It was 147 years ago to this day when our 16th president delivered one of the most influential and memorable speeches in our nation’s history. In less than two minutes and with just 10 sentences, President Abraham Lincoln defined America’s ideals and the significance of the Civil War that had been tearing the nation apart for nearly two years.
At the dedication of Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Penn., Lincoln reminded his audience that this nation had been founded on the proposition that “all men were created equal.” It was a speech he said “the world will little note nor long remember” but, of course, he was wrong. Whether or not people remember, the entirety of the speech, the beginning phrase, “Four score and seven years ago,” has now become iconic.
Fast-fowarding the clock just 65 years, we now bring you to Nuremburg, Germany on November 20, 1945. Just months after the Second World War had come to an end, 24 high-ranking officials went on trial for the atrocities they had committed during their time in Nazi Germany. The Trial of Major War Criminals was the first trial of its kind in history. The defendants faced charges ranging from crimes against peace, to crimes of war, to crimes against humanity. The proceedings lasted for 10 months and consisted of 216 separate hearings.
It was the perfect day for a parade in Dallas, Texas, 47 years ago on November 22. The eyes of the nation were on one of the biggest cities in the Lone Star State while President John F. Kennedy, accompanied by his wife, rode through the city in a presidential motorcade. It was 12:30 p.m. as Kennedy’s open-top convertible drove past the Texas School Book Depository building where Lee Harvey Oswald was hiding out on the sixth floor. Oswald allegedly fired three gun shots, one of which fatally injured President Kennedy. After being rushed to the Dallas’ Parkland Hospital, Kennedy was pronounced dead 30 minutes later.
Many would say this event is the 9/11 of our parents’ generation. Those who witnessed it, whether live or via television, most likely will forever remember where they were, for it tore our country apart just momentarily to bring it closer together in time.
One of the most influential photographic magazines in America’s history published its first issue on November 23, 1936. LIFE Magazine boasts print photos by the world’s top photographers – photos of heroes, stars, celebrations and heartbreaks.
Upon nearing the ends of the Great Depression, American publisher Henry Luce launched LIFE magazine as a counter to his supremely successful Time magazine. While Luce’s Time had the mission of publishing the news through word, his new idea for LIFE magazine was to publish the news through pictures.
Although it’s had many ups and downs in the past 74 years, at its peak LIFE had a circulation of over eight million and is now being used as a photographic supplement to U.S. newspapers.
With the big turkey day right around the corner, it’s time to think back to when the feast officially became a holiday. President Lincoln had declared the last Thursday of November to be a national day of thanksgiving.
Of course, the idea orignated from the three-day festival held in 1621 when Plymouth governor William Bradford invited the local Native Americans to join the English settlers for a celebration of the bountiful season.
When President Franklin Roosevelt came into office, however, he announced that Thanksgiving would now be held on the third Thursday of November. With the refusal of so many Americans to honor his unpopular proclamation, it was November 26, 1941, when FDR admitted his mistake and signed a bill to officially establish the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving.
As President Lincoln said in his Gettysburg Address, may we never forget what they did.