HISTORY WORTH REMEMBERING Andy Hollifield 1-17-18
Once again we have one of those days, actually two in a row, that seems to have been jam-packed with historical events over the years, many of which had a direct and longterm effect on our country. The big headline on January 16th, 1919 was that prohibition took effect giving rise to yet another high dollar, black market, industry that made a lot of people rich and costed many others their freedom. In the south, this also helped the expansion of homegrown “corn sqeezin’s” or moonshine. The men that drove the specialized cars that transported the product to local dives or “speakeasies (drinking places)” was in large part the origin of yet another billion dollar industry, NASCAR.
Also, on the 16th in 1979, the Shah of Iran fled the country during a massive overthrow of his regime. In October of that year, the Shah entered the US for cancer treatment. Militants in Iran stormed the US embassy taking 66 Americans hostage on November 4, 1979. The new regime in Iran decided to bring the exiled Shah back to be tried for his crimes. The US would not negotiate with the new Iranian leaders. Thirteen of the hostages were released from November 19-20 and one was released in July 1980. The remaining 52 hostages were held for 444 days until January 20, 1981 when they were turned over to American custody only moments after President elect Ronald Reagan was sworn into office. He had successfully campaigned against incumbent president Jimmy Carter with the promise of doing whatever was necessary to bring an end to the hostage crisis.
Also on the 16th in 1992, the Persian Gulf War began at 7:00 PM following the expiration of a UN deadline for the withdrawal of Iraqi troops from Kuwait. Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein refused even with the knowledge that a US led attack would be imminent. On the same date in 1945, probably the most evil war criminal known to man, Adolph Hitler, descended into his bunker where him and his new wife Eva Braun alledgedly committed suicide by swallowing cyanide capsules only hours after they were married. After taking the capsule, Hitler then shot himself in the head. He was personally responsible for terrorizing the world and especially for killing millions of Jews in gas chambers, furnaces, and by firing squads in his concentration camps. The US forces led by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower liberated five camps while the British and Soviets liberated others.
On the 17th, The Battle Of Cowpens, South Carolina took place in 1781. In 1953, Chevrolet unveiled the Corvette at the GM Motorama auto show at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City. In 1961, WW2 hero and later president Dwight D. Eisenhower gave his farewell address to the country. In 1950, the great Brinks armored car robbery took place in Boston, Massachusetts at the Brinks armored car depot. It was a near perfect crime pulled off by 11 men. They were not caught until January 1956 only days before the statute of limitations for the robbery ran out. In 1994, the Northridge quake which registered 6.7 on the Richter scale and killed 54 people rocked the city of Los Angeles causing billions of dollars in damage. In 1977 serial killer Gary Gilmore was executed by a firing squad for double murder in Utah. In sports, the PGA was formed on this day in 1916. And finally in 1994, former Arkansas state clerk Paula Jones filed a defamation suit against President Bill Clinton for sexual harassment while he was governor of Arkansas. Her claim was that the president had defamed her after she went public with her accusations.
Philosopher George Santayana once said, “Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it.” As you have seen from some of the things that took place in history on the 16th and 17th of January, we have a lot of stuff in this country that we would do well not to repeat. Psalms 9:17 said it best when it said “The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.” We have definitely arrived at such a time. I am glad that God is not worried or wringing his hands wondering what to do but he is still in control. John 6:37 says “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” We need to do as Isaiah said in Isaiah 55:6-7 “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: (7) Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” We can’t rewrite history although there are many that try. What we can do as God’s people is to obey 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and heal their land.” Matthew 5:16 contains the words of Jesus when he said, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” We may not change the world, but we can change our little corner of it. The area that we take up is what we are responsible for. The souls of the people we are around are hanging in the balance. I know that God doesn’t need us in order to save them, but it is our responsibility to lift up Jesus before them and he said he would draw them to him. As you go about today, remember to make the most of it. It can’t be repeated and when it’s over, it will be gone forever. It can’t be changed because God has a record book. Whatever you do today, you are making history. Make it something worth looking back on. Have a blessed day in the Lord!!!