Today is the 235th anniversary of the United States Navy!
I learned so many interesting things about the Navy while researching my latest romance novel MESSAGE TO LOVE.
The U.S. Navy figures prominently in MESSAGE TO LOVE as Lt. Rollins McBride of Naval Intelligence is assigned to find a U.S. citizen who has been jailed by the Spanish in Cuba for sympathizing with rebels who are fighting for independence in 1898. Rollins teams up with Audra Wakely because it’s her father in jail and who Rollins wants to arrest for treason and gun smuggling. Things are confusing until they get to Santiago de Cuba, find Greg Wakely, and set the record straight about who’s really dealing in illegal arms in Cuba.
Originally, the U.S. had no interest in getting involved in the Cuba-Spain conflict but when the U.S.S. Maine exploded in Havana harbor while on a peaceful mission to the island, President William McKinley felt pressure from congress, the media, and the country to send our military into battle. Americans believed the U.S.S. Maine had been intentionally targeted. Hundreds of innocent sailors died in the blast. Revenge was called for in headlines and in the homeland. McKinley sent a secret message to the commander of Cuban forces General Calixto Garcia and pledged the military, financial, and political support of the U.S. to help Cuba oust Spain from their island.
I wrote MESSAGE TO LOVE after reading “The Message To Garcia” written by Elbert Hubbard in 1899 where the covert actions of Lt. Andrew Rowan are described as an heroic event that served to liberate Cuba from an oppressor. This event is part of my story and serves as the thematic motivation for the ongoing intellectual tension between Audra and Rollins. Yes, there is more than sexual tension in a romance novel!
It turns out that further investigation many years later by the Navy concluded that an internal fire or combustion was the cause of the destruction of the U.S.S. Maine, but the battle cry “Remember the Maine!” lives on today as the call of American heros willing to sacrifice their lives for democracy.
Happy birthday, Navy!
MESSAGE TO LOVE, The Wild Rose Press, www.thewildrosepress.com
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Fascinating post! I love historic details. Adding to this, President McKinley was shot in 1901 but didn’t die until six days later. Doctors tried removing the bullet but couldn’t find it. Ironically, just a few miles away, a hospital had just started using this new invention called x-rays. Had the doctors only known, they could have found the bullet and saved the president’s life. After his death, the Secret Service was charged with the task of physically protecting the president.
Wonderful info, Lilly Gayle. I can see you know your McKinley history. My favorite part of the research for MESSAGE TO LOVE was visiting the McKinley library and museum in Canton, OH. Been there?
Thanks so much for commenting.
Liz, I’ve never been there but I LOVE visiting museums and historic sites. And I’m lucky enough to have a husband who enjoys it as well. Not sure how much my daughters enjoyed it while growing up, but we sure dragged them to a lot of museums and historic sites over the years.
Ironically, I learned that bit about McKinley in x-ray school. lol!