As the start of the federal government’s most ambitious vaccination program approaches, it is worth taking a second look at the history of similar campaigns in the past. Since most of the media and government health officials constantly laud vaccine successes, this article will dwell more on the stories that are not as widely disseminated.
September, 9 A.D., Kalkriese Hill, northern Germany: the Germanic warriors waited in grim silence. Three Roman legions, commanded by General Publius Quintilius Varus, advanced across the Rhine into Anglo-Saxon territory. The Romans hoped to expand Roman power, Roman law, and Roman culture. The Germans hoped to preserve their Teutonic laws and institutions and their way of life.
May 1917 was a time of troubles. In France the titanic Battle of Arras was raging. The United States, which had declared war on Germany the previous month, was in the process of drafting millions of men, more than 100,000 of whom would lose their lives. The great empire of Russia was in turmoil, its Czar, Nicholas II having abdicated the throne in February in response to the first of two revolutions. The second revolution — the October bloodbath that would thrust those living under Russian rule under the heel of Bolshevism — lay only months away.
Most Americans today would probably still recognize the stirring words from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Concord Hymn”: “By the rude bridge that arched the flood,/ Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,/ Here once the embattled farmers stood,/ And fired the shot heard round the world.” Most of us are still aware that those embattled farmers won for us the freedoms we too often take for granted today.
In the midst of public outcry over the decision by Scottish authorities to free Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, convicted in 1991 for his involvement in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, the anniversary of an older case of state-sponsored terrorism, the shooting down by KAL 007 by Soviet jet fighters in 1983, is almost forgotten by the media and public.
Arielle Levin Becker of the Washington Post wrote about John Philip Sousa’s professional stature as regards his past association with the Marine Corps Band: If there’s any question about the place Sousa has in the band’s memory, a visit to the director’s office settles any doubts.
On a particular fall day in 1889, the members of the Ogden Rifle Club of Ogden, Utah, were out in force. The men were target shooting, but doubtless found the brilliant fall colors of aspens and oaks on the high peaks of the Wasatch Range a distraction.
George Washington, Nathan Hale, Thomas Paine, Sam Adams, Patrick Henry: heroes whose names will live as long as liberty does. Yet behind the Founding Fathers and their immortal writings, speeches, and deeds stand hundreds of thousands of ordinary patriots who struggled as sacrificially as their famous contemporaries — and sometimes more.
A premonition of death hovered over the medieval section of Warsaw. Surrounded by a 10-foot wall of brick and barbed wire, the most run-down section of Poland’s capital was packed with some 500,000 Jews, nearly 10 times the number of people it originally housed. The time was October 1940, and the curtain had descended upon the Jews in Nazi-occupied Warsaw.