4.26.2017 Day in History

Today in Belarus marks a Day of Remembrance of the Chernobyl Tragedy, while in a passing of hours of critical import to scribes, this date also inscribes World Intellectual Property Day, as, on a lighter and yet also important note, April 26th is Hug a Friend Day; in the South of bustling England four hundred fifty-three years ago, a baptism took place for a boy who would become the bard of the ages, William Shakespeare, even as his birthday eludes the snares of memory; three hundred six years ago, the baby boy opened his eyes on his way to becoming David Hume;  sixty-six years hence, in 1777, a young woman, Sybyl Ludington, rode over forty miles throughout the night along the New York and Connecticut border to warn of advancing British forces; five years thereafter, in 1782, the baby boy entered our midst whose fate was to create the masterpieces of art and thought of John James Audubon; two decades forward in space and time, in 1802, Napoleon issued a general amnesty that permitted all but the most reactionary rejectors of the revolution to return to France, thereby guaranteeing a rapprochement with elements of the aristocracy and a cementing of his own position of power;  one thousand ninety-six days beyond that, in 1805, ‘the shores of Tripoli’ experienced an initial incursion by U.S. commercial war afghanistanadventurers under the auspices of military might when the U.S. marines captured a village in what is now Libya in the first Barbary War; a hundred ninety-five years ahead of today’s light and air, a male infant first cried out en route to a life as the architect and designer, Frederick Law Olmstead; forty-three years beyond that birthing interlude, in 1865, Union soldiers captured and killed Abraham Lincoln’s assassin, John Wilkes Booth; one hundred nineteen years back, a baby boy opened his eyes who would rise as the Spanish dramatist and poet who might merit Nobel Literary Laureates as Vicente Aleixandre; only a dozen years later, in 1910, one of the first recipients of that prize, Bjornstjerne Bjornson, lived out his final scene; four years subsequently, in 1914, a male child burst on the scene who would mature as the estimable and popular novelist and thinker, Bernard Malamud; ten additional years in the direction of now, in 1924, the United States Congress passed a resolution condemning child labor for those under eighteen years of age; nine years henceforth, in 1933, the German Government inaugurated a Gestapo, or secret state police force; fourteen hundred and sixty-one days further along the temporal road, in 1937, a related development unfolded in carnage and conflagration as German bombers laid waste to Guernica; a half decade farther along, in 1942, a grotesque ‘accident’ claimed the lives of well over 1,500 miners at a Chinese-operated facility in Manchukuo; an Easter uprising at Uppsala, Sweden began exactly three hundred sixty-five days yet later on, in 1943, as challenges to fascist rule and passivity to it intensified; yet one more year afterward, in 1944, Georgios Papandreou became head of the Greek government-in-exile in Cairo, and five thousand miles Northwest, Federal authorities seized control of the Montgomery Ward headquarters when that company refused to recognize a union that had won an election as bargaining agent; ten years subsequent to that passage in space and time, in 1954, a Geneva Conference began with the goal of bringing a peaceful resolution to conflicts in Korea and Indochina, and also Polio vaccine trials began; another half dozen years forward toward today, in 1960, South Korea’s ‘democratic dictator,’ Syngman Rhee, abdicated after massive pro-people demonstrations against his rule took place; three years additional toward the here and now, in 1963, a United Kingdom of Libya came into being with a female franchise and other indicia of progress toward democratic forms; a quarter turn of the planet to the East, six years nearer to now, in 1969, Morihei Ueshiba, the ancient master of martial arts and initiator of Aikido, drew a final breath; in the United States precisely one year even later, in 1970, the tell-all mistress, advisor, and creative communicator Gypsy Rose Lee had a final dance, and the World Intellectual Property Organization came into being; five years even closer to the current context, in 1975, citizens marched on Washington 60,000 strong to demand jobs for all, ‘a fat lot of good it did them;’ seven years farther down the pike, in 1982, half a world away in Korea, an enraged former Marine and current

"SIG Pro by Augustas Didzgalvis"
“SIG Pro by Augustas Didzgalvis”

policeman went on a methodical killing rampage, in which he murdered fifty-three people before blowing himself and three hostages up with a grenade; four years after that horrifying day, in 1986, an even more horrific event evolved as the Chernobyl nuclear complex in Ukraine melted down and spread death and destruction across much of Northern Europe; an editorial in the People’s Daily three years thereafter, in 1989, led to an uprising among the criticized protesters that soon enough became the Tianmien Square imbroglio; sixteen years more proximate to the present pass, in 2005, Syria responded to diplomatic pressure and withdrew plus or minus 14,000 of its troops from Lebanon; another four years on the path to today, in 2009, the United Autoworkers acquired a fifty-five percent stake in Chrysler in exchange for their agreeing to concessions, which the union quickly turned into a trust fund to cover ongoing retirees’ costs that had not received adequate coverage; country music crooner and songsmith George Jones four years later, in 2013,exited life’s stage; one year still closer to now, in 2014, the accomplished son of the renowned singer and Communist, Paul Robeson, whose name added a “Junior” to his father’s moniker, died after a long life and a fruitful career as historian and archivist.