Newsletter 7-18-22


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detroit 1967
We celebrated our Independence Day on the 4th. Most of us don’t know that Bastille Day is 14th. While the French monarchy helped us against the British (who was also their enemy in Europe) in our war for independence. Our successful fight led the French people to decide to overthrow their dictatorial monarch—and they started by storming the Bastille on 14 July 1789.   
We should all be proud Americans; despite our many current challenges, we live in the best and freest nation in the world. Let’s end all the name calling and appreciate each other, even if we don’t all agree on everything. We can disagree with others and still be their friends.
Comment by the Colonel:
In July, 1967, I was stationed at Fort Campbell, KY, as a rifle company commander in the 101st Airborne Division. And that month I made my first ever visit to the state in which I now live, Michigan. My unit was deployed to the Detroit riots. It was a very awkward situation. Most normal citizens of both races were glad to see us. Our primary job was to patrol the areas near the riots where there was not yet any violence; it worked. While some of my men who were riding as shotgun for fire trucks were shot at occasionally, I never saw an angry person. I think we were well used.
Here are some of the significant things that happened in the last half of July: Lots of war. The Civil War’s erupted and the Korean War’s fighting ended. An American army with militia units attached crossed state and national borders—the first time that happened. And, most important of all, President Harry Truman desegrated our military; this began the process of desegregation in our nation. 
17 July 1776, the Continental Congress learned of General George Washington‘s refusal to accept a dispatch from British General William Howe and his brother, Admiral Richard Viscount Howe, opening peace negotiations, because it failed to use the title “general.” In response, Congress proclaimed that the commander in chief acted “with a dignity becoming his station,” and directed all American commanders to receive only letters addressed to them “in the characters they respectively sustain.” 
On 21 July 1861, the Civil War erupted on a large scale in the east when Confederate forces under PT Beauregard turned back Union General Irvin McDowell’s troops along the Bull Run stream in Virginia. The inexperienced soldiers on both sides slugged it out in a chaotic battle that resulted in a humiliating retreat by the Yankees and signaled, for many, the true start of the war. 
At the insistence of President Abraham Lincoln, McDowell set out to make a quick offensive against Manassas Junction, a key rail center 30 miles from Washington, DC. On July 18, the Yankee advance was halted in a small skirmish at Blackburn’s Ford on Bull Run. McDowell paused for three days as he prepared to move around the Rebels. This was a crucial delay, because it allowed forces under Joseph Johnston, guarding the Shenandoah Valley to the west, to join Beauregard. A brigade commanded by Thomas Jackson was among the reinforcements. 
When McDowell attacked on July 21, the Federal troops seemed poised to scatter the Confederates in front of them. While part of the Union force held the attention of the center of the Confederate line, the main attack came around the Rebel left flank. By noon, the Yankees had broken the line and sent the Confederates in retreat. Then McDowell moved in for the kill by attempting to capture Henry Hill, the key to the battle. But he did not apply the full pressure of his army, and that respite allowed Beauregard to strengthen his force on the hill. Jackson’s brigade moved artillery into place, and McDowell now faced a much stronger Confederate position. 
During the battle, General Barnard Bee led his Confederates to reinforce Jackson on Henry Hill. He was reported to have characterized Jackson as “standing like a stone wall.” Bee died minutes later, but the nickname “Stonewall” stuck. Jackson’s men held their ground. Later in the afternoon, the Rebels launched a counterattack that broke McDowell’s force and triggered a panicked and confused retreat. The inexperienced Federals found their escape route clogged by the buggies of spectators who came from Washington to watch the action. The green Union troops may have had a difficult time of it, but the equally green Confederates did not pursue. 
Casualties at Bull Run shocked the nation. The Union count came to 2,800, including 460 killed, and the Confederates had 1,900, with nearly 400 dead. Although future battles would make these numbers appear small, they were a wake-up call to a public, in both the North and the South, unprepared for such a bloody conflict. 
On 23 July1967, one of the worst riots in US history broke out on 12th Street in the heart of Detroit’s predominantly African American inner city. By the time it was quelled four days later by 7,000 National Guard and US Army troops, 43 people were dead, 342 injured, and nearly 1,400 buildings had been burned. By the summer of 1967, the predominantly African American neighborhood of Virginia Park was ready to explode. Some 60,000 poor people were crammed into the neighborhood’s 460 acres, living in squalor in divided and sub-divided apartments. The Detroit Police Department, which had only about 50 African Americans at the time, was viewed as a white occupying army. The only other whites seen in the neighborhood commuted from the suburbs to run their stores on 12th Street. At night, 12th Street was a center of Detroit inner-city nightlife, both legal and illegal. At the corner of 12th and Clairmount, William Scott operated an illegal after-hours club on weekends out of the office of the United Community League for Civic Action, a civil rights group. The police vice squad often raided establishments like this on 12th Street, and at 3:35 am on Sunday morning, July 23, they moved against Scott’s club. That night, the establishment was hosting a party for several veterans, including two servicemen recently returned from Vietnam, and the bar’s patrons were reluctant to leave. Out in the street, a crowd began to gather as police waited for paddy wagons to take the 85 patrons away. The police fled as a riot erupted. Detroit Mayor Jerome Cavanaugh asked Michigan Governor George Romney to send in the state police, but these 300 more officers were not enough. The National Guard was called in but didn’t arrive until evening. Five people were dead. On Monday, 16 people were killed, most by police or guardsmen. Snipers fired at firemen, and fire hoses were cut. Governor Romney asked President Lyndon Johnson to send in US troops. Nearly 2,000 army paratroopers arrived on Tuesday and began patrolling the streets, some in tanks and armored carriers. On Thursday, July 27, order was finally restored. Over 7,000 people were arrested. The so-called 12th Street Riot was the worst US riot in 100 years, occurring during a period of numerous riots in America.  
On 25 Jul 1814, an American army under the command of Major General Jacob Brown, having won a victory at Chippewa on July 5th, was now compelled by an advancing British army, to retreat toward Fort Erie, on the Canadian side of the Niagara River. Brown decided to offer battle at Lundy’s Lane due to good places to position his brigades and artillery. After several hours of fighting, the costliest of any in the War of 1812 (excluding the Battle of New Orleans), our forces withdrew to Fort Erie and later back into New York. While most of the American units were Regular Army regiments, this army did contain a brigade consisting of the 5th Pennsylvania Regiment and a mixed force of New York militia along with some New York volunteer dragoons (totaling about 600 men). British losses totaled 49 officers and 827 enlisted men; American losses were 70 officers and 789 enlisted men. Though the militia did not play an important role during the battle, being part of the reserve, its mere presence was significant. During this war, it was very uncommon to find militia units crossing from the US into enemy territory. Under existing laws, they could not be compelled to do so. In fact, there were instances where the militia of one state refused to cross a state line to serve in defending their neighbors. These actions would be found to various degrees until passage of the 1903 Militia Act bring the militia (now National Guard) under federal control in time of war. 
On 25 Jul 1866, the rank of Admiral was created. David Farragut was appointed the first Admiral in the US Navy. And Ulysses Grant was named General of the Army, the first officer to hold the rank. 
On 26 Jul 1945, the heavy cruiser USS Indianapolis delivered the consignment of Uranium-235, needed to assemble the first operational atomic bomb, to the American base on Tinian. Three days later, on 29 Jul, Japanese warships sank the Indianapolis, killing 883 seamen in the worst loss in the history of the US navy. The end was near for Imperial Japan, but it was determined to go down fighting. Just before midnight of the 29th, the Indianapolis was on its way, unescorted, to Guam. It never made it. It was torpedoed by a Japanese submarine. There were 1,196 crewmen onboard the Indianapolis; over 350 died upon impact of the torpedo or went down with the ship. Over 800 fell into the Pacific. Of those, approximately 50 died that first night in the water from injuries suffered in the torpedo explosion; the remaining seamen were left to flounder in the Pacific, fend off sharks, drink sea water (which drove some insane), and wait to be rescued. Because there was no time for a distress signal before the Indianapolis went down, it was 84 hours before help arrived. Only 318 survived; the rest were eaten by sharks or drowned. The Indianapolis’s commander, Captain Charles McVay, was the only officer ever to be court-martialed for the loss of a ship during wartime in the history of the US Navy.  
On 26 Jul 1948, President Harry Truman in Executive Order No. 9981 called for “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” Our military was now desegregated; this led the way for the rest of the nation. 
On 27 Jul 1909, Orville Wright tested the US Army’s first airplane, flying himself and a passenger for 1 hour, 12 minutes and 40 seconds over Fort Myer, Virginia. 
On 27 July 1953, after three years of a bloody and frustrating war, the US, the People’s Republic of China, North Korea, and South Korea agree to an armistice, bringing the Korean War‘s fighting to an end. The armistice ended America’s first experiment with the Cold War concept of “limited war.” 
The war cost the lives of millions of Koreans and Chinese, as well as over 50,000 Americans. It had been a frustrating war for Americans, who were used to forcing the unconditional surrender of their enemies. Many also could not understand why the US had not expanded the war into China or used its nuclear arsenal. As government officials were well aware, such actions would likely have prompted World War III. 
Finally, an armistice ends the fighting; a peace treaty ends the war; there has been no peace treaty, so, officially, the war still exists. 
On 28 Jul 1931, Congress made “The Star-Spangled Banner” our 2nd national anthem. 
On 31 July 1777, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army. 
1. Love is grand; divorce is a hundred grand. 
2. I am in shape. Round is a shape. 
3. Time may be a great healer, but it’s a lousy beautician. 
4. Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic. 
5. Conscience is what hurts when everything else feels so good. 
6. Talk is cheap because supply exceeds demand. 
7. Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. 
8. Politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly and for the same reason. 
9. An optimist thinks that this is the best possible world. A pessimist fears that this is true. 
10. There will always be death and taxes; however, death doesn’t get worse every year. 
The Frontlines of Freedom Newsletter is published twice monthly; the dates of publication each month depend on the events and history of that month.
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