National Vietnam Veterans Day
1683 — Eye for an eye, ash for an ash? In Japan, 16-year-old Yaoya Oshichi, accused of arson, was burned at the stake. Takes “Don’t play with matches” to a whole new level.
1788 — Charles Wesley, a prolific hymn composer and brother of Methodism founder John Wesley, died in England at age 80.
1795 — The 24-year-old Ludwig Van Beethoven made his first featured appearance as a pianist in Vienna. 32 years later, to the day, he would be laid to rest in Vienna. In between, some would say he did OK for himself.
1848 — No pal of PETA. John Jacob Astor, the first American one percenter, died at 84 in New York City. His massive fortune was built in part from fur trading. His grandson, J.J. Astor IV, would be the richest victim of the 1912 sinking of RMS Titanic.
1848 — An early indicator of future global warming shocked residents of the USA and Canada on this date. The flow of Niagara Falls was stopped entirely for more than a day due to ice jams upstream along the Niagara River. When word reached Washington that Canadians were walking across the falls to New York, President James K. Polk convened an emergency session of Congress and announced plans for a big, beautiful wall on our northern border … to be paid for by the Canadians.
1867 — Baseball’s all-time win leader (511), Denton True “Cy” Young, was born on this date. Only the great Walter Johnson, with 417 wins, trails Young by fewer than 100 career wins. After 20 years in “The Show,” Young retired to a long life on the farm in Ohio. He passed away in 1955.
1917 — Man o’ War was foaled on this date near Lexington, Kentucky. Arguably the best thoroughbred runner ever, the big colt won all but one of 21 starts in a relatively short career. He was retired to stud when his owner balked at extreme weight handicaps Man o’ War was expected to carry. Man o’ War’s bloodlines are still prominent more than 100 years after his birth. He died at age 30, and as an indicator of the horse’s renown, his burial was telecast nationally.
1918 — Man o’ Retail — empire builder Sam Walton — was born in Oklahoma. His Walmart chain is to retail what Amazon is to online shopping. America has a love-hate relationship with Walton’s sprawling business, but it continues to thrive long after his 1992 death from bone cancer.
1923 — Grand Prix motorcycle racing star Geoff Duke, who dominated the world championship scene in the early 1950s, was born this date in England.
1942 — Scott “I can’t believe they killed Hershel” Wilson was born in Georgia. His character Hershel Greene in The Walking Dead was one of the most popular in the show’s long run … but in true TWD fashion, the producers killed him off anyway. Wilson passed away in 2018.
1951 — Americans Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were convicted of espionage for Stalin’s USSR and faced the death penalty. Four-year-old Donald Trump was widely thought to be involved and was formally accused by 11-year-old Nancy Pelosi. Trump went free after declaring in court, “Your honor, I can’t even spell collusion.” Julius and Ethel weren’t as lucky: They died in Sing Sing prison’s electric chair two years later.
1955 — Heisman Trophy winner and NFL star Earl Campbell was born this date in New Orleans. The running back starred for the Texas Longhorns and Houston Oilers and is a member of the college and professional Halls of Fame. Football-related disabilities have hounded Campbell since his late 40s, and he overcame addiction to opioid painkillers.
1962 — Jack Parr signed off after six years as host of the Tonight Show, turning his mike over to young stand-up comedian Johnny Carson. Carson wouldn’t surrender that mike (to Jay Leno) until 1992.
1973 —The last American troops left Vietnam, ending U.S. involvement in an unpopular war and allowing Ho Chi Minh’s communist regime to consolidate rule of the entire Vietnamese peninsula. Many years would pass before hundreds of thousands of Americans were given credit for their brave service in Vietnam. March 29 is recognized as National Vietnam War Veterans Day.
1976 — Three-time Triple Crown winner and Olympic gold medalist Jennifer Capriati was born in New York City. She turned pro at age 13, and at 14 became the youngest player ever ranked in the world’s Top 10. Injuries shortened her career, but she stands as one of America’s best ever.
1988 — Ted “Big Klu” Kluszewski, popular Cincinnati Reds first baseman, died at 63. He was a four-time All Star with a career that spanned the years 1947 -1961 and took him to four teams.
2014 — Same-sex marriage is permitted for the first time in England.
2016 — Patty Duke had an Academy Award on her mantel before earning her first drivers license, and a distinguished career followed her remarkable performance as a young Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker. She played Keller first on the stage and then in the 1962 film. Like Keller, Ms. Duke overcame challenging disabilities. She suffered from bipolar disorder and dedicated much of her time as an advocate for the mentally ill.
2017 — Great Britain formally signaled the European Union that it will proceed with “Brexit” and withdraw from the EU. Two years later, Brussels and London seem to have discovered that the devil is in the details. In for a penny, in for a Euro, in for a pound …