24 Notes

momkuoftheday:

Monday morning rush - Interrupted by muffins - Go! September’s here!

So Mrs. Obit of the Day has started a tumblr. It focuses on Japanese poetry styles, parenting, and the occasional blueberry muffin.
Do with it what you will.

momkuoftheday:

Monday morning rush
- Interrupted by muffins -
Go! September’s here!

So Mrs. Obit of the Day has started a tumblr. It focuses on Japanese poetry styles, parenting, and the occasional blueberry muffin.

Do with it what you will.

80 Notes

Obit of the Day: The Last Surviving Crewmember of the Hindenburg

Werner Franz was in the crew’s mess aboard the Hindenburg cleaning dishes and preparing for landing in the town of Lakehurst, NJ on May 6, 1937. As the zeppelin approached the ground an explosion ripped through the tail section, sending the nose of the world’s largest airship suddenly upward, throwing dishes off shelves all around Mr. Franz. Then a water ballast tank ruptured soaking the 14-year-old cabin boy.

As the hydrogen-filled* blimp continued to explode, Mr. Franz made his way to a hatch door, kicked it out and jumped safely to the ground. He managed to escape without a scratch.

Others were not so lucky. Of the 97 passengers aboard 35 were killed in the crash, while a member of the landing crew also died. The fact that more than half the passengers survived seems incredible since the Hindenburg was completely destroyed in about 30 seconds. 

Mr. Franz was part of the Hindenburg from its maiden voyage having joined the crew as a way to help his parents financially. During his time on board the Hindenburg, the fastest airship in the world at the time, Mr. Franz crossed the Atlantic on 18 round-trips from Frankfurt, Germany to the U.S. and Brazil. At a time where passenger planes were slow, small, and required constant refueling, the Hindenburg could make the transatlantic voyage in just 2-3 days, faster than an ocean liner.

But even the tragedy could not damper Mr. Franz’s love of air travel. After testifying at a U.S. hearing on the disaster, he approached an official of the German air ministry and asked “When the next Zeppelin is ready, may I fly again with her?” But the Hinderburg was the last of its kind, with the Nazis shutting down the program after the accident^. 

Returning to Germany, Mr. Franz would later join the Luftwaffe as a radio operator. After the war he worked for the post office and also became a well-known ice skating coach. (One of his students, Marika Kilius, would go on to win two Olympic silver medals.)

Werner Franz died on August 13, 2014 at the age of 92. According to sources, the last living survivor of the Hindenburg is Werner Doehner who was eight years old at the time of the disaster.

Sources: Washington Post, NY Times, and Wikipedia

(Video of the Hindeburg and its explosion is copyright of British Pathe and courtesy of its incredible YouTube channel)

* Although hydrogen was known to be highly flammable it was cheaper, more readily available, and lighter than helium.

^ The disaster was a public relations nightmare for Hitler and his Third Reich who built the Hindenburg as much for propoganda as for transportation. To this day it is still the largest passenger airship ever built - almost four times longer (804’) than the Airbus A380 (239’) the largest passenger plane on earth.

56 Notes

Obit of the Day: Witness for the Constitution
In 1935 Lillian Gobitas, then a seventh-grader, and her brother William, fifth-grader, exercised their belief as Jehovah’s Witnesses and refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and salute the American flag. Just months early, J.F. Rutherford, head of the Witnesses had declared that saluting a flag, an “earthly emblem”, was an insult to God and therefore prohibited*.
The Gobitas children were abused and taunted by their peers, even forcing Lillian to resign as student council president. Eventually the children were expelled from school after the Minersville board of education passed a law stating that refusal to salute the flag was considered insubordination. Their father, Walter Gobitas, sued the school district saying that their children’s freedom of religion was violated.
It took five years for the case to wind its way through the courts, with the Gobitas family winning at all levels, before ended up in front of the Supreme Court in April 1940^. Three months later the decision was handed down, with Justice Felix Frankfurter writing the majority opinion. The Court had decided, 8-1, that the flag salute law was constitutional because it was created not to harm Jehovah’s Witnesses but to promote unity: “National unity is the basis of national security.”
Justice Harlan Fiske Stone was the lone dissenting voice on the Court. He saw the law as a compulsory practice that overrode individual religious beliefs, clearly in violation of the First Amendment: “The guarantees of civil liberty are but guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit and of reasonable freedom and opportunity to express them…The very essence of the liberty which they guarantee is the freedom of the individual from compulsion as to what he shall think and what he shall say…”
What the Court, and the Gobitas family, could not have foreseen was the response of the American people to the Court’s decision. Jehovah’s Witness places of worship (Kingdom Halls) were burned to the ground. One town in Illinois arrested every Witness living there for their “protection.” Members of the American Legion, a national veterans organization, were especially active in attacking Witnesses across the country. It was so troubling that Eleanor Roosevelt took to the airwaves to try and instill calm.
Just three years later, after a change in the Court’s makeup, the justices heard a second flag salute case, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which, in a 6-3 decision, clearly stated that “compulsory unification of opinion” violated freedoms of speech and religion. The decision was announced on Flag Day.
The Gobitas family remained faithful Witnesses. Lillian became a missionary and traveled to Germany where she met Edwin Klose. Mr. Klose was one of over 10,000 Witnesses the Nazis had placed in concentration camps for their disloyalty - which included refusing to salute the flag. The couple married in 1954 and remained together until Mr. Klose’s death in 1997.
Lillian Klose died on August 21, 2014 at the age of 90 in her Georgia home. William Gobitas died on January 29, 1989.
Sources: AJC.com, PBS.org, Library of Congress, and Wikipedia.
(Image of Walter Gobitas, with his son William and daughter Lillian, circa 1935. The Gobitas children were expelled from school for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and salute the American flag. They took their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The image is courtesy of PBS.org. Apologies for the small size but it’s the only image I could find.)
* Mr. Rutherford issued his statement in reaction to the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany under the Nazi Party but included loyalty oaths to all flags.
^ When the case came to the Supreme Court, a clerk misspelled the Gobitas’ name and so in the record it is listed as Minersville School District v. Gobitis.

Obit of the Day: Witness for the Constitution

In 1935 Lillian Gobitas, then a seventh-grader, and her brother William, fifth-grader, exercised their belief as Jehovah’s Witnesses and refused to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and salute the American flag. Just months early, J.F. Rutherford, head of the Witnesses had declared that saluting a flag, an “earthly emblem”, was an insult to God and therefore prohibited*.

The Gobitas children were abused and taunted by their peers, even forcing Lillian to resign as student council president. Eventually the children were expelled from school after the Minersville board of education passed a law stating that refusal to salute the flag was considered insubordination. Their father, Walter Gobitas, sued the school district saying that their children’s freedom of religion was violated.

It took five years for the case to wind its way through the courts, with the Gobitas family winning at all levels, before ended up in front of the Supreme Court in April 1940^. Three months later the decision was handed down, with Justice Felix Frankfurter writing the majority opinion. The Court had decided, 8-1, that the flag salute law was constitutional because it was created not to harm Jehovah’s Witnesses but to promote unity: “National unity is the basis of national security.”

Justice Harlan Fiske Stone was the lone dissenting voice on the Court. He saw the law as a compulsory practice that overrode individual religious beliefs, clearly in violation of the First Amendment: “The guarantees of civil liberty are but guarantees of freedom of the human mind and spirit and of reasonable freedom and opportunity to express them…The very essence of the liberty which they guarantee is the freedom of the individual from compulsion as to what he shall think and what he shall say…”

What the Court, and the Gobitas family, could not have foreseen was the response of the American people to the Court’s decision. Jehovah’s Witness places of worship (Kingdom Halls) were burned to the ground. One town in Illinois arrested every Witness living there for their “protection.” Members of the American Legion, a national veterans organization, were especially active in attacking Witnesses across the country. It was so troubling that Eleanor Roosevelt took to the airwaves to try and instill calm.

Just three years later, after a change in the Court’s makeup, the justices heard a second flag salute case, West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette, which, in a 6-3 decision, clearly stated that “compulsory unification of opinion” violated freedoms of speech and religion. The decision was announced on Flag Day.

The Gobitas family remained faithful Witnesses. Lillian became a missionary and traveled to Germany where she met Edwin Klose. Mr. Klose was one of over 10,000 Witnesses the Nazis had placed in concentration camps for their disloyalty - which included refusing to salute the flag. The couple married in 1954 and remained together until Mr. Klose’s death in 1997.

Lillian Klose died on August 21, 2014 at the age of 90 in her Georgia home. William Gobitas died on January 29, 1989.

Sources: AJC.com, PBS.org, Library of Congress, and Wikipedia.

(Image of Walter Gobitas, with his son William and daughter Lillian, circa 1935. The Gobitas children were expelled from school for refusing to recite the Pledge of Allegiance and salute the American flag. They took their case to the U.S. Supreme Court. The image is courtesy of PBS.org. Apologies for the small size but it’s the only image I could find.)

* Mr. Rutherford issued his statement in reaction to the persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Germany under the Nazi Party but included loyalty oaths to all flags.

^ When the case came to the Supreme Court, a clerk misspelled the Gobitas’ name and so in the record it is listed as Minersville School District v. Gobitis.

174 Notes

Obit of the Day (Historical): Ellen Church (1965)
It was Ellen Church’s dream to fly, so in 1930 she applied for a job as a pilot with United Airlines. The president of the fledgling passenger company, Steve Stimson, however, would not hire a woman pilot. Instead the two decided to give Ms. Church the position of stewardess - the first-ever in aviation history*.
Ms. Church, who was a registered nurse, had convinced Mr. Stimson that having female nurses on airplanes would alleviate many of the concerns passengers and their families had about flying. At this point, the planes flew at 5,000 feet, which created for some very bumpy rides. In addition, the planes were unpressurized, unheated, and stopped numerous times for fuel and other necessities on long flights.
With the support of Mr. Stimson, Ms. Church recruited the first staff of stewardesses, or “sky girls,” finding seven other women to join her. According to sources, the women selected had to be 115 pounds or less in order to make sure that the then-fragile planes were not too heavy. The low ceilings also forced all the new hires to be shorter than 5’4”. The original group of Boeing stewardesses were Ms. Church, Jessie Carter, Cornelia Peterman, Church, Inez Keller, Alva Johnson, Margaret Arnott, Ellis Crawford and Harriet Fry.
Ms. Church was on the first flight, from Oakland to Chicago, and was responsible not only for passenger health and safety, but also distributed box lunchs and helped to re-fuel the plane - all while wearing a traditional nurse’s uniform to give added reassurance. The first flight took 13 stops and 20 hours. (You can now fly non-stop between the two cities in 4 hours.)
Ms. Church only worked for United for 18 months before a car accident ended her career.
However more than a decade later her nursing skills were once again in demand with the outbreak of World War II. She spent the duration of the war in southern Europe and North Africa helping evacuate military casualties by air. Prior to D-Day, she was assigned the task of training all the evacuation nurses for the invasion of Normandy. For her service she earned the Air Medal (given “to anyone who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself or herself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.”) as well as several campaign medals including the European-African-Middle Eastern medal with seven bronze stars denoting sevice in seven different military actions.
Ellen Church, who also designed the stewardess uniforms seen in the photo accompanying this post, died on August 22, 1965 at the age of 60. She succumbed to injuries from a horsebackriding accident. To honor her contributions the citizens in her hometown of Cresco, Iowa named the local airport for her.
Sources: Iowa Pathways, Workingnurse.com, and Wikipedia
(Image of Ellen Church, circa 1930, is courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, A-45935-C, part of their America by Air online exhibit.)
* The role of air steward was created decades earlier by a German airline in 1912. Heinrich Kubis is the first person, male or female, to serve in that position.
 

Obit of the Day (Historical): Ellen Church (1965)

It was Ellen Church’s dream to fly, so in 1930 she applied for a job as a pilot with United Airlines. The president of the fledgling passenger company, Steve Stimson, however, would not hire a woman pilot. Instead the two decided to give Ms. Church the position of stewardess - the first-ever in aviation history*.

Ms. Church, who was a registered nurse, had convinced Mr. Stimson that having female nurses on airplanes would alleviate many of the concerns passengers and their families had about flying. At this point, the planes flew at 5,000 feet, which created for some very bumpy rides. In addition, the planes were unpressurized, unheated, and stopped numerous times for fuel and other necessities on long flights.

With the support of Mr. Stimson, Ms. Church recruited the first staff of stewardesses, or “sky girls,” finding seven other women to join her. According to sources, the women selected had to be 115 pounds or less in order to make sure that the then-fragile planes were not too heavy. The low ceilings also forced all the new hires to be shorter than 5’4”. The original group of Boeing stewardesses were Ms. Church, Jessie Carter, Cornelia Peterman, Church, Inez Keller, Alva Johnson, Margaret Arnott, Ellis Crawford and Harriet Fry.

Ms. Church was on the first flight, from Oakland to Chicago, and was responsible not only for passenger health and safety, but also distributed box lunchs and helped to re-fuel the plane - all while wearing a traditional nurse’s uniform to give added reassurance. The first flight took 13 stops and 20 hours. (You can now fly non-stop between the two cities in 4 hours.)

Ms. Church only worked for United for 18 months before a car accident ended her career.

However more than a decade later her nursing skills were once again in demand with the outbreak of World War II. She spent the duration of the war in southern Europe and North Africa helping evacuate military casualties by air. Prior to D-Day, she was assigned the task of training all the evacuation nurses for the invasion of Normandy. For her service she earned the Air Medal (given “to anyone who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself or herself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.”) as well as several campaign medals including the European-African-Middle Eastern medal with seven bronze stars denoting sevice in seven different military actions.

Ellen Church, who also designed the stewardess uniforms seen in the photo accompanying this post, died on August 22, 1965 at the age of 60. She succumbed to injuries from a horsebackriding accident. To honor her contributions the citizens in her hometown of Cresco, Iowa named the local airport for her.

Sources: Iowa Pathways, Workingnurse.com, and Wikipedia

(Image of Ellen Church, circa 1930, is courtesy of the Smithsonian Institution National Air and Space Museum, A-45935-C, part of their America by Air online exhibit.)

* The role of air steward was created decades earlier by a German airline in 1912. Heinrich Kubis is the first person, male or female, to serve in that position.