On This Day April 24

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1916 – The Irish Republican Brotherhood, a secret organization of Irish nationalists led by Patrick Pearse, launches the so-called Easter Rebellion (also known as Easter Rising), a six-day armed uprising against British rule. 

1945 – President Harry Truman is briefed on the full details of the Manhattan Project, an effort by American scientists to develop the world’s first atomic bomb. The project was so secret that President Franklin Roosevelt never informed Truman, his fourth-term vice president, that it existed by the time FDR died.

1962 – The first coast-to-coast satellite telecast takes place, as signals from California bounce off the first experimental communications satellite, Echo I, and are received in Massachusetts. 

1967 – Soviet cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov is killed in Soyuz 1 when the spaceship’s parachute fails to open during its descent to Earth. It is the first in-flight fatality in aerospace history.  

1980 – Eight U.S. servicemen die in a failed mission to rescue 52 American hostages in Iran. The fatalities occur when two U.S. military aircraft collide. In a nationally broadcast address, President Jimmy Carter says he assumes full responsibility for the disastrous outcome of Operation Eagle Claw.

1980 – Longtime Illinois Congressman John Anderson announces he is quitting the Republican party and will run as an independent presidential candidate against incumbent Democratic President Jimmy Carter and Republican challenger Ronald Reagan. He ends up finishing a distant third, capturing less than 7 percent of the vote and failing to win a single electoral vote.

1982 – Already well established as an Oscar-winning actress and outspoken political activist, Jane Fonda adds fitness guru to her credentials with the release of the million-plus-selling “Jane Fonda’s Workout” video. The video sparks the aerobics craze and popularizes leg-warmers and Spandex among fitness-minded women.

On This Day March 2

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History Highlights
History Highlights
Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1963 – “Walk Like a Man,” by Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, starts a three-week run at No. 1 on the Billboard singles chart. It is the band’s third chart-topping hit.

1967 – The Beatles win three Grammys for records issued the previous year: Best Song for “Michelle,” Best Vocal Performance for “Eleanor Rigby” and Best Cover Artwork for the album design of “Revolver” by Klaus Voormann.

1974 – “Seasons in the Sun,” by one-hit wonder Terry Jacks, claims the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and stays there for three weeks.

1974 – At the 16th Annual Grammy Awards, Stevie Wonder captures five honors: Album of the Year and Best Engineered Recording for “Innervisions,” Best R&B Song and Best Vocal for “Superstition,” and Pop Vocal Performance for “You Are The Sunshine Of My Life.” 

1974 – Roberta Flack wins Record of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance Grammys for “Killing Me Softly with His Song.” The track also garners a Song of the Year Grammy for its writers, Norman Gimbel and Charles Fox.

1985 – “Careless Whisper,” by Wham! featuring George Michael, begins its third and final week at No. 1 on the singles chart.

1985 – Sheena Easton becomes the first musical artist ever to land Top 10 hits on the pop, R&B, country, dance and adult contemporary charts when “Sugar Walls,” written by Prince, reaches No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. That is the song that sparked the Parental Advisory music labeling system (listen carefully to the lyrics and you’ll know why).

1999 – Acclaimed British pop vocalist Dusty Springield (“I Only Want To Be With You,” “You Don’t Have To Say You Love Me”) dies at the age of 59 following a five-year battle with breast cancer.

2002 – “Always on Time,” by Ja Rule featuring Ashanti, enters its second and final week as a No. 1 single.

On This Day February 10

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On this Day August 23

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On This Day September 1

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On this Day July 25

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1898 – More than 16,000 U.S. troops invade Puerto Rico asserting that they are liberating the inhabitants from Spanish colonial rule, which had recently granted the island’s government limited autonomy. The island, as well as Cuba and the Philippines, were spoils of the Spanish-American War, which ended the following month.

1943 – Benito Mussolini, fascist dictator of Italy, is voted out of power by his own Grand Council and arrested upon leaving a meeting with King Vittorio Emanuele, who tells Il Duce that the war is lost. 

1953 – Big changes take place for New York City commuters as the subway token is introduced, and the cost of riding the underground rises from a dime to 15 cents. 

1956 – The Italian ocean liner SS Andrea Doria collides with the MS Stockholm in heavy fog off the coast of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts, and sinks the next day, killing 51. 

1978 – Louise Joy Brown, the world’s first baby to be conceived throughin vitro fertilization (IVF) is born at Oldham and District General Hospital in Manchester, England.

1984 – Soviet cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya becomes the first woman to walk in space. She spends more than 3.5 hours outside the Salyut 7 space station along with a crewmate, welding, brazing and testing a new multipurpose tool. Savitskaya was twice awarded the title Hero of the Soviet Union, the highest honor bestowed by her country, and later entered Soviet politics.

1985 – The world learns that screen legend Rock Hudson has AIDS through a written announcement released by his publicist. He becomes the first celebrity to go public with such a diagnosis, which was still stigmatized at that time.

On this Day June 30

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1859 – Frenchman Jean Francois Gravelet, a.k.a.  The Great Blondin, or Charles Blondin, becomes the first daredevil to walk across Niagara Falls on a tightrope. Thousands of spectators line the American and Canadian sides of the falls to observe the feat, which he  performs along an 1,100-foot-long tightrope suspended 160 feet above the raging waters of Niagara Gorge.

1934 – In what comes to be known as the Night of the Long Knives, Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler orders a bloody purge of his own political party, assassinating hundreds of Nazis whom he believed had the potential to become political enemies in the future.

1936 – Margaret Mitchell’s Pulitzer Prize-winning “Gone with the Wind,” one of the best-selling novels of all time and the basis for the blockbuster 1939 movie, is published.

1971 – “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory,” a movie musical-fantasy starring Gene Wilder, opens in theaters. It’s an adaptation of Roald Dahl’s 1964 novel, “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

1971 – Three Soviet cosmonauts who made up the crew of the world’s first space station are killed when their spacecraft, Soyuz 11, depressurizes during reentry to Earth’s atmosphere.

1974 – The July 4th scene from the movie “Jaws” is filmed on Martha’s Vineyard, with 400 screaming, panic-stricken extras in bathing suits running from the water multiple times until director Steven Spielberg gets the right take.

1989 – Writer-director Spike Lee’s celebrated third feature film, “Do the Right Thing” about racial tensions boiling over in Brooklyn’s Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood on the hottest day of the year — opens in U.S. theaters. The movie receives Oscar nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Danny Aiello.

1993 – The legal thriller “The Firm,” directed by Sydney Pollack and starring Tom Cruise, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Gene Hackman, opens in theaters. It’s based on the 1991 novel of the same name by John Grisham.

1995 – Director Ron Howard’s high-intensity drama “Apollo 13,” about NASA’s desperate efforts to bring the crew of Apollo 13 safely home after an explosion that denies them a moon landing, opens in U.S. theaters. Starring Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris and Gary Sinise, the movie receives nine Oscar nominations and wins for Best Film Editing and Best Sound.

On this Day June 26

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1927 – Coney Island’s iconic Cyclone roller coaster begins operating. The ride quickly becomes a fan favorite, with long lines of repeat customers paying 25 cents per ride. In 1988, it is designated a New York City Landmark, and in 1991, it is added to the National Register of Historic Places.

1948 – Known as the “Berlin Airlift,” U.S. and British planes begin delivering food and supplies through airdrops to (West) Berlin, Germany after Soviet forces seal off rail, road, and water access with a blockade. The crisis finally ends almost a year later when Soviet forces lift the blockade on land access to the city.

1959 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower and Queen Elizabeth II preside at a ceremony marking the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which creates a navigational channel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Great Lakes.

1963 – President John F. Kennedy speaks the famous words, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” in a speech before cheering throngs in democratic West Berlin.

1974 – Grocery shopping is revolutionized with the introduction of the bar code. The first item scanned is a pack of Wrigley’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum at a supermarket in Troy, Ohio.

1993 – President Bill Clinton punishes Iraq for a plot to assassinate former U.S. President George H. W. Bush.

2015 – Marking a major milestone for civil rights, the Supreme Court rules that same-sex marriage cannot be banned in the United States and that all same-sex marriages must be recognized nationwide, finally granting same-sex couples equal rights to heterosexual couples under the law.

On this Day June 16

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