These are the days that defined not only the lives of the people who lived them but the lives of future generations. You, me and everyone you know would not be here had these things not happened the way they did. Good or bad, these are the dates that have defined all our lives, and the world as a whole. Had they not happened, it would be impossible to predict what the world would be like today. All we do know is these are the defining days.
17th December 1903. The day of the first successful piloted flight of and airplane. Achieved by Wilbur and Orville Wright, they had been working on a plane for many years and failed many times. This day is important because airplanes are so crucial to life in the 21st century. Millions of people fly every day and it has allowed easy travel across the world, whereas before there was no efficient way to do so. It used to take decades to cross America, from New York to Los Angeles. Now, you can do that travel in just a few hours, and you can sleep through it as well.
The Wright brothers are household names at this point. Their achievement will likely never be forgotten, seeing as though they were the first do it. The airplane has given way to more ambitious projects such as spaceships and rockets. We all owe a debt of gratitude to the Wright Brothers for persevering in the face of such extreme failures. In an age where most people give up after the first failed attempt, we could all take a leaf out of their book. Just keep trying, something will work eventually.
4th April 1968. Martin Luther King was the figurehead of the civil rights movement in America. His tireless efforts to achieve equality for black people are legendary. The “I Have A Dream Speech” is arguably the most famous in history. King’s non-violent approach was praised by many and disputed by many, although his passion never faltered. He survived a previous assassination attempt in 1958. What would have happened had he been killed then? Would the civil rights movement had ever taken place? Would it have the same impact if it did? I don’t think so.
Tragically, another assassination attempt succeeded. James Earl Ray shot and killed King on his hotel balcony in Memphis, Tennessee. Riots followed all over America following the announcement of King’s death. Now, almost 50 years later, King’s impact is still felt and he has been honored with his own national holiday in America.
9th November 1989. Construction began almost 30 years before and on this day, the Berlin Wall fell. The East German Party announced that citizens were free to cross the wall. Crowds upon crowds of people rushed to the wall. Many of them crossed over into the West, the others began breaking the wall. Chip by chip, the wall fell.
The wall was a symbol of the Cold War. A symbol of division and inequality. When the wall fell, the war fell with it. Germany has been unified ever since and the period of long peace remains. We may see a similar thing like this in the future. Trump is planning on building a wall across the border with Mexico. I’m not sure if it will be built, or what the consequences will be if it does, but it will be interesting to see how it plays out. From a safe distance, of course.
July 20th 1969. “One small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” This was the day America won the space race. Apollo 11 landed on the moon and Neil Armstrong uttered these words. It was a milestone of human achievement beyond a lot of people’s comprehension at the time, even now so many people believe it was faked. Stanley Kubrick is supposed to have directed it, but I personally don’t believe this. Nevertheless, this will always remain the day man set foot on the moon.
Today, strides are being made by Elon Musk and Space-X to get humans to mars. Not only does he want to get there, he wants to build a whole new civilisation there. Within the next 20-30 years we will most likely the first human on mars. If not for the moon landing, this future outside planet earth would not be possible. The race with Russia was great because it made America work harder and harder to beat them. Had there been no race, there may have been no landing, not so soon anyway.
28th September 1928. Sir Alexander Fleming discovered the first antibiotic, Penicillin. The discovery was made by accident. Fleming was experimenting with influenza. He noticed a fungus called Penicillium Notatum had grown on a plate covered in the bacteria staphylococcus. The fungus had killed the bacteria and preventing more from growing. Fleming named his discovery Penicillin and he forever changed the landscape of medicine.
As Fleming said himself, “One sometimes finds what one is not looking for.” He was awarded a Noble Prize in 1945 and he died a decade later. The problem is, antibiotics have been abused by humans for so long that we are becoming resistant. Soon, there may be a bacterium that cannot be killed by antibiotics and could cause devastating damage to the population.
28th June 1914. This was the day Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated. It is widely accepted that this is the event that was the catalyst for the outbreak of WWI. On this day, Franz Ferdinand was in Sarajevo, Bosnia. He was with his wife in an open car. The driver took a wrong turn and Gavrilo Princip was waiting for him. He fired at the open car, shooting Ferdinand and his wife, killing them both. He tried to kill himself afterwards but was attacked by bystanders before being taken away by the police.
Not only did this spark the war, it all happened because the driver took a wrong turn. If the driver didn’t, the war may not have happened. If that war hadn’t happened, WWII may not have happened. One wrong turn was all it took. Ferdinand had already avoided a previous assassination attempt earlier that day when a bomb was thrown at the car. He survived, but only for a couple more hours.
6th August 1991. The internet is an integral part of a lot of people’s lives. Billions of people use the internet regularly. You’re using it right now. This was the day the internet went worldwide. It was public for everybody to use. Tim Berners-Lee changed how the world functioned as a whole. An estimated one third of the population use the internet, and it’s continuously growing.
Today is undeniably a tech world. Every business uses the internet and people have made billions from their houses using it. No one can deny how important this day was simply because the world was never truly the same after it. So many people live off the internet. Whether they’re YouTubers, writers, bloggers or whatever they do, it’s integral to people’s lives. If the internet was to suddenly crash and become obsolete, the world would go into panic. The market would crash and chaos would rain. Maybe I’m overexaggerating, but maybe not.
22nd November 1963. John F. Kennedy is perhaps the most beloved President in history. He was beloved because he was great. He stopped what could have been a nuclear war with how he expertly handled the Cuban missile crisis. His assassination is one of the most controversial events in history. Conspiracy theories run rampant on whether or not Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone, or if it was him at all. The day after, Oswald was shot and killed by night-club owner Jack Ruby while being transported by police.
It’s hard to know what Kennedy could have done to further help the civil rights movement had he not being killed. He hadn’t even completed one term as president, only being in office less than 3 years. One thing’s for sure though, he is one of the greatest presidents in American history, it’s not often a president is loved by the majority of Americans, but JFK is.
August 6th 1945. This was the beginning of the end of arguably the most devastating 6 years in history. Over the course of those 6 years, over 60 million people had died, mostly civilians. On this day, an atomic bomb “Little Boy” was detonated over the Japanese city of Hiroshima. 80,000 people were instantly killed, thousands more died of radiation in the aftermath of the event. All those lives wiped out instantly. It’s scary how quick it can all happen. Today, I’m sure it’s even stronger than that and one bomb could cause catastrophic damage to the world.
Following the attack on Nagasaki three days later and the subsequent death of 40,000 more people, Japan surrendered. Less than a month later, the war ended on September 2nd 1945. Had Germany acquired the bomb first, most of us would be speaking German today. Hitler would have won the war and easily beaten out the rest of the competition. Maybe he would have bombed huge cities, like London, New York etc. the Jews would have been completely eradicated and who know what else. The true nature of what would have happened of Hitler won is impossible to know, but one thing’s sure, it wouldn’t be pretty.
1st September 1939. The end of WWII also ranked on the list and now the start has topped it. This was the day Germany invaded Poland and the official beginning of the war followed. No one could have predicted the impact the next 6 years would have on the world. Hitler and the Nazis would leave an unremovable mark on the world. Over 70 years later, their impression is still felt, and probably always will be.
Roughly 3.7% of the world’s population died during the war. It was the highest death toll of any war in history and was a reminder of just how unbelievably cruel humans can be to one another. An entire religion was nearly evaporated from the planet. Roughly 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust for no reason whatsoever. War is pointless, it proves nothing. I hope that in this day and age nothing like this will ever happen again. I don’t see how we could actually be that stupid anymore. Then again. Donald Trump did get elected as the President of America. So, maybe we should brace ourselves for WWIII.