Archive for April 18th, 2008


On This Day, 4-18-08: One if By Land, Two if by Sea

Revere and Dawes warn of British attack


On this day in 1775, British troops march out of Boston on a mission to confiscate the American arsenal at Concord and to capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be hiding at Lexington. As the British departed, Boston Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback from the city to warn Adams and Hancock and rouse the Minutemen.

“Revere and Dawes warn of British attack.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Apr 2008, 12:21

This story began my exploration of history.  What I remember is that I was very young and I was watching a movie on television with my parents and sister.  It began with the night the British marched out of Boston and how the warning would be relayed from the Old North Church to rebels waiting on the other side of the Charles River.  My dad repeated the signal before the TV show explained it.  I was amazed at my father’s uncanny ability to predict the TV story. 

“One if by land, two if by sea,” my father said.

I added onto his phrase because I knew my dad had been in the air force, “Three if by air.”

“No idiot!”  My sister exclaimed and my mother laughed.  “They didn’t have airplanes back then.”

Back then, I thought.  There is a difference between back then and now! 

I listened, confused, as my father explained about back then and how he knew about the signal from the American rebels.  I also knew I didn’t want to be an idiot, so I made sure to concentrate on History from that day onward, until finally, years later, graduating with a BA in History.

Allman Brothers:  Midnight Rider

1861 – Colonel Robert E. Lee turned down an offer to command the Union armies during the U.S. Civil War.

1877 – Charles Cros wrote a paper that described the process of recording and reproducing sound. In France, Cros is regarded as the inventor of the phonograph. In the U.S., Thomas Edison gets the credit.

1943 – Traveling in a bomber, Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, was shot down by American P-38 fighters.

1955 – Albert Einstein died.

1978 – The U.S. Senate approved the transfer of the Panama Canal to Panama on December 31, 1999.

1989 – Thousands of Chinese students demanding democracy tried to storm Communist Party headquarters in Beijing.

2002 – The city legislature of Berlin decided to make Marlene Dietrich an honorary citizen. Dietrich had gone to the United States in 1930. She refused to return to Germany after Adolf Hitler came to power.


Luther defiant at Diet of Worms

Martin Luther, the chief catalyst of Protestantism, defies the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V by refusing to recant his writings. He had been called to Worms, Germany, to appear before the Diet (assembly) of the Holy Roman Empire and answer charges of heresy.

Martin Luther was a professor of biblical interpretation at the University of Wittenberg in Germany. In 1517, he drew up his 95 theses condemning the Catholic Church for its corrupt practice of selling “indulgences,” or forgiveness of sins. Luther followed up the revolutionary work with equally controversial and groundbreaking theological works, and his fiery words set off religious reformers across Europe. In 1521, the pope excommunicated him, and he was called to appear before the emperor at the Diet of Worms to defend his beliefs. Refusing to recant or rescind his positions, Luther was declared an outlaw and a heretic. Powerful German princes protected him, however, and by his death in 1546 his ideas had significantly altered the course of Western thought.

“Luther defiant at Diet of Worms.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Apr 2008, 12:16

The Great San Francisco Earthquake

At 5:13 a.m., an earthquake estimated at close to 8.0 on the Richter scale strikes San Francisco, California, killing hundreds of people as it topples numerous buildings. The quake was caused by a slip of the San Andreas Fault over a segment about 275 miles long, and shock waves could be felt from southern Oregon down to Los Angeles.

“The Great San Francisco Earthquake.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Apr 2008, 12:14

Doolittle leads air raid on Tokyo

On this day in 1942, 16 American B-25 bombers, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet 650 miles east of Japan and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James H. Doolittle, attack the Japanese mainland.

“Doolittle leads air raid on Tokyo.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Apr 2008, 12:17

Federal court decides to release Ezra Pound

A federal court rules that Ezra Pound should no longer be held at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the criminally insane in Washington, D.C. Pound has been held for 13 years, following his arrest in Italy during World War II on charges of treason.

“Federal court decides to release Ezra Pound.” 2008. The History Channel website. 18 Apr 2008, 12:47

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