History Book – A New Washington Monument


MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, May 30. Good morning! This is The world and all in it of WORLD Radio supported by the listeners. I am Mary Reichard.

NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Next, the world history book. Today, Dr. Death is released from prison. And NATO welcomes a member for the first time in a quarter of a century. But first, one of America’s most recognized memorials celebrates a milestone. This is Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, EDITOR: We start today in Washington DC

NEWSREEL: Every American has two hometowns. His and Washington. The nation’s capital is a reminder of the history we share in common and of the men whose dreams made a great nation. The Lincoln Memorial… its graceful columns represent the states of the union…

The Lincoln Memorial sits at the west end of the National Mall in Washington DC It celebrates its 100th anniversary this week. On May 30, 1922, U.S. Chief Justice William Howard Taft dedicated the memorial before a crowd of 50,000 spectators. The large neoclassical marble memorial is made of stones from all over the country.

Mike Litterst is the National Mall spokesperson for the National Park Service. Audio here from the Associated Press:

LITTERST: Massachusetts granite is used in the stairs. There is Georgia marble used to build the statue itself. The ceiling tiles are from Alabama, all from across the country, northern and southern states. come together to build this grand memorial to Abraham Lincoln, just as Lincoln himself reunited the states at the end of the Civil War.

In the 100 years since its completion, the Lincoln Memorial has been the scene of many significant civil rights events and demonstrations. The first was on Easter Sunday 1939.

NEWSREEL: The most impressive Easter demonstration in the country. 75,000 people gathered outside the Lincoln Memorial to hear Marian Anderson… make her capital debut at the Emancipator’s Grand Shrine. The DAR’s refusal to let her use their venue has stirred nationwide controversy with this large gathering as its culmination…here to listen to the voice claimed by many to be the finest in a century.

The concert lasted less than an hour, but it cemented the site as a symbolic memorial to the nation’s fundamental truth: that all human beings are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, including life , freedom and the pursuit of happiness.

Then, on May 30, 1982, NATO welcomed its newest member. Audio here of the opening ceremony held 10 days later at the NATO summit in Germany:

CEREMONY: Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen. This is a great moment in the history of NATO as we celebrate the 16th member of the alliance: Spain.

Senior government officials from each of the other 15 NATO countries attend the ceremony. Including US President Ronald Regan, the First Lady, and British Prime Minister Maragret Thatcher. It has been 27 years since a country joined the alliance.

Thatcher: While Spain’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty offers a new and compelling reason for renewed confidence in the Alliance’s future, we must not be complacent…

Internal tensions in Spain have delayed its planned entry into NATO. The Spanish socialist and communist parties opposed this decision.


Some NATO members also doubted that the fledgling democracy was truly ready to enter. But many nations within the alliance believed Spain’s admission would be a strategic step to stabilize the region. It also proved to be an important step towards the eventual creation of the European Union.

And finally, on June 1, 2007:

NEWSCAST: Dr. Jack Kevorkian, the man who claims to have helped 130 people die, walks out of prison happy…

Eight years earlier, a Michigan jury found Jack Kevorkian guilty of second-degree murder after ending the life of Thomas Youk, a 52-year-old man with ALS. Kevorkian filmed Youk’s death. CBS 60 minutes program aired portions of this video.

60 MINUTES: First the doctor gave him seconal to put him to sleep quickly. Then he injected a muscle relaxant to stop his breathing.

INTERIOR EDITION: [KEVORKIAN] My intention was not to assassinate Thomas Youk. [ANCHOR] In 1999 he was found guilty and sentenced to 25 years in prison, but was released after 8 years on the condition that he would no longer help people end their lives…

After his release for good behavior, Kevorkian quickly became a sought-after speaker on the speaking circuit. He was a frequent guest on television news programs and documentaries as doctor-assisted suicide bills made their way through various state legislatures. He even ran for Congress in 2008.

A year before his own death, he sat down for an interview with CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

GUPTA: For many people, life is a gift. KEVORKIAN: Is it a gift? Who gave it to you?

Jack Kevorkian learned the answer to this question on June 3, 2011, when at age 83 the days of his life were over and he met his creator.

KEVORKIAN: I am for absolute autonomy. Do you have this? There is no one who has more autonomy in mind than me. That’s what’s wrong with this life…

It’s this week’s world history book, I’m Paul Butler.

WORLD Radio transcriptions are created on very short notice. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative recording of WORLD Radio programming is the audio recording.


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