18 June 2009

This day in history: Past and present

History can be very dry - eyes-glazing-over kind of dry. That's what I used to think.

When I developed an interest in family history, things changed. I began to eagerly look at history, as I realized that all my ancestors were personally effected by historical events. General history - and Jewish history - came alive and very personal.

That's when I began to systematically search for books, articles and other resources to explain local events where my family branches had lived. whether it was a war, an epidemic, a natural disaster, a new law or other situation.

Newspaper accounts provide a special look at events in the words of those who witnessed them and those who reported on them. Here's a nice, free feature from NewspaperARCHIVE that will help you relate to those events and provide background on events past and present.

The Daily Perspective is available through either an email subscription or to read online.

The issue dated Friday, June 19, includes:

1910: First Father's Day is celebrated

Father's Day was celebrated for the first time today in Spokane, Washington. The day was organized by Sonora Smart Dodd. Because Dodd was raised by her father after her mother died, she thought he deserved a day of honor to complement the already-existing Mother’s Day.

After listening to a 1909 Mother's Day church service, Mrs. John Bruce Dodd told the minister she 'liked everything he said about motherhood,' but don't you think fathers deserve a place in the sun, too?" reported the Tri-City Herald on June 18, 1972. "That sermon of long ago 'was full of adulation for motherhood,' Mrs. Dodd said. 'I began thinking of my mother who passed away in 1898 while I was yet a child. My thoughts naturally turned to my father who was left with the responsibility of rearing six children.'"

NOTE: Dodd also suggested that roses should be worn on Father's Day to honor their fathers - a white rose for fathers who were deceased and a red rose for those who were living. In 1966, 56 years after Father's Day was first observed in the United States, President Lyndon Johnson signed a proclamation and declared the third Sunday of June to be Father's Day.

Each story also lists several other article links on the same event, such as:

Shall Father Have a Day All His Own?
The Mansfield News, July 30, 1910

"In The Headlines" then offers perspective on a current event. The edition for Thursday, June 18, focused on the Iranian election:

Mir Hossein Moussavi

Supporters of Mir Hossein Moussavi have announced a new protest in Tehran against the (possibly fraudulent) presidential election results.

This is the third huge rally since the election was confirmed by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (who has since rescinded his confirmation), with each one bringing tension to Iran and resulting in deaths or arrests.

Direct details are foggy, as the foreign press has been ejected from any demonstrations, but news is coming over the Internet regularly, especially from Twitter (and to a lesser degree, Facebook).

But today I'll take a look into front pages of our newspapers, and see what has been written about the challenger, Mir Hossein Moussavi.
"A Historical Perspective" provides background on the current story.

Moussavi (full name: Mir-Hossein Moussavi Khameneh; also spelled "Mousavi" if you are searching our papers for him) appeared in newspaper front pages during his stint as Prime Minister of Iran, between 1981 and 1989 (the same period during which Ayatollah Khamenei served as President of Iran). Prior to this, he served as Foreign Minister in 1980. .... (there's much more)
There are links to past stories.

The Daily Perspective is a great feature that brings the past to life again.

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