July 18 in History—-Great Fire of Rome under Nero, A.D. 64, End of Papal Authority in England under King Henry VIII in 1536, Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf published in 1925 Edward Kennedy Drive’s off Chappaquiddick Bridge in 1969 while Apollo 11 Heading Towards the Moon—thoughts Tom Lehrer’s “The Year that Was” = 1965, also the first year without silver coinage in U.S. History, the year of (truly deadly) Immigration and Nationality Act if 1965, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the time-setting for Wes Anderson’s movie “Moonrise Kingdom”—with memories of an America that is truly Gone with the Wind….and July 18-23 there was massive flooding in Missouri….


I went to see Moonrise Kingdom for the Third Time last night and was reflecting on the significance of the choice of 1965 as the historical setting for a nostalgic movie about an all-white American small town community such as hardly exists anymore.  1965 was the subject of Tom Lehrer’s wonderful album of political and social satire called “The year that was”—“this year being the hundredth anniversary of the end of the Civil War, the 20th anniversary of the end of World War II, it’s been a good year for the War Buffs.”  He also noted that Malcolm X was assassinated that year on February 21, the first day of National Brotherhood Week, Winston Churchill died at the age of 90, and the nation trembled at the threat of Southern Resistance to Federal Power from Sheriff Clark in Georgia and (in a song about Nuclear Proliferation: “we’ll try to stay serene and calm, when ALABAMA gets the BOMB… who’s next? who’s next? who’s next?  WHO’S NEXT?”   The Heroic George Corley Wallace was then in his first term as Governor of that same terrifying Alabama… his first term was completed in 1966 and his wife Lurleen took over—as I’ve noted before, Lurleen in her short political career founded the school of theatre and dramatic arts which Suzanne Collins (author of the Hunger Games) attended.  If Lehrer could have foreseen the future in 1965, he probably also would have mentioned that this was Jim Garrison’s greatest year as District Attorney of Orleans Parish in New Orleans, when he began the investigations which ultimately led to his indictment of Clay Shaw for the Assassination of John F. Kennedy and the greatest of all of Oliver Stone’s movies, JFK.
1965 was indeed a critical year for the death of a much simpler, and a much better, America I knew only in its death agony years of 1966-1980 (I think it’s fair to say that, with the election of Ronald Wilson Reagan, the “Old America” was officially dead—it was Reagan’s job and role in history, in fact, to bury that old America even while he praised it….and appointed on fake conservative after another to stomp on the Old Constitutional Federal Republic’s grave….).
On a personal level, I did not know America at all in 1965 (except through TV and letters from my grandmother—people still wrote actual physical letters back then)—it was the last full year I was resident with my parents as toddler/small child in England.  My direct memories of the year are pretty much nil, the shock of relocating from Sloane Square in London, England to Highland Park in Dallas, Texas, was probably a much more powerful memory eraser than those flashes they use in “Men in Black”, especially at the age of 6….  But in 1965, there was the disastrous Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 which set out to destroy whatever remained of the hopes that Adolf Hitler must have had in 1925 that America would be the future home and center of the “Greater German” race…. That was the year when Pakistanis and Indians were first invited to take over America’s gas stations, late night convenience stores, and motels.
And in fact, oddly enough, one of my earliest memories of an American businessman not related to me was of a certain “Mr. Lewis”—an elegant Southern White man who owned ran the Texaco station within walking distance (albeit “on the other side of the tracks”) from the Highland Park “Katy” Railway station.
Yes, there really was such a place, and yes, I really did learn how to walk or bike from my grandparents’ house to which I relocated in the summer of 1966 to Mr. Lewis’ filling station to buy “a penny’s worth of peanuts”—which was actually an extremely large cloth bag, probably about 2 lbs if memory serves.  Yes, that was a very different world.  Mr. Lewis was white (he lived just a few doors down from his Texaco Station, which he had operated probably for 30 years by the time I met him and continued to operate until he died around 1980 or so) and all of his employees were white, and nobody ever thought anything of it then, and probably nobody else now remembers him or his employees except me, but I’m writing it all down as a historical fact because it was.
The first important historical fact I ever learned about 1965, I learned by the time I was nine because I had by then become an avid coin collector: 1965 was that the year that the U.S. stopped minting silver coins.  That in itself (the abolition of silver coinage) was a great tragedy, but I didn’t learn until much later that the U.S. actually went off the Silver Standard, and thus (apparently) forever abandoned Constitutional Currency.  Coppernickel dimes, quarters, and fifty cent pieces just never looked quite right side-by-side with their silver predecessors.
By about 1974-75, finishing High School at 14, taking a year off to go with my grandfather while he supervised cleaning and lubrication processes in cold climates during the construction of the first Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline from Anchorage to Point Barrow, and then starting my undergraduate college years at Tulane University (in August 1975, when I was 15, with a fake ID so I could drink), I had learned that August of 1965 was the year of the great “Voting Rights Act” which Texas to this very day (July 2012) is contesting in Federal Court, even though it was passed under the signature of the first Texas President, who was (in retrospect) the most disloyal to his state that any President could possibly be.
  • July 18, Anno Domini 64 Great fire of Rome: A fire begins to burn in the merchant area of Rome and soon burns completely out of control while Emperor Nero reportedly plays his lyre and sings while watching the blaze from a safe distance. 
  • July 18, Anno Domini 390 “BC – Roman-Gaulish Wars: Battle of the Allia – A Roman army is defeated by raiding Gauls, leading to the subsequent sacking of Rome.” 
  • July 18, 1100 Jerusalem’s Godfrey of Bouillon dies at age 39 after successful forays against the Seljuk Turks that have taken him as far as Damascus
  • July 18, 1195 “Battle of Alarcos, great victory of Almohad ruler Abu Yusuf Ya’qub al-Mansur over the Castilian King Alfonso VIII.” 
  • July 18, 1536 Henry VIII declares himself the Head of the Church of England, having been “Fidei Defensor” for about 15 years already. 
  • July 18, 1536 The authority of the Pope is declared void in England. 
  • July 18, 1656 Polish-Lithuanian forces clashes with Sweden and its Brandenburg allies in the start of what is to be known as The Battle of Warsaw which ends in a decisive Swedish victory.  
  • July 18, 1753 “Lemuel Haynes, escapes from slaveholder in Framingham Mass” 
  • July 18, 1779 Commodore Abraham Whipple’s squadron captures 11 prizes in largest prize value of Revolutionary War. 
  • July 18, 1792 “John Paul Jones dies in Paris, France” 
  • July 18, 1813 “U.S. Frigate President captures British Daphne, Eliza Swan, Alert and Lion” during the War of 1812. 
  • July 18, 1814 British capture Prairie du Chien (Wisc) during the War of 1812….the British Couldn’t Figure out what to do with a town called “Prairie of the Dog” and this made them more willing to negotiate peace by November—which they did, only to lose the first land Battle of the War which they actually lost, namely the Battle of New Orleans, on January 8, 1815. 
  • July 18, 1830 Uruguay adopts its first constitution.  No one anywhere else really noticed or cared, but there were very few Nazi German escapees in South America at this point, so it wasn’t all that critical anyhow… 
  • July 18, 1853 “The first train to cross the US-Canada boundary, Portland, Maine – Montréal, Quebec”  
  • July 18, 1857 “Louis Faidherbe, French governor of Senegal, arrives to relieve French forces at Kayes, effectively ending El Hajj Umar Tall’s war on the French.”   These were indeed the early days of the French Foreign Legion.  The French Foreign Legion still exists and the French are still fighting the Muslims who came in from North Africa and decided France was a better place to live…. Vive Marine Le Pen…. 
  • July 18, 1861 American Civil War: Skirmish at Blackburn’s Ford prior to First Battle of Bull Run (1st Battle of Manassas).  Robert E. Lee should have marched on Washington at this point, but he made his first critical mistake by failing to do so—he was too much of a gentleman, as it turned out, ever to really win a war…. 
  • July 18, 1872 Britain introduces secret ballot voting. 
  • July 18, 1872 The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland introduces voting by secret ballot. 
  • July 18, 1873 Oscar II of Sweden-Norway is crowned king of Norway in Trondheim. 
  • July 18, 1914 “The U.S. Congress forms the Aviation Section, U.S. Signal Corps, this gives definite status to aircraft within the U.S. Army for the first time.” 
  • July 18, 1914 “US army air service first comes into being, in the Signal Corps” 
  • July 18, 1918 US & French forces launch Aisne-Marne offensive in WW I 
  • July 18, 1920 Naval aircraft sink ex-German cruiser Frankfurt in target practice. 
  • July 18, 1925 Adolf Hitler publishes his personal manifesto Mein Kampf. 
  • July 18, 1925 First edition of Mein Kampf is published.  
  • July 18, 1931 The first air-conditioned ship (Mariposa) launched 
  • July 18, 1932 US & Canada signed a treaty to develop St Lawrence Seaway 
  • July 18, 1936 “Spanish Civil War: Francisco Franco’s rebellion reaches peninsular Spain and the Fallangists (Fascists) conquer Galicia, west Castile, west Andalucia and Aragon.”  Essentially, Franco’s victory by this time was assured. 
  • July 18, 1938 “Douglas “”Wrong Way”” Corrigan arrives in Ireland-left New York for California” —you’d think he would have noticed that the Midwest had an awful lot of water in it—before he landed in Ireland, anyhow…. 
  • July 18, 1940 “Democratic National Convention, Chicago: President Franklin D. Roosevelt is nominated for an unprecedented third term in office.”  This event, of course, was a necessary precursor to the abolition of the Silver Standard and Silver Coinage in 1965, and was not UNrelated to the Immigration & Nationality Act of 1965, in that World War II was a necessary pre-requisite to the abolition of an identity-conscious/identity proud America.
  •  
    July 18, 1940 “The first successful helicopter flight, Stratford, Ct”
  • July 18, 1942 “Messerschmitt Me 262 Schwalbe, first jet fighter, takes first flight”  
  • July 18, 1942 The first legal NJ horse race in 50 years; Garden State Park track opens 
  • July 18, 1943 “German submarine shoots down K-47, the first and only U.S. airship lost during WW II.” 
  • July 18, 1944 World War II: Hideki Tojo resigns as Prime Minister of Japan due to numerous setbacks in the war effort. 
  • July 18, 1947 US receives UN trusteeship over Pacific Islands 
  • July 18, 1951 Jersey Joe Walcott KOs Ezzard Charles in 5 for heavyweight belt 
  • July 18, 1951 Uruguay accepts its constitution 
  • July 18, 1953 Rock star Elvis Presley made his first recording in Sun Studios.
  • July 18, 1955 The first electric power generated from atomic energy sold commercially  
  • July 18, 1959 The first black to win a major golf tournament (William Wright) 
  • July 18, 1963 Number one hit on UK music charts – Frank Ifield – Confessin’ 
  • July 18, 1964 Race riot in Harlem (NYC); riots spread to Bedford-Stuyvesant (Bkln) 
  • July 18, 1965 “Zond 3 launched to fly by Moon, enters solar orbit” 
  • July 18, 1966 “Bobby Fuller rocker (I Fought the Law), found dead” 
  • July 18, 1966 “Launch of Gemini 10 with LCDR John W. Young, USN as Command Pilot. Mission involved 43 orbits at an altitude of 412.2 nautical miles and lasted 2 days, 22 hours, and 46 minutes. Recovery was by HS-3 helicopter from USS Guadalcanal (LPH-7).” 
  • July 18, 1967 Silver hits record $1.87 an ounce in NY 
  • July 18, 1968 Intel incorporates 
  • July 18, 1968 “Vietnam War: The two-day Honolulu Conference begins in Honolulu, Hawaii between US President Lyndon B. Johnson and South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu.” 
  • July 18, 1969 “After a party on Chappaquiddick Island, Senator Ted Kennedy from Massachusetts drives an Oldsmobile off a wooden bridge into a tide-swept pond and his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne, dies.”  
  • July 18, 1969 “Barbara Pepper actress (Doris Ziffel-Green Acres), dies at 57” 
  • July 18, 1969 “Joe Namath agrees to sell interest in Bachelors 3, to stay in NFL” 
  • July 18, 1969 Mary Jo Kopechne & Sen Kennedy plunge off Chappaquiddick bridge  
  • July 18, 1970 Arthur Brown arrested for stripping on stage in Palemo Sicily 
  • July 18, 1970 Ron Hunt gets hit by a pitch for a record 119th time 
  • July 18, 1970 “Willie Mays hits # 3,000” 
  • July 18, 1972 “200,000 attend Mt Pocono rock festival in Penns” 
  • July 18, 1973 “British actor Jack Hawkins actor, dies at 62” 
  • July 18, 1974 “World’s tallest structure, 646-m Polish radio mast, completed” 
  • July 18, 1976 “Gymnast Nadia Comaneci, age 14, scores first ever perfect 10 at the Olympics.” 
  • July 18, 1976 “Thiokol conducts 2-min firing of space shuttle’s SRB at Brigham, Ut” 
  • July 18, 1977 Vietnam joins the United Nations. 
  • July 18, 1978 Egyptian & Israeli officials begin 2 days of talks 
  • July 18, 1979 Gold hits record $303.85 an ounce in London 
  • July 18, 1980 Billy Joel’s Glass Houses album tops charts 
  • July 18, 1980 “Rohini 1, first Indian satellite, launches into orbit” 
  • July 18, 1982 “268 campesinos (“”peasants”” or “”country people””) are slain in the Plan de Snchez massacre in Ros Montt’s Guatemala.” 
  • July 18, 1984 James Huberty kills 21 McDonalds patrons in San Ysidro Calif 
  • July 18, 1984 James Oliver Huberty shot by police after killing 21 in McDonalds 
  • July 18, 1984 “McDonald’s massacre in San Ysidro, California: In a fast-food restaurant, James Oliver Huberty opens fire, killing 21 people and injuring 19 others before being shot dead by police.” 
  • July 18, 1984 Walter F Mondale wins Democratic presidential nomination in SF 
  • July 18, 1986 A tornado is broadcast live on KARE television in Minnesota when the station’s helicopter pilot makes a chance encounter.

  • July 18, 1986 Videotapes released showing Titanic’s sunken remains 

  • July 18, 1987 Molly Yard elected new pres of Natl Org for Women 
  • July 18, 1987 Yanks Don Mattingly ties major league record of HRs in 8 cons games 
  • July 18, 1989 “Actress Rebecca Schaeffer is shot by a crazed fan, prompting California to pass America’s first anti-stalking law in 1990.” 
  • July 18, 1992 The ten victims of the La Cantuta massacre disappeared from their university in Lima. 
  • July 18, 1995 “On the Caribbean island of Montserrat, the Soufriere Hills volcano erupts. Over the course of several years, it devastates the island, destroying the capital and forcing most of the population to flee.”  
  • July 18, 1996 “In an event very similar to the Oklahoma tornado that would occur three years later, an F5 tornado hit the town of Oakfield, Wisconsin.” 
  • July 18, 1996 “Storms provoke severe flooding on the Saguenay River, beginning one of Qubec’s costliest natural disasters ever.” 
  • July 18, 1997 8000 low-caste Indians riot in Mumbai (Bombay) following a funeral for 10 children who had been killed by police. 
  • July 18, 1998 “A 23-foot tidal wave kills nearly 3,000 people in Papua New Guinea.”
  • July 18, 2001 “In Baltimore, Maryland, a 60-car train derails in a tunnel, sparking a fire that lasted for days and virtually brought downtown Baltimore to a standstill.” 

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