Yes, I know it is a little early, but today is my memorial day. Thirteen years ago my youngest, older, sister Betty passed away suddenly. She was only 60, way too young. She might think me weird for this historical-themed blog (at least for this year) but she already knew I was weird and loved me anyway, just like my other three sisters. So let’s see what we can find that also happened on this date in history.
Did you know there was once a war between Pennsylvania and Maryland? It was a boundary dispute and got settled on this date in 1738. Gibert and Sullivan’s comic opera HMS Pinafore opened at the Opera Comique in London in 1878. Considering the restrictions that teachers are working under these days, especially in Florida makes it not quite as unbelievable that a teacher was once put on trial for teaching evolution – Scopes trial in Tennessee in 1925.
There was progress too on this date. The first public television broadcast (KHUT, Houston) happened in 1953. and the Gateway Arch, which my sister loved, was dedicated in 1968 in St Louis. Star Wars was first released in theaters in the US in 1977.
And to show that space flight wasn’t just fantasy – in 1961 President John F Kennedy announced before a special joint session of Congress his plan to land a man on the moon before the end of the decade. We did it eight years later, though he wasn’t around to see it. And in 2012 the SpaceX Dragon I became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous and dock with the International Space Station.
The world welcomed American poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson in 1803, Russian-American aircraft designer of the helicopter Igor Sikorsky in 1889, American thriller novelist Robert Ludlum in 1927, and the inspiration for the movie Field of Dreams W.P. ‘Ray” Kinsella in 1935.
We also celebrate the birth of four creative talents on this date. Gandalf – aka Ian McKellan (1939), Kermit -aka Frank Oz (1944), Wayne of Wayne’s World – aka Mike Meyers (1963), and memorable actress Octavia Spencer (1970) whose roles in The Help and Hidden Figures were pivotal in my memory.
In 986 AD the world lost what they still don’t realize they had – Abd al-Rahman al Sufi – a Muslim Iranian (at that time Persian) astronomer when Europe was in the Dark Ages. In 2021 we said farewell to Senator John Warner of Virginia. In 2020 we witnessed the murder of George Floyd. And as I mentioned earlier, My family and I said goodbye to my sister Betty in 2010.
Today is National and International Missing Children’s Day, Geek Pride Day, and National Tap Dance Day.