COCONUT SAVED THE DAY FOR JFK AND CREW
Naru Island (JFK+50) Seventy years ago today, August 6, 1943, Lt. John F. Kennedy paddled back to his men on Olasana in a dugout canoe. Barney Ross, who remained asleep, swam over later.
JFK, according to Robert Donovan, decided to send the two friendly natives, Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, with a message to the PT Base.
Without paper or a writing instrument, Lt. Kennedy...
"picked up a coconut and had Biuku quarter it."
"took his sheath knife and on a polished quarter of the coconut he inscribed the following message to the PT base commander:
'NAURO ISL - COMMANDER - NATIVE KNOWS POSIT - HE CAN PILOT - 11 ALIVE - NEED SMALL BOAT- KENNEDY'"
Toy Replica of Coconut Shell Message
With "JFK" GI Joe Toy
Photo by John White (2013)
JFK had the coconut encased in plastic. It was displayed on his desk in the Oval Office at the White House. Today it can be seen at the JFK Library.
Dave Powers, Presidential assistant and later curator, said that it was the most important object in the library because without it, all the rest would have never been possible.
JFK's Coconut Message Paperweight
JFK Library Photo
The natives hastened to Rendova Harbor 38 miles distant with the coconut message...soon help would finally be on the way to the survivors of PT109.
"PT 109, John F. Kennedy in WWII," by Robert J. Donovan, McGraw-Hill Publishers, New York, 1961, 2001.
ATOMIC BOMB DROPPED ON HIROSHIMA, JAPAN 68 YEARS AGO TODAY
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Harry S. Truman announced 68 years ago today, August 6, 1945, that the United States of America, at war with the Japanese Empire since December 8, 1941, had dropped an atomic bomb on the city of Hiroshima in Japan.
The development of the atomic bomb came as a result of the Manhattan Project initiated by President Franklin D. Roosevelt who died on April 12, 1945 leaving the final decision on using atomic weapons with his successor.
The A-bomb was dropped from the Enola Gay, a B-29 piloted by Paul Tibbets*.
Waves Prior to Bombing
Paul Warfield Tibbets, Jr. (1915-2007) was born in Illinois and moved with his family to Miami, Florida as a youth. He graduated from Western Military Academy in 1933 and attended the Universities of Florida and Cincinnati.
Tibbets enlisted in the US Army and qualified for the Aviation Cadet Program.
After being selected for the Manhattan Project, Tibbets named his B29 bomber 'Enola Gay' in honor of his mother.
Tibbets became a USAF Brigadier General in 1964 and retired from the service in 1987. Two years before his death, he told the BBC...
"I'm not emotional....I did the job and I was so relieved that it was successful."
BGEN Paul W. Tibbets, Jr.
Photo by MSGT Jim Varhegyi
Dept of Defense Image (2003)
The bomb detonated 1900 feet above the city at 8:15 a.m. local time.
It was estimated that the radius of total destruction extended 1 mile with 69% of the city's buildings destroyed.
70,000 to 80,000 people were killed with 170,000 more injured.
President Truman issued the following statement in his announcement of the use of the atomic bomb on Japan:
"If they do not now accept our terms, they may expect a rain of ruin from the air, the like which has never been seen on this earth."
Ruins of Hiroshima
VOTING RIGHTS ACT SIGNED INTO LAW BY LBJ
Washington, D.C. (JFK+50) President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law 48 years ago today, August 6, 1965.
The Voting Rights Act prohibits discriminatory voting practices which had been adopted in many southern states after the Civil War, including literacy tests, as a prerequisite to voting.
Attending the signing ceremony were civil rights leaders and activists including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Rosa Parks.
By the end of 1965, 250,000 new black voters had been registered, one-third by federal examiners.
LBJ Congratulates Civil Rights Leaders
Signing of the Voting Rights Act
Photo by Yoichi R. Okamoto