Well. April 15th is another day that it seems like so many things happened throughout history. And for the most part, it seems like it has been a date on which a lot of truly tragic things happened. Honestly, I can only think of one really cool thing that happened on this date: it was the day that Jackie Robinson first debuted with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947. And as big a fan of baseball as I am, and as happy as I am about how far my favorite sport has come since that time, I can’t help but contrast that event with all the other terrible, tragic things that have happened on this day.
Of course, the most immediate thing for me is that this is the 3rd anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing. Hard to believe it has already been three years. But I am glad that Boston had really come together and bounced back.
And today is also the 151st anniversary of the day that Lincoln died from the bullet wound that John Wilkes Booth gave him. Although shot the night before, Lincoln lingered until 7:22 AM on the morning of the 15th.
In 1912, it is the day that the RMS Titanic sank, taking some 1,500 lives. God, I could probably do a whole post just on that. So many things went wrong, and they all contributed to this terrible maritime disaster: compromises made during the ship’s construction; reduction of the number of boats from 48 to 16; the failure to give the lookouts binoculars; the ship failing to slow down once in the ice field; the ship glancing off the iceberg, damaging 5 compartments, when the ship could only handle up to 4 flooding without sinking; the sending out of lifeboats not fully loaded; the haphazard way that wireless was operated and especially how messages were treated; the complete, utter failure of the closest ship, the SS Californian, to respond to signs that the Titanic was in trouble. Sadly, it seems like it takes a terrible tragedy to make our society respond to a problem, and often, not even then.
In 1927, it was the day that the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 began, when something like 15 inches of rain fell in less than 18 hours in parts of Louisiana. The Mississippi River system was already flooding, and had been since the previous year. Now the river flooded well beyond anything that the country had ever seen. It is still the worst flooding event in the history of the United States, with over 27,000 square miles of land covered in water up to 30 feet deep. In some places, the Mississippi River was now 50 to 60 miles wide. Almost 250 people died, and well over 600,000 people were displaced, at least a third of them African-Americans.
Wow, that is all just terribly depressing. Not to be too flippant or anything, but I will try to make next post something a bit more upbeat.
Well, here’s to what will hopefully be a better Patriots’ Day weekend, since the weather should be nice and Monday is a paid holiday. Everyone have a good weekend and a safe holiday.