On This Day (8/24)

In 79 AD, Mount Vesuvius erupted
burying Herculaneum, Stabiae
and Pompeii in ash.

In 410, King Alaric’s Visigoths
began their pillage of Rome.

Forty five years later, Vandals
led by king Genseric
would repeat the feat
but with a little help
from Pope Leo
who opened the gates
in the name of public safety.

1349 Mainz saw six thousand Jews
killed after a bit of bubonic plague
the last antisemitic act
in German lands
at least for a while.

British troops
came to the capital in 1814
and initiated the Burning of Washington
during the War of 1812.
Foreign forces
have not invaded US
since then.

Later, 1933’s DC featured,
along with Roosevelt’s inauguration,
the derailment of the Crescent Limited train
after the bridge it was meant to cross
got washed out
by the Chesapeake–Potomac hurricane

and in some different year
you were born
making every individual
who would ever set eyes upon you
aware that it was the dawn
of a new way
where everything would change.
You ushered in change
unknowingly, perhaps without will,
but your presence
made us all wiser
and I thank you
and hope
it makes up for all the other shit
having taken place on your birthday.

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