Wednesday, March 5, 2008

On this day

On March 5, ...
... 1898 (110 years ago today), Soong Mei-ling was born in Shanghai, China, to Chinese parents who were devout Christians. Her father, a Methodist minister, had spent 15 years in the United States before her birth; she herself moved there at age 10, earning a degree from Wellesley College in 1917. She then returned to China, where she met Chiang Kai-shek, "a severe-looking military aide." Not long after the 2 met, divorced his 1st wife and married Soong. Chiang would become President of China and then, along with his wife and their Kuomintang allies, flee the Communists to Taiwan. Fluent in English (her husband was not), Madame Chiang visited the United States often; she's pictured above with U.S. 1st Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1943. Madame Chiang became, in the words of The New York Times, "a dazzling and imperious politician," "a pivotal figure in one of the 20th century's great epics -- the struggle for control of post-imperial China waged between the Nationalists and the Communists during the Japanese invasion and the violent aftermath of World War II." She died in 2003 at age 105.
... 2003 (5 years ago today), referring to U.S. President George W. Bush, Texas native Dixie Chick Natalie Maines said that she "'ashamed the president of the United States is from Texas" before a concert audience in London. The remark touched off a U.S. boycott of the band's music; a week later, Maines (left) commented, "I feel the President is ignoring the opinions of many in the U.S. and alienating the rest of the world."

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