Almanac – September 17

1179 – Hildegard of Bingen died. German writer, composer, philosopher, Christian mystic, Benedictine abbess, visionary, and polymath. One of her works as a composer, the Ordo Virtutum, is an early example of liturgical drama and arguably the oldest surviving morality play.

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1716 – Jean Thurel enlisted in the Touraine Regiment of the French army at the age of 17, the first day of an extraordinarily long career that spanned over 90 years of service . Having been born during the reign of Louis XIV and died during that of Napoleon I, Thurel lived in three different centuries and served three different monarchs. In 1787, when his regiment was ordered to march to the coast to embark on ships, he was given the opportunity to travel in a carriage due to his advanced age. The 88-year-old Thurel refused the offer and marched the entire distance on foot, stating that he had never before traveled by carriage and had no intention of doing so at that time.

On 26 October 1804, at the age of 105, Thurel became one of the first recipients of the newly established l’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur (National Order of the Legion of Honor), the highest decoration in France. Napoleon I also rewarded him with a pension of 1,200 francs.He died in Tours on 10 March 1807, at the age of 107, after a brief illness.

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1923 – Hank Williams born. American singer-songwriter and musician regarded as one of the most important country music artists of all time.

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1935 – Ken Kesey born.  American author, best known for his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1962),and as a counter-cultural figure who considered himself a link between the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the hippies of the 1960s –  “I was too young to be a beatnik, and too old to be a hippie” – cue LSD and the Merry Pranksters.

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1948 – Zionist terrorists The Lehi (also known as the Stern gang) assassinated Count Folke Bernadotte,  appointed by the UN to mediate between the Arab nations and Israel.
Ironically Bernadotte, a Swedish diplomat,  was noted for his negotiation of the release of about 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps during World War II, including 450 Danish Jews from Theresienstadt.

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