Milestones: Thursday, September 7, 2023
BLITZKRIEG AND BRITISH RESISTANCE — THE BLITZ (short for Blitzkrieg, or “lightning war” began over London on Sept. 7, 1940, after Nazi leader Adolf Hitler lifted an earlier ban that had prohibited attacks on the Allied city. This was in response to the Royal Air Force’s attack on Berlin two weeks earlier, on Aug. 24-25. The German military switched from daytime to nighttime raid on London for 57 consecutive nights, killing 40,000 and leaving half a million London citizens homeless. However, while the Nazis aimed for total British annihilation and surrender, they failed to destroy the British spirit of resistance. Moreover, King George VI and his family’s decision to remain at Buckingham Palace in solidarity with their subjects emboldened the British to persevere and regroup.
The civilians had a major role in protecting London; even those who could not fight joined the Home Guard, the Air Raid Precautions service (ARP), and the Auxiliary Fire Service. A group who became known as the Blitz Scouts directed fire engines to the most urgent spots.
GOOGLY EYES AND A WAY TO RESEARCH — The company now known simply as Google was founded on Sept. 7, 1998, when two young men, Sergey Brin and Larry Page, filed incorporation for Google in Menlo Park, California. Although the company was still “in beta” stage, meaning a prototype that was not quite complete, Google had caught on quickly and was attracting 10,000 queries daily, a count that swelled within a year to three million searches each day. Google soon achieved “household name” status, meaning “Google” also became a verb meaning “to perform an Internet search.”
Google has, of course since expanded to offer an email address domain, a method of making electronic payments online and in stores, and a software platform for mobile devices. Yet, its search engine function remains central.
‘YOUNG WOMAN OF THE YEAR,’ AT 88 — Anna Mary Robertson Moses, born in Greenwich, New York on Sept. 7, 1860, was an American folk artist painter who became known as Grandma Moses. She was already 78-years-old when she began painting. Her work life began when she was only 12-years-old, and was employed by wealthy neighbors and, later, at a farm, where she met her husband. Moses also exhibited a talent for embroidery. Her 100th birthday, in 1960, was proclaimed Grandma Moses Day in the state of New York. Grandma Moses died at Hoosick Falls, N.Y., Dec. 13, 1961, having reached her 101st birthday three months and six days earlier.
In 1950, the National Press Club in 1950 cited Grandma Moses as one of the five most newsworthy women. On her 88th birthday, Grandma Moses was named Mademoiselle Magazine’s “Young Woman of the Year.”
PIONEER OF ROCK & ROLL — BUDDY HOLLY, born as Charles Harden Holley on Sept. 7, 1936, was a pioneer of American rock and roll of the 1950s. Born and raised in a musical family in Texas, young Holley learned to play guitar, and developed a style that was a blend of gospel, country and R&B. Buddy Holley made his first local TV appearance in 1952, while still in his teens, and started opening for the King himself — Elvis Presley, that is. Holly’s big hits before his untimely death in a plane crash on Feb. 3, 1959 were “That’ll Be the Day” and “Peggy Sue.”
Another singer/songwriter of the 1970s, Don McLean, immortalized Buddy Holly in his hit song, “American Pie,” referring to Holly’s death as “The Day the Music Died.” “American Pie,” which was filled with code-analogies to other musicians of the time, topped the Billboard charts for four weeks, starting on Jan. 15, 1972.
‘UNCLE SAM’ — THE UNITED STATES WAS OFFICIALLY NICKNAMED on Sept. 7, 1813; naturally, Uncle Sam. Originating the moniker were beef barrels marked “U.S.” that were provided to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. Soldiers started calling the military grub “Uncle Sam.”
Uncle Sam as a personification of the federal government gained wide acceptance, and a political cartoonist named Thomas Nast (1840-1902) started drawing the image with his now-signature white beard and stars-and-stripes suit, with his index finger pointed toward the viewer.
PROTESTING ‘MISS AMERICA’ — THE 41ST ANNUAL MISS AMERICA PAGEANT WAS DISRUPTED ON SEPT. 7, 1968 when a group of protesters unfurled a bedsheet reading “Women’s Liberation,” reportedly during the farewell speech of the previous year’s beauty queen. The protest stretched both inside the auditorium and onto the Atlantic City Boardwalk, where hundreds of women carried signs reading ““All Women Are Beautiful.”
The incident, which marked the first-ever protest against the established pageant, made the newspaper headlines the next day, along with news about the “Miss America 1969,” Judith Anne Ford of Belvidere, Illinois, a trampoline champion and lifeguard.
See previous milestones, here.
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