Posts Tagged ‘oct’
Storming Juno Beach
In the moments before the landings here, Allied destroyers and gunboats inched their way closer to shore and attempted to rake German defenses with shell and rocket fire. This concerted effort had few affects on the Nazi defenders other than a psychological toll. As with other areas of the invasion, Allied artillery overshot their intended targets and largely left Hitler’s Atlantic Wall intact. When the Canadians reached the water’s edge, they were immediately withered by overwhelming enemy fire at painfully close range. Sea conditions proved choppy and the beach was soon entangled in a traffic jam of men and vehicles. Amidst this melee, Lance Corporal Rolph Jackson of the Queen’s Own Rifles was struck as he scurried from his Landing Craft Assault (LCA). The Toronto native later recalled:
“We got fairly close to the beach, the water didn’t even come up to our hips. Slightly on our right was a German pillbox. The pillbox was manned. There were about thirty men on our landing craft. I was the eleventh off. Eight of those first eleven men were killed and two of us were wounded. I was hit in the hand. It must have caught me off stride because it knocked me down…. The front of my pants and battledress blouse were [later] shredded [by fragments]. If I had been two inches farther ahead, I would have been killed.”
Finally reaching the coast, we visited the Juno Beach Centre and learned of the deeply emotional human drama that took place there sixty-eight years prior. (So many other museums and sites were closed at this time due to the inclement weather. Luckily, this place was open because Canadians know how to deal with snow!) Located in Courseulles-sur-Mer, the museum offers the holistic perspective of the Canadian World War II experience. Built in 2003, the museum was perhaps the best our group had the pleasure to visit during our pilgrimage. Venues within the building included a dramatic multimedia presentation of the beach landings as well as intimate, personal artifacts conveying the human tragedy and achievements of D-Day.
- They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
- Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
- At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
- We will remember them.
On October 26, 1963,the first submerged launching of the Navy’s 2500 nautical mile A-3 Polaris Missile was successfully made by the gold crew of the USS Andrew Jackson (SSBN-619), commanded by Commander James B. Wilson, USN, from a point some 30 miles off Cape Canaveral, Florida. A practice warhead was hurled over 2,000 NM down the Atlantic Missile Range to land on target. The A-3 Missile added 1,000 NM miles to the reach of the Polaris nuclear retaliatory missile system.
The W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University is hosting a lunchtime colloquium on Wednesday, 27 October, with Prof. Louis Wilson of Smith College on his research project, “Black Patriots in the American Revolutionary War from Rhode Island.”
He describes his project this way:
My project will attempt to reconstruct the personal history of many of the approximately eight hundred previously neglected African Americans and Native Americans who fought in various Rhode Island army units from 1775 to 1783. Using only primary documents, first, I am attempting to identify who these men were, and second to reconstruct many of the men’s personal histories before, during and after the conflict.
Ethnically the men are divided into essentially two groups—Native Americans (Indians) and African Americans (Black, Negro, Mulatto, Mustee and colored). Each served in various Rhode Island army units—local militia, state regiments and the Rhode Island Continental regiments.
I have collected information, often extensive personal information, on many of these men, including birth dates, places of birth, occupations, height, family status, wills, if they were enslaved or free at the time they enlisted, and if their discharge papers were signed by General George Washington.
This event will take place from noon to 1:30 P.M. in the Thompson Room, Barker Center, 12 Quincy Street in Cambridge. A question-and-answer period will follow Wilson’s lecture, and attendees can feel free to bring a lunch.
The picture above shows a black soldier in the Rhode Island regiment, wearing the unit’s distinct uniform and cap, as painted by Jean-Baptiste Antoine de Verger (1762-1851) during the siege of Yorktown. Wilson aims to dig beyond such representations of a type to uncover the individual Rhode Islanders.
I’ve mentioned this before, but at 6:30 P.M. on Thursday, 21 October, Prof. Benjamin Carp of Tufts will be speaking at the Old South Meetinghouse about his new book, Defiance of the Patriots: The Boston Tea Party and the Making of America.
Now if you search at Powell’s online bookstore for titles that include the phrase “Making of America,” you get no fewer than 166 hits. But the Boston Tea Party really was a crucial event in the colonies’ break with Britain. And it’s been a celebrated, symbolically laden event ever since the 1830s, when its memory bubbled back up into our national consciousness.
Almost every American has heard about the Tea Party, especially these days. But relatively few of us, I dare say, would be able to explain why Boston Patriots thought it was so very important to prevent that tea from being landed in North America. Defiance of the Patriots discusses the Tea Party’s local, continental, and worldwide causes and ramifications, and assesses the evidence about which men and boys were involved.
Ben’s spoken before many groups as he’s researched and written this book, including one or two previous appearances at Old South, where Bostonians met to protest the tea tax. But I understand he’s figured out a way to do something fresh for this event. It will be an interview rather than a lecture, with Marty Blatt, historian for the Boston National Historical Park, posing questions—including some submitted from the audience.
So read up on the Tea Party (last week Ben published this op-ed essay in the Wall Street Journal) and bring your questions to the Meetinghouse on Thursday evening.
A note for any of y’all who live near Boston.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 15, at 3:00pm, Shrader Lecture Hall, Eastern Nazarene College, Quincy, Mass: Thomas S. Kidd (Baylor University), “God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution.” The Donald S. Metz Lecture in American Christian History.
Thomas Kidd is the author of a variety of books and article on American religion in the colonial and revolutionary eras. His The Great Awakening: The Roots of Evangelical Christianity in Colonial America was published by Yale in 2007. University of Notre Dame historian Mark Noll described the book as “Well researched, clearly written and authoritatively argued. There is no book of comparable breadth, either chronologically or geographically.” Kidd also published The Great Awakening: A Brief History with Documents, with Bedford Books in 2007. His American Christians and Islam: Evangelical Culture and Muslims from the Colonial Period to the Age of Terrorism was published by Princeton University Press in 2008. Walter Russell Mead thus praised American Christians and Islam in Foreign Affairs: “This concise and well-organized study offers readers an excellent summary of American popular attitudes toward Islam from the eighteenth century onward.”
Kidd will be speaking on his new book God of Liberty: A Religious History of the American Revolution (Basic Books, 2010), which Harry Stout described as “a history of religion and the American Revolution that addresses the revolutionary war in substantial detail. Thomas Kidd brilliantly examines the role of religion in the Revolution, and explores the intersection of religion and the Republic, neither of which can be fully understood without reference to the other. Kidd demonstrates in persuasive detail how the idea of religious liberty informed the meaning of the Republic at its deepest level.”
The lecture is part of a series on colonial America. Gordon Wood and Jill Lepore will speak on campus in November.