1709 Alexander Selkirk was rescued.
1919 Jackie Robinson was born.
1990 McDonald’s opened its first fast-food restaurant in the Soviet Union.
Somehow, we seem to prefer to deal with facts in sensationalized fictional—almost mythological—terms. And truth, they say, is stranger than fiction. On this date, a true story—which nobody really remembers—provided the basis for a novel that everyone knows. In 1709, a British sailor named Alexander Selkirk was rescued after being marooned for four years on a Pacific island. You may not recognize Selkirk’s name, but you might have heard the story of Robinson Crusoe and his adventures which was written by Daniel Defoe.
Occasionally one person becomes the living embodiment of an idea; the symbol of a widely held belief. When that happens, the symbol oftentimes works alone. That’s the way it was with Jackie Robinson, a great baseball player who was born on this date in 1919. Robinson played for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He broke all-time records throughout his long career. He was also the first African-American major league baseball player. Robinson courageously fought to integrate the all-American sport. And in the end, his dedication helped open the doors for other African-American athletes like Ernie Banks of the Chicago Cubs.
An American institution took the Soviet Union by storm on this date in 1990. McDonald’s opened its first fast-food restaurant in Moscow’s Red Square: the world famous golden arches lit up in the world-famous anti-capitalist capitol.