WRITTEN BY:
Melinda Head

Momentous March 29th Moments

A day of greatness

So much has happened on March 29th over the years, that it’s difficult to decide what to call out. Here are 5 special moments for you to ponder today covering music, technology, war, art and architecture.

1795

Ludwig van Beethoven, age 24, had his debut performance as a pianist in Vienna. He played Concerto No. 2 in Bb for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 19, which he just barely completed in time for the event. The evening was organized in support of the Widows and Orphans Fund of the Society of Musicians.

I grew up in a household with a modest upright piano and even had lessons before abandoning them for my teenage friends (a great regret). I remember my mother playing Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” in her simple way, but it sure sounded great to my untrained ears. Here is an example of the first movement played by Alicia Keys in honor of basketball giant Kobe Bryant, as well as the complete work performed by the highly accomplished Ukrainian-American pianist Valentina Lisitsa:

There’s also an excellent movie called “Immortal Beloved” (1994) about Beethoven starring Gary Oldman, depicting the pianist as a legend, genius and scoundrel:

1929

Without any doubt, one of the world’s most transformative inventions is the telephone. The first telephone call occurred on March 10, 1876, almost 150 years ago.

On March 29, 1929, U.S. President Herbert Hoover had the first telephone installed on his desk at the Oval Office in the White House.

POTUS31 at his desk in the Oval Office with a new toy at his side: the telephone

Telephones and a telephone switchboard had been present in the White House since 1878, but no phone had ever been installed at any President’s desk until the Hoover administration, 51 years later.

Lily Tomlin’s breakout role was as “Ernestine”, a brash, relentless telephone switchboard operator on NBC’s highly popular comedy sketch “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-in”. Still hard at work into her early 80s, playing alongside Jane Fonda in the hit sitcom “Frankie and Grace”, Ms. Tomlin has been an advocate of the LGBT community for more than 50 years

Today, can you imagine a President waiting 51 years after its invention to use a mobile phone? OMG, that would bring us to the final year of Joe Biden’s term in office.

BTW, there never has been a red phone in the Oval Office, but alluding to it has certainly conjured up much curiosity and imagination.

1973

The last U.S. military unit left Vietnam, 9 years after the Tonkin Resolution, which gave U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson authorization to take any measures he believed were necessary to ensure international peace and security in southeast Asia, without any formal declaration of war by Congress.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph is known as “Napalm Girl”. Kim Phuc, the naked napalm victim, eventually resettled in Canada

National Archives records show that 58,220 Americans died during the Vietnam conflict.

My favorite Vietnam-era movie is “Coming Home”, starring John Voigt, Bruce Dern and Jane Fonda. It’s a must watch.

Here is a selection of my favorite anti-Vietnam songs:

1974

Chinese farmers who were simply digging a well discovered the Terracotta Army outside Xi’an, Shaanxi. A treasure of some 8,000 clay warrior statues had been buried to guard the tomb of China’s first emperor, Qin Shi Huang.

China’s Terracotta Warriors

"Because we were so excited (about the finding), we rode (to the site) on our bicycles so fast it felt as if we were flying.” (Archaeologist Zhao Kangmin)

The figures vary in height according to their roles, with the tallest being generals. Warriors, chariots and horses are included. Other terracotta figures were found in other pits, including officials, acrobats, strongmen and musicians. How incredible!

Work on the mausoleum began in 246 BCE, soon after the 13 year old Emperor ascended the throne. The project eventually conscripted 700,000 workers.

Several American Museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, have exhibited this eighth Wonder of the World. I had the pleasure of attending the exhibit at the Met, it was jaw-dropping.

1989

For those of you who are interested in architecture, design, or art, the pyramidal entrance to Paris’ Louvre Museum, designed by Chinese-American I.M. Pei, opened in Paris on this day.

The Louvre is the world’s most visited museum in the world.

Alexandros of Antioch’s “Venus de Milo” and Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” are housed at the Louvre

The Museum is housed in a former palace, where it was the primary residence of French kings. In 1682 King Louis XIV decided to move to the countryside (as has become a trend again during COVID), living at the Palace of Versailles instead. During the French Revolution, the National Assembly decreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the Nation’s masterpieces. It opened on August 10, 1793.

The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal structure designed by architect I.M. Pei. Commissioned by President Francois Mitterand in 1983 and subject to extreme controversy at the time, the structure has become a landmark of Paris.

The architect I.M. Pei, who lived to the age of 102, in his iconic large, round eyeglasses

What incredible things have happened on March 29th. These are more than enough reasons to think of today from a different perspective.

Now take what you’ve learned and play today’s Momentous March 29th Moments Quiz of the Day:

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Tuesday, June 28th: The Race to Cycling Equality
Wednesday, June 29th: Camera Day
Thursday, June 30th: Social Media Day
Friday, July 1st: US Postage Stamp Day
Saturday, July 02nd: UFO Day
Sunday, July 03rd: Week in Review (we cover this topic every Sunday)
Monday, July 04th: Independence Day
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About the Author

A serial entrepreneur, Melinda is a sociologist and statistician who believes there is no currency with greater value than knowledge

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