A History Making President
On November 11, 2019, Donald Trump made history as the first sitting president to attend the Veteran’s Day Parade in New York City. Veterans from World War II to the present-day War on Terrorism were present. “To each veteran of the war,” Trump said, “the glory of your deeds will only grow greater with time. This city is graced with your presence. This nation is forever in your debt and we thank you all.”
Though some events hurt to reflect upon, they must all be remembered.
New York City certainly has a place in the roots of American history. The Battle of Long Island – one of the largest battles of the Revolution – was fought in 1776. Though it resulted in a British victory, this was fairly short-lived. On November 25, 1783, British troops left New York. This is known as Evacuation Day.
The month of November contains many events that are significant to our military. We honor them on Veteran’s Day, and remember their bravery demonstrated at the Battle of Guadalcanal. Reflect upon President Lincoln’s honoring of Union soldiers during the Gettysburg Address. May we also never forget our national day of Thanksgiving. Let’s take a brief look at many of America’s notable events for November.
The Vietnam War, MLK, Jr. And The Guatalacanal
November 1, 1955
The Vietnam War begins. A proxy war, this was the largest armed conflict of the Cold War and lasted until 1975, though direct US involvement ended in 1973. Under the authorization of President Dwight D. Eisenhower, the first troops were commissioned to Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In 1964, the Gulf of Tonkin Incident resulted in more troops being deployed into the conflict, and in 1968, the Tet Offensive proved to be a major turning point. Five years later, US troops were withdrawn.
November 2, 1983
President Ronald Reagan signs the bill that establishes Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It was first officially observed three years later, though some states resisted it by giving it alternate names or combining it with another holiday. It was finally observed in all 50 states for the first time in 2000. Reagan said this of King: “Abraham Lincoln freed the Black man. In many ways, Dr. King freed the White man…Where others – White and Black – preached hatred, he taught the principles of love and nonviolence.”
November 3, 1942
The Koli Point Action begins during the Guadalcanal Campaign. Under the command of Major General Alexander Vandegrift, US Army and Marine Corps troops, alongside British, Australian, and Solomon Island troops, engaged Japanese forces. The action ended on November 12 of that year with an Allied victory. Overall, the Guadalcanal Campaign resulted in a turning point for the Pacific Theater during World War II.
November 4, 1979
The Iran Hostage Crisis begins. A group of Iranian students belonging to Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line, under the leadership of Ruhollah Khomeini, stormed the US embassy in Tehran, capturing 52 American diplomats and citizens. The hostages were held for 444 days, during which an attempt to rescue the hostages resulted in the deaths of one hostage and eight US servicemen. The crisis ended on January 20, 1981, during the presidential inauguration of Ronald Reagan.
Susan B. Anthony Defies the Law and Billy Graham is Born
November 5, 1872
Susan B. Anthony votes for the first time, defying the US suffrage law. Anthony was a founding member of the National Woman Suffrage Association and a major participant in the American Equal Rights Association, the latter of which sought constitutional rights for all citizens, regardless of race or gender.
When Anthony cast her vote, she was fined $100, which she refused to pay. She also began working with abolitionist factions as early as age 17, and in 1856, she became a New York state agent for the American Anti-Slavery Society. Nationwide women’s suffrage was finally achieved in 1920 with the passing of the 19th Amendment.
November 7, 1918
Billy Graham is born in Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the world’s most renowned ministers, he held evangelistic “crusades” across the globe from 1947-2005. Graham was a spiritual adviser for every president from Harry Truman to Barack Obama, and was especially close to Dwight D. Eisenhower, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Richard Nixon.
He abhorred racial segregation, and beginning in 1953, he insisted on racial integration for his revivals. In 1957, he invited Martin Luther King, Jr. to preach jointly at a revival in New York City. Graham’s sermons have reached over 200 million people worldwide. He passed away on February 21, 2018.
Death of a Wall, and the Birth of the USMC
November 9, 1989
The Berlin Wall collapses. Constructed in 1961, the Berlin Wall divided East and West Germany, separating Western-controlled and Soviet-controlled territory. Many who sought to escape to freedom in the West were prevented from doing so. The fall of the Berlin Wall signified that the long-awaited ending to the Cold War was near. In December 1991, the day after Christmas, the Soviet Union dissolved.
November 10, 1775
The United States Marine Corps is founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Since 1834, it has been a component of the US Navy. During World War II, Marines led some of the largest amphibious assaults in history, advancing from island to island and eventually crippling the Imperial Japanese military. As of 2017, they contained roughly 186,000 active duty members, with around 38,500 reserve members. The Marines are occasionally referred to as “Devil Dogs,” and it is rumored that they earned this title during the Battle of Belleau Wood in World War I.
November 10, 1977
Ronald Reagan delivers his “Whatever Happened to Free Enterprise?” speech. Standing at Hillsdale College in Michigan, the former governor of California and soon-to-be president used this oration to call for a return to economic freedom. With consumerism growing and infringing on property rights, Reagan addressed the issues of heavy taxation, socialized medicine, and the Corporate State. One excerpt reads, “It all comes down to this basic premise: If you lose your economic freedom, you lose your political freedom and, in fact, all freedom. Freedom is something that cannot be passed on genetically. It is never more than one generation away from extinction.”
Veteran’s Day, Vietnam Memorial, and the March to the Sea
November 11 – Veteran’s Day
Veteran’s Day was originally commemorated as the celebration of the end of World War I. Known then as Armistice Day, Americans used this day of celebration to honor the veterans of World War I. In 1954, it was changed to Veteran’s Day, so that the veterans of all American conflicts could be recognized. From the coast of Yorktown to the rolling hills of Tennessee; from the sandy beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima to the sweltering heat of the Middle East, our veterans have endured it all. We greatly thank you for your service and sacrifice.
November 12, 1948
The International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentences Hideki Tojo to death. An orchestrator of the attack on Pearl Harbor, Tojo served as Prime Minister of the Japanese Empire from 1941-1944. Following Japan’s surrender in September 1945, Tojo was captured and tried. He was convicted of numerous war crimes and other crimes against humanity. He was executed on December 23, 1948.
November 13, 1982
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial is dedicated in Washington, DC. Spanning two acres, the Vietnam Wall honors soldiers who died in service or were captured during the Vietnam War. Designed by Maya Lin, it contains the names of 58, 320 soldiers. Located near the wall are two famous statues: the Three Servicemen, who face the wall solemnly; and the Women’s Memorial, which is dedicated to the women who served during the Vietnam War.
November 15, 1864
General William T. Sherman begins his “March to the Sea.” Starting in Atlanta, Georgia, Sherman’s forces followed one of the first modern examples of total war, using a “Scorched Earth” policy. During the month-long campaign, his soldiers destroyed Confederate military targets, as well as southern infrastructure, across the state. The march ended on December 21, 1864, and cut off the Confederacy’s supply lines, leading to their surrender the following Spring.
The Siege of Knoxville and the Gettysburg Address
November 17, 1863
The Siege of Knoxville, Tennessee begins. Under the command of General James Longstreet, Confederate forces fought to regain control of the city and its railroads, which had been captured by Union forces under General Ambrose Burnside. The siege resulted in a Union victory, leaving most of eastern Tennessee under Union control for the rest of the Civil War.
November 19, 1863
President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address. This has been renowned as one of the most famous pieces of oration in American history. Four months following the Battle of Gettysburg, which proved to be a turning point in the Civil War, Lincoln dedicated these words on the battlefield. Many people are familiar with the start of the speech: “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.”
“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” Lincoln’s words would later echo throughout American history. He concluded the speech by stating, “we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain – that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom – and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
John F. Kennedy, Evacuation Day, Thanksgiving, and More
November 22, 1718
Edward Teach, better known as “Blackbeard,” is killed during the Battle of Ocracoke. One of the most infamous pirates of the Caribbean and Eastern Seaboard, Blackbeard is said to have placed fuses in his beard. On occasion he would light them, giving himself an evil-looking demeanor. At one point during his time as a pirate, he led a siege of Charleston Harbor and captured several of the town’s citizens.
After several days holding them as a ransom for medicine, the medicine was secured and the hostages were released. After a short retirement, he returned to piracy, and not long after, was engaged by sailors under the command of Lieutenant Robert Maynard off the coast of Ocracoke, North Carolina. Blackbeard was killed and his body was thrown into the sea.
November 22, 1963
President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas. While riding in a motorcade at Dealey Plaza, Kennedy was shot by Lee Harvey Oswald, a former active duty Marine and communist sympathizer. From the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository, Oswald fired three shots from a bolt-action rifle. Two of the shots hit the president, with the second delivering the fatal blow.
Oswald was captured the same day, and just two days later, he was shot and killed by Jack Ruby on live television. President Kennedy will always be remembered as a great patriot who placed America first and stood firmly against our communist foes. May we never forget his famous words: “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”
November 24, 1863
The Battle of Lookout Mountain, Tennessee is fought. Under the command of General Ulysses S. Grant, Union troops captured the mountain, and one day later, they would break the Confederate hold on the town of Chattanooga. The Battle of Missionary Ridge was also fought the following day and resulted in a Union victory. Shortly after, President Lincoln placed General Grant in command of the entire Union Army, where he would later see the end of the war at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia.
November 25, 1783
The last British troops leave New York City. This occurred three months after the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Known as Evacuation Day, it is celebrated annually. As the ships were leaving, it is said that a cannon ball was fired at the crowd on Staten Island, though it fell short and landed in the water. After the evacuation, George Washington led the Continental Army from his headquarters to the Battery at the foot of Broadway.
The Korean War, Thanksgiving, and the Sand Creek Massacre
November 26, 1950
Chinese troops commanded by Mao Zedong launch a major counterattack against South Korean and UN forces. Two very large battles occurred as a result: the battles of Ch’ongch’on River and Chosin Reservoir. The Korean War was the first proxy conflict of the Cold War, in which the United States and the Soviet Union fought one another indirectly through their respective capitalist and communist allies. Mao Zedong ruled as Chairman of the Communist Party of China until his death in 1976. His regime was responsible for the death, starvation, and enslavement of millions.
November 27, 1945
CARE packages are founded to provide food relief to Europe. CARE is a non-governmental and impartial organization, and remains one of the world’s largest and oldest. Each year, its main focus is combating global poverty. During the Berlin Airlift, thousands of CARE packages were delivered to the citizens of West Germany. President Kennedy later stated, “Every CARE Package is a personal contribution to the world peace our nation seeks. It expresses America’s concern and friendship in a language all peoples understand.”
November 28 – Thanksgiving
Two presidents are most responsible for the celebration of Thanksgiving as we know it: George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. On October 3, 1789, Washington issued his Thanksgiving Proclamation. He declared November 26 of that year a day of Thanksgiving, stating, “Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday, the 26th day of November, next to be devoted by the people of these states to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.”
On October 3, 1863, 74 years after Washington’s proclamation, President Lincoln issued a proclamation that Thanksgiving was to be celebrated on the last Thursday of that year. Lincoln stated, “The glorious gifts of the Most High God…should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people.” We wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!
November 28, 1943
The Tehran Conference begins. Held between the world’s “Big Three” leaders – Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin – this meeting was organized following the Anglo-Soviet Invasion of Iran. Although each leader met with different intentions, the primary outcome was the decision to open a second war front against Nazi Germany. It also addressed the Allies’ relationship with Iran and Turkey.
November 29, 1864
The Sand Creek Massacre occurs. Under the orders of Colonel John Chivington, Union troops in eastern Colorado surrounded and attacked Cheyenne and Arapaho noncombatants. Some reports suggest that as many as 500 Natives were killed. Most casualties were women and children, and a few soldiers reported horrible bodily mutilations.
Silas Soule, one of Chivington’s soldiers, said this during his congressional testimony: “I saw the bodies of those lying there cut all to pieces, worse mutilated than any I ever saw before; the women cut all to pieces…their brains knocked out; children two or three months old; all ages lying there, from sucking infants up to warriors.” Today, the massacre location is a national historic site.
November 30, 1864
The Battle of Franklin, Tennessee is fought. Part of the Franklin-Nashville Campaign, this battle resulted in a victory for Union troops. Confederate forces were dealt a major blow and their attack is sometimes referred to as the “Pickett’s Charge of the West.” The Battle of Nashville, which began on December 10, also resulted in a Union victory and gave Union troops even greater control of Tennessee.
November is quite the month for American history. We honor our veterans each year on November 11. We celebrate all that we have been given on Thanksgiving, and we reflect on how our two most beloved presidents – Washington and Lincoln – dedicated that day in honor God’s blessings on our nation.
Unfortunately, we are also reminded of tragedies, such as the Sand Creek Massacre and the death of President Kennedy. Though some events hurt to reflect upon, they must all be remembered. I hope you enjoyed this month’s recap and I wish you all the best as we enter the holiday season.