We say goodbye to September and welcome October. A sad time for many as summer is coming to an end but a glad time to those who love autumn. However, as we change the months, it is amazing to me that when you look back in history, how many incredible events and inventions occurred in September and October. I wrote earlier this week, in “The Beauty of ART – Thank You Mom!!!” about the great masterpieces of all time, and ironically, many of them were either started or completed in one of these two months, of their respective years.
September and October have been historically bad months for Presidents, wanna-be Presidents, and the White House. In October of 1912, President Theodore Roosevelt was shot in the chest by would-be assassin John Flammang Schrank. Luckily Teddy would survive this attach. In a way, John Kennedy had his own critical events in these months. On October 16, 1962, he forced Russia to withdraw nuclear weapons from Cuba, and on September 24, 1964, the Warren Commission issued it’s report on his assassination concluding, WRONGLY as I somewhat proved last June, in my post “A Letter to John F. Kennedy” , that Lee Harvey Oswald had acted alone in his assassination.
September 1975 was a very bad, or in reality, I guess you could say a very good, month for President Gerald Ford, as he survived two separate assassination attempts. The first from Charles Manson follower Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme on September 12th and the second, just 17 days later, with Sara Jane Moore firing the errant shots this time. Fromme’s gun failed to fire as she had no shell in the chamber of her Colt 45. Both attempts occurred in California which actually explains a lot. 😊
The White House itself would befall similar attacks, even though not occupied by the President, of the time, when most occurred. Nighty-eight (98) years before the assassination attempt on Teddy Roosevelt, the British set fire to the White House on September 18, 1814, in the early years of The War of 1812. One hundred and eighty years later, Frank Eugene Corder flew a stolen single-engine Cessna 150 onto the White House lawn and crashed into a tree. Corder reportedly had alcohol problems, and allegedly tried to hit the White House. He was killed in the crash. The president and first family were not home at the time.
On October 29, 1994, Francisco Martin Duran fired at least 29 shots from a semi-automatic rifle at the White House from a fence overlooking the North Lawn, thinking that then President Bill Clinton was among the men in dark suits standing there (Clinton was inside). Three tourists, Harry Rakosky, Ken Davis and Robert Haines, tackled Duran before he could injure anyone. Found to have a suicide note in his pocket, Duran was sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Ricin, a highly lethal toxin found in plants, and a pipe bomb would be the next attempted weapons used to attack our political leaders. On September 19, 2020, Letters containing ricin, were sent to the White House and addressed to President Trump. The letters were intercepted before they were received. A suspect in Canada was identified but no charges were ever filed. In early October, 2018, William Clyde Allen III, sent a letter containing ricin to President Trump. The letter did not reach the White House as it was seized by the Secret Service. He sent similar ricin laced letters to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. Allen was arrested on October 3, 2018 in Utah. A few weeks later, on October 24, 2018, a package containing a pipe bomb addressed to wife Hillary Clinton and sent to their home in Chappaqua, New York was intercepted by the Secret Service. It was one of several mailed to other Democratic leaders in the same week, including former president Barack Obama. Bill Clinton was at the Chappaqua home when the package was intercepted, while Hillary was in Florida campaigning for Democrats. Fingerprint DNA revealed that the package was sent by Florida resident Cesar Sayoc, who was captured two days after the package was intercepted. Prosecutors sought a life sentence for Sayoc, but due to the bombs being intentionally made not to go off the judge instead sentenced him to 20 years in prison.
These two months have also seen some great events and some horrible occurrences as well. Our country got its birth in September of 1565, when the first permanent European settlement in North America - St Augustine, present-day Florida, was founded by the Spanish. North America was already inhabited by several distinct groups of people, who lived in isolation without any formal settlements or government. The arrival of these settlers began the cultural development and country building within our shores.
The use of multiple computers, or other connected devices, truly got a boost in these months as Massachusetts-based company Bolt Beranek and Newman (BBN) installs the first IMP at UCLA, on September 3, 1969, creating the first node. This is way too techy for me, but the Interface Message Processor (IMP) was the packet switching node used to interconnect participant networks to the ARPANET from the late 1960s to 1989. It was the first generation of gateways, which are known today as routers. Doug Engelbart’s Stanford Research Institute (SRI) provided the second node and just 6 weeks later on October 15, 1969, the first message is sent between UCLA and SRI. Just 16 years later, the internet launched into a viable business platform as the first dot-com domain name is registered on October 30, 1985.
Germany and the United States each had memorable events during these months, and they were mostly bad. We’ll start with the highlight. Thanks to efforts from US President Ronald Reagan and Russian leader Mikhail Gorbachev, it was agreed to take down the Berlin wall. Due to this great humanitarian effort, the Reunification of Germany occurred on October 3, 1990. The rest I’m afraid is not so good. Germany was reunified, thank goodness, but they became split mainly because of Adolf Hitler. So, not knowing the evil plans of this dictator, the European countries made their first major mistake in dealing with this wanna-be dictator, when they entered into the Munich Agreement, on September 30, 1938. This agreement was by the Western European democracies and legally allowed Hitler to occupy the Sudetenland. In this agreement, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain influenced the other nations to enter into an international agreement, that Hitler should have the Sudetenland in exchange for Germany making no further demands for land in Europe. Chamberlain said it was 'Peace for our time'. Hitler said he had 'No more territorial demands to make in Europe. Over the next 30 months, Germany would invade, defeat, and occupy Poland (attacked in September 1939), Denmark (April 1940), Norway (April 1940), Belgium (May 1940), the Netherlands (May 1940), Luxembourg (May 1940), France (May 1940), Yugoslavia (April 1941), and Greece (April 1941).
The United States had three major events occurring in these months, one seen as arguably positive by some, and more negative by others, and two of horrible significance. The debatable event occurred on October 24, 1945 when the United Nations (UN) Charter took effect, with 51 member nations. The two horrible events were the stock market crash on September 15, 1929 and the other was an event we all remember, as we just remembered the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on Washington DC and New York.
If you enjoy history, then studying the events that have occurred in these two months, throughout history, will open your eyes. The historical events mentioned above, have had more of a “government” feel to them, but they are significant none-the-less. But September and October have been the months of many key inventions as well. Join us next week, as we discuss the inventions that let us see inside ourselves, bring us comfort and style, and look into the stars. See you next week.