Today in History, March 14, 1967:
“It was so magnificent I could stay forever”.
The Spring before his assassination, President John Fitzgerald Kennedy toured Arlington National Cemetery. He made the above comment while standing at the Custis-Lee Mansion, where Gen. Robert E. Lee had lived prior to the Civil War. I’ve been there, and can understand his feelings…it is a beautiful view. Unfortunately he would “stay forever” there far too soon. This is the site of his final resting place, marked by an eternal flame, where he was moved to on this date in 1967.
Today in History, August 1-2, 1943:
PT-109 (Patrol Torpedo) is patrolling Blackett Strait in the Solomon Islands when it is rammed and cut in half by Japanese Destroyer Amagiri.
Two of the crew are killed outright, but 11 others survive, although some are badly injured/burned. Their very young commander carried one of the injured on his back in the mile + swim to a nearby island. He then took turns with the boat’s exec swimming back out into the channel attempting to signal other PT’s at night while avoiding Japanese patrols.
Finally they were rescued thanks to natives working for an Australian coast watcher. Lt. John Fitzgerald Kennedy, who could have easily sat out the war due to his wealth, displayed incredible courage and loyalty to his crew.
One question not asked in the propaganda of his Presidential campaign was, how does a craft that is basically a speedboat, navigated by an experienced sailor, get rammed by a slow moving man-of-war? That aside, nobody can deny President Kennedy’s courage.