Day By Day

Friday, December 18, 2009

This Day In History

The most wonderful time of the year continues today. Two days ago it was chocolate covered anything, yesterday was maple syrup, and today is "National Bake Cookies Day" which in my case translates as "National Eat Cookies Day". Yum!

On this day in 1865 slavery officially ended in America. the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution -- the one banning slavery -- was formally adopted. It stated that "neither slavery nor involuntary servitude… shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction." This was a remarkable thing, that a country in which slavery had long been an integral aspect of its social and economic makeup, was willing to endure a brutal civil war and sustain hundreds of thousands of casualties in order to end the practice. The thirteenth amendment is something in which we all can take pride.

And on this day in 1916 the Battle of Verdun came to an end. It had lasted ten months, the longest battle of World War One, during which the French and Germans fired nearly 40 million artillery shells and each suffered more than 300,000 casualties, 70% of which were due to artillery bombardments. So blasted was the battleground that tens of thousands of bodies were never recovered and are still being unearthed to this day.

Happy Birthday to Stephen Spielberg. Even if his politics are a bit loopy he made some nifty films.