View Full Version : Witness ?

J. Dillon
12-17-2000, 09:57 PM
What event in history would you liked to have witnessed.... and would you have realized it's significance ?

Charlie J
12-17-2000, 11:16 PM
The surrender at Yorktown. I wonder if most people who see things like that can have any way of knowing how historic the time will become. Or are they so wrapped in the present that the future doesn't matter at the moment.

Chad Smith
12-18-2000, 07:32 AM
Lee's surrender at Appomattox and the respect shown him from both sides.

Chad Smith

Steve McMahon
12-18-2000, 07:42 AM
No Question - The International Fishermans Schooner Trophy Series of races.

12-18-2000, 08:21 AM
The resurrection; if there was no "historical" resurrection, which really doesn't change anything anyway, then the sermon on the mount.

Ken Hall
12-18-2000, 10:39 AM
There are several:

A nondescript cave in Bethlehem (I know the Resurrection is theologically more important, but I always liked Christmas better than Easter and anyway, I like babies http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/smile.gif).

Nathan Hale at the scaffold.

Just about any session of the Continental Congress.

The Constitutional Convention.

The last advance of the Old Guard at Waterloo.

The 20th Maine, fixing bayonets on Little Round Top.

The Gettysburg Address.

Chamberlain's salute to the Army of Northern Virginia at Appomattox.

Ralph DePalma and his mechanic (they rode in the car then) trying to push his car around the track the last two laps of the 1915 Indy 500 after it threw a rod.

"One small step for man."

The wrap party for The Usual Suspects. I always wonder whether--and if so, when--a cast and crew realize they've created magic.

Gary Bergman
12-18-2000, 03:59 PM
....I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty, or give me death! I'd have loved to watch the onlookers

Scott Rosen
12-18-2000, 04:42 PM
Too many to even think of.

I'm with Chad on Lee's surrender.

The 1945 Soviet advance to Berlin.

The detonation of the first atomic bomb.

The Continental Congress and the drafting of the US Constitution.

The Warsaw ghetto uprising.

Lance Armstrong's last victory in the Tour de France.

Lou Gehrig's farewell speach.

The founding of the modern State of Israel.

Any of John Coltrane's performances.

The first performance of each of Beethoven's symphonies.

The construction of the pyramids.

Moses trying to stutter out the words to tell Pharoh to go pound sand. Or any other Biblical event, for that matter.


On a related topic, what historical personalities would you like to meet? And what would you want to say to them?

Ian Wright
12-18-2000, 04:50 PM
I'm not a great fan of "Leaders" as a breed or "Leadership" as a concept. Twelve years one month and twenty four days in the army saw to that,,,,,, but I would like to have been with Shackleton during his second expedition. What a Man! What a Leader!

"For scientific leadership, give me Scott, for swift and efficient travel give me Amundsen. But when you are in a hopeless situation, when you are seeing no way out, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton."

,,,,,and he never lost a man.


[This message has been edited by Ian Wright (edited 12-18-2000).]

Scott Rosen
12-18-2000, 05:48 PM
Shame on me for not remembering Shakleton. And I just started re-reading The Endurance for the umpteenth million time. Ian, would you have wanted to be in the crew of the Caird, or one of those who remained on Elephant Island(I think that's the name)? I too think that he is one of the greatest leaders and one of the greatest men. The British have a natural gift for turning defeat into victory. Never was that more true than with Shakleton's second expedition.

[This message has been edited by Scott Rosen (edited 12-18-2000).]

Mark Van
12-18-2000, 06:58 PM
Niel Armstrong landing on the moon.(OK, I did see it, but I was only 7.)
The first Mars landing.(Didn't happen yet, but I hope I see it)

12-18-2000, 08:08 PM
Sounds summat Euro/North American-centric, and within the last 2.5 centuries. Stretching a little here. How about premiere performances of Greek tragedies? Lectures by Plato and Aristotle? A tour of the Library at Alexandria? A chat with Budda or Lao-tse?

Charlie J
12-18-2000, 08:31 PM
If I may add a second posting to this list - I've been thinking and I'd like to mention the indomitable spirit and spit in your eye determination of the skippers of the little boats of Dunkirk. I get a lump every time I read of that time- they were hoping to rescue 50,000 and got off 365,000- Fantastic!!

Wayne Jeffers
12-18-2000, 10:14 PM
This is a relatively easy question.

From the time my children were very young, I had resolved that I would take them to the battlefield at Gettysburg whenever they were old enough to comprehend what happened there. I had the good fortune to have visited there as a teenager in the centennial year of the battle and wanted them to have the experience.

For about 8 to 10 months in advance of our trip, I prepared them with books about the Civil War, the weaponry and tactics of the period, and the battle itself, so they would better understand what they would be seeing.

No air-conditioned busses and four-hour tour for us. We spent five days walking the battlefield in the heat of late June, getting a close-up perspective of the rolling Pennsylvania countryside where the greatest battle in the Western Hemisphere was fought. It is truly a humbling experience to stand on this great battlefield and visualize the events that took place there and to comprehend the unimaginable courage of those who struggled there. My children even enjoyed the visit thoroughly.

This great battle is the one historical event that I would most like to have witnessed.

In answer to Scott's question as to what historical figure I would most like to meet, I guess I would say Henry David Thoreau. I enjoy his writing more than any other, and I've kept a volume of his works by my bed for thirty years or more. I would probably be speechless if I could meet this great philosopher.


Todd Schliemann
12-19-2000, 12:25 AM
My death after the fact if others knew me.

Very roughly translated Italian proverb.

[This message has been edited by Todd Schliemann (edited 12-19-2000).]

J. Dillon
12-19-2000, 08:49 AM
Pat, I was going to post that one. I'm a " doubting Thomas".

Scott, I also would like to have seen the pyramids under construction. The're still not sure on just how they did it.
The tech. of the day had only bronze chisels but curiously when Carter found King Tut he had a high carbon steel knife blade in his tomb. Where did he get it? You can see it in the Cario museum. JD

12-19-2000, 09:36 AM
All of the above presupposes we would know what we know now so we could comprehend the significance, eh?

I think I'd like to have been a mouse in the corner of the caboose where at age 19 my future mother in law, sweet little city girl, refused as a new bride to be left behind when her rough farm hand cowboy husband went with other men to follow the harvest and though she had never shot craps before, cleaned them out. From then on she controlled the finances and dolled out tobacco money.

Or, even just to sit around the supper table with my future wife's family and be regaled with the stories of Elta's and Keith's early days together.

Its the little things that make life exciting and worth living, no?


Jim Hillman
12-19-2000, 12:34 PM
I would want to be a part of the Lewis & Clark Expedition. Ben Franklin would be the one person I would have liked to have met.


12-19-2000, 12:44 PM
1866. The tea clippers Ariel and Taeping, surging along in a quartering half-gale under full sail and stuns'ls, a few lengths apart at the east end of the English Channel, after departing from Foochow Anchorage on the same day and sailing over 10,000 miles.
This can be enjoyed vicariously through Montague Dawson's great painting, and you can catch the flavor of it in John Masefield's "Bird of Dawning."

[This message has been edited by Bayboat (edited 12-19-2000).]

12-19-2000, 12:59 PM
I thought that the greatest battle in the western hemisphere was at Little Big Horn. Custer died for our sins. So to speak.

Ian Wright
12-19-2000, 01:45 PM
Come to think of it,,,,,,
I wish I had learned Blacksmithing and Religion from Grandad Smith, Gamekeeping and country ways from my Godfather and Boatbuilding from Mr John Parker.
Actually, I did, but I wish I had paid more attention, and for longer,,,,,

,,,,,,and Dunkirk,,,,, no I don’t wish I had been there, I knew one or two who were, so no thanks,,,,,,,,, but some of you may not know that four or five Thames Sailing Barges were taken over by their civilian Skippers (most of the ‘Little Ships’ had RN crews) and were beached to be used as boat piers because of their shallow draught. Once the beaches were empty the Skippers were taken off by the Navy, except for one who tried to insist that he could float his barge off at the next high tide and sail home. He had to be restrained and arrested , and taken home ‘in irons’ and in tears.
That was the last time that Englishmen went to War under Sail,,,,,,,,,,,,

,,,,,and Shackleton again,,,,,, I THINK I would have been happy to sail the James Caird with him, but I doubt I would have been chosen. The men left behind KNEW he would be back for them, inspiring!

12-19-2000, 02:35 PM
I'd like to watch the first guy to eat an oyster.

12-19-2000, 04:00 PM
Just to satisfy a personal curiosity, I'd like to be a mouse on the rafters of the sixth floor of the school book depository, Dallas ...well you know when.

Many other good ones here. Love to be present at the period of ministry of Gautama, Jesus, Mohammed et al. A tape recorder would be nice, or how 'bout a video camera...are those allowed?

If I had to choose one person to have personal contact with, Jesus wins hands down. Especially if I could know what I know now about what his ministry wrought, (are histories translated into Aramaic allowed?) and could talk with him about it.

Anyone working on a time machine? Mine's got a few glitches yet http://media4.hypernet.com/~dick/ubb/wink.gif

Best all, Ishmael

12-19-2000, 04:36 PM
The debate between Bishop Wilberforce (sp?) and Thomas Huxley (Darwin's Bulldog) at Oxford.
The Scopes Monkey trial in Dayton Tennessee.
The heresy trial of Galileo.
The Frozen Chosin.
The Nuremberg Trial.

Ross Faneuf
12-19-2000, 06:46 PM
I'll second the 20th Maine at Little Round Top.

Nelson and Collingwood breaking the line at Trafalgar (a bird's-eye view - please!)

Togo crossing the T at Tsushim; Jellicoe crossing the T at Jutland.


Patrick Mor McCrimmon playing 'The Lament for the Children'

Piper McKay playing 'War or Peace' outside the square at Quatre Bras

The Grand Review of the Great Army of the Republic

Monitor vs. Virginia

The lone defiant protestor facing that tank in Tienanmen Squre

Lindbergh landing in Paris

Art Read
12-19-2000, 08:24 PM
I've often thought that lone protester deserved "Man of the Year"... if not decade...

J. Dillon
12-20-2000, 06:29 PM
Read the list of what Forumites would have liked to have witnessed. Great stuff.

How about the battle of "Salamis".

Considered one of the turning points of ancient history and probably put democratic thinking (saved the Greeks) on the fast track.

The battle had over 1,000 wooden ships involved.


[This message has been edited by J. Dillon (edited 12-20-2000).]

Art Read
12-21-2000, 01:04 AM
The chicken... or the egg... (sorry...)

Frank Hagan
12-21-2000, 02:10 AM
This is a tough one. I suspect that at any time in my life, this list would be different. There are two instances I think about now:

With Jefferson, when he and the committee are drafting the Declaration, to see if "life, liberty and pursuit of Happiness" really was a twisting of Locke, or a quote from Blackstone's Commentaries (I think the latter, in a pointed jab at King George, but cannot be sure.)

And somewhere in Holland, weeks after Normandy, and 2 hours after the German tank buried him, to see my future father finally dig himself out. And then find and dig out the only other man remaining alive in his squad, and watch as they walk back through the German lines yelling "Medic! Medic!" and making it all the way through. Were there angels there that night, or simply Germans who were as tired of the killing as my father?

peter s
12-24-2000, 05:30 AM
I would like to have been the doctor in attendance [if there was one]at the births of Herr Hitler and Comrad Stalin ,I would HAPPILY have necked the little darlings..Maybe save 100,000,000 lives?Probably not...
how about travelling with Captain James Cook on his voyages [all except the last one] preferably as some kind of official observer ...I don't think my 20th century stomach would survive 18th century seaman's rations ,especially ,Royal Navy...

Erie Deerie
12-24-2000, 08:52 AM
That’s a hard one.

Eve said to Adam

12-24-2000, 02:24 PM
How about being present when the Cardinal had a set down (on his horse) and had a short conversation with Attila the Hun....really like to know what was said.

12-24-2000, 02:39 PM
scott, not to be too pedantic, but shackleton's second expedition was the one in which he became the man to travel further toward the south pole than anyone else, up to that time. amundsen made it to the pole before sir ernest could mount another expedition, hence his hare-brained scheme to cross the continent, thus leading to the Endurance ordeal, which was his third trip south. i call it a hare-brained scheme, but all english expeditions to polar regions during the Edwardian era were rather ill-planned and provisioned, that takes nothing away from the boss's leadership abilities and sheer guts, which hardly have a parallel in the annals of human endeavour.
merry christmas, happy hannukah and a wonderful new year!

Church of the Holey Wooden Boat
12-25-2000, 09:36 PM
The Immaculate Conception.....

Ross Miller
12-25-2000, 09:53 PM
Hmmm... Was that scene seen at all? And did she reach... never mind.

Ross Miller
12-25-2000, 10:20 PM
Andrew’s desire to watch the first oyster eater reminded me of a skit I wanted to stage back when I was doing community theater, a portrayal of the first humans to inadvertantly discover the fermentation process in a bowl of grain left out in the rain. It was a fairly “wet” theater group, based in a tavern, and I’m sure we’d have had no trouble capturing the feeling.

Reptiles were laying eggs long before there were any chickens, but the first chicken must have been a sight. They’re so confused as is, imagine how the first felt, all alone at the top (or bottom) of its evolutionary branch with no pecking order in sight to guide it. Buk buk, BAWK!

12-26-2000, 02:16 PM
It probably took a lot of chicken evolution before they figured out how to mend a broken egg.

Feed it to a hen.

Mark Van
12-26-2000, 06:18 PM
The first person to eat an oyster? How about the first person to drink cows milk.
"See that big animal over there? I dare you to go squeeze that thing hanging down and drink whatever comes out."

Ross Miller
12-26-2000, 06:24 PM
Better make sure that's not a bull.

peter s
01-01-2001, 06:43 AM
suggested reading on the subject [which subject] ::"Guns ,Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond

Andrew Craig-Bennett
01-01-2001, 07:59 AM
"Guns Germs and Steel" is one of my favourite books. I don't know if it is sound but it makes one furiously to think....

I would like to have been a part of the Glorious Revolution of 1688, that forgotten event from which both the British and the US Constitutions spring. (Macaulay's History of England is another good book!)

I would have liked to have known that much maligned monarch, King George the Third, whose Coronation speech, written by himself, contained the phrase "Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton!" This could have been "Britain", the text does not survive. Both his grandfather and his great-grandfather (his father, Frederick, Prince of Wales, predeceased him) spoke German for preference.

I would have liked to have been around when he personally intervened, with his expert knowledge of horology, and carried out his own tests to ensure that John Harrison got paid his prize money for finding a practicable method of discovering the Longitude, and when he presented his shrewish wife, Queen Charlotte, to whom he was faithful and devoted, with the very first lever escapement watch; the prototype of all modern watches.

I would have liked to have gone ashore with Charles Darwin in the Galapagos.

I would have liked to have known Thomas Tompion, James Brindley, Joseph Arkwright, Samuel Crompton, Josiah Wedgwood, James Watt, Matthew Boulton, George Stephenson, Charles Parsons, Sebastian de Ferranti, Giugliemo Marconi, Charles Rolls, Henry Royce, W.O. Bentley, Frank Whittle....you get the idea......

01-01-2001, 08:30 AM
Thanks yall,

I needed these.

I think taking San Juan Hill would be among my top ten.

Would love to have been with Erik when they were in Newfoundland and to know what they did next. I would have loved to been with them when they built their boats.

Of the patriarchs, I think Abraham would have been great to hang around with.

Mitch Larsen
01-01-2001, 09:10 AM
My hats off to the folks who brought us aspirin. Salute!
Seriously, Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery's journey to the Pacific has it all. Lots of wooden boats, navigation, scientific research, and hardship.
Along with their keelboat and pirogues were numerous small craft, some of them conceived and built on the spot. Of particular interest was the matter of the boat Lewis designed and brought on their journey - The Experiment. Iron frames that when assembled with some wooden parts and covered with skins was to be one of the first boat kits maybe. Evidently it didn't perform as expected on account of the skins leaking and the need for some sort of seam compound. I would have liked to have seen that.

Jim Dowling
01-01-2001, 12:57 PM
The reading of the Proclamation of Irish Independence on the steps of the General Post Office, Dublin, on Easter Monday, 1916.

01-01-2001, 01:09 PM
Alright Jim!, the ball is definately rolling again. When is blindness not a virtue?

Any of Twain's Chautauquas, after say, 1870. He has always struck me as someone whose personal tragedies made for interesting wit and wisdom...JUST human disgust at the prevailing fashion of mind, and its hypocrisy. I have to like that, a great deal.

01-01-2001, 04:31 PM
Thankyou ABC for inspiring me to write. to have dinner or a summer with Ton Pane and Thomas Jefferson. Ben Franklin.

Those I have no excure for not meeting my grandmothers younsest brother and fathers name sake uncle arthur who died at 91, and Edward Abby living only a few hundered miles away

Happy new year

01-02-2001, 03:53 PM
Any live performance by Elvis Presley

01-02-2001, 03:53 PM
Any live performance by Elvis Presley

01-03-2001, 08:02 PM
Jake, I don't think that Erik ever made it to Newfoundland.After Thorvaldson arrival in "Greenland" he never left til the day his wife planted him outside the church courtyard cause he wouldn't become a Christion.Son Leifur made all the runnings around starting about the age of 16 til he got some big cheese's daughter in the Faeroe Islands knocked up and he had to buy her. He wintered over in the continental U.S. after they broke the garboard strake on his boat (about 69ft long) until the following summer when they got it repaired. The funny vertical holes you find along shore in th parts of the great lakes area are holes for viking anchors. They would run the boat to shore, drill the hole and drop in what looked like an eyebolt vertically , with the rope on the eye, and then kedje back offshore. That way if under attack two or three men could hold off a passel of skraelings. You could pull horizontally and pull the boat back in to pick up the crew, and just snap the line and the eyebolt would jump outta the hole for a fast getaway.

Art Read
01-03-2001, 11:28 PM
Lincoln reading the Gettysburg Address? (from the front rows...)

Wild Wassa
02-18-2004, 02:22 PM
A horse I once owned with my father, and two friends, won his first two starts both at 50/1, in Sydney. I would like to witness that again.

He was a grandson of Meadow Skipper.


[ 02-18-2004, 02:27 PM: Message edited by: Wild Wassa ]

Captain Pre-Capsize
02-18-2004, 02:52 PM
Sherman's March to the Sea. It made the South just howl and (IMO) brought the War of Rebellion to a more rapid close. Doubt me? Read my favorite book on the subject by the master story teller Victor Davis Hanson. The book is The Soul of Battle. Terrific!