History Lessons

Between my junior and senior years in high school, I dropped by Alvin Yetter’s house. I was met at the door by his grandfather who ushered me in and tried to engage me in small talk. His first statement – I don’t think it was more than a rhetorical question – was, “Wasn’t it terrible what Truman did to MacArthur?”

I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. American History, as taught at Langley High School in Pittsburgh in 1961 stopped far short of WW II.

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you’re probably wondering where I’m going with this. Well, it’s very simple. When I began writing today’s post (which was actually done yesterday), I looked up January 9th instead of the 10th. What I discovered was a headline: “US soldiers led by General Douglas MacArthur invade the Philippines.” That event occurred on January 9, 1945. Since it was during my first year as a human being, I thought it would be an interesting topic to explore… especially in light of Alvin’s grandfather’s comments.

However, since today is January 10th – even though I’m writing this yesterday – I should look and see what historical events happened today.

Once again, I only focused on 1945 – my first year of existence. There were two events that were newsworthy – although one of them got two entries at the website I examined – http://www.brainyhistory.com/days/january_10.html

One indicated that the LA Railway (with 5 streetcar lines) was forced to close. I’m assuming that was Los Angeles rather than Louisiana. I remember reading somewhere that General Motors had something sinister to do with the elimination of streetcars in Southern California so they could sell more buses.

The other two – it figures – had to do with sports. It seems the august body that determined who could enter baseball’s Hall of Fame decided that no one was fit to have his sweaty smelly old uniforms displayed in Cooperstown.

Since 1961 I’ve learned quite a bit more about President Truman and General Douglas MacArthur (old soldiers never die – they just fade away). I’m still not prepared to take sides… Truman may have done the right thing.

But I find it extremely interesting that the war effort took a back seat to other news on Wednesday, January 10, 1945. Come to think of it, my guess is the economic situation and sports will be the headlines in 2009.


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