On this day, 14 April, history happened:
In the year 979, my three-times great-grandfather Æthelred “The Unready” (through his son Edmund II “Ironside”, my twice-over 30th great-grandfather, and through his daughter Ælfgifu, my 31st great-grandmother) was challenged for the throne of England.
In the year 1471, the Battle of Barnet, a decisive battle in the War of the Roses, was fought. The Yorkists defeated the Lancastrians, killing Richard Neville (my 17th great-grandfather). This military action, along with the subsequent Battle of Tewkesbury, secured the throne for Edward IV.
In 1865, Abraham Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth at Ford’s Theater, Washington DC. President Lincoln died the next day.
In 1894, Thomas Edison held his first public showing of the kinetoscope (moving pictures).
In 1903, Dr Harry Plotz developed a vaccine against typhoid.
In 1912, at 11:40 p.m., the Titanic hit an iceberg off the coast of Newfoundland. The ship sank a few hours later.
In 1935, Black Sunday, the worst sandstorm in Midwest history, created the Dust Bowl. Twenty “black blizzards” devastated the Great Plains, from Canada to Texas. The dust storms caused extensive damage and turned the day into night. Witnesses reported that they could not see five feet in front of them.
And in 1970, in southern Florida, a baby boy was born.
He was no one famous, and his birth was only important to us, his family.
But on that day, that small child drew his first breath. Two hours later, he breathed his last.
He took with him his father’s name and his family’s love.
Nothing remains of him, not even a photo or a footprint. No stone marks his brief passage in time.
Although his was a life not lived, he was…if only for a moment.
And for that reason, 14 April always will be a memorable day in my family’s history.