Edited by Gerald Boerner


Introductory Comments:

JerryPhoto_thumb2_thumb_thumbThis day, we celebrate the death of St. Patrick who brought Christianity to the Emerald Isle, Ireland. We celebrate this event by parades, wearing of the green and drinking green beer while eating corned beef & cabbage. This day also witnessed one of the first victories of the American patriots against the British in the Battle of Dorchester Heights where Col. Henry Knox performed his seemingly miraculous feat of moving cannons and powder from the captured Fort Ticonderoga to Boston almost overnight. The British, when confronted with these armaments, withdrew from Boston to New York.


This was also a day of several naval accomplishments in submarine warfare; the first practical submarine (USS Holland) was launched on this day and the first of a new class (USS Skate) broke through the North Pole’s Ice Pack. It was also the day that saw the launch, by NASA, of the Vanguard 1 solar-powered satellite. In addition, Theodore Roosevelt recognized the effectiveness of investigative journalism by the "Muckrakers" in a speech to the Gridiron Club in Washington, D.C. Finally, this day witnessed the assumption of the position of Prime Minister by Golda Meir in Israel, the first woman in such a position in the world. So, let’s see these events in a little more detail…

History Details…

Irish_cloverOf course, the most notable event of today is the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. How did this become a much-celebrated holiday? By the dispersion, borne of necessity, of the Irish around the world. But a substantial of that number settled in New York City and Boston. This day, the celebration of the death of the fabled saint in 461, St. Patrick, who ministered to the needs of the Irish for three decades in the fifth century. It is said that on this day, everyone is an Irishman!

At the beginning the Revolutionary War, the American patriots set up their lines on the high ground of Dorchester Heights in 1776. The problem, the British not only had greater numbers of trained troops, but they also had artillery. The American troops couldn’t compete with these cannons! One of the leaders of the patriots, in addition to Benedict Arnold, there was Col. Henry Knox who suggested that the cannons at Fort Ticonderoga could be captured and brought back to Cambridge to help the colonist soldiers defend the city of Boston. He led an expedition that easily captured the fort and brought back those cannons and powder to Boston. The British awoke to see lines of cannons facing them. The British would withdraw from Boston to New York City. This was the first victory for the Colonists; the British would defeat General George Washington in the Battle of New York shortly thereafter. The ability of the American soldiers to stand up against their British overlords was verified. The rebellion would continue!

Siege of boston artillery

On this day in 1969, the world witnessed the first woman assume the top position in a democratic country, Israel. On this date, Mrs. Golda Meir would assume the position of Prime Minister of Israel and lead the country through some turbulent times. She would distinguish herself in that position and take her seat among the family of nations. She was well prepared for the responsibilities to guide this small country surrounded by nations that wanted to wipe her little nation off the map. But, because of her leadership skills, they would not be able to wipe out Israel. Our country has had a pro-Israel position since the small country emerged following a United Nations resolution that established the nation within the Arab-dominated land of Palestine; Israel would become a haven for those Jews dislocated by the Nazis during World War II and SURVIVED the death camps! Hooray for Israel, and hooray for the female leadership of that feisty little nation that, like the scorpion, is small but has a big stinger.


In 1906, Theodore Roosevelt described for the first time the investigative journalist. These journalist, the "muckrakers," sought to reveal in the press the excesses of the "robber barons" of the day. This group included Ida M. Tarbell ("The History of Standard Oil"), Lincoln Steffens ("The Shame of Minneapolis") and Ray Stannard Baker ("The Right to Work"), simultaneously published famous works in that single issue (see Wikipedia article); Upton Sinclare (The Jungle) exposed the excessive abuses in the meat-packing industry. This group also included some of the major newspaper publishers of the day who used these stories to increase advertising and circulation revenues; included in this group of publishers were Edwin Lawrence Godkin of the New York Evening Post, Joseph Pulitzer (after whom the annual prize is named) of the New York World, and William Randolph Hearst of the San Francisco Examiner. Yellow Journalism is still alive and well, just watch your evening news!

The U.S. Navy celebrates two events in the submarine warfare department on this day during the past 100+ years. In 1898, the first practical submarine (actually the third one built) commissioned by the U.S. Navy; the USS Holland would complete its first trials on this day. In 1959, the U.S. Navy launched the USS Skate, the first of a new class of nuclear submarines that would be deployed during the Cold War. The Skate was the first to make the voyage across the Atlantic underwater and the first submarine to break through the polar ice cap at the North Pole. This submarine class was a major advance over the original Nautilus launched a few years before. It would be succeeded by the Polaris class of nuclear missile subs launched later.


NASA, in 1958, launches the Vanguard 1 solar-powered satellite, the third to be launched by the United States. This satellite is still in orbit, although no longer functional, having completed its mission years ago. It was designed to test a new launch vehicle and to test the environmental effects of space on an artificial satellite. We had moved from responding to the Soviet launch of Sputnik I in 1957 to a programmed of planned space exploration that would reach its pinnacle in the first walk on the moon during the Apollo 11 flight in 1969, just eleven years after the launch of Vanguard 1!

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

[ 1814 Words ]


Quotations Related to Saint Patrick:

[ http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/s/saint_patrick.html ]


“Christ beside me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me.”
— Saint Patrick

“I am Patrick, a sinner, most uncultivated and least of all the faithful and despised in the eyes of many.”
— Saint Patrick

“If I be worthy, I live for my God to teach the heathen, even though they may despise me.”
— Saint Patrick

“If I have any worth, it is to live my life for God so as to teach these peoples; even though some of them still look down on me.”
— Saint Patrick

“The Lord opened the understanding of my unbelieving heart, so that I should recall my sins.”
— Saint Patrick

“Before I was humiliated I was like a stone that lies in deep mud, and he who is mighty came and in his compassion raised me up and exalted me very high and placed me on the top of the wall.”
— Saint Patrick


Notable Events of the Day: March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day…


Noteworthy Events on this Day:

  • In 461…
    St. Patrick, originally a Roman Briton taken as a slave by Irish raiders, dies in Saul, Ireland, after spending three decades spreading Christianity throughout the country. The day of his death is a feast day for Irish Catholics and is thought to be the most celebrated saint’s day in the world, having spread with the Irish diaspora. The annual celebration includes shamrocks (allegedly used by St. Patrick to symbolize the Holy Trinity), parades and wearing green.

  • In 1737…
    The Charitable Irish Society of Boston holds the first public celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in the American colonies.

  • In 1762…
    Irish soldiers serving in the British colonial army honor Ireland’s patron saint with the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in New York City.

  • In 1776…
    Threatened by Patriot cannons on Dorchester Heights, the British evacuate Boston. The Fortification of Dorchester Heights was a decisive action early in the American Revolutionary War that precipitated the end of the siege of Boston.

  • In 1898…
    The USS Holland, the first practical submarine, conducts a trial run off Staten Island. It was named for her Irish-American inventor, John Philip Holland; although not the first submarine of the US Navy, which was the 1862 Alligator. The USS Holland was the first commissioned submarine in the U.S. Navy.

  • In 1905…
    Franklin D. Roosevelt marries his fifth cousin once removed, Eleanor Roosevelt, in New York City. President Theodore Roosevelt attends the wedding and walks his niece down the aisle.

  • In 1906…
    President Theodore Roosevelt, for the first time, describes the investigative journalists of the Progressive Era — led by Lincoln Steffens, Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell and others — as "muckrake[rs]," during a speech at the Gridiron Club in Washington.

  • In 1958…
    The United States launches its second satellite, Vanguard I (still in orbit as of 2008). Vanguard 1 was the fourth artificial Earth satellite launched and the first satellite to be solar powered. It was designed to test the effects of the environment on a satellite and its systems in Earth orbit.

  • In 1959…
    The USS Skate becomes the first submarine to surface at the North Pole. The USS Skate was the third submarine of the United States Navy named for the skate, a type of ray, was the lead ship of the Skate class of nuclear submarines. She was the third nuclear submarine commissioned, the first to make a completely submerged trans-Atlantic crossing, and the second submarine to reach the North Pole.

  • In 1969…
    Golda Meir takes office as the fourth prime minister of Israel and, to date, the Jewish state’s only female prime minister.


The Fortification of Dorchester Heights: Evacuation Day… (3:50)
The idea of bringing the cannons from Ticonderoga to the siege was raised by Colonel Henry Knox. Knox was eventually given the assignment to transport weapons from Ticonderoga to Cambridge.





Previously Posted Topics:

Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Saint Patrick’s Day: An Annual Holiday on 17 March…

Prof. Boerner’s Exploration: Golda Meir: Israel’s only Female Prime Minister…

Wikipedia: Revolutionary War: The Fortification of Dorchester Heights…

Wikipedia: The Muckrakers: Tradition of Investigative Journalism…

Wikipedia: USS Holland (SS-1): First Commissioned Submarine in U.S. Navy…

Wikipedia: USS Skate (SSN-578): 2nd Submarine to North Pole and 1st to Surface…

Wikipedia: Vanguard 1: 4th Satellite launched & 1st to be Solar-Powered…