What may have been the most important moment in human history occurred 20 July 1969, when Man first set foot upon the moon. NASA’s Apollo space program, designed to accomplish this astounding feat of ingenuity, technology, mathematics and physics, was conceived during the Eisenhower administration, but not constituted until President John F. Kennedy’s stirring address to Congress in 1961, where he proposed a national goal, “before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to the Earth.”
In mid-July of 1969, as all eyes were riveted skyward on the Apollo 11 mission to land a man on the moon, a rather more tawdry drama was playing out here on planet Earth. Senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts, brother of slain American president John F. Kennedy and slain presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, became embroiled in a personal tragedy that would ultimately set the seal on the demise of his family’s aspirations to become a political dynasty.
On the night of July 18-19, 1969, under circumstances still not fully understood to this day, Kennedy was involved in a fatal crash of his car off the Dike Bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Martha’s Vineyard, which took the life of 28-year-old Mary Jo Kopechne.
Recently I’ve been diving deep on cleaning out my father’s house, which I inherited on his passing in April. I say “my father’s house”, though obviously it belonged to both my parents, because my mother passed nine years ago, and with his Capricorn fussiness and high sense of duty, dad did a remarkably good job of clearing out most of her effects, within months of her death. He left plenty of his own, but I am ceaselessly thankful for all the work he did then, or my task now would be that much greater.
Nevertheless, he did leave some of her personal items, and in going through the remaining contents of her bureau drawers, I came across a baby book for her, in my grandmother’s hand. Whenever I had asked my mother what time she was born, she never had an answer. After sixty years, all my grandmother could say was, “in the morning.” Frustrating comments for an astrologer whose mother was born at home, with no official record, but as I saw that thin pink book before me, I wondered if my question would finally be answered…
On Saturday, July 6th, 2019, as he was returning from Europe, billionaire investor and repeat child molester Jeffrey Epstein was again arrested on charges of sex trafficking minors. Epstein’s prior arrest on similar charges in 2005 had led to a controversial non-prosecution agreement with federal attorneys in Florida, resulting in a light 13-month jail sentence, for which he received a twelve-hour work-release six days a week. After his arrest at Teterboro Airport investigators found a cache of thousands of photos of nude young girls on CDs in his home.
Epstein is accused of trafficking dozens, perhaps hundreds, of underage girls, some as young as 14, who were paid initially for massage, then sex acts, and used to recruit others. The alleged crimes were committed both at Epstein’s Pam Beach, Florida estate and his Manhattan home. In 2008 Epstein pled guilty to lesser state prostitution charges after secret meetings with then US Attorney Alexander Acosta, currently serving as Donald Trump’s Secretary of Labor.
Donald J. Trump’s hijacking of America’s birthday celebration on July 4th was quite a spectacle, if not the one he intended. Since the Bastille Day parade he was treated to by France’s President Macron two years ago, Trump has been aching to outdo his host in mock military maneuvers; thwarted in his desire last year for a Veterans Day Parade extravaganza, Trump belatedly settled for an Independence Day appearance on the National Mall, in front of the Lincoln Memorial, perhaps the president he least resembles.
The plight of Central American immigrants was spotlighted again the week of June 23rd, 2019, as horrific conditions for some 300 migrant children at a Texas detention camp were exposed, followed by the intense, heart-wrenching images of a young father and his 23-month-old daughter, both drowned while attempting to swim the Rio Grande, their bodies still clinging to one another.
The week before, a team of lawyers and doctors visiting the Border Control facility in Clint, Texas, reported appalling conditions for the children detained there, separated from family members, including untreated outbreaks of flu and lice. Inadequate sanitation was a major issue, with children going without showers for weeks, a lack of soap and toothbrushes, living in soiled or filthy garments, toddlers without diapers, cared for by older children. Following the public outcry, the administration moved the children from the facility temporarily on Monday, but was forced to return more than 100 a few days later, citing lack of space elsewhere.