... 1924 (85 years ago today), Madeleine Riffaud (left) was born in Paris, France. When the Nazis occupied her city, the teenager adopted a codename and "joined the 20,000 strong Résistance in the French capital and became one of the 100,000 or so members nationwide." Decades later she told a Deutsche Welle reporter:
'I took the name of a German, out of respect for the author Rainer Maria Rilke, whose poems I loved. We were at war with the Nazis, not at war against the German people. So I became "Rainer" and remained so to the end of the occupation.'In retaliation for an SS massacre of 600 in central France, Riffaud shot a German soldier to death -- an exploit she recalled in her poem Femmes avec fusils (p. 5) -- and was arrested. She would be released when Allies liberated the city. After World War II she became a journalist, poet, and war correspondent, covering wars in Algeria and Vietnam. (image credit)
... 1990, Armenia declared itself sovereign. It would become independent from the Soviet Union a year later. Today the country (flag at left), which is slightly larger than the state of Maryland, has a population estimated in the neighborhood of 3 million.