History matters: Guests, visitors and callers

January 17, 2013

100 Years Ago

Guests, visitors and callers

From the Times social column: "Rev. Watson E. Holly was a dinner guest at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William M. Harman, Sr. of Howard county.

"Mr. and Mrs. J. Frank Harman have been entertaining Miss Hopkins, of Washington, and Mr. Frank Taylor, of Hanover.

"Miss Bessie Ruppert has returned from a visit to relatives in Washington.

"Mrs. R.A. Hammond spent Monday in Baltimore.

"Miss Eleanor Maynard and Mr. Harold H. Newman, of Baltimore, were callers at 'Rupee' Sunday.

"Mr. Charles E. Phelps, accompanied by Mrs. William Hoppin, wife of the late Major Hoppin, of Washington, attended President Taft's reception at the White House in Honor of the judiciary, last Tuesday evening."

President Taft's last year in office was 1913. He would go on to become Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. He was against the 18th amendment, (prohibition), but for the idea of a League of Nations type of organization to promote world peace.

He was our most obese president. He consumed lots of fatty, comfort foods while in the White House, but lost 80 lbs when he left office. No pressure there.

75 Years Ago

The Maine subject

From a Times editorial: "If War Comes:

"Everyone able to think back 40 years ago will recall a battle-cry that sprung up as a result of a tragedy whose anniversary is now near at hand. We refer to the battle cry, 'Remember the Maine!' with which the nation went to war.

"These older residents have doubtless by this time made a few comparisons of that historic occasion with events recently recorded in Chinese waters in which this country was, as it was in Havana harbor 40 years ago, an innocent victim. It recalls that only a spark was needed to touch off the guns of war almost a half-century ago, and the battleship Maine furnished that spark. Knowing the horror of war through experience, and not hearsay, these older citizens cannot help but wonder if history is about to repeat itself, with the Orient instead of Cuba the scene of a flash which will set the whole world on fire."

The USS Maine was blown up in Havana Harbor on Feb. 15, 1898, killing 266 men. The mast was salvaged and you can see it at Arlington National Cemetery.

50 Years Ago

Okinawa duties

From the Times social column: "Colonel Lloyd MacMurray of Wilton Avenue will leave for Oakland, California, from which he will fly to Okinawa for an eighteen month tour of duty. Since dependents may not accompany servicemen to Okinawa, Mrs. MacMurray and son Mike will remain at their home in Wilton Acres."

Since World War II, the United States has maintained military bases on Okinawa, Japan. During the war, Okinawa was the site of the bloodiest battle in the Pacific theater, with thousands of military deaths and almost 150,000 civilian deaths. One famous American civilian who died during that battle was war correspondent Ernie Pyle.

Pyle, with his trusty typewriter, worked in the European theater for most of the war sending stories home about regular soldiers to be read by millions of Americans. But he was only in the Pacific theater for a short time when he was killed by enemy fire.

My dad was also in the South Pacific in WWII, spending part of his youth in miserable conditions, fighting and dodging bullets. When his luck ran out, he received a Purple Heart and he told me that the award was also given to Ernie Pyle, posthumously. This was true, but after 1997 the Military Order of the Purple Heart became exclusively for wounded military personnel.

Pyle especially admired the infantry soldier and pushed for combat pay for infantrymen. The Ernie Pyle Bill was passed by Congress in 1944, which granted the extra war zone pay.

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