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Dennis Donovan

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205 Years Ago Today; Francis Scott Key writes "Defence of Fort M'Henry" aka "Star Spangled Banner"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Star-Spangled_Banner


Bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British. Engraved by John Bower

"The Star-Spangled Banner" is the national anthem of the United States. The lyrics come from the Defence of Fort M'Henry, a poem written on September 14, 1814, by the then 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet Francis Scott Key after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by British ships of the Royal Navy in Baltimore Harbor during the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the large U.S. flag, with 15 stars and 15 stripes, known as the Star-Spangled Banner, flying triumphantly above the fort during the U.S. victory.

The poem was set to the tune of a popular British song written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men's social club in London. "To Anacreon in Heaven" (or "The Anacreontic Song" ), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. This setting, renamed "The Star-Spangled Banner", soon became a well-known U.S. patriotic song. With a range of 19 semitones, it is known for being very difficult to sing. Although the poem has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today.

"The Star-Spangled Banner" was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of U.S. officialdom. "Hail, Columbia" served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", whose melody is identical to "God Save the Queen", the United Kingdom's national anthem, also served as a de facto national anthem. Following the War of 1812 and subsequent U.S. wars, other songs emerged to compete for popularity at public events, among them "America the Beautiful", which itself was being considered before 1931, as a candidate to become the national anthem of the United States.

Early history
Francis Scott Key's lyrics



Francis Scott Key's original manuscript copy of his "Defence of Fort M'Henry" poem. It is now on display at the Maryland Historical Society.

On September 3, 1814, following the Burning of Washington and the Raid on Alexandria, Francis Scott Key and John Stuart Skinner set sail from Baltimore aboard the ship HMS Minden, flying a flag of truce on a mission approved by President James Madison. Their objective was to secure an exchange of prisoners, one of whom was William Beanes, the elderly and popular town physician of Upper Marlboro and a friend of Key's who had been captured in his home. Beanes was accused of aiding the arrest of British soldiers. Key and Skinner boarded the British flagship HMS Tonnant on September 7 and spoke with Major General Robert Ross and Vice Admiral Alexander Cochrane over dinner while the two officers discussed war plans. At first, Ross and Cochrane refused to release Beanes but relented after Key and Skinner showed them letters written by wounded British prisoners praising Beanes and other Americans for their kind treatment.

Because Key and Skinner had heard details of the plans for the attack on Baltimore, they were held captive until after the battle, first aboard HMS Surprise and later back on HMS Minden. After the bombardment, certain British gunboats attempted to slip past the fort and effect a landing in a cove to the west of it, but they were turned away by fire from nearby Fort Covington, the city's last line of defense.

During the rainy night, Key had witnessed the bombardment and observed that the fort's smaller "storm flag" continued to fly, but once the shell and Congreve rocket barrage had stopped, he would not know how the battle had turned out until dawn. On the morning of September 14, the storm flag had been lowered and the larger flag had been raised.

During the bombardment, HMS Terror and HMS Meteor provided some of the "bombs bursting in air".


The 15-star, 15-stripe "Star-Spangled Banner" that inspired the poem

Key was inspired by the U.S. victory and the sight of the large U.S. flag flying triumphantly above the fort. This flag, with fifteen stars and fifteen stripes, had been made by Mary Young Pickersgill together with other workers in her home on Baltimore's Pratt Street. The flag later came to be known as the Star-Spangled Banner and is today on display in the National Museum of American History, a treasure of the Smithsonian Institution. It was restored in 1914 by Amelia Fowler, and again in 1998 as part of an ongoing conservation program.

Aboard the ship the next day, Key wrote a poem on the back of a letter he had kept in his pocket. At twilight on September 16, he and Skinner were released in Baltimore. He completed the poem at the Indian Queen Hotel, where he was staying, and titled it "Defence of Fort M'Henry". It was first published nationally in The Analectic Magazine.

Much of the idea of the poem, including the flag imagery and some of the wording, is derived from an earlier song by Key, also set to the tune of "The Anacreontic Song". The song, known as "When the Warrior Returns", was written in honor of Stephen Decatur and Charles Stewart on their return from the First Barbary War.

Absent elaboration by Francis Scott Key prior to his death in 1843, some have speculated more recently about the meaning of phrases or verses, particularly the phrase "the hireling and slave" from the third stanza. According to British historian Robin Blackburn, the phrase allude to the thousands of ex-slaves in the British ranks organized as the Corps of Colonial Marines, who had been liberated by the British and demanded to be placed in the battle line "where they might expect to meet their former masters." Mark Clague, a professor of musicology at the University of Michigan, argues that the "middle two verses of Key's lyric vilify the British enemy in the War of 1812" and "in no way glorifies or celebrates slavery." Clague writes that "For Key ... the British mercenaries were scoundrels and the Colonial Marines were traitors who threatened to spark a national insurrection." This harshly anti-British nature of Verse 3 led to its omission in sheet music in World War I, when the British and the U.S. were allies. Responding to the assertion of writer Jon Schwarz of The Intercept that the song is a "celebration of slavery," Clague said that: "The reference to slaves is about the use and in some sense the manipulation, of black Americans to fight for the British, with the promise of freedom. The American forces included African-Americans as well as whites. The term 'freemen,' whose heroism is celebrated in the fourth stanza, would have encompassed both."

Others suggest that "Key may have intended the phrase as a reference to the British Navy's practice of impressment (kidnapping sailors and forcing them to fight in defense of the crown), or as a semi-metaphorical slap at the British invading force as a whole (which also included a large number of mercenaries)."

John Stafford Smith's music
Key gave the poem to his brother-in-law Joseph H. Nicholson who saw that the words fit the popular melody "The Anacreontic Song", by English composer John Stafford Smith. This was the official song of the Anacreontic Society, an 18th-century gentlemen's club of amateur musicians in London. Nicholson took the poem to a printer in Baltimore, who anonymously made the first known broadside printing on September 17; of these, two known copies survive.

On September 20, both the Baltimore Patriot and The American printed the song, with the note "Tune: Anacreon in Heaven". The song quickly became popular, with seventeen newspapers from Georgia to New Hampshire printing it. Soon after, Thomas Carr of the Carr Music Store in Baltimore published the words and music together under the title "The Star Spangled Banner", although it was originally called "Defence of Fort M'Henry". Thomas Carr's arrangement introduced the raised fourth which became the standard deviation from "The Anacreontic Song". The song's popularity increased and its first public performance took place in October when Baltimore actor Ferdinand Durang sang it at Captain McCauley's tavern. Washington Irving, then editor of the Analectic Magazine in Philadelphia, reprinted the song in November 1814.

By the early 20th century, there were various versions of the song in popular use. Seeking a singular, standard version, President Woodrow Wilson tasked the U.S. Bureau of Education with providing that official version. In response, the Bureau enlisted the help of five musicians to agree upon an arrangement. Those musicians were Walter Damrosch, Will Earhart, Arnold J. Gantvoort, Oscar Sonneck and John Philip Sousa. The standardized version that was voted upon by these five musicians premiered at Carnegie Hall on December 5, 1917, in a program that included Edward Elgar's Carillon and Gabriel Pierné's The Children's Crusade. The concert was put on by the Oratorio Society of New York and conducted by Walter Damrosch. An official handwritten version of the final votes of these five men has been found and shows all five men's votes tallied, measure by measure.

National anthem
The song gained popularity throughout the 19th century and bands played it during public events, such as Independence Day celebrations.

A plaque displayed at Fort Meade, South Dakota, claims that the idea of making "The Star Spangled Banner" the national anthem began on their parade ground in 1892. Colonel Caleb Carlton, post commander, established the tradition that the song be played "at retreat and at the close of parades and concerts." Carlton explained the custom to Governor Sheldon of South Dakota who "promised me that he would try to have the custom established among the state militia." Carlton wrote that after a similar discussion, Secretary of War Daniel E. Lamont issued an order that it "be played at every Army post every evening at retreat."

In 1899, the U.S. Navy officially adopted "The Star-Spangled Banner". In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson ordered that "The Star-Spangled Banner" be played at military and other appropriate occasions. The playing of the song two years later during the seventh-inning stretch of Game One of the 1918 World Series, and thereafter during each game of the series is often cited as the first instance that the anthem was played at a baseball game, though evidence shows that the "Star-Spangled Banner" was performed as early as 1897 at opening day ceremonies in Philadelphia and then more regularly at the Polo Grounds in New York City beginning in 1898. In any case, the tradition of performing the national anthem before every baseball game began in World War II.

On April 10, 1918, John Charles Linthicum, U.S. congressman from Maryland, introduced a bill to officially recognize "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem. The bill did not pass. On April 15, 1929, Linthicum introduced the bill again, his sixth time doing so. On November 3, 1929, Robert Ripley drew a panel in his syndicated cartoon, Ripley's Believe it or Not!, saying "Believe It or Not, America has no national anthem".

In 1930, Veterans of Foreign Wars started a petition for the United States to officially recognize "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem. Five million people signed the petition. The petition was presented to the United States House Committee on the Judiciary on January 31, 1930. On the same day, Elsie Jorss-Reilley and Grace Evelyn Boudlin sang the song to the Committee to refute the perception that it was too high pitched for a typical person to sing The Committee voted in favor of sending the bill to the House floor for a vote. The House of Representatives passed the bill later that year. The Senate passed the bill on March 3, 1931. President Herbert Hoover signed the bill on March 4, 1931, officially adopting "The Star-Spangled Banner" as the national anthem of the United States of America. As currently codified, the United States Code states that "[t]he composition consisting of the words and music known as the Star-Spangled Banner is the national anthem." Although the National Anthem officially comprises all four stanzas of the poem, only the first stanza is generally sung, and the other three are much lesser-known.

</snip>


Personally, I prefer "America The Beautiful" or "This Land Is Your Land" (at least you can dance to the latter ).
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Sat Sep 14, 2019, 05:28 AM (22 replies)

48 Years Ago Today; Attica Prison is stormed by NYSP and NY ANG - 43 dead

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


National Guardsmen wearing gas masks as they prepare to storm the Attica Correctional Facility.

The Attica Prison uprising, also known as the Attica Prison rebellion or Attica Prison riot, occurred at the Attica Correctional Facility in Attica, New York, United States, in 1971. Based upon prisoners' demands for better living conditions and political rights, the uprising was one of the most well-known and significant uprisings of the Prisoners' Rights Movement. On September 9, 1971, two weeks after the killing of George Jackson at San Quentin State Prison, 1,281 of the Attica prison's approximately 2,200 inmates rioted and took control of the prison, taking 42 staff hostage.

During the following four days of negotiations, authorities agreed to 28 of the prisoners' demands, but would not agree to demands for complete amnesty from criminal prosecution for the prison takeover or for the removal of Attica's superintendent. By the order of Governor Nelson Rockefeller, state police took back control of the prison. When the uprising was over, at least 43 people were dead, including ten correctional officers and civilian employees, and 33 inmates.

Rockefeller, who refused to visit the prisoners during the rebellion, stated that the prisoners "carried out the cold-blood killings they had threatened from the outset," despite only one of the officers and four inmates killed being attributed to the prisoners. New York Times writer Fred Ferretti said the rebellion concluded in "mass deaths that four days of taut negotiations had sought to avert".

As a result of the riot, a number of changes were made in the New York prison system to satisfy some of the prisoners' demands, reduce tension in the system, and prevent such incidents in the future. As of 2019, Attica remains the most prominent prison riot to have occurred in the United States.


The uprising
At approximately 4:20 a.m. on Thursday, September 9, 1971, 5 Company lined up for roll-call. Hearing rumors that one of their companions was to remain in his cell after being isolated for an incident involving an assault on prison officer Tom Boyle after he was hit in the face with a full soup can by Inmate William Ortiz, a small group of 5 Company inmates protested that they too would be locked up and began walking back towards their cells. The remainder of 5 Company continued towards breakfast. As the protesting group walked past the isolated inmate Ortiz, they freed him from his cell. They then rejoined the rest of 5 Company and proceeded on their way to breakfast. A short time later, when the command staff discovered what had occurred, they changed the usual scheduling of the prisoners, but did not tell prison officer Gordon Kelsey, the correctional officer in charge of leading 5 Company to the yard. Instead of going to the yard after breakfast as they usually did, the prisoners were led there to find a locked door, puzzling them and the correctional officer Kelsey. Complaints led to anger when more correctional officers led by Lt. Robert T. Curtiss arrived to lead the prisoners back to their cells. Officer Kelsey was assaulted and the riot began.

The inmates quickly gained control of sections, D-yard, two tunnels, and the central control room, referred to as "Times Square". Inmates took 42 officers and civilians hostage, and produced a list of grievances demanding their conditions be met before their surrender.

Negotiations
Throughout the negotiations, there was leadership and organization among the prisoners. Frank "Big Black" Smith was appointed as head of security, and he also kept the hostages and the observers safe. Additionally, an ardent orator, 21-year-old Elliott James "L.D." Barkley, was a strong force during the negotiations, speaking with great articulation to the inmates, the camera crews, and outsiders at home. Barkley, just days away from his scheduled release at the time of the uprising, was killed during the recapturing of the prison. Assemblyman Arthur Eve testified that Barkley was alive after the prisoners had surrendered and the state regained control; another inmate stated that the officers searched him out, yelling for Barkley, and shot him in the back.

We are men! We are not beasts and we do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison populace, that means each and every one of us here, have set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization and disregard for the lives of the prisoners here and throughout the United States. What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed. We will not compromise on any terms except those terms that are agreeable to us. We’ve called upon all the conscientious citizens of America to assist us in putting an end to this situation that threatens the lives of not only us, but of each and every one of you, as well.

— Elliott James "L.D." Barkley, 1971


As speakers like Barkley raised morale, the rebels' negotiating team of prisoners proposed their requests to the commissioner. The Attica Liberation Faction Manifesto Of Demands is a compilation of complaints written by the Attica prisoners, which speak directly to the "sincere people of society". It includes 27 demands, such as better medical treatment, fair visitation rights, and an end to physical brutality. The prisoners also requested better sanitation, improved food quality, and one set of rules for the state among numerous other demands. The manifesto specifically assigns the power to negotiate to five inmates: Donald Noble, Peter Butler, Frank Lott, Carl Jones-El, and Herbert Blyden X. Additionally, the document specifically lists out "vile and vicious slave masters" who oppressed the prisoners such as the New York governor, New York Corrections, and even the United States Courts.

The prisoners continued to unsuccessfully negotiate with Correctional Services Commissioner Russell G. Oswald, and then later with a team of observers that included Tom Wicker, an editor of The New York Times, James Ingram of the Michigan Chronicle, state senator John Dunne, state representative Arthur Eve, civil rights lawyer William Kunstler, and others. Prisoners requested the presence of Minister Louis Farrakhan, National Representative of the Nation of Islam, but he declined.

The situation may have been further complicated by Governor Rockefeller's refusal to come to the scene of the uprising and meet with the inmates, although some later evaluations of the incident would postulate that his absence from the scene actually prevented the situation from deteriorating. Negotiations broke down, and Oswald was unable to make further concessions to the inmates. However, he did not tell them that negotiations had ended and he would take the prison back by force, even stating, "I want to continue negotiations with you." Oswald later called Governor Rockefeller and again begged him to come to the prison to calm the riot. Following the governor's refusal, Oswald stated that he would order the State Police to retake the facility by force. Rockefeller agreed with Oswald's decision to retake the prison by force, a decision which was later criticized.

Retaking of the prison and retaliation
As the demands were not met, negotiations broke down and the mood among the inmates deteriorated. It appeared as though Gov. Rockefeller remained opposed to the inmates' demands, and they became restless. Defensive trenches had been dug, metal gates had been electrified, crude battlements were fashioned out of metal tables and dirt, gasoline was put in position to be lit in the event of conflict, and the "Times Square" prison command center was fortified. The inmates brought four corrections officers to the top of the command center and threatened to slit their throats. Reporters in helicopters circling the prison reported that the hostages in D yard were also being prepared for killing. Gov. Rockefeller had ordered that the prison be retaken that day if negotiations failed. Situation commander Oswald, seeing the danger to the hostages, ordered that the prison be retaken by force. Of the decision, he later said "On a much smaller scale, I think I have some feeling now of how Truman must have felt when he decided to drop the A-bomb."

At 9:46 a.m. on Monday, September 13, 1971, tear gas was dropped into the yard and New York State Police troopers opened fire non-stop for two minutes into the smoke. Among the weapons used by the troopers were shotguns, which led to the wounding and killing of hostages and inmates who were not resisting. Former prison officers were allowed to participate, a decision later called "inexcusable" by the commission established by Rockefeller to study the riot and the aftermath. By the time the facility was retaken, nine hostages and 29 inmates had been killed. A tenth hostage, Correctional Officer Harrison W. Whalen died on October 9, 1971, of gunshot wounds received during the assault.

The final death toll from the uprising also includes the officer fatally injured at the start of the uprising and four inmates who were subjected to vigilante killings. Nine hostages died from gunfire by state troopers and soldiers. The New York State Special Commission on Attica wrote, "With the exception of Indian massacres in the late 19th century, the State Police assault which ended the four-day prison uprising was the bloodiest one-day encounter between Americans since the Civil War."

Media reports claimed that inmate hostage-takers slit the throats of many of their hostages, reports that contradicted official medical evidence. Newspaper headlines made statements such as "I Saw Slit Throats", implying that prisoners had cut the hostages' throats when the armed raid occurred. These reports set the stage for reprisals by troopers and prison officers. Inmates were made to strip and crawl through the mud and then some were made to run naked between lines of enraged officers, who beat the inmates. Several days after the uprising's end, prison doctors reported evidence of more beatings. The Special Commission found that state officials failed to quickly refute those rumors and false reports.


</snip>




Posted by Dennis Donovan | Fri Sep 13, 2019, 10:35 AM (0 replies)

77 Years Ago Today; The RMS Laconia incident - Allied aircraft attack survivors of the sinking

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


U-156 (foreground) and U-507 pick up Laconia survivors on 15 September, three days after the attack

The Laconia incident was a series of events surrounding the sinking of a British troopship in the Atlantic Ocean on 12 September 1942, during World War II, and a subsequent aerial attack on German and Italian submarines involved in rescue attempts. RMS Laconia, carrying some 2,732 crew, passengers, soldiers, and prisoners of war, was torpedoed and sunk by U-156, a German U-boat, off the West African coast. Operating partly under the dictates of the old prize rules, the U-boat commander, Korvettenkapitän Werner Hartenstein, immediately commenced rescue operations. U-156 broadcast their position on open radio channels to all Allied powers nearby, and were joined by the crews of several other U-boats in the vicinity.

After surfacing and picking up survivors, who were accommodated on the foredeck, U-156 headed on the surface under Red Cross banners to rendezvous with Vichy French ships and transfer the survivors. En route, the U-boat was spotted by a B-24 Liberator bomber of the US Army Air Forces. The aircrew, having reported the U-boat's location, intentions, and the presence of survivors, were then ordered to attack the sub. The B-24 killed dozens of Laconia's survivors with bombs and strafing attacks, forcing U-156 to cast their remaining survivors into the sea and crash dive to avoid being destroyed.

Rescue operations were continued by other vessels. Another U-boat, U-506, was also attacked by US aircraft and forced to dive. A total of 1,113 survivors were rescued; however, 1,619 were killed – mostly Italian POWs. The event changed the general attitude of Germany's naval personnel towards rescuing stranded Allied seamen. The commanders of the Kriegsmarine were shortly issued the Laconia Order by Grand Admiral Karl Dönitz, which specifically forbade any such attempt and ushered in unrestricted submarine warfare for the remainder of the war.

The B-24 pilots mistakenly reported they had sunk U-156, and were awarded medals for their "bravery". Neither the US pilots nor their commander were punished or investigated, and the matter was quietly forgotten by the US military. During the later Nuremberg trials, a prosecutor attempted to cite the Laconia Order as proof of war crimes by Dönitz and his submariners. The ploy backfired and caused much embarrassment to the United States after the incident's full report had emerged.

RMS Laconia


Laconia on a Cunard Line postcard c. 1921

RMS Laconia was built in 1921 as a civilian ocean liner. During World War II she was requisitioned for the war effort, and by 1942 had been converted into a troopship. At the time of the incident she was transporting mostly Italian prisoners of war from Cape Town to Freetown, under the command of Captain Rudolph Sharp. The ship was carrying 463 officers and crew, 87 civilians, 286 British soldiers, 1,793 Italian prisoners and 103 Polish soldiers acting as guards of the prisoners.

Sharp had previously commanded RMS Lancastria, which had been sunk by German bombs on 17 June 1940, off the French port of Saint-Nazaire, while taking part in Operation Aerial, the evacuation of British nationals and troops from France, two weeks after the Dunkirk evacuation.

Events
Attack on Laconia

At 10 p.m., on 12 September 1942, U-156 was on patrol off the coast of western Africa, midway between Liberia and Ascension Island. The submarine's commanding officer, Korvettenkapitän Werner Hartenstein, spotted the large British ship sailing alone and attacked it. Armed ships—which meant most merchantmen and troop transports—constituted legitimate targets for attack without warning. Armed as such, the Laconia fell into this category, and at 10:22 p.m. she transmitted a message on the 600-meter (500 kHz) band: "SSS SSS 0434 South / 1125 West Laconia torpedoed." "SSS" was the code signifying "under attack by submarine". Additional messages were transmitted, but there is no record these were received by any other vessel or station.

Although there were sufficient lifeboats for the entire ship's complement, including the Italian prisoners, heavy listing prevented half from being launched until the vessel had settled. The prisoners were abandoned in the locked cargo holds as the ship sank, but most managed to escape by breaking down hatches or climbing up ventilation shafts. Several were shot when a group of prisoners rushed a lifeboat, and a large number were bayoneted to death to prevent their boarding of one of the few lifeboats available. The Polish guards were armed with rifles with fixed bayonets; however, they were not loaded and the guards carried no ammunition. Witnesses indicate that few of the prisoners were shot. Instead, most of the casualties were bayoneted.

By the time the last lifeboats were launched most survivors had already entered the water, so some lifeboats had few passengers. Only one life raft left the ship with prisoners on board; the rest jumped into the ocean. Survivors later recounted how Italians in the water were either shot or had their hands severed by axes if they tried to climb into a lifeboat. The blood soon attracted sharks. Corporal Dino Monte, one of the few Italian survivors, stated "... sharks darted among us. Grabbing an arm, biting a leg. Other larger beasts swallowed entire bodies." As Laconia was going under, U-156 surfaced to capture the ship's surviving senior officers. To their surprise, they saw over 2,000 people struggling in the water.

Rescue operation
Realising that the passengers were primarily POWs and civilians, Hartenstein immediately began rescue operations whilst flying the Red Cross flag. Laconia sank at 11:23 p.m., over an hour after the attack. At 1:25 a.m. on 13 September, Hartenstein sent a coded radio message to the Befehlshaber der U-Boote alerting them to the situation. It read: "Sunk by Hartenstein, British Laconia, Qu FF7721, 310 deg. Unfortunately with 1,500 Italian POWs; 90 fished out of the water so far. Request orders."

The head of submarine operations, Admiral Karl Dönitz, immediately ordered seven U-boats from the wolfpack Eisbär, which had been gathering to take part in a planned surprise attack on Cape Town to divert to the scene to pick up survivors. Dönitz then informed Berlin of the situation and actions he had taken. Hitler was furious and ordered that the rescue be abandoned. Admiral Erich Raeder ordered Dönitz to disengage the Eisbär boats, which included Hartenstein's U-156, and send them to Cape Town as per the original plan. Raeder then ordered U-506, commanded by Kapitänleutnant Erich Würdemann, U-507, under Korvettenkapitän Harro Schacht, and the Italian submarine Comandante Cappellini to intercept Hartenstein to take on his survivors and then to proceed to the Laconia site and rescue any Italians they could find. Raeder also requested the Vichy French to send warships from Dakar and Ivory Coast to collect the Italian survivors from the three submarines.

The Vichy French, in response, sent the 7,600-ton cruiser Gloire from Dakar, and two sloops, the fast 660-ton Annamite and the slower 2,000-ton Dumont-d'Urville, from Conakry, French Guinea, and Cotonou, Dahomey, respectively. Dönitz disengaged the Eisbär boats and informed Hartenstein of Raeder's orders, but he substituted Kapitänleutnant Helmut Witte's U-159 for U-156 in the Eisbär group and sent the order: "All boats, including Hartenstein, only take as many men into the boat as will allow it to be fully ready for action when submerged."

U-156 was soon crammed above and below decks with nearly 200 survivors, including five women, and had another 200 in tow aboard four lifeboats. At 6 a.m. on 13 September, Hartenstein broadcast a message on the 25-metre (82 ft) band in English—not in code—to all shipping in the area, giving his position, requesting assistance with the rescue effort, and promising not to attack. It read: "If any ship will assist the shipwrecked Laconia crew I will not attack her, providing I am not being attacked by ship or air force. I picked up 193 men. 4°-53" South, 11°-26" West. – German submarine."

The British in Freetown intercepted this message but, believing it might be a ruse of war, refused to credit it. Two days later, on 15 September, a message was passed to the Americans that Laconia had been torpedoed and the British merchant ship Empire Haven was en route to pick up survivors. The "poorly composed message" implied that Laconia had only been sunk that day and made no mention that the Germans were involved in a rescue attempt under a cease-fire or that neutral French ships were also en route.

U-156 remained on the surface at the scene for the next two and a half days. At 11:30 a.m. on 15 September, she was joined by U-506, and a few hours later by both U-507 and the Comandante Cappellini. The four submarines, with lifeboats in tow and hundreds of survivors standing on their decks, headed for the African coastline and a rendezvous with the Vichy French surface warships that had set out from Senegal and Dahomey.

First American attack
During the night the submarines became separated. On 16 September at 11:25 a.m., U-156 was spotted by an American B-24 Liberator bomber flying from a secret airbase on Ascension. The submarine was travelling with a Red Cross flag draped across her gun deck. Hartenstein signalled to the pilot in both Morse code and English requesting assistance. A British officer also messaged the aircraft: "RAF officer speaking from German submarine, Laconia survivors on board, soldiers, civilians, women, children."

Lieutenant James D. Harden of the US Army Air Forces did not respond to the messages; turning away, he notified his base of the situation. The senior officer on duty that day, Captain Robert Richardson III, who claimed that he did not know that this was a Red Cross-sanctioned German rescue operation, ordered the B-24 to "sink the sub." Richardson later claimed he believed that the rules of war at the time did not permit a combat ship to fly Red Cross flags. He feared that the German submarine would attack the two Allied freighters diverted by the British to the site. He assumed that the German submarine was rescuing only the Italian POWs. In his tactical assessment, he believed that the submarine might discover and shell the secret Ascension airfield and fuel tanks, thus cutting off a critical Allied resupply air route to British forces in Egypt and Soviet forces in Russia.

Harden flew back to the scene of the rescue effort, and at 12:32 p.m., attacked with bombs and depth charges. One landed among the lifeboats in tow behind U-156, killing dozens of survivors, while others straddled the submarine itself, causing minor damage. Hartenstein cast adrift those lifeboats still afloat and ordered the survivors on his deck into the water. The submarine submerged slowly to give those still on the deck a chance to get into the water and escape. According to Harden's report, he made four runs at the submarine. On the first three the depth charges and bombs failed to release, on the fourth he dropped two bombs. The crew of the Liberator were later awarded medals for the alleged sinking of U-156, when they had in fact only sunk two lifeboats.

Ignoring "Commander" Hartenstein's request that they stay in the area to be rescued by the Vichy French, two lifeboats decided to head for Africa. One, which began the journey with 68 people on board, reached the African coast 27 days later with only 16 survivors. The other was rescued by a British trawler after 40 days at sea. Only four of its 52 occupants were still alive.

Unaware of the attack, U-507, U-506, and Cappellini continued to pick up survivors. The following morning Commander Revedin of Cappellini found that he was rescuing survivors who had been set adrift by U-156. At 11:30 a.m. Revedin received the following message: "Bordeaux to Cappellini: Reporting attack already undergone by other submarines. Be ready to submerge for action against the enemy. Put shipwrecked on rafts except women, children, and Italians, and make for minor grid-square 56 of grid-square 0971 where you will land remainder shipwrecked on to French ships. Keep British prisoners. Keep strictest watch enemy planes and submarines. End of message."

U-507 and U-506 received confirmation from headquarters of the attack on U-156 and were asked for the number of survivors rescued. Commander Schacht of U-507 replied that he had 491, of whom 15 were women and 16 were children. Commander Wurdemann of U-506 confirmed 151, including nine women and children. The next message from headquarters ordered them to cast adrift all the British and Polish survivors, mark their positions and instruct them to remain exactly where they were, then proceed with all haste to the rescue rendezvous. The respective commanders chose not to cast any survivors adrift.

The order given by Richardson has been called a prima facie Allied war crime. Under the conventions of war at sea, ships—including submarines—engaged in rescue operations are held to be immune from attack.

Second American attack
Five B-25s from Ascension's permanent squadron and Hardin's B-24 continued to search for submarines from dawn till dusk. On 17 September, one B-25 sighted Laconia's lifeboats and informed Empire Haven of their position. Hardin's B-24 sighted U-506, which had 151 survivors on board including nine women and children, and attacked. On the first run the bombs failed to drop, U-506 crash dived and on the second run the B-24 dropped two 500 pounds (227 kg) bombs and two 350 pounds (159 kg) depth charges but they caused no damage.


Rescued British Sailors, Soldiers, Airmen and Merchant Seamen – on the French warship Gloire by Edward Bawden

That same day, the British at Freetown sent an ambiguous message to Ascension informing them that three French ships from Dakar were en route. Captain Richardson assumed the French intended to invade Ascension so the submarine hunting was cancelled in order to prepare for an invasion.

The French cruiser Gloire picked up 52 survivors, all British, while still 100 kilometres (54 nmi) from the rendezvous point. Gloire then met with the sloop Annamite with both meeting U-507 and U-506 at the rendezvous point at a little after 2 p.m. on 17 September. With the exception of two British officers kept aboard U-507, the survivors were all transferred to the rescue ships. Gloire sailed off on her own and within four hours rescued another 11 lifeboats. At 10 p.m., Gloire found another lifeboat and proceeded to a planned rendezvous with Annamite.

At 1 a.m., a lookout spotted a light on the horizon, which was investigated despite this meaning Gloire would not be able to make the rendezvous, and a further 84 survivors were rescued. A new rendezvous was arranged, the ships meeting at 9:30 a.m. with Annamite transferring her survivors to Gloire. A count was then taken: 373 Italians, 70 Poles and 597 British who included 48 women and children. Gloire arrived at Dakar on 21 September to resupply before sailing for Casablanca, arriving there on 25 September. On arrival, Colonel Baldwin, on behalf of all the British survivors, presented the captain of Cappellini with a letter that read as follows:

We the undersigned officers of His Majesty’s Navy, Army and Air Force and of the Merchant Navy, and also on behalf of the Polish detachment, the prisoners of war, the women and children, wish to express to you our deepest and sincerest gratitude for all you have done, at the cost of very great difficulties for your ship and her crew, in welcoming us, the survivors of His Majesty’s transport-ship, the Laconia
.

The submarine Cappellini had been unable to find the French warships so radioed for instructions and awaited a response. The French sloop Dumont-d’Urville was sent to rendezvous with Cappellini and by chance rescued a lifeboat from the British cargo ship Trevilley, which had been torpedoed on 12 September. After searching for other Trevilley survivors without luck, Dumont-d’Urville met Cappellini on 20 September. With the exception of six Italians and two British officers, the remaining survivors were transferred to Dumont-d’Urville, which later transferred the Italians to Annamite, which transported them to Dakar on 24 September. Of Laconia’s original complement of 2,732, only 1,113 survived. Of the 1,619 who died, 1,420 were Italian POWs.

Conclusion
From Casablanca, most of the survivors were taken to Mediouna to await transport to a prison camp in Germany. On 8 November, the Allied invasion of North Africa began liberating the survivors, who were taken aboard the ship Anton which landed them in the United States.

One of the survivors, Gladys Foster, wrote a detailed description of the sinking, the rescue and then subsequent two-month internment in Africa. Gladys was the wife of Chaplain to the Forces the Rev. Denis Beauchamp Lisle Foster, who was stationed in Malta. She was on board the ship with her 14-year-old daughter, Elizabeth Barbara Foster, travelling back to Britain. During the mayhem of the sinking the two were separated and it was not until days later that Gladys discovered her daughter had survived and was on another raft. She was urged to write her recollection not long after landing back in London.

Doris Hawkins, a missionary nurse survived the Laconia incident and spent 27 days adrift in lifeboat nine, finally coming ashore on the coast of Liberia. She was returning to England after five years in Palestine, with 14-month-old Sally Kay Readman, who was lost to the sea as they were transferred into the lifeboat.

Doris Hawkins wrote a pamphlet entitled "Atlantic Torpedo" after her eventual return to England, published by Victor Gollancz in 1943. In it she writes of the moments when Sally was lost: "We found ourselves on top of the arms and legs of a panic-stricken mass of humanity. The lifeboat, filled to capacity with men, women and children, was leaking badly and rapidly filling with water; at the same time it was crashing against the ship’s side. Just as Sally was passed over to me, the boat filled completely and capsized, flinging us all into the water. I lost her. I did not hear her cry even then, and I am sure that God took her immediately to Himself without suffering. I never saw her again."

Doris Hawkins was one of 16 survivors (out of 69 in the lifeboat when it was cast adrift from the U-boat). She spent the remaining war years personally visiting the families of people who perished in the lifeboat, returning mementos entrusted to her by them in their dying moments. In Doris's words, "It is impossible to imagine why I should have been chosen to survive when so many did not. I have been reluctant to write the story of our experiences, but in answer to many requests I have done so; and if it strengthens someone’s faith, if it is an inspiration to any, if it brings home to others, hitherto untouched, all that 'those who go down to the sea in ships' face for our sakes, hour by hour, day by day, year in and year out – it will not have been written in vain".

Survivor Jim McLoughlin states in One Common Enemy that after the incident Hartenstein asked him if he was in the Royal Navy, which he was, and then asked why a passenger ship was armed, stating, "If it wasn't armed, I would not have attacked." McLoughlin believes this indicates Hartenstein had thought it was a troop transport rather than a passenger ship; by signalling to the Royal Navy, Laconia was acting as a de facto auxiliary ship.

Aftermath
The Laconia incident had far-reaching consequences. Up until that point, it was common for U-boats to assist torpedoed survivors with food, water, simple medical care for the wounded, and a compass bearing to the nearest landmass. It was extremely rare for survivors to be brought on board as space on a U-boat was barely enough for its own crew. On 17 September 1942, in response to the incident, Admiral Karl Dönitz issued an order named Triton Null, later known as the Laconia Order. In it, Dönitz prohibited U-boat crews from attempting rescues; survivors were to be left in the sea. Even afterwards, U-boats still occasionally provided aid for survivors.

At the Nuremberg trials held by the Allies in 1946, Dönitz was indicted for war crimes. The issuance of the Laconia Order was the centrepiece of the prosecution case, a decision that backfired badly. Its introduction allowed the defence to recount at length the numerous instances in which German submariners acted with humanity where in similar situations the Allies behaved callously. Dönitz pointed out that the order itself was a direct result of this callousness and the attack on a rescue operation by US aircraft.

The Americans had also practised unrestricted submarine warfare, under their own equivalent to the Laconia Order, which had been in force since they entered the war. Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz, the wartime commander-in-chief of the US Pacific Fleet, provided unapologetic written testimony on Dönitz's behalf at his trial that the US Navy had waged unrestricted submarine warfare in the Pacific from the very first day the United States entered the war.

The prosecution has introduced much evidence surrounding two orders of Dönitz, War Order No. 154, issued in 1939, and the so-called Laconia Order of 1942. The defence argues that these orders and the evidence supporting them do not show such a policy and introduced much evidence to the contrary. The Tribunal is of the opinion that the evidence does not establish with the certainty required that Dönitz deliberately ordered the killing of shipwrecked survivors. The orders were undoubtedly ambiguous and deserve the strongest censure.

The evidence further shows that the rescue provisions were not carried out and that the defendant ordered that they should not be carried out. The argument of the defence is that the security of the submarine is, as the first rule of the sea, paramount to rescue and that the development of aircraft made rescue impossible. This may be so, but the [Second London Naval Treaty] is explicit. If the commander cannot rescue, then under its terms he cannot sink a merchant vessel and should allow it to pass harmless before his periscope. The orders, then, prove Dönitz is guilty of a violation of the Protocol.

In view of all the facts proved and in particular of an order of the British Admiralty announced on 8 May 1940, according to which all vessels should be sunk on sight in the Skagerrak, and the answers to interrogatories by Admiral Chester Nimitz stating unrestricted submarine warfare was carried on in the Pacific Ocean by the United States from the first day of the Pacific War, the sentence of Dönitz is not assessed on the ground of his breaches of the international law of submarine warfare.


The Naval War College journal, International Law Studies, covers interpretations of international law during armed conflicts and how these laws were applied by each party. In volume 65, chapter three: "The Law of Naval Operations", the Laconia incident is examined in the context of the application of international law to Word War II submarine warfare:

The person who issued the order to attack and the aircraft commander who carried it out are both prima facie guilty of a war crime. The conduct of the aircraft commander appears to be entirely inexcusable since he must have observed the rescue operation. During the time that they are engaged in such an operation, enemy submarines are no longer lawful objects of attack. The fact that the US Army Air Force took no action to investigate this incident, and that no trials took place under the then-effective domestic criminal code, the Articles of War, is a serious reflection on the entire chain of military command.


</snip>


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 12:30 PM (1 replies)

57 Years Ago Today; "We choose to go to the moon..."

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


President John F. Kennedy speaking at Rice University on September 12, 1962

"We choose to go to the Moon" is the well-known tagline from a speech about the effort to reach the Moon delivered by United States President John F. Kennedy to a large crowd gathered at Rice Stadium in Houston, Texas on September 12, 1962. The speech was intended to persuade the American people to support the Apollo program, the national effort to land a man on the Moon.

In his speech, Kennedy characterized space as a new frontier, invoking the pioneer spirit that dominated American folklore. He infused the speech with a sense of urgency and destiny, and emphasized the freedom enjoyed by Americans to choose their destiny rather than have it chosen for them. Although he called for competition with the Soviet Union, he also proposed making the Moon landing a joint project.

The speech resonated widely and is still remembered, although at the time there was disquiet about the cost and value of the Moon-landing effort. Kennedy's goal was realized in July 1969, nearly six years after his 1963 assassination, with the successful Apollo 11 mission.

<snip>

Speech delivery


Kennedy's speech on the nation's space effort delivered at Rice Stadium on September 12, 1962

On September 12, 1962, a warm and sunny day, President Kennedy delivered his speech before a crowd of about 40,000 people in the Rice University football stadium, many of them students. The middle portion of the speech has been widely quoted, and reads as follows:

We set sail on this new sea because there is new knowledge to be gained, and new rights to be won, and they must be won and used for the progress of all people. For space science, like nuclear science and all technology, has no conscience of its own. Whether it will become a force for good or ill depends on man, and only if the United States occupies a position of pre-eminence can we help decide whether this new ocean will be a sea of peace or a new terrifying theater of war. I do not say that we should or will go unprotected against the hostile misuse of space any more than we go unprotected against the hostile use of land or sea, but I do say that space can be explored and mastered without feeding the fires of war, without repeating the mistakes that man has made in extending his writ around this globe of ours.

There is no strife, no prejudice, no national conflict in outer space as yet. Its hazards are hostile to us all. Its conquest deserves the best of all mankind, and its opportunity for peaceful cooperation may never come again. But why, some say, the Moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask, why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?

We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon...We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard; because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one we intend to win, and the others, too.


The joke referring to the Rice–Texas football rivalry was handwritten by Kennedy into the speech text, and is the part of the speech remembered by sports fans. Since then, Rice has beaten Texas in 1965 and 1994. Later in the speech Kennedy also made a joke about the heat. The jokes elicited cheers and laughter from the audience. While these side comments may have diminished the rhetorical power of the speech, and do not resonate outside Texas, they stand as a reminder of the part Texas played in the space race.

Rhetoric


The crowd at Rice University watching Kennedy's speech

Kennedy's speech used three strategies: "a characterization of space as a beckoning frontier; an articulation of time that locates the endeavor within a historical moment of urgency and plausibility; and a final, cumulative strategy that invites audience members to live up to their pioneering heritage by going to the Moon."

When addressing the crowd at Rice University, he equated the desire to explore space with the pioneering spirit that had dominated American folklore since the nation's foundation. This allowed Kennedy to reference back to his inaugural address, when he declared to the world "Together let us explore the stars". When he met with Nikita Khrushchev, the Premier of the Soviet Union in June 1961, Kennedy proposed making the Moon landing a joint project, but Khrushchev did not take up the offer. There was rhetorical opposition in the speech to extending the militarization of space.

Kennedy verbally condensed human history to fifty years, in which "only last week did we develop penicillin and television and nuclear power, and now if America's new spacecraft succeeds in reaching Venus [Mariner 2], we will have literally reached the stars before midnight tonight." With this extended metaphor, Kennedy sought to imbue a sense of urgency and change in his audience. Most prominently, the phrase "We choose to go to the Moon" in the Rice speech was repeated three times consecutively, followed by an explanation that climaxes in his declaration that the challenge of space is "one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win."

Considering the line before rhetorically asked the audience why they choose to compete in tasks that challenge them, Kennedy highlighted here the nature of the decision to go to space as being a choice, an option that the American people have elected to pursue. Rather than claim it as essential, he emphasized the benefits such an endeavor could provide – uniting the nation and the competitive aspect of it. As Kennedy told Congress earlier, "whatever mankind must undertake, free men must fully share." These words emphasized the freedom enjoyed by Americans to choose their destiny rather than have it chosen for them. Combined with Kennedy's overall usage of rhetorical devices in the Rice University speech, they were particularly apt as a declaration that began the American space race.

Kennedy was able to describe a romantic notion of space in the Rice University speech with which all citizens of the United States, and even the world could participate, vastly increasing the number of citizens interested in space exploration. He began by talking about space as the new frontier for all of mankind, instilling the dream within the audience. He then condensed human history to show that within a very brief period of time space travel will be possible, informing the audience that their dream is achievable. Lastly, he uses the first-personal plural "we" to represent all the people of the world that would allegedly explore space together, but also involves the crowd.

Reception


Kennedy attending a briefing at Cape Canaveral on September 11, 1962.
With him in the front row are (from left) NASA administrator James Webb, Vice President Lyndon Johnson, NASA Launch Center director Kurt Debus, Lieutenant General Leighton I. Davis and Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.


Paul Burka, the executive editor of Texas Monthly magazine, a Rice alumnus who was present in the crowd that day, recalled 50 years later that the speech "speaks to the way Americans viewed the future in those days. It is a great speech, one that encapsulates all of recorded history and seeks to set it in the history of our own time. Unlike today’s politicians, Kennedy spoke to our best impulses as a nation, not our worst." Ron Sass and Robert Curl were among the many members of the Rice University faculty present. Curl was amazed by the cost of the space exploration program. They recalled that the ambitious goal did not seem so remarkable at the time, and that Kennedy's speech was not regarded as so different from one delivered by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at Rice's Autry Court in 1960; but that speech has long since been forgotten, while Kennedy's is still remembered.

The speech did not stem a rising tide of disquiet about the Moon landing effort. There were many other things that the money could be spent on. Eisenhower declared, "To spend $40 billion to reach the Moon is just nuts." Senator Barry Goldwater argued that the civilian space program was pushing the more important military one aside. Senator William Proxmire feared that scientists would be diverted away from military research into space exploration. A budget cut was only narrowly averted. Kennedy gave a speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 20, 1963, in which he again proposed a joint expedition to the Moon. Khrushchev remained cautious about participating, and responded with a statement in October 1963 in which he declared that the Soviet Union had no plans to send cosmonauts to the Moon. However, his military advisors persuaded him that the offer was a good one, as it would enable the Soviet Union to acquire American technology. Kennedy ordered reviews of the Apollo project in April, August and October 1963. The final report was received on November 29, 1963, a week after Kennedy's assassination.

Legacy


Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, 1969.

The idea of a joint Moon mission was abandoned after Kennedy's death, but the Apollo Project became a memorial to him. His goal was fulfilled in July 1969, with the successful Apollo 11 Moon landing. This accomplishment remains an enduring legacy of Kennedy's speech, but his deadline demanded a necessarily narrow focus, and there was no indication of what should be done next once it was achieved. Apollo did not usher in an era of lunar exploration, and no further missions were sent to the Moon after Apollo 17 in 1972. Subsequent planned Apollo missions were canceled. The Space Shuttle and International Space Station projects never captured the public imagination the way the Apollo Project did, and NASA would struggle to realize its visions with inadequate resources. Ambitious visions of space exploration were proclaimed by Presidents George H. W. Bush in 1989, George W. Bush in 2004, and Donald J. Trump in 2017, but the future of the American space program remains uncertain.

</snip>





...and, Happy 66th wedding anniversary Jack and Jackie!!
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Thu Sep 12, 2019, 07:34 AM (1 replies)

Forget much of what you knew about the breakup of the Beatles...

https://amp.theguardian.com/music/2019/sep/11/the-beatles-break-up-mark-lewisohn-abbey-road-hornsey-road

‘This tape rewrites everything we knew about the Beatles’
Mark Lewisohn knows the Fab Four better than they knew themselves. The expert’s tapes of their tense final meetings shed new light on Abbey Road – and inspired a new stage show

Richard Williams
Wed 11 Sep 2019 01.00 EDT

The Beatles weren’t a group much given to squabbling, says Mark Lewisohn, who probably knows more about them than they knew about themselves. But then he plays me the tape of a meeting held 50 years ago this month – on 8 September 1969 – containing a disagreement that sheds new light on their breakup.

They’ve wrapped up the recording of Abbey Road, which would turn out to be their last studio album, and are awaiting its release in two weeks’ time. Ringo Starr is in hospital, undergoing tests for an intestinal complaint. In his absence, John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison convene at Apple’s HQ in Savile Row. John has brought a portable tape recorder. He puts it on the table, switches it on and says: “Ringo – you can’t be here, but this is so you can hear what we’re discussing.”

What they talk about is the plan to make another album – and perhaps a single for release in time for Christmas, a commercial strategy going back to the earliest days of Beatlemania. “It’s a revelation,” Lewisohn says. “The books have always told us that they knew Abbey Road was their last album and they wanted to go out on an artistic high. But no – they’re discussing the next album. And you think that John is the one who wanted to break them up but, when you hear this, he isn’t. Doesn’t that rewrite pretty much everything we thought we knew?”

</snip>


More at link!
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Wed Sep 11, 2019, 01:56 PM (35 replies)

78 Years Ago Today; Groundbreaking takes place for the Pentagon

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



The Pentagon is the headquarters building of the United States Department of Defense, although as a symbol of the U.S. military, the phrase The Pentagon is also often used as a metonym for the Department of Defense and its leadership.

Located in Arlington County, Virginia, across the Potomac River from Washington, D.C., the building was designed by American architect George Bergstrom and built by contractor John McShain. Ground was broken on September 11, 1941, and the building was dedicated on January 15, 1943. General Brehon Somervell provided the major motivating power behind the project; Colonel Leslie Groves was responsible for overseeing the project for the U.S. Army.

The Pentagon is the world's largest office building, with about 6,500,000 sq ft (600,000 m2) of space, of which 3,700,000 sq ft (340,000 m2) are used as offices. Some 23,000 military and civilian employees, and another 3,000 non-defense support personnel, work in the Pentagon. It has five sides, five floors above ground, two basement levels, and five ring corridors per floor with a total of 17.5 mi (28.2 km) of corridors. The central five-acre (20,000 m2) pentagonal plaza is nicknamed "ground zero" on the presumption that it would be a prime target in a nuclear war.

On September 11, 2001, exactly 60 years after the building's construction began, American Airlines Flight 77 was hijacked and flown into the western side of the building, killing 189 people (59 victims and the five perpetrators on board the airliner, as well as 125 victims in the building), according to the 9/11 Commission Report. It was the first significant foreign attack on Washington's governmental facilities since the city was burned by the British during the War of 1812.

The Pentagon is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a National Historic Landmark.

</snip>


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Wed Sep 11, 2019, 11:57 AM (1 replies)

45 Years Ago Today; The crash of Eastern Airlines Flight 212 In Charlotte NC

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_Air_Lines_Flight_212


An Eastern Airlines DC-9-31, similar to the aircraft involved

Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 was an Eastern Air Lines flight that crashed on September 11, 1974, killing 72 people.

The flight was a regularly scheduled flight from Charleston, South Carolina to Chicago, Illinois, with an intermediate stop in Charlotte, North Carolina. It carried 78 passengers and four crew.

Aircraft and crew
The aircraft involved was a five-year-old McDonnell Douglas DC-9-31 registered as N8984E, which was delivered to Eastern Airlines on January 30, 1969.

The captain was 49-year-old James Edward Reeves, who had been with Eastern Air Lines since 1956. He had 8,876 flight hours, including 3,856 hours on the DC-9.

The first officer was 36-year-old James M. Daniels, Jr. He had been with Eastern Air lines since 1966 and had 3,016 flight hours, including 2,693 hours on the DC-9.

Crash
On the morning of Wednesday, September 11, 1974, while conducting an instrument approach in dense ground fog into Douglas Municipal Airport in Charlotte, the aircraft crashed more than three miles (5 km) short of runway 36, killing 72 of the 82 on board. Thirteen survived the initial impact at 7:34 am EDT, including the co-pilot and one flight attendant, but three more ultimately died from severe burn injuries. One of the initial survivors died of injuries 29 days after the accident.

Among the fatalities were the vice president for academic affairs of the Medical University of South Carolina, James William Colbert Jr. Television personality Stephen Colbert has spoken candidly about the loss of his father and two brothers in the crash.

Crash investigation and recommendations
The accident was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). While investigating this accident, and reviewing the cockpit voice recorder (CVR), the NTSB found that the flight crew engaged in unnecessary and "nonpertinent" conversation during the approach phase of the flight, discussing subjects "ranging from politics to used cars." The NTSB concluded that conducting such nonessential chatter can distract pilots from their flying duties during the critical phases of flight, such as instrument approach to landing, and recommended that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) establish rules and educate pilots to focus exclusively on flying tasks while operating at low altitudes. The FAA, after more than six years of consideration, finally published the Sterile Cockpit Rule in 1981.

Another possible cause of the crash discussed by the NTSB in its review of the CVR was that the crew was apparently trying to visually locate the Charlotte airport, while executing an instrument approach in the presence of low-lying fog. In addition, a persistent attempt to visually identify the nearby Carowinds amusement park tower, known as "Carowinds Tower" to pilots, rising to an elevation of 1,314 feet (401 m), or 340 feet (105 m) above ground level (AGL), may have further distracted and confused the flight crew. The first officer (co-pilot) was operating the flight controls, and none of the required altitude callouts were made by the captain, which compounded the flight crew's near total lack of altitude awareness.

During the investigation, the issue of the flammability of passengers' clothing materials was raised. There was evidence that passengers who wore double-knit synthetic fiber clothing articles sustained significantly worse burn injuries during the post-crash fire than passengers who wore articles made from natural fibers.

The NTSB released its final report on May 23, 1975. The NTSB concluded that the accident was caused by the flight crew's lack of altitude awareness and poor cockpit discipline. The NTSB issued the following official Probable Cause statement for the accident:

The flight crew's lack of altitude awareness at critical points during the approach due to poor cockpit discipline in that the crew did not follow prescribed procedure.


</snip>


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


Colbert, c. 1950

James William Colbert Jr. (December 15, 1920 – September 11, 1974) was an American physician and the first vice president of academic affairs at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), serving in this capacity from 1969 until his death in a plane crash in 1974. He is the father of Stephen Colbert and Elizabeth Colbert Busch.

Early life and education
Colbert (along with his twin sister, Margaret) was born on December 15, 1920, in the Bronx in New York City, to Mary (Tormey) and James William Colbert. He was of mostly Irish descent, and was raised in a devout Roman Catholic household. He attended St. Augustine's School in Larchmont, New York for junior high school and Iona Preparatory in New Rochelle for high school. He received his A.B. from College of the Holy Cross in 1942 in philosophy, in which he was deeply interested; nevertheless, he later chose to pursue a medical career because, according to his daughter Margaret Colbert Keegan, "it just seemed to be the thing to do at the time." Colbert was accepted into the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1942, and received his M.D. there three years later, with a focus on immunology and infectious diseases. He then completed an internship at Bellevue Hospital before joining the U.S. Army Medical Corps in 1946.

Career
Colbert spent a year in Europe working for the U.S. Army Medical Corps, after which he completed a residency at Yale University School of Medicine. In 1949, he rejoined the U.S. Army Medical Corps as a representative of the Armed Forces Epidemiological Board, Director of the Hepatitis Research Team, and Technical Director of the Hepatitis Laboratory in Munich, Germany. Also after 1949, he joined the faculty of Yale University School of Medicine, where he was promoted to Assistant Dean in 1951. In 1953, at the age of 32, he left Yale to become the dean of the St. Louis University School of Medicine, making him the youngest dean of a medical school at the time. He remained at St. Louis University until 1961, when he became Associate Director for Extramural Programs at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases of the National Institutes of Health. During the early 1960s, he served as chair of the St. Louis chapter of the organization Doctors for Kennedy, which was set up to support John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign. In 1969, he and his family moved from Washington, D.C., where he had been working for the National Institutes of Health, to South Carolina. He became the first vice president for academic affairs at the Medical University of South Carolina on February 1, 1969, and remained in that position until his death. His work at the Medical University of South Carolina has been credited with "la[ying] the foundation for MUSC's rise as a nationally renowned academic medical center."

Personal life
Colbert married his childhood sweetheart, Lorna Elizabeth Tuck, on August 26, 1944. They soon started a family, and had eleven children together, eight of whom survive: Jim, Ed, Mary, Margo, Tom, Jay, politician and businesswoman Elizabeth Colbert Busch, and comedian Stephen Colbert. Paul and Peter died in the same plane crash that killed their father in 1974, and Bill died in 1999.

Death
Colbert, along with two of his sons, died in the crash of Eastern Air Lines Flight 212 on September 11, 1974, in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Recognition
In 2009, MUSC renamed its education center and library in memory of Colbert. In 2017, the first James W. Colbert Endowed Lectureship was held, also at MUSC, in honor of his legacy there. The lectureship was established in his memory by his family.

</snip>


Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 10:06 PM (12 replies)

Breaking: Bolton fired by Trump just now via Twitter

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1171452880055746560?s=20

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration, and therefore....

11:58 AM - Sep 10, 2019

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1171452881729228802?s=20

Donald J. Trump ✔ @realDonaldTrump
....I asked John for his resignation, which was given to me this morning. I thank John very much for his service. I will be naming a new National Security Advisor next week.

11:58 AM - Sep 10, 2019
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Tue Sep 10, 2019, 12:01 PM (20 replies)

63 Years Ago Tonight; Elvis premieres on the Ed Sullivan Show

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


Presley in a publicity photograph for the 1957 film Jailhouse Rock

Elvis Aaron Presley (January 8, 1935 – August 16, 1977), also known mononymously as Elvis, was an American singer and actor. Regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century, he is often referred to as the "King of Rock and Roll" or simply "the King".

Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi, and relocated to Memphis, Tennessee, with his family when he was 13 years old. His music career began there in 1954, recording at Sun Records with producer Sam Phillips, who wanted to bring the sound of African-American music to a wider audience. Presley, on rhythm acoustic guitar, and accompanied by lead guitarist Scotty Moore and bassist Bill Black, was a pioneer of rockabilly, an uptempo, backbeat-driven fusion of country music and rhythm and blues. In 1955, drummer D. J. Fontana joined to complete the lineup of Presley's classic quartet and RCA Victor acquired his contract in a deal arranged by Colonel Tom Parker, who would manage him for more than two decades. Presley's first RCA single, "Heartbreak Hotel", was released in January 1956 and became a number-one hit in the United States. With a series of successful network television appearances and chart-topping records, he became the leading figure of the newly popular sound of rock and roll. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, made him enormously popular—and controversial.

In November 1956, Presley made his film debut in Love Me Tender. Drafted into military service in 1958, Presley relaunched his recording career two years later with some of his most commercially successful work. He held few concerts however, and guided by Parker, proceeded to devote much of the 1960s to making Hollywood films and soundtrack albums, most of them critically derided. In 1968, following a seven-year break from live performances, he returned to the stage in the acclaimed television comeback special Elvis, which led to an extended Las Vegas concert residency and a string of highly profitable tours. In 1973, Presley gave the first concert by a solo artist to be broadcast around the world, Aloha from Hawaii. Years of prescription drug abuse severely compromised his health, and he died suddenly in 1977 at his Graceland estate at the age of 42.

Presley is the best-selling solo artist in the history of recorded music. He was commercially successful in many genres, including pop, country, blues, and gospel. He won three competitive Grammys, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award at age 36, and has been inducted into multiple music halls of fame.

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1956–1958: Commercial breakout and controversy
First national TV appearances and debut album



The "iconic cover" of Presley's 1956 debut album, an image crucial in codifying the guitar as the defining instrument of rock and roll

On January 10, 1956, Presley made his first recordings for RCA in Nashville. Extending Presley's by-now customary backup of Moore, Black, Fontana, and Hayride pianist Floyd Cramer—who had been performing at live club dates with Presley—RCA enlisted guitarist Chet Atkins and three background singers, including Gordon Stoker of the popular Jordanaires quartet, to fill out the sound. The session produced the moody, unusual "Heartbreak Hotel", released as a single on January 27. Parker finally brought Presley to national television, booking him on CBS's Stage Show for six appearances over two months. The program, produced in New York, was hosted on alternate weeks by big band leaders and brothers Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey. After his first appearance, on January 28, Presley stayed in town to record at RCA's New York studio. The sessions yielded eight songs, including a cover of Carl Perkins' rockabilly anthem "Blue Suede Shoes". In February, Presley's "I Forgot to Remember to Forget", a Sun recording initially released the previous August, reached the top of the Billboard country chart. Neal's contract was terminated, and, on March 2, Parker became Presley's manager.

RCA released Presley's self-titled debut album on March 23. Joined by five previously unreleased Sun recordings, its seven recently recorded tracks were of a broad variety. There were two country songs and a bouncy pop tune. The others would centrally define the evolving sound of rock and roll: "Blue Suede Shoes"—"an improvement over Perkins' in almost every way", according to critic Robert Hilburn—and three R&B numbers that had been part of Presley's stage repertoire for some time, covers of Little Richard, Ray Charles, and The Drifters. As described by Hilburn, these "were the most revealing of all. Unlike many white artists ... who watered down the gritty edges of the original R&B versions of songs in the '50s, Presley reshaped them. He not only injected the tunes with his own vocal character but also made guitar, not piano, the lead instrument in all three cases." It became the first rock and roll album to top the Billboard chart, a position it held for 10 weeks. While Presley was not an innovative guitarist like Moore or contemporary African-American rockers Bo Diddley and Chuck Berry, cultural historian Gilbert B. Rodman argued that the album's cover image, "of Elvis having the time of his life on stage with a guitar in his hands played a crucial role in positioning the guitar ... as the instrument that best captured the style and spirit of this new music."

Milton Berle Show and "Hound Dog"

Presley signing autographs in Minneapolis in 1956

On April 3, Presley made the first of two appearances on NBC's Milton Berle Show. His performance, on the deck of the USS Hancock in San Diego, California, prompted cheers and screams from an audience of sailors and their dates. A few days later, a flight taking Presley and his band to Nashville for a recording session left all three badly shaken when an engine died and the plane almost went down over Arkansas. Twelve weeks after its original release, "Heartbreak Hotel" became Presley's first number-one pop hit. In late April, Presley began a two-week residency at the New Frontier Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The shows were poorly received by the conservative, middle-aged hotel guests—"like a jug of corn liquor at a champagne party", wrote a critic for Newsweek. Amid his Vegas tenure, Presley, who had serious acting ambitions, signed a seven-year contract with Paramount Pictures. He began a tour of the Midwest in mid-May, taking in 15 cities in as many days. He had attended several shows by Freddie Bell and the Bellboys in Vegas and was struck by their cover of "Hound Dog", a hit in 1953 for blues singer Big Mama Thornton by songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It became the new closing number of his act. After a show in La Crosse, Wisconsin, an urgent message on the letterhead of the local Catholic diocese's newspaper was sent to FBI director J. Edgar Hoover. It warned that "Presley is a definite danger to the security of the United States. ... [His] actions and motions were such as to rouse the sexual passions of teenaged youth. ... After the show, more than 1,000 teenagers tried to gang into Presley's room at the auditorium. ... Indications of the harm Presley did just in La Crosse were the two high school girls ... whose abdomen and thigh had Presley's autograph."

The second Milton Berle Show appearance came on June 5 at NBC's Hollywood studio, amid another hectic tour. Berle persuaded Presley to leave his guitar backstage, advising, "Let 'em see you, son." During the performance, Presley abruptly halted an uptempo rendition of "Hound Dog" with a wave of his arm and launched into a slow, grinding version accentuated with energetic, exaggerated body movements. Presley's gyrations created a storm of controversy. Television critics were outraged: Jack Gould of The New York Times wrote, "Mr. Presley has no discernible singing ability. ... His phrasing, if it can be called that, consists of the stereotyped variations that go with a beginner's aria in a bathtub. ... His one specialty is an accented movement of the body ... primarily identified with the repertoire of the blond bombshells of the burlesque runway." Ben Gross of the New York Daily News opined that popular music "has reached its lowest depths in the 'grunt and groin' antics of one Elvis Presley. ... Elvis, who rotates his pelvis ... gave an exhibition that was suggestive and vulgar, tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos". Ed Sullivan, whose own variety show was the nation's most popular, declared him "unfit for family viewing". To Presley's displeasure, he soon found himself being referred to as "Elvis the Pelvis", which he called "one of the most childish expressions I ever heard, comin' from an adult."

Steve Allen Show and first Sullivan appearance


Ed Sullivan and Presley during rehearsals for his second appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, October 26, 1956

The Berle shows drew such high ratings that Presley was booked for a July 1 appearance on NBC's Steve Allen Show in New York. Allen, no fan of rock and roll, introduced a "new Elvis" in a white bow tie and black tails. Presley sang "Hound Dog" for less than a minute to a basset hound wearing a top hat and bow tie. As described by television historian Jake Austen, "Allen thought Presley was talentless and absurd ... set things up so that Presley would show his contrition". Allen later wrote that he found Presley's "strange, gangly, country-boy charisma, his hard-to-define cuteness, and his charming eccentricity intriguing" and simply worked him into the customary "comedy fabric" of his program. Just before the final rehearsal for the show, Presley told a reporter, "I'm holding down on this show. I don't want to do anything to make people dislike me. I think TV is important so I'm going to go along, but I won't be able to give the kind of show I do in a personal appearance." Presley would refer back to the Allen show as the most ridiculous performance of his career. Later that night, he appeared on Hy Gardner Calling, a popular local TV show. Pressed on whether he had learned anything from the criticism to which he was being subjected, Presley responded, "No, I haven't, I don't feel like I'm doing anything wrong. ... I don't see how any type of music would have any bad influence on people when it's only music. ... I mean, how would rock 'n' roll music make anyone rebel against their parents?"

The next day, Presley recorded "Hound Dog", along with "Any Way You Want Me" and "Don't Be Cruel". The Jordanaires sang harmony, as they had on The Steve Allen Show; they would work with Presley through the 1960s. A few days later, Presley made an outdoor concert appearance in Memphis, at which he announced, "You know, those people in New York are not gonna change me none. I'm gonna show you what the real Elvis is like tonight." In August, a judge in Jacksonville, Florida, ordered Presley to tame his act. Throughout the following performance, he largely kept still, except for wiggling his little finger suggestively in mockery of the order. The single pairing "Don't Be Cruel" with "Hound Dog" ruled the top of the charts for 11 weeks—a mark that would not be surpassed for 36 years. Recording sessions for Presley's second album took place in Hollywood during the first week of September. Leiber and Stoller, the writers of "Hound Dog", contributed "Love Me".

Allen's show with Presley had, for the first time, beaten CBS's Ed Sullivan Show in the ratings. Sullivan, despite his June pronouncement, booked Presley for three appearances for an unprecedented $50,000. The first, on September 9, 1956, was seen by approximately 60 million viewers—a record 82.6 percent of the television audience. Actor Charles Laughton hosted the show, filling in while Sullivan was recovering from a car accident. Presley appeared in two segments that night from CBS Television City in Los Angeles. According to Elvis legend, Presley was shot only from the waist up. Watching clips of the Allen and Berle shows with his producer, Sullivan had opined that Presley "got some kind of device hanging down below the crotch of his pants—so when he moves his legs back and forth you can see the outline of his cock. ... I think it's a Coke bottle. ... We just can't have this on a Sunday night. This is a family show!" Sullivan publicly told TV Guide, "As for his gyrations, the whole thing can be controlled with camera shots." In fact, Presley was shown head-to-toe in the first and second shows. Though the camerawork was relatively discreet during his debut, with leg-concealing closeups when he danced, the studio audience reacted in customary style: screaming. Presley's performance of his forthcoming single, the ballad "Love Me Tender", prompted a record-shattering million advance orders. More than any other single event, it was this first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show that made Presley a national celebrity of barely precedented proportions.

Accompanying Presley's rise to fame, a cultural shift was taking place that he both helped inspire and came to symbolize. Igniting the "biggest pop craze since Glenn Miller and Frank Sinatra ... Presley brought rock'n'roll into the mainstream of popular culture", writes historian Marty Jezer. "As Presley set the artistic pace, other artists followed. ... Presley, more than anyone else, gave the young a belief in themselves as a distinct and somehow unified generation—the first in America ever to feel the power of an integrated youth culture."

Crazed crowds and film debut


Elvis performing on stage

The audience response at Presley's live shows became increasingly fevered. Moore recalled, "He'd start out, 'You ain't nothin' but a Hound Dog,' and they'd just go to pieces. They'd always react the same way. There'd be a riot every time." At the two concerts he performed in September at the Mississippi–Alabama Fair and Dairy Show, 50 National Guardsmen were added to the police security to ensure that the crowd would not cause a ruckus. Elvis, Presley's second album, was released in October and quickly rose to number one on the billboard. The album includes "Old Shep", which he sang at the talent show in 1945, and which now marked the first time he played piano on an RCA session. According to Guralnick, one can hear "in the halting chords and the somewhat stumbling rhythm both the unmistakable emotion and the equally unmistakable valuing of emotion over technique." Assessing the musical and cultural impact of Presley's recordings from "That's All Right" through Elvis, rock critic Dave Marsh wrote that "these records, more than any others, contain the seeds of what rock & roll was, has been and most likely what it may foreseeably become."

Presley returned to the Sullivan show at its main studio in New York, hosted this time by its namesake, on October 28. After the performance, crowds in Nashville and St. Louis burned him in effigy. His first motion picture, Love Me Tender, was released on November 21. Though he was not top billed, the film's original title—The Reno Brothers—was changed to capitalize on his latest number-one record: "Love Me Tender" had hit the top of the charts earlier that month. To further take advantage of Presley's popularity, four musical numbers were added to what was originally a straight acting role. The film was panned by the critics but did very well at the box office. Presley would receive top billing on every subsequent film he made.

On December 4, Presley dropped into Sun Records where Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis were recording and had an impromptu jam session, along with Johnny Cash. Though Phillips no longer had the right to release any Presley material, he made sure that the session was captured on tape. The results, none officially released for 25 years, became known as the "Million Dollar Quartet" recordings. The year ended with a front-page story in The Wall Street Journal reporting that Presley merchandise had brought in $22 million on top of his record sales, and Billboard's declaration that he had placed more songs in the top 100 than any other artist since records were first charted. In his first full year at RCA, one of the music industry's largest companies, Presley had accounted for over 50 percent of the label's singles sales.

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Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Sep 9, 2019, 08:17 PM (11 replies)

72 Years Ago Today; The first computer bug discovered when moth found in an electrical relay

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



A software bug is an error, flaw, failure or fault in a computer program or system that causes it to produce an incorrect or unexpected result, or to behave in unintended ways. The process of finding and fixing bugs is termed "debugging" and often uses formal techniques or tools to pinpoint bugs, and since the 1950s, some computer systems have been designed to also deter, detect or auto-correct various computer bugs during operations.

Most bugs arise from mistakes and errors made in either a program's source code or its design, or in components and operating systems used by such programs. A few are caused by compilers producing incorrect code. A program that contains a large number of bugs, and/or bugs that seriously interfere with its functionality, is said to be buggy (defective). Bugs can trigger errors that may have ripple effects. Bugs may have subtle effects or cause the program to crash or freeze the computer. Other bugs qualify as security bugs and might, for example, enable a malicious user to bypass access controls in order to obtain unauthorized privileges.

Some software bugs have been linked to disasters. Bugs in code that controlled the Therac-25 radiation therapy machine were directly responsible for patient deaths in the 1980s. In 1996, the European Space Agency's US$1 billion prototype Ariane 5 rocket had to be destroyed less than a minute after launch due to a bug in the on-board guidance computer program. In June 1994, a Royal Air Force Chinook helicopter crashed into the Mull of Kintyre, killing 29. This was initially dismissed as pilot error, but an investigation by Computer Weekly convinced a House of Lords inquiry that it may have been caused by a software bug in the aircraft's engine-control computer.

In 2002, a study commissioned by the US Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology concluded that "software bugs, or errors, are so prevalent and so detrimental that they cost the US economy an estimated $59 billion annually, or about 0.6 percent of the gross domestic product".

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History
The Middle English word bugge is the basis for the terms "bugbear" and "bugaboo" as terms used for a monster.

The term "bug" to describe defects has been a part of engineering jargon since the 1870s and predates electronic computers and computer software; it may have originally been used in hardware engineering to describe mechanical malfunctions. For instance, Thomas Edison wrote the following words in a letter to an associate in 1878:

It has been just so in all of my inventions. The first step is an intuition, and comes with a burst, then difficulties arise—this thing gives out and [it is] then that "Bugs"—as such little faults and difficulties are called—show themselves and months of intense watching, study and labor are requisite before commercial success or failure is certainly reached.


Baffle Ball, the first mechanical pinball game, was advertised as being "free of bugs" in 1931. Problems with military gear during World War II were referred to as bugs (or glitches). In the 1940 film, Flight Command, a defect in a piece of direction-finding gear is called a "bug". In a book published in 1942, Louise Dickinson Rich, speaking of a powered ice cutting machine, said, "Ice sawing was suspended until the creator could be brought in to take the bugs out of his darling."

Isaac Asimov used the term "bug" to relate to issues with a robot in his short story "Catch That Rabbit", published in 1944.


A page from the Harvard Mark II electromechanical computer's log, featuring a dead moth that was removed from the device.

The term "bug" was used in an account by computer pioneer Grace Hopper, who publicized the cause of a malfunction in an early electromechanical computer. A typical version of the story is:

In 1946, when Hopper was released from active duty, she joined the Harvard Faculty at the Computation Laboratory where she continued her work on the Mark II and Mark III. Operators traced an error in the Mark II to a moth trapped in a relay, coining the term bug. This bug was carefully removed and taped to the log book. Stemming from the first bug, today we call errors or glitches in a program a bug.


Hopper did not find the bug, as she readily acknowledged. The date in the log book was September 9, 1947. The operators who found it, including William "Bill" Burke, later of the Naval Weapons Laboratory, Dahlgren, Virginia, were familiar with the engineering term and amusedly kept the insect with the notation "First actual case of bug being found." Hopper loved to recount the story. This log book, complete with attached moth, is part of the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History.

The related term "debug" also appears to predate its usage in computing: the Oxford English Dictionary's etymology of the word contains an attestation from 1945, in the context of aircraft engines.

The concept that software might contain errors dates back to Ada Lovelace's 1843 notes on the analytical engine, in which she speaks of the possibility of program "cards" for Charles Babbage's analytical engine being erroneous:

... an analysing process must equally have been performed in order to furnish the Analytical Engine with the necessary operative data; and that herein may also lie a possible source of error. Granted that the actual mechanism is unerring in its processes, the cards may give it wrong orders.


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And now you know... the REST of the story.
Posted by Dennis Donovan | Mon Sep 9, 2019, 05:41 PM (8 replies)
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