Where History was Changed

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One thing that I enjoy almost more than anything else is going to historical places…especially places where history was changed. I’ve been to numerous Civil War battlefields, Dealy Plaza in Dallas, places in Israel and others. I’ve been to Washington, DC before, and even to Ford’s Theater…and I could go back there again and again. It was on April 14, 1865, just days after the surrender of the Confederacy, that President Lincoln went to watch a play at Ford’s Theater where he was assassinated.

Much has been written about how history would have been changed had he not been killed. We will never know the answer, I suspect. All we can do is speculate.

Today’s photo was shot on November 18 when we were visiting Washington, DC. My wife, much to my surprise, wanted to go to Ford’s Theater. I was delighted. After listening to the park ranger describe the events and aftermath of that night, I took this picture from across the theater of the presidential box where the President and his wife, and a couple of others, were seated. The chair on the right is where the President would have been sitting, though it is not the original chair – it is in another museum. Still, to be there where the great man was shot was very moving for me. Afterwards, we went across the street to the Peterson House where he was taken after being shot and where he died the morning of April 15. I remember as a high school kid that I would get up early every April 15 and play taps in honor of Lincoln who has always been someone I greatly respect.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1582, William Shakespeare, 18, and Anne Hathaway, 26, paid a 40-pound bond for their marriage license in Stratford-upon-Avon. Six months later, Anne gave birth to their daughter, Susanna, and two years later, to twins.

Little is known about Shakespeare’s early life. His father was a tradesman who became an alderman and bailiff, and Shakespeare was baptized in Stratford-upon-Avon on April 26, 1564. Sometime after the birth of his own children, Shakespeare set off for London to become an actor and by 1592 was well established in London’s theatrical world as an actor and playwright. His earliest plays, including The Comedy of Errors and The Taming of the Shrew, were written in the early 1590s. Later in the decade, he wrote tragedies like Romeo and Juliet (1594-1595) and comedies including The Merchant of Venice (1596-1597). His greatest tragedies were written after 1600, including Hamlet (1600-01), Othello(1604-05), King Lear (1605-06), and Macbeth (1605-1606).

Shakespeare became a member of the popular theater troupe the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, which later became the King’s Men. The group built and operated the famous Globe Theater in London in 1599. Shakespeare became a major shareholder in the troupe and earned enough money to buy a large house in Stratford in 1597. He retired to Stratford in 1610, where he wrote his last plays, including The Tempest (1611) and The Winter’s Tale (1610-11). Meanwhile, he had written more than 100 sonnets, which were published in 1609. Shakespeare’s plays were not published during his lifetime. After his death, two members of his troupe collected copies of his plays and printed what is now called the First Folio (1623).

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is the biggest storm in the solar system. It is three times bigger than Earth and has lasted for at least 180 years.

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