This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
November 19 is the 323rd day of the year (324th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 42 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers Gettysburg Address.
On November 19, 1863, at the dedication of a military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln delivers one of the most memorable speeches in American history. In just 272 words, Lincoln brilliantly and movingly reminded a war-weary public why the Union had to fight, and win, the Civil War.
The Battle of Gettysburg, fought some four months earlier, was the single bloodiest battle of the Civil War. Over the course of three days, more than 45,000 men were killed, injured, captured or went missing. The battle also proved to be the turning point of the war: General Robert E. Lee’s defeat and retreat from Gettysburg marked the last Confederate invasion of Northern territory and the beginning of the Southern army’s ultimate decline.
Charged by Pennsylvania’s governor, Andrew Curtin, to care for the Gettysburg dead, an attorney named David Wills bought 17 acres of pasture to turn into a cemetery for the more than 7,500 who fell in battle. Wills invited Edward Everett, one of the most famous orators of the day, to deliver a speech at the cemetery’s dedication. Almost as an afterthought, Wills also sent a letter to Lincoln-just two weeks before the ceremony-requesting “a few appropriate remarks” to consecrate the grounds.
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. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.
But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate, we can not consecrate, we can not hallow this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us-that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion-that 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.
461 – Libius Severus is declared emperor of the Western Roman Empire. The real power is in the hands of the magister militum Ricimer.
636 – The Rashidun Caliphate defeated the Sassanian Empire at the Battle of Qadisiya in Iraq.
1095 – The Council of Clermont, called by Pope Urban II to discuss sending the First Crusade to the Holy Land, begins.
1493 – Christopher Columbus goes ashore on an island he first saw the day before. He names it San Juan Bautista (later renamed Puerto Rico).
1794 – The United States and the Kingdom of Great Britain sign Jay’s Treaty, which attempts to resolve some of the lingering problems left over from the American Revolutionary War.
1816 – Warsaw University is established.
1847 – The second Canadian railway line, the Montreal and Lachine Railway, is opened.
1863 – American Civil War: U.S. President Abraham Lincoln delivers the Gettysburg Address at the dedication of the military cemetery ceremony at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.
1881 – A meteorite lands near the village of Grossliebenthal, southwest of Odessa, Ukraine.
* 1916 – Samuel Goldwyn and Edgar Selwyn establish Goldwyn Pictures.
1930 – Notorious Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow commit first robbery, the first of a large series of robberies and other criminal acts.
1941 – World War II: Battle between HMAS Sydney and HSK Kormoran. The two ships sink each other off the coast of Western Australia, with the loss of 645 Australians and about 77 German seamen.
1942 – World War II: Battle of Stalingrad – Soviet Union forces under General Georgy Zhukov launch the Operation Uranus counterattacks at Stalingrad, turning the tide of the battle in the USSR’s favor.
1943 – Holocaust: Nazis liquidate Janowska concentration camp in Lemberg (Lviv), western Ukraine, murdering at least 6,000 Jews after a failed uprising and mass escape attempt.
1944 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt announces the 6th War Loan Drive, aimed at selling $14 billion USD in war bonds to help pay for the war effort.
1946 – Afghanistan, Iceland and Sweden join the United Nations.
1950 – US General Dwight D. Eisenhower becomes supreme commander of NATO-Europe
1954 – Tele Monte Carlo, Europe’s oldest private television channel, is launched by Prince Rainier III.
1955 – National Review publishes its first issue.
1959 – The Ford Motor Company announces the discontinuation of the unpopular Edsel.
1967 – The establishment of TVB, the first wireless commercial television station in Hong Kong.
1969 – Apollo program: Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean land at Oceanus Procellarum (the “Ocean of Storms”) and become the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon.
1969 – Football player Pelescores his 1,000th goal.
1976 – Jaime Ornelas Camacho takes office as the first President of the Regional Government of Madeira, Portugal.
1977 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat becomes the first Arab leader to officially visit Israel, when he meets Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin and speaks before the Knesset in Jerusalem, seeking a permanent peace settlement.
1979 – Iran hostage crisis: Iranian leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini orders the release of 13 female and black American hostages being held at the US Embassy in Tehran.
1984 – San Juanico Disaster: A series of explosions at the PEMEX petroleum storage facility at San Juan Ixhuatepec in Mexico City starts a major fire and kills about 500 people.
1985 – Cold War: In Geneva, U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev meet for the first time.
1985 – Pennzoil wins a $10.53 billion USD judgment against Texaco, in the largest civil verdict in the history of the United States, stemming from Texaco executing a contract to buy Getty Oil after Pennzoil had entered into an unsigned, yet still binding, buyout contract with Getty.
1988 – Serbian communist representative and future Serbian and Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic publicly declares that Serbia is under attack from Albanian separatists in Kosovo as well as internal treachery within Yugoslavia and a foreign conspiracy to destroy Serbia and Yugoslavia.
1990 – Pop group Milli Vanilli are stripped of their Grammy Award because the duo did not sing at all on the Girl You Know It’s True album. Session musicians had provided all the vocals.
1994 – In Great Britain, the first National Lottery draw is held. A £1 ticket gave a one-in-14-million chance of correctly guessing the winning six out of 49 numbers.
1996 – Lt. Gen. Maurice Baril of Canada arrives in Africa to lead a multi-national policing force in Zaire.
1998 – Lewinsky scandal: The United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee begins impeachment hearings against U.S. President Bill Clinton.
1998 – Vincent van Gogh’s Portrait of the Artist Without Beard sells at auction for $71.5 million USD.
1999 – Shenzhou 1: The People’s Republic of China launches its first Shenzhou spacecraft.
2002 – The Greek oil tanker Prestige splits in half and sinks off the coast of Galicia, releasing over 20 million US gallons (76,000 m³) of oil in the largest environmental disaster in Spanish and Portuguese history.
2010 – The first of four explosions takes place at the Pike River Mine in New Zealand; 29 people are killed in the nation’s worst mining disaster since 1914.
Holidays and observances
* Christian Feast Day:
Obadiah (Eastern Catholic Church)
Discovery of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico)
Flag Day (Brazil)
International Men’s Day (Australia, Canada, Ghana, Hungary, India, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, Singapore, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, United States)
Liberation Day (Mali)
World Toilet Day (World Toilet Organization)