Sunday, April 19, 2009

On April 19

On this day in ...
... 1988, Kwon Ki-ok died at age 86. Born in Pyongyang in the north of Korea in 1901, the 17-year-old Kwon saw a stunt aviation demonstration that inspired her, following imprisonment for political activities at home, to move to China. There she became the 1st Korean woman pilot and, eventually, an officer in the Chinese Air Force. After World War II she helped found the Air Force of South Korea (logo above right) and served in that country's Ministry of Defense.
... 1971, in Washington, D.C., Vietnam Veterans Against the War began a 5-day demonstration against U.S. involvement in the conflict in Indochina. This website states:

The generally peaceful protest, called Dewey Canyon III in honor of the operation of the same name conducted in Laos, ended on April 23 with about 1,000 veterans throwing their combat ribbons, helmets, and uniforms on the Capitol steps, along with toy weapons. Earlier, they had lobbied with their congressmen, laid wreaths in Arlington National Cemetery, and staged mock 'search and destroy' missions.

The event took on new significance in 2004, on account of a speech that veteran John Kerry gave to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at that time (left). Audio available here. Indeed, 2004 attacks on Kerry, by then a U.S. Senator and the Democratic Presidential candidate, led to a new term for the smearing of a political opponent: "swiftboating."

(Prior April 19 posts are here and here.)

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