Nov. 11, 1998
Today's Reading: "The Drum," by John Scott of Amwell (1730-1783).
It's VETERAN'S DAY, commemorating the 1918 armistice that ended World War I. America had joined the war in 1917, and by the end of the war 116,000 U.S. servicemen had lost their lives; German and Russian war dead numbered slightly less than two million each, and the French about a million.
It's KURT VONNEGUT's birthday, born in Indianapolis, 1922. During W.W.II he served in the Air Force and was captured by the Germans. As a prisoner he was forced to clean up cities hit by Allied bombers. He was one of the first to enter Dresden after the famous 1945 fire-bombing, an experience he was later to tell through his novel, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).
On this day in 1921, President Warren G. Harding presided over the burial at Arlington Cemetery of an unidentified American soldier from World War I, who became known as the UNKNOWN SOLDIER.
It's the birthday in Moscow, 1821, of novelist FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY. He was sentenced to death for his political activities, but that was commuted to imprisonment and hard labor in Siberia. During those years the only reading Dostoevsky was allowed was the New Testament. When he got out, he settled in St. Petersburg, founded a literary magazine with his brother, and began writing his major novels: Notes from the Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, The Possessed, and The Brothers Karamazov.
It's the birthday of ABIGAIL ADAMS, born in 1744 in Weymouth, Massachusetts, the wife of the nation's 2nd president who is noted for writing hundreds of many fine letters. At the height of the Revolutionary War in 1780, she wrote to her son: "It is not in the still calm of life … that great characters are formed. … Wisdom and penetration are the fruit of experience, not the lessons of retirement. Great necessities call out great virtues."
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®