Guano

Lead: As world population grew in the years before and after 1800 so did the demand for food. At the same time, much farm acreage was depleted, tired, unproductive. This problem was solved in part with guano.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Guano is bird excrement. Grouped with the droppings of bats and seals it is perhaps the most potent natural fertilizer, and bird guano is the primo variety containing up to 16% nitrogen, 12% phosphorus, and 3% potassium. In the mid 19th century, guano was treated as if it were gold, provoked at least one fighting war, and made enormous fortunes for growers and suppliers alike.

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Truman and MacArthur

 
Lead: By firing Douglas MacArthur President Harry Truman was forced to endure a fire-storm of criticism but in doing so strengthened the constitutional office of commander-in-chief.

Intro: "A Moment in Time" with Dan Roberts.

Content: After nearly being thrown off the peninsula during the previous summer, by fall 1950 victorious United Nations forces mostly Americans were moving back into North Korea. Things went very well until Thanksgiving when China entered the war and her troops forced the allies into another demoralizing retreat. This continued until late winter when under Matthew Ridgeway the Eighth Army recouped its losses and began to move slowly back north. When they reached the vacinity of the 38th parallel, Harry Truman felt the time was ripe for a cease-fire inplace. Theater commander Gen. Douglas MacArthur disagreed and without permission from Washington began to issue public statements on his own threatening and taunting the Chinese. In addition he allowed himself to be used in a not-so-subtle public attempt to undermine the policy of his Commander-in-Chief. A letter from MacArthur to the Republican leader was read on the floor of the House of Representatives. In it he said that if we were not in Korea to win the administration should be indicted for the murder of American boys. It was clear that despite his military leadership and tactical genius, MacArthur was becoming a loose cannon and a serious liability to American policy. After much consultation and with the unanimous support of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Truman fired him.

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Video Gets Memory

Lead: In the early days, television was very exciting. It had one major problem. No memory. Once broadcast, a live television program was gone.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The networks had devised a way of filming live telecasts. The machine was a kinescope, actually a 35 mm movie camera which filmed live East Coast television for rebroadcast programs three hours later in the West. “Kines” were grainy, had trouble getting the television picture in sync with the movie camera, and were very expensive. By 1954 the networks were using more movie film than Hollywood.

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Galveston Hurricane 1900 II

Lead: Winds raged at more than one hundred miles an hour. Houses were crumbling right and left. Flood waters stormed through the town. The Great Hurricane of September 1900 was paying a visit on Galveston, Texas.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Weatherman Isaac Cline, his wife, Cora, their three children and his brother Joe were all huddled in the family home when, suddenly, a streetcar trestle slammed into the side of the house causing their home to collapse. Joe and two of the children quickly escaped through a window. Joe called for his brother, but the other three were trapped against the chimney under the wreckage. Suddenly, the wreckage shifted and the little group was thrown upward, but that was hardly a comfort. A flash of lightening revealed one of Isaac’s daughters clinging to a piece of debris and his brother and other children in the distance. Cora was gone. The next few hours were a nightmare. At one point, the group was sucked out to sea. Screams punched through the howling winds. Acts of bravery were commonplace as residents pulled bodies from underneath crushing beams and helped others dodge falling electrical lines.

 

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Galveston Hurricane 1900 I

Lead: It was September 7, 1900. The citizens of Galveston, Texas slept peacefully unaware they were about to become actors in one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. History.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Weatherman Isaac Cline took a leisurely stroll admiring the colorful streets and sandy white beaches of Galveston, Texas. He had been in the resort town for eleven years and working for the U.S. Weather Service for 18. That Friday he had gotten some worrisome news. A major hurricane was headed his way. Strange. The sky was blue, and the barometric pressure had fallen only slightly.

 

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Two Flags Over Iwo Jima II

 

Lead: The taking of Iwo Jima was a blood bath on both sides, but the US Marines were inspired to even greater sacrifice when, on the fourth day of fighting, the Stars and Stripes appeared, as if by a miracle, over Mt. Suribachi.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It actually was two flags. At mid-morning February 23, 1945, 40 men from the 3rd Platoon, E Company, 2nd Battalon 28th Marine Regiment finished their long climb to the top of Mt. Suribachi, the extinct volcano dominating the skyline of the Pacific island of Iwo Jima. They had negotiated cliffs, tunnels, mines, booby traps and ravines all occupied by an entrenched enemy. A small US flag was attached to a steel pole and hoisted, for the first time, over Japanese home territory. Ship’s whistles sounded, Marines all over the island cheered and some shed tears in the midst of the enormous sacrifice required to take the island. Marine photographer Lou Lowery captured the event on film.

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Two Flags Over Iwo Jima I

Lead: While the invasion of Iwo Jima in February 1945 was not universally advocated, the Marines who landed there with their forfeit and blood made it an eternal shrine to courage and sacrifice.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: One of the brilliant tactics of the US war in the Pacific in World War II was “island-hopping.” American forces would hop around an island deemed unessential to the war on Japan and heavily defended by the Japanese and move to better islands closer to the homeland from which air attacks could be launched. The Japanese defenders on islands hopped over would thus be cut off from supplies and support and left to rot until the war was over. Originally, Iwo Jima was a candidate for hopping. It had 22,000 Jap troops heavily dug in and thoroughly supplied.

 

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Apollo I Tragedy II

Lead: Faulty design and a hasty schedule driven by domestic and cold war politics led in early 1967 to the greatest disaster in America’s race to the moon.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Late in the afternoon of January 27, 1967 three astronauts, Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were locked in the Apollo Command and Service Module atop a Saturn IB rocket high above the scrub oaks and swamps of the Kennedy Space Center on Florida’s east coast. They were at the end of a relatively routine test of the launch system. Suddenly, the test stopped being routine. There was fire in the cockpit.

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