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Easter Sunday and Passover are both observed in April. Our nation’s culture is based on Judeo-Christian values. Now is a good time to think about them.
15 April 2022 was Good Friday and Passover begins.
* Good Friday is a Christian holiday commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus and his death at Calvary. It is observed during Holy Week as part of the Paschal Triduum. It is also known as Holy Friday, Great Friday, Great and Holy Friday, and Black Friday.
* Passover, also called Pesach, is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, which occurs on the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Nisan, the first month of Aviv, or spring. The word Pesach or Passover can also refer to the Korban Pesach, the paschal lamb that was offered when the Temple in Jerusalem stood; to the Passover Seder, the ritual meal on Passover night; or to the Feast of Unleavened Bread. One of the biblically ordained Three Pilgrimage Festivals, Passover is traditionally celebrated in the Land of Israel for seven days and for eight days among many Jews in the Diaspora.
17 April 2022 was Easter. Easter, also called Pascha or Resurrection Sunday, is a Christian festival and cultural holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, described in the New Testament as having occurred on the third day of his burial following his crucifixion by the Romans at Calvary c. 30 AD. It is the culmination of the Passion of Jesus, preceded by Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, prayer, and penance.
24 April 2022 is Orthodox Easter. Orthodox churches in some countries including Greece, Cyprus and Romania base their Easter date on the Julian calendar.
The Julian Calendar was designed by Julius Caesar- basing a year on the time it takes the Sun to go around the Earth.
The Gregorian Calendar was created by Pope Gregory in 1582 to fix some of the glitches in the Julian Calendar as astronomy became more accurate.
Great Britain changed to the Gregorian calendar in 1752.
Also in the eastern Orthodox Church, Easter must happen after the Jewish festival of Passover – as in the Easter story, Jesus celebrates Passover before his death.
And, there were some very meaningful military events in late April
On 17 April 1961, the Bay of Pigs invasion began when a CIA-financed and -trained group of Cuban refugees landed in Cuba and attempted to topple the communist government of Fidel Castro. The attack was an utter failure.
Though many of his military advisors indicated that an amphibious assault on Cuba by a group of lightly armed exiles had little chance for success, Kennedy gave the go-ahead for the attack. And around 1,200 exiles, armed with American weapons and using American landing craft, waded ashore at the Bay of Pigs in Cuba. The hope was that this would serve as a rallying point for the Cuban citizenry, who would rise up and overthrow Castro’s government. The plan immediately fell apart–the landing force met with unexpectedly rapid counterattacks from Castro’s military, the tiny Cuban air force sank most of the exiles’ supply ships, the US refrained from providing necessary air support, and the expected uprising never happened.
The failure at the Bay of Pigs cost the US dearly. Castro used the attack by the “Yankee imperialists” to solidify his power in Cuba and he requested additional Soviet military aid. Further, throughout much of Latin America, the US was pilloried for its use of armed force in trying to unseat Castro, a man who was considered a hero to many for his stance against US interference and imperialism. Kennedy publicly accepted blame for the attack and its subsequent failure.
On 18 April 1775, British troops marched out of Boston to confiscate the American arsenal at Concord and to capture Patriot leaders Samuel Adams and John Hancock, known to be there. As the British departed, Boston Patriots Paul Revere and William Dawes set out on horseback from the city to warn Adams and Hancock and rouse the Minutemen.
The Boston Patriots had been preparing for a British military action for some time, and, upon learning of the British plan, Revere and Dawes set off across the Massachusetts countryside. They took separate routes in case one of them was captured: Dawes left the city via the Boston Neck peninsula and Revere crossed the Charles River to Charlestown by boat. As the two couriers made their way, Patriots in Charlestown waited for a signal from Boston informing them of the British troop movement. As previously agreed, one lantern would be hung in the steeple of Boston’s Old North Church, the highest point in the city, if the British were marching out of the city by Boston Neck, and two lanterns would be hung if they were crossing the Charles River to Cambridge. Two lanterns were hung, and the armed Patriots set out for Lexington and Concord accordingly. Along the way, Revere and Dawes roused hundreds of Minutemen, who armed themselves and set out to oppose the British.
Revere arrived in Lexington shortly before Dawes, but together they warned Adams and Hancock and then set out for Concord. Along the way, they were joined by Samuel Prescott, a young Patriot who had been riding home. Early on the morning of April 19, a British patrol captured Revere, and Dawes lost his horse, forcing him to walk back to Lexington. However, Prescott escaped and rode on to Concord to warn the Patriots there. After being roughly questioned for an hour or two, Revere was released when the patrol heard Minutemen alarm guns being fired on their approach to Lexington.
About 5 am on April 19, 700 British troops under Major John Pitcairn arrived at the town to find a 77-man-strong colonial militia under Captain John Parker waiting for them on Lexington’s common green. Pitcairn ordered the outnumbered Patriots to disperse, and after a moment’s hesitation, the Americans began to drift off the green. Suddenly, the “shot heard around the world” was fired from an undetermined gun, and a cloud of musket smoke soon covered the green. When the brief Battle of Lexington ended, eight Americans lay dead and 10 others were wounded; only one British soldier was injured. The American Revolution had begun.
On 18 April 1942, during WWII, 16 American B-25 bombers, launched from the aircraft carrier USS Hornet 650 miles east of Japan and commanded by Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle, attacked the Japanese mainland.
The now-famous Tokyo Raid did little real damage to Japan (wartime Premier Hideki Tojo was inspecting military bases during the raid; one B-25 came so close, Tojo could see the pilot)–but it did hurt the Japanese government’s prestige. Believing the air raid had been launched from Midway Island, approval was given to Admiral Yamamoto’s plans for an attack on Midway–which would also damage Japanese “prestige.” Doolittle was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.
On 20 Apr 1861, Colonel Robert E. Lee resigned from the US Army two days after he was offered command of the Union army and three days after his native state, Virginia, seceded from the Union. Lee opposed secession, but he was a loyal son of Virginia. His official resignation was only one sentence.
Two days later, Lee was appointed commander of Virginia’s forces with the rank of major general. He spent the next few months raising troops in Virginia. He returned to Richmond when the Union gained control of the area. The next year, Lee assumed command of the Army of Northern Virginia after General Joseph Johnston was wounded in battle. Lee quickly turned the tables on Union General George McClellan, as he would several other commanders of the Army of the Potomac. His brilliance as a battlefield tactician earned him a place among the great military leaders of all time.
On April 24, 1980, an ill-fated military operation to rescue the 52 American hostages held in Tehran ended with eight US servicemen dead and no hostages rescued.
With the Iran Hostage Crisis stretching into its sixth month and all diplomatic appeals to the Iranian government ending in failure, President Jimmy Carter ordered the military mission as a last-ditch attempt to save the hostages. During the operation, three of eight helicopters failed, crippling the crucial airborne plans. The mission was then canceled at the staging area in Iran, but during the withdrawal one of the helicopters collided with one of six C-130 transport planes, killing eight soldiers and injuring five. The next day, a somber Jimmy Carter gave a press conference in which he took full responsibility for the tragedy. The hostages were not released for another 270 days.
On April 29, 1945, during WWII, the US 45th Infantry Division liberated Dachau, the first concentration camp established by Germany’s Nazi regime. A major Dachau subcamp was liberated the same day by the 42nd Rainbow Division.
Established five weeks after Adolf Hitler took power as German chancellor in 1933, Dachau was located about 10 miles northwest of Munich. During its first year, the camp held about 5,000 political prisoners, consisting primarily of German communists, Social Democrats, and other political opponents of the Nazi regime. During the next few years, the number of prisoners grew dramatically, and other groups were interned at Dachau, including Jehovah’s Witnesses, Gypsies, homosexuals, and repeat criminals. Beginning in 1938, Jews began to comprise a major portion of camp internees.
Prisoners at Dachau were used as forced laborers, initially in the construction and expansion of the camp and later for German armaments production. The camp served as the training center for SS concentration camp guards and was a model for other Nazi concentration camps. Dachau was also the first Nazi camp to use prisoners as human guinea pigs in medical experiments. At Dachau, Nazi scientists tested the effects of freezing and changes to atmospheric pressure on inmates, infected them with malaria and tuberculosis and treated them with experimental drugs, and forced them to test methods of making seawater potable and of halting excessive bleeding. Hundreds of prisoners died or were crippled as a result of these experiments.
Thousands of inmates died or were executed at Dachau, and thousands more were transferred to a Nazi extermination center near Linz, Austria, when they became too sick or weak to work. In 1944, to increase war production, the main camp was supplemented by dozens of satellite camps established near armaments factories in southern Germany and Austria.
With the advance of Allied forces against Germany in April 1945, the Germans transferred prisoners from concentration camps near the front to Dachau, leading to a general deterioration of conditions and typhus epidemics. On April 27, 1945, approximately 7,000 prisoners, mostly Jews, were forced to begin a death march from Dachau to Tegernsee, far to the south. The next day, many of the SS guards abandoned the camp. On April 29, the Dachau main camp was liberated by units of the 45th Infantry after a brief battle with the camp’s remaining guards.
As they neared the camp, the Americans found over 30 railroad cars filled with bodies in various states of decomposition. Inside the camp there were more bodies and 30,000 survivors, most severely emaciated. Some of the American troops who liberated Dachau were so appalled by conditions at the camp that they machine-gunned at least two groups of captured German guards. The German citizens of the town of Dachau were later forced to bury the 9,000 dead inmates found at the camp.
Man who runs in front of car gets tired. Man who runs behind car gets exhausted.
I told my wife that it was her turn to shovel and salt the front steps. All I got was icy stares.
Bank robbery is a safe job.
Ms. Earhart’s loss to aviation could never be ameliorated.
A blood-sucking arachnid from the moon would be a Luna tick.
Those who jump off a Paris bridge are in Seine.
The Frontlines of Freedom Newsletter is published twice monthly; the dates of publication each month depend on the events and history of that month.