On August 19, 1974, President Ford announced plans for an earned amnesty program in an address at the 75th annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars.
During the first week of his administration, Secretary of Defense James Schlesinger had suggested that doing something about the some fifty thousand Vietnam War draft evaders and deserters would be a way to hasten the healing process. Former Secretary of Defense Mel Laird and the President’s three sons agreed. Ford asked his staff to coordinate with the relevant agencies to put together a conditional amnesty program.
“I stated my strong conviction that unconditional blanket amnesty for anyone who illegally evaded or fled military service is wrong,” he said. “But all, in a sense, are casualties, still abroad or absent without leave from the real America. I want them to come home if they want to work their way back…In my judgment, these young Americans should have a second chance to contribute their fair share to the rebuilding of peace among ourselves and with all nations.”
About a month later President Ford signed an executive order establishing the Presidential Clemency Board, which administered the earned amnesty program over the next year. Many of the applicants completed alternative service assignments before receiving their pardons.
-from the Ford Library
Here President and Mrs. Ford ride in the Presidential limousine during a trip to Chicago on August 19, 1974.
President Ford logged over 270,000 miles of travel while in office, and Mrs. Ford regularly accompanied him on trips. They attended public events together and made state visits to several foreign countries. “I had fun, I was privileged to travel in style and to see many wonders,” she reflected on their Presidential trips in her memoirs, “and these will stay in my memory.”-from the Ford Library
The Battle for Paris began with a coordinated uprising by the French Resistance on August 19, 1944, following a city-wide general strike. Watch as deserted streets give way to barricades and organized resistance:
Occupied by German forces since June 1940, the city would be liberated on August 25, 1944, following the arrival of Free French and U.S. Army forces.
Happy National Aviation Day!
Orville Wright takes flight with observer Lt. Frank P. Lahm at Ft. Myer Virginia to win the Army’s prize for sustained flight with a passenger in September 1908.
National Aviation Day was proclaimed by President Franklin Roosevelt in honor of pioneering aviator Orville Wright’s birthday (August 19, 1871).
“Make America First in the Air" from the series Moving Images Relating to Military Aviation Activities, 1947 - 1984, from the Records of the U.S. Air Force.
Wedding while at war
"Chaplain William T. Green reads the benediction at the marriage ceremony of Pfc. Florence A. Collins, a WAC of the 6888th Postal Directory Battalion, to Cpl. William A. Johnson of the 1696th Labor Supervision Co. This is the first Negro marriage to be performed in the European Theater of Operations.” 08/19/1945
The Lincoln penny
The Lincoln penny was the first American coin to bear a portrait. Introduced in 1909, the coin commemorated the 100-year anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth. The new coin was extremely popular and was often turned into a scarf pin, pendant or other jewelery. Jeweler H. R. Boving was concerned about the permissibility of this practice and wrote to request advice from the Secretary of the Treasury.
Letter from H. R. Boving to the Secretary of the Treasury, 08/19/1909
LBJ with long hair. By request.
August 19, 1972 at the LBJ Ranch near Stonewall, Texas.