Your Week in History: A hero dies and a heroine is born - Toledo News Now, Breaking News, Weather, Sports, Toledo

Your Week in History: A hero dies and a heroine is born

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An American flag hangs over the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, KS. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) An American flag hangs over the Flint Hills Discovery Center in Manhattan, KS. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
John Wayne preparing to dive to his character's death in Reap the Wild Wind. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) John Wayne preparing to dive to his character's death in Reap the Wild Wind. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
George Wallace stands in the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to stop the enrollment of two African-American students June 11, 1963. (Source: Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons) George Wallace stands in the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to stop the enrollment of two African-American students June 11, 1963. (Source: Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons)
The ventilation grate from one of the cells in Alcatraz where Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin escaped June 11, 1962. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) The ventilation grate from one of the cells in Alcatraz where Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin escaped June 11, 1962. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner and jockey Johnny Loftus in 1919. (Source: Wikimedia Commons) Sir Barton, the first Triple Crown winner and jockey Johnny Loftus in 1919. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

(RNN) – I don't know about you, but I'm still reeling from last week. It was deep and serious and borderline depressing. (I mean, a woman got run over by a horse!)

But it all pales in comparison to John Wayne dying. I wasn't alive when John Wayne died June 11, 1979, which is probably for the best. I keep imagining what it will be like when famous people I have come to love in my own life start dropping dead.

Tom Hanks? I love him, but I doubt I shed any tears. Garth Brooks? He disappeared off the face of the earth about five years ago anyway, so that might not be a big deal either. Kate Upton? Yes. Yes, that will be a sad day. I can only hope she outlives me.

Anyway, back to the Duke. Wayne was in more than 150 movies and only died in eight of them. I had never heard of three of them before looking that up - The Sea Chase, Wake of the Red Witch and Reap the Wild Wind. All deal with ship wrecks, and one of them involves a giant squid. Additionally, Wayne had an uncredited role in which he died and played a dead body in another movie early in his career, so I'm not counting those.

In fact, the number of movies he dies in is disputed because his death is not seen on screen in all of them. I'll single out The Sands of Iwo Jima here. In it, Wayne dies partly due to cigarettes, which was a bit of unfortunate foreshadowing for his real life.

Here are some of the events of note that happened between June 10 and June 16.

Life and Death

Speaking of Kate Upton, she was born June 10, 1992. Kate Upton, who is the reigning champion of the internet, is not to be confused to Caitlin Upton, who made a fool of herself in 2007 by claiming U.S. Americans don't have maps like South Africa and the Iraq and everywhere like such as. They're both attractive, but only one appears to be stupid.

In a departure from the usual fodder, I'm going to include an actual historically significant birthday this week. Anne Frank was born June 12, 1929, and as a gift for her 13th birthday, she received a diary.

Charles the Bald and Charles the Fat were born June 13, 823 and 839, respectively. Both were Roman Emperors. Baldy was the son of Louis the Pious, and Fatso was the son of Louis the German. Baldy wasn't actually bald and his legacy is in great dispute. Fatso was incompetent and the Empire of Charlemagne fell apart on his watch. I was unable to determine if he was actually fat.

Hattie McDaniel, who won an Oscar for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind, was born June 10, 1895. She was the first African-American to win an Academy Award, and the current location of her plaque is unknown.

Frances Ethel Gumm was born June 10, 1922, but you probably know her better as Judy Garland. She's primarily known for one movie - and one song (according to a music appreciation class I had in college, she has excellent pronunciation on the letter B, for what that's worth) - but she did a lot more, including winning an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, a Grammy and a Tony. She died June 22, 1969, of a drug overdose that was deemed accidental.

George Reeves, who played Superman on TV, died June 16, 1959, while the show was on hiatus, and his death led to its cancellation. He died of a gunshot wound to the head three days before he was supposed to get married. A party at Reeves' house woke him up in the middle of the night and he got mad about the noise. The guests heard a gunshot and found him dead in his bedroom. Since they were all drunk, their stories were all over the place. His death was ruled a suicide, but reliable information is hard to come by, and the cause of death remains controversial.

Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered June 12, 1994. Timothy McVeigh was executed June 11, 2001, after being sentenced to death June 13, 1997.

Overlooked Anniversaries

Some notable civil rights events took place 50 years ago this week. George Wallace attempted to block the enrollment of two African-American students at the University of Alabama on June 11, 1963, on the same day President John F. Kennedy proposed what would become the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Medgar Evers was murdered the next day.

Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin escaped from Alcatraz on June 11, 1962. All that is known about the escape attempt is the plan leading up to it because a fourth inmate, Allen West, was forced to stay behind and revealed plot details after the fact. Their raft was found, but it isn't known if the three survived the escape. The Discovery Channel show MythBusters tested the escape attempt and deemed it plausible.

Three American institutions - the Stars and Stripes, "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance and the Disneyland monorail - all came to be June 14 in 1777, 1954 and 1959, respectively. The first national flag of the United States featured the familiar 13 red and white stripes but had the British Union Jack emblem in the top left corner.

It lasted for a year until the Flag Resolution replaced the Union Jack with a blue field of white stars to represent the formation of a new constellation. Only Pennsylvania counts Flag Day as an official state holiday.

The Apple II went on sale June 10, 1977, Arlington National Cemetery was established June 15, 1864, and Arkansas became a state June 15, 1836. Arkansas has people who handle public money sing Ain't No Stopping Us Now to their football team after a 52-0 loss, but you have to admire the passion, so I'm letting it stay.

On June 13, 1966, the Supreme Court ruled in Miranda v. Arizona that when somebody is arrested the police have to tell them that it's probably in their best interest to shut up. Clint Eastwood - Harry Callahan, rather - disagrees with this decision, and that's not somebody whose bad side you want to be on.

Marcus Sarjeant fired six blanks at Queen Elizabeth II on June 13, 1981, during the Trouping the Color ceremony. There's very undramatic video of the event where people run toward the shooter, but no one seems to care anything about the Queen. Sarjeant did it because he wanted to be famous. He was 17 at the time of the incident and was sentenced to five years in jail, but only served three and changed his name upon release.

Abraham Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech June 16, 1858, while campaigning for U.S. Senate. In the speech, Lincoln said he did not believe the Union would be dissolved, but that either slavery would be outlawed everywhere or legalized everywhere. The most famous line was, "A house divided against itself cannot stand." No video exists, so we have to settle for historic re-enactments or this comedic recreation by George Costanza.

Something About Sports

Tiger Woods won his last major June 16, 2008, in the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines in a sudden death playoff over Rocco Mediate. Woods had a torn knee ligament and a stress fracture and underwent surgery soon after the tournament. Woods birdied the 18th hole in the fourth round to force a playoff, then birdied the 18th hole of the playoff round the next day to force a sudden death playoff, which he won on the first hole after Mediate carded a bogey.

Sticking with golf, Old Tom Morris was born June 16, 1821, in St. Andrews, Scotland. Morris innovated golf course design in many ways, including the strategic placement and maintenance of bunkers, placing yard markers on the course and standardizing course length to 18 holes.

Sir Barton became the first horse to win the Triple Crown on June 11, 1919, though it wasn't called that at the time. He wasn't expected to compete for the win in the Kentucky Derby, but led the entire race. After a wire-to-wire win at the Preakness, he won the Withers Stakes before taking the Belmont.

Man O' War won the Belmont Stakes on June 12, 1920. He is considered one of the best horses to ever race, but he didn't win the Triple Crown because he didn't run in the Kentucky Derby. His owner didn't like racing in Kentucky, so he wasn't entered. But he won the Preakness so easily he was eased up before crossing the finish line and beat Sir Barton's Belmont record by three seconds.

The Baseball Hall of Fame opened June 12, 1939, in Cooperstown, NY. It was believed Cooperstown was the location where baseball was invented by Abner Doubleday, but that has since been debunked. I touched on that back in April, but the Hall itself has a better explanation.

The Week in Warfare

Speaking of stuff from way back in April, it's when most people accept the fall of Troy happened. But don't tell that to Eratosthenes. He essentially invented geography and calculated the date to June 11, 1184 B.C. But take that with a grain of salt because the dates of Eratosthenes' birth and death aren't even known and he may have purposely starved himself to death, so he was probably a bit of a kook.

The first class of the U.S. Naval Academy graduated June 10, 1854, and the USS Missouri was commissioned June 11, 1944. The Missouri was where Japan formally surrendered to end World War II and was the last battleship ever built by the U.S. Navy.

The ship was open for public tours from 1957 to 1984 following the Korean War. She was reactivated until 1992 and was reopened as a museum ship in 1999 in Pearl Harbor, HI.

Holiday You Should Celebrate

June 10 is National Iced Tea Day. Here in the South, we celebrate this every day, but it definitely deserves its own day nonetheless. If you're drinking it without loads of sugar, you're not doing it right.

Public Service Announcement

Sunday is Father's Day.

Preview of next week

"This was their finest hour."

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