On This Day April 4

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.

Own a Piece of This Day

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The Beatles 1962-1966 (The Red Album)

The Beatles

Bedtime Stories

Madonna

Redemption: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Last 31 Hours

Joseph Rosenbloom

City in the Sky: The Rise and Fall of the World Trade Center

James Glanz and Eric Lipton

Iron Man

Starring Robert Downey, Jr., Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges, and directed by Jon Favreau

The Dark Knight

Starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine and Heath Ledger, and directed by Christopher Nolan

On this Day August 7

History Highlights

1782 – General George Washington, commander in chief of the Continental Army, creates the “Badge for Military Merit” — a decoration for valor consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk with the word “Merit” stitched across the face. Only three soldiers were awarded the badge before it fell into disuse. It was revived in 1932 as the Purple Heart, consisting of a bust of Washington below a coat of arms.

1959 – The sheaves of wheat image on the U.S. penny is replaced with the Lincoln Memorial. 

1959 – NASA launches the Explorer 6 satellite to study trapped radiation, galactic cosmic rays and geomagnetism in the upper atmosphere. It is the first spacecraft to transmit images of Earth from orbit.

1972 – Yogi Berra, Sandy Koufax, Lefty Gomez and Early Wynn are inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. 

1974 – After six years of planning and preparation, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit walks a tightrope a quarter mile above the streets of Manhattan between the World Trade Center towers.

1990 – President George H. W. Bush orders the launch of Operation Desert Shield in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on August 2. The order prepares American troops to join an international coalition in the war against Iraq that would be launched as Operation Desert Storm in January 1991.

2005 – Longtime ABC News anchor and reporter Peter Jennings loses his battle with cancer at the age of 67.

2005 – The seven-person crew of a small Russian submarine (Priz) is rescued by an unmanned British submersible that freed the sub after its propellers became entangled in fishing nets deep in Pacific waters.

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Timeless: The All-Time Greatest Hits

Bee Gees

Mirage (Deluxe Edition)

Fleetwood Mac

The Hall: A Celebration of Baseball's Greats

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum

Man on Wire

Philippe Petit

Ralph Bunche: An American Odyssey

Brian Urquhart

North Country

Starring Charlize TheronFrances McDormand andSean Bean, and directed by Niko Caro