This Week in #WW2 – Capture of the Marshall Islands

 

THIS WEEK IN WORLD WAR II

U.S. Troops Capture the Marshall Islands

If you enjoy reading about World War 2, may I suggest my companion website, USS Hornet (CV-12) – A Father’s Untold War Story.  Just click the link associated with my father’s Navy photograph on the left panel.

What Happened on February 3rd – Barnum Buys Jumbo the Elephant

In 2016, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus made news by announcing that it is ending its elephant acts and will retire all of its touring elephants in May.  The move comes amid increasing scrutiny on circus elephant acts with local governments passing “anti-circus” and “anti-elephant” ordinances in response to concerns over animal cruelty.

More than a century ago, on February 3, 1882, PT Barnum bought his world famous elephant, Jumbo.

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Jumbo, PT Barnum’s famous elephant

As far as animal superstars go, Jumbo was one of the biggest and earliest.  He was the first African elephant to reach modern Europe alive. He was born in East Africa, and captured there by Arabian hunters in early 1862. He was sold first to an Italian animal dealer, then to a menagerie in Germany, and then to the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. Officials of the Jardin traded him to the London Zoological Gardens for a rhinoceros. Jumbo lived in the London Zoo for about 16 years, where he delighted visitors by taking them on trips around the zoo grounds in the howdah on his back.

Jumbo at the London Zoo

Jumbo at the London Zoo

Since Jumbo was the biggest elephant in captivity, American showman P. T. Barnum wanted the elephant in his circus.  He purchased Jumbo in 1882 for $10,000.

P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman

P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman

The British people were outraged and this captured the world’s attention.  The British people wrote letters to Queen Victoria urging that Jumbo remain in London. Alas, the courts ruled in Barnum’s favor and the elephant was shipped to the United States. Kind of like Beatlemania, there was a “Jumbomania” craze.  The civilized world was flooded with Jumbo neckties, jewelry, soaps, and other ornaments and souvenirs.

jumbo1

Jumbo made his United States debut on Easter Sunday 1882 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Jumbo would tour with Barnum’s circus for three years but on September 15, 1885, he was killed in a railway accident in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada.  He was age 24. His death was met with worldwide grief and sorrow.  The world probably mourned him but according to the photograph below, he was a spectacle even as he lay dead.

 Toronto Star file photo The death of Jumbo in St. Thomas, Ont., on Sept. 15, 1885. After he was hit by a freight train, many who had been in the circus crowd posed with his body along the tracks.


Toronto Star file photo
The death of Jumbo in St. Thomas, Ont., on Sept. 15, 1885. After he was hit by a freight train, many who had been in the circus crowd posed with his body along the tracks.

Death did not end Jumbo’s fame.  His hide was stuffed and his bones preserved. Both were displayed first with Barnum’s circus, and then with museums. Jumbo was donated to the Barnum museum at Tufts University where it became the school mascot. His hide was destroyed in a fire at Tufts in 1975. His skeleton was displayed for many years in the American Museum of Natural History, New York City. As time passed, people forgot who Jumbo was, and the skeleton was put away. Jumbo’s greatest legacy is his name. In the English language, it means “huge” or, at least, “very large”.

What Happened on February 2nd – Murder in Hollywood

I think if I was an avid reader of Hollywood history, I would know this story and the people involved but I am not.  On February 2, 1922, police discover the body of 50 year old film director William Desmond Taylor in his Los Angeles bungalow. The call to the police had lead Lieutenant Tom Ziegler to believe there had been a “natural death”.  This had not been the case when he arrived.  The film director’s home was full of actors, actresses, and studio executives rummaging through the director’s belongings.  This makes me visualize vultures.  Taylor was lying on the living room floor with a bullet in his back.  I don’t think a film director could stage a more bizarre scene.

The murder became a nationwide scandal and fed the moralist’s idea that Hollywood was depraved. Two of the actresses linked to Taylor got caught up in the scandal. Comedian Mabel Normand had been linked romantically with Taylor; however because she developed tuberculosis, she was sent to a sanitarium.  She died from this illness in 1930. 

When the mouse is away, the cat will play.  Mary Miles Minter, a teenager, became a star in Taylor’s silent films and fell in love with him. Her mother, Charlotte Shelby did not approve of the relationship.  Minter’s love note to Taylor, along with  her nightgown were found in the home after the murder.  Other important facts were also introduced.  Minter had once tried to shoot herself with the same type of gun used in Taylor’s murder. Charlotte Shelby had previously threatened the life of another director who had made a pass at her daughter. What’s a stage mother to do.  Shelby’s alibi witness received suspiciously large sums of money after the murder. Believe it or not, no one was ever prosecuted for Taylor’s death and the case remains officially unsolved.

Many years later, in Minter’s unpublished autobiography, she admitted that she and her mother were at Taylor’s bungalow on the night of the killing. Famous director King Vidor told people that Minter had ambiguously admitted that her mother had killed Taylor after finding her daughter at Taylor’s home.

King Vidor

King Vidor

What Happened on February 1st – Remembering Columbia

Just a few days ago Challenger was in our thoughts with the 30th anniversary of that disaster.  Today I recall another space shuttle disaster.  On February 1, 2003, the space shuttle Columbia broke up while entering the atmosphere over Texas, killing all seven crew members on board.
Space Shuttle Columbia Crew

Space Shuttle Columbia Crew

Columbia‘s 28th space mission was originally scheduled to launch on January 11, 2001, but was delayed numerous times for a variety of reasons over nearly two years. Columbia finally launched on January 16, 2003, with a crew of seven. Eighty seconds into the launch, a piece of foam insulation broke off from the shuttle’s propellant tank and hit the edge of the shuttle’s left wing.  This could be seen from cameras but the NASA engineers couldn’t pinpoint the location or the extent of the damage. This was not the first time the foam insulation broke off a shuttle and it had not caused critical damage previously; however some engineers at the space agency believed that the damage to the wing could cause a catastrophic failure. Their concerns were not addressed during Columbia’s mission by NASA management.  They believed that even if major damage had been caused, there was little that could be done to remedy the situation.

This image of the STS-107 shuttle Columbia crew in orbit was recovered from wreckage inside an undeveloped film canister. The shirt colors indicate their mission shifts. From left (bottom row): Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick Husband, commander; Laurel Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. From left (top row) are astronauts David Brown, mission specialist; William McCool, pilot; and Michael Anderson, payload commander. Ramon represents the Israeli Space Agency.
Credit: NASA/JSC

February 1, 2003 Timeline:

8:53 a.m. – Ten minutes after Columbia reentered the earth’s atmosphere, indications of trouble were noted.  As the shuttle was 231,000 feet above the California coastline traveling at 23 times the speed of sound, the heat-resistant tiles covering the left wing’s leading edge had been damaged or were missing, wind and heat entered the wing and blew it apart.

FILE - In this Feb. 1, 2003 file photo, debris from the space shuttle Columbia streaks across the sky over Tyler, Texas. The Columbia broke apart in flames 200,000 feet over Texas on Saturday, killing all seven astronauts just minutes before they were to glide to a landing in Florida. Ten years later, reminders of Columbia are everywhere, including up in the sky. Everything from asteroids, lunar craters and Martian hills, to schools, parks, streets and even an airport (Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport) bear the Columbia astronauts' names. Two years ago, a museum opened in Hemphill, Texas, where much of the Columbia wreckage rained down, dedicated to "remembering Columbia." About 84,000 pounds of that wreckage, representing 40 percent of NASA's oldest space shuttle, are stored at Kennedy and loaned for engineering research. (AP Photo/Scott Lieberman) MANDATORY CREDIT

FILE – In this Feb. 1, 2003 file photo, debris from the space shuttle Columbia streaks across the sky over Tyler, Texas. The Columbia broke apart in flames 200,000 feet over Texas on Saturday, killing all seven astronauts just minutes before they were to glide to a landing in Florida. Ten years later, reminders of Columbia are everywhere, including up in the sky. Everything from asteroids, lunar craters and Martian hills, to schools, parks, streets and even an airport (Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport) bear the Columbia astronauts’ names. Two years ago, a museum opened in Hemphill, Texas, where much of the Columbia wreckage rained down, dedicated to “remembering Columbia.” About 84,000 pounds of that wreckage, representing 40 percent of NASA’s oldest space shuttle, are stored at Kennedy and loaned for engineering research. (AP Photo/Scott Lieberman) MANDATORY CREDIT

8:58 a.m. – Debris began falling to the ground in west Texas near Lubbock at 8:58 a.m.

8:59 a.m. – The last communication from the crew was heard

9 a.m. – The shuttle disintegrated over southeast Texas, near Dallas. Residents in the area heard a loud boom and saw streaks of smoke in the sky.

Source: Frompo.com

Source: Frompo.com

Debris and the remains of the crew were found in more than 2,000 locations across East Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana. Making the tragedy even worse, two pilots aboard a search helicopter were killed in a crash while looking for debris. Strangely, worms that the crew had used in a study that were stored in a canister aboard the Columbia did survive.

C. elegans nematodes, or roundworms, undergo examination by project scientists. The worms are descendants of those that were part of an experiment that flew on the shuttle Columbia's last mission, STS-107, in 2003. The new worms were flown to the International Space Station on the shuttle Endeavour during the STS-134 mission in May 2011. Credit: NASA - See more at: http://www.space.com/19538-columbia-shuttle-disaster-worms-survive.html#sthash.83IMmHVY.dpuf

C. elegans nematodes, or roundworms, undergo examination by project scientists. The worms are descendants of those that were part of an experiment that flew on the shuttle Columbia’s last mission, STS-107, in 2003. The new worms were flown to the International Space Station on the shuttle Endeavour during the STS-134 mission in May 2011.
Credit: NASA
– See more at: http://www.space.com/19538-columbia-shuttle-disaster-worms-survive.html#sthash.83IMmHVY.dpuf

Investigations that follow such events in world history often reveal information that break your heart and make you very angry. In August 2003, an investigation report on the Columbia disaster revealed that it would have been possible either for the Columbia crew to repair the damage to the wing or for the crew to be rescued from the shuttle. The Columbia could have stayed in orbit until February 15 and the already planned launch of the shuttle Atlantis could have been moved up as early as February 10, leaving a short window for repairing the wing or getting the crew off of the Columbia.

Debris from space shuttle Columbia is laid out on the floor of this hangar at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, June 4, 2003. REUTERS/Karl Ronstrom

Debris from space shuttle Columbia is laid out on the floor of this hangar at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, June 4, 2003. REUTERS/Karl Ronstrom

In the aftermath of the Columbia disaster, the space shuttle program was grounded until July 16, 2005, when the space shuttle Discovery was put into orbit. The space shuttle program was ended on July 21, 2011.  I wrote about the ending of the Space Shuttle program in a previous post.

What Happened on January 31st – Guy Fawkes

Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated on November 5th in the United Kingdom as that is the date that Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators were to carry out their crime.  It was on January 31, 1606, at Westminster in London, Guy Fawkes, the chief conspirator in the plot to blow up the British Parliament building, jumps to his death moments before his execution for treason.

A contemporary engraving of eight of the thirteen conspirators, by Crispijn van de Passe. Fawkes is third from the right.

A contemporary engraving of eight of the thirteen conspirators, by Crispijn van de Passe. Fawkes is third from the right.

The night before a general parliamentary session scheduled for November 5, 1605 where King James I was scheduled to attend, Guy Fawkes hid in the cellar of the Parliament building and he was discovered by Sir Thomas Knyvet, a justice of the peace.  Detaining Fawkes and searching the building resulting in the discovery of nearly two tons of gunpowder in the cellar. Fawkes revealed that he was a participant in an English Catholic conspiracy organized by Robert Catesby.  The goal of this conspiracy was to annihilate England’s entire Protestant government, including King James I.

The Discovery of the Gunpowder Plot and the Taking of Guy Fawkes (c. 1823) by Henry Perronet Briggs; Knyvet wears the breastplate

The Discovery of the Gunpowder Plot and the Taking of Guy Fawkes (c. 1823) by Henry Perronet Briggs; Knyvet wears the breastplate

With Fawkes detained and the plot uncovered, English authorities spent the next few months killing or capturing all of the conspirators in the “Gunpowder Plot”.  In this process they often arrested, tortured, or killed dozens of innocent English Catholics as well.  After a brief trial, Guy Fawkes was sentenced, along with the other surviving chief conspirators, to be hanged, drawn, and quartered in London. On January 30, 1606, the gruesome public executions began in London, and on January 31 Fawkes was called to meet his fate. While climbing to the hanging platform, however, he jumped from the ladder and broke his neck, dying instantly.

In remembrance of the Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes Day is celebrated across Great Britain every year on the fifth of November. Being born and raised in the United States, I was not aware of this event and heard about it for the first time in a Ruth Rendell novel.  As dusk falls in the evening, villagers and city dwellers across Britain light bonfires, set off fireworks, and burn an effigy of Guy Fawkes, celebrating his failure to blow up Parliament and James I.  In modern times, these celebrations are sometimes anti-government as well.

The World’s Outstanding Women (WOW): Ella Cara Deloria

WOMENS-symbol Throughout history women have made their mark in a wide variety of ways.  Each Saturday I plan to highlight one of these remarkable women.  There will be no limit to the areas of history that I may include; however as a guide I will look to the month of their birth, the month of their death or the month associated with their mark in history when I select them.  Is there an outstanding women in history you would like me to include?  I welcome your suggestions.  Would you like to guest blog one of the world’s outstanding women?  Let me hear from you.

To read previous posts in this segment, there is a menu at the top of my site.  Today I celebrate a woman known for her documentation of the oral history and legends of the Sioux people.  Meet Ella Cara Deloria.

Ella Cara Deloria

Ella Cara Deloria

Her native name among the Sioux was Aŋpétu Wašté Wiŋ (Beautiful Day Woman).  Ella Cara Deloria was an educator, anthropologist, ethnographer, linguist, and novelist of European American and Dakota ancestry. She recorded Sioux oral history and legends, and contributed to the study of their languages. In the 1940s, she wrote a novel, Waterlily. It was finally published in 1988, and in 2009 was issued in a new edition.

Waterlily written by Ella Cara Deloria in 1940s

Waterlily written by Ella Cara Deloria in 1940s but not published until 1988 (18 years after her death). The novel follows two generations of Sioux women, Blue Bird and Waterlily; a mother-daughter pair who both learn through life experiences the meaning and importance of kinship. Waterlily takes place in the Great Plains of the Midwest and recounts the nomadic nature of the Sioux camp circle. The Sioux term for camp circle, tiyospaye, is an essential throughout the novel as a driving force for bonding, conflict, relationships, and change. Although Waterlily is told from a third-person omniscient point of view, it is unique in that it is focuses mostly on women’s roles and experiences in Dakota society.

Early Life and Education

  • Born on January 31, 1889 in the White Swan district of the Yankton Indian Reservation, South Dakota.
  • 11426Of Yankton Dakota, English, French and German roots, her parents were Mary (or Miriam) (Sully) Bordeaux Deloria and Philip Joseph Deloria (One of the first Sioux to be ordained an Episcopal priest.
Philip Joseph Deloria

Philip Joseph Deloria

  • Deloria was brought up on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation, at Wakpala
Map of Standing Rock Indian Reservation

Map of Standing Rock Indian Reservation

  • She was educated first at her father’s mission school, St. Elizabeth’s and All Saints Boarding School.
Ella Cara Deloria

Ella Cara Deloria

  • She went to a boarding school in Sioux Falls.
  • After graduation, she attended Oberlin College, Ohio, to which she had won a scholarship.
Formal Seal of Oberlin College

Formal Seal of Oberlin College

  • After two years at Oberlin, Deloria transferred to Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, and graduated with a B.Sc. in 1915.

Professional Life and Achievements

Her work with the linguistics of Native American languages began when she met Franz Boas while at Teachers College.  Her professional association with him lasted until his death in 1942.

Franz Uri Boas July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942 German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the "Father of American Anthropology"

Franz Uri Boas, July 9, 1858 – December 21, 1942
German-American anthropologist and a pioneer of modern anthropology who has been called the “Father of American Anthropology”

At this time she also worked with Margaret Mead and Ruth Benedict, prominent anthropologists who had been graduate students of Boas. Deloria herself never had the finances to earn an advanced degree but she belonged with this group as she had the advantage of fluency in the Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota dialects of Sioux, in addition to English and Latin.

An advantage is an understatement.  Her linguistic abilities and her intimate knowledge of traditional and Christianized Sioux culture, together with her deep commitment both to American Indian cultures and to scholarship, allowed Deloria to carry out important, often ground-breaking work in anthropology and ethnology. Here are a few of those achievements:

Translated into English several Sioux historical and scholarly texts:

  • the Lakota texts of George Bushotter (1864-1892), the first Sioux ethnographer (the scientific description of the customs of individual peoples and cultures.)
Collections Search Center, Smithsonian Institution. George Bushotter Drawing.

Collections Search Center, Smithsonian Institution. George Bushotter Drawing.

  • the Santee texts recorded by Presbyterian missionaries Gideon and Samuel Pond, brothers from Connecticut.
Samuel & Gideon Pond

Samuel & Gideon Pond

Conducted important work for the United States Government:

  • In 1938-39, Deloria was one of a small group of researchers commissioned to do a socioeconomic study on the Navajo Reservation for the Bureau of Indian Affairs; it was funded by the Phelps Stokes Fund. They published their report, entitled The Navajo Indian Problem.  An excerpt of the publication can be read here. This project opened the door for Deloria to receive more speaking engagements, as well as funding to support her continued important work on native languages.
  • In 1940, she and her sister Susan went to Pembroke, North Carolina to conduct some research among the self-identified Lumbee of Robeson County. The project was supported by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the federal Farm Security Administration.500px-Lumbee_Tribe_Of_North_Carolina_Tribal_Logo

 

Her importance to the Native American nations:

Since the late 19th century, these mixed-race people, free before the Civil War as free people of color had been recognized as an Indian tribe by the state of North Carolina, which allowed them to have their own schools, rather than requiring them to send their children to schools with the children of freedmen. They were seeking federal recognition as a Native American tribe.

  • Deloria believed she could make an important contribution to their effort for recognition by studying their distinctive culture and what remained of an Indian language.
  • In her study, she conducted interviews with a range of people in the group, including women about their use of plants, food, medicine, and animal names.
  • She came very close to completing a dictionary of what may have been their original language before they adopted English.
  • She also assembled a successful pageant with, for and about the Robeson County Indians in 1940 that depicted their origin account. At that time they claimed to be descended from English colonists of the Lost Colony of the Outer Banks region in North Carolina and Croatan Indians. A scheduled 1941 performance was cancelled when Pearl Harbor was bombed by the Japanese.

Recognized by universities, learned foundations and societies:

Deloria received grants for her research from Columbia University, the American Philosophical Society, the Bollingen Foundation, the National Science Foundation, and the Doris Duke Foundation, from 1929-1960s. In 1943, Deloria won the Indian Achievement Award. In 2010, the Department of Anthropology of Columbia University, Deloria’s alma mater, established the Ella C. Deloria Undergraduate Research Fellowship in her honor.

Deloria had a stroke in 1970, dying the following year of pneumonia. She was compiling a Lakota dictionary at the time of her death. Her extensive data has proven invaluable to researchers since that time.

 

What Happened on January 27th – The Paris Peace Accord

No matter the level of your knowledge of the Vietnam War, you would agree that when it was over a truly heinous period is world history came to a close.  On January 27, 1973, the United States, South Vietnam, Viet Cong, and North Vietnam formally sign “An Agreement Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Vietnam” in Paris.
U.S. Representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Le Duc Tho

U.S. Representative Henry Kissinger and North Vietnamese Le Duc Tho

For Lt. Col. William B. Nolde, the cease fire came 11 hours too late.  He was the last U.S. serviceman to be killed in Vietnam.  He was killed by an artillery shell at An Loc, 60 miles northwest of Saigon, only 11 hours before the truce went into effect.

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Lt. Col. William B. Nolde

As to the peace accord, due to South Vietnam’s unwillingness to recognize the Viet Cong’s Provisional Revolutionary Government, all references to it were confined to a two-party version of the document signed by North Vietnam and the United States—the South Vietnamese were presented with a separate document that did not make reference to the Viet Cong government. This was part of Saigon’s long-time refusal to recognize the Viet Cong as a legitimate participant in the discussions to end the war.

The settlement:

  • a cease-fire throughout Vietnam.
  • the United States agreed to the withdrawal of all U.S. troops and advisors (totalling about 23,700).
  • the dismantling of all U.S. bases within 60 days.
Newspaper account during the peace talks

Newspaper account during the peace talks

  • the North Vietnamese agreed to release all U.S. and other prisoners of war.
A now famous photograph

A now famous photograph

  • Both sides agreed to the withdrawal of all foreign troops from Laos and Cambodia and the prohibition of bases in and troop movements through these countries.
  • It was agreed that the DMZ at the 17th Parallel would remain a provisional dividing line, with eventual reunification of the country “through peaceful means.”
The DMZ

The DMZ

  • An international control commission would be established made up of Canadians, Hungarians, Poles, and Indonesians, with 1,160 inspectors to supervise the agreement.
  • According to the agreement, South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu would continue in office pending elections.
  • Agreeing to “the South Vietnamese People’s right to self-determination,” the North Vietnamese said they would not initiate military movement across the DMZ and that there would be no use of force to reunify the country.

 

Blogging from A to Z Sign Up Day

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Today is the sign up day for the Challenge and I am throwing my hat in the ring again this year. It is my third year. My posts from the previous challenge can be found from the menu at the top of my page. I am happy to say I have an early spot in the 2016 challenge list, 34. Now I’ve had my theme picked since the middle of last year’s challenge so I probably should have all or most written already. WRONG. Oh well procrastination is the way of the world but I’ll get there. I haven’t been blogging much lately just because I haven’t been excited about it. I am back now and have posted today. Not this post, another 😉

What Happened on January 25th – First Televised Presidential News Conference

John Kennedy Press Conferance-500

Since the televised debate between John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon in 1960, the impact of television on public opinion was well known by President Kennedy.  Probably the tremendous change that politics faces today with social media.  With this knowledge in hand, President Kennedy addressed the world in the first Presidential news conference on January 25, 1961.

Standing before cameras in the State Department auditorium, Kennedy read a prepared statement which covered:

  • the famine in the Congo
  • the release of two American aviators from Russian custody
  • impending negotiations for an atomic test ban treaty.

He then opened the floor for questions from reporters, answering queries on a variety of topics including relations with Cuba, voting rights and food aid to impoverished Americans.

Sunday Photo Fiction – Could a Donkey Love an Elephant (Part 4)

Submitted for Sunday Photo Fiction

spf

The Assignment: The idea of Photo Fiction is write a story of around 100-200 words (which is also called Flash Fiction) based on a photo as a prompt. In this particular photo fiction, the story must be based on the photo below. My story continues from last week.  Two people with different beliefs meet. Can they make it work.  Let’s find out what is next for them.  To read the story from the beginning, click HERE

Credit: Al Forbes

Credit: Al Forbes

Could a Donkey Love An Elephant (Part 4)

When Roger and Julie were finished their coffee, Roger said, “Would you like to go to dinner with me next week?”

Julie smiled when she answered him, “I would like that. Let me give you my number.”

Taking out his phone, Roger entered her number and said, “I’ll give you a call during the week but now I have to meet my father. He is probably finished at the rally by now.”

Stepping out onto the sidewalk, Roger and Julie moved toward the crosswalk where the indicator changed to “walk”. Suddenly there was a screeching of tires and the blowing of horns. An old woman dressed in dirty rags lay in the middle of the street, her shopping cart overturned and all her belongings strewn everywhere. No one came forward to help the homeless woman.

Moving fast toward the fallen woman, Julie said, “Roger call 9-1-1!”