There are so many contradictory sayings about history. “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” and “There’s no time like the present.”
“Some people make headlines while others make history” or “History never looks like history when you are living through it.”
And so, it is with such contradictions in mind, that I am reminded of what happened on this date in the not too distant past….
On this day, September 23rd …
1642 Harvard College in Cambridge, Mass., holds its first commencement. As the job market was very tough for college grads, most of the grads still continued to live with their parents, straight through the Revolution. A young Ben Franklin is particularly frustrated, as is his college buddy, Poor Richard.
1780: In American Revolution, British Major John André is arrested as a spy by American soldiers exposing Benedict Arnold's change of sides. In response to this discovery, Benedict Arnold said, “Boy, this is really gonna suck.”
1845: The Knickerbockers Baseball Club, the first baseball team to play under the modern rules, is founded in New York. Immediately after being founded, the team owners wish to trade several star players, but were unable to because the Knickerbockers were the only team in the first league. While that made it tougher to win a World Series game, their travel schedule was lighter than today’s teams’. Even though they were the only team playing under the modern rules, they still finished with more wins than the New York Metropolitans of the day.
1846 – Neptune is discovered by French astronomer Urbain Jean Joseph Le Verrier and British astronomer John Couch Adams; the discovery is verified by German astronomer Johann Gottfried Galle. This was the last time a Frenchman, a Brit, and a German agreed on anything. Although this was a major discoevry, “Neptune” jokes still never replaced “Uranus” jokes.
1952 – Richard Nixon makes his "Checkers speech". Little known fact: After the speech, the dog crapped on the rug, and peed on Nixon’s left leg. Way to go, Checkers. Way ahead of your time.
1972 – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos announces over television the implementation of martial law. Even though people are very upset by this announcement, Marcos still scores higher in the Nielsen Ratings than NBC, which is running the Summer Olympics.
1983 – Saint Kitts and Nevis, the smallest sovereign nation in the Americas, in both area and population, joins the United Nations. The nation does not get a ‘seat’ at the United Nations, but merely a folding chair that wobbles back and forth.
1999 – NASA announces that it has lost contact with the Mars Climate Orbiter. NASA’s director issues a statement that declared, “…that is the last time we use MapQuest for one of our Orbiters.”
So, that brings us up to the 21st century. Remember what Woody Allen said, “More than any other time in history, mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness. The other, to total extinction. Let us pray we have the wisdom to choose correctly."