Apr. 1, 2000
Sweater Weather: A Love Song to Language
Poem: "Sweater Weather: A Love Song to Language," by Sharon Bryan, from Flying Blind (Sarabande Books).
Itís APRIL FOOLíS DAY today, the holiday for pranksters as Mark Twain said, "The First of April is the day we remember what we are on the other 364 days of the year."
It was on this day in 1945 that THE UNITED STATES BEGAN ITS ATTACK ON THE JAPANESE ISLAND OF OKINAWA, one of the last campaigns of the Second World War. The Japanese knew the island would be used as an American base for the invasion of Japan, and fought hard to keep it. It was one of the bloodiest battles of World War II: over 23,000 American Soldiers were killed, 36,000 wounded, and 34 battleships were sunk, many of them by kamikaze pilots. The Japanese lost over 91,000 soldiers, and over 150,000 Okinawan civilians died.
It was on this day in 1933, in Germany, that an official NAZI BOYCOTT OF JEWISH BUSINESSES was implemented, the first national action against Jews after the Nazi seizure of power in January of that year.
Itís the birthday today of the composer and piano virtuoso SERGEI RACHMANINOFF, born 1873 in Oneg, Russia. He became famous in 1892 for his Prelude in C Sharp Minor; but when his first symphony was condemned he collapsed into a depression and couldnít compose for nearly three years. Eventually he revived and composed many dazzling symphonies and works for piano, including his often-played Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini. After the Russian Revolution of 1917, he moved to the United States, where he devoted himself to appearing in concert.
Itís the birthday of French playwright EDMOND ROSTAND, born 1868 in Marseille on the south coast France, best known for his romantic comedy Cyrano de Bergerac, the story of a talented man who feels that no woman could ever love him because of his enormous nose. Another of his plays, The Romantics, written in 1894, was made into an American musical, The Fantastics, in 1960.
Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.®