Next week brings us April 15, a day loathed by many: the day our taxes our due. My writing has had to take a back seat to the annual torture, doubled this year as I had my brother’s tax return to prepare as well. Who voted for the people who gave us such a system?
The only bright spot has been Turbo Tax. (No, I’m not a paid promoter. I just love the product.)
In keeping with my new resolution to focus on the positive, I thought I’d find out what else April 15 is known for. Did anything good happen on this day?
Turns out, quite a lot, both bad and good.
Three monumental tragic events occurred on April 15.
Abraham Lincoln Died
In 1865 Abraham Lincoln died from a gunshot wound to the head inflicted by an assassin. He was shot the night before while attending a play he’d been advised to skip. The Civil War ended just 6 days earlier. Lincoln never got to enjoy the peace he’d worked so hard to achieve.
The Titanic Sank
The unsinkable Titanic proved that all the hype surrounding its launch to be worthless when it when down in 1912. The designers put forth the claim that since four of the ship’s 16 hull compartments could fill with water without severely affecting the ship’s buoyancy, the ship could not be sunk.
However, they failed to account for an iceberg that ruptured five or more compartments. Fifteen hundred people died that night because of this error.
On the positive side, outrage over the tragedy caused the creation of new rules, namely that there must be enough lifeboat space for every person on board. It’s hard to believe that it took a disaster at sea to make that standard procedure.
The Boston Marathon Bombing
Just two years ago, two bombs went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, leaving three dead and 260 wounded, many losing limbs. Police killed one of the culprits the next day. The other was found guilty on all charges a few days before I write this.
So far April 15 is looking like a pretty dismal day. The news on April 15 hasn’t always been all bad.
Pol Pot Died
The man who created the killing fields of Cambodia which led to the death of nearly 20% of the population, died in prison. Even after the horrors of his regime were exposed, he claimed his conscience was clear. Truly an evil man.
Jackie Robinson Broke the Color Barrier
In 1947, Jackie Robinson played in his first Major League baseball game and even won Rookie of the Year, proving the Brooklyn Dodgers were right to put their faith in him. He brought great athletic ability, personal integrity and courage to the field, proving himself to be a true hero deserving of the many honors granted to him. His number 42 was retired for all teams in 1997.
Congress Ratified Peace with Great Britain
Back in 1783, The Continental Congress ratified the peace treaty with Great Britain, taking an important step to ending the Revolutionary War. The treaty established boundaries, fishing rights and debts. Both sides later claimed the other violated terms, but the main point held: the two nations were no longer at war.
Five Inventions or Innovations
And then a few inventions or innovations were made on April 15. In 1877, the first telephone was introduced. The following year, Ivory Soap hit the market. In 1924, Rand McNally published its first road atlas. The first bank credit card was issued in 1952 by Franklin National Bank. The first McDonald’s opened in 1955.
So April 15 isn’t just about taxes. So maybe this year I’ll make a telephone call, take a road trip and visit McDonald’s, paying with a credit card celebrating our independence to commemorate some of the good things that happened on April 15.