For the very first time, January 1st 1954 the Rose Bowl and the Cotton Bowl were broadcast in color and two more television stations signed on the air with the CBS call sign. On January 20th the NNN grew to 40 – that is the National Negro Network now had 40 radio stations and, in the category of some things never change, President Eisenhower announced on February 2nd the detonation of the first H-bomb. (The detonation had occurred in 1952, two years earlier!) That same month President Eisenhower warned the U.S. people against getting involved in trouble in a small nation named Vietnam.
And the list goes on, all through the year… new happenings in the world of invention and particularly electronics, steps backward at times particularly in areas of humanity. A bloody revolution in Syria and a ‘peaceful’ change of government in Egypt where 36-year-old Abdul Nasser appointed Egyptian Premier. (He was assassinated twenty-six years later). Ruth Thompson, a Congressman from Michigan, authored a bill against the lewd, lasciviousness of Rock and Roll music. Yes, she was a Republican and Elvis Presley paid $4.00 to get the rights to two of his songs back from a producer in Nashville.
An active shooter incident in the Capital – 4 Puerto Ricans open fire injuring four Congressmen. Eisenhower warned of the ‘Domino-Effect’ in SE Asia. A rookie playing in an Exhibition Game hit a home run, his first as a professional baseball player – none other than Henry (Hank) Aaron, later that month would come his first of the 755. In April, the USAF flew a French battalion of soldiers to Vietnam… later that month the very first American injured in Vietnam, a civilian pilot.
While Disneyland is being built and the MLB sports franchise was born, on July 20th an Armistice officially separated Vietnam into North and South… one year and one week exactly from when an Armistice ended the Korean War leaving it divided North and South. Russia was denied entry into NATO – the Cold War begins to heat up, Senator McCarthy on full boil. The Tasmanian Devil debuts in a Warner Brothers cartoon!
In October, after the last French pull out of Vietnam, a Communist Revolutionary enters Hanoi by the name of Ho Chi Minh. The leader of the Muslim ‘brothership’, Hassan el Hodieby arrested in Egypt. The Giants sweep the Cleveland Indians taking the World Series in four games. Texas Instruments announced the first “Transistor Radio.” Dr. Albert Schweitzer and Ernest Hemingway received Nobel prizes in Peace and in Literature. In entertainment, the television show ‘Disneyland’ began as did ‘Father Knows Best’ – on the silver screen ‘A Star is Born’ with Judy Garland and Steve Allen begins the Tonight Show. In crime and entertainment – Dr. Sam Shepherd’s wife murdered in Cleveland Ohio – it became the back story for the iconic story of ‘The Fugitive’ and his relentless pursuit of the ‘one-armed man.’
Yes, 1954 was quite a year. An amendment to allow 18 year olds the right to vote was defeated. The population of the United States was 2,723,726,367. President Eisenhower signed a bill adding “Under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance.
Almost sixty years later the population is more than two and a half times that at 7,207,459,699.
But, with all of the amazing memories listed here for 1954 there is one record that is more important to us now in 2013 than perhaps any of these others…
Under the watch of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary of State John Kerry and his predecessor Hilary Clinton and the Commander-in-Chief Barrack Hussein Obama, through sequestration and the President’s own promises to the Russian Vladimir Putin, the U.S. nuclear arsenal will be as low or lower than our arsenal in 1954; our troop strength will be as low or lower than our troop strength than at any time since 1954; our ability to have a nuclear umbrella protecting CONUS will be lost.
Dr. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy warns that the Syria debacle is “but a harbinger of what is to come as reckless U.S. national security policies and postures meet the hard reality of determined adversaries emboldened by our perceived weakness.”[i]
The U.S. Army could drop from 535,000 soldiers to as few as 380,000; Marines 182,000 to 150,000, and the Navy from 11 Carrier Task Forces to just 8. Already from the 11, one is in long-term dry dock for repairs, another is also in the Navy Yard for repairs, two are on the West Coast, one in the Sea of Japan and only one is anywhere near the Mediterranean – does that sounds like combat readiness?!
On September 4, 2013 the Undersecretary for the Department of Defense, Frank Kendall spoke before the National Press Club. “This is a bizarre situation for the United States…We are seeing growing national security threats but we are unilaterally disarming because of concerns about the deficit and the national debt. This is a very unusual situation for us.”[ii]
Beyond the loss of military capability, there also comes the loss of credibility. In September 2013 during a Rose Garden press conference concerning the brutal murder of Syrian civilians, including children and infants by Sarin gas, President Obama said, “I’m ready to act in the face of this outrage.” According to sources, immediately he and VP Joe Biden headed directly to Fort Belvoir, a U.S. Army installation in Fairfax County Virginia. Upon arrival at the fort, they went straight to 18 holes of golf; while, well, you know…
… in Damascus Syria
[i] “Shrinking U.S. Nuclear Arsenal Worries Experts too” US NEWS, October 2013
[ii] Can We Trim $1 Trillion in Defense Spending and Still Draw Red Lines?” US NEWS, October 2013
Facts for 1954 courtesy of HistoryOrb.com