Milestones: Friday, October 6, 2023
NOBEL PEACE PRIZE WINNER ASSASSINATED — THE WORLD RESPONDED WITH SHOCK WHEN EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT ANWAR SADAT WAS ASSASSINATED ON OCT. 6, 1981. Sadat was internationally respected for helping to end the British occupation of Egypt, ending King Farouk’s monarchy and transforming his nation’s economy. He was instrumental also in Egypt’s peace negotiations with Israel that President Jimmy Carter hosted at Camp David in 1977-78; he and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin jointly won the Nobel Peace Prize. This controversial achievement, however, as well as Sadat’s decision to allow the Shah of Iran to spend his last days in Egypt (he lived in Maryland for a period of time beforehand), factored into his assassination. Islamist extremists, angry with the peace accord, plotted the killing; and Khaled el Islambouli, an Egyptian army lieutenant with connections to the terrorist group Takfir Wal-Hajira, fired shots and threw grenades into a crowd of government officials, including Sadat and his vice president, Hosni Mubarak, who survived.
Mubarak, who led Egypt after Sadat’s murder, arrested hundreds of people suspected to be part of the assassination plot; 25 of these were charged and brought to trial, where they defiantly proclaimed their involvement. Islambouli and four others were executed; others were imprisoned.
BROKE HIS OWN RECORD — YANKEE SLUGGER BABE RUTH HITS A RECORD THREE HOMERS against the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth game of the World Series, on Oct. 6, 1926. The Yanks won that game 10-5, but despite Ruth’s unprecedented performance, he cost them the championship in the seventh game. George Herman (Babe) Ruth — (also nicknamed the Bambino) was part of that year’s powerful American League champion lineup, called “Murderer’s Row,” that included young “Columbia Lou” Gehrig, and leadoff man Earle Combs. In that Game 4, Ruth tied his own record, knocking three more pitches out of the same park. That World Series went to Game 7 and although il Bambino drew his 11th walk of the series, he didn’t quite race in his steal to second, and got nabbed by second baseman Rogers Hornsby.
Yankee Reggie Jackson became only the second player to hit three homers in a single Series game, on Oct. 18, 1977.
MENNONITES SETTLE IN PENNSYLVANIA — THE MENNONITES FIRST ARRIVED IN AMERICA, ABOARD THE CONCORD, on Oct. 6, 1683. They were among the first Germans to settle in the American colonies. A Christian sect escaping persecution in Europe, the Mennonites found encouragement from William Penn’s offer of 5,000 acres of land in the colony of Pennsylvania and the freedom to practice their religion, which 16th century leader Menno Simons founded, and which focused on community, servanthood and, most controversially, total pacifism. Simons had been an excommunicated Roman Catholic priest who rose to prominence among Anabaptists, who opposed the Catholic practice of baptizing infants and children. They insisted, instead, that the baptism ordinance (in Mennonite terms) must be entered fully and willingly by believing adults.
Other Mennonite groups followed, including Francis Daniel Pastorious’ group from Krefeld, Germany, which founded Germantown, the pioneer German settlement in America (which is now part of Philadelphia’s northwestern section).
THE SWEDISH NIGHTINGALE — JENNY LIND, BORN OCTOBER 1820, in Stockholm, became known as “The Swedish Nightingale.” Her talent was discovered in childhood, when the maid of Mademoiselle Lundberg, the principal dancer at the Royal Swedish Opera, heard her singing. Ms. Lundberg helped young Jenny secure an audition to the Royal Dramatic Training Academy, the acting school of the Royal Dramatic Theatre, where she studied with Carl Magnus Craelius. However, in her youth she damaged her vocal chords, and her new singing master, the noted Manuel García helped her overcome this obstacle, by having her take a three-month sabbatical from singing; he then taught her proper vocal technique. The soprano toured the European continent in the 1840s. Later, she toured the US, at the behest of P.T. Barnum.
It is said that, at one point, the author Hans Christian Andersen fell in love with Jenny Lind, but they remained just friends. However, she inspired three of his fairy tales, including “The Snow Queen,” which in turn became the inspiration for “Frozen.”
POLYNESIA FASCINATED NORWEGIAN EXPLORER — THOR HEYERDAHL, born Oct. 6, 1914 in Larvik, Norway was both an anthropologist and explorer who, inspired by the folklore of Polynesia, set out to prove that the peoples of South America had what were then called the South Sea Islands. So, in 1947, at age 33, he launched an epic raft ride, (the Norwegian word for raft being Kon-Tiki) from Peru to Raroia. The 4,300-mile voyage took over 100 days. He later wrote “Kon-Tiki: Across the Pacific in a Raft,” whose action-adventure of five men vs. the sea became both an international best-seller and a successful motion picture.
Heyerdahl did further travels, including a solo trip in 1970, sailing in a reed boat from North Africa to Barbados. He continued writing until his death in April 2002.
NATIONAL NOODLE DAY — IT ORIGINATED IN CHINA, WAS ADOPTED BY THE ITALIANS, BUT ITS NAME IS GERMAN. The noodle (after the German word Nudel) is celebrated each year on Oct. 6, starting in 2010. The noodle has become a foundation of cuisine worldwide. Called pasta or spaghetti in Italy, it is served with a variety of tomato and basil-pesto sauces. Beef stroganoff over noodles is a Russian dish; Pad Thai, made with rice noodles, is a popular Thai dish. A growing number of gluten-free options have become available for people with wheat allergies — the Asian rice noodle being a mainstay.
Let’s not forget tuna-noodle casserole — a popular dish at many church potluck dinners.
See previous milestones, here.
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