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 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.