Tuesday, September 15, 2020

September 15, 1971 -- Apollo Astronauts Spend Two Days as Chicago Celebrates

Chicago Tribune photo

September 15, 1971 –
Chicago fetes the Apollo 15 astronauts as 200,000 people turn out to greet David R. Scott, Alfred M. Worden, Jr. and James B. Irwin at a noon parade through the Loop.  Irwin, who was the lunar module pilot on the 12-day mission that took place from July 26 to August 7, was appreciative of the greeting, telling a packed City Council meeting, “I would like to thank all of Chicago for giving us such a warm welcome.”  [Chicago Tribune, September 15, 1971]. This is the city’s eighth astronaut welcome, and Colonel Scott says, “In all honesty I am not surprised.  I’ve traveled quite a little lately, and, believe me, the word is out … everybody knows about Chicago.  I can assure you the three of us will tell the rest of the country about this city.”  The parade, which travels down State Street to Adams Street and then north on La Salle, ends at the entrance to City Hall, where at a special meeting of the City Council the men are presented with honorary citizenship medals.  After the applause dies down, the honors continue at the Bismarck Hotel, where a civic luncheon is held.  As Air Force violinists serenade the throng, the astronauts present Daley with a large color photograph of the moon and an American flag they carried with them on the longest lunar mission of the Apollo program.  Then the three astronauts move over to the Sherman House where they conduct a briefing for Chicago and suburban high school students.  Their stay in Chicago ends on the following day when they visit Children’s Memorial Hospital.  The Apollo XV mission was the fourth mission to land on the moon.  It was the first to use a lunar roving vehicle, and is memorable for Commander Scott’s use of a hammer and feather to illustrate Galileo’s theory that without air resistance, objects drop at the same rate due to gravity.  In the above photo the three astronauts receive medals making them honorary citizens of Chicago as Mayor Richard J. Daley applauds.


September 15, 1976 – Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Walter Mondale, speaking to reporters at Midway Airport, says that President Gerald Ford’s record “belies and puts a falsehood to everything he says he’s now for.” [Chicago Tribune, September 16, 1976] Using notes that he had jotted down during his flight to Chicago, Mondale attacks Ford on four fronts.  In the area of health care, Mondale says that the President has made no proposal for a health-care program affordable for most Americans.  In education he asserts that the federal oversight of education under Ford “is the worst in 40 years.” Mondale finds that “The record is absolutely miserable,” showing that 2.5 million Americans have lost their jobs since Ford took office. He also finds that the Ford administration is responsible for high interest rates that make affordable housing difficult to find.  “Their record couldn’t be worse on all of their objectives,” the Democratic candidate states.  “I think it’s clear that on the issues he has raised, he has a miserable performance record. And if trust must be earned, he doesn’t deserve the trust of the American people.” The election went down to the wire, but the Carter-Mondale ticket pulled out a narrow victory.  If 3,687 votes  in Hawaii and 5,559 votes in Ohio had been switched from Carter to Ford, the incumbent would have been victorious.

September 15, 1966 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reveals a plan to target downtown stores in Chicago in an effort to create jobs for African Americans in the city.  Speaking to a rally of 500 in the Greater Mount Hope Baptist Church at 6034 Princeton Avenue, Dr. King says, “I’m going to march straight up Michigan avenue and straight up State street and organize every store in the city.”  [Chicago Tribune, September 16, 1966] The next day, he reveals, pickets will demonstrate in front of the Saks Fifth Avenue store on Michigan Avenue.  In his address Dr. King also criticizes Senator Everett Dirksen for his opposition to the civil rights bill.

September 15, 1961 – Three carpenters fall 43 stories to their deaths as a scaffold on which they are being lifted separates from the hoisting hook inside the core of the east tower of Marina City, under construction north of the river on State Street.  Mike Einsele, a worker inside the core, says, "We were raising forms inside the core and I was about five feet above them.  They were standing on the scaffolding, and I guess a cable slipped.  I heard a loud noise and I turned around to look.  The bodies bounced crazily, hitting one obstruction after another, until they hit the bottom.  I heard the thuds when they hit and I got sick.  I got out of there then.”  [Chicago Tribune, September 16, 1961]  Another worker, Will Bridges, who was working ten stories below the scaffold and who had just stepped out of the way to get a drink of water, says “Everyone inside the core heard them fall.”  Speculation about the cause suggests that the heavy forms on the scaffold that were being hoisted for the next phase of concrete work jammed against the wall of the core and twisted the hoisting hook enough so that the scaffold fell away.

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