Tuesday, April 12, 2011


I suppose that given time and with enough research amazing things may be discovered about pretty much any date on the calendar. But there is a surprising convergence of events centered on April 12...

WAR IS HELL: In silence before the break of dawn they gathered by the hundreds at Charleston in South Carolina today to mark the solemn occasion of the naval attack on Fort Sumter and the start of the U.S. Civil War, 150 years ago. The confrontation between the Confederacy of southern states and the government of the United-States tore the country apart. Some wounds still fresh. The roll call of more than 800,000 dead echoes still from Gettysburg to Bentonville by way of Antietam, Shiloh, Manassas, Vicksburg, Fredericksburg, Richmond and so many other places.

THE MUSIC DIED: Ninety-nine years ago this day the venerable "RMS Titanic" sailed from Southampton on her faithful maiden voyage. A new book titled "The Band That Played On" is being published this week about the eight man band that played-on as the ship went down until the Atlantic eventually drowned their music into silence. The centennial of the sinking of the doomed ship is just a year away. It's only natural that a new round of stories, anecdotes and tales is beginning to emerge.

...BUT ROCK WAS BORN: Turns out it was also on April 12; in 1954, 57 years ago, that rock and roll was born. Bill Haley and the Comets travelled from Pennsylvania to New York city on their first contract with Decca Records: A rock-a-billy tune titled "Thirteen Women And Only One Man In Town" - But the recording needed a "B" side and the group was offered "Rock Around The Clock". Forty-five Minutes of rehearsal and two-takes later: Rock & Roll had been born. Haley's "Rock Around The Clock" remains the best selling rock single of all time.

MAN ENTERS THE SPACE AGE: It was 50 years ago today that Russian Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin blasted into, and became the first human to orbit the planet in space. Gagarin's April 12, 1961 blast-off and successful three orbit(s) mission just short of 200 miles above the planet prompted the administration of American President John F. Kennedy to commit his country to landing a man "on the moon" before the end of the decade. A mission accomplished in July 1969.

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