MARCH VIDEOS and HIGHLIGHTS
at Awesome Stories
In This Issue
HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!
FROM THE EDITOR
Have you ever wondered about the origins of St. Patrick's Day? Here's a bit of background.
Much of what we know about St. Patrick comes from his own writings (the Confessio and Epistola). He called himself a "most humble-minded man."
Historians say he was born in Britain, near the end of the fourth century, to wealthy parents. When he was sixteen, a group of Irish raiders captured him during an attack on his family's estate. He ended up in Ireland, a captive for six years. During that time he was a shepherd, lonely and afraid. Turning to religion, for support and solace, he became a devout Christian.
Escaping to Britain - after a long walk to the coast - Patrick spent time with his family, then took religious training in France. He returned to Ireland, doing his best to convert the Irish to Christianity. It is believed he died, in what is now Northern Ireland, on the 17th of March in approximately 460.
His religious feast day - commemorating the likely day of his death - became a modern secular holiday. In 1766, ten years before Britain's colonies in America declared their independence, Irish immigrants held the first St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York City. Currently, people in some cities and towns dye their rivers and streams "green" to celebrate the day. Even fountains at the White House now feature green water.
March is not just about shamrocks and the "luck o'the Irish," however. Let's take a look at some of the videos and stories we are featuring this month.
Despite its humble budget, of $15 million, "The King's Speech" is a major motion picture. On February 27th, it captured four major Academy Awards. Learn the real story, behind the film, with videos, images, audio clips and more.
THE speech, from "The King's Speech," is an address which George VI gave to his people on September 3, 1939. Britain's prime minister had just declared war on Germany, and His Majesty wanted to put things in perspective (while keeping everyone as calm as possible). The link takes you to that speech.
"THE FIGHTER" - NOTE: Link will be active on March 3
"The Fighter," a film about Micky Ward and his brother Dicky Ward also won major Academy Awards (for best supporting actor and actress) on February 27th. Our story behind the movie - including videos and images - will be available on March 3.
"MILDRED PIERCE" - NOTE: Link will be active on March 25
HBO is launching a new mini-series, starring Kate Winslett in the title role, on March 27th. Based on the novel by James M. Cain, "Mildred Pierce" features life in California during the Great Depression. Our story behind the series, including videos and archival footage, will be available just before the series' first episode.
"UNBROKEN" - STORY BEHIND THE BESTSELLER" - NOTE: Link will be active March 23
Awesome Stories is venturing into new areas, including stories behind best-selling books. Our story behind "Unbroken," by Laura Hillenbrand, will take you on a virtual journey as you learn more about Louis Zamperini. From his days as an Olympic athlete (when he competed in Berlin), to the Pacific Theater (during WWII) and his adventures thereafter (he is still alive and in his 90s), you will see the places featured in Hillenbrand's moving tribute.
Stieg Larsson remains a best-selling author, although he never lived to see (or enjoy) his worldwide success. Although he died before his "Millenium Trilogy" became a publishing phenomenon, Lisbeth Salander ("the girl with the dragon tattoo") and Mikael Blomkvist (the journalist who helps her) are part of today's popular culture.
Who was Stieg Larsson? Did he use models for his lead characters? What were his politics? Did politics influence his stories? Where are those hard-to-pronounce places? Join us for a pictorial journey behind "the dragon tattoo," "the fire" and "the hornets' nest."
Political unrest, and uprisings for freedom, are in the news these days. The same issues were in the news when John Quincy Adams told the U.S. Supreme Court that men and women will do just about anything to be free. Step back in time to see for yourself.
NEWSFLASH - IRISH-BASED DOCUMENTARIES at Awesome Stories
Awesome Stories and the radio documentary division of RTE (Ireland's National Television and Radio Broadcaster) are teaming-up to profile some of RTE's award-winning documentaries via Awesome Stories. Stay tuned as we work out the details and select the topics ...
In case you missed it ... Awesome Stories, and the site's editor, were featured in a major news profile. Take a look at the story and its pictures.
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Because it's much easier to share our newsletters with a stand-alone URL (rather than as an email), we have created a separate URL for this month's edition. We will activate the link, reflected above, soon after the email version is sent.
SITE SIGNUP and LOGIN
Our tech team has simplified the sign-up and log-in process on the site. Since you need both a username AND password for the new site, be sure to convert your old password. Just follow the instructions on the relevant page.
QUICK CLIPS from the VIDEO ARCHIVES
On the 1st of March, 1692, Sarah Goode, Sarah Osborne and a servant named Tituba were arrested for "witchcraft" in the village of Salem. The situation led to one of the darkest times in early American history. What caused the hysteria demonstrated in the "Salem Witch Trials?
Following heavy RAF bombardment on the German city of Dresden, during February of 1945, America's 8th Air Force bombed the city - again - on the 2nd of March. Not just reduced to rubble, Dresden - according to one of its city officials - had been "smashed to atoms.
On the 3rd of March - 1933 - John Dillinger was in the Lake County jail, in Crown Point (Indiana). Reportedly using a homemade gun, which he'd fashioned from a wooden washboard, Dillinger escaped confinement. After his jail break, Dillinger stole a car - the sheriff's - and drove it over state lines. That was a federal offense, enabling J. Edgar Hoover and the special agents of the Bureau of Investigation (the predecessor of the FBI) to pursue Dillinger.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt was the last American president to take the oath of office in March. Thereafter, a constitutional amendment moved inaugural dates to January 20th. Becoming president during a time of national crisis, FDR told the American people (and the people of the world): "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
On the 5th of March, 1946, Winston Churchill was no longer Prime Minister of Britain. He'd been voted-out of office the year before, but Churchill was never really out of politics. Invited to give a speech in Fulton, Missouri, the elder statesman coined the phrase of an era when he said that an "iron curtain has descended across the Continent."
Before Anne Sullivan became her teacher, Helen Keller was incorrigibly unruly. Locked inside a dark world, where she could neither see nor hear, the child caused major disruptions in her family's life. Then ... on the 3rd of March, 1887, Sullivan joined the Keller household. Step by step, she began to help Helen change her world.
On the 5th of March, 1922, "Nosferatu" - a silent film based on Bram Stoker's "Dracula," premiered in Berlin. For many film scholars, the work still defines the horror genre.
During March of 1945, American B-29 bombers began to fly incendiary-bomb missions over Tokyo. Move the video forward - to 3:45 - to see what happened to the Japanese people, and their capital city, on the night of March 9/10, 1945.
On the 15th of March - in 44 B.C. - Julius Caesar (dictator of Rome) was assassinated by three of his close associates. This animated version, of Shakespeare's play, summarizes what happened on that world-changing day.
On the 15th of March, 1962, five research groups announced the discovery of anti-matter. What is anti-matter? Can scientists create it in CERN's "Large Hadron Collider?
In the 1960s, an Irish teacher named Peig Cunningham - who worked in North Dublin - duped her elementary-aged students into thinking their class recitations would be heard on the radio. Improbably ... they were, decades later. Then ... one of those audio recordings, about St. Patrick, was used to create an animation about Ireland's patron saint. We provide a clip for your St. Patrick's Day enjoyment.
Originally published on March 20, 1852, "Uncle Tom's Cabin" - a book by Harriet Beecher Stowe - was vitally important as an American anti-slavery tool during the country's pre-civil war years. In recent times, however, negative views of the work (and its stereotypical characters) have overshadowed its contemporary significance.
Einstein was a patent clerk, working in Bern, when he published a remarkable paper in March of 1905. The flow of time, said Einstein, is relative. The faster you move, the slower your clock ticks compared to that of a stationary observer. Hardly anyone believed him, but that Theory of Special Relativity (and others which followed in his "Miracle Year") changed the world.
On the 26th of March, 1827, Ludwig van Beethoven died a very painful death. What happened to cause his death - and - how did he spend his last months?
Beethoven died on the 26th of March, 1827. Still regarded as one of the most important composers in the world, Beethoven was a legend in his own lifetime. In this clip, go back in time to the early days of television to watch Leonard Bernstein explain Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
The world's worst airline accident happened on the island of Tenrife, in the Canaries, on the 27th of March, 1977. Although 583 people died (when two Boeing 747s collided as one of them tried to take-off), some individuals aboard one of the planes - a Pan American jet - survived. This video includes their stories and recreates what happened when KLM Flight 4805 struck Pan Am Flight 1736.
A few months after his first inauguration, President Reagan was leaving a Washington D.C. building when shots rang out. It was the 30th of March, 1981. Historical footage of the attempted assassination, as it happened, was somehow filed away - then rediscovered, twenty-five years later. This clip, of that event, depicts the chaotic situation which ensued immediately after the shooting.
After he recovered from his very serious injuries, President Reagan describes what happened during the attempted assassination and its ensuing events.
Yellowstone became America's first national park on the 1st of March, 1872. Take a look at how the park - and other areas of unspoiled beauty - appeared at the time.
The Republic of Texas declared its independence from Mexico on March 2, 1836. A few days later - on March 6 - the Alamo fell. The massacre led to the rally cry: "Remember the Alamo!" Thanks to the Texas State Archives, significant primary sources help us to study the events.
On the 3rd of March, 1933, Mt. Rushmore was dedicated. What made anyone decide to carve the heads of presidents on the side of a mountain?
One of the most remarkable people who ever lived, Helen Keller overcame many obstacles as she learned how to communicate. Not only that, she worked around blindness and deafness to graduate from college, write books and travel the world. Her whole world changed, in March of 1887, when Annie Sullivan showed her how to talk with her fingers.
On the 9th of March, 1841, the U.S. Supreme Court set the Amistad captives free. They were not slaves, said the court, and they should be free to return to their own country. A former American President - John Quincy Adams - represented the Amistad captives and had eloquently argued for their release. The high court's decision was not cheered by everyone.
On the 10th of March, in a disputed year, Harriet Tubman was born "Araminta Ross." She became one of the most famous "conductors" of the Underground Railroad. What, exactly, was the underground railroad - and - how did it work?
With the world already at war, something even more terrible developed during March of 1918. Soldiers in Kansas began to get sick - really sick. Their illness, which soon spread to various places throughout the world, eventually caused more deaths than all the fighting of World War I. That illness is now known as "Spanish Flu."
Nathaniel Hawthorne published his famous novel, "The Scarlet Letter," on the 16th of March, 1850. Was the author thinking about his great-great grandfather - one of three judges who determined that residents of Salem were witches (and condemned them to death) - when he wrote his story? And ... might that be the reason why he changed the spelling of his last name?
The legends of St. Patrick's day go beyond "wearing of the green." Before all the celebrations, and stories about shamrocks, a real person lived and died in Ireland. Who was St. Patrick? (Hint ... he wasn't born Irish.)
In March of 1886, Dr. John Pemberton created a secret formula for a drink he called Coca-Cola. A few years later, he sold his rights to the product for a mere $2,000. Until 1905, the popular drink contained the cocaine alkaloid.
During the apartheid years, South Africans were required to carry passbooks - in their own country. On the 21st of March, 1960, unarmed people were protesting the hated laws when a massacre erupted. After the police stopped firing on the crowd, 69 people were dead and 180 more were wounded. Today, South Africa remembers the event on "Human Rights Day."
A Dutchman named Christiaan Huygens made a remarkable discovery on March 25, 1655. With the use of his relatively powerful telescope, he "found" Titan, Saturn's largest moon.
On the 27th of March, 1775, a man who did not enjoy public speaking was elected to the Continental Congress. Because of that reluctance to speak, in public, Thomas Jefferson became known as "the silent member" of Congress. Who was he?
During his lifetime, Vincent van Gogh's art did not sell. After his death, by suicide, people recognized his genius. On the 30th of March, 1987, a single van Gogh painting - "Vase with 15 Sunflowers" - sold for $39.5 million. Have a look.
On the 30th of March, 1867, America purchased Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million. William Seward, wounded in an assassination attempt the night President Lincoln was killed, had lived long enough to see one of his greatest dreams come true. Not everyone agreed that buying Alaska made sense. To some, the purchase was known as "Seward's Folly." See the original purchase documents, including the paid "warrant."
On the 31st of March, 1776, Abigail Adams wrote a letter to her husband. John was one of five delegates, to the Continental Congress, charged with writing a "Declaration of Independence" from Great Britain. Penning her letter while in Braintree (Massachusetts), Abigail urged her husband to "remember the ladies" in the declaration of freedom. He did not follow her advice, signing on to a document which only asserts that "all men are created equal."
The site has a blazing-fast search for each database. Choose the one you need (images, videos, audio, etc.), and you will immediately get the "search" feature for that database. "Search," at the top right of the site, is for story text.
If it's on the site, you'll find it.