April 29, 2004 – The National World War II Memorial opens in Washington, D.C., to thousands of visitors, providing overdue recognition for the 16 million U.S. men and women who served in the war. An Announcement Stone proclaims that the memorial honors those “Americans who took up the struggle during the Second World War and made the sacrifices to perpetuate the gift our forefathers entrusted to us: A nation conceived in liberty and justice.”
April 25, 1719 – Daniel Defoe’s fictional work The Life and Strange Adventures of Robinson Crusoe is published. The book, about a shipwrecked sailor who spends 28 years on a deserted island, is based on the experiences of shipwreck victims and of Alexander Selkirk, a Scottish sailor who spent four years on a small island off the coast of South America in the early 1700s.
April 24, 1982 – Jane Fonda extended her reach into the home-video market with the release of Workout, the first of her many bestselling aerobics tapes. Hollywood royalty, fashion model, Oscar-winning actress, controversial anti-war activist. Fonda fit all of these descriptions by the late 1970s and 1980s, when she emerged in her latest incarnation–exercise guru.
April 23, 1961 – Never did Judy Garland so unify a collection of strangers than on this day in 1961 during the famous Carnegie Hall performance often called “the greatest night in showbiz history.” Her performance on this night was captured on a live recording that would go on to spend 95 weeks on the U.S. album charts (including 13 weeks at #1) and sweep the 1962 Grammys.
April 22, 1970 – Earth Day, an event to increase public awareness of the world’s environmental problems, is celebrated in the United States for the first time. Millions of Americans, including students from thousands of colleges and universities, participated in rallies, marches, and educational programs.
April 20, 1986 – The Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan scores 63 points in an NBA playoff game against the Boston Celtics, setting a post-season scoring record that still stands. Despite Jordan’s achievement, the Bulls lost to the Celtics in double overtime, 135-131. Boston swept the three-game series and went on to win the NBA championship.
April 19, 1951 – General Douglas MacArthur gave his “Old Soldiers” speech before the U.S. Congress.
I am closing my 52 years of military service. When I joined the Army, even before the turn of the century, it was the fulfillment of all of my boyish hopes and dreams. The world has turned over many times since I took the oath on the plain at West Point, and the hopes and dreams have long since vanished, but I still remember the refrain of one of the most popular barrack ballads of that day which proclaimed most proudly that “old soldiers never die; they just fade away.”
And like the old soldier of that ballad, I now close my military career and just fade away, an old soldier who tried to do his duty as God gave him the light to see that duty.