Milestones: Tuesday, October 24, 2023
AROSE FROM WORLD WAR II — UNITED NATIONS DAY MARKS THE ANNIVERSARY OF THIS INTERNATIONAL BODY’S FOUNDING ON Oct. 24, 1945. However, the seeds for the UN germinated even before Pearl Harbor; with the signing, in London, of the Inter-Allied Declaration on June 12, 1941. The conference in San Francisco that previous April laid out a structure for a new international organization that was to “save succeeding generations from the scourge of war. Two other important objectives described in the Charter were respecting the principles of equal rights and self-determination of all peoples. An official UN holiday since 1971 when the General Assembly recommended it be a public observance, the date also commemorates the effective date of the UN Charter. Since its founding, the UN has evolved and expanded into the UN system, which “comprises many programs, funds and specialized agencies, each of which have their own area of work, leadership and budget,” according to the United Nations’ website.
This year’s UN Day Concert, taking place live and virtually, themed “The Frontlines of Climate Action, and featuring the “Environmental Symphony: The Movement” and world-renowned cellist Michael Fitzpatrick, will be held in the General Assembly Hall on Tuesday, October 24 at 6:30 p.m. Tune in via the UN YouTube Channel or UN Web TV.
TOTAL WAR — THE THIRTY YEARS’ WAR BEGAN IN 1618 when the Holy Roman Emperor at the time, Ferdinand II of the Habsburg dynasty tried to force Catholicism on his subjects, with military campaigns escalating the conflict throughout Europe. During this time, the vicious fighting did not make exception for civilians, whose homes were pillaged, their female children raped and livestock stolen or murdered. Moreover, a new breed of profiteers thrived. The Treaty of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War in 1648, laid the foundations for legal equality between States, non-intervention in internal affairs, dispute settlement and global order.
German playwright Bertolt Brecht set his 1939 play, “Mother Courage and Her Children,” during the Thirty Years’ War, with the character Mother Courage a profiteer: she was a toughened survivor who made her living selling war supplies and food from a wagon. “Mother Courage” was written also as a statement against Fascism and Nazism.
RIDING IN A PICKLE BARREL— ANNIE EDSON TAYLOR BECAME THE FIRST PERSON TO SUCCESSFULLY TAKE THE PLUNGE OVER NIAGARA FALLS IN A PICKLE BARREL, on Oct. 24, 1901. Taylor, who was a schoolteacher, launched this stunt on her 63rd birthday, after reading about the twin waterfalls bordering New York and Canada. A widow who struggled financially, she did the stunt not only for publicity but also to raise some money, And she probably sustained injuries to which she later attributed blindness and poor health. Taylor had suffered a series of hardships, including a fire that destroyed her home. She also became the victim of a dishonest clergyman who swindled her. When she died, her funeral was paid for through public funds.
Annie Taylor’s character appears in the IMAX film “Niagara: Miracles, Myths and Magic.”
CREATED SONIC BOOM — The supersonic Concorde jet, traveling at twice the speed of sound, made its last commercial passenger flight on Oct. 24, 2003, from John F. Kennedy International Airport in NYC’s Queens borough to London’s Heathrow Airport. The British and French governments had jointly developed the Concorde, which began commercial service in January 1976, a major accomplishment in aviation engineering, particularly in reducing the transatlantic travel time to 3 ½ hours. However, the Concorde’s main drawback was excessive noise and that it caused sonic booms, which happens when an object exceeds the speed of sound. Because the Concorde produced noise tantamount to a double explosion on the ground, it was banned from flying over land. Worse, a tragic takeoff crash on July 25, 2000 killed all 109 passengers plus two people on the ground.
Carol Berman, Nassau County’s first-ever woman state senator who died last week at 100, must have presaged this tragedy; during her lifetime she had led the fight to prevent the supersonic Concorde jet from operating from JFK Airport, and chaired the Emergency Coalition to Stop the SST.
FIRST WOMAN ADMITTED TO SUPREME COURT BAR — BELVA A. BENNETT LOCKWOOD, born on Oct. 24, 1830, was an educator, lawyer and advocate for women’s rights who became the first woman admitted to the Supreme Court Bar, a select group of attorneys permitted to argue cases before the nation’s highest court. While practicing law in Washington, DC, she secured equal property rights for women. She added amendments to statehood bills for Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona as they joined the Union, assuring voting rights for women Lockwood helped to provide voting rights for women in these areas. When she was barred from receiving a diploma after successfully completing the curriculum at National University Law School (now part of George Washington University), Lockwood successfully appealed to President Ulysses S. Grant, who was chancellor ex officio of the National University, and in a week had her diploma in hand.
The Lockwood Bill, formally titled “An act to relieve certain legal disabilities of women” underwent extended debate in both House and Senate, before President Rutherford B. Hayes signed it into law. Lockwood’s admission to the Supreme Court Bar was then accepted, and she was admitted.
See previous milestones, here.
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