This was a deadly day. I counted at least 9 or 10 incidents of political or massive deaths as I reviewed the events on this day – in addition to the notables who died peacefully. There was a massacre of Jews at Cliffords Tower, England (1190), murders of ‘heretic’ Cathars at Montesegur, France (1244), executed Red Army POWs by victorious White Army in Finland (1918), 4000 deaths from British bombing of Wurzburg, Germany (1945), as well as the MyLai massacre in Vietnam (1968) and the Halabja chemical attack on Kurds in northern Iraq (1988).
In addition, there was CIA Beirut station chief William Buckley, who died in captivity (1984 Hezbollah), King Gustav III who was shot in 1792 (died on March 29th), and American activist Rachel Corrie (2003) who died while protesting the bulldozing West Bank Palestinian homes in Rafah – cause – Israeli Defense Forces.
There were some positive notes: The Army Corp of Engineers was established in 1802 to found and operate the US Military Academy at West Point. Gemini 8 launched and completed the first successful docking of two spacecraft in orbit in 1966. And Mississippi formally finally ratified the 13th Amendment to the Constitution -outlawing slavery. It became the last state to ratify the amendment, which had been ratified by the requisite number of states way back in 1865. Better late than never, eh?
There was a President and a First Lady born on this date – not connected. James Madison the 4th President was born in 1751 and Pat Nixon, First lady to the 37th President Richard Nixon, was born in 1912. There were two comedians born – Henny Youngman (1906) and Jerry Lewis (1926). There were also two long-serving congressmen – Mike Mansfield in 1903 – the longest-serving Senate Majority Leader (1961-1977), and Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1927, who also served as the 12th US Ambassador to the UN.
There were two Roman Emperors who died on this date – Emperor Tiberius in 37 AD and Valentinian III in 455 who was one of many who was assassinated. We also said farewell to a couple of scientists – Biologist John Murray (1914) who is considered to be the father of oceanography and John James Rickard MacLeod (1935) who was the discoverer of insulin. Both were Scots.
Also, Thomas Dewey, the 47th Governor of New York and twice (194)0,1948) Republican candidate for US President, was laid to rest in 1971.
On a personal note my Dad, who died in 1987 would have been 105 years old today. Happy Birthday, Dad!:)