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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November 22, 1963

Today on the Tuesday Timeline entry, we're going to visit an event that some of you might remember experiencing...and others probably have read in a 20th century history textbook.  But whether you were alive to hear about it or not, we're going to talk about it - as well as offer up some thoughts on some current events.

So sit back, help yourself to a cup of tea (with or without sugar), and let's have a look at the events of November 22 that did not make the cut for the main subject today.

1718 - Edward Teach (a.k.a. Blackbeard) is killed in battle off the coast of North Carolina

1812 - Seventeen Indiana Rangers are killed at the Battle of Wild Cat Creek during the War of 1812

1837 - William Lyon Mackenzie calls for a rebellion against the United Kingdom when his essay "To The People of Upper Canada" is published

1908 - The Albanian alphabet is established

1921 - Actor/comedian Rodney Dangerfield (d. 2004) is born in Deer Park, New York

1924 - Actress Geraldine Page (d. 1987) is born in Kirksville, Missouri

1928 - Ravel's "Bolero" hosts its premiere performance in Paris, France

1932 - Actor Robert Vaughn (d. 2016) is born in New York City

1941 - Country singer Terry Stafford (d. 1996) is born in Hollis, Oklahoma

1943 - The Cairo Conference is held

1954 - The Humane Society of the United States is established

1955 - "Three Stooges" star Shemp Howard dies at the age of 60

1963 - Novelist Aldous Huxley passes away at the age of 69

1968 - The Beatles release "The White Album"

1975 - Juan Carlos becomes the King of Spain

1977 - British Airways begin offering a flight between London and New York City aboard the semisonic Concorde Jet

1980 - Actress Mae West passes away at the age of 87

1986 - Mike Tyson becomes the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history winning the title at just twenty years of age

1987 - A pirate dressed up as Max Headroom hijacks two television stations in the Chicago area

1995 - "Toy Story" - the first animated feature to be made entirely in CGI - is released

1997 - INXS lead singer Michael Hutchence is found dead inside of a Sydney hotel room, aged 37

2001 - Mary Kay Cosmetics founder Mary Kay Ash dies at the age of 83

2002 - Over one hundred people lose their lives in an attack in Nigeria - the initial targets were people involved with the Miss World beauty pageant

2005 - Angela Merkel becomes the first woman to serve as Chancellor of Germany

And for celebrity birthdays, I want to wish the following famous faces a great day today; Terry Gilliam, Tom Conti, Billie Jean King, Steven Van Zandt, Tina Weymouth, Kent Nagano, Lawrence Gowan, Richard Kind, Donny Deutsch, Jamie Lee Curtis, Lenore Zann, Mariel Hemingway, Winsor Harmon, Brian Robbins, Kristin Minter, Mads Mikkelsen, Boris Becker, Mark Ruffalo, David Pelletier, Fiona Glascott, Tyler Hilton, Scarlett Johansson, Austin Brown, Candice Glover, Katherine McNamara, and Madison Davenport.

Okay, so today's Tuesday Timeline date is one that will live in infamy - in particular if you lived in the United States at the time - or more specifically, Dallas, Texas.

For it was on this date in Dallas - November 22, 1963 - that shocked the whole world.  By the conclusion, the entire way we looked at the world was forever changed.

In fact, I have some photographic evidence of the importance of this day.  Last Christmas, I received a gift of a pop culture desk calendar where each entry talks about something that happened in either the 1960s, 1970s, or 1980s.  It's been a lot of fun to reminisce about these things, and I've even posted each page on my Facebook page to get discussions going.

This was the entry for today.

Now, while I definitely was not around to witness the assassination of John F. Kennedy (come to think of it, I was still in the womb when the 1981 attempt on Ronald Reagan took place), my parents remember it vividly.  In fact, my mother was watching "As The World Turns" on television when the show was interrupted to report the news of Kennedy's death.

The story of Kennedy's death is one that almost everybody knows by now.  At the time of his death, Kennedy was visiting the city of Dallas, Texas with his wife, Jacqueline.  He was in town to try and smooth other tension that erupted within the Democratic Party.  And because Kennedy's arrival had already been broadcast to the people of Dallas-Fort Worth, at least 150,000 to 200,000 people lined the streets of the city, just to get a glimpse of him.  The President and First Lady boarded the Presidential limousine that would take them to their destination, and up until they reached Dealey Plaza, everything went according to plan.

But when the limousine turned onto Elm Street, that's when things took a dark turn.  Three shots were fired towards the limo, and within a matter of seconds, President Kennedy was dead - the cause of death being a gunshot wound to the head.  Also injured in the shooting was Texas Governor Jogn Connally and spectator James Tague.

The perpetrator of the assassination was Lee Harvey Oswald - a former U.S. Marine who had recently returned to the United States following a three year stint in Russia.  Though he was initially arrested for the unrelated murder of a police officer when he was apprehended, it didn't take long for the truth to come out, and Lee Harvey Oswald was formally charged in the sniper attack on President Kennedy.

Of course, we also know that no trial ever took place for the assassination on Kennedy.  Just two days after Kennedy was killed, Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by nightclub owner Jack Ruby as he was being transferred to the county jail.  The shooting was broadcast on air, and a famous photograph taken by Robert H. Jackson was printed in nearly every newspaper in the country.  Oswald died just under two hours after being shot by Ruby.

With Kennedy dead, Lyndon B. Johnson stepped in as President, and at the funeral services of President Kennedy, I think nearly everyone's hearts broke when they saw John F. Kennedy Jr. give his father one final salute.

It seems hard to believe that fifty-three years has passed since that fateful day in Dallas.  As a result of the shooting, security on all future Presidents has been increased permanently, and aside from the 1981 attempt on Ronald Reagan, there has not been any attempts on the life of an American President - at least no attempt that has been widely reported, anyway.

I guess that's why I don't find it a laughing matter when people joke about wanting to kill a President, or a Prime Minister, or anybody within the government structure.  We don't have to like them or agree with what they say, but we do have to respect them enough to not want any harm to come to them.

I know that many people are very upset about Donald Trump becoming the 45th President of the United States - and to be honest with you, I'm right there with you.  You see, when I think about the qualities I equate with being a President - compassion, dignity, eloquence, leadership - I can't say that I would use those adjectives to describe Trump, a man who some might say wouldn't even know the meaning of the word diplomatic.  But, he was elected by the majority of the American people who voted, and barring some fluke, he is going to take control of the United States of America when he is formally inaugurated in January.

Now, while I definitely don't agree with him being President, I also don't agree with people who wish to see him assassinated, or even joke about it.  I'm sure that the last surviving member of the family - Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg - would be the first to tell you how devastating the effects of an assassination can have on a family.  And to be honest with you, while I still think he needs to take some lessons on being a decent human being and not being so much of a xenophobic, homophobic, racist and sexist - he may just surprise us all and make decisions that really might "make America great again".  I really don't believe this will happen, but at this point, there's nothing that can be done.  I definitely don't think it warrants threats against his life.  For that matter, I don't think Barack Obama should have had to deal with people wanting him dead, nor did George W. Bush before him, and so on and so on.

I think instead of threatening with weapons, we should use our words and keep the dialog open.  Like the actor from the Broadway show "Hamilton" did when Mike Pence was in the audience.  While I don't know if calling him out on stage was the way to go, I do applaud the actor for having the courage to keep the dialog going. 

Ultimately, I think all Americans need to do this.  Keep the dialog open and try to come up with solutions that unite - not do things that continue the divide.

Though, I do understand...easier said than done.  Still.  Isn't it worth trying?

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