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.
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May 30 is the 150th day of the year (151st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 215 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1922, Former President William Howard Taft dedicates the Lincoln Memorial on the Washington Mall on this day in 1922. At the time, Taft was serving as chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Taft remains the only former president ever to hold a seat on the Supreme Court. He served from 1921 to 1930. He recalled his time on the court as his most rewarding career, later saying in his memoirs, I don’t remember that I was ever president.
The Lincoln Memorial, designed after the temples of ancient Greece, is significant as America’s foremost memorial to their 16th president, as a totally original example of neoclassical architecture, and as the formal terminus to the extended National Mall in accordance with the McMillan Plan for the monumental core of Washington.
Demands for a fitting memorial had been voiced since the time of Lincoln’s death. In 1867, Congress heeded these demands and passed the first of many bills incorporating a commission to erect a monument for the sixteenth president. An American, Clark Mills, was chosen to design the monument. His plans reflected the bombastic nationalistic spirit of the age. His design called for a 70-foot (21 m) structure adorned with six equestrian and 31 pedestrian statues of colossal proportions, crowned by a 12-foot (3.7 m) statue of Abraham Lincoln. However, subscriptions for the project were insufficient and its future fell into doubt.
The matter lay dormant until the turn of the century, when, under the leadership of Senator Shelby M. Cullom of Illinois, six separate bills were introduced to Congress for the incorporation of a new memorial commission. The first five bills, proposed in the years 1901, 1902, and 1908, met with defeat; however, the final bill (Senate Bill 9449), introduced on December 13, 1910, passed. The Lincoln Memorial Commission had its first meeting the following year and President William H. Taft was chosen as president. Progress continued at a steady pace and by 1913 Congress had approved of the Commission’s choice of design and location. However, this approval was far from unanimous. Many thought that architect Henry Bacon’s Greek temple design was far too ostentatious for a man of Lincoln’s humble character. Instead they proposed a simple log cabin shrine. The site too did not go unopposed. The recently reclaimed land in West Potomac Park was seen by many to be either too swampy or too inaccessible. Other sites, such as Union Station, were put forth. The Commission stood firm in its recommendation though, feeling that the Potomac Park location, situated on the Washington Monument–Capitol axis, overlooking the Potomac River and surrounded by open land, was an ideal site. Furthermore, the Potomac Park site had already been designated in the McMillan Plan of 1901 to be the location of a future monument comparable to that of the Washington Monument.
With Congressional approval and a $300,000 allocation, the project got underway. On February 12, 1914, an inauspicious dedication ceremony was conducted and following month the actual construction began. Work progressed steadily according to schedule. However a few changes did have to be made. The statue of Lincoln, originally designed to be 10 feet (3.0 m) tall, was later enlarged to 19 feet (5.8 m) to prevent it from being dwarfed by its huge chamber. As late as 1920, the decision was made to substitute an open portal for the bronze and glass grille which was to have guarded the entrance. Despite these changes, the Memorial was finished on schedule. In a (May 30) celebration in 1922, Commission president William H. Taft dedicated the Memorial and presented it to President Warren G. Harding, who accepted it for the American people. Lincoln’s only remaining son, 79 year old Robert Todd Lincoln, was in attendance.
70 – Siege of Jerusalem: Titus and his Roman legions breach the Second Wall of Jerusalem. The Jewish defenders retreat to the First Wall. The Romans build a circumvallation, cutting down all trees within fifteen kilometres.
1416 – The Council of Constance, called by the Emperor Sigismund, a supporter of Antipope John XXIII, burns Jerome of Prague following a trial for heresy.
1431 – Hundred Years’ War: in Rouen, France, 19-year-old Joan of Arc is burned at the stake by an English-dominated tribunal. Because of this the Catholic Church remember this day as the celebration of Saint Joan of Arc.
1536 – King Henry VIII of England marries Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives.
1539 – In Florida, Hernando de Soto lands at Tampa Bay with 600 soldiers with the goal of finding gold.
1574 – Henry III becomes King of France.
1588 – The last ship of the Spanish Armada sets sail from Lisbon heading for the English Channel.
1631 – Publication of La Gazette, first French newspaper.
1635 – Thirty Years’ War: the Peace of Prague (1635) is signed.
1642 – From this date all honours granted by Charles I are retrospectively annulled by Parliament.
1806 – Andrew Jackson kills Charles Dickinson in a duel after Dickinson had accused Jackson’s wife of bigamy.
1814 – Napoleonic Wars: War of the Sixth Coalition – the Treaty of Paris (1814) is signed returning French borders to their 1792 extent.
Napoleon Bonaparte is exiled to Elba.
1815 – The East Indiaman ship Arniston is wrecked during a storm at Waenhuiskrans, near Cape Agulhas, present-day South Africa, with the loss of 372 lives.
1842 – John Francis attempts to murder Queen Victoria as she drives down Constitution Hill, London with Prince Albert.
1854 – The Kansas-Nebraska Act becomes law establishing the US territories of Nebraska and Kansas.
1859 – Westminster’s Big Ben rang for the first time in London.
1868 – Decoration Day (the predecessor of the modern “Memorial Day”) is observed in the United States for the first time (By “Commander-in-chief of the Grand Army of the Republic” John A. Logan’s proclamation on May 5).
1879 – New York City’s Gilmores Garden is renamed Madison Square Garden by William Henry Vanderbilt and is opened to the public at 26th Street and Madison Avenue.
1899 – Female Old West outlaw Pearl Hart robs a stage coach 30 miles southeast of Globe, Arizona.
1883 – In New York City, a rumor that the Brooklyn Bridge is going to collapse causes a stampede that crushes twelve people.
1911 – At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first Indianapolis 500 ends with Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp becoming the first winner of the 500-mile auto race.
1913 – First Balkan War: the Treaty of London, 1913 is signed ending the war. Albania becomes an independent nation.
1914 – The new and then largest Cunard ocean liner RMS Aquitania, 45,647 tons, sets sails on her maiden voyage from Liverpool, England to New York City.
1917 – Alexander I becomes king of Greece.
1922 – In Washington, D.C. the Lincoln Memorial is dedicated.
1925 – May 30 Movement: Shanghai Municipal Police Force shot 13 protesting workers to death.
1941 – World War II: Manolis Glezos and Apostolos Santas climb on the Athenian Acropolis, tear down the Nazi swastika.
1942 – World War II: 1000 British bombers launch a 90-minute attack on Cologne, Germany.
1948 – A dike along the flooding Columbia River breaks, obliterating Vanport, Oregon within minutes. Fifteen people die and tens of thousands are left homeless.
1958 – Memorial Day: the remains of two unidentified American servicemen, killed in action during World War II and the Korean War respectively, are buried at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery.
1959 – The Auckland Harbour Bridge, crossing the Waitemata Harbour in Auckland, New Zealand, is officially opened by Governor-General Lord Cobham.
1961 – Long time Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo is assassinated in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
1963 – A protest against pro-Catholic discrimination during the Buddhist crisis is held outside South Vietnam’s National Assembly, the first open demonstration during the eight-year rule of Ngo Dinh Diem.
1966 – Former Congolese Prime Minister Evariste Kimba and several other politicians are publicly executed in Kinshasa on the orders of President Joseph Mobutu.
1966 – launch of Surveyor 1 the first US spacecraft to achieve landing on an extraterrestrial body.
1967 – The Nigerian Eastern Region declares independence as the Republic of Biafra, sparking a civil war.
1968 – Charles De Gaulle reappears publicly after his flight to Baden-Baden, Germany, and dissolves the French National Assembly by a radio appeal. Immediately after, less than one million of his supporters march on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. This is the turning point of May 1968 in France.
1971 – Mariner program: Mariner 9 is launched to map 70% of the surface, and to study temporal changes in the atmosphere and surface, of Mars.
1972 – The Angry Brigade goes on trial over a series of 25 bombings throughout Britain.
1972 – In Tel Aviv members of the Japanese Red Army carry out the Lod Airport Massacre, killing 24 people and injuring 78 others.
1989 – Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: the 33-foot high “Goddess of Democracy” statue is unveiled in Tiananmen Square by student demonstrators.
1998 – A magnitude 6.6 earthquake hits northern Afghanistan, killing up to 5,000.
1998 -Nuclear Testing: Pakistan conducts an underground test in the Kharan Desert. It is reported to be a plutonium device with yield of 20kt.
2002 – 272 days after the September 11 attacks, closing ceremonies are held for the clean up/recovery efforts at the World Trade Center site in New York City. The last remaining steel beam is removed and transported to the Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island.
2003 – Depayin massacre: at least 70 people associated with the National League for Democracy are killed by government-sponsored mob in Burma. Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene, but is arrested soon afterwards.
2012 – The former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, is sentenced to 50 years in prison for his role in atrocities committed during the Sierra Leone Civil War.
2013 – Nigeria passes a law banning same-sex marriage.
* Anguilla Day, commemorates the beginning of the Anguillian Revolution in 1967. (Anguilla)
* Canary Islands Day (Canary Islands)
* Christian Feast Day:
* Earliest day on which Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary can fall, while July 3 is the latest; celebrated 20 days after Pentecost. (Roman Catholic church)
* Ferdinand III of Castile
* Isaac of Dalmatia
* Joan of Arc (celebrated in France)
* May 30 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Indian Arrival Day (Trinidad and Tobago)
* Lod Massacre Remembrance Day (Puerto Rico)
* Mother’s Day (Nicaragua)
* Parliament Day (Croatia)
* The first day of the Kaamatan harvest festival (Labuan, Sabah)
* Memorial Day in 2011