[Due to the efforts of Julius Sterling Morton, as many as a million trees were planted in Nebraska on the first Arbor Day; curiosity has me wondering how many of them might still be standing. Certainly this one no longer is...]
1821 - Following that year's Easter Sunday Mass Constantinople's Patriarch Gregory V was removed from the Patriarchal Cathedral by the Turks and hanged from the main gate of the Patriarchate, following which his body was thrown into the Bosphorus; the corpse was later recovered by Greek sailors, and is today interred in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Athens.
1874 - The first Arbor Day was celebrated, in Nebraska City; a holiday designed to honour trees, its importance - like them - ought to be growing with each passing year. Yet with up to a quarter of urban tree cover at risk due to real estate development, and an ongoing soil erosion issue which threatens ground water levels in both rural and urban settings, promising an increase in drought - and let's not forget the wholesale destruction of rain forests in South America (due to cutting) and North America (due to the mountain pine beetle)! - each successive Arbor Day promises to be a hotter, drier, nastier one than any of those that came before.
1944 - Rudolf Vrba and Alfred Wetzler escaped from Birkenau dressed in Dutch clothing; once safely across the Polish-Slovakian border they dictated a 32-page dossier - now known as the Vrba-Wetzler Report and published by Dr Oscar Krasniansky - which became the first-ever first-hand account of the goings-on inside a Nazi death camp.
1968 - The TEV Wahine - a ferry connecting Lyttelton to Wellington across Cook Strait in New Zealand - foundered on Barrett Reef and capsized at Steeple Rock near the entrance to Wellington Harbour; of the 610 passengers and 123 crew on board, 53 people lost their lives.
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