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Good News in History, October 9

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586 years ago, the Hangul alphabet was first published in the Joseon Dynasty. It solidified increase literacy by serving as a complement (or alternative) to the logographic Sino-Korean Hanja, which had been used by Koreans since before Common Era. The Korean alphabet was designed by King Sejong, perhaps Korea’s greatest monarch, so that people with little education could learn to read and write. A popular saying about the alphabet is, “A wise man can acquaint himself with them before the morning is over; even a stupid man can learn them in the space of ten days.” READ More… (1446)

A replica of the book Hunminjeongeumhaerye, which first explained to scholars how to pronounce the new language.

As with nearly every East Asian culture that bordered China, the early establishment of the Chinese writing system deeply influenced Korea, as it did for Manchuria, Mongolia, Japan, and southern China. However by the height of Korean power in the Middle Ages, King Sejong felt the number of Classical Chinese characters in use were simply too much for the common person, and so developed a “featural alphabet” that wouldn’t stray too far from what most people used, but introduced vowel and constant pieces witch stack on top of each other to be read as a single syllable.

Hangul is now the official writing system throughout Korea, both North and South. It is a co-official writing system in the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture and Changbai Korean Autonomous County in Jilin Province, China.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • Ecuador – Guayaquil’s Independence Day from Spain (1820)
  • The Washington Monument officially opened to the public—at 555 feet tall, with 893 steps to the top, it was the tallest building in the world, and people flocked to it (1888)
  • Uganda, independent from Britain, became a republic (1962)
  • Happy 47th birthday to Sean Ono Lennon, the musician and actor who was born on the same day as his famous father, John Lennon (1975)
  • Other musicians born on this day: John Entwistle, bass player for The Who and Jamaica’s Peter Tosh (1944)
  • 70,000 protesters march in Leipzig to demand the legalization of opposition groups and democratic reforms in East Germany (1989)
  • Democratic presidential elections were held in Afghanistan for the first time (2004)

51 years ago today Rod Stewart went to No.1 on the singles chart with Maggie May. From his album Every Picture Tells a Story, it was first released as a B side, but became one of the most memorable songs of the late 20th Century, topping the chart in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.

The hit, written about an older woman Stewart hooked up with in the 60s, was recorded in just two takes and famously featured a mandolin (and Ronnie Wood on guitar). Despite record company executives not liking the song much, it single-handedly launched Stewart’s career. WATCH his (and Ronnie’s) 1993 unplugged performance… (1971)

And on this day 12 years ago, Chile‘s 33 trapped miners cheered and embraced each other in the darkness as a drill punched into the underground chamber where they had been stuck for an agonizing 66 days while the world came together to engineer a rescue. (2010)

chilean miner rescued

And on this day in 2006, the ORBIS Flying Eye Hospital landed for the first time in Vietnam. orbis-flying-hospital-from-website

The DC-10 wide-body aircraft had been converted into a ophthalmic surgical center for doctors to give sight to the poor. During its first quarter century— from 1982 when ORBIS took-off on its first sight-saving mission—more than three million people have received medical treatment.

Happy 74th Birthday to Jackson Browne, the singer-songwriter musician who has sold over 18 million LPs in the U.S. alone. Beginning in the 1970s, hits like These Days, The Pretender, Running on Empty, Fountain of Sorrow, Doctor My Eyes, and Take It Easy have been counted among the most honest and emotionally powerful of a generation.

Photo by Jim, the Photographer – CC license

Last year, Browne became the first artist to receive the Gandhi Peace Award for his “extraordinary contributions to the inseparable causes of world peace, environmental harmony, and social justice.” Awarded annually along with a cash prize since 1960, the Gandhi Peace Award medallion is forged from “peace bronze” composed of metals salvaged from the control systems of U.S. nuclear missiles.

Lately, Jackson has turned his attention to the seas as a founding member of the advocacy group Ocean Elders, along with Sir Richard Branson and James Cameron. Among his numerous other awards for public service, Browne received the NARM Harry Chapin Humanitarian Award. Bruce Springsteen inducted Browne into the Rock Hall of Fame in 2004. (1948)

And, 37 years ago, marking what would have been Lennon’s 45th birthday, Yoko Ono formally opened a three-acre garden in New York’s Central Park—across the street from their apartment building where Lennon was shot.

Photo by Constanza Gajardo León, CC license

Dubbed Strawberry Fields, she funded the memorial with a $1Mil donation and had it planted with trees, flora, and flowers gathered from across the world. A large, round mosaic on the pedestrian walkway is emblazoned with one word: Imagine. (1985)

And, 82 years ago today, John Lennon was born in Liverpool, England. As a performer, writer, or co-writer, Lennon had 25 number one singles on the Billboard Hot 100 chart—both with the Beatles and as a solo act. Double Fantasy, his best-selling solo album, won the Grammy for Album of the Year one year after his death in 1980 at age 40.

(left) 1975 and (right) 1971

To celebrate the day, Paul McCartney, Alec Baldwin, and Sean Lennon, son of the famous Beatle, took over SiriusXM’s Beatles Channel. Sean, as the DJ, played his favorite songs by his father, including Imagine, while remembering his favorite childhood memories.

A two-part radio documentary hosted by Sean Lennon in 2020, featured conversations with his brother Julian Lennon, McCartney, and his godfather Elton John. Billed as “a celebratory, musical, family portrait” on BBC. It was the first time Paul and the younger Lennon talked publicly about the legendary Lennon-McCartney songwriting partnership.

“It’s lovely to imagine him at 80,” McCartney told Baldwin on SiriusXM. “I think he would be very literate. I think he would be writing—not necessarily just music ’cause he was starting to get into (writing), he did a couple of little books.” CHECK OUT the interview snippet… (1940)

 

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