Friday, February 4, 2011

On This Day in History

1703 – In what is now Tokyo, Japan, 46 of the legendary Forty-seven Ronin committed ritual suicide (seppuku) as part of the samurai honor code (bushidō) for avenging their master's death.

1789 – George Washington was elected the first President of the United States.

1844 – Discovered by German Biblical scholar Constantin Tischendor, the Codex Sinaiticus -- ancient portions of both the Old and New Testaments -- was uncovered at St. Catherine's Monastery in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula.

1861 – Delegates from South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, and Louisiana convened in Montgomery, Alabama to form the Confederate States of America.

1902 – Charles Lindbergh was born in Detroit, Michigan.  Having initially risen to prominence with his solo non-stop flight from Roosevelt Field in New York's Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France (May 20-21, 1927; nearly 3,600 miles), Lindbergh was named TIME magazine's first Man of the Year.  Later in life he also became a prize-winning author, explorer, environmentalist and inventor.  Few have ever accomplished so much in a lifetime.

1906 – Dietrich Bonhoeffer [pictured] was born in Breslau, Germany (present-day Wrocław, Poland).  A master theologian of the Evangelical Lutheran faith, Bonhoeffer became critical of the Church's general insensitivity to the needs of secular society as he witnessed social upheaval, a decline of traditional values and international financial crisis -- much like the events of today.

Opposed to circumventing Christ in "religiosity," Bonhoeffer's time at Abyssinian Baptist Church in the Harlem borough of New York City (where he taught Sunday School) inspired a world view that would ultimately lead him to establish the Confessing Church, which became one of the few opposing voices to the Nazification in Germany.  It also led to Bonhoeffer's two-year incarceration and eventual martyrdom at the Flossenbürg concentration camp, less than a month before the Nazi regime collapsed.

In short, his influence and the example he set by speaking and standing for Truth cannot be overstated.

1945 – "The Big Three" -- Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin -- open The Yalta Conference at the Livadia Palace in Crimea (present-day southern Ukraine) to discuss Europe's postwar reorganization.

2004 – Mark Zuckerberg launched "Thefacebook," the forerunner to Facebook, from his dorm room at Harvard University.  Seven years later, boasts of 600 million users and only trails Google as the world's most visited website.

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