Rebirth of the Kee Bird

Lead: When Darryl Greenamyer attempted to resurrect the, Kee Bird, an ice-bound B-29 Stratofortress, he tested the limits of renovation technology. 

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In 1947, the Kee Bird, a U.S. Air Force B-29 bomber was flying across the frozen wastes of Greenland on a secret reconnaissance mission. The aircraft became lost, ran low on fuel and crash-landed. The crew was rescued, but the bomber was left behind and entered the realm of legend. There it remained for five decades just beyond the horizon a subject ripe for rescue and as the year passed an increasingly lucrative target for salvage.

 

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Kalashnikov Semi-Automatic Rifle II

Lead: Originally designed to help the Soviet army best the Germans in World War II, the AK-47 has become the weapon of choice for insurgent forces world-wide.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: An automatic weapon, in particular the AK-47, has a relatively simple operating mechanism. When a firing pin hits the cartridge primer, the exploding gunpowder creates a wave of gas which propels the bullet out of the barrel at enormous speed. Caught between the bullet and the cartridge, the gas builds up pressure because it has no place to go. Near the muzzle there is a small opening which bleeds off some of the gas into a tube above or below the barrel. The pressure of the gas in the tube pushes the bolt backward, ejecting the spent cartridge and opening the firing chamber to receive a fresh cartridge from the magazine which is pushed upward into the chamber by a spring. As long as the trigger is depressed, the process repeats itself over and over.

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Kalashnikov Semi-Automatic Rifle I

Lead: The world’s greatest killing machine, with some 250,000 victims a year, is a Russian invention, the Ak-47, Mr. Kalashnikov’s semi-automatic assault rifle.

Intro: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts

Content: At the high-point of Operation Barbarossa, Adolf Hitler’s ultimately disastrous invasion of Russia that began in 1941, units of the German Army were approaching the outskirts of Moscow. In September they arrived at Bryansk, a city buried in the forest along the Desna River southwest of Moscow. Nazi bombing nearly wiped out the town, killing more than 80,000. Nearly 200,000 were taken into slave camps.

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William Wallace III

Lead: His reputation was that of a hard-hitting guerilla fighter and anti-English rogue, but after Stirling Bridge, William Wallace became the symbol of the fight for Scottish independence.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: England had conquered Scotland, but not the national spirit. Whereas many of the Scottish nobility were prepared to bow the knee to England, resistance continued under partisan leaders such as commoner William Wallace. In September 1297 he led a ragtag brigade to Stirling Castle, northwest of Edinburgh, an important English outpost. On September 11th an English army under the Earl of Surrey arrived to deal with this west-country upstart. Wallace was vastly outnumbered, but the English troops had to cross a narrow wooden bridge to get to him. When they did he and his band slaughtered them mercilessly as they poured off the bridge at the other side. As many as 5,000 English died in the day’s fighting. Wallace became a national hero.

 

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William Wallace II

Lead: In 1297 Edward of England crushed the weak Scottish army and established himself as ruler of the Kingdom to the North. His attempts to pacify the resistant Scots were complicated by guerilla fighters such as William Wallace.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the years following the death of Scottish King Alexander III, King Edward I of England, had, with ill-disguised intensity, interfered in the affairs of his neighbor to the north. He tried to marry his son to Alexander’s heir, Margaret, but when she died, he shamelessly played the Scottish nobility against one another in their internecine conflict to determine who would be the next King of Scotland. Edward’s choice was John de Balliol whom he thought could be easily manipulated. When Balliol proved more resistant than expected, in 1297 Edward marched north and in five months had defeated the weak Scottish army, deposed and imprisoned John Balliol, and had himself made ruler of Scotland. To add insult to injury, he confiscated the legendary Scottish Coronation Stone of Scone and had it shipped south to Westminster.

 

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William Wallace I

Lead: As the ages pass, accurate portraits of historic persons are hard to come by. The Scottish patriot and guerilla leader William Wallace is one such figure in whom legend and reality mix in fanciful confusion.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Historian Ernest Renan insists that ‘forgetting history’ or perpetuating ‘historical error’ are essential in the formation of a nation. As Graeme Morton points out, Renan’s conclusions work precisely in the case of William Wallace. The Scottish rogue was a child of wealth and privilege, son of a knight, grandson of a sheriff, born in County Ayr in southwest Scotland. He was a teenager in 1286 when Scottish King Alexander III died leaving as heir a four-year old daughter living in Norway. Her death four years later left the succession and Scotland in hopeless confusion. Scottish independence was imperiled by the struggle for the throne within the Scottish aristocracy, but also by the imperial intentions of English King Edward I known as “Old Longshanks” because of his height.

 

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The Doolittle Raid II

Lead: Convinced America needed a boost to its flagging morale and hoping to inflict at least a little damage on the enemy, President Roosevelt encouraged his service chiefs to strike the Japanese Home Islands. They sent Jimmy Doolittle to Tokyo.

Intro. A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Up to the middle of 1942, the Second World War in the Pacific was largely a one-sided affair. Nearly everywhere American forces were on the defensive, reeling from repeated defeats. Lt. Colonel Doolittle, a legendary test pilot and air ace, assembled a volunteer force and they began to practice to fly B-25 Mitchell Medium Bombers off the deck of the USS Hornet. The plan was to rendezvous with Admiral William Halsey's carrier taskforce in mid-Pacific and close to within 500 miles of Japan where they would launch the two engined bombers heavily loaded with fuel for the 2000 mile trip.

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The Doolittle Raid I

Lead: A demoralized and defeated America awoke to the news in the Spring of 1942 that US planes had dropped bombs on Tokyo.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: For the five months after Pearl Harbor in December, 1941 Americans were treated to an almost continuous stream of bad news. Everywhere across the Pacific US forces were reeling under the hammer blows of the victorious Japanese war machine. Wake Island, Borneo, Guam, the Philippines (constituted) one disaster after another; then a break (came) in the gloom. Word came that bombers of the Army Air Forces had raided Tokyo and other Japanese cities. Shell-shocked Americans were jubilant.

 

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