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 2

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History Highlights
History Highlights

1776 – Convening in Philadelphia, the Second Continental Congress formally adopts Richard Henry Lee’s resolution for independence from Great Britain. The vote is unanimous, with only New York abstaining.

1881 – President James A. Garfield is shot while walking through a Washington, D.C. railroad station. Vice President Chester Arthur steps in as acting president while Garfield recuperates, but 80 days later, Garfield dies of blood poisoning and Arthur is inaugurated as 21st president. The assassin, 40-year-old Charles Guiteau, had stalked the president for weeks.

1937 – Aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, disappear over the Pacific Ocean while attempting to fly around the world. They were believed to be headed for Howland Island — about halfway between Hawaii and Australia —  after taking off from the city of Lae in Papua New Guinea.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act of 1964 into law. The historic measure prohibits discrimination on the basis of race in public places as well as in employment, union membership and voter registration. 

1979 – The Susan B. Anthony dollar coin is introduced, but fails to catch on because many consumers are unable to distinguish it from a quarter.

1994 – While attempting to land, US Air Flight 1016 crashes near Charlotte-Douglas Airport in North Carolina, killing 37 people and seriously injuring 16 others. Investigators determine that wind shear resulting from a thunderstorm caused the plane to plummet to the ground and strike a home.

1997 – “Men in Black,” starring Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, opens in U.S. theaters. The sci-fi-comedy action movie grosses more than $250 million domestically and helps establish Smith as one of Hollywood’s most bankable leading men.