My dad is kind of like a “this day in history” machine. Just give him a particular day, and, after some digging through his resources and knowledge base, out comes a notable event from that day. These moments range from those that are obscure or personally significant to those that were milestones in history. I’ll pick a random day: a few Thursdays ago, the household dog turned thirteen. In the spirit of my dad’s drive to keep us well informed with what sometimes looks like a grab bag of randomly chosen facts (I mean this in the most playfully loving way possible), I’ll try my hand at identifying a similar scattershot of events (not including that it was Vinny the Shih Tzu’s day of birth) from November 29th.
The Events (in chronological order) [warning: the first one is bad]
- 1864: Under the command of Army Colonel John Chivington, a force of 675 Colorado Volunteers massacred a group of Southern Cheyenne and Arapahoe Native Americans in present-day eastern Colorado. In what became known as the Sand Creek Massacre, this brutal attack was part of a years-long conflict over control of the Colorado Territory. “The casualties reflect the one-sided nature of the flight,” the writers at history.com point out. While nine of Chivington’s men were killed, this figure pales in comparison to the 148 Native Americans who were slaughtered (over half of these victims were women and children). At one point, the soldiers returned to burn the village, mutilate the bodies, and murder some of the remaining wounded. “The atrocities committed by the soldiers were initially praised but then condemned as the circumstances of the massacre emerged,” the history.com folks explain. I admit, stating cold statistics and gut-wrenching details doesn’t do proper justice to this event. There’s no funny remark or quirky comment for me to end with. This massacre was simply a shameful, atrocious act.
- 1922: A typed note was dispatched between a pair of French military officials stationed in the French colony of Indochina. Specifically, air force commandant François Glaize requested that an aircraft mission be deployed to the northern portion of the colony in December. I’m sure you knew about this already and agree that it’s pretty exciting stuff.
- 1929: With three companions, American explorer Richard Byrd accomplished the first successful flight over the South Pole. The group completed the trip in 18 hours and 41 minutes (the same amount of time it would take me to assemble anything from IKEA), traveling from their basecamp on the Ross Ice Shelf to the Pole and back (history.com). Though the local penguin population didn’t seem to care about the flight, several elephant seals were quite enthusiastic about the accomplishment.
- 1947: U.N. votes for partition of Palestine: “Despite strong Arab opposition, U.N. votes for partition of Palestine and creation of an independent Jewish state” (history.com). In the decades since Israel was established, I think it’s safe to say that the decision’s opponents–and it’s equally passionate supporters–have not always gotten along.
- 1963: President Lyndon Johnson establishes the Warren Commission. Directed by Chief Justice Earl Warren, this committee was charged with investigating John F. Kennedy’s assassination. One week prior, the President had been fatally shot as his motorcade rolled through the streets of Dallas. After 10 months of collecting evidence and questioning witnesses, the Warren Commission released its report. This lengthy document concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone; thus there was no conspiracy to assassinate JFK. (history.com). And that was that, right? Well, not exactly. The majority of people in the U.S. (and a not insignificant portion of the world) probably are aware of the following, but I’ll say it nonetheless: I get the feeling that not everyone bought what the Warren Commission was selling (yes, this assessment is worthy of a “dynamite drop-in, Monty!”).
Side note: during his tenure in office (and probably throughout his life), LBJ was known for his intimidating presence. I’d cite “The Johnson Treatment” as a good example. Author Mark K. Updegrove describes what this looked like: “using every inch of his long six-foot-three-inch frame to overcome his subject, Johnson plied his unique brand of persuasion with all the subtlety of a Mae West come-on” (Indomitable Will: LBJ in the Presidency; Wikipedia tells us that West—actress, singer, writer, sex symbol—was known for her “lighthearted bawdy double entendre and breezy sexual independence”). Below, Abe Fortas is getting The Treatment in late July 1965, just prior to his appointment to the U.S. Supreme Court.
- 2018: Pittsburgh’s St. Bede Parish launches their annual Christmas Tree sale.
According to the appropriately named famousbirthdays.com, some noteworthy November 29th birthdays are:
- Howie Mandel (game show host and soul-patch sporter)
- Russell Wilson (NFL quarterback)
- Vin Scully (voice of the Brooklyn-to-Los Angeles Dodgers for a whopping 67 years!)
- C.S. Lewis (children’s writer)
- Anna Faris (actress)
- Janet Napolitano (wearer of many professional hats, including politician and university administrator)
- Several social media “stars” that I care not to name.
- Up until recently, I thought Winston Churchill was born on November 29th. Alas, he was born on November 30th (I know, I know, “cool story, bro!”)