On This Day February 7

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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 September 29

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1941 – The Babi Yar massacre of nearly 34,000 Jewish men, women, and children begins on the outskirts of Kiev in the Nazi-occupied Ukraine. The two-day bloodbath becomes a symbol of Jewish suffering in the Holocaust.

1966 – General Motors rolls out the sporty Chevy Camaro in an effort to go head-to-head with the popular Ford Mustang, which debuted two years earlier.

1988 – NASA launches the so-called “Return to Flight Mission” — the first space shuttle launch since the devastating Challenger explosion that claimed the lives of all seven crew members in January 1986. STS-26 marks the seventh flight for shuttle Discovery.

1988 – Stacy Allison of Portland, Oregon, becomes the first American woman to reach the summit of Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth.

1995 – President Bill Clinton posthumously awards voting rights advocate Willie Velasquez the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Velasquez and the organizations he founded are credited with dramatically increasing political awareness and participation among the Hispanic communities of the Southwestern U.S.

2005 – New York Times reporter Judith Miller is released from a federal detention center after agreeing to testify in the investigation into the leaking of the identity of covert CIA officer Valerie Plame.

2008 – Congress fails to pass a $700 billion bank bailout plan, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeting nearly 780 points — at the time, the largest single-day point loss in history. The free fall follows the bankruptcies of Wall Street brokerage firm Lehman Brothers, Savings and Loan bank Washington Mutual and the Fed’s pledge to extend an $85 billion bailout for insurance provider AIG.

On This Day September 2

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On this Day August 30

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Celebrity Birthdays
Celebrity Birthdays

1898 – Oscar, Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actress Shirley Booth (“Come Back, Little Sheba,” “Hazel,” “The Glass Menagerie”) (d. 1992)

1908 – Actor Fred MacMurray (“Double Indemnity,” “My Three Sons”) (d. 1991)

1918 – Baseball legend Ted Williams (d. 2002)

1924 – Fashion designer Geoffrey Beene (d. 2004)

1927 – Actor Bill Daily (“I Dream of Jeannie,” “The Bob Newhart Show”) (d. 2018)

1930 – Investment guru and philanthropist Warren Buffett, a.k.a. “The Oracle of Omaha”

1939 – Tony-winning actress Elizabeth Ashley (“Take Her, She’s Mine,” “The Carpetbaggers,” “Evening Shade”)

1946 – Actress Peggy Lipton (“The Mod Squad,” “Twin Peaks,” “The Postman”) (d. 2019)

1948 – Grammy-winning comedian Lewis Black (“The Daily Show,” “Black on Broadway,” “Red, White, and Screwed,” “The Carnegie Hall Performance”)

1954 – Actor David Paymer (“Mr. Saturday Night,” “Quiz Show,” “Searching for Bobby Fischer,” “City Slickers,” “Crazy People,” “Get Shorty,” “The American President,” “Ocean’s Thirteen,” “Drag Me to Hell”)

1963 – Actor Michael Chiklis (“The Commish,” “The Shield,” “Fantastic Four,” “Vegas,” “American Horror Story”)

1966 – Actress Michael Michele (“ER,” “Homicide: Life on the Street,” “Ali,” “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”)

1972 – Actress Cameron Diaz (“The Mask,” “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” “There’s Something About Mary,” “Being John Malkovich,” the “Charlie’s Angels” movies, the animated “Shrek” movies,” “Vanilla Sky,” “The Other Woman,” “Sex Tape,” “Annie”)

1982 – Tennis great Andy Roddick

History Highlights
History Highlights

1918 – Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin is shot twice by a member of the Social Revolutionary party. but survives the attack. The attempted assassination triggers a wave of reprisals by Bolsheviks against the Social Revolutionaries and other political opponents. Thousands are executed as Russia falls deeper into civil war.

1963 – A “hotline” linking Moscow and Washington, D.C. is activated to provide instant communication between the Superpowers in case nuclear weapons are accidentally launched. The system consists of a cable with a device resembling a large typewriter on either end.

1965 – New York Mets Manager Casey Stengel announces his retirement, ending a 56-year career in professional baseball.

1967 –  The U.S. Senate confirms Thurgood Marshall as the first African American justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. In nominating Marshall to the nation’s highest court, President Lyndon B. Johnson said, “It was the right thing to do, the right time to do it, the right man and the right place.” Marshall serves 24 years on the high court before retiring in 1991.

1976 – Tom Brokaw becomes news anchor of NBC’s “Today” show. where he remains for six years. He leaves in 1982 to co-anchor “NBC Nightly News” with Roger Mudd, taking over as sole anchor in 1983 and remaining in that post until 2004.

1983 – U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Guion “Guy” Bluford becomes the first African American to travel into space when the space shuttle Challenger lifts off on its third mission. In 2010, Bluford is inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame.

2003 – Actor Charles Bronson, best known for his tough-guy roles in movies like “The Dirty Dozen” and the “Death Wish” franchise, dies at the age of 81 in Los Angeles.

On this Day June 18

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1812 – Frustrated by Britain’s maritime practices and support of Native American resistance to western expansion, U.S. President James Madison signs a declaration of war against Britain, authorized by Congress, that sets the War of 1812 into motion. However, U.S. troops suffer great losses on land and at sea against the stronger British army. In August 1814, British troops enter Washington, D.C. and burn the U.S. Capitol and the White House. By December, both the Americans and British end the conflict with the signing of the Treaty of Ghent.

1923 – The first Checker cab is produced at the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company in Kalamazoo, Michigan and becomes part of a fleet rolling across the streets of Chicago. The iconic cab eventually serves big cities across the U.S. with a reputation for comfort and reliability. Checker production continues for 59 years until the last model rolls off the assembly line in July 1982. 

1961 – The Western series “Gunsmoke” is broadcast for the last time on CBS Radio.

1979 – President Jimmy Carter and Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev sign the SALT-II agreement establishing limitations and guidelines for nuclear weapons. The treaty, which never formally takes effect, proves to be one of the most controversial U.S.-Soviet agreements of the Cold War.

1983 – Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space as she sets out on a six-day mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger. During her NASA career, Ride flew on two shuttle missions and later became a champion for science education and a role model for generations. 

1984 – Members of a white nationalist group called The Order shoot and kill controversial radio talk show host Alan Berg in the driveway of his Denver home.