On This Day April 4

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1949 – The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by the U.S. and 11 other Western nations.

1960 – William Wyler’s Technicolor epic ,”Ben-Hur,” sets an Academy Awards record when it sweeps 11 of the 12 categories for which it was nominated, including Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor (Charlton Heston).

1968 – A sniper shoots and kills civil rights leader Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, on the balcony of a Memphis, Tennessee motel. As word of the assassination spreads, riots erupt in cities across the U.S., and National Guard troops are deployed in Memphis and Washington, D.C. In 1991, the murder scene—the Lorraine Motel—is dedicated as part of the National Civil Rights Museum.

1969 – CBS cancels the most popular show on TV at the time, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour,” because the brothers failed to submit their script to network executives to review before broadcast. 

1973 – A ribbon-cutting ceremony is held in New York’s Lower Manhattan to dedicate the original World Trade Center. At 110 stories each, 1 WTC, or the North Tower, and 2 WTC, the South Tower, would provide nearly 10 million square feet of office space. Reaching more than a quarter of a mile into the sky, the Twin Towers were the tallest buildings in New York City, and for a brief period, the tallest buildings in the world. 

1975 – At a time when most Americans are using typewriters, childhood friends and self-proclaimed computer geeks Bill Gates and Paul Allen establish Microsoft in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Four years later, they relocate the business to Washington State and grow it into a major multinational technology corporation.

2007 – Radio shock jock Don Imus makes offensive remarks about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team on the air, creating a firestorm of criticism across the country. Imus apologizes and loses his job, but ultimately is able to salvage his career.

2013 – Acclaimed movie critic Roger Ebert, who reviewed movies for the Chicago Sun-Times for 46 years and on TV’s Sneak Previews program for 31 years, dies at the age of 70 after battling cancer.

On This Day February 28

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On this Day May 14

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1804 – The Lewis & Clark expedition leaves St. Louis, Missouri, on a mission to explore the Northwest from the Mississippi River to the Pacific Ocean. President Thomas Jefferson commissioned his private secretary Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, an army captain, to make the journey.

1904 – The Third Olympiad of the modern era, and the first Olympic Games to be held in the United States, opens in St. Louis, Missouri. However, it is far from the international affair of more recent deacdes. Only 12 countries attend, with Americans accounting for 523 of the 630 participating athletes.

1948 – British rule in Palestine comes to an end as the Jewish National Council proclaims the establishment of the State of Israel. Within hours, Arab forces attack the fledgling nation.

1955 – The Soviet Union and seven Eastern European countries sign a treaty establishing the Warsaw Pact, a mutual defense organization that puts the Soviets in command of the armed forces of its partners. The move is aimed at counterbalancing the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Pact officially disbands in 1991 following the breakup of the Soviet Union.

1969 – After nine years of production, the last Chevy Corvair rolls off the assembly line. That’s the rear-engine compact car that consumer advocate Ralph Nader took to task citing safety concerns.

1973 – Skylab, America’s first space station, is successfully launched on a mission to observe and photograph the sun as well as to study the biological effects of life in space.