Monday, May 27, 2013

Remember those who gave their all

Memorial Day is a United States federal holiday that is observed on the last Monday of May. It was formerly known as Decoration Day. This holiday commemorates U.S. men and women who have died in military service to their country. It began first to honor Union soldiers who died during the American Civil War.

After World War I, it expanded to include those who died in any war or military action. One of the longest standing traditions is the running of the Indianapolis 500, which has been held in conjunction with Memorial Day since 1911 (no one has been able to successfully explain the connection between honoring the nation's war dead and people driving around a race track).

The Popsicle was first made (but not patented) in 1905 by Frank Epperson on this date (he was only 11 years old at that time .)

If only we could create a frozen concoction that mixes ice and alcohol - oh wait a minute that's a Frozen Margarita, never mind - keep celebrating the Popsicle.

Today's birthday celebrants include:
Hubert Humphrey (1911),

Vincent Price (1911),

Siouxsie Sioux (1957),

Neil Finn (1958),

Today in History:
May 27, 1923 -
Henry Kissinger was born in Fuerth, Germany on this date.

50 years later, (America Favorite Freely Roaming War Criminal - according to your political beliefs) Dr. Kissinger received the Nobel Peace Prize for quitting the Vietnam War.

Henry also proved that outliving your enemies is the best revenge.

May 27, 1930 -
Howard Hughes' multi-million dollar war drama, Hell's Angels, premiered in Los Angeles, on this date

Howard Hughes hired WWI aces to fly the planes but also flew one himself; he crashed shortly after his first takeoff and broke several bones. More than 70 pilots were used in the film. Three of them died during shooting.

May 27, 1933 -
Walt Disney classic take on The Three Little Pigs, premiered on this date.

The selling of pork sausages during the original screenings of the cartoon wasn't such a big hit though.

May 27, 1937 -
The dream of Emperor Norton I was finally realized when the Golden Gate Bridge, connecting San Francisco with California's Marin County opened to pedestrian traffic on this date.

More than 200,000 made the first-day trek. Harold Wobber had the good grace to wait until August 7, 1937, to take the first leap into eternity.

Wobber supposedly turned to a stranger on the walkway and said,"This is as far as I go" then took his last step.

May 27, 1939 -
Detective Comics Number 27 featuring Batman, DC Comics debuted its second superhero on this date. The superhero is Batman, who will go on to be one of the greatest commercial successes in the comic industry.

This issue also marks Commissioner Gordon’s first appearance. According to creator Bob Kane, his inspirations for Batman were Superman, Leonardo da Vinci’s design of a bat-like glider, and two films: “The Mark of the Zorro” and ”The Bat Whispers”.

May 27, 1941 -
The British sank Germany's elusive, pocket-battleship Bismarck, then the largest warship commissioned, on this date.

The destruction of the battleship was reported on the front pages of newspapers around the world. Only 110 of her crew of 2,222 survived the sinking.

May 27, 1942 -
A couple of Czech assassins ambush the car carrying Reinhard Heydrich and toss a grenade into the front seat on this date.

The man who headed the Wannsee Conference was mortally wounded in the attack and died of septicemia a week later. The Nazis retaliate by obliterating the Catholic village of Lidice, Czechoslovakia and its inhabitants.

May 27, 1964 -
From Russia with Love, the second spy film in the James Bond series, was released in the US on this date.

When then President John F. Kennedy listed Ian Fleming's book among his top ten favorite novels of all time, a list published in Life Magazine, March 17, 1961, the producers decided to make this the second James Bond movie. According to the book Death of a President by William Raymond Manchester, this was the last motion picture John F. Kennedy ever saw, on a private screening in the White House, November 20, 1963.

May 27, 1977 -
After the pressing plant initially refuses to duplicate the record and the printer refuses to make the covers, Virgin finally releases God Save the Queen by the Sex Pistols in time for the monarch's Jubilee celebration on this date.

The Sex Pistols were signed to A&M records when they recorded this. They dropped the band just as this was released, pulling all the singles. The ones that slipped through became valuable collectors items. In 2011 Record Collector magazine compiled its Top 50 most collectable records, and top of the list came the A&M release of this song - if you happen to have a copy the good news is it worth $12,000.

May 27, 1993 -
Five were killed and 37 wounded when a Fiat Fiorino explodes outside the Uffizi museum in Florence, Italy on this date.

The car bomb (a combination of PETN, T4 and TNT, kids don't try to make this at home) also manages to obliterate three priceless artworks and substantially damage thirty more. The bombing appears to have been the work of the Sicilian Mafia.

May 27, 1995 -
During the third jump of an equestrian event in Charlottesville, Virginia, Christopher Reeve is thrown headfirst over his horse on this date.

Reeve broke his neck in two places, instantly rendering him a quadriplegic, unable to move or breathe without assistance.

Don't forget, tomorrow starts Manhattanhenge viewing (more on that later)

And so it goes.

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