3.16.2017 Day in History

CC BY by JeepersMedia
CC BY by JeepersMedia

Today, Lithuania celebrates a holiday worthy of scrappy scribes and free speech advocates, Book Smugglers Day; in what is still the urban habitation that bears the name Jerusalem, two thousand six hundred and fourteen years ago, illustrating that the conflicts in Southwest Asia match the very definition of holding a grudge, Babylonian troops breached the walls of Jersualem and deposed King Jeconiah for following his father’s rejection of Levantine rule; eight centuries and twenty-seven years prior to this day, one of the worst medieval massacres of Jewish people in England took place, at Clifford’s Tower in York; fifty-five years subsequently, in 1244, over two hundred Cathars, who refused to renounce their faith as the Inquisition demanded, burned in a massive bonfire near the Montsegur fortress that they had occupied until its defeat by Inquisitors and Basques; four hundred ninety-six years before the here and now, Ferdinand Magellan and what remained of his crew first arrived in the  Phillipines arrived on their round-the-world tour; a single century thereafter, in 1621, a Mohegan Indian named Samoset came to Plymouth Colony to ‘welcome Englishmen; two hundred sixty-six years ago today, the famed James Madison was born; fifty-one years subsequently, in 1802, the Army Corps of Engineers came into being with the charge to operate the Army College at West Point, New York; sixteen years later still, in 1818, Chilean independence fighters under the leadership of San Martin suffered a setback in the Second Battle of Cancha Rayada; one hundred sixty-seven years prior to today, the literary masterpiece The Scarlet Letter first came to print; a hundred fifty-six years back, Sam Houston refused to swear an oath to the Confederacy and stepped aside for Edward Clark’s governorship; nine years beyond that instant, six thousand miles east in 1870,  Pyotr Illitch Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet premiered

gabriel saldana - flickr
gabriel saldana – flickr

to a captivated audience; twenty-eight years thereafter, in 1898, the iconic graphic artist and brilliant critic Aubrey Beardsley passed away; seven hundred and thirty days in the future from that, in 1900, a member of the British peerage bought the bronze-age site, Knossos, on Crete, as usual extending imperial reach ever-further into matters of culture and meaning; six years beyond that, in 1906, a baby boy gave his first cry who would go on to become that iconic and century-long workhorse of a Spanish writer, Francisco Ayala; a decade further on, in 1916, across the Atlantic on the Mexican border, General John Pershing led two more troops of U.S. Cavalry in incursions against Pancho Villa South of the border; ten years more in the future, in 1926, engineers in Auburn, Massachusetts launched the first liquid-fueled rocket; nine years henceforth, in 1935, Adolf Hitler announced Germany’s commitment to abrogate the Versailles Treaty and rearm; three hundred sixty-six days thereafter, in 1936, French feminist and journalist Marguerite Durand took her final breath; three years more down the pike, in 1939, Hitler celebrated Germany’s ‘protection’ of Bohemia and Moravia from a castle in Prague; another year yet later on, in 1940, Swedish Nobel literary laureate Selma Lagerlof died, and, in Italy, a baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the masterful filmmaker and screenwriter Bernardo Bertolucci; two years past that conjunction, in 1942,  fascist engineers in Germany tested the first supersonic rocket bomb, the V-2; another eight years in the direction of now, in 1950, Czech communists ousted Catholic nuncios from the country; eight years even closer to today, in 1958, the fifty-millionth Ford to come off the assembly line went to the marketplace; three hundred and

poster by aubrey beardsley for the 'yellow book'
poster by aubrey beardsley for the ‘yellow book’

sixty-five days still more proximate to the present, in 1959, a male infant entered the world in standard fashion en route to a life as the magnificent rapper and performer Flava Flav; one year further along time’s road, in 1960, educators in the vicinity of New York City created the powerful example of solidarity and unionism The United Federation of Teachers; eight years precisely after that, in 1968, General Motors built its hundred millionth vehicle and U.S. troops fighting for corporate hegemony in Vietnam slaughtered plus or minus four hundred villagers, mainly women and children, at My Lai; seven years later to the day, in 1975,  the iconic lyricist and crooner T Bone Walker sang his swan song;  three years nearer to now, in 1978, an oil tanker off the coast of Brittany foundered and spilled massive quantities of crude oil in the Amoco Cadiz disaster, and terrorists in Italy kidnapped and killed prime minister Aldo Moro; a year closer to now than that, in 1979, China’s Peoples Liberation Army withdrew from Vietnam, effectively ending the Sino-Vietnamese War; half a decade yet nearer to now, in 1984, the Beirut Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Beirut, William Buckley, confronted angry Arab kidnappers who absconded with him ultimately to his death; a year later, in 1985, an Associated Press reporter found himself in the hands of kidnappers in Lebanon who held him in captivity for six-and-a-half years, till 1991;  three years subsequently, in 1988, Oliver North and John Poindexter

Bob Jagendorf
Bob Jagendorf

faced felony indictments for perjury about their role in the so-called Iran-Contra scandal, and Reagan ordered troops into Nicaragua; seven years thereafter, in 1995, Mississippi got a clue and passed the Thirteenth Amendment, prohibiting slavery; eight more in the direction of this moment in time, in 2003 a young woman with the courage of her convictions that Palestinian people demanded as much social justice as any other group of people on earth, died beneath an Israeli bulldozer after refusing to move out of its path toward destroying Palestinian homes; eleven years beyond that juncture, in 2014, Crimeans overwhelmingly voted to join Russia.