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Milestones: Wednesday, October 25, 2023

October 25, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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BATTLE OF AGINCOURT — ONE OF THE GREATEST MILITARY VICTORIES IN HISTORY took place on Oct. 25, 1415.  During the Hundred Years’ War between England and France, the young king Henry V England led his armies to victory during the Battle of Agincourt in northern France. After having crossed the English Channel with 11,000 men, Henry V found a blockade of more than twice his army at Agincourt. However, strategizing that the smaller-scale battleground of 1,000 yards, an open area between two sets of woods, could be advantageous King Henry V and his men stood their ground as the French army, weighted down with armor, made its way across the muddy ground, and then the skilled English archers bombarded them from longbows. Henry dealt with great odds and lost only 400 men, whereas the French army had almost 6,000 casualties.

King Henry V continued to score conquests in France and in 1420 was recognized as heir to the French throne and the regent of France. But he died from camp fever not long afterward.


WORST CABINET SCANDAL — A TOP MEMBER OF THE CABINET WAS FOUND GUILTY OF BRIBERY AS PART OF THE TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL of the early 1920s. Albert B. Fall, who was secretary of the interior in President Warren G. Harding’s cabinet, accepted a bribe while in office and was later convicted, on Oct. 25, 1929, in a protracted case that lasted many years. The scandal was named for the Teapot Dome reserve in Wyoming which was believed to hold about 150 million barrels of oil. Instead of putting the lands up for public bidding among the oil companies, Secretary Fall accepted a $100,000 interest-free “loan” from Edward Doheny of the Pan-American Petroleum and Transport Company, negotiated for the naval reserves behind closed doors, and in arrangements that netted him great profit. the Senate Public Lands Committee launched an investigation in October 1923; it came out that Fall had also received $300,000 in government bonds from Mammoth Oil President Henry Sinclair, who in exchange got use of the Teapot Dome Reserve.

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The Supreme Court restored the oil fields to the U.S. government in 1927 and Fall was sentenced to a year imprisonment and a fine equal to the bribe amount from Doheny. Four days after Fall’s conviction, the stock market crashed on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1929.


MARRIAGE OF MINDS — ONE OF THE MOST ENDURING MARRIAGES IN AMERICA WAS THAT OF FOUNDING FATHER JOHN ADAMS AND ABIGAIL SMITH,  whose wedding day was Oct. 25, 1764. The devoted couple, having to deal with extended absences from each other due to John’s participation in the Continental Congress and then later commitments, wrote daily letters to each other. Abigail was the daughter of a minister and had been home-schooled on a range of disciplines from classics to law; and young John Adams liked her intellect and outspoken nature. The two corresponded on a wide range of public issues, and brought to light the debate over women’s rights in the fledgling United States. While John and Abigail were both ardent Federalists and abolitionists, they did occasionally diverge on viewpoints. But John encouraged the debate.  During the first Continental Congress in 1774, Abigail reminded her husband to “remember the ladies.” She declared that “all men would be tyrants if they could. She warned also that “if particular care and attention is not paid to the Ladies, we are determined to foment a rebellion and will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice, or Representation.”

The correspondence and bond between John and Abigail Adams was a significant aspect of the play and then film “1776,” written by Peter Stone and directed by Peter H. Hunt.


CHINA BECOMES PERMANENT U.N. MEMBER — DELEGATES TO THE UNITED NATIONS VOTED ON Oct. 25, 1971 TO EXPEL TAIWAN and seat the People’s Republic of China as a permanent member. The United States had proposed in vain that both the People’s Republic of China (the Communist nation) and Taiwan be admitted. Admitting mainland China proved a boon for United States diplomacy and in particular for President Richard M. Nixon. Politicians and diplomats also viewed China’s strategic assistance as vital in resolving the conflict in Vietnam, as well as the economic and trade opportunities.

Nixon in China,” a three-act opera in three acts by John Adams with a libretto by Alice Goodman, drew its inspiration from U.S. president Richard Nixon’s 1972 visit to the People’s Republic of China. The work premiered at the Houston Grand Opera on Oct. 22, 1987, in a production by Peter Sellars with choreography by Mark Morris, whose dance company is headquartered in Fort Greene.


QUESTIONABLE INVASION — PRESIDENT RONALD REAGAN ON OCT. 25, 1983 ORDERED U.S. TROOPS TO INVADE AND SECURE THE CARIBBEAN ISLAND OF GRENADA, in response to the view that its Marxist regime was a threat to American nationals, many of them attending medical school there. Four years earlier a leftist named Maurice Bishop seized power and developed relations with Cuba. But in 1983, another Marxist, Bernard Coard, had Bishop assassinated and took over the government.  The United States, working on minimal intelligence and obsolete information, faced a joint military resistance from Grenadian armed forces and Cuban military experts who were rebuilding that country’s airport.  But Coard’s government was toppled within the month, and another government more acceptable to the United States replaced it.

Americans did not wholly approve of the invasion of Grenada, particularly of the timing, as Reagan launched it just days after a major explosion at a United States military site in Lebanon, killing 240 U.S. soldiers. However, Reagan considered Grenada to be  ‘a victory” since it pushed back communist influence in the region.


‘WRONG WAY’ ON THE BALLFIELD — MINNESOTA VIKINGS STAR DEFENSIVE END JIM MARSHALL RAN  66 YARDS TOWARD THE GOAL POST —but in the wrong direction, and into his own team’s end zone, on Oct. 25, 1964. Marshall had just recovered a fumble against the San Francisco Forty-Niners, who were playing on their home turf.  Believing that he had scored a touchdown, he threw the ball out of bounds. San Francisco got a safety and Marshall’s gaffe visibly became one of the worst in NFL history.

Notwithstanding this “Corrigan” move on the football field, the Vikings did win that game, 27-22,  and the coach shrugged it off.

See previous milestones, here.

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