On This Day April 9

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On This Day January 28

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History Highlights
History Highlights

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.

1964 – The State Department accuses the Soviet Union of shooting down an unarmed Air Force trainer jet over East Germany, killing its three occupants.

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.

1997 – Four apartheid-era police officers, appearing before a tribunal in South Africa, admit to the 1977 killing of Stephen Biko, a leader of the South African “Black consciousness” movement.

On This Day January 27

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On This Day January 3

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1938 – President Franklin D. Roosevelt and his former law partner, Basil O’Connor, establish the March of Dimes (originally known as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis) to battle polio, the disease FDR contracted at the age of 39 that prevented him from ever walking on his own again.

1961 – The U.S. severs diplomatic relations with Cuba two years after Fidel Castro seized control of the island nation 90 miles off the coast of Florida.

1967 – Jack Ruby, the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, dies of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned Ruby’s death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.

1969 – Apollo 8 astronauts William Anders, Frank Borman and Jim Lovell grace the cover of TIME magazine as “Men of the Year” for becoming the first humans to orbit the moon. During their mission, the trio also captured the iconic “Earthrise” image of planet Earth hovering above the lunar surface. They were hailed for bringing a hopeful conclusion to 1968 — a year filled with social strife that included the assassinations of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy.

1990 – Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega surrenders to U.S. military troops to face charges of drug trafficking.

1993 – The Buffalo Bills stage the greatest comeback in NFL history. Backup quarterback Frank Reich leads the Bills to an improbable 41-38 overtime victory over the Houston Oilers in an AFC wild card playoff game that would forever be known to football fans as “The Comeback.” In Houston, however, it was referred to as “The Choke.”

On this Day August 21

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On this Day July 16

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1790 – President George Washington signs into law the Residence Act, which grants him the authority to select a new site for a capital of the United States on the east bank of the Potomac River.

1935 – The intersection of First Street and Robinson Avenue in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma is the site of the first parking meter in the U.S. — Park-O-Meter No. 1.

1945 – The nuclear age begins as the so-called “Trinity Test” is conducted. Part of the Manhattan Project, the world’s first successful test of an atomic bomb takes place during the early morning hours in the desert at Alamogordo, New Mexico. 

1951 – J. D. Salinger’s novel, “The Catcher in the Rye,” is published and becomes one of the best known works in American literature. To date, more than 65 million copies have been sold.

1969 – Apollo 11 roars from its launch pad at Cape Kennedy, Florida on the first manned mission to the moon. Commander Neil Armstrong, Command Module Pilot Michael Collins and Lunar Module Pilot Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin set out to fulfill a national objective declared by President John F. Kennedy in May of 1961: perform a crewed lunar landing and return safely to Earth.

1999 – A single-engine plane piloted by publisher and presidential son John F. Kennedy, Jr. crashes into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha’s Vineyard, killing Kennedy, 38, his wife Carolyn, 33, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, 34. Five days later, underwater divers discover all three bodies still strapped into their seats.