Cruise ships offer a lot for the traveler these days. You have nicely appointed cabins, casinos, places to shop, lots of entertainment options, and of course lots of food. No one though expects they might experience something akin to the Titanic. A video making rounds on Tik Tok shows passengers standing in a hallway where water was reaching up to their ankles on the Carnival Vista. Of course they posted comments as well on what they were seeing.
“Woke to water rushing into our cabin…our lives flashed before our eyes.”
Two floors were flooded by a plumbing issue (probably a leaking pipe) when a ceiling collapsed from the water. According to news reports, the issue was apparently resolved quickly by the staff. While it is not mentioned, it is likely all those affected by the event were relocated to other rooms (no word on any compensation for any personal items or damages). Most cruise ships (especially the larger big name ones like Carnival) have procedures for dealing with such emergencies. At least in this case, no lifeboats were needed!
It was a day that changed America. Planes hijacked by terrorists flew into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center. Another plane would crash into the Pentagon. And a fourth plane that was destined for a target in Washington D.C. crash-landed into a field in Pennsylvania. The extreme heat caused by the fires from the impact of the planes would cause the collapse of the two towers.
Firefighters and police raced to the towers trying to rescue those trapped inside the burning buildings. Stories of their heroism in getting people out are extraordinary examples of courage that are both remarkable and breathtaking. Things were so dire at one point that some jumped out of windows to the shock of people watching. And when the buildings collapsed, many of these brave firefighters and police were killed. As the rubble was cleared later, every body of a fallen firefighter and police officer was removed with great care and respect.
More than 3,000 people were killed (including 400 police and firefighters). Over 10,000 were wounded during the attacks on 9/11. Some suffered long term effects due to smoke inhalation and toxic chemicals that were burning at the time. The attacks of 9/11 was the most devastating foreign attack on American soil since the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941.
We take time today to remember the fallen of 9/11. They went to work, got on planes, and did countless other things not knowing the evil that was about to take place. Countless lives were changed that day. Families were shattered with the loss of a husband or wife, beloved son or daughter. Friends were never seen again having perished in the towers, the Pentagon, or a passenger on the planes used as weapons.
We cannot forget those who perished on this day. And the heroic sacrifices of first responders- firefighters and police-who tried to save lives cannot be forgotten either.
We ask you in your goodness to give eternal light and peace to all who died here— the heroic first-responders: our fire fighters, police officers, emergency service workers, and Port Authority personnel, along with all the innocent men and women who were victims of this tragedy simply because their work or service brought them here on September 11, 2001.
We ask you, in your compassion to bring healing to those who, because of their presence here that day, suffer from injuries and illness. Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy. Give them strength to continue their lives with courage and hope.
During the War of 1812, control over Lake Erie and the Northwest were crucial to both the British and the United States. The War of 1812 between the British and the United States resulted from simmering tensions between the two since the end of the American War of Independence. Though long over by this time, tensions existed between the two. The British had attempted to restrict U.S. trade. During the Napoleonic Wars, the U.S. was neutral, but the British were not happy with American merchant ships supplying the French with supplies. Another issue was the forced impressment of American seamen. To fill out their crews, the British Royal Navy would stop merchant ships and take some of their crews forcing them into Royal Navy service. Additionally, tension over the U.S. desire to expand its territory led to clashes with the British as well.
These and other things led President James Madison to declare war on Great Britain on 18 June 1812. While it passed Congress (barely), it was not popular in New England since they heavily relied on trade. Western and Southern states generally supported the war. However, the realities of war would soon set in. The attempt to take Canada was a failure and resulted in a humiliating defeat on 16 August 1812 with Detroit being surrendered without firing a shot. The American Navy was aided early on with the fact the British were also fighting Napoleon so not all their ships were committed. One notable naval battle was at Lake Michigan in 1813. At stake in this battle was control of Detroit, Lake Erie, and nearby territories the U.S had claims on.
The American naval forces were led by Captain Oliver Hazard Perry, who had nine ships. The British had six warships led by Commander Robert Heriot Barclay. Barclay was an experienced naval officer who had served under Nelson at Trafalgar. The British were armed with long gun cannons that gave them a range of about a full mile, while the Americans used carronades that had half the range of the British cannons. This meant that Perry would inflict a lot of damage but at closer range. At first the wind was against Perry in the morning and then shifted giving him an advantage. He would raise a famous navy-blue banner written with the words “DON’T GIVE UP THE SHIP” as the slogan to rally his officers.
The ensuing battle would last for hours, and Perry would lose his flagship Lawrence. He transferred his flag over to the Niagara and then sailed straight into the British line firing broadsides that ultimately gave him the win when they surrendered. Perry lost 27 sailors and 96 wounded, while the British lost 40 dead and left with 94 wounded. Perry sent a famous dispatch to U.S. General William Henry Harrison that said, “We have met the enemy, and they are ours.” The British were forced to abandon Detroit after the Battle of the Thames resulting in American control of the area.
The victory was an important one when many battles had gone against the United States. The Royal Navy was still fighting Napoleon so not of its navy was committed to North America. This would change in April 1814 when Napoleon was defeated. With both ships and troops now freed up, they raided Chesapeake Bay and moved on the capital of Washington D.C. burning it and other government buildings to the ground on 24 August 1814.
On 11 September 1814, the American navy defeated the British fleet at the Battle of Plattsburgh at Lake Champlain, New York. A furious battle at Fort McHenry in Baltimore took place on 13 September 1814 and withstood 25 hours of bombardment by the British navy. After the bombardment had ended, the Americans raised a large flag over the fort to show they had survived the bombardment. Seeing the flag being raised inspired Francis Scott Key to write a poem that later would be set to music called “Star Spangled Banner.” British forces withdrew and prepared to act against New Orleans. Negotiations for a peace settlement were undertaken not long after in Ghent (modern day Belgium). The resulting Treaty of Ghent would abolish the taking of American sailors from merchant ships for British naval service, solidify the borders of Canada as we know them today, and end British attempts to create an Indian state in the Northwest. The treaty was signed on Christmas Eve, 1814. Formal ratification would be in February 1815.
It was during this time that the famous Battle of New Orleans would occur. On 8 January 1815, British forces (unaware of the peace deal yet due to slow communications of the time) launched a major attack on New Orleans. General Andrew Jackson led the Americans in this famous battle and defeated the British soundly. News of the battle was another boost to American morale and likely convinced the British that they were right to get out of this war as well. For Canadians and Native Americans, it ended their attempt to govern themselves. For Americans, it ushered in a new time of good feelings ending the partisan divisions that had grown since the Revolutionary War. National self-confidence would ensue and a growing spirit of expansionism that would shape the rest of the 19th century. The country resulting from it would be comprised of states and territories that went from New York on the Atlantic Ocean to San Francisco on the Pacific making it one of the largest countries in the world.
On 8 Sep 1941, German forces began their siege of Leningrad that would last 872 days making it one of the most grueling sieges in modern warfare. Let’s find out more about it.’
Leningrad (formerly known as St. Petersburg and capital of Russia before the Communist takeover in 1918), was a major industrial center and the Soviet Union’s second largest city. When Germany in June 1941, many of the city’s industrial plants and inhabitants were relocated far to the east to prevent capture. Two million were left behind though to face the rapidly moving German army. Everyone who could lift a shovel (men, women, and children) were conscripted to build anti-tank fortifications around the city’s edge. The railway to Moscow was cut off at the end of July by German forces and they were starting to penetrate the outer fortifications of the city. On 8 September, German forces began besieging the city but were held back by the fortifications and the tenacity of the defenders, some 200,000 Red Army soldiers. German bombers destroyed a warehouse containing food making life more difficult for the defenders.
Germans next moved to seal off the remaining highways and rail lines south of the city. Finnish forces joined the Germans by coming down the Karelian Isthmus in the north so that by November the entire city was encircled. German bombings intensified with raids several times a day. Most people were reduced to eating one slice of bread per day and starvation was rampant. One of the coldest winters on record would set in as well adding to the misery of the inhabitants. Many continued to work to produce arms to help defeat the Germans despite the lack of food and warmth as well. Just about anything that could be burned for heat was used from books to furniture. Pets (dogs and cats) were eaten along with animals from the city zoo. Wallpaper paste was used for food and leather boiled to make an edible jelly. Plants, grasses and weeds were put to use to produce vitamin supplements. Cannabilizing the dead was a major issue resulting in the Leningrad police department having a special unit to handle it.
Some supplies were able to be brought in over Lake Ladoga, but it was very small and not enough to alleviate the conditions in the city. Some were evacuated-mostly elderly and children-but many were unable to leave and starved and or froze to death. In June 1943 the Soviet Army was able break through the German blockade and establish a better supply line along the shores of Lake Ladoga. The city was kept alive through this and later an oil pipeline and electric cables were connected to the city despite the ongoing siege. When spring came in 1943, land was put to use so that by summer produce could be grown. The siege would end when the Soviet Army forced the German army to retreat in January 1944. The siege ended but the human toll was enormous. Over a million died. Survivors got the Order of Lenin in 1945. The population of Leningrad (now renamed to St. Petersburg) did not regain its former population of three million until the 1960’s.
St. Petersburg, Petrograd, Leningrad?
St. Petersburg was found in 1703 by Tsar Peter the Great and named after the apostle St. Peter. Until 1918, it served as capital of the Russian Empire when it was moved by the Bolsheviks to Moscow. The city was both a cultural center as well as the capital in old Russia. At the outbreak of World War I in 1914, the city was renamed Petrograd because of the strong anti-German sentiment and the fact its name contained two German words. In 1924 after Lenin’s death, the city was renamed for him, Leningrad. In 1991 a public referendum approved the renaming of the city back to St. Petersburg. The city is a major tourist destination owing to its cultural and historical significance. And old guidebook reminds the city is spread out, so be prepared to spend time going to and from the various historical sites. Summers can be warm and sometimes rainy (bring waterproof jackets and something to wear if it gets chilly as well). Winters are cold, so bring cold gear. Surprisingly St. Petersburg is not as cold as Moscow during the winter.
He came to Warrington in 1887 when he married Sarah Eleanor Pennington, from Winwick. The newly-weds lived in a cottage in the village until Captain Smith’s death in 1912. That year the celebrated Titanic set sail for New York with 1,316 passengers and 891 crew on board. A copy of the marriage licence is inside St Oswald’s Church in Winwick, after the original was stolen a number of years ago.
Award-winning storytellers and tour guides, Mostly Ghostly, presented a special Heroes of the Titanic tour last Friday, marking the birth of Thomas Mullin, a young man from Dumfries who was tragically lost in the disaster, on April 15 1912. Thomas, a Third Class Steward, was born on 26 August 1891 in Maxwelltown, and at the age of just 20, he perished in the sinking, along with his 21 year old school friend and Titanic Violinist, John (Jock) Law Hume, who famously played on with the band, as the ship lowered beneath the waves.
You never know what will turn up when you’re browsing at a flea market, searching through your attic or basement, going through an old barn or even looking through a boarded-up projection booth. Here are eight of the most surprising historical objects that people have ever found by accident.
(An interesting write-up of historical objects found in attics. Of course, Wallace Hartley’s violin makes the list. I had no idea that a missing Faberge egg that once was owned by Russian Tsar Alexander III ended up in a flea market and bought originally for its scrap value.)
The footage captures close-ups of the wreckage and decay, which shows details including a boiler which fell to the ocean’s floor when the Titanic broke in two, and the name of the anchor maker on the portside anchor which Titanic diver and expert Rory Golden says he had never seen before. “I’ve been studying the wreck for decades and have completed multiple dives, and I can’t recall seeing any other image showing this level of detail,” Mr Golden says.
September is the ninth month on the Gregorian and Julian calendars. On the old Roman calendar, September was the seventh month since their calendar started in March. When the calendar was revised to add January and February, the name Septem (meaning seven) remained. In the Northern Hemisphere, September is when autumn begins but in the southern half it is the first month of spring.
September is traditionally the start of the academic year for most schools, though some do start in late August. The Eastern Orthodox Church starts its liturgical year in September. The Autumnal Equinox takes place between September 22-24 and marks astronomically the first day of autumn. The first full moon of September is often called a Harvest Moon since many farmers begin harvesting crops that are harvested in the fall.
While daytime temperatures can remain warm during September, generally the nights start getting cooler and the sun starts setting much earlier. And generally, the sun starts come up later in the morning resulting in people going to work when it is still dark. The birthstone for September is the sapphire (represents clear thinking) The September flowers are the forget-me-not, morning glory, and the aster.
The Great Fire of London in 1666 would decimate London, result in its rebuilding, and changes in how buildings and streets were laid out in the city. Let’s find out more about it.
In 1666, London was a huge city and the capital of Britain. While many of the important homes and buildings were often made of stone, most homes and buildings were made of oak and often used tar to weatherproof them. Streets were also narrow with buildings close together making it hard for people and carts to move about on narrow streets. Sanitation was also poor since many people tossed their garbage-and chamber pots-into the street. The modern toilet had not been invented so most bodily waste went into these pots. Add to it horse manure on the streets, and most cities like London had some unpleasant odors especially in summertime.
Firefighting was also different back then. It comprised mainly of local bucket brigades and primitive water pumps on trucks. Since fire was considered a serious threat, people were told to be vigilant and make sure their homes were safe. However, as it turns out, people were not always so careful. On the evening of 1 September 1666 Thomas Farrinor, a baker employed by King Charles II on Pudding Lane, went to bed not making sure that the fire is his oven was properly extinguished. Sometime during the night sparks from the dying embers in the oven ignited firewood lying nearby. Not long after the house would soon become engulfed in flames. Farrinor and his family would flee and survive the fire. Sadly, a maid in the home did not survive as she did not want to jump out of the window.
Sparks from the fire would spread across the street to the Star Inn. It ignited the straw in the stables along with other combustibles and soon the inn was ablaze. The fire would spread from there to Thames Street. Warehouses on the riverfront would soon ignite as well. Full of candles, lamp oil, tallow and coal, the fire would grow larger and begin to spread. The local fire brigade was quickly overwhelmed and had to retreat. The primitive water fighting trucks of the time could barely navigate the streets. Panic ensued as people raced to the Thames with everything they owned. Attempts at using firebreaks by tearing down homes and buildings was tried but the fire overwhelmed them. The fire got so bright it could be seen 30 miles away. Finally on 5 September it started dying out and on the next day it was put out. There was one flare up in the Temple district but when a building containing gunpowder blew up with a powerful bang, the last remnants of the fire was over.
Four-fifths of London was destroyed and remarkably only 16 died. But 100,000 were homeless. The fire burned down the historic St. Paul’s Cathedral along with scores of other churches, buildings, and historic landmarks. King Charles II had a massive task to rebuild the city. He commissioned noted architect Sir Christopher Wren to rebuild St. Paul’s which still stands to this day. New homes and buildings had to be built with bricks and stones; wood was not allowed. And walls had to be thicker and buildings not so close together. Also, streets were widened and the old narrow streets and alleys banned. Access to the river was made easier as well by restricting housing that would block access. The homeless were suggested to go to other cities, towns, and villages outside of London to resettle. Economically it would take many years for London to recover. Most businesses had lost their premises and whatever goods were stored. The commercial district lost a lot of its businesses as they relocated elsewhere. London’s access to shipping routes and that it was the capital kept the city from completely losing its place in the world.
One of the more disturbing aftereffects was the strong anti-Catholic and anti-foreign sentiment that emerged. While most reasoned after studying how the fire began it was an accident, there were many who believed Catholics, Dutch, and French were involved. Opponents of pro- Catholic King Charles II made it an issue. That is why in the Monument that was put up in 1670’s had an inscription on it blaming the disaster on the “treachery and malice of the Popish faction.” This was removed in 1830 but at one time practicing Catholicism in England was forbidden and those who refused to recognize the sovereignty of the monarch over the Pope would be executed usually by the horrific method of being hung, drawn, and quartered.
Sadly, the rebuilding scheme did not reshape London as it was originally hoped. They kept pretty much the old layout. Had some of the plans suggested, such as Wren’s, London would have rivaled Paris. Insurance companies were born out of this disaster to help aid those who lost homes or buildings to fire. They began to hire private firemen and to promote safety measures with their clients. This did lead to conflicts with local fire brigades and the private firemen hired by these insurance companies. Ultimately it led a combined fire unit called the London Fire Brigade in 1832, which began the process of permanent fire departments being established to put out fires.
As for the man who started the fire, Thomas Farriner, he would rebuild his shop on Pudding Lane and continue baking until he passed away in 1670. Members of the Worshipful Company of Bakers in 1986 apologized for the fire and put up a plaque on Pudding Lane that one of their own had caused the Great Fire of 1666.
Labor Day is a U.S. federal holiday observed on the first Monday in September. It became a federal holiday in 1894 to celebrate workers and their achievements. It has also become the unofficial end of summer as schools have reopened and summer vacations have ended. As a federal holiday, all federal offices are closed as are banks and the stock market. All states celebrate it as well so state, county, and city offices are closed as well. Nearly all professional offices are closed and most construction workers have the day off as well. Retail and fast food employees do not get the day off except in areas where due to the holiday they get virtually no business.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
On 1 September 1939, German forces using the pretext they were acting in self-defense against Poland, invaded. The German infantry was not fully mechanized but had Panzers and fast-moving artillery that included truck mounted artillery. The German strategy was to quickly concentrate forces and encircle an enemy quickly. Thanks to the relatively flat terrain of Poland, it made it easy to move mobile infantry about. The invasion came one week after the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact on 23 August. This non-aggression pact meant neither side could assist the enemy of the other. A secret protocol to the agreement defined German and Soviet spheres in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland. This protocol would not be proved until the Nuremberg Trials. So, when Germany invaded, Poland was already split with defined borders between the two countries. With this pact, Poland signed defense agreements with Britain and France. Talks between those powers and Germany did take place and the invasion was held up until they were concluded. Hitler did not believe they would declare war, and if they did would be willing to compromise after the invasion of Poland. Germany wanted the restoration of Danzig (in Polish Gdansk) as a free city (it had a large German population), the Polish Corridor, and the safeguarding of Germans in Poland. Germany demanded that a Polish representative with the power to sign such an agreement be present. The British, remembering what happened before when Czechoslovakia was forced to capitulate to the Germans, did not like that demand. When the Polish representative met with Ribbentrop on 31 Aug, he was dismissed when he had no power to sign. The Germans then claimed that Poland had rejected their demands and Hitler ordered the invasion for 1 September. The Germans were better prepared for war than the Polish. They had higher numbers of troops and had air superiority. Poland had older fighters while the bombers were more modern. They waited too late to upgrade so newer fighters and bombers would not be there when the Germany invaded. Poland had two armor brigades and its 7TP light tank was better armed than the German Panzer. But they only had 140 of those and 88 tanks they imported from Britain and France. The Polish Navy was a small fleet with destroyers, submarines and support vessels. Most of the surface vessels escaped and joined the British Royal Navy. Submarines did engage German shipping in the Baltic Sea but it was not successful. Polish merchant ships that did escape or elsewhere would join the allies and take part in wartime convoys. By 3 October both German and Soviet forces had secured their spheres ending the Second Polish Republic. Both German and Soviet governments quickly took control of their territories, organizing and annexing, and setting up regional controls. Government and military leaders who did escape would form a military force in support of the Polish government-in-exile. In response to the invasion of Poland, Britain and France formally declared war on Germany on 3 September but little else (France did invade the Saar but quickly withdrew). ==
On the battleship Missouri in Tokyo Bay, the Japanese formally surrendered ending World War II. By this time Japan was no longer the military power it once was. The Battle of Midway in June 1942 had been the turning point when four Japanese aircraft carriers were sunk. Since then Japanese control over its captured territories were pushed back under massive effort of U.S. and Allied forces. By the summer of 1945, and with the capture of Okinawa, Japan was being blockaded and being bombed often. Plans for the invasion of Japan had been drawn up. After the bloody experience of capturing territory such as on Iwa Jima, it was expected to be a difficult invasion that would cost a lot of allied lives. However, the dropping of two atomic weapons on Japan in August on Hiroshima and Nagasaki changed things dramatically. Members of the Japanese War Council and Emperor Hirohito favored accepting the peace terms; some objected and acted to stop a surrender. On 15 Aug a coup was attempted against Prime Minister Suzuki, but it was crushed. At noon that day, and for the first time in Japanese history, Emperor Hirohito addressed the nation by radio. “We have resolved to pave the way for a grand peace for all the generations to come by enduring the unendurable and suffering what is insufferable.” The US and the allies accepted the surrender.
On the early morning of 1 Sept 1985, the wreck of the RMS Titanic was found 400 miles east of Newfoundland in North Atlantic by a joint U.S.-French expedition. The liner lay 13,000 feet below the surface of the ocean and its finding would excite the world that continues to this day.
Ever since Titanic sank in 1912, there have been many attempts in locating the wreck. However the depth of the ocean, the vastness of the search area, and technological limitations made that impossible. Robert Ballard, a former Naval officer and oceanographer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts had tried in 1977 without success. In 1985, Ballard along with French oceanographer Jean-Louis Michel, decided to set out in search of the wreck using more sophisticated technology to help locate the wreck.
This time they were equipped with more sophisticated technology to aid them in seeing what was on the ocean floor. The Argo, an unmanned and experimental submersible sent photographs up to the research vessel Knorr. And on the morning of 1 September, while investigating debris on the ocean floor, it passed over a massive boiler that came from Titanic. The following day the wreck of the ship was found and that it had split in two with a debris field between the stern and forward sections, The ship and much of the debris was in good shape despite being down there since 1912. The discovery electrified the world and confirmed (but was discounted in the British enquiry) that Titanic had split in two. Unmanned submersibles were sent down to look at the wreck giving us the first look at the ship in its watery grave. The images are just as haunting today as they were back then.
The use of the submersibles for this type of deep diving to wrecks opened up a new world of exploring shipwrecks outside of the normal diving depth humans could endure. Ultimately manned submersibles would be developed to allow researchers to slowly descend to those great depths and study the wreck of Titanic and other ships as well. While genuine controversy exists over the later salvage of Titanic (Ballard was not part of that and opposed it), the discovery of the wreck and the technology used to find it has opened up new worlds in seeing the fascinating world in our oceans.