Evil Personified; Perseverance Exemplified

Today in History, April 11, 1945:

“To the Allies. To the army of General Patton. This is the Buchenwald concentration camp.

SOS.

We request help. They want to evacuate us. The SS wants to destroy us.”

The Allies were driving across Europe, and as a result, the German War Machine was in panic. When the Russians overtook concentration camps on their front, the Germans “evacuated” thousands of Jews, Gypsies and prisoners of war to their second largest concentration camp, Buchenwald, Germany.

Buchenwald had housed slave labor, and murdered thousands, since 1937. EIGHT interminable years of forced labor, torture, rape, experiments on human beings.

Now when the Americans approached Buchenwald, the SS planned to “evacuate” the prisoners there, and destroy the camp to destroy the evidence.

The hundreds of thousands of prisoners were…evidence.

The prisoners had managed to construct a makeshift transmitter and sent the above message in several different languages in desperation.

After years of no hope, of unimaginable horrors….they received a reply, “KZ Bu. Hold out. RUSHING TO YOUR AID. Staff of Third Army.” The prisoner who had risked his life to send the plea for assistance…fainted.

Emboldened, several prisoners who were able, charged the machine gun towers surrounding them and took control of the main camp (there were several satellite camps).

On April 11 elements of the US 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, U.S. 6th Armored Division, US Third Army (Patton’s Army) entered Buchenwald and liberated it.

US Army commanders ordered the Mayor and citizens of the nearby towns to provide food for the starving prisoners until US supplies could arrive.

Reportedly Patton ordered that the citizens of nearby towns, who had known of the atrocities but remained silent, to tour the camps that included stack after stack after stack of bone thin bodies. A lesson?

Each generation thinks that they have “progressed” beyond such inhumanity. It is a delusion. As long as man exists, evil will exist. It must be recognized and guarded against.

A.S.P.C.A. is Born

Today in History, April 10, 1866:

Philanthropist Henry Bergh begins the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in New York City.

While a diplomat in Russia, Bergh had been horrified by the mistreatment of horses by their Russian owners.

On his way back home, he spent time in London, and learned of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Inspired, he lobbied for the creation of a similar group at home.

New York gave the ASPCA authority to investigate and arrest for cruelty to animals, including horses and dog and rat fighting.

Eight years later Bergh and others would create the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.

By 1888 thirty-seven of thirty-eight states had created versions of the ASPCA.

A Kamikaze Over London!

Today in History, April 9, 1937:

A Kamikaze in….London. In the 1930’s most nations were attempting to set aircraft range records…for the sake of doing so and for military purposes.

The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun sponsored the flight of the “Kamikaze-Go”, a long range reconnaissance aircraft from Tokyo to London in honor of the coronation of King George VI.

Arriving at it’s destination in a little over 51 hours, the aircraft was greeted in London by cheering crowds. It’s pilot, Masaaki Iinuma, became a Japanese national hero, hailed as the Japanese Lindbergh.

He and his navigator, Kenji Tsukagoshi would both be killed during WWII, the aircraft would crash, be recovered, and placed in a museum which would be destroyed by bombing in WWII. The aircraft type would be used as a long range recon plane during the war. The whole thing began as the Japanese designed aircraft that could reach their far-ranging territories.

The Mercury Seven

Today in History, April 9, 1959:

NASA announces the identities of “The Mercury Seven”, America’s first astronauts.

Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, John Glenn, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton, 3 from the USAF, 3 from the USN, and one Marine.

The seven, all test pilots, had been selected from over 500 applicants after arduous testing. The astronauts had to have at least a bachelor’s degree and among other specs, could not be over 5’11” tall so they could fit into the space capsules.

They would take flight in all of the space missions through the space shuttle program. 36 years later, Senator John Glenn would become the oldest astronaut to fly a mission (so far) at age 77.

We Are Going “Over There!”

TODAY IN HISTORY, APRIL 6, 1917:

President Woodrow Wilson asks Congress for a Declaration of War.

“It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it.

The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation.

We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.”

Quarantine & War

Random History thought.

Quarantine and interesting intersections in history that we rarely think about.

In January, 1805, the USS Nautilus (not the submarine, but her ancestor), had just fought major battles with Barbary pirates along with the USS Intrepid and USS Enterprise (not the aircraft carriers of course) on orders from President Jefferson.

They had to lay up for repairs; the Nautilus sailed to Messina in search of timber for ship repair. There she found the USS Matilda, who had an American author aboard.

Washington Irving was decades away from “Sleepy Hollow” and “Rip Van Winkle”…the young man was on a European adventure. He really wanted to meet the now famous officers and crew of the Nautilus.

But Yellow Fever was raging through the area, which meant that the Matilda…and Irving, were under a 21 day quarantine. It was not that unusual in those days.

Irving was bored out of his mind, and eluded authorities to row a boat around the harbor and converse with the Nautilus sailors.

Eventually he was released. But now one of the officers had been accused of murder (eventually found innocent).

When the Nautilus set sail on a mission in the still hot Barbary War, they were awed to come across the Royal Navy fleet commanded by Admiral Horatio Nelson…only a few months away from the historic victory at Trafalgar which would take Nelson’s life.

So much history packed into such a small time!

We Are The World

TODAY IN HISTORY, APRIL 5, 1985:

We are the World.

“Check your ego at the door.” This was the sign that Quincy Jones placed on the door to the studio in Los Angeles on January 28, 1985 as a warning to the 46 celebrity vocalists who arrived to record “We are the World.” The single was produced to benefit starving people experiencing famine in Africa.

The album was a run away success, and on April 5, 1985, approximately 6,000 radio stations around the world coordinated to play the single at the same time, 11:50 A.M.

President Reagan, who had not heard the song prior, had it piped through Air Force One and was duly impressed.

I know we aren’t to April 5 yet, but I felt we could use this right now.

I noticed in 1985 they were not afraid to invoke God’s name. May he bless us in the coming times.