In 1868 Decoration Day, a predecessor to Memorial Day was observed for the first time after a proclamation by the head of the veterans group Grand Army of the Republic, John A Logan, to take time to decorate the graves of the fallen. In 1922 the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC was dedicated. If you have the chance please visit it. It is a solemn sacred space where you can sense history -both seeing Lincoln’s speeches and stand on the spot (as I did) where Martin Luther King Jr delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963.

In 1431 at the age of 19 Joan of Arc gave her life for her country of France. And in 1631, two hundred years later France’s first newspaper Gazette de France, began to be published. And in 1975 the European Space Agency was established to help Europe launch its own space adventures.

Peter Carl Faberge, the Russian jeweler famous for the creation of Faberge eggs, was born in 1846. Irving Thalberg the American filmmaker (Night at the Opera, Mutiny on the Bounty) and namesake of a memorial Academy award was born in 1899. The multi-talented voice actor Mel Blanc who was born in 1908, must not have totally left his childhood behind, because he entertained us with the voicing of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, Sylvester, and a multitude of other characters.

This date also brought us the clarinet-playing band leader Benny Goodman (1909), the rapid-firing Lukas McCabe -the Rifleman, Clint Walker (1927), and the Hall of Fame running back Gale Sayers (1943).

Along with Joan of Arc, this day saw the departure of English poet and playwright Christopher Marlowe (1593), English poet and essayist Alexander Pope (1744), and French philosopher and author Voltaire (1779). This date spelled the end for flight pioneer brother Wilbur Wright (1912 – Orville lived decades longer), Sound of Music captain Georg von Trapp (1947), the University of Oregon standout runner Steve Prefontaine (1975), and Russian poet and Nobel Prize-winning novelist Boris Pasternak (1960 Doctor Zhivago).