Following up on yesterday’s mention of All Saints Day – November 2nd in Catholic liturgy is All Souls Day and commemorates the faithful departed.
In Western Christianity, this day is observed principally in the Catholic Church, although some churches of the Anglican Communion and the Old Catholic Churches also celebrate it. I believe the Eastern Orthodox churches observe several All Souls’ Days during the year. The Roman Catholic celebration is associated with the doctrine that the souls of the faithful who at death have not been cleansed completely from the temporal punishment and thus cannot immediately attain the beatific vision in heaven, and that they may be helped to do so by prayer and by the sacrifice of the Mass.] In other words, when they died, they had not yet attained full sanctification and moral perfection, a requirement for entrance into Heaven. This sanctification is carried out posthumously in what is called Purgatory.
Historically, the Western tradition identifies the general custom of praying for the dead dating as far back as 2 Maccabees 12:42-46. The custom of setting apart a special day for intercession for certain of the faithful on November 2 was first established by St. Odilo of at his abbey of Cluny in 998. From Cluny the custom spread to the other houses of the Cluniac order, which became the largest and most extensive network of monasteries in Europe. The celebration was soon adopted in several dioceses in France, and spread throughout the Western Church. It was accepted in Rome only in the fourteenth century.
On this day in history:
619 – – – – A gaghan of the Western Turkic Khaganate is assassinated in a Chinese palace by Eastern Turkic rivals after approval is given by Tang emperor Gaozu. “Gaghan” in a title of imperial rank in the Turkic and Mongolian languages equal to the title of emperor – someone who rules a khaganate (empire).
1675 – – – Plymouth Colony governor Josiah Winslow leads a colonial militia against the Narragansett during King Philip’s War. King Philip’s War was an armed conflict in 1675-78 between Indian inhabitants of New England and the colonists and their Indian allies. The colonists insisted that the peace agreement in 1671 should include the surrender of Indian guns; then three Wampanoags were hanged for murder in Plymouth Colony in 1675 which increased the tensions. Colonial militia and Indian raiding parties spread over Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Maine over the next six months. The Narragansetts remained neutral, but several individual Narragansetts participated in raids of colonial strongholds and militia, so colonial leaders deemed the Narragansetts to be in violation of peace treaties. They assembled the largest colonial army that New England had yet mustered, consisting of 1,000 militia and 150 Indian allies, and Governor Josiah Winslow marshaled them to attack the Narragansetts in November 1675. They attacked and burned Indian villages throughout Rhode Island territory, culminating with the attack on the Narragansetts’ main fort.. An estimated 150 Narragansetts were killed, many of them women and children. The war was the greatest calamity to occur in seventeenth-century New England and is considered by many to be the deadliest war in the history of American colonization. In the space of little more than a year, 12 of the region’s towns were destroyed and many more were damaged, the economy of Plymouth and Rhode Island Colonies was all but ruined and their population was decimated, losing one-tenth of all men available for military service. More than half of New England’s towns were attacked by Indians. King Philip’s War began the development of an independent American identity. The New England colonists faced their enemies without support from any outside government or military, and this gave them a group identity separate and distinct from Britain. 889 – – – North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.
1899 – – – The Boers begin their 118-day siege of British-held Ladysmith during the Second Boer War.
1912 – – – Bulgaria defeats the Ottoman Empire in the Battle of Lule Burgas, the bloodiest battle of the First Balkan War, which opened for Bulgaria the way to Constantinople.
1914 – – – World War I – The Russian Empire declares war on the Ottoman Empire and the Dardanelles are subsequently closed.
1917 – – – (a) The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the clear understanding “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities”. (b) The Military Revolutionary Committee of the Petrograd Soviet, in charge of preparation and carrying out of the Russian Revolution, holds its first meeting.
1920 – – – KDKA – Pittsburgh – starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station.
1940 – – – World War II – First day of Battle of Elaia-Kalamas between the Greeks and Italians.
1947 – – – Howard Hughes performs maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (the “Spruce Goose”), the seaplane was the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built. The flight was just off-shore in Long Beach, California. The flight lasted 26 seconds at 70 feet off the water at a speed of 135 miles per hour. Although I have no memory (beyond news reels) my father took 3-year-old me to Bluff Park that morning to watch the “flight.” The little black-and-white picture of us looking out beyond the handrail of the Park does not show the plane.
If you do watch videos of the Spruce Goose taxing and short flight you see things I do remember growing up. The Long Beach Harbor – then home to the large Long Beach Naval Base – always had warships off Long Beach anchored or coming and going throughout the 1940s and 50s. And, indeed I can remember times when some of us went down to the beach after school to watch the touch-and-go practice lands and take offs of PBY Catalinas just off the beach. And, of course, there were the incoming and outgoing warships to watch as well as the small craft taking sailors to and from their ships. Maybe we didn’t have video games and other electronic distractions but there were always memorable attractions – naval operations in the harbor and military aircraft from the Long Beach Douglas Aircraft plant constantly flying overhead on test flights. Man did the early B-66s leave a long and dark trail of smoke behind them on take-off. As for the PBYs I think by that time (by the time I can remember things) the remaining PBYs were in the hands of the Naval Reserve.
1951 – – – (a) 6,000 British troops flown into Egypt to quell unrest in the Suez Canal zone. (b) Korean War – A platoon of The Royal Canadian Regiment defends a vital area against a full battalion of Chinese troops in the Battle of the Song-gok Spur.
1959 – – – Quiz show scandals – Twenty-One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional Committee that he had been given questions and answers in advance.
1960 – – – Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R v Penguin Books Ltd., the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.
1963 – – – South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated following a military coup.
1964 – – – King Saud of Saudi Arabia is deposed by a family coup, and replaced by his half-brother Faisal.
1965 – – – Norman Morrison, a 31-year-old Quaker, sets himself on fire in front of the river entrance to the Pentagon to protest the use of napalm in the Vietnam War. Morrison was survived by his wife and three children.
1983 – – – President Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
1988 – – – The Morris worm, the first Internet-distributed computer worm to gain significant mainstream media attention, is launched from MIT.
2016 – – – The Chicago Cubs defeat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, ending the longest Major League Baseball championship drought at 108 years.
Composed by Robert A. McConnell
Any opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and not necessarily those of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.