This date marked what could be considered the start of English common law, which ultimately led to the US Constitution and our guarantees of civil liberties. Even though it only involved the nobles the signing of the Magna Carta by King John of England began the process for all of us and it happened on June 15th, 1215 AD. The first human blood transfusion occurred in 1667, administered by French physician Dr Jean-Baptiste Denys. And this is the traditional date when Benjamin Franklin purposely flew a kite in a lightning storm to prove that lightning is electricity in 1752.
1844 Charles Goodyear received a patent for vulcanization, a process to strengthen rubber. In 1877 Henry Ossian Flipper became the first African American cadet to graduate from the US Military Academy. In 1916 Pres Wilson signed a bill incorporating the Boy Scouts of America, making them the only American youth organization with a federal charter. And in 1921 Bessie Coleman earned her pilot’s license, becoming the first African American female pilot.
Lisa del Giocondo, Italian actress and model for the Mona Lisa was born on this date in 1479, was the great Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843) who brought the Peer Gynt suite and In the Hall of the Mountain King. We got the oratory of New York Mayor Mario Cuomo (1932), the guitar playing and musical messaging of Waylon Jennings (1937), and the baseball talents of Dodger Dusty Baker (1949) and Yankee Andy Pettite (1972).
On this date, we also lost some notable people: 11th US President James K Polk, only a few months after he left office in 1949. The music (of 76 trombones and other instruments) ceased for the Music Man, Meredith Wilson in 1984. And speaking of music, we also lost the tremendous vocal jazz talent of Ella Fitzgerald in 1996 and the man with America’s Top 40 Casey Kassem in 2014. I remember one New Year’s Eve riding across the dark stretches of New Mexico and I swear I could see Hotel California out in the distance – he was that good.
Today is Global Wind Day and National Beer Day in the UK.