Nicholas II ruled from 1894 until his abdication on 15 March 1917. His reign saw Imperial Russia go from being one of the foremost great powers of the world to an economic and military disaster. Critics nicknamed him Bloody Nicholas because of the Khodynka Tragedy, Bloody Sunday, and those anti-Semitic pogroms that occurred during his reign. As head of state, he approved the Russian mobilization of August 1914 which marked the first fatal step into World War I and thus into the demise of the Romanov dynasty.
Today is also the 32nd anniversary of the tragic death of my dear friend Gary Evans Mamoru Murakami. He took his own life as I was flying to England to join Chanticleer on our first European Concert Tour. I still keep in touch with his mother, Toki, and sisters Annie & Mako. I was even asked to speak at his father's funeral. I visited Toki and Mako tonight. For the first time in many years, Toki told me that she missed Gary -- three times. She's in her ninety's and is bed ridden after a stroke. Of course, I did not mention the significance of today's date -- but I think she somehow knew.