Civil War enthusiasts will enjoy a big year, with the 150th anniversary of a number of events. The Emancipation Proclamation, President Lincoln's military order freeing the slaves, was issued Jan. 1, 1863. Prominent battles that year -- and get ready for their recreations -- include the Battle of Chancellorsville, Va., in May, Gen. Ulysses Grant's campaign in the Vicksburg, Miss., area in May, the Battle of Gettysburg, Pa., in July, the Battle of Chickamauga on the Tennessee-Georgia border in September, the Union attack on Chattanooga, Tenn., in October and the Siege of Knoxville, Tenn., in November.
How we choose to remember it is a matter of individual choice, but Feb. 3 is the 100th anniversary of the ratification of Article 16 to the U.S. Constitution, the one giving Congress the "power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived," better known as the federal income tax.
It's also the 100th anniversary of the rise of modern art. Yes, you can pin a date on it, the centennial of the International Exhibition of Modern Art at New York City's 69th Armory. Known historically as The Armory Show, it brought modern European painting and sculpture, abstract and subjective, to America for the first time. Works by Marcel Duchamp, Paul Cezanne and Wassily Kandinsky, among others, were exhibited, and suddenly Impressionism, portraiture, landscapes and other realistic art took a back seat to a new way of seeing things.
"It will throw a bomb into our art work and a good many leaders will be hit," a headline of a newspaper review said, and it was right. Art in America was never the same.
Something similar occurred in the world of classical music, with the premiere of Igor Stravinsky's "the Rite of Spring," a symphonic piece for accompaniment to a dance by the Ballet Russes, in Paris on May 29, 1913. This dissonant and avant-garde work caused a riot in the audience, it was reported, one of the rare times a brawl could be observed at a ballet. More importantly, its startling diversion from traditional form influenced much of classical music thereafter.
Famous citizens were born in 1913, including civil rights leader Rosa Parks, President Richard M. Nixon and Hollywood's Lloyd Bridges, Danny Kaye, Loretta Young, Red Skelton and Burt Lancaster. So were football's Vince Lombardi and the labor movement's Jimmy Hoffa. "How 'bout that!" as sportscaster Mel Allen would say (also born 1913).
The year 2013 puts us in the middle of the bicentennial of the nearly three-year War of 1812. Expect remembrances of the frigate Chesapeake's capture by the British outside Boston Harbor, in which the mortally wounded Captain David Lawrence exclaimed: "Don't give up the ship! Hold on, men!" The of the settlements of York (now Toronto) and Buffalo, among others, were burned.
The year 1963 will be most prominently noted for the "I Have a Dream" speech of Dr. Martin Luther King on Aug. 28 and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on Nov. 22, but don't forget the first comic book appearance of Marvel Comics' Iron Man and the X-Men, the first cartoon animation of Japanese manga in "Astro Boy," the first Beatles album -- not the iconic "Meet the Beatles" but the more obscure "Please Please Me" -- and rollout of the diet cola known as Tab.
It was also the year commercial artist Harvey Ball designed the ubiquitous "Smiley Face," urging us to have a nice day or something similar.
As for 25th anniversaries, 1988 brought us the first noticeable spread of crack cocaine, the first use of laser eye surgery, the first Internet-distributed worm (known as the Morris Worm) and the highest point of Michael Dukakis' career, as Democratic nominee for the presidency (he lost to George H.W. Bush). The first foreign car manufacturer to build in America, Volkswagen, left its Pennsylvania factory after 10 years. It also brought us the last shooting spree in an elementary school before the recent events in Newtown, Conn., the assault committed by Laurie Dann in Winnetka, Ill., north of Chicago that left one child dead and several injured.
We're still sorting out the significance of the events of 2003 but it was marked by the destruction of the Space Shuttle Columbia and the deaths of seven U.S. astronauts, the capture of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the last flight of the supersonic transport aircraft Concorde and the death of television's Mr. Rogers.