Brooklyn Boro

January 21: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

January 21, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1908, the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported, “WASHINGTON — President [Theodore] Roosevelt is so much concerned over the lack of strong military defenses on the Pacific Coast and in the Hawaiian Islands that he is writing letters to members of Congress, calling their attention to the deplorable situation. The president thinks it is a matter of prime importance that Congress should this year provide liberally for guns for the Pacific Coast and also for Pearl Harbor in the Sandwich Islands … Chairman [John] Hull of the House Committee on Military Affairs has received one of the president’s letters. Incidentally, it has converted him to the president’s way of thinking, and while Mr. Hull is not a member of the committee which prepares the fortifications measures, he stands ready to give his support to a liberal bill. ‘I endorse every word the president says about the desirability of fortifying not only the Pacific Coast but the Hawaiian Islands,’ said Mr. Hull today. ‘The president’s letter referred exclusively to Hawaii, which he apparently regards as the vital point, in a strategic sense, to the West. There is no place in the entire continental United States so greatly in need of powerful batteries as Pearl Harbor. In my opinion it is far more essential to fortify this place than San Francisco, Puget Sound or any of the other coast cities.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1942, an Eagle editorial said, “The most serious menace to our military, naval and industrial establishments is officialdom’s tendency to tattle. The very highest civilian and Army-Navy officers cannot resist the temptation to strut their importance by revealing their access to secrets kept from the press and public. White House occupants, Cabinet members and other officials frequently confide in senators, representatives and prominent visitors. These tidbits are always passed out ‘in confidence,’ but human frailty asserts itself sooner or later. Unless he lives the life of a hermit, there is hardly a Washingtonian who does not know the unpublicized details of the Pearl Harbor damage, the number of German submarines lurking off the Atlantic Coast, and the higherups’ concern about shortages of strategic war materials. Sometimes the careless members of the ‘I-know-a-secret’ lodge spill their information in taxicabs, hotel lobbies, club rooms and even more inauspicious places.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1949, the Eagle reported, “NANKING (U.P.) — Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek retired as president of China today and turned the reins of government over to Vice President Li Tsung-jen, an ardent advocate of peace with the Communists. Chiang, however, left open a way to return to his leadership of Nationalist China if peace talks failed. He used a Chinese word meaning ‘temporary leave of absence’ instead of announcing his outright resignation. He boarded a private plane and left Nanking in a dramatic flight into exile. He stopped first at Hangchow, 150 miles south of Nanking, to make a motor trip to his home town of Fenghua, in Chekiang Province. Immediately after Li took over the leadership, the Cabinet named four leaders to proceed to Communist headquarters at Yenan to plead for an immediate cease-fire and opening of peace negotiations.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1955, the Eagle reported, “TAIPEI, FORMOSA (U.P.) — American advisory officers today were reported to have been removed from bomb-tattered Tachen Island, pawn in a vicious air-sea war between the Chinese Nationalists and the Reds. The report, regarded as reliable here, came shortly after another from a top American source that the Nationalists had indicated their willingness to withdraw from their imperiled island holdings some 200 miles north of Formosa [Taiwan]. Nationalist warplanes were blasting Communist shipping along a 300-mile stretch of the East China coast again today in another major effort to at least forestall the forced evacuation of the islands. Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek summoned his top lieutenants into emergency session to consider the situation.”

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Geena Davis
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Hakeem Olajuwon
Eric Christian Smith/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus, who was born in 1940; “L.A. Law” star Jill Eikenberry, who was born in 1947; “Caribbean Queen” singer Billy Ocean, who was born in 1950; former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who was born in 1951; painter and sculptor Jeff Koons, who was born in 1955; “Ice Castles” star Robby Benson, who was born in 1956; Oscar-winning actress Geena Davis, who was born in 1956; Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, who was born in 1963; “NYPD Blue” star Charlotte Ross, who was born in 1968; “Lost” star Ken Leung, who was born in 1970; “Paranormal Activity” director Oren Peli, who was born in 1970; singer-songwriter Cat Power, who was born in 1972; decathlete and Olympic gold medalist Ashton Eaton, who was born in 1988; and “Baywatch” star Kelly Rohrbach, who was born in 1990.

Jack Nicklaus
Jay LaPrete/AP

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GRAND DESIGNS: Christian Dior was born on this day in 1905. The influential French fashion designer was the world’s premier style maker after World War II up until the 1950s. He was also one of the first designers to utilize licensing to help create his own brand. He died in 1957.

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UP TO SPEED: The supersonic Concorde airplane was put into service by Britain and France on this day in 1976. It was taken out of service on Oct. 24, 2003, bringing an end to supersonic air travel.

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

 

Quotable:

“Don’t be too proud to take lessons. I’m not.”

— World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus, who was born on this day in 1940


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