History Book – Bugs Bunny, and a forgotten war memorial

MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Monday, July 27th. You’re listening to The World and Everything in It and we’re so glad you are! Good morning. I’m Mary Reichard.

JENNY ROUGH, HOST: And I’m Jenny Rough. Coming next: the WORLD History Book. Twenty five years ago, a forgotten war gets its own monument in Washington, D.C. 

Plus, Israel’s parliament passes a law declaring Jerusalem as its capital.

REICHARD: But first, 80 years ago today, the debut of one of Warner Brother’s most iconic characters. Here’s Paul Butler.


PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today in 1940, during the early days of the golden age of American animation…

A team of illustrators, animators, and writers are on their way to making Warner Brothers Entertainment one of the most successful studios in America. Their cartoons have already introduced a handful of memorable characters like Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and Elmer Fudd:

CLIP: Be very, very quiet…I’m hunting rabbits…

But on this day 80 years ago, Warner Brother Studios releases its first full-length cartoon featuring what would become its most popular character—brought to life by veteran voice actor Mel Blanc.

CLIP: What’s up doc?

The animated short A Wild Hare introduces audiences to the bold and brash, smart alecky, grey and white rabbit with a Brooklyn accent: “Bugs Bunny.”

CLIP: What do you mean a rabbit? You know, with big, long ears. Like these? Yeah. And a little white fluffy tail. Like this? Yep…

Since his debut, Bugs Bunny has appeared in more than 150 cartoons. He’s been featured in more movies than any other animated character in American history. Bugs Bunny is one of only 12 fictional characters to have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

CLIP: Aw, come here. No listen doc. Don’t go spreading this around, but confidentially…I AM A RABBIT! 

Next, on to something much more weighty—40 years ago this week on July 30th, 1980. Israel’s parliament, known as the Knesset, passes the Jerusalem Law

The legislation officially makes Jerusalem the country’s capital city. As such, the law also declares Jerusalem as the seat of the government: including the president, the Knesset, and the supreme court. The Jerusalem law also calls for the protection of the city’s holy places and allocates special funds and grants for the Jewish development of the city. 

The United Nations responds a month later by adopting UN Security Council Resolution 4-7-8 by a vote of 14 to 0. The U.S. delegate abstained from the vote. The resolution declares the Jerusalem law “null and void” and demands member states withdraw their diplomats from the city.

Most countries chose Tel Aviv, the second largest city in Israel, as the site for their embassies instead. In 1995, the 104th U.S. Congress passed the Jerusalem Embassy Act, setting a deadline of May 31st, 1999, for moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. However Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama all deferred the move.

In 2017, President Donald Trump announced plans to finally do so.  

TRUMP: It is time to officially recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. 

On the 70th anniversary of the creation of the modern State of Israel, the United States opened its embassy in Jerusalem. 

AUDIO FROM CEREMONY: Our feet are standing in the gates of Jerusalem, the capital of Israel…

In the two years since, more than 10 other countries have followed suit. 

And finally, 25 years ago, on July 27th, 1995: the dedication of the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Veteran Tom Clayton made the trip to the nation’s capital for the ceremony: 

TOM CLAYTON: It was called “the forgotten war” because people forgot it, period. And so with this monument, memorial, everything that we have up here, it’s to remind us … remind us what we did and also not to have it happen again.

The memorial features walls of highly polished granite. Instead of names—like the Vietnam Memorial—more than 2,500 photographic images of support personnel are etched into its face. 

To the north is a smaller wall listing the 22 members of the United Nations that contributed troops and medical support to the effort. South Korean ambassador Hung-kee Lee spoke during the dedication.

HUNG-KEE LEE: It is imperative that we never forget the courageous contributions these fine men and women made to the advancement of democracy and the freedom of our nations. 

The memorial includes 19 larger than life stainless steel statues representing a platoon on patrol. Each of the military divisions are included. They are all dressed in full combat gear, and scattered amid low growing juniper bushes to represent the rugged terrain of Korea. Due to the highly reflective wall behind them, there appear to be 38 soldiers—a nod to the 38th parallel that separates North and South Korea.

Alfred Lawler is another veteran who attended the dedication ceremony.

LAWLER: I look back on this, yes, and I look back on what’s happened with the Korean community. It was well worth it when they see the results. 

The Washington D.C. park district reports that more than 3 million people visited the memorial last year.

That’s this week’s WORLD History Book. I’m Paul Butler.

(Photo/Warner Bros.)

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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