Tag Archives: Vietnam

November 26 Peace Love Activism

November 26 Peace Love Activism

Technological Milestone

November 26, 1832: in New York City, the first public streetcar line in the U.S. began carrying passengers. The fare was 12½¢.  (see March 18, 1834)
Cloverleaf interchange

November 26 Peace Love Activism

November 26, 1931: the first cloverleaf interchange to be built in the United States, at the junction of NJ Rt. 25 (now U.S. Rt. 1) and NJ Rt. 4 (now NJ Rt. 35) in Woodbridge, New Jersey, was featured on the cover of the Engineering News-Record. (see February 16, 1937)

US Labor History

November 26, 1910: six young women burn to death and 19 more die when they leap from the fourth-story windows of a blazing factory in Newark, N.J. The floors and stairs were wooden; the only door through which the women could flee was locked. (see March 25, 1911)

FREE SPEECH/book burning

November 26 Peace Love Activism

November 26, 1935: New York City on this day burned “tons” of allegedly obscene books and magazines, with an estimated retail value of $150,000. The material had been seized and burned at the instigation of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice, the anti-obscenity organization founded by Anthony Comstock, author of the infamous Comstock Act (enacted on March 3, 1873). The burned material included 476 books, 11,450 magazines, and about 100,000 pamphlets. Not all of the burned books were confiscated because of sex-related themes. Fifteen copies of the book The Man in the Monkey Suit were seized and burned because it presented policemen in “an unfavorable light.”

The burning of the books took place despite the publicity surrounding the burning of “offensive” books by the new Nazi regime in Germany over the previous year and a half. (see Dec 18)
November 26, 1960: on NBC's nationally televised program "The Nation's Future," the Martin Luther King Jr. debated James J. Kilpatrick on the subject of sit-in demonstrations. Kilpatrick, editor of The Richmond News Leader at the time, was a prominent segregationist. The subject: "Are Sit-In Strikes Justifiable?"

Kilpatrick: "... it is an interesting experience to be here tonight and see Mr. King assert a right to obey those laws he chooses to obey and disobey those he chooses not to obey and insist the whole time that he has what he terms the highest respect for law, because he is abiding by the moral law of the universe."

King: "... I think in disobeying these laws, the students are really seeking to affirm the just law of the land and the Constitution of the United States. I would say this -- that all people should obey just laws, but I would also say, with St. Augustine, than an unjust law is no law at all. And when we find an unjust law, I think we have a moral obligation to take a stand against it ..." (BH, see Dec 5; MLK, see May 13, 1961)
Rodney King
November 26, 1991: Superior Court Judge Stanley Weisberg ordered the trial of the four officers charged in the Rodney King beating [Sgt. Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Michael Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno ] to be moved to Simi Valley. (King, see April 29, 1992)

November 26 Music et al

November 26, 1962, The Beatles before their US appearance: Beatles record, “Please Please Me.” (see Dec 7)


Memorandum 273
November 26, 1963: the administration of new President Lyndon B. Johnson administration issued National Security Action Memorandum 273, which officially reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to the Republic of Vietnam and pledged "to assist the people and Government of that country to win their contest against the externally directed and supported Communist conspiracy." Johnson also gave his personal sanction for a stepped-up program of "clandestine operations by the GVN (Government of Vietnam) against the North." (document) (see January 22, 1964)
“Alice’s Restaurant”
November 26, 1965: Arlo Guthrie arrested in Great Barrington, MA for littering on Thanksgiving in the nearby town of Stockbridge. The resulting events and adventure would be immortalized in the song "Alice's Restaurant.” (see Nov 27)
John Lennon, MBE
November 26, 1969: John Lennon returned his MBE to the Queen on this day, as an act of protest against the Vietnam war. His typical Lennon-esque note to the Queen read:
Your Majesty,

I am returning my Member of the British Empire as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts.

                With love. John Lennon of Bag

(see Thanksgiving in the Vietnam War for both Guthrie and Lennon; also  for Lennon, see November 29; for Vietnam, see Dec 1)

Native Americans

November 26, 1970: a group of about 200 Native-Americans protested Thanksgiving with a demonstration at Plymouth Rock, Massachusetts. Representatives from 25 tribes from around the country declared it a “national day of mourning.” One leader stated that the landing of the Pilgrims from England in 1620 “was the start of everything bad that has happened to the American Indian.” Several members of the group attempted to “bury” the original Plymouth Rock by pouring sand over it. Another 25 boarded the replica of the Mayflower, the ship that brought the Pilgrims to America. (see June 12, 1971)

Watergate Scandal

November 26, 1973: President Richard Nixon's personal secretary, Rose Mary Woods, told a federal court that she'd accidentally caused part of the 18 1/2-minute gap in a key Watergate tape. Arlo Guthrie will later claim it was Nixon listening to Arlo's "Alice's Restaurant."(see Nov 27)

Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme

November 26, 1975, a federal jury found Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of Charles Manson, guilty of trying to assassinate President Gerald R. Ford. (see Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme for more)
November 26 Peace Love Activism

Iran hostage crisis

November 26, 1978:  Muslim religious leaders and politicians seeking to topple Shah of Iran called a general strike that virtually paralyzed the country. (see Dec 2) 

Iran–Contra Affair

November 26, 1986: President Ronald Reagan announced that on December 1 former Senator John Tower, former Secretary of State Edmund Muskie, and former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft would serve as members of the Special Review Board looking into the scandal (they became known as the Tower Commission). Reagan denied involvement in the scandal. (see Dec 19)

Jack Kevorkian

November 26, 1994: hours after Michigan's ban on assisted suicide expired, 72-year-old Margaret Garrish died of carbon monoxide poisoning in her home in Royal Oak. She had arthritis and osteoporosis. Kevorkian was not present when police arrived. (see Dec 13)

2000 Presidential election

November 26,, 2000: Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris certified Republican George W. Bush the winner over Democrat Al Gore in the state's presidential balloting by 537 votes. (see Dec 13)


November 26, 2010: federal agents arrested nineteen-year-old Somali-born Mohamed Osman Mohamud during a sting in Portland, Ore. Mohamud was accused of planning to detonate van of explosives during Christmas tree lighting ceremony. (see January 8, 2011)

Nuclear/Chemical News & ICAN

November 26, 2011: the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons [ICAN] welcomed am historic resolution adopted by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent movement in favor of an international agreement to prohibit nuclear weapons. (Nuclear, see January 30, 2012; ICAN, see March 5, 2012)

Women’s Health

November 26, 2013: the U.S. Supreme Court accepted for review two cases challenging the federal contraception rule, which required the inclusion of contraception coverage in health plans. One of the cases was brought by Hobby Lobby, an arts and crafts supply chain with over 13,000 employees. The other case was brought by Conestoga Wood Specialties, a Pennsylvania wood furniture company. (see Dec 31)

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1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

August 4, 1964
Robert McNamara from the documentary, “The Fog of War.”

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

August 2, 1964

It had been 254 days since President Kennedy’s assassination in Dallas, Texas.


The number of days that President Lyndon B Johnson was president.  November 3, Election Day, 93 days away.  He had signed the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1962 exactly a month earlier.

Vietnam was a mosquito; not a tiger.

Military intelligence had suggested that there might be North Vietnamese military action in the Gulf of Tonkin. The Captain of the destroyer USS Mattox, Captain, John J. Herrick, was on alert.

On this date, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara reported to President Johnson that North Vietnamese torpedo boats had attacked the Maddox.

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

 What happened

Three North Vietnamese patrol boats had engaged the Maddox. Herrick ordered the crew to commence firing as the North Vietnamese boats came within 10,000 yards of the ship.

10,000 yards is over 5 miles.

Herrick also called in air support from a nearby air craft carrier, the USS Ticonderoga. The North Vietnamese boats each fired torpedoes at the Maddox, but two missed and the third failed to explode. U.S. gunfire hit one of the North Vietnamese boats. US jets strafed them.

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

The Result

Maddox gunners sunk one of the boats and two were crippled. One bullet hit the Maddox and there were no U.S. casualties.

The US took no further action, but warned the Vietnamese to cease such attacks.

Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

August 4, 1964

Two days later around 8 PM, the Maddox and the USS C. Turner Joy, both in the Gulf of Tonkin, intercepted North Vietnamese radio messages. Captain Herrick got the “impression” that Communist patrol boats are planning an attack against the American ships. He again called for the support of the USS Ticonderoga.

Neither the pilots nor the ship crews saw any enemy craft. However, about 10 p.m. sonar operators reported torpedoes approaching. The destroyers maneuvered to avoid the torpedoes and began to fire at the North Vietnamese patrol boats. The encounter lasted about two hours. U.S. officers reported sinking two, or possibly three of the North Vietnamese boats, but no one was sure.

Herrick communicated his doubts to his superiors and urged a “thorough reconnaissance in daylight.” Shortly thereafter, he informed Admiral U. S. Grant Sharp, commander of the Pacific Fleet, that the blips on the radar scope were apparently “freak weather effects” while the report of torpedoes in the water were probably due to “overeager” radar operators.

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

President Johnson’s reaction

Convinced that a second attack had occurred, President Johnson, ordered the Joint Chiefs of Staff to select targets for possible retaliatory air strikes. At a National Security Council meeting, Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, and McGeorge Bundy, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, recommended the ordering of reprisal attacks to the president.

Though cautious at first, eventually Johnson gave the order to execute the reprisal, code-named Pierce Arrow. The President then met with 16 Congressional leaders to inform them of the second unprovoked attack and that he had ordered reprisal attacks. He also told them he planned to ask for a Congressional resolution to support his actions.

At 11:20 p.m., Admiral Sharp informed McNamara that the aircraft were on their way to the targets and at 11:26, President Johnson appeared on national television and announced that the reprisal raids were underway in response to unprovoked attacks on U.S. warships. He assured the viewing audience that, “We still seek no wider war.”

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

Gulf of Tonkin Resolution

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack

On August 7, the House of Representatives unanimously (416 – 0) and the Senate overwhelmingly (88 – 2) approved the so-called Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. Its title read, “”To promote the maintenance of international peace and security in southeast Asia.” [text]

President Johnson signed the resolution on August 10.

In 1964, there were approximately 23,300 troops in Vietnam.

By 1965 that number was 184,300.

There were 536,000 U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968.

1964 Gulf Tonkin Ghost Attack
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Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

July 1968
Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

Eric Burdon

Eric Burdon with the Animals were part of the British Invasion in 1964. Their “House of the Rising Sun” stuck an earworm into  American teenagers’ heads that still resides there. What Boomer can hear those first few guitar notes without immediately recognizing the song? Perhaps it was one of the first licks you learned on guitar? (click and see!)

American blues dominated the Animals’ early albums, but like Bob Dylan’s job on Maggie’s farm and John Lennon’s Norwegian wood lover, Eric Burdon did not stay with the girl he brung to the dance.

Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

Eric Burdon & the Animals

With his release of Winds of Change (the title echoing,  of course, Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin” as well as his line in “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”), Burdon allowed the times to change his content.

Such compositions as “The Black Plague” and “San Franciscan Nights” signaled those changes.

Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

The Twain Shall Meet

Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

In 1968 Burdon released “The Twain Shall Meet” album. On it was the now classic “Sky Pilot.” The Vietnam war raged and demonstrations regularly filled streets. Campuses seemed to have become places to sit in to protest, not to sit in a desk.

Even more than the popular “Monterey” on that album, Burdon’s reflections on the Monterey Pop Festival, an event he attended but did not perform at, “Sky Pilot” is the album’s strongest song.

Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

Sky Pilot

Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

He blesses the boys

As they stand in line

The smell of gun grease

And the bayonets they shine

He’s there to help them

All that he can

To make them feel wanted

He’s a good holy man

In some ways the song is as powerful as Jimi Hendrix’s Star Spangled Banner. Hendrix’s performance declared that those who were anti-Establishment were also entitled to our nation’s anthem.

“Sky Pilot” (particularly with its inclusion the traditional bag piped “All the Bluebonnets Are Over the Border”) questions not only war, but whether God was on our side, or whether God’s self-appointed representative, the Sky Pilot, was even on God’s side.

Released as a two-sided single, many radio stations stated that its length too long and style not “pop” enough.  Be that as it may, the song remains among the elite of anti-war songs.

The whole band wrote the song: Eric Burdon, Vic Briggs, John Weider, Barry Jenkins, and Danny McCulloch

Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot

All the Blue Bonnets

It is interesting to listen to just the bag pipes song after listening to the Animal’s song with its inclusion.

Eric Burdon Animals Sky Pilot
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