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March 16, 2005

March the Sixteenth

This day in history:

March 16th, 1915 - British battle cruisers HMS Inflexible and HMS Irresistible hit mines in Dardanelle 

With the ease of sea travel European nations competed in their colonization efforts. In the fight for dominance Germany had managed to win the friendship of Turkey, which in turn closed off important ports to the British. In the Battle of the Dardanelles England attacked Turkey in order to open up the important sea route through the Dardanelles. On March 16th, 1925 the British ships Inflexible and Irresistible were mined by the Turks, in a rather symbolic gesture of the attitudes that eventually brought the end of the rise to power of both England and Germany.

While England and her allies won WWI, the cost was too great and economic collapse spread across the globe allowing Nazism to gain power in Germany, Fascism in Italy and Communism in Russia. The naive assumption that England's military might was inflexible and irresistible brought about brutal regimes that cost the lives of millions, and brought suffering to billions. The goals of expansion through colonization remained a practice until the late 20th century by nations such as France and Holland, resulting in more wars as native populations of Africa and Asia were disillusioned with what they saw as exploitation by the West, and turned to Communism, unaware of the terrors awaiting them under that insidious form of government. 


March 16th, 1935 - Hitler orders German rearmament, violating Versailles Treaty 

The Treaty of Versailles was the agreement Germany signed to end WWI, which placed Germany under the League of Nations. Hitler apparently had no use for it, and simply ignored it. The League of Nations soon disbanded since Hitler's defiance of their authority made their existence meaningless. It's unfortunate that the United Nations doesn't have the same common sense.


March 16th, 1945 - US defeats Japan at Iwo Jima 

The Battle of Iwo Jima was fought between the United States and Japan during February and March of 1945, during the Pacific Campaign of World War II. As a result of the battle, the United States gained control of the island of Iwo Jima and the airfields located there.

The Allied forces suffered 26,000 casualties, with nearly 7,000 dead. Over a quarter of the Medals of Honor awarded to marines in World War II were given for conduct in the invasion of Iwo Jima.

The island of Iwo Jima was declared secure on March 26th, 1945.

"Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue" -- Admiral Chester W. Nimitz


March 16th, 1955 - President Eisenhower upheld the use of atomic weapons in case of war 

This infuriates Liberals who see America as the source of all evil. The idea that the ability of America to use nuclear weapons, as been the sole deterrent for other nations to use them, is something they cannot comprehend. Of course when Reagan proposed a program that would possibly make nuclear weapons obsolete, they scoffed at it and called it names.


March 16th, 1962 - US Super-Constellation disappears above Pacific Ocean, kills 107 

The crew of the SS T.L. Lenzen supertanker sighted a midair explosion at 12:30am local time. Lockheed's 1049H Super Constellation had left Agana, Guam and was en route to Clark Air force base in Saigon. It was never heard from again. After a search of 144,000 square miles nothing was ever found. To this day no one knows what happened to the 11 crew-members and 69 passengers aboard.


March 16th, 1968 - My Lai massacre occurs (Vietnam War); 450 die 

From PBS:

On March 16, 1968 the angry and frustrated men of Charlie Company, 11th Brigade, Americal Division entered the village of My Lai. "This is what you've been waiting for -- search and destroy -- and you've got it," said their superior officers. A short time later the killing began. When news of the atrocities surfaced, it sent shockwaves through the US political establishment, the military's chain of command, and an already divided American public.

The eyewitness account of helicopter pilot Hugh Thompson and the account of Private Ron Ridenhour can be read here.


March 16th, 1972 - John & Yoko are served with deportation papers 

After immigrating from England, Lennon and his wife became active in American politics. February 4, 1972, Senator Strom Thurmond wrote a memo, classified as secret, urging Lennon be deported. On March 16th, 1972 they were served with deportation paper. Lennon's previous drug arrest was cited as one of many reasons. In March of 1973 he won his appeal and was not deported.

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. I needn't argue about that; I'm right and I will be proved right. We're more popular than Jesus now. I don't know which will go first -- rock 'n' roll or Christianity. Jesus was all right, but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me." -- John Lennon 

Lennon was shot to death in December of 1980 by an, as yet unidentified, gunman.


March 16th, 1988 - Federal grand jury indicts Marine Lt. Col. Oliver L. North & Navy Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter in Iran-Contra affair 

In spite of the brutal regime of the Nicaraguan Sandinista's Liberal controlled Congress passed laws forbidding government employees from aiding the freedom fighters, known as Contras. In a private venture several high ranking Reagan Administration members coordinated a plan to not only aid the Contras in their fight for freedom, but also win the release of hostages in Lebanon, through the influence of Iran.

When Congress discovered the plan, an investigation ensued. But nationally televised hearings showed Congress as stuffy, uncaring beurocrats, and the various accused as personable, caring people. Oliver North especially touched the hearts of America with his heart-felt defense of their actions. Once the hearings were over, the MSM went into high gear trashing the accused, desperately trying to undo the effect the hearings had on the general public.

In spite of an immunity agreement, North and Poindexter were subsequently indicted for “lying to Congress”. Their convictions were overturned on appeal since the only way the immunity could be withdrawn was if they had actually lied to Congress, and there was no evidence that either did.


March 16th, 1994 - Tonya Harding pleads guilty to felony attack on Nancy Kerrigan 

Rotton.com has the most concise break down of Harding's infamous career.


March 16th, 1995 - Mississippi House of Representatives ratifies 13th Amendment-formally abolishes slavery

But, since most of the southern states that did “ratify” it, did so without legal representation in Congress, the Amendment is arguably still not legally valid. Were these state to officially ratify it, it would be an admission that the laws put in effect immediately prior to the Civil War were invalid. To some it's better to ignore the problem, than try to make it right.


Births:

March 16th, 1751 - James Madison

Former President. Husband of Dolly.

March 16th, 1906 - Henny Youngman
March 16th, 1926 - Jerry Lewis
March 16th, 1933 - Ruth Bader Ginsberg

Three famous comedians

March 16th, 1946 - Erik Estrada

His first role was as Nicky Cruz in The Cross and the Switchblade. Later became famous playing “Ponch” in CHiPs.

Deaths:

March 16th, 1882 - Charles Darwin

I bet he got a surprise, didn't he.

March 16th, 1991 - 7 members of Reba McEntire's band killed in a plane crash

From Third Age:

"I hid," [McEntire] admits. "I didn't want to run the risk of getting close to someone and losing them." Says her friend Linda Davis: "it was a very, very dark time for her."

McEntire drew strength from her deep religious faith and the people she loves, especially her son Shelby, who was only a year old at the time of the crash.

"Today, I'll get on an airplane," she insists. "I can't spend my life being afraid. I just have to trust that we're all in God's hands and He knows the big plan."

Posted by Danny Carlton at March 16, 2005 10:50 AM

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