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Marines Invade Iwo Jima on 19 February 1945

On this day, Operation Detachment, the U.S. Marines’ invasion of Iwo Jima, is launched. Iwo Jima was a barren Pacific island guarded by Japanese artillery, but to American military minds, it was prime real estate on which to build airfields to launch bombing raids against Japan, only 660 miles away.

The Americans began applying pressure to the Japanese defense of the island in February 1944, when B-24 and B-25 bombers raided the island for 74 days. It was the longest pre-invasion bombardment of the war, necessary because of the extent to which the Japanese–21,000 strong–fortified the island, above and below ground, including a network of caves. Underwater demolition teams (“frogmen”) were dispatched by the Americans just before the actual invasion. When the Japanese fired on the frogmen, they gave away many of their “secret” gun positions.

The amphibious landings of Marines began the morning of February 19 as the secretary of the navy, James Forrestal, accompanied by journalists, surveyed the scene from a command ship offshore. As the Marines made their way onto the island, seven Japanese battalions opened fire on them. By evening, more than 550 Marines were dead and more than 1,800 were wounded. The capture of Mount Suribachi, the highest point of the island and bastion of the Japanese defense, took four more days and many more casualties. When the American flag was finally raised on Iwo Jima, the memorable image was captured in a famous photograph that later won the Pulitzer Prize.

This historic photo that was taken in 1945, by Joe Rosenthal. U.S. Marines & a U.S. Navy corpsman raised the flag of the U.S. atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II. Of the 6 men depicted in the photo, 3 (Franklin Sousley, Harlon Block, & Michael Strank) were killed during the battle; the 3 survivors (John Bradley, Rene Gagnon, & Ira Hayes) became National Heroes upon their identification in the photo....

#iwojima #wwii #worldwarii #japanese #pacifictheater #marines #americanhistory #war #thisdayinhistory

(via history.com)
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John Steele, Paratrooper

The most photographed paratrooper in Normandy is the monument to John Steele who was caught on the Sainte-Mère-Église church spire during D-Day. Fans of Band of Brothers will recognize Ste. Mère Église and its significance.

The Operation

On the night before D-Day (June 5–6, 1944), American soldiers of the 82nd Airborne parachuted into the area west of Sainte-Mère-Église in successive waves. The town had been the target of an aerial attack and a stray incendiary bomb had set fire to a house east of the town square. The church bell was rung to alert the town of the emergency and townspeople turned out in large numbers to form a bucket brigade supervised by members of the German garrison. By 0100 hours, the town square was well lit and filled with German soldiers and villagers when two sticks (planeloads of paratroopers) from the 1st and 2nd battalions were dropped in error directly over the village.

The paratroopers were easy targets, and Steele was one of only a few non-casualties. His parachute was caught in one of the pinnacles of the church tower, causing the suspension lines of his parachute to stretch to their full length, leaving him hanging on the side of the church. The wounded paratrooper hung there limply for two hours, pretending to be dead, before the Germans took him prisoner. He later escaped from the Germans and rejoined his division when US troops of the 3rd Battalion, 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment attacked the village capturing thirty Germans and killing another eleven. He was awarded the Bronze Star for valor and the Purple Heart for being wounded in combat.

Though injured, Steele survived his ordeal. He continued to visit the town throughout his life and was an honorary citizen of Ste. Mère Église. The tavern, Auberge John Steele, stands adjacent to the square and maintains his memory through photos, letters and articles hung on its walls.

#dday #wwii #worldwarii #paratrooper #war #normandy #france

(via/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Steele_(paratrooper))
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Elizabeth Becomes Queen on 6 February 1952

On this day in 1952, after a long illness, King George VI of Great Britain and Northern Ireland dies in his sleep at the royal estate at Sandringham.

Princess Elizabeth, the oldest of the king’s two daughters and next in line to succeed him, was in Kenya at the time of her father’s death; she was crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June 2, 1953, at age 27.

King George VI, the second son of King George V, ascended to the throne in 1936 after his older brother, King Edward VIII, voluntarily abdicated to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. During World War II, George worked to rally the spirits of the British people by touring war zones, making a series of morale-boosting radio broadcasts (for which he overcame a speech impediment) and shunning the safety of the countryside to remain with his wife in bomb-damaged Buckingham Palace. The king’s health deteriorated in 1949, but he continued to perform state duties until his death in 1952.

Queen Elizabeth, born on April 21, 1926, and known to her family as Lilibet, was groomed as a girl to succeed her father. She married a distant cousin, Philip Mountbatten, on November 20, 1947, at London’s Westminster Abbey. The first of Elizabeth’s four children, Prince Charles, was born in 1948.

From the start of her reign, Elizabeth understood the value of public relations and allowed her 1953 coronation to be televised, despite objections from Prime Minister Winston Churchill and others who felt it would cheapen the ceremony. Elizabeth, the 40th British monarch since William the Conqueror, has worked hard at her royal duties and become a popular figure around the world. In 2003, she celebrated 50 years on the throne, only the fifth British monarch to do so.

The queen’s reign, however, has not been without controversy. She was seen as cold and out-of-touch following the 1996 divorce of her son, Prince Charles, and Princess Diana, and again after Diana’s 1997 death in a car crash. Additionally, the role in modern times of the monarchy, which is largely ceremonial, has come into question as British taxpayers have complained about covering the royal family’s travel expenses and palace upkeep. Still, the royals are effective world ambassadors for Britain and a huge tourism draw. Today, the queen, an avid horsewoman and Corgi dog lover, is one of the world’s wealthiest women, with extensive real-estate holdings and art and jewelry collections.

#queenelizabethii #england #monarchy #uk #thequeen #thisdayinhistory #history

(via/ history.com)
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Remembering Columbia

14 years ago today we lost the crew of #Columbia. Remembering them, their families, & lessons learned as we continue human space exploration.

STS-107 was the 113th flight of the Space Shuttle program, and the disastrous final flight of Space Shuttle Columbia. The mission launched from Kennedy Space Center in Florida on January 16, 2003, and during its 15 days, 22 hours, 20 minutes, 32 seconds in orbit conducted a multitude of international scientific experiments.

The seven members of the crew were killed on February 1 when Columbia disintegrated during reentry into the atmosphere. The Columbia Accident Investigation Board determined the failure was caused by a piece of foam that broke off during launch and damaged the thermal protection system (reinforced carbon-carbon panels and thermal protection tiles) on the leading edge of the orbiter's left wing.

During re-entry the damaged wing slowly overheated and came apart, eventually leading to loss of control and disintegration of the vehicle. The cockpit window frame is now exhibited in a memorial inside the Space Shuttle Atlantis Pavilion at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

#spaceshuttle #space #astronaut #nasa #spaceexploration #iss #history #thisdayinhistory

(via/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/STS-107)
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First Canned Beer Goes on Sale - January 24, 1935

For all our beer can fans out there, this is where it started!

Canned beer makes its debut on this day in 1935. In partnership with the American Can Company, the Gottfried Krueger Brewing Company delivered 2,000 cans of Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale to faithful Krueger drinkers in Richmond, Virginia. Ninety-one percent of the drinkers approved of the canned beer, driving Krueger to give the green light to further production.

By the late 19th century, cans were instrumental in the mass distribution of foodstuffs, but it wasn’t until 1909 that the American Can Company made its first attempt to can beer. This was unsuccessful, and the American Can Company would have to wait for the end of Prohibition in the United States before it tried again. Finally in 1933, after two years of research, American Can developed a can that was pressurized and had a special coating to prevent the fizzy beer from chemically reacting with the tin.

The concept of canned beer proved to be a hard sell, but Krueger’s overcame its initial reservations and became the first brewer to sell canned beer in the United States. The response was overwhelming. Within three months, over 80 percent of distributors were handling Krueger’s canned beer, and Krueger’s was eating into the market share of the “big three” national brewers–Anheuser-Busch, Pabst and Schlitz. Competitors soon followed suit, and by the end of 1935, over 200 million cans had been produced and sold.

The purchase of cans, unlike bottles, did not require the consumer to pay a deposit. Cans were also easier to stack, more durable and took less time to chill. As a result, their popularity continued to grow throughout the 1930s, and then exploded during World War II, when U.S. brewers shipped millions of cans of beer to soldiers overseas. After the war, national brewing companies began to take advantage of the mass distribution that cans made possible, and were able to consolidate their power over the once-dominant local breweries, which could not control costs and operations as efficiently as their national counterparts.

Today, canned beer accounts for approximately half of the $20 billion U.S. beer industry. Not all of this comes from the big national brewers: Recently, there has been renewed interest in canning from microbrewers and high-end beer-sellers, who are realizing that cans guarantee purity and taste by preventing light damage and oxidation.

#beer   #beercan   #thisdayinhistory   #history  

history.com
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Caesar's Palace circa 1971

What a storied history, and it's crazy to imagine what the Strip once looked like. Hint: a bit like that. Fast forward to today and it's stunning how much this hotel has changed (and how quite a bit still retains the feel of the original...

History

In 1962, cabana motel owners Jay Sarno and Stanley Mallin applied for a $10.6 million loan from the Teamsters Central States Pension Fund. They began plans to build a hotel on land owned by Kirk Kerkorian. Sarno would later act as designer of the hotel he planned to construct.

He wanted to emulate life under the Roman Empire, to literally come up with a palace in which everybody staying at the hotel would feel like a Caesar. Caesars Palace was instrumental in beginning a new era of lavish casinos from the late 1960s onward. Architectural writer Alan Hess stated: "Caesars Palace needed only a sumptuous array of Classical statuary and a host of marble-white columns to establish its theme. The visitor's imagination, in league with well-placed publicity, filled in the opulence".

Jefferson Graham wrote that the result was "the gaudiest, weirdest, most elaborate, and most talked about resort Vegas had ever seen. [Its] emblem was a chesty female dipping grapes into the waiting mouth of a recumbent Roman, fitted out in toga, laurel wreath, and phallic dagger".

At the inauguration ceremony of the hotel on August 5, 1966, Sarno and his partner Nate Jacobsen spent one million dollars, with the "largest order of Ukrainian caviar ever placed by a private organization", with two tons of filet mignon, 300 pounds (140 kg) of Maryland crabmeat and 50,000 glasses of champagne. Cocktail waitresses in Greco-Roman wigs would greet guests and say "Welcome to Caesars Palace, I am your slave". Among the performers at the opening were Andy Williams and Phil Richards. According to author Ovid Demaris, Caesars Palace was "a mob-controlled casino from the day it opened its doors". By the time it opened, the significant publicity of the new hotel had generated $42 million in advanced bookings.

On December 31, 1967, stunt performer Evel Knievel arrived at the hotel to watch a boxing match and convinced Sarno that he could jump over the distance of 140 feet (43 m) over the fountains. ABC came in to film the jump, in which Knievel hit the top of the safety ramp after the jump and flew over his handlebars into the parking lot of neighbouring Dunes. Fracturing his pelvis, several bones and suffering a concussion, he lay in a hospital unconscious for 29 days in a coma before recovering. On April 14, 1989, Knievel's son Robbie successfully completed the jump.

The first casino at the hotel was named Circus Circus. It was intended to be the world's liveliest and most expensive casino, attracting elite gamblers from around the world. In 1969, a Federal Organized Crime Task Force accused the casino's financial manager, Jerome Zarowitz, of having ties with organized-crime figures in New York and New England.

Although Zarowitz was never tried, the task force pressured Sarno and his other investors to sell the casino, which led to it being acquired by Lum's restaurant chain owners Stuart and Clifford S. Perlman for $60 million. The company soon shed its restaurant operations and changed its name to Caesars World. On July 15 of that year, executives lay ground on an expansion area of the hotel, and they buried a time capsule in the area.

Frank Sinatra began performing at Caesars Palace in 1967, after a fallout with Howard Hughes and Carl Cohen at The Sands. He signed a three-year contract. In the early morning hours of September 6, 1970, Sinatra was playing a high stakes baccarat at the casino, where he was performing at the time. Normal limits for the game are US$2,000 per hand; Sinatra had been playing for US$8,000 and wanted the stakes to be raised to US$16,000.

When Sinatra began shouting after his request was denied, hotel executive Sanford Waterman came to talk with him. Witnesses to the incident said the two men both made threats, with Waterman producing a gun and pointing it at Sinatra. Sinatra walked out of the casino and returned to his Palm Springs home without fulfilling the rest of his three-week engagement there. Waterman was booked on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, but was released without bail. The local district attorney's office declined to file charges against Waterman for pulling the gun, stating that Sinatra had refused to make a statement regarding the incident.

Despite swearing to never perform at Caesars again, Sinatra returned after his retirement in January 1974, and became a frequent performer at Caesars Palace throughout the decade. He was performing at Caesars when his mother Dolly died in a plane crash in January 1977, and in 1979 he was awarded the Grammy Trustees Award in a party at the hotel, while celebrating 40 years in show business and his 64th birthday. When Sinatra was given back his gaming license by the Nevada Gaming Commission in 1981, he became an entertainment-public relations consultant at the casino for $20,000 a week.

#caesarspalace   #lasvegas   #oldvegas   #thestrip   #franksinatra   #themob   #vegas  

via/ vintagelasvegas.tumblr.com

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caesars_Palace
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Earthquake Rocks Los Angeles on 17 January 1994

Of course, as my luck would have it, I drove to Los Angeles the day before. I was staying in my brother's apartment in Huntington Beach, and the quake woke me up in the middle of the night, throwing me out of bed. As my brother had sketchy, druggie friends, I thought a fight was going on. This earthquake was huge, and one I'll never forget...

On this day in 1994, an earthquake rocks Los Angeles, California, killing 54 people and causing billions of dollars in damages. The Northridge quake (named after the San Fernando Valley community near the epicenter) was one of the most damaging in U.S. history.

It was 4:31 a.m. when the 6.7-magnitude quake struck the San Fernando Valley, a densely populated area of Los Angeles located 20 miles northeast of the city’s downtown. With an epicenter 12 miles beneath the earth’s surface, the earthquake caused the collapse of several apartment buildings. At the Northridge Meadows complex, 16 people died, all of whom lived on the first floor, when the weak stucco structure fell down on them as they slept.

Given the strength and location of the earthquake, it was fortunate that the death toll was not far higher. Two key factors were critical in reducing the casualties. First, the quake struck in the middle of the night while nearly everyone was at home in their beds. A mall parking lot in the Valley collapsed, but no one was killed because it was entirely empty. Several highways also suffered critical failures, but only one police officer died, when his vehicle plunged off an overpass. The other key factor was that the city’s building and safety codes were strengthened following the 1971 Sylmar quake that collapsed the San Fernando Veterans Hospital. Every building constructed after the new regulations were implemented stayed intact.

Still, the quake caused a huge amount of property damage over a wide area, especially in the beach community of Santa Monica, even though it was relatively far from the epicenter. As much of Santa Monica stands on soil that is less solid than bedrock, it suffered severe ground movement during the earthquake. The partial collapse of the Santa Monica freeway snarled traffic in Los Angeles for months. All told, it is estimated that the earthquake was responsible for $20 billion in damages.

#earthquake   #northridgeearthquake   #americanhistory   #history   #california   #onthisday  

via/ http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/earthquake-rocks-los-angeles
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Golden Gate Bridge Construction Begins on 5 January 1933

On January 5, 1933, construction begins on the Golden Gate Bridge, as workers began excavating 3.25 million cubic feet of dirt for the structure’s huge anchorages.

Following the Gold Rush boom that began in 1849, speculators realized the land north of San Francisco Bay would increase in value in direct proportion to its accessibility to the city. Soon, a plan was hatched to build a bridge that would span the Golden Gate, a narrow, 400-foot deep strait that serves as the mouth of the San Francisco Bay, connecting the San Francisco Peninsula with the southern end of Marin County.

Although the idea went back as far as 1869, the proposal took root in 1916. A former engineering student, James Wilkins, working as a journalist with the San Francisco Bulletin, called for a suspension bridge with a center span of 3,000 feet, nearly twice the length of any in existence. Wilkins’ idea was estimated to cost an astounding $100 million. So, San Francisco’s city engineer, Michael M. O’Shaughnessy (he’s also credited with coming up with the name Golden Gate Bridge), began asking bridge engineers whether they could do it for less.

Engineer and poet Joseph Strauss, a 5-foot tall Cincinnati-born Chicagoan, said he could.

Eventually, O’Shaughnessy and Strauss concluded they could build a pure suspension bridge within a practical range of $25-30 million with a main span at least 4,000 feet. The construction plan still faced opposition, including litigation, from many sources. By the time most of the obstacles were cleared, the Great Depression of 1929 had begun, limiting financing options, so officials convinced voters to support $35 million in bonded indebtedness, citing the jobs that would be created for the project.

However, the bonds couldn’t be sold until 1932, when San-Francisco based Bank of America agreed to buy the entire project in order to help the local economy.

The Golden Gate Bridge officially opened on May 27, 1937, the longest bridge span in the world at the time. The first public crossing had taken place the day before, when 200,000 people walked, ran and even roller skated over the new bridge.

With its tall towers and famous red paint job, the bridge quickly became a famous American landmark, and a symbol of San Francisco.

#sanfrancisco   #goldengatebridge   #california   #history   #bridge #californiahistory  

via/ http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_Gate_Bridge

http://www.sftravel.com/golden-gate-bridge
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Band Of Brothers

Anyone who has followed me here for a while knows I watch this miniseries once or twice a year, in perpetual recognition of the sacrifice these men and women made to preserve our way of life in WWII, and to honor all the soldiers who have fought or served for America.

I will keep up this campaign until the day I die, as I believe all men and women who serve in the Armed Forces deserve our recognition and respect. I will continually always honor anyone who has answered the call to serve either in America or in their home country. It's something I've done since I've watched this miniseries the first time back in 2001, and before that, for most of my life...

This is a still of Eugene Roe, Doc. It was a particularly great (and sad) episode that featured the coldness and horrors of Bastogne. This was my favorite episode (along with ep 7). If you have never seen this 10-part miniseries, you must. You must! It was produce by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg, and I consider it one of the best miniseries of all time!

Band of Brothers Trailer
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyDkHvi9yeI

Band of Brothers- Battle of the Bulge
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBeXRvdlmyY

#bandofbrothers   #worldwarii   #easycompany   #war   #101st   #506thpir   #paratroopers   #airborne  

via/ http://www.avclub.com/tvclub/band-brothers-bastogne-204326

http://wikiofbrothers.wikia.com/wiki/The_Breaking_Point
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Bugsy Siegel Opens Flamingo Hotel on 26 December 1946

In Las Vegas, Nevada, mobster Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel opens The Pink Flamingo Hotel & Casino at a total cost of $6 million. The 40-acre facility wasn’t complete and Siegel was hoping to raise some revenue with the grand opening.

Well-known singer and comedian Jimmy Durante headlined the entertainment, with music by Cuban band leader Xavier Cugat. Some of Siegel’s Hollywood friends, including actors George Raft, George Sanders, Sonny Tufts and George Jessel were in attendance.

The grand opening, however, was a flop. Bad weather kept many other Hollywood guests from arriving. And because gamblers had no rooms at the hotel, they took their winnings and gambled elsewhere. The casino lost $300,000 in the first week of operation.

Siegel and his New York “partners” had invested $1 million in a property already under construction by Billy Wilkerson, owner of the Hollywood Reporter as well as some very popular nightclubs in the Sunset Strip. Wilkerson had wanted to recreate the Sunset Strip in Las Vegas, with a European style hotel with luxuious rooms, a spa, health club, showroom, golf course, nightclub and upscale restaurant. But he soon ran out of money due to the high cost of materials immediately after the war.

Siegel, who held a largest interest in the racing publication Trans America Wire, was drawn to Las Vegas in 1945 by his interest in legalized gambling and off-track betting. He purchased The El Cortez hotel for $600,000 and later sold it for a $166,000 profit.

Siegel and his organized crime buddies used the profits to influence Wilkerson to accept new partners. Siegel took over the project and supervised the building, naming it after his girlfriend Virginia Hill, whose nickname was “The Flamingo” because of her red hair and long legs.

Two weeks after the grand opening, the Flamingo closed down. It re-opened March 1, 1947, as The Fabulous Flamingo. Siegel forced Wilkerson out in April, and by May, the resort reported a profit, but it wasn’t enough to save Siegel.

Convinced that Siegel wasn’t giving them a “square count,” it is widely believed that his partners in organized crime had him killed while he was reading the paper June 20, 1947, at Hill’s Beverly Hills mansion. Hill was in Paris, having flown the coop after a fight with Siegel 10 days prior. The crime remains unsolved to this day.

Surviving a series of name and ownership changes, the hotel is known today as The Flamingo Las Vegas, owned and operated by Harrah’s Entertainment. The property offers 3,626 hotel rooms and a 77,000-square-foot casino.

#flamingohotel   #lasvegas   #bugsysiegel   #themob   #mobster   #nevada   #oldlasvegas   #nevadahistory  

via/ http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/bugsy-siegel-opens-flamingo-hotel
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