Accomplishments and Records

Be Prepared for Something of Great Interest to Follow

It was a cold night in the Atlantic Ocean. The crew ship that was operated by the United Fruit Company thought it was going to be an ordinary evening. Then the radio came alive with a message in Morse Code:

-… . / .–. .-. . .–. .- .-. . -.. / ..-. — .-. / … — — . – …. .. -. –. / — ..-. / –. .-. . .- – / .. -. – . .-. . … – / – — / ..-. — .-.. .-.. — .–

The radio operator translated the dots and dashes and conveyed the message to the captain:

“Be prepared for something of great interest to follow.”

Something of great interest? What could that possibly be? Was the message a warning? A promise? Could it be a hoax?

Reginald Fessenden

Crew members gathered. They were nervous and on high alert. Then the radio came alive again. It turns out the first message was decidedly understated. The sounds from the radio were not just of great interest — they were miraculous!

Several miles distant, Reginald Fessenden was sending a message. He had been experimenting with ways to communicate across vast distances without the need for telegraph wires. Recent breakthroughs allowed for limited wireless communication of Morse Code, but Fessenden was sure he could do better.

He was right. His grand experiment was launched on December 24, 1906. It was Christmas Eve — a time when the world is in the mood for a miracle. Those listening to their radios at 9:00 that night heard exactly that: the world’s first radio broadcast.

That night, the radios that had, to that point, only transmitted the dots and dashes of Morse Code suddenly came alive with something of great interest: the sound of Fessenden’s violin playing “O Holy Night.” He concluded the broadcast with Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

Something of great interest, indeed.


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