March 17, 1962: Statement by the President on St. Patrick’s Day

THE OBSERVANCE of St. Patrick’s Day is almost as old in America as the Irish themselves, and some say they arrived in the sixth century. It is a day of stirring memories, recalling ancient learning and primal abundance-for as often related, at a time when the inhabitants of a nearby island were still living on acorns, all the people in Roscommon hadJFK Ireland the gout!

It is a day of dedication as well, as purely American as it is Irish, recalling for all that ours is a nation founded, sustained, and now preserved in the cause of liberty. None more than the Irish can attest the power of that cause once it has gripped a nation’s soul.
It is well to love liberty, for it demands much of those who would live by it. Liberty is not content to share mankind.

John Boyle O’Reilly, who came to Boston by way of a penal colony in Western Australia, understood this as few men have. “freedom,” he wrote, “is more than a resolution–he is not free who is free alone.”

To those who in our time have lost their freedom, or who through the ages have never won it, there is a converse to this message. No one–in the darkest cell, the remotest prison, under the most unyielding tyranny–is ever entirely lost in bondage while there are yet free men in the world. As this be our faith, let it also be our pride-and to all who share it, I send the greetings of this day.


March 16, 1912: Birth of “Pat” Nixon

When Thelma Catherine Ryan came into the world in Ely, Nevada on March 16, 1912, her Irish-American father, who had just come home from his shift in the mines, greeted her with joy – she was his “St. Patrick’s Babe in the Morn!”

The lucky nickname “Pat” stuck, but life was not easy. The Ryan family moved to California and settled on a small trucPat & Dick Nixonk farm near Los Angeles. As Pat grew up, she joined the rest of her family planting and harvesting peppers, beets, cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes, and corn. When her mother took ill with a liver ailment Pat took over cooking, cleaning and laundering for her brothers and father and the hired hands. When her father came down with tuberculosis she continued her household and farm chores and also took a job at the Artesia First National Bank, rising early to clean the floors, then returning after school to work as a bookkeeper.

Pat’s mother died in 1925 and her father passed away when Pat turned 18, but she was determined to continue her education. She worked her way through the University of Southern California waiting tables, testing beauty products in salons, as an extra in the movies, and as assistant buyer at Bullock’s Department Store. She graduated cum laude in 1937.

She got a job as a high-school teacher in Whittier, and in the evenings tried out for roles in the local Little Theater group. There she met a young lawyer named Dick Nixon who also was trying out for a role in the play “Dark Shadows”.

The young lawyer was certainly taken. He wrote to her “Somehow on Tuesday there was something electric in the usually almost stifling air in Whittier. And now I know. An Irish gypsy who radiates all that is happy and beautiful was there. She left behind her a note addressed to a struggling barrister who looks from a window and dreams. And in that note he found sunshine and flowers, and a great spirit which only great ladies can inspire. Someday let me see you again? In September? Maybe?”

Dick was not exactly a ladies man. He proposed to Pat on their first date; she thought he was nuts. That didn’t deter him. Nixon even offered to be her driver on her dates with other men. He inundated her with love letters: “When the wind blows and the rains fall and the sun shines through the clouds (as it is now) he still resolves. . . that nothing so fine ever happened to him or anyone else as falling in love with Thee — my dearest heart.”

Pat wrote back, “In case I don’t see you before, why don’t you come early Wednesday and I’ll see if I can burn a hamburger for you.”

“Every day and every night I want to see you and be with you,” Nixon wrote back.. “Let’s go for a long ride Sunday; let’s go to the mountains weekends; let’s read books in front of fires; most of all, let’s really grow together and find the happiness we know is ours.”

Dick courted Pat for two years until she was ready to get married. In the spring of 1940, he parked his car by the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pacific. He presented an engagement ring packed in a small basket brimming with mayflowers.

Pat Ryan and Dick Nixon were married at a small ceremony on June 21, 1940 at Mission Inn, Riverside, California. After a honeymoon to Laredo and Mexico City they began their married life in an apartment in Whittier.

Dick Nixon always considered marrying Pat the best decision of his life. “I am certainly not the Romeo type…I may not say much when I am with you—but all of me loves you all the time.”

March 15, 1965: Lyndon Johnson explains why he wants to be President

My first job after college was as a teacher in Cotulla, Texas, in a small Mexican-American school. Few of them could speak English, and I couldn’t speak much Spanish. My students were poor and they often came to class without Lyndon 1941breakfast, hungry. They knew even in their youth the pain of prejudice. They never seemed to know why people disliked them. But they knew it was so, because I saw it in their eyes. I often walked home late in the afternoon, after the classes were finished, wishing there was more that I could do. But all I knew was to teach them the little that I knew, hoping that it might help them against the hardships that lay ahead.

Somehow you never forget what poverty and hatred can do when you see its scars on the hopeful face of a young child.
I never thought then, in 1928, that I would be standing here in 1965. It never even occurred to me in my fondest dreams that I might have the chance to help the sons and daughters of those students and to help people like them all over this country.

But now I do have that chance—and I’ll let you in on a secret—I mean to use it. And I hope that you will use it with me.
This is the richest and most powerful country which ever occupied the globe. The might of past empires is little compared to ours. But I do not want to be the President who built empires, or sought grandeur, or extended dominion.

I want to be the President who educated young children to the wonders of their world. I want to be the President who helped to feed the hungry and to prepare them to be taxpayers instead of tax-eaters.

I want to be the President who helped the poor to find their own way and who protected the right of every citizen to vote in every election.

I want to be the President who helped to end hatred among his fellow men and who promoted love among the people of all races and all regions and all parties.

I want to be the President who helped to end war among the brothers of this earth.

March 14, 1865: Congressional Testimony of John S. Smith on the Sand Creek Massacre

Question. Do you know the reason for that attack on the Indians?

Answer. I do not know any exact reason. I have heard a great many reasons given. I have heard that that whole Indian war had been brought on for selfish purposes. Sand_Creek_Massacre,_1874-1875
Colonel Chivington was running for Congress in Colorado, and there were other things of that kind; and last spring a year ago he was looking for an order to go to the front, and I understand he had this Indian war in view to retain himself and his troops in that country, to carry out his electioneering purposes.

Question. In what way did this attack on the Indians further the purpose of Colonel Chivington?

Answer. It was said – I did not hear him say it myself, but it was said that he would do something; he had this regiment of three-months men, and did not want them to go out without doing some service. Now he had been told repeatedly by different persons – by myself, as well as others – where he could find the hostile bands.

Question. Had there been, to your knowledge, any hostile act or demonstration on the part of these Indians or any of them?

sandcreek_jpg__600x0_q85_upscaleAnswer. Not in this band. But the northern band, the band known by the name of Dog soldiers of Cheyennes, had committed many depredations on the Platte.

Question. Do you know whether or not Colonel Chivington knew the friendly character of these Indians before he made the attack upon them?

Answer. It is my opinion that he did.

Question: Did you tell Colonel Chivington the character and disposition of these Indians at any time during your interviews on this day?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. What did he say in reply?

Answer. He said he could not help it; that his orders were positive to attack the Indians.

Question. From whom did he receive these orders?

Answer. I do not know; I presume from General Curtis.

Question. Were the women and children slaughtered indiscriminately, or only so far as they were with the warriors?

Answer. Indiscriminately.

Question. Were there any acts of barbarity perpetrated there that came under your own observation?

Answer. Yes, sir; I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces.

Question. How cut?

Answer. With knives; scalped; their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors.

Question. Did you see it done?

Answer. Yes, sir; I saw them fall.

Question. Fall when they were killed?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. Did you see them when they were mutilated?

Answer. Yes, sir.

Question. By whom were they mutilated?

Answer. By the United States troops.

Question. Were there any other barbarities or atrocities committed there other than those you have mentioned, that you saw?

Answer. Yes, sir; I had a half-breed son there, who gave himself up. He started at the time the Indians fled; being a half-breed he had but little hope of being spared, and seeing them fire at me, he ran away with the Indians for the distance of about a mile. During the fight up there he walked back to my camp and went into the lodge. It was surrounded by soldiers at the time. He came in quietly and sat down; he remained there that day, that night, and the next day in the afternoon; about four o’clock in the evening, as I was sitting inside the camp, a soldier came up outside of the lodge and called me by name. I got up and went out; he took me by the arm and walked towards Colonel Chivington’s camp, which was about sixty yards from my camp. Said he, “I am sorry to tell you, but they are going to kill your son Jack.” I knew the feeling towards the whole camp of Indians, and that there was no use to make any resistance. I said, “I can’t help it.” I then walked on towards where Colonel Chivington was standing by his camp-fire; when I had got within a few feet of him I heard a gun fired, and saw a crowd run to my lodge, and they told me that Jack was dead.

March 11 1892: March Madness Begins

James Naismith was teaching at the International YMCA Training School (now Springfield College) in Springfield, Massachusetts. Winter was cold and as he was the assistant physical education director to the school he was always looking for new winter activities.Naismith

On December 21, 1891, he published rules for a new game he dreamt up. That day, he asked his class to play a match in the Armory Street court: 9 versus 9, using a soccer ball and two peach baskets. Frank Mahan, one of his students, wasn’t so happy. He just said: “Harrumph. Another new game”.  Someone proposed to call it “Naismith Game”, but the inventor demurred “We have a ball and a basket: why don’t we call it basketball?”

On March 11, 1892, with a crowd of 200 on hand, the first public basketball game was played in the Armory Hill YMCA in Springfield. In a romp, the students bested the teachers 5-1.

It was a simple game; as Naismith often said, “Basketball is just a game to play. It doesn’t need a coach… you don’t coach basketball, you just play it.” Originally, 9 players were on each team… Dr. Naismith once said that there could up to 40 on each team, if the floor was big enough.
Two vegetable baskets were nailed to the railing of an elevated running track which was about 10 feet high. The ball was a soccer ball. Of course it was a nuisance to get out the stepladder every time someone scored, so a hole was cut out of the basket, and a local carpenter added a wire rim with a chicken wire net and backboards so that fans, reaching over the railing, couldn’t deflect the shots.

These were the rules:

The ball may be thrown in any direction with one or both hands.
The ball may be batted in any direction with one or both hands.

A player cannot run with the ball, the player must throw it from the spot on which he catches it, allowance to be made for a man who catches the ball when running at good speed.

The ball must be held in or between the hands, the arms or body must not be used for holding it.

No shouldering, holding, pushing, tripping or striking in any way the person of an opponent shall be allowed. The first infringement of this rule by any person shall count as a foul, the second shall disqualify him until the next goal is made, or if there was evident intent to injure the person, for the whole of the game, no substitute.

A foul is striking the ball with the fist, violation of rules 3 and 4, and such as described in rule 5.

If either side makes three consecutive fouls it shall count a goal for opponents.

A goal shall be made when the ball is thrown or batted from grounds into the basket and stays there If the ball rests on the edge and the opponent moves the basket it shall count as a goal.

When the ball goes out of bounds it shall be thrown into the field and played by the person first touching it. In case of a dispute, the umpire shall throw it straight into the field. The “thrower-in” is allowed five seconds. If he holds it longer it shall go to the opponent. If any side persists in delaying the game, the umpire shall call a foul on them.

The umpire shall be the judge of the men and shall note the fouls, and notify the referee when three consecutive fouls have been made.

The referee shall be the judge of the ball and shall decide when the ball is in play, in-bounds, and to which side it belongs, and shall keep the time. He shall decide when a goal has been made and keep account of the goals with any other duties that are usually performed by a referee.

The time shall be fifteen-minute halves, with five-minute rests between.

The side making the most goals in that time shall be declared the winner. In the case of a draw, the game may, by agreement of the captains, be continued until another goal is made.

March 10, 1968: Cesar Chavez Breaks his Fast

I have asked the Rev. James Drake to read this statement to you because my heart is so full and my body too weak to be able to say what I feel. My warm thanks to all of you for coming today. Many of you have been here before, during the chavez4Fast. Some have sent beautiful cards and telegrams and made offerings at the Mass. All of these expressions of your love have strengthened me and I am grateful.

We should all express our thanks to Senator [Robert] Kennedy for his constant work on behalf of the poor, for his personal encouragement to me, and for taking time to break bread with us today.

I do not want any of you to be deceived about the Fast. The strict Fast of water only which I undertook on February 16 ended after the 21st day because of the advice of our doctor, James McKnight, and other physicians. Since that time I have been taking liquids in order to prevent serious damage to my kidneys.
We are gathered here today not so much to observe the end of the Fast but because we are a family bound together in a common struggle for justice. We are a Union family celebrating our unity and the nonviolent nature of our movement. Perhaps in the future we will come together at other times and places to break bread and to renew our courage and to celebrate important victories.

The Fast has had different meanings for different people.
Some of you may still wonder about its meaning and importance. It was not intended as a pressure against any growers. For that reason we have suspended negotiations and arbitration proceedings and relaxed the militant picketing and boycotting of the strike during this period. I undertook the Fast because my heart was filled with grief and pain for the sufferings of farm workers. The Fast was first for me and then for all of us in this Union. It was a Fast for nonviolence and a call to sacrifice.

When we are really honest with ourselves we must admit that our lives are all that really belong to us. So it is how we use our lives that determines what kind of men we are. It is my deepest belief that only by giving our lives do we find life. I am convinced that the truest act of courage, the strongest act of manliness is to sacrifice ourselves for others in a totally non-violent struggle for justice.

To be a man is to suffer for others. God help us to be men!

March 9, 1841: John Quincy Adams Secures the Release of the Survivors of the Amistad

In 1839, fifty-three men, recently abducted from Sierra Leone, revolted aboard the Spanish schooner Amistad. When the Amistad was discovered off of Long Island, it was hauled into New London, Connecticut by the U.S. Navy.

President Martin Van Buren wanted the prisoners returned to Cuba to stand trial for mutiny. A Connecticut judge, John_Quincy_Adamshowever, issued a ruling recognizing the defendants’ rights as free citizens and ordered the U.S. government to escort them back to Africa. The U.S. government appealed to the Supreme Court.

Former president John Quincy Adams came out of retirement to represent the men of the Amistad in the Supreme Court case, and successfully argued that it was the illegally enslaved Africans, rather than the Cubans, who “were entitled to all the kindness and good offices due from a humane and Christian nation.”

This was John Quincy Adams’s final summation to the court:

May it please your Honors: On the 7th of February, 1804, now more than thirty-seven years past, my name was entered, and yet stands recorded, on both the rolls, as one of the Attorneys and Counsellors of this Court. Five years later, in February and March, 1809, I appeared for the last time before this Court, in defense of the cause of justice, and of important rights, in which many of my fellow-citizens had property to a large amount at stake. Very shortly afterwards, I was called to the discharge of other duties–first in distant lands, and in later years, within our own country, but in different departments of her Government.

Little did I imagine that I should ever again be required to claim the right of appearing in the capacity of an officer of this Court; yet such has been the dictate of my destiny–and I appear again to plead the cause of justice, and now of liberty and life, in behalf of many of my fellow men, before that same Court, which in a former age I had addressed in support of rights of property I stand again, I trust for the last time, before the same Court–“hic caestus, artemque repono.” I stand before the same Court, but not before the same judges–nor aided by the same associates–nor resisted by the same opponents.

As I cast my eyes along those seats of honor and of public trust, now occupied by you, they seek in vain for one of those honored and honorable persons whose indulgence listened then to my voice. Marshall–Cushing–Chase–Washington–Johnson–Livingston–Todd–Where are they?

Where is that eloquent statesman and learned lawyer who was my associate counsel in the management of that cause, Robert Goodloe Harper?

Where is that brilliant luminary, so long the pride of Maryland and of the American Bar, then my opposing counsel, Luther Martin?

Where is the excellent clerk of that day, whose name has been inscribed on the shores of Africa, as a monument of his abhorrence of the African slave-trade, Elias B. Caldwell?

Where is the marshal–where are the criers of the Court? Alas! where is one of the very judges of the Court, arbiters of life and death, before whom I commenced this anxious argument, even now prematurely closed?

Where are they all? Gone! Gone! All gone!–Gone from the services which, in their day and generation, they faithfully rendered to their country. From the excellent characters which they sustained in life, so far as I have had the means of knowing, I humbly hope, and fondly trust, that they have gone to receive the rewards of blessedness on high.

In taking, then, my final leave of this Bar, and of this Honorable Court, I can only ejaculate a fervent petition to Heaven, that every member of it may go to his final account with as little of earthly frailty to answer for as those illustrious dead, and that you may, every one, after the close of a long and virtuous career in this world, be received at the portals of the next with the approving sentence–“Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

March 8, 1782: O Gnadenhutten!

During the American Revolution the Lenni Lenape Indians of the Ohio Country found themselves uncomfortably stuck between the American colonists’ outpost at Fort Pitt (Pittsburgh) and the British forces at Fort Detroit.Gnadenhutten

Some Lenape allied themselves with the Crown and moved closer to Fort Detroit. Others signed a treaty with the Americans, hoping to secure a state to be inhabited exclusively by Native Americans. A third group of converted Christians lived in mission villages led by Moravian missionaries, and opted for a neutral policy of peace.
The war brought escalating violence on all sides. The Moravian villages were uprooted and British-allied Indians arrested the missionaries David Zeisberger and John Heckewelder and brought them to Detroit where the British put them on trial for treason. The missionaries were acquitted, but the Lenape had been displaced from their homes.

In February 1782, more than 100 hungry Lenape returned to their old village at Gnadenhutten to harvest what crops they could and collect stored food they had been forced to leave behind, but in early March they found themselves under attack by a raiding party of 160 Pennsylvania militia led by Lieutenant Colonel David Williamson.

The militia rounded up the Lenape and accused them of taking part in raids into Pennsylvania. The Lenape denied the charges. The militia held a council and held a vote – The choice was hard – to kill the Lenape or let them go free.

Refusing to take part, some militiamen left the area.

After the vote, the Lenape requested time to prepare for death; they spent the night praying and singing hymns.

The next morning, March 8, 1782, the militia brought 28 men, 29 women, and 39 children to two “killing houses”, one for men and the other for women and children. The militia tied the Indians, stunned them with mallet blows to the head, and killed them with fatal scalping cuts.

The militia then looted the villages, and carried away everything the people had: furs, pewter, tea sets, clothing, The bodies were piled in the mission buildings and burned to the ground.

Obadiah Holmes, Jr, who had opposed the killing, wrote:
“Nathan Rollins & brother who had had a father & uncle killed took the lead in murdering the Indians, …& Nathan Rollins had tomahawked nineteen of the poor Moravians, & after it was over he sat down & cried, & said it was no satisfaction for the loss of his father & uncle after all.”

March 7, 1745: Diary of the Moravians at Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Lord Christ, light of my life, let the light of Your wounds illuminate my every step.

Quite a large number of Indians were present in the early meeting. They sat in a row on a bench. They are respectful at the meetings and listen with great attention. The imprisoned brethren at New York had many visitors and could quite heartily bear witness to their Savior. At noon, both the Bluhmes ate with us. We spoke with them in general about his first fruitsawakening and marriage.

Unexpectedly, a little child was born to Anton Albrecht. He asked the congregation to baptize it. The columns came one after the other to Br. Joseph, each one with its Diener. It was recommended to them to think upon the synod without thinking.

All were pleased and happy.

Yesterday Oberhölzer, a Baptist, arrived in Bethlehem for a visit. Br. Schnell and Kohn waited upon him. Br. Schnell preached at Maguntschy and also taught catechism to the children. Jos. and Marie had a lovefeast with the workers who will remain here during the synod. They told them how they wanted things done during their absence. Ludwig Kloz and his wife brought their child, who had been baptized by us, into the congregation. It and the father and mother were blessed most sincerely with prayer and supplication.

Today our congregation council was very nice. We reminded everyone that they should not ask curious questions of the Indians who come to visit us and also not get into religious discourses with them. We do not want to begin with them from doctrine. First they must get a different concept of Christ and His people from our behavior.

Relative to some brethren and sisters staying awake late, no definite rule was established. This much was said, that it would be a blessing if one went to bed after the hourly intercession with the Savior on one’s mind, in order to get up again for the morning blessing.

All the visiting Indians gathered in the house of Thomas. He gave them a friendly evening meal in love. Isaac, Josua, and Nathanael were also present. Nineteen of them were there together. They all sat on the ground.

Benjamin Sommer wrote to Joseph and Mary and asked for baptism and for our intercession. Br. Seydel asked Isaac, Nathanael, and Josua about their impression of Prostration with the congregation lying face down at the feet of Jesus. They had witnessed it eight days ago but had not participated in it. They told him with tears how important this matter was for them, that they also had had it after Communion in Checomeko, but oh, how great it would be for them if they would be allowed to participate in the congregation here. So they were allowed to do this, as was our Br. Benjamin.

The children’s quarter-of-an-hour services in Nazareth, which were begun eight days ago, continue to be held with blessing. After his sermon at Moden Creek, Br. Lischy held a heartfelt and brotherly discussion with about seven men; one of his enemies asked for forgiveness, and he embraced him with tender love. At Heydelberg, the brethren and sisters had a very cordial lovefeast. They felt the presence of the Lamb among them with grace and blessing.

March 4, 1865: Lincoln gives his Second Inaugural Address

At this second appearing to take the oath of the presidential office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first. Then a statement, somewhat in detail, of a course to be pursued, seemed fitting and proper. Now, at the expiration of four years, during which public declarations have been constantly called forth on every point and lincoln-2nd-inaug-Ephase of the great contest which still absorbs the attention, and engrosses the energies of the nation, little that is new could be presented. The progress of our arms, upon which all else chiefly depends, is as well known to the public as to myself; and it is, I trust, reasonably satisfactory and encouraging to all. With high hope for the future, no prediction in regard to it is ventured.

On the occasion corresponding to this four years ago, all thoughts were anxiously directed to an impending civil war. All dreaded it–all sought to avert it. While the inaugeral [sic] address was being delivered from this place, devoted altogether to saving the Union without war, insurgent agents were in the city seeking to destroy it without war–seeking to dissole [sic] the Union, and divide effects, by negotiation. Both parties deprecated war; but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive; and the other would accept war rather than let it perish. And the war came.

One eighth of the whole population were colored slaves, not distributed generally over the Union, but localized in the Southern part of it. These slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was, somehow, the cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the insurgents would rend the Union, even by war; while the government claimed no right to do more than to restrict the territorial enlargement of it.

Neither party expected for the war, the magnitude, or the duration, which it has already attained. Neither anticipated that the cause of the conflict might cease with, or even before, the conflict itself should cease.

Each looked for an easier triumph, and a result less fundamental and astounding. Both read the same Bible, and pray to the same God; and each invokes His aid against the other. It may seem strange that any men should dare to ask a just God’s assistance in wringing their bread from the sweat of other men’s faces; but let us judge not that we be not judged. The prayers of both could not be answered; that of neither has been answered fully.

The Almighty has his own purposes. “Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!” If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him?

Fondly do we hope–fervently do we pray–that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man’s two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said “the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether”

With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation’s wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan–to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations.

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