April 15 happens to be my sister’s birthday, and she was always fond of reciting the list of disasters that occurred on that date.
- It’s tax day for Americans residing in the US. (But if you live in another country you get an automatic extension until June 15.)
- President Abraham Lincoln died after being fatally shot by actor John Wilkes Booth.
- The Titanic sank.
In honor of the day, here are a few fun — and not-so-fun — important events that she missed, in no particular order:
- Ray Kroc opened his first McDonald’s so-called restaurant, thus beginning the scourge of fast food in the USA and throughout the rest of the civilized world.
- In 1900 the International Exposition opened in Paris. The iconic Eiffel Tower had been built for the 1889 Exposition and was reviled by French notables including Emile Zola, Guy de Maupassant, Alexandre Dumas and Charles Garnier, as “useless and monstrous” and an offense to “French taste and endangered French art and history.”
- Hu Yaobang, a Chinese official with a pro-Democracy, anti-corruption reputation, died in 1989. Protesters gathered in Tiananmen Square, Beijing to mourn his passing. The gathering lasted for seven weeks, and showed the world the repressive face of the Chinese regime that left 241 dead and 7,000 wounded according to official figures. Unofficially, numbers as high as 9,000 were reported. With the government control over its own media and its crackdown on foreign journalists, the truth may never be known. One wonders how much more the world would have seen if Twitter had been available then.
- The WTO (World Trade Organization) was created.
- Kenneth Lay was born in 1942. Lay became notorious in his later years as the CEO of Enron Corp.
- In 1927, Gaston Leroux died. He was the French author of Le Fantôme de l’Opéra, the original novel on which Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera was based.
- Cambodian dictator Pol Pot died in 1998, and actress Greta Garbo did the same in 1990.
- In 1924, Rand McNally published their first road atlas.
- According to Dates In History, Ireland saw its first balloon flight in the year 784.
Happy Tax Day, US resident citizens. And to those of you already residing overseas with your automatic extension, “bah, humbug!”