It’s 22 degrees, and my house is filled with forsythia blooms on March 1. Believe it. On Valentines Day, I cut branches of dead-looking forsythia and plunked them in vases. I changed the water every day and now have five vases (a bit much, some say) of yellow blossoms in the kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom and two vases in my otherwise dismal den. It’s dismal because the sun doesn’t come to its two windows until it’s about to set.
Because of cold days and colder nights, outdoor activities are limited. It’s a good time to study history. Oh my, so much history for this blustery month.
The Ides of March. Some of us recall the not-so-good old days when we wanted to find out information on a day in history. We’d lug out a copy of an encyclopedia and pour over small type in a thick and dusty volume. Nowadaysn we talk to Google. We’re careful to put what we learn via dozens of websites into our own words. Here goes. The Ides of March is the date when Julius Caesar was assassinated in 44 BC. The unfortunate ruler (my words) was stabbed to death in the Roman senate. Conspirators were directed by Brutus and Cassius. According to the historian Plutarch, a seer (this is vague) had warned that harm would come no later than the Ides of March. On his way to the theater, Caesar passed the seer and told him, "The Ides of March are come." The seer said, "Aye, Caesar; but not gone." It’s also vague about how many times he was stabbed by the conspirators and how many did the deed.
St. Patrick’s Day. Yarmouth celebrates with a long parade. Everyone loves this parade even though it may be cold. It may be windy. It may be cold and windy. But we’ll be out somewhere on Rt. 28 to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland.
A perusal of websites gave us info of what happened this month. On the first of March, 1781, ratification of the Articles of Confederation was announced. President Kennedy established the Peace Corps in 1961. Seven White House officials were indicted in 1974, beginning the saga of the Watergate scandal.
Women’s suffrage marches began and were mostly squelched in this month in 1913. Ironically, though, March is now Women’s History Month.
On the 4th in 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt delivered his first inaugural and uttered these famous words: “ … the only thing we have to fear is fear itself … ” Women were gaining momentum. FDR appointed the first woman to a Presidential Cabinet, Secretary of Labor Frances Perkins.
March 5: The Boston Massacre, 1770. Oh those rowdy colonists. It wasn’t what we think of today as a massacre. The first man killed was Crispus Attucks, an African American. Is Atticks Way in Hyannis named for him? British Captain Thomas Preston and eight of his men were arrested and charged with murder. Their trial took place in October, with colonial lawyer John Adams defending the British. Captain Preston and six of his men were acquitted. Two others were found guilty of manslaughter, branded, then released.
On this day, 1868, President Andrew Johnson was impeached. Being impeached is historical, even if it only means being accused. Johnson was accused of his policies of reconstruction in the south after the Civil War, aka War Between the States, aka War of Northern Aggression. On this day in 1946, Winston Churchill delivered his “Iron Curtain” speech.
Around this time in March, the Spanish flu began killing people in 1918. It is hard to understand that 22 million of the world’s people at the time would die from this virus.
We’ve not had a snowstorm of note this winter, and none of us remembers the Great One, but it was in this month. March, 12, 1888, The Great Blizzard in the northeast, 40 inches of snow in 36 hours.
Another famed quote came in March in 1775, when Patrick Henry gave a notable speech before the Virginia convention: “ … give me liberty or give me death.”
Enjoy March. Enjoy history. May the luck of the Irish be with you.