196 years ago, Florence Nightingale was born, a day that is now honored as International Nurses Day. The Englishwoman came to prominence for her pioneering work in nursing, tending injured soldiers, and laying the foundation of professional nursing. Her establishment of St Thomas’s Hospital in London was the first secular nursing school in the world. (1820)
MORE Good News on this Date:
- National University of San Marcos, the oldest university in the Americas, was founded in Lima, Peru (1551)
- At Queen Elizabeth Hall, England, Pink Floyd staged the first-ever quadraphonic rock concert (1967)
- Kenya announced it would finally agree to support a worldwide ban on the trade of ivory to save its remaining elephant herds (1989)
- Former President Jimmy Carter arrived in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro, the first President to do so since Castro’s 1959 revolution.* (2002)
- Randy Johnson, at 40, playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, became the oldest pitcher in major league history to throw a perfect game (2004)
*Trudy Rubin wrote about Carter’s visit in the Philadelphia Inquirer:
The former president called for unrestricted travel between the US and Cuba, open trade, and an end to the embargo. He wants a massive student exchange between U.S. and Cuban universities. Speaking in Spanish on national television, Carter told Cubans they have an inherent right to democratic freedoms: the right to choose their leaders, speak freely, organize political parties, and have fair trials. He noted that the United States is far from perfect on human rights issues, but that Americans have the right to change their leaders and laws.
Most electrifying, Carter told the Cuban people about the Varela Project, a petition drive to force a referendum on democracy for Cubans that has gathered 12,000 signatures. He even noted the articles of the Cuban constitution that make such a drive technically legal (even though the government is sure to quash it). Most Cubans had never heard of the brave dissident movement that is mounting the petition campaign.