A month of history

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Planned at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan campus, the anti-government rally under the title, “Sept 19: Return Power To Civilians” was set on the same date as the 2006 coup d’état.

On Saturday, the student protest marked the 14th anniversary of the bloodless coup in which the Royal Thai Army overthrew the government of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

I cannot remember where I was on that Tuesday in September 2006, however, this past weekend I was spending time with good friends and not at all interested in the protest.

It’s just another event to add to the list of “Today In Thai History”.

Born a Virgo, September is a momentous month for me and even more so for world history.

World War II in Europe began officially during the pre-dawn hours of Sept 1, 1939, when Germany, under Adolf Hitler’s blitzkrieg or lightning war strategy, decided to invade Poland.

In the Sept 11, 1939 issue of Time magazine, a story which carries the headline Grey Friday describes how it was a grey day with gentle rain when World War II began at 5.20am (Polish time).

Similarly, in the early morning hours of Sept 5, 1972, terrorists affiliated with the Black September organisation, a militant offshoot of the Palestinian group Fatah, killed two people and took nine members of an Israeli team hostage at the Olympic Village in Munich.

An ensuing shootout at the airport led to the death of the hostages, a German policeman and five Palestinian terrorists. The attack during the 1972 Summer Olympics, known as the Munich Massacre, was the first act of terrorism to be covered live by TV networks.

Likewise, a live broadcast of the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York, which were hit by two hijacked airplanes, shocked the world on the morning of Sept 11, 2001. The attacks also involved a third plane which had targeted the Pentagon just outside Washington DC while a fourth plane crashed in a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

It has been 19 years already since the world-changing Sept 11 attacks carried out by 19 terrorists belonging to the Islamic extremist group al-Qaeda. As a result, Sept 19, is designated as Patriot Day in the US in remembrance of the loss of almost 3,000 lives.

The tragedy has been dramatised in movies such as September Morning (2017), which portrays the aftermath of how the attacks affected five college freshmen.

Originally, September Morn (1914) was a silent comedy about a sailor, who has a nude maiden tattooed on his chest but since his sweetheart disapproves, he is forced to go back to the tattoo artist in order to clothe the figure.

The tattoo and film were inspired by September Morn, an oil-on-canvas painting by French artist Paul Chabas in 1912.

His controversial painting which portrayed a young woman bathing nude by the edge of Lake Annecy in Haute-Savoie, France, was said to have been completed on a September morning, giving the painting its name.

A song of the same name was released in 1979 by Neil Diamond who recalls a September morning of a couple who danced the night away while reuniting after a break in their relationship. Consequently, good memories of the romantic rendezvous are recalled on September mornings.

The ninth month of the year appears in many songs of various genres as well such as Frank Sinatra’s The September Of My Years, Carole King’s It Might As Well Rain Until September, James Taylor’s September Grass, and Barry White’s September When I First Met You.

Featuring her father Johnny Cash, Rosanne Cash’s September When It Comes was written when he was suffering from a health crisis. September was used as a metaphor for the autumn years of life.

The lyrics of the prophetic song were written in the 1990s. Sadly, Johnny Cash passed away at the age of 71, on Sept 12, 2003, from complications of diabetes.

On the lighter side of September, it’s the 21st today. By no doubt, the song of the day is Earth, Wind & Fire’s smash hit, September.

The first verse begins with: “Do you remember 21st night of September,” while the carefree chorus goes: “Ba-dee-ya, dancin in September, Ba-dee-ya, never was a cloudy day.”

Kanokporn Chanasongkram

Feature writer

Kanokporn Chanasongkram is a feature writer for the Life section of the Bangkok Post.