July 3, 1913: The Great Reenactment of Pickett’s Charge

pickettFifty years past the bloody end of the Battle of Gettysburg, over fifty thousand Union and Confederate veterans converged to set camp again in Pennsylvania. The old men came back to see where they had stared death in the eye, and left their youth behind. July 3rd was another sweltering hot Pennsylvania day when the Union veterans again took their positions on Cemetery Ridge, and waited for their old adversaries to emerge from the woods of Seminary Ridge. At 3 in the afternoon, the Rebels charged again, but this time they moved with difficulty through the waist high grass – with canes and crutches and prosthetic limbs – some could fit their old uniforms and most could not – but still the bearded old men kept on coming. The youngest veteran was 61 years old, and the senior member claimed to be 112. Slowly they approached the stone fence at Bloody Angle, and some of the codgers croaked out the rebel yell when they were “surprised” by a group of Union men from the old Philadelphia Brigade. There were those that had feared a bitter confrontation might ensue, but where once they had thrust bayonets at each other, the men clasped hands across the stone wall. They ceremoniously exchanged flags, and some fell into each other’s arms, weeping, while others just sat down in silence and looked sadly across the hallowed ground. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yt7qvuHSg6U

July 2nd, 1937: Amelia Earhart Disappears over the Pacific

A ship out on the ocean, just a speck against the sky,amelia
Amelia Earhart flying that sad day;
With her partner, Captain Noonan, on the second of July
Her plane fell in the ocean, far away.

There’s a beautiful, beautiful field
Far away in a land that is fair.
Happy landings to you, Amelia Earhart
Farewell, first lady of the air.

She radioed position and she said that all was well,
Although the fuel within the tanks was low.
But they’d land on Howland Island to refuel her monoplane,
Then on their trip around the world they’d go.

Well, a half an hour later an SOS was heard,
The signal weak, but still her voice was brave.
Oh, in shark-infested waters her plane went down that night
In the blue Pacific to a watery grave.

Well, now you have heard my story of that awful tragedy,
We pray that she might fly home safe again.
Oh, in years to come though others blaze a trail across the sea,
We’ll ne’er forget Amelia and her plane.

There’s a beautiful, beautiful field
Far away in a land that is fair.
Happy landings to you, Amelia Earhart
Farewell, first lady of the air.


by Red River Dave McEnery
Copyright © Stasny Music, 1939. All rights administered by Bug Music, Inc

July 1, 1898: “Don, the Dog” leads the Rough Riders up San Juan Hill

don a dogTeddy Roosevelt considered Hamilton Fish one of his closest friends. Ham was captain of his crew at Columbia (and grandson to the Secretary of State) so he fit right in with the other elite college men and the cowboys and ranchers who made up the “Rough Rider” First Cavalry Brigade.When Ham joined the Rough Riders, Teddy gave him a dog named “Don” to keep him company in camp. Don quickly became Ham Fish’s faithful companion and the regiment mascot, accompanying Fish wherever he went.

The United States Army was weak in 1898, still depleted from the Civil War thirty years prior. With minimal logistical support the volunteer Rough Riders made their way from Texas to Cuba. They landed “in a shambles” and then started towards Santiago. The campaign was hot, and the mosquitoes were fierce. Local Cubans brought word that two thousand Spaniards were in Las Guasimas and the brigade made camp.

The time in camp anticipating battle brought the men (and their trusted companions) together. On June 23rd, Ham and Teddy sat in their campground and talked heart to heart.

“I said, ‘Well, Fish, we have all got to die sometime, and after all, we cannot die in a better way,’ and he nodded and said, ‘That is just how I feel, Colonel, and it is one of the reasons that made me come.’”

The next morning Sgt Hamilton Fish took a bullet to his heart; the first American soldier to die in the Spanish American War.

A week later, on July 1st, his remaining comrades, led by TR and Ham’s dog Don, rushed San Juan Hill. Assisted by the overwhelming power of Gatling guns, the Rough Riders seized the hill, which led to the American victory over Spain, and eventually placed the nation among the world’s great powers

TR looked back on his four months in Cuba with more pride and satisfaction than any other time of his life, and lobbied hard to receive the Medal of Honor for his service.

After the war, Don the Dog was adopted by Col. William Wallace, then when Wallace died, Wallace’s physician, a Dr. Hadley looked after him. Don quietly retired to the Quaker town of Whittier, California, until a big touring car containing four persons rounded a corner at a high speed and the old dog, walking quietly along, could not get out of its way.

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