On This Day April 5

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Musical Milestones
Musical Milestones

1969 – Tommy Roe enjoys his fourth and final week on top of the pop chart with “Dizzy.”

1975 – “Lovin’ You,” by Minnie Riperton, tops the Billboard Hot 100. At the end of the track, you can hear her sing, “Maya, Maya” to her daughter, actress-comedian and “SNL” alum Maya Rudolph. Tragically, Riperton dies of breast cancer four years later at the age of 31.

1980 – “Another Brick in the Wall, Part II,” by Pink Floyd, is the No. 1 single. 

1984 – The funeral service for Motown legend Marvin Gaye takes place at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Los Angeles. Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Quincy Jones, Berry Gordy and other Motown talent are on hand to pay their respects.

1985 – At 3:50 p.m. GMT, more than 5,000 radio stations around the world simultaneously broadcast the single “We Are the World,” produced as a charity to benefit Ethiopian famine relief. The single, written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones, features the voices of some of the biggest musical acts of the day.

1994 – Grunge music icon Kurt Cobain, Nirvana founder and frontman, commits suicide. His body is discovered at his Seattle home three days later by an electrician who showed up to  install a security system.

1997 – “Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down,” by Puff Daddy featuring Mase, is in the middle of a six-week ride atop the Billboard Hot 100.

2008 – Leona Lewis has the No. 1 single with “Bleeding Love.” The track holds the top spot for a week.

On This Day March 18

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On This Day February 22

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On This Day February 3

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On This Day January 4

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On This Day October 6

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On This Day September 14

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1814 – After witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812, 35-year-old lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key writes a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which is later set to music, and in 1931, becomes America’s national anthem under its new title: “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over the fort at daybreak.

1901 – Six months into his second term as U.S. president, William McKinley dies after being shot by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. 

1959 – The Soviet’s Luna 2 rocket reaches the surface of the moon, becoming the first man-made object sent from Earth to the lunar surface. The event gives the Soviets a short-lived lead in the Space Race, and prompts the U.S. to speed up efforts to develop its own space program.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards entertainment pioneer Walt Disney the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying “in the course of entertaining an age, he has created an American folklore.”

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author John Steinbeck, who had already received numerous other honors for his literary work, including the 1962 Nobel Prize and 1939 Pulitzer Prize for “The Grapes of Wrath.”

1965 – Marching onto TV screens for the first time are the military farce “F Troop” and the short-lived sitcom “My Mother the Car.” 

1972 – Americans meet the Walton family and witness its trials and tribulations for nine years on CBS. “The Waltons” airs for the last time on this day in 1981, the same day that “Entertainment Tonight” premieres.  

1982 – Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly), who was an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning American actress before marrying into royalty, dies in a car crash at the age of 52. 

1999 – Millions evacuate their homes along the southeastern coast of the U.S. as Hurricane Floyd advances. The storm weakens from Category 4 to Category 2 by the time it makes landfall at Cape Fear, North Carolina on September 16. Floyd is blamed for nearly 60 deaths across eight U.S. states and The Bahamas.

2015 – A 14-year-old Muslim boy is arrested at his Irving, Texas high school after a digital clock he had reassembled at home using a pencil case was mistaken by his teacher to be a bomb. Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest triggers a media frenzy, as many saw the incident as a case of racial profiling.

On This Day September 15

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1916 – The tank makes its debut as a battlefield weapon, attacking German troops as part of a British assault near Bois d’Elville, or Delville Wood, on the Western Front, during the Battle of the Somme in World War I.

1942 – Three Japanese torpedoes slam into the American aircraft carrier USS Wasp off Guadalcanal in the South Pacific during World War II. The attack claims the lives of nearly 200 of the ship’s 2,000 crewmen. The wreckage of the Wasp was discovered at the bottom of the Coral Sea in January 2019.

1954 – The iconic scene of Marilyn Monroe laughing as her skirt is blown up by the blast of air from a Manhattan subway vent is shot during the filming of “The Seven Year Itch,” directed by Billy Wilder.

1959 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States. During the next two weeks, Khrushchev’s visit dominates the headlines and provides some dramatic and humorous moments in the history of the Cold War.

1963 – Four young black girls are killed in a bombing at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, that investigators determine to be a racially motivated terrorist attack. The bombing, which shocks the nation, is Birmingham’s third in 11 days following a federal order to integrate the Alabama schools.

1978 – Muhammad Ali defeats Leon Spinks to win the world heavyweight boxing title for the third time in his career, becoming the first fighter ever to do so. 

1981 – The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O’Connor as the first female Supreme Court justice. 

1982 – Gannett publishes the first edition of a new national daily newspaper called USA Today.

2008 – The venerable Wall Street brokerage firm Lehman Brothers seeks Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the largest victim of the subprime mortgage crisis that would devastate financial markets and contribute to the biggest economic downturn since the Great Depression.

On this Day July 22

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1916 – A massive parade in San Francisco marking Preparedness Day, in anticipation of the United States entering World War I, is interrupted when a suitcase bomb explodes, killing 10 bystanders and wounding 40 others.

1933 – Some 50,000 cheering New Yorkers greet aviator Wiley Post at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field as he completes the first solo flight around the world. Post logged 15,596 miles in seven days, 18 hours and 49 minutes — the fastest circumnavigation of the globe.

1934 – FBI agents gun down Public Enemy No. 1 — notorious bank robber and murderer John Dillinger, outside Chicago’s Biograph movie theater. Dillinger and his mob gang terrorized the Midwest, killing 10 men, wounding seven others, robbing banks and police arsenals, and staging three jail breaks — killing a sheriff during one and wounding two guards in another.

1937 – The U.S. Senate rejects President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s efforts to add more justices to the Supreme Court — his so-called “court-packing” plan. 

1942 –  Agricultural chemist George Washington Carver arrives in Dearborn, Michigan at the invitation of Ford Motor Company founder Henry Ford to begin collaborating on crop experiments.

1987 – Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev indicates that he will accept a worldwide ban on intermediate-range nuclear missiles.

1991 – Milwaukee police arrest serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer after discovering dismembered victims and other evidence in his apartment. Dahmer is tried and convicted for the murders of 17 males between 1978 and 1991. While serving time in prison, he is attacked and killed by a fellow inmate in 1994.

2003 – U.S. Army Private Jessica Lynch, a prisoner-of-war who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital, receives a hero’s welcome when the 20-year-old returns to her hometown of Palestine, West Virginia. Following her return, new details of her capture and rescue emerge suggesting the original accounts were exaggerated to create positive feelings about the war.

On this Day June 19

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1865 – Union soldiers land in Galveston, Texas with news that the Civil War has ended and that enslaved African Americans were now free. The announcement comes two and a half years after President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which took effect on January 1, 1863. Some historians blame the delay on poor communication of that era while others believe Texan slave owners intentionally withheld the information. June 19 is observed around the U.S. as Juneteenth. On June 17, 2021, it became a federal holiday.

1905 – The world’s first nickelodeon opens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and draws some 450 guests. The storefront theater boasted 96 seats and charged each patron a nickel.

1934 – Congress establishes the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate broadcasting in the United States.

1953 –  Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of conspiring to pass U.S. atomic secrets to the Soviets, die in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. Both deny wrongdoing and proclaim their innocence right up to the time of their execution. The Rosenbergs were the first American civilians executed for espionage during the Cold War.

1973 – In separate games, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds and Willie Davis of the L.A. Dodgers achieve their 2,000th career hits.

1978 – Cartoonist Jim Davis introduces readers of 41 newspapers around the U.S. to a pleasantly plump, lazy, lasagna-loving cat named Garfield.

1981 – A caped superhero returns to U.S. movie theaters with the release of “Superman II,” starring Christopher Reeve as “The Man of Steel.”

2013 –  Actor James Gandolfini, best known for his role as crime boss Tony Soprano in the HBO series “The Sopranos,” dies of a heart attack at age 51 while vacationing in Italy. 

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