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Monday, September 11, 2006

Most Influential Day

Today, on the 5th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, I sat down thinking about the most influential days in the history of mankind. Having lived through 9/11, I was able to determine a few factors that makes days like these so influential. First thing I noticed, is that the people living through that day have a feeling that what they are witnessing is something exceptional in history. The day has a different feel to it. And when you go to sleep that night, you know that this day will be remembered in history for a long long time. Such days are few to find. Looking back in history, there are many influential times but very few single days that come to mind. I have shortlisted a few of them here, and as can be expected from the most influential event in our history, 4 of the 5 days come from World War II.

#5 - July 20, 1969 - Man on the Moon
"That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind."
This day marked the pinnacle of Human achievement. Since the dawn of mankind, we had looked up at the moon at night and wondered what it was. After millenias, mankind had advanced enough to leave its home planet and journey into the heavens and setting foot on the moon. The whole world sat that day, in front of their TVs and Wireless sets, as they witnessed this collective achievement. Neil Armstrong put it best in the above words.

#4 - December 7th, 1942 - Pearl Harbor
"... a date which will live in infamy"
The original attacks on America, this event pushed the country into World War II. It made the far off trouble in the rest of the world come right in to your own back yard. An event as analogous to 9/11 as you can find, the repercussions were far more influential, driving the country into a war unlike any other in human history. America's entry, turned the course of the war, and changed the prospects of the US into becoming the biggest superpower in the world.

#3 - August 6th, 1945 - Hiroshima
The greatest destruction ever to be witnessed in a single day, the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and on Nagasaki unleashed a whole new class of horror for mankind. The day marked the greatest extent of wrath unleashed by humans. An estimated 214,000 people died in both events, marking it to be the most destructive, and darkest, day in human history.

#2 - May 8th, 1945 - VE Day
The greatest celebration in human history, after 6 long years of war, the day signaled the end of the war in Europe. Victory in Europe day, was celebrated by all allies after the surrender of Germany and after witnessing the horrors of World War II, the day brought euphoria to all people. Millions of people gathered in Trafalgar square in London and Times Square in New York to see the rewards of their hardship and suffering and hope had finally paid dividends. Although the war would end 3 months later in Japan, people knew, that victory was in hand. For a war that engulfed nearly every nation in every continent of the world, the day the war ended will remain one of the most influential days in world history.

#1 - June 6th, 1944 - D-Day

Fewer days carry so much weight on their shoulders. The events of this day changed the course of the war, and all history that were to follow. In a single all out invasion, the largest ever in human history, the Allied army attempted to set foot on mainland Europe. The outcome of the war, and the future of the free world, depended on the success of this day. Had it not been a success, Europe would still be under Nazi rule, as well as major portions of the rest of the world. The importance of the day can be felt in the Supreme Allied Commander, Dwight D Eisenhower's address to the soldiers on this day:

Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen of the Allied Expeditionary Force!

You are about to embark upon the Great Crusade, toward which we have striven these many months. The eyes of the world are upon you. The hopes and prayers of liberty-loving people everywhere march with you. In company with our brave Allies and brothers-in-arms on other Fronts, you will bring about the destruction of the German war machine, the elimination of Nazi tyranny over the oppressed peoples of Europe, and security for ourselves in a free world.

Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.

But this is the year 1944! Much has happened since the Nazi triumphs of 1940-41. The United Nations have inflicted upon the Germans great defeats, in open battle, man-to-man. Our air offensive has seriously reduced their strength in the air and their capacity to wage war on the ground. Our Home Fronts have given us an overwhelming superiority in weapons and munitions of war, and placed at our disposal great reserves of trained fighting men. The tide has turned! The free men of the world are marching together to Victory!

I have full confidence in your courage and devotion to duty and skill in battle. We will accept nothing less than full Victory!

Good luck! And let us beseech the blessing of Almighty God upon this great and noble undertaking.


SIGNED: Dwight D. Eisenhower

3 Comments:

  • Why is it that four of the six most influential days you mentioned are related to war/terrorism or some form of destruction? Why cant we live in peace? Why does such a huge world seem so small for us? Why dont we care anymore?...Yet we claim to be the most modern, technologically advanced and most 'CIVILIZED' humans ever to live on this planet.
    PEACE

    By Blogger Believer, at 9/11/2006 7:23 PM  

  • So war, death and destruction is all we have for influential days.
    Although I like to read about history I would hope that these is not all we have to offer as the most influential days.

    I would like to believe there are some positives in the "most" influential days category. All in all it was a good blog and I really love quotes like that. As you know me my objection is that as you wrote in the beginning of this blog of what the "most" influential days to you are, 'you' being the key term. Being a matter of opinion and me not so readily agreeing to anyone's opinion until I've drawn my own conclusions I can't agree to these days as the most influential.

    M

    By Blogger M, at 9/12/2006 11:24 AM  

  • Those top five pics are influencial days but I don't feel that they are the very best choices for being top five, except for the Moon landing which is the most positive of the bunch and one of the best testimony to our accomplishments for mankind. The quotes were good, perfect for their time even if they are all related to the second world war. There are many events before and after those events that were very influencial in the development for humanity, especially those that proved concepts, such as flight. Those days where man has gone where no one has gone before, well at least that we know of, are the most influencial to all of humanity.

    By Blogger Dark Jackal, at 9/13/2006 4:44 PM  

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