Do individuals like you and me know for sure at the time something occurred that it was momentous, a historic turning point in the flow of events and individual lives. Probably not.
After all, it is only in retrospect–after the future becomes the present–that people look back at prior events and then can pinpoint something that occurred as pivotal. Surely, in 1859 when John Brown attacked the U.S. armory at Harper’s Ferry (VA) to get weapons to lead a slave rebellion, neither he nor most Americans knew that his actions (for which he was put to death) became instrumental in launching the Civil War over a year later.
Some other examples of not knowing when an event is a turning point:
When silversmith Paul Revere set out on his midnight ride on April 18, 1775 to alert militias in Lexington and Concord that British regulars were marching toward them to…
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