Library Lines Column: By Debbie Davenport

Published 9:30 pm Sunday, April 6, 2014

Library Lines (for April 9, 2014)

By Debbie Davenport

April 12th is a day filled with historical firsts and remembrances.  Music; scientific discovery; scenes from the history of our nation are all played out on this day.  The impacts into the present are far reaching and vast.  Here are just a few that caught my attention while researching this article.

On April 12, 1861, the bloodiest four years in American history began when Confederate shore batteries under the confederate General P.G.T. Beauregard opened fire on Union-held Fort Sumter in South Carolina’s Charleston Bay. During the next 34 hours, 50 Confederate guns and mortars launched more than 4,000 rounds at the poorly supplied fort.  Days later, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation calling for 75,000 volunteer soldiers to quell the Southern “insurrection.”  This was the beginning of our nation’s Civil War.

In 1633, chief inquisitor Father Vincenzo Maculano da Firenzuola, appointed by Pope Urban VIII, began the inquisition of physicist and astronomer Galileo Galilei. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for his belief that the Earth revolved around the Sun.  This was deemed heretical by the Catholic Church.   Galileo was later convicted of heresy.  As part of his sentence, Galileo agreed to not teach the heresy anymore and spent the rest of his life under house arrest. It took more than 300 years for the Church to admit that Galileo was right and to clear his name of heresy.

Bill Haley and the Comets recorded “(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock” in 1954.  Many critics claim this song to be the Declaration of Independence for the rock and roll social and cultural revolution.  The song was laid down during the final 40 minutes of a three-hour recording session in New York City- a session set up for the recording of “Thirteen Women (and Only One Man in Town).”

Aboard the spacecraft Vostok 1, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Alekseyevich Gagarin became the first human being to travel into space in 1961. During the flight, the 27-year-old test pilot and industrial technician also became the first man to orbit the planet, a feat accomplished by his space capsule in only 89 minutes! The only statement attributed to Gagarin during his one hour and 48 minutes in space was, “Flight is proceeding normally; I am well.”

And in 1945 our nation mourned the death of its 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  He had seen the United States through some of its darkest days, from the depths of the Great Depression through the toughest times of World War II. In early 1945, shortly after being sworn in for his fourth term as president, Roosevelt was on the verge of leading his nation to triumph in the Second World War. Germany teetered on the brink of defeat, and the Japanese empire was crumbling under the blows of the American military. In February 1945, Roosevelt traveled to Yalta in the Soviet Union to meet with Russian leader Joseph Stalin and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill to discuss the postwar world. Roosevelt returned from these intense meetings drawn and sick. He vacationed in Warm Springs, Georgia, but the rest did not lead to recuperation. On April 12, 1945, he suffered a massive stroke and died.

Those are but a few of the events that happened on April 12th!  To learn more, visit you Public Library and talk to the friendly and well-read staff!