Friday, August 06, 2010

Did You Know #29

The eighth day of August is a special day in our national, and even our world's history. Consider just a few of the reasons why this is true ...

  • In 1709 Bartolomeu de Gusmão demonstrated before the King of Portugal the power of hot air to lift.
  • In 1863, just after the Union victory at Gettysburg, Gen. Robert E. Lee submitted his resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis (his resignation was not accepted).
  • In 1911 Francis Holdton submitted would be the nation's 1,000,000th patent (it was for tubeless tires).
  • In 1945 the Soviet Union declared war on Japan.
  • Also in 1945, the United States joined the United Nations.
  • In 1974 President Richard Nixon announced that he would resign the presidency at noon the following day.
  • And in 2000 a submarine, the H. L. Hunley was raised from the floor of the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast of Charleston, SC. The last time the Hunley had been seen was as it quietly pulled away from the shore on the evening that it successfully sank the Housatonic on February 17, 1864. The eight man crew's remains were recovered from the Hunley which had been their crypt for over 137 years.

August the eight has also seen the birth of some people who would eventually make their mark, especially on the entertainment industry ...

  • In 1921 television producer William Asher was born. He would some of TV's most iconic shows such as I Love Lucy, Make Room For Daddy, and of course, Bewitched, in which his own wife, Elizabeth Montgomery starred.

  • Also born in 1921 was the high diving actress Esther Williams.

  • In 1922 western actor Rory Calhoun was born.

  • In 1926 Richard Anderson was born. He played Steve Austin's boss Oscar Goldman, in The Six Million Dollar Man.

  • 1932 witnessed the birth of M..M..Mel Tililis, country music superstar.

  • Dustin Hoffman was born in 1937.

  • Connie Stevens was born in 1938.

  • CHiPs co-star Larry Wilcox was born in 1947.

  • Keith Carridine, who shared hosting duties of Wild West Tech with his brother David, was born on this day in 1949.

  • And Happy Days co-star Don Most (Ralph Malph) was born on August 8, 1953.

Two countries celebrate August the eighth as national holidays ...
  • In Tanzania it is Farmer's Day.
  • Taiwan celebrates Father's Day on August 8.
Although it is not recognized as such in the United States, for our family, August the eighth is father's day as well.

Don Cicero Bragg was born in Bruce, IL on August 8, 1920. Named in honor of his maternal grandfather, Cicero Gilbreath, he was the second child of Orval Bishop and Gladys Gilbreath Bragg. He, like so many of his ancestors before him, grew up a farmer. But there is so much more of him.

He is a hero, a patriot, serving our country in its time of greatest need in the 20th century in the Philippines and later in Japan, during World War II. Following his military service he returned to the states and began his family. Over the years he was a selfless provider for those he loved. He never sought special recognition, and, sadly, so few times was extended it.

Over the years he worked the good earth, was employed as a mechanic, sometimes a truck driver. Yet, he would take time to fish and play ball with us. My earliest memories of church are of joining he and Bonnie on warm Sunday mornings outside the Bruce Church, the family station wagon's rear facing the open door of the meeting house, and Bonnie on blankets in the back singing along with the hymns.

As I've grown older I've come to recognize Dad as a man of great courage. I was probably around eleven years old on my very first foray out of the Land of Lincoln. While it took somewhat of a caravan to carry it off, he led us across the Indiana border to Turkey Run. It was a wonderful trip.

Times have changed so much with the passing of time. Today, while our children live so far away from us, with modern technology we are still able to keep in touch quite easily. But it can still not compare with the "good old days" where family lived nearby and we could witness first-hand his care for his own parents.

When it came to the modern conveniences we have grown use to today, we knew nothing of in our day to day lives. No indoor bathroom facilities, air conditioning, or cable TV, and, and yes, even in those primitive conditions we had joy and love as we grew up. Dad's laughter filled our home.

Dad is a great example of what it means to love. Married 64 years, 13 children, life has brought many ups and downs. It is especially in the "down" times that his love always rose to the occasion. He and Mom led in offering the daily support Bonnie needed. While doctors gave her only five years to live, Mom and Dad gave her a real, meaningful life that brought immeasurable joy to our family. At the passing of both Bob and Bonnie, Mom and Dad provided strength to us all.

Since this blog was established I have presented some interesting family connections of people who obviously had no real knowledge of our family's existence. As much as I enjoyed watching Larry Bird play with the Boston Celtics, Henry Fonda's performance in
The Ox-Bow Incident, or even watching James Arness' portrayal of Marshal Matt Dillon (and even have a personally autographed picture of him), I'm under no delusion that he knows us. To us, the biggest star of them all was born on August 8, 1920, and he is our Dad.


Bill White said...

Hi there! Will you be at the reunion in Arthur today? I'm not sure I know you, but I just found you via google. My maternal grandmother was Veva Bragg, who grew up on the old Bragg homestead west of Sullivan.

David Bragg said...

Hi Bill. I did not know of a reuinion, but our family gathered in Sullivan to celebrate our Dad's 90th birthday.

While I do not personally know you, we are related, twice actually. If you go back through your grandmother's father - John Quincy Bragg, then your mother and I are 4th cousins, making you and my son 5th cousins (both you and my son share the same 4th great grandparents, Hugh Lewis & Francis Sutherland Bragg).

But you can also go back through your grandmother's mother - Rebecca Ellen Sharp, then your grandmother and my grandfather - Orval Bishop Bragg (b.1895) - are 2nd cousins; your mother and my father are 3rd cousins, and you and I are fourth cousins (we share the same 3rd great grandparents: Ezekiel & Susanna Berry Hull).

Hope the reunion in Arthur went well.


David Bragg