A Blast from the Past

By United Press International   |   July 8, 2002 at 3:04 AM

Today is July 8.

The Liberty Bell rang out at what is now Independence Hall in Philadelphia on this date in 1776 to summon citizens for the first public reading of the new Declaration of Independence. The Continental Congress had adopted the document four days earlier, on July 4.

Also on this date, in 1835, the Liberty Bell cracked -- for the third time -- while being rung during the funeral of U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Marshall in Philadelphia.

The exploration of the world continued on this date in 1497, as Portuguese navigator Vasco da Gama sailed from Lisbon. His voyage would lead to the discovery of a sea route to India around the southern tip of Africa.

A couple of U.S. military milestones. It was on this date in 1950 that Gen. Douglas MacArthur was designated commander of U.N. forces in Korea. And in 1969, the withdrawal of American troops from Vietnam began.

The only leader in the history of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, died at age 82 on this date in 1994. Kim was a Stalinist-style dictator who created a godlike personality cult surrounding himself and his son and heir-apparent, Kim Jong Il. His passing occurred just weeks before an historic summit with the president of South Korea was to have taken place.

And four leaders of the Montana Freemen, on this date in 1998, were convicted in federal court in Billings, Mt., of conspiring to defraud banks. The anti-government, anti-tax group made headlines in 1996 during an 81-day standoff at its ranch.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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