Today is a significant day, we all know about it and if, by any chance, somebody doesn’t then it would be very easy to find out. September 11th is a day that is remembered, it’s a day that is held in many people’s hearts and it is a day which caused quite a number of people pain (and was the springboard for much more).
But September 11th 2001 was not the only significant thing to happen in history, it is one of many. Perhaps it’s the most recent; the thing that still causes tears, and still tugs hard on many people’s heartstrings because it happened in our lifetime. We remember that Tuesday, we remember what we were doing when we heard and we probably remember sitting watching television with our mouths half open.
Past events on this day are almost forgotten, I’m not saying that’s a problem, who really cares what happened in 1771 when 2001 is memorable and still affecting people today? I understand that, but I thought I would spend the next few hundred words talking about some lesser known (or no longer remembered) events in history.
New York is a place of history, today more than any day, but did you know that today in 1609 a man named Henry Hudson sailed into New York harbour and discovered Manhattan Island and the river that was named after him? Without him we might never have the New York we have today and in part, the America we have today.
On September 11th in 1714, Spanish and French troops forced their way into Catalonia, where the Catalan troops surrendered. The Spanish, notably Philip V, abolished ancient privileges and set up various other laws which resulted in Catalan losing its independence, something which they never fully gained back.
World War II was well on its way; Poland had been invaded, Britain had declared war against Germany and the site of the most famous concentration camp of the war had been found. But on September 11th 1940, Hitler sent army and air forces to protect oil reserves in Romania, which he planned as a base for further attacks against the Soviet Union.
In 1951, the first woman to swim across the English Channel from both directions succeeded in her quest. Her first attempt from France to England was a world record breaking swim (at the time) in just 13 hours 20 minutes. Her reverse swim about a year later was a little slower at 16 hours 22 minutes, but it was the swim that put her in the record books.
In other, less significant, news, The Little House on the Prairie premiered in 1974, a series which has captured hearts and minds across the globe. An adaptation of a book series by Laura Ingalls-Wilder which told stories of her childhood; we are introduced to Charles Ingalls, his wife Caroline and their children Mary, Laura, Carrie and Grace who lived on a farm in Minnesota in the 1870s and 1880s.
And of course, on September 11th 2001 four passenger planes were hijacked. Two were crashed into the World Trade Centre towers, which subsequently collapsed, one was flown into the Pentagon and the final plane crashed into a field. Almost 3000 people were killed. This event sparked wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which were and still are highly controversial and have resulted in a great number of troops being killed.
There are many, many more events that have happened on a September 11th in history, some events have been happy and some sad, some courageous and others soul destroying. One thing I have learnt from looking through these historical events is that the world has changed a lot over the course of history. Some of these events have been the start of big changes for countries or the world, whilst others have merely been moments in ours or other people’s lifetimes.
I wonder what people will be talking about in a hundred years from now, will September 11th 2001 have the same heart wrenching feeling when the majority of those directly affected will be gone? Will The Little House on the Prairie be long since forgotten, the tapes lost through the years? It’s hard to know what will matter to future generations. I’d like to believe that many of these events will still matter to people, like the Titanic and World War I are events we still think about from time to time, despite the fact that the majority of people who faced such events are no longer here. All I know is that I hope someone will be sat at a computer (or whatever technological items we have in the future) doing research like I am now, rediscovering events that have been long since forgotten, or reminding themselves of events that they witnessed in some capacity.