Under The Sun

Sunday, May 25, 2003



This Date In History. Encyclopedia.com sends a daily email on this topic--go there to subscribe (I'm too lazy right now to find the specific link). (I think I've been subscribed for over a year, but--unsurprisingly--I can't remember for sure.) Anyway, today three things struck me: two familiar towns and one person nobody else my age has heard of.

1--May 25, 1935: at a meet in Ann Arbor, MI, Jesse Owens breaks four world records and ties two others--the first four in the space of 45 minutes.

2--May 25, 1965: in Lewiston, ME (that's Maine, ayuh), Cassius Clay retains his title by knocking out Sonny Liston after just a single round.

3--May 25, 1954 (I know, I'm out of order): Robert Capa dies. Born in Hungary, he was for much of his life a United States citizen. He was the first non-solider to land at Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944: he and his camera both survived Omaha Beach. In his 18-year career as a freelance photo-journalist, Capa covered five wars[*]. He was killed by a land mine in French Indochina (soon to be Vietnam) at the age of 41.

([*]: The claim is made here, but I can't figure out exactly what the five wars were. They seem to include the Spanish Civil War, the Sino-Japanese War [aka the Japanese invasion of China], World War II, the War of Israeli Independence, and the war that cost him his life (which seems to be called the War of French Indochina--but I suspect the Vietnamese call it the War of Independence or something close to it). But the Sino-Japanese War is really part of WWII (it was the first, pre-European phase of the war), and I'm surprised that Capa was not in Korea in the early '50s. It seems his writing career was taking off about then, however, and that his volunteering for Indochina was a spur-of-the-moment decision, so perhaps he was not in Korea and the Sino-Japanese War is being counted separately. Anyone who feels like googling enough sources to figure this out, please fill me in.)


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