refuses to negotiate with his captors, and Moro will be found dead 55 days later.
Astronaut Norman Thagard becomes the first American to visit the Russian space station Mir.
Video SparkNotes: Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter… (10:05)
Check out Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter Video SparkNote: Quick and easy The Scarlet Letter synopsis, analysis, and discussion of major characters and themes in the novel. For more The Scarlet Letter resources, go to www.sparknotes.com/lit/scarlet.
Previously Posted Topics:
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Robert H. Goddard: Father of Modern Rocketry…
Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Family Tradition: Robert Kennedy, Seeking the Presidency…
Wikipedia: Goddard Space Flight Center: Honoring "Father of Modern Rocketry"…
Wikipedia: My Lai Massacre: Shameful Event Led by Lt. William Calley…
Wikipedia: United States Military Academy at West Point: Founded by Congress…
Wikipedia: Nathaniel Hawthorne: The Scarlet Letter is Published in 1850…