There are dates throughout the year that, without prompting from calendars or news stories, remind me of something that happened in the past, external to myself or my family. April 4, for instance, I always remember as the day in 1968 that Martin Luther King, Jr. got shot. Other days that seem to stick in my mind:
January 28, 1986 - the Challenger disaster. Oddly, the Columbia disaster of February 1, 2003 doesn't though I do remember that it was around Groundhog's Day as I was heading for a MidWinter's party at the time.
May 4, 1970 - the Kent State disaster. It's codified by that song. No, not Ohio by CSNY, but that annoying Mike Love rewrite of Leiber & Stoller's Riot on Cell Block #9 called Student Demonstration Time, which appears on the otherwise excellent Beach Boys album Surf's Up.
America was stunned on May 4, 1970
When rally turned to riot up at Kent State University
They said the students scared the Guard
Though the troops were battle dressed
Four martyrs earned a new degree
The Bachelor of Bullets
It also features the classic line: "The pen is mightier than the sword, but no match for a gun."
May 8, 1972 - the mining of Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam, which many people feared represented an escalation of the war. Much student activism around the country followed, including at my campus.
June 5, 1968 -RFK's assassination, which I've wrote about before.
July 7, 1940 - R8ingo Starr's birthday. George's birthday moved from February 25 to February 24, and Paul's birthday I confuse with Brian Wilson's in mid-June, but Ringo's I remember. Maybe it's because it seems lucky - 7/7- and I recall aan LP called The Beatles' Story which indicated that Ringo was the final ingredient necessary to create the magic of Beatlemania. He's also the question to this answer: JEOPARDY! Show #5647 - Tuesday, March 10, 2009 HE SAID, SHE SAID for $1200: "Sorry Beatles fans, he said he has "too much to do, so no more fan mail...& no objects to be signed"
I also am reminded of the 2005 London bombings on that date.
August 28, 1963 - march on Washington, "I Have a Dream" speech
September 11, 2001 - Moby's 35th birthday; I remember this because I often play the music of a particular musician on his or her birthday, especially those birthdays divisible by five. I've since wondered how it would be to have a birthday so associated with tragedy such as 9/11. (The Bloody Sunday march from Selma to Montgomery took place on my 12th birthday, and I remember it quite well, but it didn't have anywhere near the same scope.)
October 4, 1987 - a freak Albany snowstorm that knocked out power to some people for a couple weeks. I was out only four days.
October 9, 1940 - I do remember John Lennon's birthday, and that of his son Sean 35 years later. But I was reminded by my one-time office mate that it's also Jackson Browne's birthday, but I couldn't tell you what year without looking it up. (It's 1948.)
November 22, 1963 - the JFK assassination. I had a girlfriend who, for every Thanksgiving blessing, would invoke the memory of JFK.
December 8, 1980 - John Lennon's death.
December 24, 1990 - the death of Sandy Cohen, the tenor soloist of my church choir at the time. He had had two or three heart attacks before that, one of them during a church service, which he wouldn't leave until he finished "the gig", so it shouldn't have surprised us, yet it did.
Given my personal history, it's quite possible that I will add April 3, 2009 to the list.
How about you? What events always stick in your mind when the date rolls around? I'm looking for the births, deaths, anniversaries, but not of family members - which I'm SURE you all remember. I'm also ignoring holidays and quasi-holidays (January 1, February 2 & 14, March 17, April 1, June 14, July 4, November 11, December 25) as well, unless something else is triggered by it.
February rambling #2: Which Side Are You On?
3 hours ago