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August 31: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

August 31, 2021 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1937, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “SHANGHAI (A.P.) — Because of the increasing peril to neutral shipping from Chinese and Japanese bombs and shells, United States authorities today closed the Port of Shanghai to all vessels flying the American flag other than warships. The order from Admiral Harry E. Yarnell, commander in chief of the Asiatic fleet, and Consul General Clarence E. Gauss was the direct result of the bombing yesterday by Chinese planes of the Dollar Liner President Hoover and the killing of one of her seamen. The effect of the action was to maroon some 2,000 Americans, including 500 women and children, in this war-shattered city. Twelve miles north of the city, heavy guns were crashing out the prelude to Japan’s major push to drive the Chinese armies from the area. The Japanese army presented an ultimatum to the civil authorities ordering all Chinese civilians evacuated by nightfall from the Yangtsepoo and Wayside areas in the northeastern zone of the International Settlement. That order from the highest ranking naval and civil officers here commanded all vessels flying the American flag — freighters as well as passenger liners — to suspend calling at Shanghai indefinitely. Because of the absence of naval vessels suitable to evacuate the remaining Americans, authorities have not reached a decision on the best means of taking United States citizens to safety. The only available navy ship is the supply vessel Gold Star, from Guam. A small capacity of 60 passengers and speed of eight knots make her of limited value.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1939, the Eagle reported, “LONDON (A.P.) — ‘Precautionary’ evacuation of school children, mothers and invalids from London and other key cities tomorrow — a movement perhaps involving several millions of persons — was ordered today by the British Ministry of Health. The operation will require several days. The Ministry of Health statement said the step did not mean that war was regarded as inevitable. It was estimated that 3,000,000 persons would be affected. The total population of the designated evacuation areas is about 11,000,000, but only a part of these residents would fall into the first group to be moved. Those falling in the ‘priority classes’ are school children accompanied by their teachers, children of pre-school age accompanied by their mothers or other escorts, expectant mothers, and the adult blind and crippled population if the removal of invalids is feasible. Meanwhile, the diplomatic exchange over the European crisis was said authoritatively to be hampered by the ‘reluctance’ of Germany to recognize the binding nature of British and French guarantees to defend Poland’s independence if Poland also fights.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1954, the Eagle reported, “Gale-force wind and lashing rain today battered Brooklyn and surrounding areas as a retreating hurricane from the South swept across Long Island and Long Island Sound into Connecticut. Trees were toppled by the storm, plate glass windows smashed, at least 120 power lines were torn down, and some 50,000 families in Brooklyn and 25,000 in Queens, the Consolidated Edison Company reported, were left without electricity. By noon the sun peeped out in a break of the still heavily clouded skies, and the storm, for Brooklyn, appeared to be over. In Sheepshead Bay, off Gerritsen Beach and in the North River, small boats were ripped from their moorings and set adrift. Some streets and cellars were flooded. Automobile traffic was slowed down, and in some cases public buses had to detour to avoid fallen trees. On Rockaway Beach, 40 families were marooned, by rain and swelling tide, in bungalows at the foot of Beach 84th St., on the edge of Jamaica Bay. Police went to their rescue in launches. On Long Island, the force of the storm, with gusts blowing up to 70 miles an hour, left more widespread havoc. Residents on the South Shore, warned by the Coast Guard, left beachfront homes and, aided by local police, sought refuge inland.”

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Debbie Gibson
Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Van Morrison
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Jerry Allison (The Crickets), who was born in 1939; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Van Morrison, who was born in 1945; violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, who was born in 1945; former N.Y. Giants coach and two-time Super Bowl champion Tom Coughlin, who was born in 1946; Scorpions founder Rudolf Schenker, who was born in 1948; “Pretty Woman” star Richard Gere, who was born in 1949; “Earth Girls Are Easy” star Julie Brown, who was born in 1954; The Go-Go’s drummer Gina Schock, who was born in 1957; Squeeze co-founder Glenn Tilbrook, who was born in 1957; “Lost in Your Eyes” singer Debbie Gibson, who was born in Brooklyn in 1970; “Rush Hour” star Chris Tucker, who was born in 1971; and swimmer and Olympic gold medalist Ian Crocker, who was born in 1982.

Tom Coughlin
AP photo

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THE PARTY’S OVER: Solidarity was founded on this day in 1980. The Polish trade union was formed at the Baltic Sea port of Gdansk. It was outlawed by the Communist government and many of its leaders were arrested. Led by Lech Walesa, Solidarity persisted in its opposition to the Communists, and on Aug. 19, 1989, Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski astonished the world by nominating for the post of prime minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, a former deputy in the Polish Assembly and editor in chief of Solidarity’s weekly newspaper, bringing to an end 42 years of Community Party domination.

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GOODBYE ENGLAND’S ROSE: Diana, Princess of Wales, died on this day in 1997. The princess and her companion, Dodi Fayed, were killed in a car crash in Paris. Although press photographers had been pursuing her car, French courts determined that the paparazzi were not responsible for the crash but rather a driver operating under the influence of alcohol. Diana’s funeral was watched by an estimated 2.5 billion people.

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

 

Quotable:

“Winning is what happens when commitment, desire, talent, preparation, hard work and leadership all come together.”

— Tom Coughlin, who was born on this day in 1946


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