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MILESTONES: May 30, birthdays for CeeLo Green, Remy Ma, Idina Menzel

May 30, 2018 Brooklyn Daily Eagle
CeeLo Green. Photo by John Salangsang/Invision/AP
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Greetings, Brooklyn.  Today is the 149th day of the year.

On this day in 1922, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported on the opening and dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., an event that also took place on Decoration Day. The Eagle proclaimed, “A nation’s tribute to its glorious dead reached its climax today at the dedication of the memorial erected beside the Potomac to Abraham Lincoln by his grateful countrymen.”

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On this day in 1868, which was later set as the official day of commemorating soldiers who died in the U.S. Civil War, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle’s report did not even cover then-Gen. James A. Garfield’s service at Arlington National Cemetery that honored both soldiers of the Union and Confederate armies who had made the ultimate sacrifice. One of the stories that was covered in this edition was a meeting to establish a Prospect Park fair ground and to inaugurate the association that would help bring this about. The Eagle described the location: “The place is but a short ride from Bay Ridge, Flatlands and Prospect Park, and ease of access from all points. There the members of the Association or Club, with their friends can drive, and in the quiet of the enclosure, exercise about the course, try their horses, and pass a social hour upon the track.”

 

This edition also featured a brief report on the death of Kit Carson, frontiersman and legend of the American West. Apprenticed to a kindly saddle maker in Missouri, he was nevertheless bored with this work and ran away to the Santa Fe Trail, apprenticing as a fur trapper. The Eagle article pointed out that Carson eventually became an Indian Agent in New Mexico and was a lieutenant in the United States Rifle Corps. However, the fact that Carson had violated one of the core parts of his job, making sure the Indians were treated fairly, was omitted from this story.

 

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On this day in 1878, the Eagle featured an editorial on Decoration Day (the original name of Memorial Day). It had been set as May 30 because there were no other commemorations of battles on that particular date. This was the 10th anniversary of the original Decoration Day that Gen. John A. Logan of the Grand Army Republic had led. The Eagle editorial read, in part, “The custom of strewing flowers on the graves of the dead of the civil war is very likely to become permanent. Aside from the preservative forces in the occurrence itself, several other causes contribute to its perpetuation. It is the boast of every American that he can make a speech.” After pointing out that speechmaking is an important part of such observances, the editorial continued, “This penchant for public performance accords perfectly with Decoration Day and secures a vast number interested in perpetuating the annual observance, in addition to the vaster number who are represented by relationship to the dead who rest in garlanded graves and whose affection is a force which barbs the ceremonial with vigor and which colors it with a memorial tribute which links patriotism and spectacle in close and congenial bonds.”

 

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On this day in 1942, the Eagle reported that 15,000 marched in a Memorial Day parade from a starting point at Lafayette and Bedford avenues to the Memorial Arch in Prospect Park. The day’s grand marshal was Robert G. Summers, a 99-year-old veteran of the Civil War. “It was an inspiring spectacle  as the veterans of ’61 passed by, a little slow in pace but proudly carrying the riddled flags they had fought under … Looking as fit and natty as ever, the hardy men who served under Pershing, O’Ryan, Alexander, Buillard and Liggett on the fields of France made an imposing appearance. They were marching up the same avenue that many of them marched away on five years ago. Many of their former comrades were missing from their ranks, but their memory can never perish while a Memorial Day exists.” The article goes on to describe the various veterans groups marching, including from the Spanish-American War (fought in 1898).

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This edition also carried the obit of the famous stage actor John Barrymore. Seriously ill and in great pain, Barrymore was reported as saying, during his last lucid moments that every one of his 60 years had been exciting. “All I want to do is give ‘em the greatest death scene ever.” However, he missed his cue, lapsing into unconsciousness before dying. A Catholic priest had earlier administered the last sacrament to Barrymore and welcomed him back into the faith that he had deserted as a youth. Only his brother Lionel — also an acclaimed stage icon — and a doctor were present at Barrymore’s death bed.

 

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NOTABLE PEOPLE born on this day include actor KEIR DULLEA, who was born in 1936; soccer player STEVEN GERRARD, who was born in 1980; actor JARED GILMORE, who was born in 2000; singer, rapper and record producer CEE LO GREEN, who was born in 1974; singer WYNONNA JUDD, who was born in 1964; actor TED McGINLEY, who was born in 1958; actor COLM MEANEY, who was born in 1953; actress and singer IDINA MENZEL, who was born in 1971; actor MICHAEL J. POLLARD, who was born in 1939; former baseball player MANNY RAMIREZ, who was born in 1972; Hall of Fame football player GALE SAYERS, who was born in 1943; rapper REMY MA, who was born in 1980; and actor STEPHEN TOBOLOWSKY, who was born in 1951.

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CARL FABERGE WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1846. The goldsmith, designer and jeweler made the House of Fabergé an internationally known name with fantastical bejeweled decorative objects. His workshop began creating the famous imperial Easter eggs for Czars Alexander III and Nicholas II in 1885. After the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks shut down the House of Fabergé, and the family fled the country. Fabergé died in France in 1920.

 

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BENNY GOODMAN WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1909. Known as the “King of Swing,” the jazz clarinetist and bandleader reigned in popularity, especially in the 1930s and 1940s. His band was the first to play jazz at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Goodman died in 1986 in New York.

 

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TODAY IS THE CHINESE DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL. An important Chinese observance, the Dragon Boat Festival commemorates a hero of ancient China, poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself in protest against injustice and corruption. It is said that rice dumplings were cast into the water to lure fish away from the body of the martyr, and this is remembered by the eating of zhong zi, glutinous rice dumplings filled with meat and wrapped in bamboo leaves. Traditionally, dragon boat races are held on rivers.

 

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MEL BLANC WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1908. Although he performed more than 400 voices in his career, the voice actor is best remembered for “Looney Tunes” and “Merrie Melodies,” in which he performed the voices of Bugs Bunny, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig, Sylvester, Tweetie Pie and Road Runner. Blanc died in 1989 in California. His gravestone reads, “That’s All, Folks.”

 

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COUNTEE CULLEN WAS BORN ON THIS DAY IN 1903. As one of the leading writers of the Harlem Renaissance, he wrote poetry, novels, plays and children’s books. Cullen died in New York in 1946.

 

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

 

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“We shall not always plant while others reap.” — poet Countee Cullen, who was born on this day in 1903

 


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