Today’s photo is of a statue known as “The Lion of Atlanta.” It was erected in 1894 by the Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association (ALMA) to honor the unknown Confederate dead. The figure is patterned after the Lion of Lucerne in Switzerland. The lion is pictures because it represents courage, but this lion is mortally wounded by a broken spear, while clutching the Confederate battle flag. The statue was unveiled on Confederate Memorial Day.
I hold no truck with slavery – never have approved of it and I hate it with a passion. I firmly and strongly believe in the dignity and right of every human being to be treated fairly and with honor. So in spite of all the conflict about the Confederate flag in the press recently, I still honor those men who fought and died with courage. They paid the greatest price that any human being can be asked to pay. And the fallen Confederates, as much as the fallen Union troops, deserve our respect – even over 150 years after they lay down in the dust and died. Most of them fought, on both sides, simply because their “country” asked them to do so. And that takes courage.
ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1930, construction started on the Hoover Dam. Over the next five years, a total of 21,000 men would work ceaselessly to produce what would be the largest dam of its time, as well as one of the largest man-made structures in the world.
Although it took only five years to build, it was nearly 30 years in the making. Arthur Powell Davis, an engineer from the Bureau of Reclamation, originally had his vision for the Hoover Dam back in 1902, and his engineering report on the topic became the guiding document when plans were finally made to begin the dam in 1922.
Herbert Hoover, the 31st president of the United States and a conservationist, played a crucial role in making Davis’ vision a reality. As secretary of commerce in 1921, Hoover devoted himself to the erection of a high dam in Boulder Canyon, Colorado. The dam would provide essential flood control, which would prevent damage to downstream farming communities that suffered each year when snow from the Rocky Mountains melted and joined the Colorado River. Further, the dam would allow the expansion of irrigated farming in the desert, and would provide a dependable supply of water for Los Angeles and other southern California communities.
Even with Hoover’s exuberant backing and regional consensus to build the dam, Congressional approval and state cooperation were slow in coming. For years, water rights had been a source of contention among the western states that had claims on the Colorado River. To address this issue, Hoover negotiated the Colorado River Compact, which broke the river basin into two regions with the water divided between them. Hoover then had to re-introduce the bill to build the dam several times over the next few years before the House and Senate finally approved the bill in 1928.
In 1929, Hoover, now president, signed the Colorado River Compact into law, claiming it was “the most extensive action ever taken by a group of states under the provisions of the Constitution permitting compacts between states.”
Once preparations were made, the Hoover Dam’s construction sprinted forward: The contractors finished their work two years ahead of schedule and millions of dollars under budget. Today, the Hoover Dam is the second highest dam in the country and the 18th highest in the world. It generates enough energy each year to serve over a million people, and stands, in Hoover Dam artist Oskar Hansen’s words, as “a monument to collective genius exerting itself in community efforts around a common need or ideal.”
TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Moonquakes, which originate several miles below the moon’s surface, may be a result of Earth’s gravitational pull. Engineers say these quakes could become a factor if lunar bases are ever built on the moon.