Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Old Quirino Bridge Across Banaoang Pass

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Old Bridge across Banaoang Pass in acrylic (60" x 41") by the author. 
Painted for Dr Laurence (Rencie) Padernal), April 29. 2012

Past your golden age, three generations have passed, 
Once in your prime, and also was mine; 
The world over the horizon across your span, I sought 
For dreams the sweet goal of time. 

While across your other end leads to home, sweet home, 
For loyal sons and daughters in homage, 
Returning to childhood memories, to peaceful repose, 
Gateway indeed you are to every age. 

And in between, fleeting were the years, but never 
Lost - dream fulfilled, or never was - 
Matters but little in your own world, bright and windy, 
As the sun rises through the Pass. 

And if a lonely soul comes to your world, gazes around 
And high, the strength of the towering 
Rocks, the sharp, gentle slopes of green and golden
In their pristine - they're Nature blessing. 

From the cliff down the ravine, the great divide 
Of the rugged Cordillera, surrenders 
To a mighty river born in a fertile valley, gathers 
Strength as it flows and meanders. 

You are their peacemaker and guardian, oh, bridge - 
And rather than a bridge of sigh, 
You tame the wind; you tame the river, the mountains, 
And every day countless passersby. 

Bearing their weight and their load uncomplaining, 
Their pain and joy of going and returning; 
And seeing yonder farmers and fishers in their work - 
All’s well ‘til the sky sent the river roaring. 

Now it is your time to rest, the wind, river, and mountains 
And I, to bid you goodbye in the setting sun; 
But your ruins rise a monument seen by all and from Above, 
Where once a boy with dreams crossed your span. 

Presentation and unveiling of the painting to the birthday celebrant 

Quirino Bridge is named after President Elpidio Quirino, a great Ilocano leader. It spans across the mighty Abra River passing through Banaoang Pass, and joining the towns of Santa and Bantay both in Ilocos Sur province. The bridge survived a recent strong typhoon but was soon retired and replaced by a new bridge. Its beauty however, cannot be equaled.

Twilight view to the East, source of the mighty Abra River
Sunset view to the West where the river empties to the South China Sea

Cirrus clouds over the Cordillera Range; promontory partly blocking the bridge's view to the West. 

Placid river in summer, fisherman on raft steers for home before dark.

Exuberance of youth meets sunset on the edge of Banaoang Pass, as the Cordillera turns to amber and the Abra River to emerald. ~

Friday, April 22, 2016

Nature, Ingenuity and Serendipity - Roots of Invention and Discovery

Dr Abe V Rotor
Who were the first inventors?
Nature, Ingenuity and Serendipity - Roots of Invention and Discovery

The otter playfully lies on its back in water, crushes its food shells with stones on its chest. The eagle takes up in the air a piece of bone, aims and drops it accurately hitting a rock in order to break, then comes down and eats the bone marrow. The macaque uses a stick which it probes into a termite nest to gather termites which it eventually eats. Birds do the same in extracting the larvae of tree borers.

Philippine jeepney, the country's signature land transport vehicle

Then there is man, the inventor; his teacher - Nature.

If we look at man's invention there is a semblance of Nature's ways, from the web of spider to become fishing net, the sounds of breeze on trees and waves lapping the shore into sweet sound of music, the flight of the bumblebee into helicopter. But all these were not planned, deliberate and well understood. They came from providential discovery called serendipity. Alexander Fleming did not actually discover antibiotics from his specimen - rather from a contaminant that destroyed it. Macaroni was started from a spilled durum wheat dough in the sun.

Can anyone become an inventor or a discoverer?

If you think you cannot do much, and that the little you can do is of no value, think of these things:

1. A lantern swinging in a tower as the beginning of a pendulum.

2. A shirt waving on the clothesline was the beginning of a balloon, the forerunner of the Graf Zeppelin.

3. A spider web strung across a garden path suggested the suspension bridge.

4. Thomas Edison made thousands upon thousands of trials before he got his celebrated electric light to operate.

5. An apple falling from a tree led to the discovery of the law of gravity. (Newton)

6. Physicist Rene’ Laenvec observed children tapping signals to one another from opposite ends of a hollow log – gave him the idea to invent the stethoscope (wooden tube with an earpiece that transports the sounds from the heart and chest more clearly than any means formerly used)

7. Chester Greenwood 15, dropped out of grammar school invented earmuffs in 1877 at age 19, earned a fortune as he produced millions during WWI.

8. Graham Bell invented the telephone which carries through wire and be heard many miles away. It took years to convince people that this is possible.

9. Joseph Mainer, a French gardener, is credited with inventing steel-reinforced cement after observing a 3-foot straw of wheat was able to hold heavy grains upright in high wind.

10. A tea kettle singing on a stove was the beginning of the steam engine.

And, the first tool of man which is flint stone must have been inspired by natural fragmentation of rocks by heat and cold, and avalanche.

Invention builds on another like the sled developing into something more efficient, into wheel. And yet the Aztecs and Incas, the Inuits and American Indians did not use wheels, but relied on sled instead?

We may not know who first discovered fire, invented the wheel or fish hook, or thought of the idea of a pyramid. We can only wonder on the ingenuity of the inventor of the scissor and the sewing needle.

x x x

Dialogue with the Butterfly

Dr Abe V Rotor 

Exquisite netted venation of a butterfly wing, representing nature's architecture universal in the insect world, flying foxes, leaves of most plants, and blood vessels in human and  other creatures.

 Life cycle of the butterfly -  from egg to caterpillar to pupa to adult - the butterfly.

Fly me to your world, oh butterfly,
where flows the Pierian Spring,
the fountain of youth eternal,
where Sylphids dance and sing.

I'd rather wish to be in your garden    
foe and friend yet we're one,
where the tree of knowledge blooms,
nurtured by rain and sun.

I cannot reach for the rainbow,
neither can I make one,
but you, by your wings and wand,
build the biggest crown.

Your sense of beauty’s not ours,
fleeting and elusive,
ephemeral to your senses all,
before it is perceived.

Just for once, oh butterfly, to leave  
the home of my ancestor,
I shall cease to ask another favor    
nor crave for more. 

        Then I shall fly no more in your garden; 
       the flowers will die with the fountain,
       and all that lives shall crave the same
       with nothing to hope and gain. ~

Thursday, April 21, 2016

For better health and nutrition, take brown sugar instead of refined sugar

 Dr Abe V Rotor
Rural folks would rather eat panocha or muscovado, which is likened to whole grain with the bran intact (e.g. pinawa rice and whole wheat flour).

When sugar is refined, the very vitamins and minerals needed by our body’s metabolism are removed, going with the molasses which we usually use as feeds for animals.

Sugar consumed in its natural state (like fruits and grains) are slowly broken down and released into the bloodstream, in a manner our body can program its assimilation. In comparison refined sugar raises the blood sugar rapidly. This rush is followed by an equally rapid crash that often leaves us feeling tired, irritable or depressed. As energy falls, our response is to reach for more sugar to perk us up.

The sudden rise and fall of our blood sugar causes emotional instability, confusion, dizziness, and headache. Over-consumption of sugar can trigger a craving similar to the physiological dependence produced by drugs. These symptoms, along with drowsiness, forgetfulness, or general “spaced-out” feeling are typical symptoms of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). 
Adrenaline is released during the body’s chemical chain reaction triggered by eating excess refined sugar, creating a stress throughout our body and mind. Sugar also depresses the activity of our white blood cells, lowering our resistance to infection. It may lead to the development of diabetes. For this reason many oriental nutritionists call refined sugar a “white poison.”

So, take brown or red sugar, instead of white or refined sugar. And your family will be healthier and happier, too. ~

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A folktale - or does thunder and lightning spawn mushrooms?

 Dr Abe V Rotor

In the province, it is a tradition to go hunting for mushrooms in bamboo groves, on anthills, under rice hay and banana stalks during the monsoon season, specifically after a period of heavy thunder and lightning. And what do we know? Old folks are right as they show you the prize - baskets full of Volvariella (rice hay or banana mushroom), Plerotus (abalone mushroom), Auricularia (tainga ng daga), and a host of other wild mushroom species.

Where did the mushrooms come from?

When lightning strikes, nitrogen, which comprise 78 percent of the air combines with oxygen (21 percent of the air) forming nitrate (NO3). Scientists call this process, nitrogen fixation or nitrification. Nitrate, which is soluble in water, is washed down by rain. Electrical discharge also aids in the fixation of other elements such as sulfur, phosphorus, potassium, calcium and magnesium into soluble compounds.

Edible wild mushroom
Lightning occurs every second in any place of the earth, maintaining the earth’s supply of these and other life-giving compounds. Not only green plants benefit from these natural fertilizers, but also phytoplankton (microscopic one-celled plants) - and the lowly mushroom whose vegetative stage is but some cottony mass of mycelia enmeshed in decomposing media such as plant residues.

Ganoderma or shelf mushroom; Dung mushroom 

 Dead tree attacked by tree mushroom and other fungi; Stinkhorn

Auricularia (Tanga ng daga)

With nitrate and other nutrients now available, coupled with favorable conditions of the environment, the saprophyte transforms into its reproductive phase. This is the mushroom we are familiar with – umbrella-like and fleshy. In all its luxuriance and plenty, it is not unusual to discover clusters or hills of mushrooms in just a single spot. ~

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Philippine Literature - Pride of Filipinos, Mirror of a Noble Culture. IIn celebration of Philippine National Literature Month ( Panitikan)

Literature is the conservatory of language and culture. It is the treasure of every society, a testament to its rich history. It creates for a people a national identity, unites them under one common sentiment, national liberation and statehood.

Dr Abercio V Rotor
Living with Nature - School on Blog [avrotor.blogspot.com]
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid with Miss Grace Velasco 

738 DZRB AM, 8 to 9 evening class, Monday to Friday
Philippine Literature Today invites students to explore the vast history and diversity of Philippine literature. One of the primary aims of the course is to bridge the old and the new literary traditions that knit the fabric of humanity. In doing so, things must be put in context in order to trace the origins and sources of the country's present day literary production:
Philippine Literature Today is a handy book, 8"x 6" in dimension, and has 237 pages. It is provided by a complementary DVD which contains additional learning materials. The book adopts an integrated (multi-disciplinary) approach presented in eight chapters:

  1. Philippine Literature: A Perspective 
  2. Literature Appreciation 
  3. Literature, Culture, and Society 
  4. Popular Literature 
  5. Myths and Legends 
  6. Literature, Nature, and Environment 
  7. Literature and the Humanities 
  8. Current Trends in Literature 

The book meets the requirements of literature courses at the tertiary level as prescribed by the general curriculum.

The four  pillars of Philippine Literature

There are four  pillars of Philippine Literature that will aid students in answering the question: "Quo vadis?" or "To where are we heading for in Philippine literature?" 

These four pillars are considered vanguards of our literature.  The book's cover perfectly illustrates one of the course's primary objectives - a journey in literature with them.  In this journey, each vanguard represents specific areas of interest in literature:  
  • Jose Rizal for the novel and the essay
  • Francisco Batagtas for poetry;
  • Severino Reyes for theater (zarzuela) and children's literature; and 
  • Leona Florentino for literature written in Spanish and the Filipino regional languages
These authors greatly contributed to the development of a distinct kind of literature we proudly call our own today.  A uniquely Filipino literature , that is still linked to a larger realm - the literature of the world. 

Literature captures and enriches human experience.  Instead of talking about people and events, literature tackles various ideas and discourses.  It avoids all forms of obscurantism and strives, as much as possible, to illumine the most complex of concepts. 

Literature is also a builder of leaders - leaders emboldened by the pen and conviction of words.  As in the epilogue of Noli, these writer-leaders are expected to carry the torch and guide the nation "through night 'til dawn."
Co-authors Dr Abercio V Rotor and Dr Kristine Molina-Doria present the first copy of Philippine Literature Today during its soft launching. The two authors also wrote Humanities - An Experiential Approach. Both textbooks were published by C&E Publishing Co., and are now adopted in different schools and universities through the publisher's nationwide network. Both authors are bona fide residents of Lagro.   
Literature is also tested by time and change.  Its relevance is measured by events that shape history.  A lighthouse in a stormy sea, it signals the arrival of a new dawn.

We are being swept by the incessant tides of change.  Consequently, a deluge of information makes the task of separating the grains from the chaff in literature more difficult. This is not to mention the predilection of today's generation of anti-intellectual ideas.  In these trying times, nowhere is the challenge for writers to assert themselves as relevant agents of social change more evident than in literature. 

In the advent of multi-tasking and do-all. hand-held devices (i.e., tablets, smartphones, iPad), the world is as the saying goes, now in our hands.  In the same way, never have we been serious in analyzing William Blake's Auguries of Innocence, which in part reads:

To see the World in a Grain of Sand,
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your Hand,
And Eternity in an hour.

Fortunately, we still trace philosophy back to Socrates, Idealism to Kant, and naturalism to Aristotle.  In the same manner, our literature, despite new and emerging trends, is still rooted in Rizal, Balagtas, Reyes, Florentino, and their disciples. 

The authors pose with the senior staff of C&E Publishing Co. From left to right: Ms Lourdes Lopez, division chief; Dr Doria, Mr Amado Anthony G Mendoza III, Asst Editor; Dr Rotor; and Mr Ruzzel S Valdepeña, layout artist.  

At present, in the advent of rampant capitalism and globalization, our literature is besieged and reified in a free market where profit is the lure and rule,  In this world order structured on free-market principles, literature becomes a commodity; and if it merely holds on to its glorious past, then we may lose its essence and eventually, its value.

The challenge for us now is to find new ways to assert the importance of literature as a human endeavor,  Readers and writers alike must produce works that represent and depict current social and global realities.  To achieve this purpose, we must strive for a literature that has an intellectual moral value; narrates and reveals the marginalized history of our people; and helps unite us under one national identity.  

Philippine Literature - Pride of Filipinos, Mirror of a Noble Culture.

1. Philippine literature takes us back to the domain of the gods and goddesses, to the throne of Bathala, to the times of Malakas at Maganda.

2. Philippine literature brings back the sweet days of childhood when kapres still lived in big trees, dwendes in punso (anthill), and manananggal used to peep through thatched roofs.  

The whole experience is distilled in the form of fantastic tales - a sort of transference, a courageous parting from childhood memories, albeit leaving imprints of the unknown and ineffable aspects of the world - which serve as forms of nostalgia and entertainment during our adult years.

3. Philippine literature unveils the world of the minutiae - honeybee converting nectar into pukyutan (honey), worms weaving the finest sutla (silk), and fireflies emitting the brightest of lights.  

4. Philippine literature has never been dull and prosaic.  It has done away with romanticism and evolved alongside events that shaped the Philippines as a nation .  It blazed paths which remained untrodden, spoke about relevant issues that used to be unspeakable, and utilized modes of expression shunned in the past.

5. Philippine literature "on the other side of the fence," so to speak, portrays the wretched, pitiful, painful, and deplorable conditions of human life; but at the same time, it gives a sense of hope and redemption in the end.  Doing away with the idyllic representation of reality, literature is able to lend its voice to the voiceless, oppressed, and marginalized sectors of the society.

6. Philippine literature was inevitably shaped by a colonial past.  This led a lot of scholars and critics to prolematize and debate the "pureness" of our literature.  However, the point is not to categorize and evaluate our literary tradition and production in terms of its purported originality and provenance, but to trace and identify the historical events, processes, and departures that affected its development.

7. Philippine literature exalts the beauty of the Filipina - the subject of countless stories, poems, and songs - though the Maria Clara image of the Filipina has coalesced with contemporary culture.  Moreover, we can still say that the essence of Filipino womanhood is still present in the modern society.  Proof of this is the abundance of literary texts that feature the important role of women in our society. 

8. Philippine literature not only produced transcendent works, but also showed the world the greatness of the Philippines and its people: Rizal's Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo described the plight of Filipinos during the Spanish colonial period; Bonifacio's Pag-ibig sa Tinubuang Lupa inflamed the Philippine Revolution; Lopez-Jaena's Fray Botod exposed corruption and oppressive rule of the Spanish friars and Balagtas' Florante at Laura, unanimously considered as the masterpiece in Philippine narrative poetry,   

9. We have an extensive and pervasive oral literary tradition.  Most modern and contemporary literary forms trace their roots not only from foreign sources but also from native literary forms like the bugtong, dagli, ambahan, tanaga, dalit, diona, pasingaw, ulahingan, leyenda, awit, korido, duplo, zarzuela, kotkotan, hudhud, patotodon, etc.  This goes to show that our literature, despite the detrimental effects of colonialism and increased Westernization, still suckles from its original literary bosom. 

10. Philippine literature has been instrumental in the preservation of Philippine culture and values like bayanihan (cooperation), lamayan (wake), and the annual pista (fiesta). Through poems and stories that depict the richness and quaintness of Filipino life in the past, people of the present learn to appreciate the practices, values, and beliefs being passed on to them by their parents and forebears.  

11. Philippine literature needs to continuously question and reinvent itself; it needs to "come down to earth" to address relevant societal issues and concerns.  It needs to get out of the academe, its eternal comfort zone, and find new ways to articulate and tackle pressing realities.  "Get out of the house," cried the late national poetess Ophelia A Dimalanta. "Bond with the people, bond with nature," a call for responsive change.  On the other hand, literature should also utilize new mediums like the Internet and multimedia.

12. Lastly, Philippine literature should uphold challenge both the young and the old; lend new light to old beliefs and ideologies and contextualize forthcoming trends; describe and comment on exigent national and global issues; and trace and outline history through the lens of the voiceless, oppressed, and marginalized. ~

Saturday, April 16, 2016

12 Ways to Enhance your Personality

Dedicated to the late Jesus T Tanchanco, former minister and administrator, National Food Authority (1971-1986)

Dr Abe V Rotor

1. Live in the present. Live today. 

2. Forget the mistakes of yesterday. Yesterday has gone forever. 

3. Stop criticizing yourself and stop criticizing others. 

4, Yearn for self-improvement. 

Dr and Mrs Abe V Rotor present a copy of the author's book, Living with Folk Wisdom while exchanging pleasantries with former NFA administrator Jesus T Tanchanco (right) during the last homecoming of former NGA-NFA employees in 2012.  Tanchanco served for almost two decades as the first administrator of the agency, then Natiobnal Grains Authority (NGA), until the eruption of the EDSA Revolution. This occasion marked the final hiomecoming of this great man.    

5. Hold on to your self-respect by appraising yourself honestly. 
6. Learn to listen to others. It helps remove bias from your opinion. 

7. If you have a goal, reach for it. 

8. If you make a mistake, try again. 

9. Don't be timid in conversation. 

10. Exercise your imagination creatively to achieve success. 

11. Do one thing at a time. Shoot for one goal at a time.

12. Believe in the Providence not for luck but blessings.

From my old files I found this article designed for framing, so that it can serve as a daily personal reminder. Spontaneously I thought of my boss for fifteen long years, the admirable and respectable Jesus T Tanchanco, former administrator of the National Food Authority under the regime of President Ferdinand E Marcos.  During his time the Philippines became not only self-sufficient in rice and other major agricultural commodities, but a net exporter as well. The Philippines attained the status as exporter of rice in Tanchanco's time like Thailand and Vietnam today.   I realize that the success of a leader - a government official - depends largely on personality which is the embodiment of all qualities of a person.   

Friday, April 15, 2016

Are you tired? Bored? Hug a Bunny.

Dr Abe V Rotor

If you feel blue, drained, or you just lack pep - hug a bunny, real or the stuff thing (like Mr. Bean). It is therapy.

If you are sick, bunny shares your pain and discomfort. It calms down your tension. Its gives you company and comfort. It never argues. It creates a quiet ambiance.

Bunny and Bunny Doll at home.

Bunny demands nothing from you but tender, loving care - TLC, the very things which you actually give to yourself.

And you are back to your feet and face the real world again.


thepensieve said...
I used to not like bunnies, but after seeing the pictures and reading the article, I have developed a new sense of liking. :) The bunny looks sweet, and yes, it might really be a friend when you`re utterly depressed.

SEMANA, Clarissa

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Significant Events in History for the Month of April

Researched by Dr Abe V Rotor 
Living with Nature - School on Blog (avrotor.blogspot.com)
Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid (People's School-on-Air) 
with Ms Melly C Tenorio
738 DZRB AM Band, 8 to 9 Evening Class, Monday to Friday
Reference: The History Place - This Month in History; Internet photos 

April 4, 1949 - Twelve nations signed the treaty creating NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The nations united for common military defense against the threat of expansion by Soviet Russia into Western Europe.

April 4, 1968 - Civil Rights leader Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King was shot and killed by a sniper in Memphis, Tennessee. As head of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, he had championed non-violent resistance to end racial oppression and had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964. He is best remembered for his I Have a Dream speech delivered at the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington. That march and King's other efforts helped the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In 1986, Congress established the third Monday in January as a national holiday in his honor.

April 9: Araw ng Kagitingan (The Day of Valor in Philippines) is known as the Day of Valor, marks the greatness of Filipino fighters during World War II.

After the April 9, 1942, U.S. surrender of the Bataan Peninsula on the main Philippine island of Luzon to the Japanese during World War II (1939-45), the approximately 75,000 Filipino and American troops on Bataan were forced to make an arduous 65-mile march to prison camps. The marchers made the trek in intense heat and were subjected to harsh treatment by Japanese guards. Thousands perished in what became known as the Bataan Death March. 

April 6, 1994 - The beginning of genocide in Rwanda as a plane carrying the presidents of Rwanda and Burundi was shot down. They had been meeting to discuss ways of ending ethnic rivalries between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes. After their deaths, Rwanda descended into chaos, resulting in genocidal conflict between the tribes. Over 500,000 persons were killed with two million fleeing the country.
April 8th - Among Buddhists, celebrated as the birthday of Buddha (563-483 B.C.). An estimated 350 millions persons currently profess the Buddhist faith. (Photo taken in Thailand by AVR)

April 9, 1865 - After over 500,000 American deaths, the Civil War effectively ended as General Robert E. Lee surrendered to General Ulysses S. Grant

April 10, 1942 - During World War II in the Pacific, the Bataan Death March began as American and Filipino prisoners were forced on a six-day march from an airfield on Bataan to a camp near Cabanatuan. Some 76,000 Allied POWs including 12,000 Americans were forced to walk 60 miles under a blazing sun without food or water to the POW camp, resulting in over 5,000 American deaths. 

April 10, 1945 - The Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald was liberated by U.S. troops. Located near Weimar in Germany, Buchenwald was established in July 1937 to hold criminals and was one of the first major concentration camps. It later included Jews and homosexuals and was used as a slave labor center for nearby German companies. Of a total of 238,980 Buchenwald inmates, 56,545 perished.

April 10, 1998 - Politicians in Northern Ireland reached an agreement aimed at ending 30 years of violence which had claimed over 3,400 lives. Under the agreement, Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland would govern together in a new 108-member Belfast assembly, thus ending 26 years of ''direct rule'' from London.

April 11, 1968 - A week after the assassination of Martin Luther King, the Civil Rights Act of 1968 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The law prohibited discrimination in housing, protected civil rights workers and expanded the rights of Native Americans.

April 11, 1970 - Apollo 13 was launched from Cape Kennedy at 2:13 p.m. Fifty-six hours into the flight an oxygen tank exploded in the service module. Astronaut John L. Swigert saw a warning light that accompanied the bang and said, "Houston, we've had a problem here." Swigert, James A. Lovell and Fred W. Haise then transferred into the lunar module, using it as a "lifeboat" and began a perilous return trip to Earth, splashing down safely on April 17th.

April 12, 1945 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt died suddenly at Warm Springs, Georgia, after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. He had been President since March 4, 1933, elected to four consecutive terms and had guided America out of the Great Depression and through World War II.
April 12, 1961 - Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human in space. He traveled aboard the Soviet spacecraft Vostok I to an altitude of 187 miles (301 kilometers) above the earth and completed a single orbit in a flight lasting 108 minutes. The spectacular Russian success intensified the already ongoing Space Race between the Russians and Americans. Twenty-three days later, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. This was followed in 1962 by President Kennedy’s open call to land an American on the moon before the decade’s end.

April 14, 1865 - President Abraham Lincoln was shot and mortally wounded while watching a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theater in Washington. He was taken to a nearby house and died the following morning at 7:22 a.m.

April 15, 1912 - In the icy waters off Newfoundland, the luxury liner Titanic with 2,224 persons on board sank at 2:27 a.m. after striking an iceberg just before midnight. Over 1,500 persons drowned while 700 were rescued by the liner Carpathia which arrived about two hours after Titanic went down.

April 19, 1993 - At Waco, Texas, the compound of the Branch Davidian religious cult burned to the ground with 82 persons inside, including 17 children. The fire erupted after federal agents battered buildings in the compound with armored vehicles following a 51-day standoff.

April 19, 1995 - At 9:02 a.m., a massive car-bomb explosion destroyed the entire side of a nine story federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 persons, including 19 children inside a day care center. A decorated Gulf War veteran was later convicted for the attack.

April 20, 1999 - The deadliest school shooting in U.S. history occurred in Littleton, Colorado, as two students armed with guns and explosives stormed into Columbine High School at lunch time then killed 12 classmates and a teacher and wounded more than 20 other persons before killing themselves. (Photo)

Birthday - Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) was born in Braunau am Inn, Austria. As leader of Nazi Germany from 1933 to 1945, he waged a war of expansion in Europe, precipitating the deaths of an estimated 50 million persons through military conflict and through the Holocaust in which the Nazis attempted to exterminate the entire Jewish population of Europe.

April 23rd - Established by Israel's Knesset as Holocaust Day in remembrance of the estimated six million Jews killed by Nazis.

April 24, 1915 - In Asia Minor during World War I, the first modern-era genocide began with the deportation of Armenian leaders from Constantinople and subsequent massacre by Young Turks. In May, deportations of all Armenians and mass murder by Turks began, resulting in the complete elimination of the Armenians from the Ottoman Empire and all of the historic Armenian homelands. Estimates vary from 800,000 to over 2,000,000 Armenians murdered.

April 26, 1986 - At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, an explosion caused a meltdown of the nuclear fuel and spread a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere, eventually covering most of Europe. A 300-square-mile area around the plant was evacuated. Thirty one persons were reported to have died while an additional thousand cases of cancer from radiation were expected. The plant was then encased in a solid concrete tomb to prevent the release of further radiation.

April 28, 1945 - Twenty-three years of Fascist rule in Italy ended abruptly as Italian partisans shot former Dictator Benito Mussolini. Other leaders of the Fascist Party and friends of Mussolini were also killed along with his mistress, Clara Petacci. Their bodies were then hung upside down and pelted with stones by jeering crowds in Milan.

Acknowledgement:  The History Place - This Month in History (Internet), Internet photos