We often tend to forget people or events after a certain length of time – or the recorders of history leave them out. Who remembers that there was another war happening during WWII? The Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union – in which Finland lost some territory came to an end on this date in 1940 with the signing of the Moscow peace treaty. Or who remembers Japan was fighting in Asia long before Pearl Harbor and among other European colonies they seized was Vietnam. After the end of WWII, the French went back to Vietnam to try and regain their colony, but the Viet Minh forces drove them out and the pivotal battle of Dien Bien Phu began on this date with an artillery barrage in 1954. Obviously, the US did not learn the lesson from the French, resulting in over 50,000 military deaths over the next 20 years.
In 1862 the Act Prohibiting the Return of Slaves was passed by Congress, effectively annulling the Fugitive Slave Act, and leading the way to the Emancipation Proclamation the next year. But we forget that it was over 100 years later before the voting rights for African Americans received robust federal protection with the Voting Rights Act of 1965. And we tend to forget the continual struggle for equal treatment that people of color face until we have an incident like the police shootings that happened in 2020, including that of Breanna Taylor, who was shot while sleeping in her bed on this date.
On this date in 1855 the American astronomer Percival Lowell was born. He went on to found the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff Arizona, which in 1930 announced the discovery of Pluto. In 1911 the American author L Ron Hubbard was born,, and later transitioned from sci-fi writer to cult leader -Scientology. And in 1913 William Casey was born and grew up to be the 13th CIA director, carrying on the mission of spying on “enemies foreign and domestic” under the convenient mantra of “protecting national security” while often dismissing concerns about civil liberties.
Tsar Alexander II of Russia was assassinated on this date in 1881, ironically the same year that US President James Garfield was assassinated. We got a new term of warfare from another person who died on this date – in 1842 -English general Henry Shrapnel. Other notables that left our world on this date include American suffragette Susan B Anthony (1906), Scopes Trial defense lawyer Clarence Darrow (1938), and actor William Hurt (2022) who starred in many films but is well remembered for the Baby Boomer music reunion movie The Big Chill.
Ironically 1901 was the year for presidential deaths. Former president Benjamin Harrison (#23) died peacefully on this date. Current president William McKinley was assassinated on September 14th of the same year.
And, for trivial sake, in Thailand, this date is celebrated as National Elephant Day – and we all know Elephants are known for their long memories:)