1564 William Shakespeare was born. (See March 11th entry.)
1616 William Shakespeare died. (See above.)
1635 A boundary dispute between Maryland and Virginia erupted into a naval skirmish off the coast of Virginia.
1988 A federal ban on smoking during domestic airline flights of two hours or less went into effect.
1995 The US observed a national day of mourning for the victims of the Oklahoma City blast. (See April 19th entry.)
This is the feast day of St. George, the patron saint of England. George was not British; and there is no indication that he ever crossed the English Channel. According to accounts, he was born in the Near East and died in Palestine around the fourth century. Hundreds of years later, he turned up as a saint whose name was invoked in England before the Norman conquest. The stories about his slaying of a dragon emerged centuries after that.
If there is one name that symbolizes the written word and the glow of theater lights, it is William Shakespeare. He was probably born on this date in 1564, and very definitely died on this same date in 1616. Every now and then, life itself lives up to Shakespeare’s dramatic and historical sensibilities. Certainly, our own lives remind us that “all the world’s a stage.” Look around you. There are still Hamlets, King Lears, Julius Caesars, and even Macbeths serving as heads of state. There are contemporary comedies of errors and a great deal of much ado about nothing. Shakespeare’s writings survive because they are excellent training grounds for the realities of life today.
Could you imagine reading in the paper tomorrow morning that a war was brewing between Vermont and New Hampshire, or that Nevada was amassing troops on the Utah border? And yet, on this day in 1635, a border dispute between Virginia and Maryland erupted into a naval skirmish off the coast of Virginia.
Since the Civil War there have been no great battles fought on North American soil. Even terrorism was regarded as something we had to beware of while travelling overseas. The bombing of New York’s World Trade Center in 1993, brought home the fact that foreign radicals could bring their cowardly brand of destruction across our borders. But until the 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, no one believed that an American could be capable of such an horrific and senseless act.