On this date in 1533 Henry VIII married his second of six wives – Anne Boleyn- who had the misfortune of not giving birth to a male heir, but to the future Queen Elizabeth I, and was executed 3 years later. In 1918 The Ukrainian People’s Republic declared its independence from Soviet Russia. Apparently, Russia can’t get over that, per recent events. And in 1995 they almost launched a nuclear attack because they mistook a Norwegian research rocket for a US Trident missile.
In 1819 the University of Virginia was chartered by the Commonwealth of Virginia, with Thomas Jefferson as one of its founders. In 1924 the first Winter Olympics was held in Chamonix in the French Alps. And in 1961 President John F Kennedy delivered the first live presidential news conference.
In 1881 Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell formed the Oriental Telephone company. Still, it wasn’t until this same date in 1915 that Bell inaugurated the first transcontinental telephone service, speaking from New York to Thomas Watson in San Francisco. And then in 1947, Thomas Goldsmith filed a patent for a “Cathode Ray Tube Amusement Device” – the first electronic game – family life will never be the same.
Three literary standouts were born on this date: Robert (Bobby) Burns (1759) poet laureate of Scotland; W. Somerset Maugham (1874) British playwright, novelist, and short-story writer; and Virginia Woolf (1882) who was known as much for her critiques of others as for her own novels, essays, and short stories.
Two world leaders were born on this date: Eduard Shevardnadze of the newly independent Georgian Republic in 1928; and Corazon Aquino, President of the Philipines in 1933, who took over the country after the ouster of dictator Ferdinand Marcos – and the assassination of her husband Benigno.
Singers Etta James (1938) and Alicia Keys (1981) started vocalizing on this date, while American journalist Edwin Newman (1919) and Oregon runner Steve Prefontaine (1951) started exploring their world.
In 1742 English astronomer Edmond Halley took his last look at the stars – remembered every time the comet that bears his name makes a return trip to earth. In 1891 Theo van Gogh, art dealer joined his brother Vincent in the great beyond. In 1947 Al Capone got payback for all the lives he had ended. And two beloved American actresses bid farewell and left the world’s stage – Ava Gardner in 1990 and Mary Tyler Moore (the Dick Van Dyke show was my favorite) in 2017.
For days of recognition, Indonesia has one we should all pay attention to – National Nutrition Day. And of course, people in Scotland and elsewhere celebrate Burns Night. Even without haggis.
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