Do you remember this famous line from the Longfellow poem. If you do you will need to recall that it wasn’t just Paul Revere riding. In fact there were a couple other riders, but Paul got the notice from Longfellow, who wrote the poem in 1860, while the famous ride was in 1775 – as the poem details. Later on in the month, and a couple years later, there was a not so famous, but just as dramatic a ride by a 16year old girl, nicknamed the female Paul Revere – stay tuned to this blog for details (April 26th, 1777).
In 1506 the cornerstone of St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City was laid. In 1945 the International Court of Justice held its inaugural meeting at the Hague, Netherlands. In 1949 the Republic of Ireland Act comes into force establishing the Republic of Ireland, on the 33rd anniversary of the Rising of 1916. And in 1955 29 nations met in Indonesia for the first Asian-African Conference.
In four years there were two devastating earthquakes, the first was a 7.5 that hit Guatemala in 1902 and resulted in between 800 and 2000 deaths. The second was the well known earthquake and resulting fire that destroyed most of San Francisco in 1906. There was man-made devastations that occurred, the first the famous Doolittle raid, in retaliation for Pearl Harbor, that targeted four Japanese cities, including Tokyo in 1942. And there was Operation Praying Mantis, when the US Navy instigated the largest naval battle since WWII, destroying the Iranian navy, in 1988 near the end of the Iraq-Iran war.
Two musicians stepped onto the world stage on this date ; Austrian composer and conductor Franz von Suppe (1819), composing such magnificent pieces as the Poet and Peasant Overture, and the Light Cavalry Overture, bring to mind the disasterous Charge in the Crimean War that has been immortalized by English poet Tennyson. American conductor Leopold Stokowski (1882) was noted for work with the Philadelphia Orchestra. Defenders of Justice born this date include American defense attorney, Clarence Darrow (1857) , famous for his duel with William Jennings Bryan in the Tennessee Scopes trial; and Australian diplomat, suffragette, and campaigner for indigenous Australian rights Jessie Street (1889), who was Australia’s sole delegate to the founding of the United Nations and yet managed to ensure the inclusion of gender as a non-discrimination clause in the UN Charter.
And what record would be complete without noting that on April 18th in 1971 we had the arrival of the stellar Doctor Who, David Tennant (“don’t even blink”).
Leaving us on this date were English historian John Foxe (1587, Foxe’s Book of Martyrs), American physician and suffragette Martha Ripley (1912), Italian composer and conductor Ottorino Respighi (1936), and American journalist and soldier Ernie Pyle (1945).
We lost the genius of Albert Einstein (1955), the exploration exploits of Norwegian Thor Heyerdahl (2002, Kon Tiki, and the Ra Expeditions, which i devoured in my youth), and the seemingly ageless wonder that was Dick Clark (2012).
And in Brazil at least this is Friends Day