Today in Mexico, as Grito de Dolores, commemorates the country’s independence from Spain, and around the world advance ecology in an International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, and Ukraine today celebrates the liberation in 1943 of the community of Likhachevo in the Kharkiv Oblast by Red Army and Ukrainian Communist partisans; in Italy, more or less one thousand seven hundred nine years ago, the emperor Severus died by assassins or forced suicide as Roman imperial infighting claimed his untitled life a day’s ride from Rome; thirteen hundred thirteen years henceforth, in 1620, Pilgrim migrants left England aboard the Mayflower; two years beyond half a century after, in 1672, the American poet Anne Bradstreet lived her last stanza; two hundred eighty years before the present day, the Polish-Dutch inventor Daniel Fahrenheit died at age fifty; forty-three years subsequent to that point, in 1779, French and American forces initiated the siege of Savannah, Georgia; sixteen years later, in 1795, the first British occupation of South Africa began in part a direct result of French Revolutionary forces’ successful invasion of the Netherlands; another fifteen years further along, in 1810, the poet-priest Miguel Hidalgo published Grito de Dolores, starting Mexico’s war for independence from Spain; two years later, in 1812, just after midnight a fire started in French-occupied Moscow, consuming within days seventy-five percent of the city; eleven years ahead of this point in time, in 1823, the infant first cried out on his way to becoming Francis Parkman, the American historian and author; one hundred fifty-three years back Istanbul’s Robert College became the first American educational institution to open its doors outside North America; seventeen years subsequently, in 1880, ‘high above Cayuga’s waters,’ the college newspaper that is now the nation’s oldest published its first issue as The Cornell Daily Sun; eight years afterward, in 1888, a Finnish baby boy, first drew breath and then grew up to become Frans Eemil Silanpää, a novelist and essayist of the Finnish folk and winner of the Nobel Prize; half a decade onward, in 1893, interlopers in search of land swept into Oklahoma’s ‘Cherokee Strip’ to lay claim to territory that these Native peoples had received in return for the theft of their Appalachian homes; half a decade further down the pike, in 1898, the baby boy bounced into this
world on his way to becoming H. A. Rey, the celebrated co-creator of Curious George; ten years later on, in 1908, General Motors incorporated in Detroit; eleven years thereafter, in 1919, the American Legion first incorporated, meanwhile, just after the U.S. exit from World War One and in the midst of American incursions against Bolshevism that ranged from Crimea to Siberia; another year further along time’s arc, in 1920, a horse wagon loaded with TNT exploded in front of J.P. Morgan’s Guaranty Trust Company killing nearly forty people and wounding ten times that number in New York City; half a decade nearer to now, in 1925, the American South yielded a male infant who would for nine decades enchant the cultural world as singer and songwriter B.B. King;
another three hundred sixty-five days beyond that, in 1926, the infant who became the chronicler of privilege John Knowles was born; eighty-four years past, in 1932, Gandhi began a fast in protest of caste separation, beginning to demonstrate the powers of peaceful resistance; seven years later, in 1939, Breyten Breytenbach, the poet and painter, was born; three hundred sixty-five days beyond that point, in 1940, President Roosevent approves the military draft; seventy-five years ago, as Soviet and British troops invaded Iran, Russian and English leaders forced the resignation of one Pahlavi Shah—who was preparing to align his oil-rich kingdom with the Nazis—in favor of his son, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, he who became an American darling and storied mass-murderer of his own people; two years subsequently, in 1943, a baby boy drew his first independent breath and went on to become the storied writer James Allen MacPherson; another seven hundred thirty one days beyond that pass, in 1945, halfway round the world, British generals accepted the surrender of Japan’s Hong Kong occupiers, and close to half a million workers back in the U.S., fed up with ‘patriotic sacrifice,’ went on strike in multiple industries against war profiteers and in favor of a greater share for workers; five more years closer to today, in 1950, the infant who became thinker Henry Louis Gates came into the world, and a propagandist United Nations essay contest provokes the anger of the Soviet Union; another half decade onward toward this exact day, in 1955, conspirators at midnight in Argentina launched the military coup against Juan Peron—with American and British support, and a Soviet Zulu-Class submarine first launched a ballistic missile; a year hence, meanwhile, in 1956, the boy baby who grew up to become the magician David Copperfield appeared on the scene; three years later, in 1959, the Xerox Corporation offered buyers a different sort of legerdemain, a chance to purchase the first xerographic automatic copying machine, after a live demonstration on New York television; four years thereafter, in 1963, several pieces of Britain’s empire banded together to form Malaysia, a union that Singapore quickly exited;
seven years henceforth, in 1970, King Hussein of Jordan declared a military dictatorship in the aftermath of a Palestinian hijacking; another decade past that juncture, in 1980, Jean Piaget, the storied child-psychologist and philosopher, died; two years afterward, in 1982, the massacres of Palestinians at Shatila and Sabra, Lebanon took place; five years later, in 1987, the Montreal Protocol established an accord for protecting Earth’s threatened ozone layer, and Toni Morrison’s seminal work Beloved is published for the first time; two years subsequent to that day, in 1989, in nearby St. Paul Minnesota, the largest demonstration in the state’s history unfolded against the opening of an anti-union paper mill; three years thereafter, in 1992, deposed Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, having disaffected the U.S. supporters on whom he depended, stood in the dock on the last day of his trial and faced a forty year sentence, leading to his still-continuing incarceration in Florida, and on what was known as Black Wednesday, the pound was forced out of the European Exchange Rate Mechanism by currency speculators and was forced to devalue against the German mark; two years even more proximate to the present, in 1994, England lifted its six-year-old media ban on Sinn Fein;
twelve years back, the United Farmworkers won a contract in North Carolina that for the first time represented guest workers, and a player lockout by the National Hockey League begins, leading to the cancellation of what would have been the League’s 88th season; three years henceforth, in 2007, Blackwater corporate mercenaries seven years ago murdered seventeen civilians in Baghdad, shootings for which they ultimately faced no criminal sanctions; two years after that point in time, in 2009, Richard Trumka, after a nearly three decade career working in organized laborer, ascended to the leadership of the American Federation of Labor/Congress of Industrial Organizations, and the American singer-songwriter Mary Travers wrote her last verse; four years even further along the road, in 2013 a government contractor with an automatic rifle shot down twelve people at the Washington Naval Yard, and three hundred sixty-five days after that, in 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant launched its Kobani offensive against Syrian-Kurdish forces.