February 2 in History

Today is Candlemas, the day that commemorates the presentation of the infant Jesus at the Temple, 40 days after the birth of Jesus. It corresponds in date to many mid-winter celebrations including Lupercalia and Imbolc, many of which mark the middle of the season and look forward to the arrival of spring.

Above is a portion of a painting from around 1535 titled The Presentation of Christ and the Purification of the Virgin Mary in the Temple, which was painted by an anonymous follower of the Renaissance master Juan de Borgoña.
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February 1 in History

“Two people died in that photograph: the recipient of the bullet and General Nguyễn Ngọc Loan. The general killed the Viet Cong; I killed the general with my camera.”—Associated Press photographer Eddie Adams

An Associated Press photographer and an NBC News television team were in Saigon, Vietnam, covering street fighting during the second day of the Tet Offensive on this date in 1968 when a prisoner was brought before South Vietnam’s police chief, Nguyễn Ngọc Loan. Loan pulled out his .38 revolver and fired a single shot into the head of the prisoner, who died instantly. Loan continued his tour of the street after firing the pistol, was already steps away from the prisoner before the young man’s head hit the ground.
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January 31 in History

“Love is our true destiny. We do not find the meaning of life by ourselves alone—we find it with another.”—Fr. Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton was born on this date in 1915.

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Franz Schubert (at top) was born on this date in 1797. Only 31 when he died, he left behind almost 1000 works—several hundred songs, some individual and some in song cycles; seven officially complete symphonies and five other partial symphonies (one of which, Symphony No. 8 in B minor, the Unfinished, is one of the most performed works in most orchestra’s repertoires); and many chamber works.
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