Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Power of a Date

I was thinking today about dates, and the power they hold depending on their significance.  For example, the United States has many very important and very significant dates, such as July 4, 1776. I think most of us realize why this date is significant to our great country.  It's the date the Colonies in America declared their independence from England.  It continues to be a day of celebration for our country, signified by cookouts, parades, and fireworks smothered in Patriotism.  How about October 12, 1492?  Columbus sailed the ocean blue.  That's the date Christopher Columbus began his voyage to the New World.  It's celebrated as a Federal Holiday.

Let's try a little quiz.  Can you name the significant event for the United States that occurred on the following dates:  September 17, 1787?  June 18, 1812?  April 12, 1861?  December 17, 1903?  April 6, 1917?  October 24, 1929?  December 7, 1941?  August 6, 1945?  November 22, 1963?  April 4, 1968?  July 21, 1969?  January 16, 1991?  September 11, 2001?  I'll provide the answers at the end of this post.

Today, May 28, is my wife's birthday.  Teresa would have been 42 today had she not died suddenly 10 years ago.  Every year, I tell myself that this is just another day, but it still has an impact on me.  Just as April 4, 1998 (the day we met), May 2, 1998 (our first date), February 13, 1999 (the day we were engaged), July 24, 1999 (our wedding day), and April 19, 2004 (the day Teresa went to be with the Lord) all hold significance to me.  And since they have such importance, the feelings that are associated with those dates end up bringing that emotion to the surface, and it impacts me.  This can be frustrating.  I see how it affects my mood and actions.  I was in a funk all day today, and I took some of my anger out on my colleagues.  Later, I did the same with my father in a phone conversation.  He just wanted to chat, but I was too upset about the dishwasher not working, and I practically yelled at him out of my frustration.  I know it had nothing to do with the dishwasher.  It was because today was my wife's birthday.

I keep waiting for these dates to lose some of their sting, but no matter how hard I try, I can't shake the significance out of these dates.  Maybe they're not meant to lose this significance.  Perhaps there will always be a negative connotation to them, despite the fact that most were happy occasions.

So how did you do?  Here are the dates and their significance:

September 17, 1787?  A convention of delegates approves what will become the United States Constitution in Philadelphia.

June 18, 1812?  Congress declares war on England, beginning the War of 1812.

April 12, 1861?  Southern forces fire on Fort Sumter in South Carolina, kicking off the Civil War.

December 17, 1903?  Wilbur and Orville Wright complete the first successful flight at Kitty Hawk, NC.

April 6, 1917?  The United States enters the Great War, World War I.

October 24, 1929?  "Black Thursday", the collapse of the New York Stock Exchange.

December 7, 1941?  The Japanese attack on U.S. forces at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, bringing the U.S. into World War II.

August 6, 1945?  A U.S. plane drops an atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima, effectively ending World War II.

November 22, 1963?  President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, Texas.

April 4, 1968?  Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., is assassinated in Memphis, TN.

July 21, 1969?  U.S. astronauts walk on the Moon for the first time.

January 16, 1991?  U.S. and Allied forces attack Iraq, four months after Iraq invaded Kuwait.

September 11, 2001?  Terrorist hijackers crash planes into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon near Washington, D.C., and a field in Pennsylvania.

Have a great evening, everyone!

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