After the fall of Antioch during the First Crusade, the knights were restless and without leadership. The papal legate had died, leaving the princes in charge and bickering among themselves. The Fatimid Caliphate brought talk of peace to the Crusaders' table. But the Crusaders, though partly divided, were hungry for war. They trekked their way down the coast of the Mediterranean Sea towards Jerusalem.
On June 7, 1099 CE, the Crusaders arrived at the city walls they'd so longed to reach. Some of the soldiers fell to their knees in gratitude to the Lord that had ferried them here. They prayed that God grant them the strength to take the city from the Fatimids, and 5,000 knights rushed into battle.
Iftikhar ad-Daula, the governor of Jerusalem, had suspected the Crusaders' betrayal, and he had prepared his city well. Food and water were scarce in the region around Jerusalem, and Iftikhar ad-Daula had expelled all of Jerusalem's Christian inhabitants. The Crusaders were no match for the strength of Fatmid steel. The bodies of 3,500 knights littered the floor by the end.
But the Crusaders were not defeated. A fleet of Genoese ships brought wood and supplies for the Crusaders, allowing them to build siege towers. When the Crusaders brought the towers to bear, it was all of Jerusalem that suffered one among many atrocities committed during the First Crusade.
At the noon hour on Friday, with trumpets sounding, amid great commotion the Franks entered the city. . . Men joyfully rushed into the city to pursue and kill the nefarious enemies, as their comrades were already doing. Many of our enemies fled to the roof of the temple of Solomon, and were shot with arrows, so that they fell to the ground dead. In this temple almost 10,000 were killed. Indeed, if you had been there you would have seen our feet colored to our ankles with the blood of the slain. But what more shall I relate? None of them were left alive; neither women nor children were spared. —Fulcher of Chartres
Nine hundred eighteen years ago to the day, the Siege of Jerusalem began. It ended on July 15th.
Also, Louis XIV was crowned King of France on June 7, 1654. On June 7, 1788, the citizens of Grenoble took to their roofs, throwing tiles and other objects at the French troops on the streets below. It was called the "Day of the Tiles."
Tons of other stuff happened. Elvis Presley fans celebrated on June 7, 1982, when Priscilla Presley opened Graceland to the public. To this day, the second floor, including the bathroom where he died, remains off limits. I could go on about June 7th, but we could be here for days.
So, remember to celebrate today. For whatever reason you choose. Maybe it's a good opportunity to learn from the mistakes of our past, to celebrate the protests that gave us the freedoms we enjoy today, or to enjoy a memorial to a music icon. Maybe it'll help you come up with an idea for your next book! Who knows?
Happy Day of the Tiles!