A closer look at the key events on March 17 in history:

St. Patrick’s Day is the feast day of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland who was born in the late 4th century and was kidnapped and taken as a slave to Ireland at the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He escaped but returned about 432 CE to convert the Irish to Christianity. The day celebrates his death on March 17, 461 by which he had established monasterieschurches, and schools. The once religious festival has been largely secularized and is widely celebrated in Ireland and the US.

St. Patrick’s Day procession in Murphy Street, Wangaratta, Victoria. 1910. Kaye

The Apartheid Referendum Is Held
The referendum asked whether South Africans supported State President F.W. de Klerk‘s suggestion on ending the apartheid system instituted in 1948. The vote was limited to white South Africans. Nearly 69% voters backed de Klerk’s reforms effectively ending apartheid.
March 17

Results, by referendum region, of the South African apartheid referendum. Htonl

In 1973, the “Burst of Joy” photo is taken

Photographer Slava Veder took the picture a former US prisoner of the Vietnam war being reunited with his family. Veder won the Pulitzer Prize for the image in 1974. However, the photo has a sad story behind it, as the depicted Lt. Col. Robert L. Stirm received a “Dear John” letter from his wife four days earlier.

Vietnam war Pulitzer 1974. Flickr

In 1969, Golda Meir becomes Israel’s fourth Prime Minister

Golda Meir was the first and only female prime minister in Israel and the first female Prime Minister in the Middle East. She was known as the “Iron Lady” long before British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher rose to power and assumed the title.

Golda Meir, Israeli PM.1973. Library of Congress

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