In 1792 there was a first – the first presidential veto by our first President George Washington. In 1879 there began a war way south of us, when Bolivia declared war on Chile and Chile declared war on Peru, thus beginning the War of the Pacific. Some territory changed hands all around, but the clear loser was Bolivia which lost its previous link to the Pacific and thus became a landlocked country.
This month has a weeklong stretch of birthdays in my family, beginning with one great-nephew and ending with a great-niece, and me in the middle. For non-family members, this date had a few notable birthdays: English political philosopher Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan, 1588), English antiseptic surgery proponent Joseph Lister (1827); African American historian and educator Booker T Washington (1856); and Canadian agricultural businessman and founder of Burpee Seeds, Washington Atlee Burpee (1858).
It was also the entrance day for actress Bette Davis (1908, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane), actor Gregory Peck (1916, To Kill a Mockingbird), novelist Alex Hailey (1920, Airport, Hotel, Roots), and general and first African American Secretary of Defense Colin Powell(1937).
Those who left us on this date include Georges Danton the French lawyer, who both led and was later a victim of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution (1794); Chiang Kai Shek, the Nationalist Chinese leader who helped us battle the Japanese forces in China; recluse millionaire Howard Hughes (1976); and Abe Fortas (1982) who was on the Supreme Court as an associate justice but lost out in a bid to become Chief Justice.
We said farewell to the powerful Texas Senator John Tower in 1991, Sam Walton of the ubiquitous Walmart in 1992, tragically saw the demise of Seattle grunge rocker Kurt Cobain in 1994, and saw the last of beat poet Allen Ginsburg in 1997.
The date was commemorated as the International Day of Conscience by the UN in 2019.