Friday, May 6, 2011

On This Day in History: A fascinating day

One of my least favorite pictures. Ever.
1527 – In an event generally considered to mark the end of the Roman Renaissance, Rome is sacked by Spanish and German troops aligned with the Holy Roman Empire amid the War of the League of Cognac (1526-1530).  Nearly 150 Swiss Guards died fighting the forces of Emperor Charles V in order to allow Pope Clement VII to escape.  To commemorate the bravery of the Swiss Guards, new recruits are sworn in every year on May 6.

1861 – Arkansas secedes from the Union on the same day Richmond, Virginia is declared the new capital of the Confederate States of America.

1863 – Outnumbered by nearly 73,000 soldiers, General Robert E. Lee and Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson lead the South to victory over the Army of the Potomac in the final day of the Battle of Chancellorsville in northern Virginia.

1889 – The Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris.

1937 – The German zeppelin Hindenburg (pictured) catches fire and is destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst Naval Air Station in Manchester Township, New Jersey.  The 12-story blimp was over 800-ft. in length and filled with seven million cubic feet of pure hydrogen.  Thirty-six people were killed in the incident, and why the airship ignited into flames remains a mystery to this day.

1940 – John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath.

1941 – Bob Hope performs the first of his nearly 200 USO shows at March Field Army Air Corps base in Riverside, California.

1954 – Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run a sub-four-minute mile at Iffley Road Track in Oxford, England.

1984 – Having suffered religious persecution throughout the 19th century, Pope John Paul II canonized 103 Korean Martyrs in Seoul, South Korea.

2000 – I was 15 minutes late picking up a girl named Sarah for our first date.  Of the girls who have been in and out of my life, this little golden-haired cutie is the one who sticks out in memory the most.  In the end, I was only successful in turning her affection for me inside out because of what I could not do.

As I once wrote, years ago, about our first evening together...

"I knew that look on her old man's face.  Most fathers go through it at least once or twice.  I imagine it's similar to how an accomplished violinist would feel about handing a Stradivarius over to an unruly ape."

I hope Sarah is doing well, wherever she is.

Initially published 5/6/10 and republished with a few minor revisions; most information obtained via Wikipedia and confirmed through various sources.

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