The Valley of the Fallen

Lead: At his death in 1975, the remains of Francisco Franco were interred in a elaborate basilica carved from a mountain and topped with a 500 foot stone cross in El Valle de los Caidos, the Valley of the Fallen. It is an exquisite obscenity.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the 1940s Francisco Franco, Spain’s Head of State and leader of the victorious Nationalist insurgents in the bloody Spanish Civil War, like many tyrants before him, entered his Egyptian phase. He began to build his tomb. 

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Benedict Arnold – II

Lead: Embittered by what he considered lack of recognition of his clearly superior leadership and bravery in battle, Benedict Arnold embarked on a course that made him the most famous traitor in American history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the fall of 1777, Connecticut native Benedict Arnold was recuperating from a serious leg injury received at the Battle of Saratoga. In that most decisive American victory in the Revolution, Arnold’s leadership had been critical, but his commander Horatio Gates and the Continental Congress were tardy in according him proper recognition. This was not the first time Arnold had felt passed over for promotion and slighted by his superiors. Nevertheless, he had earned the great admiration of George Washington and eventually Congress recognized him for his role at Saratoga and restored his rank.

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Benedict Arnold – I

Lead: For most of his career Benedict Arnold was one of most revered heroes in American military service, in 1780 became the most famous traitor in American history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Benedict Arnold was born in the bustling seaport town of Norwich, Connecticut in 1741. Apprenticed to an apothecary in his youth, he also fought for periods in the French and Indian War. At twenty-one Arnold started a drug and bookstore in New Haven, Connecticut, eventually becoming a successful merchant, importing goods from the West Indies and Great Britain. Arnold’s first wife was Margaret Mansfield, and the couple had three children before her death in 1775.  He learned of his wife’s death upon returning from the expedition in which he and Ethan Allen led militia forces to capture British Fort Ticonderoga on Lake Champlain.

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Luncheon Racism I

Lead: In early February 1960, the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, became a powerful symbol the in the fight against racial segregation in the American south.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Late in the afternoon on February 1st, four students from North Carolina Agriculture and Technical College – Franklin McCain, Joseph McNeil, Ezell Blair and David Richmond - staged a “sit in.” Three of the four were freshmen, all still teenagers, were respectfully dressed in coats and ties, and one, ROTC student Franklin McCain, was still in uniform. Carrying their schoolbooks, the students entered the Woolworth’s on South Elm Street and purchased a few school supplies, and then proceeded to the “whites only” lunch counter where they sat down and politely asked for service which as they anticipated, was denied. One of the students later told the UPI, “We believe, since we buy books and papers in the other part of the store, we should get served in this part.”

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Nellie Melba

Lead: Australia has a rich history of cultural icons: Phar-Lap the indefatigable race horse; Ned Kelly, the iron clad bank robber; yet none surpass the impact of opera singer and early 20th century material girl, Nellie Melba.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Born in 1861 of musically inclined Scottish immigrant parents in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond, Nellie Melba performed in her first singing concert at the age of six, and began professional training in 1880. Though she was developing into a powerful coloratura soprano, Australia was far from the center of the operatic universe. If she was to succeed in that world, she would have to go to Europe. In 1886 she auditioned for and was received as a student of the mezzo-soprano Parisian vocal master, Madame Mathilda Marchesi. Marchezi recognized a unique talent, trained her for six months, and then, using her connections, opened the doors. Possessed of her father’s confidence, Melba strode onto the stage at Theatre de la Monnai in Brussels in October 1887 and never looked back. Her intense soprano with its icily brilliant, trill vibrato grabbed the imagination of the opera world and soon she was playing to packed houses in London, Paris, St. Petersburg, New York and, eventually even Italians embraced Nellie.

 

The Long Death of Francisco Franco – II

Lead: In the early 1970s the hopes of conservative Spaniards to resist social and political change were dependent upon the continued survival of Francisco Franco. Their hopes and his prospects were increasingly bleak.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Sensing his own mortality and the increasing liberalism of large segments of Spanish society, Francisco Franco, in the 1960s began to cast about for a way to perpetuate his rule. He chose to restore the Bourbon monarchy. This institution had been supplanted in the 1930s with the coming of the Spanish Republic. With the republic’s 1939 defeat in the Civil War Franco ruled Spain himself. His choice as successor was Juan Carlos, the son of Franco’s bitter enemy, Don Juan, the rightful heir to the throne, living in Italian exile. Yet, despite a military education in Spain, supervised by Franco himself, young Juan Carlos, early on began exhibiting a careful, but serious flirtation with liberal ideas and policies.

 

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The Long Death of Francisco Franco – I

Lead: For nearly four decades Francisco Bahamonde Franco was a significant if not dominant figure in the life of Spain, but by the early 1970s his resistance to the modern world just as his health was failing. 

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts. 

Content: A wag once expressed little surprise at the explosive and swift transformation of Spain to democracy and a liberated society after 1975. He said, “Well, if you shake a bottle of champagne for forty years, you should not be shocked at the eruption when you finally pop the cork.” In the thirty-six years following 1939, the end of the Spanish Civil War, the cork in the Spanish champagne bottle was clearly Francisco Franco. He and his political and religious allies clung to the hope that through repression and control they might prevent Spain from adopting the moral and economic freedom that was proving inevitable course in the modern non-communist world. As long as Franco was alive they might succeed, but increasingly after 1970, as the health of Spain’s last caudillo began to fail, it was clear that their hopes were built on shifting sand.

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John Locke – Prophet of Political Freedom – II

Lead:  His political philosophy laid the foundation for modern liberal democracy, but in many ways John Locke helped change the way people think. Some have called him the first modern mind.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Not content to simply absorb the classical education he received at 17th century Westminster School and Oxford University, John Locke embarked upon a life of fruitful inquiry into a wide variety of disciplines. He was interested in medicine, experimental science, philosophy, economics, practical politics, education, language, diplomacy, and religion, in a hungry but not Faustian pursuit of knowledge. In most of these fields he was not an expert, but neither was he an amateur floating from one whim to another.