April 26th – Not A Good Day

I have some friends – yes, all too few, I know – who used to own the once-wonderful and eccentric Evesham Hotel. When they sold the place, they had a book which they knew I adored: it was a book of events, listed by date. Very kindly, they gave it to me.

There are some days which seem to have had little of interest happening. April 26th, however: that was a different one. 

The first thing to catch my eye was, that it was the anniversary of that hideous day in 1937 when the Basque town of Guernica was attacked by the Luftwaffe. The town was crowded, because it was a market day, and the people from all around had come to buy food and goods. Aircraft loaded with not only explosives but incendiaries as well, bombed and strafed the people as they tried to run to safety. A hideous act, and one that was only a precursor of bombings of towns in France, Poland, and throughout Russia. Father Onaindia, a priest from Valladolid cathedral, was there and wrote movingly about the horror. The town was razed to the ground.

But that is not the only thing that happened on 26th. I was intrigued to see that there was a paper report of a shooting some years before. 

In 1865, in the early morning, a man was shot in Virginia. The farm where he died was owned by Richard Garrett. Troops had been given the tip that John Wilkes Booth was hiding in his barns, and hurried to find him. He was, after all, the chief suspect in the murder of Lincoln. They encircled the barn and began to get involved in a gun fight. At about 3 a.m. the barn caught fire, and later a man’s body was recovered. Whether he had shot himself, or been injured by the troops, no one could say, but he lingered on for some hours before dying. 

The point noted by the paper was that the man could not be identified. His injuries, especially his burns, were so bad that he wasn’t recognised by anyone, and conspiracy theorists made good use of that. Soon there were allegations that Booth did not in fact mastermind or perpetrate the assassination.

I suppose it’s good that conspiracy theories didn’t first appear due to the internet, but were available long before in print.

But the main thought it leaves with me is, that in this lovely season of Springtime, with flowers blooming, birds singing, and all nature at peace, it jars to think of the horrors that men have inflicted at this time in past years.

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Comments
4 Responses to “April 26th – Not A Good Day”
  1. Have you ever seen the painting of that name by Picasso?

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    • Only on the computer, not in the flesh, sadly. I have to admit, I don’t find his work particularly approachable!

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      • You don’t approach it. You stand back to appreciate the size, the complexity and the clarity in spite of, or maybe because of, the lack of colour. All of the best reasons for going to Madrid involve art of one sort or another.

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  2. Jack Eason says:

    Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
    Having a bad day???

    Like

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