Tuesday, May 7, 2019

A Splash of May History

Blue Sky, Twigs, Apple Flower, SpringThere is a song from Camelot about the month being wonderfully gay.  Out here the snow is slowly melting, exposing patches of mud with not a piece of green visible, other than a house or two of that color.

When we hear its May, we think about May Day, Mother's Day, Cinco de Mayo, and Memorial Day but there are other days to think about such as on May 6th, the Hindenburg caught fire at 7:20 pm as it came in for a landing in New Jersey.  This incident, shut down air travel.  What is interesting about this airship is that it had made 62 previous flights quite safely but due to an electrostatic charge and leaking hydrogen, the 63rd was to successful.

On May 7, 1915, a German submarine sank the Lusitania by torpedoing it just off the coast of Ireland causing the United States to enter the war sooner than planned.  One day later, May 8th, 1942, the Japanese lost their first major defeat of the war when they lost at the Battle of the Coral Sea.  This particular battle was the first in history where opposing navel forces used only aircraft.  The two sides never got close enough to see each other.

In Russia, they celebrate May 9th, Victory Day, when they defeated the Nazi's at a cost of 20 million lives.  On the other hand, two rail lines met at Promontory Utah on May 10, 1869.  The Union Pacific and the Central Pacific, one building from the east, and one from the west met at this point where a golden spike was driven in at the connecting point.  The story goes that Leland Stanford, president of the Central Pacific rail line, had the privilege of driving the spike in but he missed it on his first swing, causing those who'd spent days driving spikes in to laugh.

Irving Berlin was born on May 11, 1889.  Berlin was well known for his musical compositions such as White Christmas, Alexander's Ragtime Band, Oh how I hate getting up in the morning, and so many more.  Irving Berlin was born in Russia but his family emigrated to New York City when he was four.  When his father died, he began singing on street corners and saloons as a way to raise money for his family.  Irving Berlin is considered one of America's greatest songwriters despite the fact he could neither read nor write musical notation.

Finally, on May 12, 1937, King George VI was crowned at Westminster Abbey due to the abdication of his brother Edward VIII.  Edward VIII reigned for under a year and voluntarily gave up the throne to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.  The last bit is for those of you who have trouble keeping track of British Royalty and who reigned when.

This is just a quick look at the beginning of May from the 5th to the 12th.  Hope you enjoyed it.  Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear.  Have a great day.

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