John’s Believe It Or Not… June 10th

In 1650 – Jesuits abandon Île Saint-Joseph. In 1752 Franklin flies kite during a thunderstorm. In 1692 First Salem witch hanging. In 1935 Alcoholics Anonymous founded. In 1979 Paul Newman finishes second in 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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* 1650 – Jesuits abandon Île Saint-Joseph, their last mission in Huronia. (The story of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons dates back almost four hundred years. Wendake (“the land apart”) was the ancestral homeland of the Huron Wendat Nation, a branch of the Iroquoian family. The Wendat were a matrilineal society of skilled traders and farmers. Following the trail of French explorer Samuel de Champlain, French Jesuit priests arrived in Wendake (in Ontario) early in the 17th century. An international order, the Jesuits operated like an army, dedicated to spreading Catholicism throughout the world. They believed that the first step in converting a person to Christianity was to educate him. The Jesuits established themselves in Wendake. They traveled from village to village, learning the Wendat language and customs, and preaching to the Native people. Their Superior, Father Jérome Lalemant, dreamed of “building a house apart, remote from the vicinity of the villages, that would serve among other things for the retreat and meditation of our evangelistic labourers.” The report written by Father Paul Ragueneau tells us the story of heartbreak and despair that led to the abandonment of Sainte-Marie among the Hurons. In the spring of 1649, attacks by the Iroquois increased. Under growing pressure, the Jesuit missionaries, their helpers, and Wendat followers burned the settlement and abandoned it. They fled to St. Joseph Island (now Christian Island), where they endeavored to establish a new Sainte-Marie. After a terrible winter of starvation and constant attack, the Frenchmen and the Christian Wendat returned to Quebec.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 10th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 9th

In 1973 – Ron Turcotte rides Secretariat to victory in 105th Belmont Stakes. In 1954 Joseph McCarthy meets his match. In 1534 Cartier discovers St. Lawrence River. In 1856 Mormon handcart pioneers depart for Salt Lake City. In 1815 End of the Congress of Vienna.

It’s Friday – TGIF! Did you know…

* 1973 – Ron Turcotte rides Secretariat to victory in 105th Belmont Stakes in record time. (With a spectacular victory at the Belmont Stakes, Secretariat becomes the first horse since Citation in 1948 to win America’s coveted Triple Crown–the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes. In one of the finest performances in racing history, Secretariat, ridden by Canadian jockey Ron Turcotte, completed the 1.5-mile race in 2 minutes and 24 seconds, a dirt-track record for that distance. On June 9, 1973, almost 100,000 people came to Belmont Park near New York City to see if “Big Red” would become the first horse in 25 years to win the Triple Crown. Secretariat gave the finest performance of his career in the Belmont Stakes, completing the 1.5-mile race in a record 2 minutes and 24 seconds, knocking nearly three seconds off the track record set by Gallant Man in 1957. He also won by a record 31 lengths. Ron Turcotte, who jockeyed Secretariat in all but three of his races, claimed that at Belmont he lost control of Secretariat and that the horse sprinted into history on his own accord. Secretariat would race six more times, winning four and finishing second twice. In November 1973, the “horse of the century” was retired and put to stud at Claiborne Farm in Paris, Kentucky. Among his notable offspring is the 1988 Preakness and Belmont winner, Risen Star. Secretariat was euthanized in 1989 after falling ill. An autopsy showed that his heart was two and a half times larger than that of the average horse, which may have contributed to his extraordinary racing abilities. In 1999, ESPN ranked Secretariat No. 35 in its list of the Top 50 North American athletes of the 20th century, the only non-human on the list.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 9th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 8th

In 1944 – D-DAY + 2 – About 156 Canadian POWs murdered. In 1968 King assassination suspect arrested. In 1967 Israel attacks USS Liberty. In 1999 Hannibal by Thomas Harris hits bookstores. In 632 Founder of Islam dies.

It’s Therapeutic Thursday! Did you know…

* 1944 – D-DAY + 2 – About 156 Canadian POWs murdered by 12th SS Hitler Youth Panzers. (Canadians move inland from Juno Beach, capture 12 towns in Normandy; Erwin Rommel orders Kurt Meyer’s 12th SS Hitlerjugend Panzer Grenadiers to attack the Canadian 7th Brigade at Putot-en-Basin (8 km west of Caen). They cross the railway and outflank the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, destroying the three forward companies; the rest are beaten back, leaving their wounded behind; the Canadian Scottish, Canscots and 1st Hussars then use an artillery barrage from the 12th and 13th field regiments to retake Putot, but Meyer counter-attacks with 22 Panther tanks; the Regina Rifles fight a night-long battle and hold. During these fights, the SS murder several Canadian POWs, including six Winnipeg Rifles, and a Red Cross stretcher-bearer, who are ordered into a wood and shot in the temple; 13 more Canadians are executed within 100 yards of the Command post; the bodies of 7 more are found nearby, all shot in the head with small arms; finally, 40 Winnipegs and Cameron Highlanders are marched into a field, ordered to sit together with the wounded at their centre, and machine-gunned; 5 escape.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 8th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 7th

In 1866 – 1800 Fenians raid Lower Canada. In 1929 Vatican City becomes a sovereign state. In 1692 Earthquake destroys Jamaican pirate haven. In 1893 Gandhi’s first act of civil disobedience. In 1913 First successful ascent of Mt. McKinley.

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* 1866 – 1800 Fenians raid Lower Canada.  (Between 1866 and 1871, the Fenian raids of the Fenian Brotherhood, an Irish Republican organization based in the United States, on British army forts, customs posts and other targets in Canada, were fought to bring pressure on Britain to withdraw from Ireland. They divided Catholic Irish-Canadians, many of whom were torn between loyalty to their new home and sympathy for the aims of the Fenians. The Protestant Irish were generally loyal to Britain and fought with the Orange Order against the Fenians. While the U.S. authorities arrested the men and confiscated their arms, there is speculation that some in the U.S. government had turned a blind eye to the preparations for the invasion, angered at actions that could have been construed as Canadian assistance to the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. There were five Fenian raids of note and all of them ended in failure. After the invasion of Canada West [Ontario] failed, the Fenians decided to concentrate their efforts on Canada East [Quebec]. However, the American government had begun to impede Fenian activities, and arrested many Fenian leaders. The Fenians soon saw their plans begin to fade. General Samuel Spear of the Fenians managed to escape arrest, and, on June 7, Spear and his 1000 men marched into Canadian territory, achieving occupancy of Pigeon Hill, Frelighsburg, St. Armand and Stanbridge. At this point, the Canadian government had done little to defend the border, but on June 8 Canadian forces arrived at Pigeon Hill and the Fenians, who were low on arms, ammunition, and supplies, promptly surrendered, ending the raid on Canada East.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 7th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 6th

In 1944 – D-DAY: Canadian Contribution. In 1944 D-Day – Overall Picture. In 1933 First drive-in movie theater opens. In 1997 A teenaged mother gives birth and murders her baby at the prom. In 1683 The Ashmolean opens.

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* 1944 – D-DAY: (Determined to end four years of often-brutal German occupation, on 6 June 1944, Allied forces invaded Western Europe along an 80-kilometre front in Normandy, France. Of the nearly 150,000 Allied troops who landed or parachuted into the invasion area, 14,000 were Canadians. They assaulted a beachfront code-named “Juno”, while Canadian paratroopers landed just east of the assault beaches. Although the Allies encountered German defenses bristling with artillery, machine guns, mines, and booby-traps, the invasion was a success. Other Canadians helped achieve this victory. The Royal Canadian Navy contributed 110 ships and 10,000 sailors in support of the landings while the R.C.A.F. had helped prepare the invasion by bombing targets inland. On D- Day and during the ensuing campaign, 15 R.C.A.F. fighter and fighter-bomber squadrons helped control the skies over Normandy and attacked enemy targets. On D-Day, Canadians suffered 1074 casualties, including 359 killed.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 6th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 5th

In 1956 Elvis rocks The Milton Berle Show. In 1968 Bobby Kennedy is assassinated. In 1967 Six-Day War begins. In 2012 Ray Bradbury science fiction author dies at 91. In 1947 George Marshall calls for aid to Europe.

Oh-Oh, It’s Monday! Did you know…

* 1956 Elvis rocks The Milton Berle Show. (By the end of 1955, Elvis Presley had nearly 18 months of nonstop touring behind him and two dozen singles already under his belt, though his only hits were on the Country and Western charts. He was a hardworking and hard-to-categorize up-and-comer, but the next six months would make him a superstar. It was his debut single on RCA/Victor, his new label, which propelled Elvis to the top of the pop charts. But if “Heartbreak Hotel” is what made him the king of the radio and record stores during the spring of 1956, it was television that truly made him the King of Rock and Roll. And if any one moment might be called his coronation, it was his appearance on The Milton Berle Show on this day in 1956, when he set his guitar aside and put every part of his being into a blistering, scandalous performance of “Hound Dog.” This was not Presley’s first television appearance, nor even his first appearance on Milton Berle. Between January and March 1956, Elvis made six appearances on Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey’s Stage Show, and on April 3, he appeared for the first time with Uncle Miltie. But every one of those appearances featured Elvis either in close-up singing a slow ballad or full body but with his movements somewhat restricted by the acoustic guitar, he was playing. It was on his second Milton Berle Show appearance that he put the guitar aside and America witnessed, for the very first time, the 21-year-old Elvis Presley from head to toe, gyrating his soon-to-be-famous (or infamous) pelvis. Reaction to Elvis’ performance in the mainstream media was almost uniformly negative. “Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability….For the ear, he is an unutterable bore,” wrote critic Jack Gould in the next day’s New York Times. “His one specialty is an accented movement of the body that heretofore has been primarily identified with the repertoire of the blonde bombshells of the burlesque runway. The gyration never had anything to do with the world of popular music and still doesn’t.” In the New York Daily News, Ben Gross described Presley’s performance as “tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos,” while the New York Journal-American‘s Jack O’Brien said that Elvis “makes up for vocal shortcomings with the weirdest and plainly suggestive animation short of an aborigine’s mating dance.” Meanwhile, the Catholic weekly America got right to the point in its headline: “Beware of Elvis Presley.”) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 5th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 4th

In 1942 Battle of Midway begins. In 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre takes place. In 1940 Dunkirk evacuation ends. In 1876 Express train crosses the US in 83 hours. In 1896 Henry Ford test-drives his “Quadricycle”.

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* 1942 Battle of Midway begins. (On this day in 1942, the Battle of Midway–one of the most decisive U.S. victories against Japan during World War II–begins. During the four-day sea-and-air battle, the outnumbered U.S. Pacific Fleet succeeded in destroying four Japanese aircraft carriers while losing only one of its own, the Yorktown, to the previously invincible Japanese navy. A thousand miles northwest of Honolulu, the strategic island of Midway became the focus of his scheme to smash U.S. resistance to Japan’s imperial designs. Yamamoto’s plan consisted of a feint toward Alaska followed by an invasion of Midway by a Japanese strike force. When the U.S. Pacific Fleet arrived at Midway to respond to the invasion, it would be destroyed by the superior Japanese fleet waiting unseen to the west. U.S. intelligence broke the Japanese naval code, however, and the Americans anticipated the surprise attack. In the meantime, 200 miles to the northeast, two U.S. attack fleets caught the Japanese force entirely by surprise and destroyed three heavy Japanese carriers and one heavy cruiser. The only Japanese carrier that initially escaped destruction, the Hiryu, loosed all its aircraft against the American task force and managed to seriously damage the U.S. carrier Yorktown, forcing its abandonment. At about 5:00 p.m., dive-bombers from the U.S. carrier Enterprise returned the favor, mortally damaging the Hiryu. It was scuttled the next morning. When the Battle of Midway ended, Japan had lost four carriers, a cruiser, and 292 aircraft, and suffered an estimated 2,500 casualties. The U.S. lost the Yorktown, the destroyer USS Hammann, 145 aircraft and suffered approximately 300 casualties. Japan’s losses hobbled its naval might–bringing Japanese and American sea power to approximate parity–and marked the turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II. In August 1942, the great U.S. counteroffensive began at Guadalcanal and did not cease until Japan’s surrender three years later.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 4th”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 3rd

In 1935 – On to Ottawa Trek begins. In 1989 Crackdown at Tiananmen begins. In 1965 An American walks in space. In 1956 Rock and roll is banned in Santa Cruz. In 1937 Josh Gibson hits ball 580 feet in Yankee Stadium.

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* June 3, 1935 – On to Ottawa Trek.   (In 1935, about 1,500 residents of federal Unemployment Relief Camps in British Columbia went on strike and traveled by train and truck to Vancouver, Regina, and Ottawa to protest poor conditions in the Depression-era camps. The strike leaders were eventually arrested, resulting in the violent Regina Riot. In early April 1935, during the Great Depression, a strike and protest by Unemployment Relief Camp workers was organized by the Workers’ Unity League (WUL) and led by WUL officer Arthur “Slim” Evans. The League was affiliated with the international Communist movement. The protest was motivated by concern for improved conditions and benefits in the camps, and the apparent reluctance of the federal government to provide work and wages programs. In Vancouver, the strikers organized themselves into divisions, undertook alliances with civic, labor, ethnic and political groups, held demonstrations, and spoke with government officials, among them British Columbia premier Dufferin T. Pattullo and Mayor Gerald McGeer. The two-month protest included the occupation of the Hudson’s Bay store and the city museum and library and a May Day parade of some 20,000 strikers and supporters to Stanley Park. When local governments refused to take responsibility for the strikers’ welfare, and when the men themselves began to grow restless at the apparent failure of their protest, Evans and his associates decided to take the movement to Ottawa. On 3 June, more than 1,000 strikers began the “On to Ottawa Trek,” determined to inform the nation of their cause and to lay complaints before Parliament and Prime Minister R.B. Bennett.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 3rd”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 2nd

In 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. In 1865 American Civil War ends. In 1924 The Indian Citizenship Act. In 1962 Ray Charles takes country music to the top of the pop charts. In 1985 English football clubs banned from Europe.

It’s Friday! TGIF! Did you know…

* 1953 Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. (On June 2, 1953, Queen Elizabeth II is formally crowned monarch of the United Kingdom in a lavish ceremony steeped in traditions that date back a millennium. A thousand dignitaries and guests attended the coronation at London’s Westminster Abbey, and hundreds of millions listened on the radio and for the first time watched the proceedings on live television. After the ceremony, millions of rain-drenched spectators cheered the 27-year-old queen and her husband, the 30-year-old Duke of Edinburgh, as they passed along a five-mile procession route in a gilded horse-drawn carriage. Elizabeth, born in 1926, was the first-born daughter of Prince George, the second son of King George V. Her grandfather died in 1936, and her uncle was proclaimed King Edward VIII. Later that year, however, Edward abdicated over the controversy surrounding his decision to marry Wallis Warfield Simpson, an American divorcee, and Elizabeth’s father was proclaimed King George VI in his place. In six decades of rule, Queen Elizabeth II’s popularity has hardly subsided. She has traveled more extensively than any other British monarch and was the first reigning British monarch to visit South America and the Persian Gulf countries. In addition to Charles and Anne, she and Philip have had two other children, Prince Andrew in 1960 and Prince Edward in 1964. In 1992, Elizabeth, the wealthiest woman in England, agreed to pay income tax for the first time. On April 21, 2006, Queen Elizabeth turned 80, making her the third oldest person to hold the British crown. Although she has begun to hand off some official duties to her children, notably Charles, the heir to the throne, she has given no indication that she intends to abdicate.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 2nd”

John’s Believe It Or Not… June 1st

In 1876 – Opening of The Military College of Canada in Kingston. In 1938 – Toronto-born cartoonist Joe Shuster creates Superman comic book. In 1980 CNN launches. In 1958 De Gaulle reassumes French leadership. In 1990 Superpowers to destroy chemical weapons.

It’s Therapeutic Thursday! Did you know…

* 1876 – Opening of The Military College of Canada in Kingston. (The Royal Military College of Canada commonly abbreviated as RMCC or RMC, is the military college of the Canadian Armed Forces and is a degree-granting university training military officers. RMC was established in 1876 and is the only federal institution in Canada with degree-granting powers. The Royal Military College of Canada Degrees Act, 1959 empowers the College to confer degrees in arts, science, and engineering. Programs are offered at the undergraduate and graduate levels both on campus as well as through the College’s distance learning program via the Division of Continuing Studies. Located on Point Frederick, a 41-hectare (101-acre) peninsula in Kingston, Ontario, the college is a blend of older, historic buildings, as well as more modern academic, athletic, and dormitory facilities. Officer cadets of the Royal Military College of Canada are trained in what are known as the “four pillars” of academics, officership, athletics, and bilingualism.) Continue reading “John’s Believe It Or Not… June 1st”

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