Bill O'Reilly History Tip of the Day


February 23rd

American flag is raised on Iwo Jima, 1945

Along with Okinawa, and perhaps Formosa, taking Iwo Jima was necessary for the American invasion of Japan. The battle, which saw some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Theater, lasted five weeks. It began with a three-day naval bombardment before Marines stormed the island. On the fifth day of battle, six marines raised the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi. The action was repeated the next day and photographed by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press, whose Pulitzer Prize–winning shot has become the iconic representation of the war.

February 21st

General Douglas MacArthur vows, “I shall return,” 1942

Following the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese destroyed the American air base, then the navy yard, in the Philippines, effectively gaining control of the western Pacific. Forces under the command of Douglas MacArthur retreated to the Bataan Peninsula, many taking refuge on an island known as Corregidor. The Japanese seemed unbeatable; President Roosevelt had to rescue MacArthur. Upon reaching Australia, MacArthur declares, “I came through and I shall return.”

February 19th

President Franklin Roosevelt signs Japanese internment order, 1942

Under Executive Order 9066, approximately 127,000 Japanese American citizens were incarcerated, having committed no crime other than having ancestors from Japan. Families were rounded up and sent to live in camps for the duration of the war. They slept side by side in barracks, surrounded by barbed-wire fences. Armed guards in high sentry towers watched their every move. There was no privacy: showers were communal, as were the latrines, which lacked any partitions. These Americans were unsure of what their lives would be when the war ended—where they will go, where they will work, how they will rebuild their lives.

February 19th

Aaron Burr is arrested, 1807

After finishing his term as vice president, Burr left politics and became embroiled in one of the most curious episodes of early American history. It appears Burr went west to try to create his own independent nation. He began traveling up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, negotiating to sell parts of the Louisiana Purchase to England for half a million dollars. Alerted to this plot, President Jefferson informed Congress and ordered Burr’s arrest. He is discovered and taken into custody in the Mississippi Territory. Months earlier, he had been vice president; now he was arrested for treason.

February 14th

Jacqueline Kennedy’s televised tour of the White House, 1962

Forty-six million Americans tune into NBC and CBS to watch. This is Jackie’s moment to show off her ongoing effort to restore the White House. She has scoured storage rooms and the National Gallery, turning up paintings by Cézanne, Teddy Roosevelt’s drinking mugs, and James Monroe’s gold French flatware. Even the president’s desk is one of her finds, a gift from Queen Victoria to Rutherford B. Hayes. She has removed oddities like the water fountains that made the White House look like an office building. The program is one of the most watched shows in television history, earning Jackie a special Emmy.