History of April 19: Why It’s Significant


Many of my Facebook friends have asked me to write an article on the History of April 19th. Why? Of course, this date is slightly more likely to fall on a Tuesday, Thursday or Sunday (58 in 400 years each) than on Friday or Saturday (57), and slightly less likely to occur on a Monday or Wednesday (56). But what important things have occurred historically on this date in history? There are many, here are just three:

Reformation — 1529

April 19On April 19, at the Second Diet of Speyer, the first use of the term Protestant occurred. What was the context? Back in the First Diet of Speyer, Germany in 1526, followers of Martin Luther in Germany and Ulrich Zwingli in Switzerland understood that the Roman Church would permit the toleration of Lutheran and Swiss Reformed versions of worship. This would essentially suspend the impact of the Edict of Worms, which back in 1521 had declared Luther to be an outlaw and banned the reading or possession of his writings. (He had already been religiously excommunicated by the Pope the previous year in 1520.)

German Princes understood now that cujus regio, ejus religio — literally “Whose realm, his religion” or roughly “the religion of the Prince is the religion of his territory.” This meant that if a Prince followed Luther, so too could his people. However, if the First Diet suspended the Edict of Worms, the Second Diet reinstated it or more particularly excluded toleration for Lutherans, Zwinglians or Anabaptists. A group of German Princes formally filed a legal “protest” and were called Protestants.
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History of Tax Day


Tax Day is the anniversary of the celebration for the elation we feel when we receive a tax refund until we realize it was our own money in the first place and the government has been “borrowing” it from us for the better part of a year and paying us no interest. The holiday is celebrated with the mention of tax credits, exemptions, deductions, write-offs, and dependents… some of which may be the same.


Back during the time of Jesus, this season was referred to as “render therefore unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s.”


For Tax Accountants, this is called the “busy season” as they put in nights and weekends to finish tax returns. If they’re corporate tax accountants, they do it again in October.


Here are some helpful terms as you prepare your tax forms:

  • Extension: get out of jail free pass for not filing by the deadline, but only for a limited time.
  • Coffee: what tax accountants convert into tax returns
  • Starbucks: a place you cannot deduct as a workspace
  • Dependent: not your dog
  • Accrual: the kind of world it is out there

Death and Taxes

At this time, in the middle of April, two things are inevitable: death and taxes. The later though is the gift that keeps on giving.



Bill Petro, your friendly neighborhood historian

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History of the Marathon


Today in Boston, Massachusetts is the running of the Boston Marathon. This is the oldest and longest running (no pun intended) annual marathon event, at least in the Western World. It began in 1897, the year following the reintroduction of the marathon competition into the first modern Olympics in 1896. This large event typically features over 30,000 participants, from all 50 states and over a hundred countries — and half a million spectators — and is one of more than 800 marathons held each year worldwide. It differs from other marathons in that it requires a qualifying time from another marathon, run within a limited date range on a particular type of course. The Boston Marathon is held annually on Patriots’ Day — which used to be fixed on April 19 signifying the beginning of the Revolutionary War — but is now the third Monday in April.


The race begins in Hopkinton, Massachusetts. The buses drop off the runners in front of the world headquarters of EMC Corporation, at least they did when I worked there, and the traffic nearby gets congested. The course starts on Main Street then winds east toward Boston, about a “marathon’s distance” away or 26.22 miles where it ends at Copley Square, downtown. Traditionally, the Boston Red Sox baseball team holds a game at Fenway Park to coincide with the race finishing the last mile in front of Kenmore Square.

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History of Martin Luther King Jr.


It is hard to believe that it was 50 years ago today that the world witnessed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. The world seemed to stop then in shocked silence. Today we remember him.

Born on January 15, 1929, we celebrate a holiday in honor of a man who was not a president, nor an explorer, nor a saint; rather he was a Baptist minister and an American leader of the 1960s civil rights movement who was named for the Protestant Reformer Martin Luther, after his father was inspired by a trip to Luther’s Wittenberg. Though President Carter awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1977, it was not until 1986 that a day was established on the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. as a federal holiday.

The only other American federal holidays that honored individuals have been for Jesus, President Washington, and Christopher Columbus.

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History of Easter: The Players: Where are they Now?


You may be asking yourself, “Self,” you ask, “where are they now?” And well you might ask. What happened to our players AFTER the events in the Easter story?


You may remember that I had said Antipas‘ taking as his own wife his brother’s wife Herodias led to his ruin. Actually, it led to his death. Her ambition pushed him where he would not have otherwise gone. Antipas’ nephew and Herodias’ brother, Herod Agrippa (who we meet in the New Testament book the Acts of the Apostles as one of the early persecutors of the new church) had spent and borrowed much money while he was in Palestine. He lived much of his time in Rome and was a close friend of the future Emperor Gaius (the infamous Caligula). While riding in a chariot with Caligula, he commented that he could not wait until the then emperor Tiberius was no longer Caesar so that Caligula might have his rightful place. A loyal slave overhearing this relayed it to Tiberius who had Agrippa thrown into prison.

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