1754 — the French & Indian War gets “hot”
In an encounter that perhaps should not have happened, George Washington began his military career with the defeat of a party of French soldiers from Ft. Duquesne in western PA. While for the European powers, the resulting war was little more than a continuation of the unceasing jostling for dominance that continued through the World Wars — for those in the Americas, it was a battle between 2 ideologies. For the French, North America provided resources. While they settled to some degree, they viewed those stopping places as necessary for trade. On the other hand, for the English this was a land to be settled, farmed and controlled. The Native Americans, caught between the two, tried to find a way to preserve their identities in the resulting conflicts. Unfortunately, their survival was not of paramount importance to any of the European combatants. For familiarity with the tragedy, the hope and dreams (but maybe not the best history), read Alan Eckert’s Frontiersman series. A more scholarly work, Fred Anderson’s The Crucible of War makes the argument that the American Revolution had its origins in this conflict…. it’s a wonderful read as well!
1863 — The 54th Massachusetts leaves Boston
You’ve probably seen Glory — such a beautiful, heartbreaking movie. Amazon ranks it one of their “essential films,” which it justifiably deserves. While, of course, it was a movie and therefore there are historical flaws, I think it captures the “truth” of the story in a manner beyond prose. But that’s just me. If you prefer the academic analysis, look at the essays in Hope & Glory. My favorite contributors to the collection include Colin Powell and David Blight.
1987: Matthias Rust lands his plane in Red Square
OK — remember when you were in college and you stayed up all night with your buddies and everyone was talking about the world and there may have been beer? When young Mr. Rust landed in Red Square, I was part of one of those nights in North Carolina. We watched the news, had some beverages and then as the night progressed we thought the landing was cooler and cooler. Sting’s “Russians” was a hit at the time, and the Dream of the Blue Turtles CD was on repeat play. About 4 in the morning we had the greatest idea EVER! We called the local news station and suggested that they fly the six (?) of us to the Soviet Union. We would walk through Red Square telling those guys that we were all just alike — you know, dreaming the same dreams, drinking the same beer. For some reason they didn’t take us seriously. Hey, we could have ended the Cold War 2 years earlier! 🙂
1944: Gladys Knight born
Midnight Train to Georgia — she deserves an extra slice of birthday cake/OK maybe a whole other cake just for this song!
deep cut media: Today’s album is one I listen to when researching the colonial era — it feels right. It’s Yo-Yo Ma, Edgar Meyer’s & Mark O’Connor’s second collaboration called, “Appalachian Journey.” One reviewer called it “classical grass,” which isn’t a bad description. With new compositions, traditional music and even a Stephen Foster tune, the trio shares the stage occasionally with James Taylor and Alison Krauss. Track listing: 1B, for violin, cello & double bass (the guys); Misty Moonlight Waltz (the guys — this song just dances in your brain for hours); Hard Times Come Again No More (the guys with JT); Indecision (they guys — I really don’t mean to be disrespectful, I just don’t want to type or cut/paste their names for each track); Limerock (minus Edgar); Benjamin (again with James); Fisher’s Hornpipe (I think I’ve heard 20 versions of this traditional melody — and this is my absolute favorite!); Duet for cello & bass (minus Mark); Emily’s Reel (the guys); Cloverfoot Reel (this sounds like they are just playing around); Poem for Carlita (the guys); Caprice for Three (the guys); Second Time Around (the guys); Slumber my Darling (with Alison Krauss — just the perfect song for her voice); and Vistas (such a perfect title!).
The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow. –> HG Wells