On This Day April 7

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1776 – U.S. Navy Captain John Barry (a.k.a. “Father of the American Navy”), commander of the warship Lexington, achieves the first American naval capture of a British vessel when he seizes the British warship HMS Edward off the coast of Virginia. The capture of the Edward and its cargo turns Barry into a national hero and boosts the morale of the Continental forces.

1948 – The United Nations establishes the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote “the highest possible level of health” around the globe. A major cornerstone of WHO is the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease. World Health Day is observed internationally every April 7.

1954 – President Dwight Eisenhower coins one of the most famous Cold War phrases when he suggests the fall of French Indochina to the communists could create a “domino effect” in Southeast Asia. The so-called “domino theory” guided U.S. strategy toward Vietnam for the next decade.

1961 – President John F. Kennedy lobbies Congress to fund the preservation of historic monuments in Egypt’s Nile Valley threatened by construction of the Aswan High Dam.

1969 – The U.S. Supreme Court strikes down laws prohibiting private possession of obscene material (Stanley v. Georgia). 

1970 – At the 42nd annual Academy Awards, screen legend John Wayne ropes his first and only Oscar: Best Actor for his role in the Western “True Grit.”

1978 – President Jimmy Carter cancels planned production of the neutron bomb.

1994 – Violence in Rwanda fuels the launch of what becomes the worst episode of genocide since World War II: the massacre of an estimated 500,000 to 1 million innocent civilian Tutsis and moderate Hutus.

On This Day March 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1925 – The second inauguration of U.S. President Calvin Coolidge is the first to be nationally broadcast. More than 20 radio stations carry the event to an estimated 23 million listeners, including many children whose school auditoriums were specially equipped with speakers. 

1933 – During the height of the Great Depression, an estimated 150,000 spectators gather on the east grounds of the U.S. Capitol as Franklin D. Roosevelt is inaugurated as the 32nd U.S. president. FDR tells Americans, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

1933 – Newly inaugurated President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints Frances Perkins Secretary of Labor, making her the first female member of the U.S. cabinet.

1960 – Actress Lucille Ball divorces her husband and collaborator, Desi Arnaz, after 20 tumultuous years of marriage. The breakup of the couple, stars of the hit sitcom “I Love Lucy” and owners of Desilu Studios, becomes one of the highest-profile divorces in American history at that time.

1974 – People magazine makes its debut on American newsstands, featuring actress Mia Farrow on the cover.

1989 – Time, Inc. and Warner Communications announce plans to merge into the world’s largest media and entertainment conglomerate. 

1994 – Comedic actor John Candy (“Splash,” “Planes, Trains and Automobiles,” “Uncle Buck,” “Home Alone”) dies of a heart attack at 43 while filming a movie in Mexico.

2005 – Billionaire mogul Martha Stewart is released from a federal prison in West Virginia after serving five months and paying a $30,000 fine for lying and obstructing justice in a 2001 stock sale. Stewart serves five months of home confinement at her Bedford, New York estate and then faces two years probation.

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1963 – The Beach Boys release “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” which climbs as high as No. 3 on the Billboard pop chart. The The song features Brian Wilson’s lyrics set to the music of Chuck Berry’s “Sweet Little Sixteen.”

1966 – During an interview with the British newspaper London Evening Standard, John Lennon says of The Beatles: “We’re more popular than Jesus now.” The remark sets off an international furor when reprinted a few months later in an American teen magazine, with some radio stations refusing to play Beatles records and others burning them.

1967 – “Beggin’,” the 33rd hit single for Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, lands on the Billboard pop chart, eventually climbing to No. 16.

1967 – “Ruby Tuesday,” by The Rolling Stones, begins a week as the No. 1 single. Brian Jones plays recorder on the track while the double bass is played jointly by bassist Bill Wyman pressing the strings against the fingerboard and Keith Richards bowing the strings.

1978 – Andy Gibb sails to the top of the singles chart with “(Love Is) Thicker Than Water.” The song remains at No. 1 for two weeks.

1989 – Debbie Gibson starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart with “Lost in Your Eyes.”

1995 – Madonna is in the midst of a seven-week ride at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with “Take a Bow,” off her “Bedtime Stories” album.

2000 – Nashville-based country music band Lonestar claims the top spot on the pop chart with “Amazed.” The single holds at No. 1 for two weeks.

2006 – “Check on It,” by Beyoncé featuring Slim Thug, begins its fifth and final week as a No. 1 single. 

On This Day December 18

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On This Day October 24

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On this Day June 25

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1876 – Native American forces led by Chiefs Crazy Horse and Sitting Bull defeat the U.S. Army troops of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer in a bloody battle near southern Montana’s Little Bighorn River. The conflict becomes known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn.

1942 – General Dwight D. Eisenhower (a.k.a. “Ike”), who would later become 34th U.S. president, assumes command of all U.S. troops in the European theater during World War II. In 1943, Ike is appointed supreme Allied commander of all forces in Europe.

1950 – Armed forces from communist North Korea invade South Korea, setting off the Korean War. The United States, acting under the auspices of the United Nations, quickly springs to the defense of South Korea and fights a bloody and frustrating war for the next three years.

1962 – In the case of Engel v. Vitale, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that prayers read aloud in public schools violate the separation of church and state stipulated by the First Amendment.

1968 – Congress passes the Flag Desecration Law, making it a crime to burn or otherwise desecrate the American flag. However, in 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down flag desecration laws in 48 states in its 5-4 Texas v. Johnson ruling, stating that flag desecration is a constitutionally protected form of free speech.

1993 – Kim Campbell is sworn in as Canada’s 19th prime minister, becoming the first woman to hold the country’s highest office.

2009 – Actress Farrah Fawcett — best known for TV and movie roles in “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Cannonball Run” and “The Burning Bed,” and who rocketed to pin-up status when a 1976 poster of her in a red bathing suit sold 12 million copies — dies at 62 following a three-year battle with anal cancer.

On this Day May 7

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