On This Day January 28
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1915 – The American merchant ship William P. Frye becomes the first casualty of World War I as a German cruiser opens fire and sinks the vessel. Despite apologies from the German government, the attack sparks outrage in the U.S.
1922 – Ninety-eight guests are killed, 133 others are injured when the roof of Washington, D.C.’s Knickerbocker Theatre collapses under the weight of a heavy snowfall. The disaster ranks as one of Washington’s worst, and the “Knickerbocker Snowstorm,” as it is known, still holds the record for Washington’s single greatest snowfall.
1958 – The interlocking stud-and-tube plastic Lego brick is patented by Godtfred Kirk Christiansen, whose father founded the Lego toy company (“Lego,” from the Danish term “leg godt,” meaning “play well”). The colorful bricks have covered playroom floors for generations. In fact, it’s estimated that Lego has since produced the equivalent of 62 bricks for every human being on the planet.
1986 – A nation watches in horror as Space Shuttle Challenger (STS-51-L) explodes 73 seconds into flight, killing teacher Christa McAuliffe — who was to have been the first civilian in space — and fellow crew members Dick Scobee, Michael Smith, Judith Resnick, Ellison Onizuka, Ronald McNair and Gregory Jarvis.
1985 – Forty-five of the world’s top recording artists gather in a Los Angeles studio to record “We Are the World” to help raise funds for Ethiopian famine relief. The song, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, reaches No. 1 on the singles chart three months later.