Oct. 21, 1998
The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna
Today's Reading: "The Burial of Sir John Moore after Corunna" by Charles Wolfe.
It's the anniversary of the FALL OF AACHEN, 1944, the first German city to be captured by the Allies in WWII. Hitler called it the seat of the First Reich and ordered his officers to hold Aachen "to the last man, and if necessary, allow himself to be buried under its ruins." The American soldiers took the motto, "Knock 'em all down" and used some of their heaviest artillery, firing point-blank into the houses to make holes into which GI's ran and fought room-to-room.
It's the birthday of URSULA LEGUIN, born in Berkeley, California, 1929, the author of science fiction novels like The Left Hand of Darkness which came out in 1969, and four books called The Earthsea Series that she started at about the same time, intending them to be for children, but which attracted adults as well. She said, "Art and Entertainment are the same thing, in that the more deeply and genuinely entertaining a work is, the better art it is.
It's the anniversary of the LIGHT BULB, first demonstrated by Thomas Edison in 1879, in his Menlo Park, New Jersey lab.
It's the anniversary of THE BATTLE OF TRAFALGAR, in 1805, the decisive sea battle of the Napoleonic Wars. Admiral Horatio Nelson and a fleet of 27 British ships defeated a combined French-Spanish fleet of 33 ships off Spain's southwest coast, capturing 17 of them. Nelson's words before the battle, "England expects that every man will do his duty," are still quoted in the British military today.
It's the birthday of poet and essayist SAMUEL TAYLOR COLERIDGE, born 1772, Devonshire, England, and remembered for poems like "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner." In his early 20s, Coleridge and another poet planned to build a utopian society in America, on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. But the plan fell through and Coleridge stayed in England where he met poet William Wordsworth. And together they published in 1798 a book called Lyrical Ballads: their own poems that praised nature and the individual and that were written in everyday language the beginning of the Romantic movement in England.
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