Taxes, the Titanic, and a Tragic Assassination

April 15 is a date that sticks out in the minds of many as tax day, the deadline for United States federal taxes to be filed. While Americans rush to the tax finish line (or trudge or plod, as the case may be), April 15 is also the anniversary of two momentous events in history: the heartbreaking loss of a great president and the sinking of a luxury vessel in a tragedy that’s become the stuff of legend.

Abraham LincolnThe assassination of Abraham Lincoln actually took place on the evening of April 14, 1865. A night at the theater turned tragic for Lincoln, his family, and a country just emerging from the cloud of a terrible war. While there’s no need to rehash the well-known events of that night, one can only imagine the despair that cloaked this country on the morning of April 15, when word began to spread that the President had succumbed to his assassin’s bullet. Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln depicts the sad events of that night with a sense of dignity, a scene all the more touching for its restraint.

The sinking of the Titanic took place not long after midnight on April 15, 1912. After Titaniccolliding with an iceberg before midnight on April 14, the ship went down in the darkness of cold North Atlantic waters. More than 1500 people perished in one of the greatest tragedies of modern times. The James Cameron film Titanic is perhaps the most visually striking depiction of the sinking, though it gives only passing attention to the factors that made the tragedy even worse than it needed to be, such as a lack of lifeboat drills and lifeboats that were launched before being filled to capacity. The sinking of the Titanic is also depicted in the musical The Molly BrownUnsinkable Molly Brown, the story of a true life rags-to-riches heroine who not only survived the sinking of the ship, but assisted others in boarding the lifeboats and urged the crew of the lifeboat she eventually boarded to search for survivors. The tales of heroism, arrogance, survival and loss surrounding the Titanic continue to fascinate readers and audiences alike.

As a lover of history and historical fiction, I’m always looking for books and films that will draw me into events such as these. What are your favorite books (non-fiction as well as fiction) and films that depict the tragic events of April 15 in history? Leave a comment for a chance to win this week’s prize, a $5 Amazon gift card. A winner will be selected at random from those who leave comments on this week’s (April 15 – 20) posts on Sunday, April 21. Please check back on Monday, April 22 to see if you’re the winner.

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9 thoughts on “Taxes, the Titanic, and a Tragic Assassination

  1. I am deeply saddened by the events unfolding in Boston today. So horrible that yet another tragedy has occurred to mark this date. Praying for those affected by this horrifying event.

  2. Tara,

    Your post is both poignant and timely. How sad that another tragedy has been added to April 15. My heart goes out those affected by the attacks in Boston.

  3. Super post, Tara. I had never ‘put it together’ that these two historical tragedies occurred on the same day. And now a modern one. Incredible to think people will do such a thing to others.

  4. I knew the date for Titanic, but not for Lincoln. A few years ago, I was in Denver and had a chance to visit Molly Brown’s house. She was a remarkable woman. One interesting bit of trivia I found out that day was that all during her life no one ever called her Molly. She was known as Maggie. But when the “Unsinkable” musical was being written, the writers and producers thought Molly sounded better than Maggie. And since the show was so popular, that’s how she is remembered,

    As for the cowardly vermin responsible for yesterday’s events, I can only hope they get what’s coming to them.

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