NICK EICHER, HTE: Today is Monday October 25th. Good morning! It is The world and all in it of WORLD Radio supported by listeners. I am Nick Eicher.
MYRNA BROWN, HTE: And I’m Myrna Brown. Next step: the WORLD history book.
Today, big beginnings: a man of letters celebrates a birthday, Lady Liberty takes place in the port of New York, and Harvard University starts.
Here’s senior correspondent Katie Gaultney.
KATIE GAULTNEY, SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: The oldest university in the United States was founded 385 years ago. On October 28, 1636, the Massachusetts Bay Colony voted to create a theological college that would become Harvard University.
SONG: “FAIR HARVARD”
The Puritans emigrated en masse to the New World, and by 1636 about 17,000 of them were in the colonies. They anticipated the need for the clergy to provide spiritual guidance to members of the growing colonies. So the Great General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony held a vote and set the wheels in motion. It didn’t take long for the school to set up a printing press, the first of the colonies. And two and a half years later, the school adopted the name of a benefactor, clergyman John Harvard, who bequeathed the school nearly £ 800 and £ 400.
The school may have been founded with biblical ideals in mind, but the university shed its spiritual shell over a century ago. A 2020 survey by the university’s own newspaper found that while nearly 80% of faculty members describe themselves as “liberal” or “very liberal,” only 1% align with religious views. Orthodox.
Now move from higher education to lofty ideals like freedom. Or, Lady Freedom, to be precise. President Grover Cleveland dedicated the Statue of Liberty 135 years ago on October 28, 1886.
MUSIC: “AMERICA”, SAMUEL FRANCIS SMITH
France donated the 151-foot-tall copper statue, officially named Freedom enlightening the world– as a sign of friendship, commemorating the Franco-American alliance during the American Revolution. For its home, Congress chose Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor. This place later became known as “Liberty Island”.
But, as you can imagine, getting the colossal creation of French sculptor Frédéric-Auguste Bartholdi from France to America would not be easy. First of all, America had to prepare the island and create a base. Then, from June 1885, the statue arrived piece by piece, in more than 200 packing cases. The workers reassembled the thin sheets of copper on a scaffolding designed by Gustave Eiffel, famous for the Eiffel Tower.
James Meigs is the former editor of Popular mechanics. He told the History Channel that the frame of the statue was an engineering marvel.
MEIGS: It was very sophisticated, no one had ever built anything of this magnitude before. And he had to endure this heavy copper that if the frame sagged or was not at all in position, those copper sheets themselves would sag and collapse under their own weight, so it really was a structure. revolutionary.
The welders set the last rivet at the groundbreaking ceremony in October 1886. Public fundraisers in America and France supported the work.
In his remarks, Cleveland proclaimed that day that “we joyfully contemplate our own divinity who watches and guards before the open doors of America and … [we] will not forget that Liberty has made its home here, and that its chosen altar will not be neglected.
Fireworks and a parade through New York City followed the opening. Festive spectators threw shredded paper from building windows, making it the city’s first ticker tape parade.
And for our last entry in today’s story book, I’ll need a few letters, like H, B, and D, to wish longtime game show host Pat Sajak a ‘happy birthday’. . He will be 75 on October 26.
AUDIENCE: The Wheel of Fortune! (music)
Sajak grew up in Chicago before attending Columbia College in the city. One of his instructors helped him get a job at a radio station. Eventually he became a disc jockey for the US Army, broadcasting in Saigon during the Vietnam War.
AFVN RADIO: Nashville Blast, “I Saw the Light”, and that will do it for the first part of Dawn Buster. This is Army Specialist Pat Sajak. Ten minutes of news and sports to come …
He said he used to have a little chip on his shoulder – feeling guilty about what he called his “relatively gentle duty” in ‘nam. But the guilt eased when the young soldiers in his audience thanked him for giving them a taste of the rock’n’roll music they lacked in America.
SAJAK: The idea was to create a situation where if they turned on the radio, they felt right at home…
Back in the United States, Sajak had a few more radio gigs, then a few news jobs before the TV meteorologist landed on media mogul Merv Griffin’s radar. In 1981, drawn to what he called Sajak’s “weird” sense of humor, Griffin invited him to succeed Chuck Woolery as host of Wheel of Fortune. And the rest, of course, is history. Sajak told NBC News in 2019 that he was honored to be a part of the memories of the week for so many people.
SAJAK: It’s very evocative. People identify the show with raising families, watching it with their grandmother. People come to me almost every day and say, ‘I just lost my grandmother and my best memory was sitting with her watching your show’ or ‘My kids learned the alphabet through to your show ”.
Sajak holds the place for the longest term as a game show host.
Off the air, Sajak stands out a lot in showbiz for his conservative political views. And he is the chairman of the board of trustees of the Hillsdale College liberal arts school in southern Michigan.
MUSIC: WHEEL OF FORTUNE CLOSING THEME
There’s a good chance he’ll be celebrating the milestone birthday with his 32-year-old wife, Lesly, with whom he raised a son and daughter.
This is this week’s history book. I am Katie Gaultney.
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