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Did You Know 2002 Was Twenty Years Ago?
The Maundy Morning Newsletter - This Week in History May 9 - May 15.
Happy Monday, May 9, Okay History friends. By the time you are reading this, I'll be on the golf course.
As they say, a day bad on the golf course is better than any day at work. Having said that, I will get bored by the 4th hole.
It's hard to believe 2002 was 20 years ago. In 2002, I took my first trip overseas, to London, then to Ireland, to watch the US National Soccer Team play Ireland in a World Cup friendly. Highlights of the trip included me not understanding what a Bed & Breakfast was, let alone being in one and running downstairs in just my drawers when the lovely lady said breakfast was ready.
We met Bruce Arena, the US coach at the time and the former coach of DC United, which is a big rec soccer team here in the Capitol. My friends and I told him we traveled to Ireland just to see him, and he told us we were crazy. Maybe we were. We sang “We Only Came for the Weather” in the stands, while the match ended in a draw.
While in Ireland, we traveled to Westport, which is in County Mayo, where Kevin's family is from. It's the county just west of County Roscommon, where my grandmother was born and lived off and on until she turned nineteen and moved permanently to the United States.
Westport is a town of like 400 people, with 46 pubs in the town square. If I remember correctly, they were building number 46 while we stayed in a hostel (also my first experience) just on the edge of town.
Kevin and I spent time doing what anybody would do. I drug him to Catholic Mass to experience it in a foreign country, and we rode bikes around town. Once, we had to stop and get off our bikes because we were woefully out of shape, and the hill was too steep.
To our right, a few construction workers were busy framing a house. When they saw us walking our bikes, they shouted out, "You lads, alright?" We responded that we were, in fact, fine. Just two fat Americans who haven't done this type of exercising in years, not being able to bike up this hill.
Later, we settled into the pub closest to the hostel, a place called Toby’s. When we retold the bike story to the bartender, we found out it was his house they were working on. Small work and wonderful times all around.
I mention this because Jimmy Carter became the first United States President to visit Fidel Castro in Cuba on May 12, 2002. I don't have anything to say about it, mostly because the trip doesn't ring a bell at all, but the fact that 2002 was twenty years ago brought me back to memory lane.
I was 26 then. Four years removed from college. Four years into living in DC, and in four years, I would turn 30 and very much looked forward to putting my twenties behind me.
But the trip to London and Ireland really stood out for me. Such fun.
Do you have fond memories from 2002 that you would like to share?
Okay, let's highlight what else happened this week. Here's what we got:
A Spanish priest attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II on May 12, 1982. JPII was shot four times in St. Peter's Square by a Turkey nationalist almost a year before. I'm pretty confident the pontiff stayed home in 1983.
In 2002, JPII addressed American Bishops in Dallas regarding the "American problem" of sexual abuse of children. That went well.
Katharine Hepburn was born on May 12, 1907. Born in Connecticut, Hepburn is considered the greatest female star in classic Hollywood cinema. She won four Academy Awards for Best Actress.
In 2002, nine years removed from her last film, Hepburn had dementia, and she passed away in 2003 at the age of 96.
The US Department of Agriculture was established on May 15, 1862. This cabinet-level agency is basically divided into two parts: Food and Trees. The Food and Nutrition Service administers the SNAP (formerly known as Food Stamps), while the United States Forrest Service deals with national forests and grasslands.
In 2002, the Farm Bill was passed 291-120, with Democrats and Republicans voting evenly for both choices. Twenty years ago, we voted like normal people.
If you noticed, I've dropped the plural tense in these newsletters. I've had a few readers provide feedback that writing in "we" is confusing, which is a nice way of saying, Chris, it’s annoying.
When I plan to be annoying, it will have to be about the content itself, not how I present it. Thanks to those who provided that feedback, especially when I didn’t ask.
I'm almost finished moving the content over from the old site. I’d like to do some further updates to the introduction/about me section, and I would love to have a few recommendations from you, if I may.
Please feel free to send me a few words at email@example.com or drop them in the comments. If I don't see your name almost immediately, I will be reaching out to see if something kind you said about me in an earlier exchange I could use.
Okay? Okay! Have a great week. Wish me luck if you are reading this on Monday.