Today is the anniversary of Anne Boleyn’s beheading. She was the 2nd wife of Henry the 8th, and was beheaded for adultery, treason, and incest.
Today, May 12, is the anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.
Florence Nightingale, born May 12, 1820, in Florence, Italy, was the daughter of William Nightingale of Embly Park, Hampshire, a wealthy landowner. Her father never had a son, and they became very close friends. He took charge of her education, and taught her many subjects from Greek, Latin, French, German, and Italian to history, philosophy, and math.
At 17, she heard a call from God to an unnamed “great cause.” She rejected several suitors, much to her mother’s dismay, and at 25, told her parents she wanted to become a nurse. Her parents opposed the idea, since they were of the upper-class, and nursing was a “working class” job.
Florence met Elizabeth Blackwell, the first woman to qualify as “doctor” in the US, at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital in London. Blackwell encouraged her, and finally, in 1851, Florence’s father gave his permission to train as a nurse.
At 31, Florence studied medicine at the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserwerth, Germany. At 33, she was appointed resident lady superintendent at an invalid women’s hospital in Harley Street, London.
In March, 1853, the Crimean War started, with Russia invading Turkey, and Britain and France coming to Turkey’s aid. A cholera epidemic ensued. Mary Seacole attempted to aid the British Army, but was rejected. When public outcry caused the Army to think again, Florence volunteered and was given permission to take 38 nurses to Turkey.
Florence was appalled by conditions in Army hospitals. Wounds were not cleaned, soldiers laid in their sickbeds in the uniforms with blood and gore caked on them. Only 1 in 6 wounded soldiers died of their wounds. Most would die of illness and disease.
Of course the military officers took offense to Nightingale’s demands to straighten up the hospitals. They took it as an affront to their professionalism. She eventually used The Times to report details of the conditions until the Army let her organize the barracks and improve sanitation.
In 1856, Florence returned to England as a national heroine. She began a campaign to improve the quality of nursing, hygiene, and elementary care, in military hospitals. In October, 1956, she had a long discussion with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and in the following year, presented evidence at the 1857 Sanitary Commission. Eventually, this caused the Army Medical College to be formed.
Florence published two books, Notes on the Hospital (1859) and Notes on Nursing (1859), to spread her opinions on reform. She raised money through wealthy friends and her contact at The Times to found the Nightingale School & Home for Nurses at St. Thomas’s Hospital. She also had strong opinions on women’s rights, which she shared in her book Suggestions for Thought to Searchers after Religious Truths (1859).
She was strongly opposed to the passing of the Contagious Diseases Act, but refused to become involved in Josephine Butler’s campaign. She disapproved of women making speeches in public. When confronted about her apparent lack of support for women doctors, she said that it was more important to have better trained nurses than women doctors.
Later in life, Florence suffered from poor health, going blind in 1895. She become a complete invalid soon after, but lived another 15 years before her death in London on August 13, 1910.
Today, May 11, marks the anniversary of the birth of Salvador Dali.
Salvador Felipe Jacinto Dali I Domenech was born May 11, 1904, in Figueres, Spain. His first one-man show was in Barcelona in 1925. He became internationally known when three of his paintings were shown in the 3rd annual Carnegie International Exhibition in Pittsburgh in 1928. One of these was The Basket of Bread, shown below.
In 1929, he held a one-man show in Paris and joined the surrealists, led by former Dadaist Andre Breton. He also met Gala Eluard and her husband. She became his lover, muse, chief inspiration, and future wife. Dali soon became a leader in the Surrealist Movement, with the Persistence of Memory being one of the most recognized works of the movement.
As World War II approached, Dali had a falling out with the other Surrealists and was expelled from their group in 1934. He continued exhibiting works in international exhibitions until 1940, but by then he was moving into a new type of painting with science and religion preoccupation.
From 1940-1948, Salvador and his wife, Gala, escaped to the United States. The Museum of Modern Art in New York gave him his first major retrospective exhibit in 1941, and in 1942, The Secret Life of Salvador Dali, his autobiography, was published.
Moving into his classic period, he began a series of 19 large paintings, many with scientific, historical, or religious themes. Among the best known of these is The Hallucinogenic Toreador, The Discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, and The Sacrament of the Last Supper.
In 1974, Dali opened the Teatro Museo in Figueres, Spain, followed by retrospectives in Paris and London later in the 70s. His wife, Gala, died in 1982, and his health began to fail. He was burned in a fire in 1984, received a pacemaker in 1986, and finally passed away January 23, 1989 in Figueres from heart failure with respiratory complications.
He is remembered as an artist who was constantly growing and evolving, working in all media types, and as the artist who set the standard for art of the 20th century.
In honor of his birthday, yesterday, I’m dedicating this post to my favorite active football player.
Jason Witten was born May 6, 1982, only eleven months before me, in Tennessee. He was a High School All-American linebacker and tight end, and the USA Today Tennessee Player of the Year, then became a University of Tennessee Volunteer. Jason moved to tight end under Vols coach Phil Fulmer, and set school receiving records for a single season for both receptions and yards.
In the 2003 draft, he was selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the third round (69th overall). Always one of the toughest guys on the field, the only game he missed as a rookie was because of a broken jawbone.
(This picture is not of Jason fumbling the ball, but of him breaking up an attempted lateral by a defensive player after an interception.)
Jason has been a Pro Bowl Tight End for six consecutive seasons, every year since his second in the league. He is consistently in the top tier of tight ends, and his receiving yards even rival most wide receivers. Not only does he seem to have Velcro hands and the fortitude of a tank, but he is a great blocker as well. With little talent at the fullback position for the last few years, Jason regularly lines up between Romo (quarterback) and Jones or Barber (running back) when in the I-formation.
He and quarterback Tony Romo have great chemistry together, and Jason is one of Tony’s favorite targets, especially on third down or when Tony is feeling pressured- he knows Jason will do everything humanly possible to catch the ball and make it to the line. Many fans wonder why Jason isn’t used in the red zone as much as he should be.
Witten isn’t only a great guy to have on the field, but he’s a great guy off it as well. Every June, the Jason Witten Football Camp is held in Elizabethon, Tennessee, his hometown, which has become one of the country’s largest free football camps. He has launched the Jason Witten SCOREkeepers program, placing positive male role models in family abuse centers; the Jason Witten Learning Centers at Boys & Girls Clubs centers in Dallas and Elizabethton, and the Jason Witten Emergency Waiting Room at Niswonger Children’s Hospital in Johnson City, Tennessee. He also presented the first two Jason Witten Football Camp scholarships for $5,000 each to two deserving high school athletes. Not content to merely be a real-life hero and a gridiron beast, he’s also starred in an issue of the comic book Archie Comics.
Oh, and he’s not bad looking, either 🙂
Happy Birthday to a future NFL Hall of Fame and Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor member, Christopher Jason Witten.