The beauty of the Internet

Published 9:52 pm Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Today, Aug. 22, represents a historical date. It’s the day composer Claude Debussy and author Ray Bradbury were born. Theodore Roosevelt became the first president to ride in an automobile on this day in 1902; the United States annexed New Mexico in 1848. In 585, St. Columba reported seeing a monster in Loch Ness and the first America’s Cup is won by the yacht America in 1851.
In 1942, Brazil declared war on Germany and Italy and the notorious prison on Devil’s Island was closed in 1953. 1989 saw the first ring of Neptune discovered and Nolan Ryan strike out Rickey Henderson to be the first Major League Baseball pitcher to record 5,000 strikeouts. Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended on Aug. 22, 2003 for refusing to comply with a court order to remove a rock inscribed with the Ten Commandments from the lobby of the Alabama Supreme Court building. And in 2004, two paintings by Edvard Munch, including a version of “The Scream,” were stolen at gunpoint from a museum in Oslo.
Some might shrug at the information, not everyone is a history buff, preferring to direct their sight forward, into the future. But for those of us who love a bit of history with … well … everything, the Internet is an invaluable commodity. With the stroke of a few keys, one can study maps of ancient lands (or even buy them on Ebay), see treasures sunk deep below the ocean surface centuries ago or hear men tell first-person accounts of World War II battles.
The Internet can also turn up some surprising information about Washington history. For example, Saturday, Sept. 1, “The African-American Walking History Tour” will take place in Washington. Tour guides are blasts from the past, the real life characters of Hull and Cherry Anderson. You can find out more about the tour — you guessed it — on the Internet, on the “I’m from Washington, NC and Nobody Told Me This!” Facebook page. Your choice, stay at home and learn or get out on the history-packed streets of Washington and learn a little about the role of African-Americans in our own history.