First, why did a peacetime process to register all eligible Americans for a possible future military draft, beginning on that October morning and still carried on uninterrupted to this very day, matter so very much to the rest of the world ?
We must first remember that in the Fall of 1940, the Allied and Axis forces seemed equally balanced, at stalemate, in terms of the numbers of men they could sustain in military combat on a long term basis.
Only one nation, one of the Neutral nations, could decisively affect the war by what sort of decisions its young male citizens (and ultimately their doctors) would make on October 16th.
It is always said that America was the overwhelming technological and economic superpower of the world in 1940.
Forgotten in all this is the simple fact that it was also the demographic superpower of the era .
Yes, in terms of total population, while it was far bigger than Japan, Germany, Italy, Britain or France, it was not yet as big as Russia or China (or then British-controlled India).
But only the American farming system was very mechanized in the 1940 : only it had the tractors and the easy access to petrol to let America release most of its farm males to the war without the nation's military efforts collapsing from civilian starvation a year or two later.
This was the painful lesson learned from WWI.
No nation in WWII mobilized as many men at the start of the war as they did in WWI .
Mobilizing 25% of all your males, from babies to grandpas, is only sustainable if you expect such a short war that they and their horses will be released back to help in the Fall harvest.
So whether October 1940's American youth would actually turn up readily for the draft registration (and whether the prolonged poverty of the harsh American Great Depression had effected their general health) mattered far more in Berlin, London or Tokyo than it did even in Washington.
Systemic Life Saving, Naturally
That first draft registration was certainly thorough, far more so than any previous general census, with it being routine for small town policemen to stop strangers and jail them if they failed to display their required draft registration card.
Even those young men regarded as terminally ill, lying in some hospital bed, were registered, in the slim event they might recover enough to be potentially drafted in the future.
So now our second globe-shaking process entered history, in uppermost Manhattan Island on that October 16th.
Because on that day, the Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre's draft registrar was delayed for a few minutes while she was trying to register two terminally ill young working class men.
One was an Afro-American called Aaron (Leroy) Alston and the other was a Jewish-American named Charles Aronson and both were almost certain to be dead in no more than a few months at best, victims of then invariably fatal SBE.
SBE, subacute bacterial endocarditis, was the last and fatal disease that made childhood Rheumatic Fever the deadliest disease of youth - far, far, far more so than today's much better known Polio.
Unknown, at least outside the upper reaches of the profession, these two SBEs were also already victims of the American medical establishment.
In girding up for a possible war, the medical elite has already mentally cast off the working class SBE patients as the very "4Fs of the 4Fs".
For those elite doctors were already triaging who would (or would not) get scarce medical care in the event of a total war effort - and the SBEs were at the very bottom of the list of those 'unworthy of life-saving medicine'.
Ironic then that on a historical day devoted to registering and honoring the most "1A of 1A" youth in America, these "4Fs of the 4Fs" would be the first ever to receive what for seventy years we have regarded as the very best livesaving medicine in the world !
Inside their hospital room, a Nova Scotia born and raised doctor was just about to break a twelve year old worldwide medical taboo and change history, for the better, for about ten billion of us ever since.
Two needles at ready, he broke open the top of a tiny ampule and an arid musty smell invaded the room, crinkling the noses of the nurses who readily recognized the smell of that ever-present existential threat to their vision of a perfectly clean hospital.
Slimy, smelly, disgustingly degenerate mold.
Now about to be injected into the Temple of the Human Body !
Un -be - liev - able !
Dr (Martin) Henry Dawson ignored their disapproval and quietly injected in Aaron and Charles with what he already tested on himself the day earlier.
He waited a few minutes to see if there was any adverse reactions and then waved the registrar in.
Destroying Historical Records
The historical injections were noted on detailed hospital records at the Columbia Medical Centre and carefully preserved for half a century but then unceremoniously destroyed in a mass culling of patients records.
So that now the registrar's two carefully hand written draft registration cards, carefully preserved and part of the public record, are the best record of the events of that day.
There was evening television newscasts that day in New York City, even back then.
But they were swamped in terms of importance by the evening newspapers, the radio and ultimately by newsreels and magazines.
MSM failing to report the news
Together, the MSM (the mainstream media), at home and abroad, were consumed that day and the next by coverage of the successful American draft process - very good news to London and noted dourly in Berlin, Rome and Tokyo.
No MSM then noted (for how could they, with Dr Dawson forced to fly under the radar because of the disapproval of his medical superiors) - the birth of our present age of life-saving Antibiotics.
And few have ever noted the date ever since.
Time long overdue then, for citizen journalism to make amends.
So happy 75th birthday, lifesaving systemic natural Penicillin !
You've save my life for sure - many, many thanks from your devoted fan, Michael Marshall @ HFAx2 ...