Monday, April 11, 2011


April 11, 1961


Folk singer & instrumentalist Bob Dylan gave his 1st major performance today at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village, New York City.

Dylan, who sings & plays keyboards & harmonica, opened for the blues artist John Lee Hooker.

Gerde's is the most sought after venue for aspiring folk artists in the city.*

*My favorite Bob Dylan songs became associated with both the civil rights movement & the Vietnam War protest:  Blowin' in the Wind (1963) & The Times They Are A-Changin (1964).

"Come mothers and fathers
Throughout the land
And don't criticize
What you can't understand
Your sons and your daughters
Are beyond your command
Your old road is
Rapidly agin'
Please get out of the new one
If you can't lend your hand
For the times they are a-changin'"

From The Times They Are A-Changin
by Bob Dylan (1964)

         Joan Baez & Bob Dylan, 1963

April 11, 1962


In an opening address at his afternoon news conference today, President Kennedy lambasted steel executives on their recent price hike.  JFK called it a "wholly unjustifiable and irresponsible defiance of the public interest."

JFK went on to tell reporters that the "inflationary" price rise by steel companies will result in higher costs on many consumer products & will make it more difficult to sell American products overseas.

The President concluded his statement with these words:

"The American people will find it hard, as I do, to accept a situation in which a tiny handful of steel executives...can show such utter contempt for the interests of 185 million Americans."*

*Pressure from JFK finally forced US Steel & other major American steel companies to rescind their price hike.

April 11, 1970


The 3rd lunar landing mission began today with the successful lift off of Apollo 13 from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Apollo 13 astronauts are Jim Lovell, John Swigert & Fred Haise.

Apollo's 13 lunar lander will put down in the Fra Mauro highlands on the moon where two of the astronauts will explore the Imbrium Basin & conduct geological experiments.*

*Unfortunately the Apollo 13 mission will have to be aborted after the rupture of the service module's oxygen tank 200,000 miles out.  The crew will transfer to the lunar lander, make a pass around the moon, & limp back to earth with a shortage of food & water & to make matters even worse, no heat.

Last words from Houston before the oxygen tank ruptured

April 11, 1951


President Harry S Truman has fired General Douglas MacArthur from his command of UN forces in Korea.

Truman's decision comes after a long dispute between the Commander-in-Chief & his top general in the Korean conflict.

The dispute reportedly began when MacArthur personally told Truman in a meeting in October 1950 that the probability of the Communist Chinese entering the war was "slim".  Then, later in the year, after Chinese troops crossed the Yalu River into Korea, MacArthur asked Truman for permission to bomb China.

General Omar Bradley disagreed with MacArthur's advice by saying:

"This is the wrong war, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, & with the wrong enemy".

President Truman said:

"I believe we must try to limit the war in there will be no doubt or confusion as to the real purpose & aim of our policy."

                 MacArthur & Truman

April 11, 1814


Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of France, has abdicated the throne today.

By the Treaty of Fontainebleau, Napoleon is to go into exile on the island of Elba in the Mediterranean.

In 1812, Napoleon had launched an invasion of Russia which ended with his retreat from Moscow & most of Europe uniting against him.*

*In 1815, Napoleon escaped Elba, returned to Paris & reclaimed his throne.  Shortly thereafter he was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, forced to abdicate once again, & again was sent into exile.

        Napoleon's Retreat from Moscow