Of course on this date in 1944 Operation Overlord began, with 5 Normandy beaches being assaulted in the long-awaited, and some would say way overdue launching of the invasion to take back Europe from the Nazis.
But this date is notable for other events. One hundred years earlier in 1844 the YMCA (Young Men’s Christian Association) was formed in London. In 1889 there was one of three great city fires in the state of Washington – the Great Seattle Fire, which leveled the city, though it was quickly rebuilt. That was followed later on in the same summer by the Great Spokane Fire and the Great Ellensburg Fire. While way across the country, the Chicago L – elevated rail system – began operation in 1892.
The first drive-in movie theater opened in Camden, New Jersey in 1933. The next year Pres FDR signed the law that created the Securities and Exchange Commission, to try to reduce the impact of stock market volatility. In 1942 the Battle of Midway ended with a momentous US victory over the Japanese fleet and proved to be one of the key turning points of the Pacific Theater of WWII. And in 1982 another war began – the Lebanese War – with Israel invading Lebanon and occupying the southern half for over a decade.
Nathan Hale – he of “I regret that I have but one life to give for my country” – noted American soldier and spy – was born in 1755. The American Revolutionary painter John Trumbull was born in 1756. Russian author, poet, and acclaimed father of Russian literature, Alexander Pushkin, was born in 1799. This was also the birthdate for British polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott (1868), Navaho WWII code talker Frank Chee Willets (1925), Swedish tennis star Bjorn Borg (1956), and Harry Potter villain Lucius Malfoy- Jason Isaacson (1963).
Famed orator Patrick Henry -“give me liberty or give me death” got the second half of that in 1799. English philosopher – the father of utilitarianism – Jeremy Benthem passed off the scene in 1832 and Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist Carl Gustav Jung followed in 1961. The Tin Man, Jack Haley, froze in place again in 1979 and American saxophonist and jazz innovator Stan Getz played his last note in 1991.
And the end came for American film actress Anne Bancroft in 2005, whose masterful portrayal of Anne Sullivan in “The Miracle Worker” helping Helen Keller to communicate, won her the 1963 Oscar for Best Actress.
Today is UN Russian Language Day. Perhaps you would like to read Pushkin in the original version? Get ready for a different alphabet – Cyrillic.