Category Archives: History

Newer Images of 9/11

Published on YouTube September 7, 2011 and shot by a volunteer firefighter.

Also, a tribute from Lex on Heather Lee Smith, a friend of one of our Lexicans

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A B-29 Memory Amended

The B-29 was an amazing aircraft for its day, a complete game changer. More was spent on its development and production than the Manhattan Project.

There was a wonderful book that dealt with the B-29 written by the author of Flags of Our Fathers, James Bradley, called FlyboysDownfall, recommended by a Lexican, was another good book that went into a lot of detail on the Superfortress.

If you are lucky enough to see one of the 2 flying today, it is still an impressive airplane, 70 years later. I wrote about visiting FiFi a couple of years ago, and posted some pictures.

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Eighty Years Ago Today

Hitler’s Armies invaded Poland, which would ultimately result in the deaths of 10s of millions over the next 6 years.

I can remember reading in Albert Speer’s * book something that confirmed what I had long suspected: That Hitler did not expect Britain and France to do anything with this latest provocation. There was nothing to indicate anything had changed.

But war was declared, and World War 2 officially started.

ColoComment brought up some interesting historical “what if’s“, and Hogday mentioned the Battle of Wizna, in which 700 Polish soldiers held off 42,000 Germans for 3 days.


 

** Speer was Hitler’s main architect and later, Minister of Armaments and War Production. 

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The Marburg Files

The Marburg Files

Wallis Simpson, The Duke of Windsor and Hitler, circa 1937

I have from time to time mentioned my love of history, and my fascination with how many cataclysmic changes can occur from the smallest of events.

I’ve also expressed my disdain with screenwriters and producers who play fast and loose with historical truth, and change history in their screenplays. Unless, of course, the viewer recognizes it as a complete fiction.

I have mentioned how much I liked the Netflix-produced move The Highwaymen – about the 2 retired Texas Rangers who found Bonnie and Clyde. I also learned subsequently to posting this that after the 1967 version with Warren Beatty was released, the widow of one of the Rangers, Frank Hamer,  sued Warner Brothers and settled out of court for defamation for their fictional portrayal of her late husband.

The Netflix version had it right.

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The Not So Great Escape?

Over the years, I have enjoyed the BBCs History Magazine not only for the breadth of history they cover – from the middle ages to a few years ago, but frequently the different light its writers can shed on things we have just considered as “fact”.

And writer Guy Walters suggests that the escape on the night of March 24th from Stalag Luft III, made popular in the 1963 movie starring Steve McQueen and an all-star cast, was in reality a foolish action that accomplished nothing.

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A Ringside Seat

A Ringside Seat

Growing up, I had several memorable summer jobs.

From the time I was 12, I used to go back to my aunt and uncle’s farm in Huntington West Virginia most summers. My uncle was a contractor who built sewer and water plants, and he liked to say to those who asked what he did, “It may be !@#$ to some, but to me it’s my bread and butter“.

At one time he was the largest contractor in West Virginia, with jobs from Indiana to Camp Lejeune, NC.

I think my uncle was a character, and he seemed to work at it to keep that title.

That farm for a 12 year old boy was a magical place, with a jeep to drive, horses to ride, and .22 rifles to shoot. It was in the family for 200 years in what was the western part of Virginia and the house, modernized in the late 30s, was originally 2 adjacent two-story cabins. Some of the Wilsons from Lancaster County along the Rappahannock River decided go west and settle there. 

When I later went to school in Virginia, I thought nothing of driving the 700 miles round trip on US Rt 60 over the Shenandoahs just to share a weekend with my aunt and uncle.

They were that special to me.

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On this Date and Time 50 Years Ago…

On this Date and Time 50 Years Ago071619

Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins left the earth for the long voyage to the moon. I can still remember the world-wide anticipation that built for months to this moment. From the moment they left, their progress was on all the news programs.

In my mind anyway, it started 12 years earlier when the Soviets launched Sputnik. With that launch, the implication of ICBMs hitting us was clear. The nation was in an absolute panic. If you were in elementary school, you would regularly perform the “duck and cover” drill, going under your desk. Even at a relatively young age, I thought that was silly. But I remember growing up in Los Angeles hearing the Civil Defense sirens with practice runs.

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