On This Day February 17

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On This Day February 15

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1879 – President Rutherford B. Hayes signs a bill allowing female attorneys to argue cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

1898 – The battleship USS Maine explodes and sinks in Havana (Cuba) Harbor, killing more than 260 crewmen. The incident prompts the U.S. to declare war on Spain. 

1903 – The first teddy bear, named for U.S. President Theodore (Teddy) Roosevelt, goes on sale. Toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window after personally getting Roosevelt’s permission to name them after him.

1933 – Two weeks before his inauguration, President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt is fired upon by a would-be assassin after giving a speech in Miami. FDR is unharmed, but a bullet strikes Chicago Mayor Anton Cermak, who dies three weeks later.

1965 – A new red-and-white maple leaf design is adopted as the flag of Canada, replacing the old Canadian Red Ensign banner. 

1978 – Leon Spinks takes the heavyweight boxing champion title away from defending champ Muhammad Ali in a split decision in Las Vegas. 

1985 – “The Breakfast Club” opens in U.S. theaters. Directed by John Hughes and starring Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Judd Nelson, Anthony Michael Hall and Ally Sheedy — members of the so-called “Brat Pack” — it becomes an ’80s movie classic. In 2016, the film is selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by The Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”

1998 – Racing great Dale Earnhardt, Sr. wins his first Daytona 500, the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR) season opener and an event dubbed the “Super Bowl of stock car racing.”

Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1964 – “Meet The Beatles!” reaches No. 1 on the Billboard album chart, becoming The Beatles’ first chart-topping album in the U.S. It holds the top spot for eleven weeks and sells more than four million copies by the end of that year.

1965 – The Beatles record “Another Girl” and “Ticket to Ride” for the “Help!” album. Earlier that day, John Lennon earns a personal ticket to ride by passing his driving test. 

1965 – Entertainer Nat King Cole (“Unforgettable,” “Those Lazy-Hazy-Crazy Days of Summer,” “The Christmas Song,” “Mona Lisa”), who earned early acclaim as a jazz pianist and became the first African American performer to host a network TV variety show, dies of lung cancer at the age of 45.

1969 – Sly & the Family Stone rule the Billboard singles chart with “Everyday People,” which remains at No. 1 for four weeks.

1975 – “You’re No Good,” by Linda Ronstadt, is the No. 1 single.

1984 – Beloved actress-singer Ethel Merman, best known for her rendition of “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” from the musical “Annie Get Your Gun,” dies at the age of 75.

1986 – “How Will I Know,” by Whitney Houston, becomes the most popular single in the U.S. for two weeks.

1992 – One-hit-wonder Right Said Fred is in the middle of three weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 with “I’m Too Sexy.”

2003 – “All I Have,” by Jennifer Lopez featuring LL Cool J, is midway through a four-week run at No. 1 on the singles chart.

On this Day July 15

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1903 – The newly formed Ford Motor Company receives its first automobile order. The customer is Chicago dentist Ernst Pfenning, who buys an $850 two-cylinder Model A with a tonneau, or backseat. The vehicle is delivered a week later.

1968 – Agnes Nixon’s daytime soap opera “One Life to Live” premieres on ABC and goes on to launch many successful acting careers. 

1971 – During a live television and radio broadcast, President Richard Nixon stuns Americans by announcing that he will visit the People’s Republic of China the following year. 

1979 – President Jimmy Carter delivers his famous “Crisis of Confidence” speech, later referred to as the “malaise speech,” in which he challenged Americans to overcome consumersism and materialism to solve the energy crisis and other challenges.

1988 – A new action-thriller movie franchise is born as “Die Hard” opens in U.S. theaters, starring Bruce Willis as detective John McClane, who single-handedly battles a terrorist group led by Alan Rickman that is holding hostages inside a Los Angeles skyscraper.

1997 – World-renowned Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace is shot to death outside his Miami mansion by serial killer Andrew Cunanan, who was already wanted in connection with four other murders across the U.S.

2006 – Podcasting company Odeo launches the social media platform Twitter as twttr, touting it as “a new mobile service that helps groups of friends bounce random thoughts around with SMS.” Twitter’s popularity explodes, with the service boasting more than 300 million users by 2016.