Daily Update: Friday, September 4th, 2015

09-04 - Testament - The Little Rock Nine and Louisiana Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday

Today is the First Friday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. With no Saints to honor, we turn to the events of this day in 1957, when in Little Rock, Arkansas, Governor Orval Faubus called out the National Guard to prevent nine African American students from enrolling in and integrating Central High School. Today is also the first day of the three-day Louisiana Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday, and the birthday of Callie’s father Ken (1955).

The First Friday of each month is dedicated to devotions to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Turning to Little Rock in 1957, several segregationist councils, vehemently opposed to school desegregation, had threatened to hold protests at Central High and physically block black students from entering the school. Governor Orval Faubus deployed the Arkansas National Guard to support the segregationists on September 4, 1957. The sight of a line of soldiers blocking nine black students from attending high school made national headlines and polarized the city. On September 9, “The Council of Church Women” issued a statement condemning the governor’s deployment of soldiers to the high school and called for a citywide prayer service on September 12. Even President Dwight Eisenhower attempted to de-escalate the situation and summoned Governor Faubus to meet him; he warned the governor not to interfere with the Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. The next day Woodrow Mann, the Mayor of Little Rock, asked President Eisenhower to send federal troops to enforce integration and protect the nine students. On September 24 the President ordered the 101st Airborne Division of the United States Army to Little Rock and federalized the entire 10,000 member Arkansas National Guard, taking it out of the hands of Governor Faubus. The 101st took positions immediately, and the nine students successfully entered the school on the next day, Wednesday, September 25, 1957. They were subjected to a year of physical and verbal abuse (being spat on and called names) by many of the white students; one of the students was suspended for the rest of the school year in December, 1957 after retaliating to abuse in the cafeteria. Governor Faubus shut down Central High School for the 1958-1959 school year to resist integration. The school did not reopen until the fall of 1959, at which point two of the nine initial students returned and graduated in 1961. Testament: The Little Rock Nine Monument is a group of bronze figures representing the Little Rock Nine, the work of artists John and Cathy Deering, which was dedicated in August 2005 on the State Capitol grounds in Little Rock. Today is the first day of the three-day Louisiana Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday, covering individuals’ purchases of firearms, ammunition and hunting supplies on the first Friday through Sunday of each September. And today is the birthday of Callie’s father Ken (1955).

I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and requested Queen Sugar by Natalie Baszile from the Lafayette Public Library, which is the next book in our Third Tuesday Book Club. Once we clocked in, Richard was on a Blackjack table all day. I was the Relief Dealer for Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow, and I also broke the Three Card Blackjack table once.

After work I picked up my prescriptions at the pharmacy; on our way home I got a call (which went to voice mail) from the pharmacy, so they might have another prescription for me. Once home I read the morning paper, then retreated to the computer to work on my Music Conversion Project. I finished with my artists/ groups that started with the letters T, V, and U, and got a fair start on the ones starting with the letter W.

Tomorrow is the First Saturday of the month, dedicated to devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and the Optional Memorial of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Virgin (died 1997). Tomorrow is also the second day of the three-day Louisiana Second Amendment Sales Tax Holiday, held on the first consecutive Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of September. Last and perhaps least, tomorrow is my birthday (1958). I am planning on driving myself to work and signing the Early Out list; not only do I have all of my hours, but one gets priority on the List on one’s birthday. After lunch I will go to the Adoration Chapel for my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration. And tomorrow afternoon our LSU Tigers will play their first football game of the season, a home game against McNeese State.

This First Friday afternoon brings us a Parting Quote from Steve Irwin, Australian television personality, wildlife expert, and conservationist. Born in 1962 in Essendon, Victoria, Australia, he moved with his parents as a child to Queensland in 1970. His father was a wildlife expert interested in herpetology while his mother was a wildlife rehabilitator, and after moving to Queensland they started the small Queensland Reptile and Fauna Park, where Irwin grew up around crocodiles and other reptiles. On his sixth birthday he was given a 12-foot scrub python. He began handling crocodiles at the age of nine after his father had educated him on reptiles from an early age, and at the same age wrestled his first crocodile, again under his father’s supervision. He graduated from high school in 1979 and soon moved to Northern Queensland, where he became a crocodile trapper, removing crocodiles from populated areas where they were considered a danger. He performed the service for free with the quid pro quo that he be allowed to keep them for the park. Irwin followed in his father’s footsteps, becoming a volunteer for the Queensland Government’s East Coast Crocodile Management program. The park was a family run business, until it was turned over to Irwin. He took over the running of the park, now called Australia Zoo (renaming it in 1992). Also that year, he appeared in a one-off reptile and wildlife special for television. In 1991, he met Terri Raines at the park while performing a demonstration. The two married in June 1992, in Terri’s hometown of Eugene, Oregon. The footage, shot by John Stainton, of their crocodile-trapping honeymoon became the first episode of The Crocodile Hunter. The series debuted on Australian TV screens in 1996, and by the following year had made its way onto North American television. In 1998 he continued working with producer and director Mark Strickson to present The Ten Deadliest Snakes in the World; the same year, his daughter Bindi Sue Irwin was born. By 1999 he had become very popular in the United States, making his first appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. By this time, the Crocodile Hunter series was broadcast in over 137 countries, reaching 500 million people. His exuberant and enthusiastic presenting style, broad Australian accent, signature khaki shorts, and catchphrase “Crikey!” became known worldwide. A 2000 FedEx commercial with Irwin lightheartedly dealt with the possibility of occupational death from snakebite and the fanciful notion that FedEx would have saved him, if only FedEx were used. Under Irwin’s leadership, the park operations grew to include the zoo, the television series, the Steve Irwin Conservation Foundation (renamed Wildlife Warriors), and the International Crocodile Rescue. Improvements to the Australia Zoo included the Animal Planet Crocoseum, the rainforest aviary and Tiger Temple. In 2001 he appeared in a cameo role in the Eddie Murphy film Dr. Dolittle 2, in which a crocodile warns Dolittle that he knows Irwin is going to grab him and is prepared to attack when he does, but Dolittle fails to warn Irwin in time. His only starring feature film role was in 2002′s The Crocodile Hunter: Collision Course, which was released to mixed reviews. In 2002 the Irwins appeared in the Wiggles video / DVD release Wiggly Safari, which was set in his Australia Zoo. His son Robert Clarence “Bob” was born in 2003. In November 2003, Irwin was filming a documentary on sea lions off the coast of Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula when he heard via his boat’s radio that two scuba divers were reported missing in the area. Irwin and his entire crew suspended operations to aid in the search. Animal Planet ended The Crocodile Hunter in 2004 with a series finale entitled “Steve’s Last Adventure.” The last Crocodile Hunter documentary spanned three hours with footage of Irwin’s across-the-world adventure in locations including the Himalayas, the Yangtze River, Borneo, and the Kruger National Park. He went on to star in other Animal Planet documentaries, including The Croc Files, The Crocodile Hunter Diaries, and New Breed Vets. In 2006 the American network The Travel Channel had begun to show a series of specials starring Irwin and his family as they travelled on cross-country tours. Irwin was a passionate conservationist and believed in promoting environmentalism by sharing his excitement about the natural world rather than preaching to people. He was concerned with conservation of endangered animals and land clearing leading to loss of habitat. He considered conservation to be the most important part of his work. In 2006 Irwin provided his voice for the 2006 animated film Happy Feet as an elephant seal named Trev. He was fatally pierced in the chest by a stingray spine while snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef, at Batt Reef, which is located off the coast of Port Douglas in north Queensland. His wife and daughter pledged to continue his conservation work (died 2006): “I have a message for my fans. Whatever you want to do in this world, it is achievable. The most important thing that I’ve found, that perhaps you could use, is be passionate and enthusiastic in the direction that you choose in life, and you’ll be a winner.”

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