Historic Front Page News (Part 1)

The Big News!

That dramatic large font displays often horrific or jubilant news on the front page of your local newspaper. This is fading away, replaced by alerts on your smartphone. I thought I would simply re-cap some of these historic highlights.

April 14, 1912 – RMS Titanic was a British passenger liner, operated by the White Star Line, which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean after striking an iceberg during her maiden voyage from Southampton, UK, to New York City, United States.

Titanic Disaster

The ship burned an estimated 825 tons of coal per day. The Titanic was far from a light craft, weighing some 46,000 tons. This behemoth of a vessel burned a reported 825 tons of coal per day in 159 furnaces that heated 29 boilers.

Of the estimated 2,224 passengers and crew aboard, more than 1,500 died, making it the deadliest sinking of a single ship up to that time. It remains the deadliest peacetime sinking of a superliner or cruise ship.

Titanic Disaster

The number of lifeboats the Titanic was equipped to carry was 64 but was only equipped with 20 for the voyage. The number of people on board the first lifeboat was 28, which had a capacity of 65 people.

The disaster drew public attention, provided foundational material for the disaster film genre, and inspired many artistic works.

Titanic Disaster

The Titanic lies 12,600 feet underwater. The ruins of the Titanic lie nearly 2.5 miles beneath the surface of the ocean, approximately 370 miles off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. The ship broke in two, and the gap between the bow and the stern is about 2,000 feet in the sea bed.

December 7, 1941 – The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise military strike by the Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service upon the United States against the naval base at Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Territory of Hawaii, just before 8:00 a.m., on Sunday, December 7, 1941.

The United States was a neutral country at the time; the attack led to its formal entry into World War II the next day. Japan intended the attack as a preventive action. Its aim was to prevent the United States Pacific Fleet from interfering with its planned military actions in Southeast Asia against overseas territories of the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and those of the United States.

Cook Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller

Though caught off guard, U.S. service members fought back hard and managed to fire more than 284,000 rounds of ammunition at the Japanese attackers. One of the most outstanding heroes was Cook Third Class Doris “Dorie” Miller, who took over a 50-caliber Browning anti-aircraft machine gun on the U.S.S. West Virginia, and despite his inexperience with the weapon, managed to shoot down between four and six Japanese planes before being ordered to abandon ship. He later became the first African-American to receive the Navy Cross.
Miller was killed in action in 1943.

The attack commenced at 7:48 a.m. Hawaiian Time. The base was attacked by 353 Imperial Japanese aircraft (including fighters, level, and dive bombers, and torpedo bombers) in two waves, launched from six aircraft carriers. Of the eight US Navy battleships present, all were damaged, with four sunk.

All but USS Arizona were later raised, and six were returned to service and went on to fight in the war. The Japanese also sank or damaged three cruisers, three destroyers, an anti-aircraft training ship, and one minelayer. More than 180 US aircraft were destroyed. 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 others were wounded.


The U.S.S. Arizona, which was moored next to a repair ship when the attack began, was struck by several Japanese bombs and exploded in flames as it sank. More than 1,100 service members were killed, including Rear Admiral Isaac C. Kidd and the ship’s commanding officer, Captain Franklin Van Valkenburgh.

Important base installations such as the power station, dry dock, shipyard, maintenance, and fuel and torpedo storage facilities, as well as the submarine piers and headquarters building (also home of the intelligence section) were not attacked. Japanese losses were light: 29 aircraft and five midget submarines were lost, and 64 servicemen were killed. Kazuo Sakamaki, the commanding officer of one of the submarines, was captured.

A date which will live in infamy……..As Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I have directed that all measures be taken for our defense. But always will our whole nation remember the character of the onslaught against us.
No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.
I believe that I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost, but will make it very certain that this form of treachery shall never again endanger us.
Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory, and our interests are in grave danger.
With confidence in our armed forces, with the unbounding determination of our people, we will gain the inevitable triumph—so help us God.
I ask that the Congress declare that since the unprovoked and dastardly attack by Japan on Sunday, December 7th, 1941, a state of war has existed between the United States and the Japanese empire.

President Franklin Roosevelt – in an address to the nation
December 8, 1941

May 25, 1961 – The Apollo 11 mission occurred eight years after President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. Apollo 17, the final manned moon mission, took place in 1972.

I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth

President Kennedy (Speach to a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961)

Saturn V

The Saturn V was a super heavy-lift launch vehicle developed by NASA under the Apollo program for human exploration of the Moon. The rocket was human-rated, with three stages, and powered with liquid fuel. It was flown from 1967 to 1973. It was used for nine crewed flights to the Moon, and to launch Skylab, the first American space station.

At the time, the United States was still trailing the Soviet Union in space developments, and Cold War-era America welcomed Kennedy’s bold proposal. In 1966, after five years of work by an international team of scientists and engineers, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) conducted the first unmanned Apollo mission, testing the structural integrity of the proposed launch vehicle and spacecraft combination.

American in Space

On 5 May 1961, Alan Shepard became the first
American in space, as part of Project Mercury.

May 6, 1937 – The Hindenburg disaster was an airship accident that occurred in Manchester Township, New Jersey, United States. The German passenger airship LZ 129 Hindenburg caught fire and was destroyed during its attempt to dock with its mooring mast at Naval Air Station Lakehurst.

Not the Deadliest

The deadliest incident occurred when the helium-filled USS Akron, a U.S. Navy airship, crashed off the coast of New Jersey in a severe storm on April 4, 1933. Seventy-three men were killed, and only three survived. The 1930 crash of the British military airship R101, which claimed 48 lives, was also deadlier.

The accident caused 35 fatalities (13 passengers and 22 crewmen) from the 97 people on board (36 passengers and 61 crewmen), and an additional fatality on the ground. The disaster was the subject of newsreel coverage, photographs, and Herbert Morrison’s recorded radio eyewitness reports from the landing field, which were broadcast the next day.

Light Up

Despite being filled with 7 million cubic feet of highly combustible hydrogen gas, the Hindenburg featured a smoking room. Passengers were unable to bring matches and personal lighters aboard the zeppelin, but they could buy cigarettes and Cuban cigars on board and light up in a room pressurized to prevent any hydrogen from entering. A steward admitted passengers and crew through a double-door airlock into the smokers’ lounge, which had a single electric lighter, and made sure no one left with a lit cigarette or pipe.

A variety of hypotheses have been put forward for both the cause of ignition and the initial fuel for the ensuing fire. The publicity shattered public confidence in the giant, passenger-carrying rigid airship and marked the abrupt end of the airship era.

Further Reading


USA Today
Vintage Everyday

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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