A Blast from the Past

By United Press International   |   Oct. 29, 2002 at 3:45 AM

Today is Nov. 4.

This is the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. On this date in 1979, Iranian militants overran the embassy compound, taking some 90 people hostage -- 63 of them Americans. They vowed to hold the hostages until the former Shah, who was in the United States for medical treatment, was returned to Iran for trial. That didn't happen. Instead, the Shah died in July 1980 in an Egyptian military hospital near Cairo, and the hostage drama continued until Jan. 21, 1981, when the remaining 52 American hostages were released after 444 days of captivity. The release took place as Ronald Reagan was sworn in as president.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, 73, was assassinated on this date in 1995 following a peace rally in Tel Aviv. His killer was a Jewish man who opposed Rabin's peace overtures to the Palestinians.

Hungary's brief flirtation with democracy and its attempt to leave the Soviet sphere of influence ended bloodily on this date in 1956, when Soviet forces entered Budapest to crush the anti-communist revolt.

It is considered one of the more important archaeological discoveries of modern times. On this date in 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of ancient Egypt's child-king, Tutankhamen, near Luxor. "Tut" became pharaoh at the age of 9 and died, probably in 1352 B.C., at age 19.

And in 2001, the five-year-old Arizona Diamondbacks upset the New York Yankees to win the World Series in seven games. Fastest expansion team to win the title, Arizona took a 3-2 decision in the deciding seventh game to spoil the Yankees' bid for four straight.

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Today is Nov. 5.

Today is Guy Fawkes Day. It was on this date in 1605 when Fawkes and his fellow conspirators failed in their plot to blow up the English Parliament and with it, King James I. It was a Catholic plot against Protestant England. The conspirators were beheaded the following January and their heads displayed on pikes at London Bridge.

President Roosevelt was re-elected to an unprecedented third term on this date in 1940. One of the political slogans Roosevelt supporters carried on election banners read "Safe on Third." It was "Don't Change Horses in the Middle of the Stream" when Roosevelt sought and won a fourth term four years later at the height of World War II.

It was on this date in 1990 in New York City that an Egyptian-born gunman, apparently acting alone, assassinated Meir Kahane, the U.S. native who founded the militant Jewish Defense League. Kahane had been thrown out of Israel's parliament for his racist anti-Arab views.

The body of British media mogul Robert Maxwell was found on this date in 1991, floating in the Atlantic Ocean off the Canary Islands. Maxwell had drowned after falling off his yacht. After his death, his media empire was found to be in significant financial disarray.

It was on this date in 1733 that German-born publisher John Peter Zenger began printing The New York Weekly Journal, in opposition to the British colonial administration. Just about a year later, Zenger would be arrested and charged with libel. His trial, at which he was acquitted, remains an important landmark in the history of the struggle for freedom of the press.

And it was on this date in 1992 that former U.S. world chess champion Bobby Fischer triumphed in his $5 million rematch against Russian archrival Boris Spassky. The match --- held in Belgrade, Yugoslavia -- was staged in defiance of U.N. sanctions against the Yugoslav federation.

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Today is Nov. 6.

Abraham Lincoln was elected 16th president of the United States on this date in 1860. The lawyer from Illinois was opposed to slavery, and this belief -- along with others -- helped prompt the Southern states to secede from the Union.

Lincoln wasn't the only president elected on this date. In 1968, Richard Nixon's second bid for the White House was successful when he was elected 37th president of the United States, defeating Democrat Hubert Humphrey.

And on this date in 1984, President Reagan was elected to a second term, winning 49 states and soundly defeating Democratic challenger and former Vice President Walter Mondale.

World leaders gathered in Jerusalem on this date in 1995 for the funeral of assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Rabin had been killed two days earlier by a man who opposed the prime minster's peace overtures to the Palestinians.

The Bolshevik revolution began in Russia on this date in 1917. Because it took place under the old czarist calendar, which listed the month as "October," it is known as the October Revolution.

At the age of 45, George Foreman became the oldest boxer to win a championship fight in any weight class on this date in 1994 when he knocked out Michael Moore in Las Vegas to claim the International Boxing Federation and World Boxing Association heavyweight titles.

And it was on this date in 1869, in the first formal intercollegiate football game, that Rutgers beat Princeton, 6-4.

Baseball owners on this date in 2001 voted overwhelmingly to eliminate two money-losing teams by the start of the 2002 season. The two teams most often mentioned were Montreal and Minnesota but no action was taken and the two were still around in 2002. In fact, Minnesota made the playoffs,

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Today is Nov. 7.

Voters went to the polls on this date in 2000 to elect a president but the outcome of one of the closest presidential elections in decades would not be known for more than a month. The race between Republican George W. Bush, the eventual winner, and Democrat Al Gore was so close it all came down to the disputed Florida vote and subsequent recount plus a vital U.S. Supreme Court ruling favoring Bush.

A political milestone for African-Americans occurred on this date in 1989, when Democrat David Dinkins was elected as the first black mayor of New York City. In Virginia, Democrat Douglas Wilder claimed victory in a razor-thin race to become the first black elected governor in America.

Republican Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives on this date in 1916.

In 1944, at the height of World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was re-elected to a fourth term on this date in 1944, defeating Thomas Dewey. FDR was the first and only person elected to the office four times. However, he only served 53 days after his Jan. 20, 1945, inauguration and did not live to see the end of the war. He died on April 12 of a cerebral hemorrhage at his Warm Springs, Ga., retreat.

It was on this date in 1874 when a real political institution began in America. Thomas Nast used an elephant to represent the Republican Party in a satirical cartoon published in Harper's Weekly. Today, the elephant is still recognized as a symbol of the GOP.

On this date in 1940, the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in Washington State, then the third longest suspension bridge in the world, swayed one last time and collapsed, only four months after its completion. No one was injured. Experts still argue about what caused a bridge designed to withstand winds up to 120 mph could collapse in a wind of 42 mph. Most agree, however, that the collapse was related to resonance, a phenomenon that also comes into play when a soprano shatters a glass with her voice. In the case of the Tacoma Narrows, the wind resonated with the natural frequency of the structure, causing a steady increase in amplitude until the bridge was destroyed.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition arrived at the Pacific Ocean on this date in 1805.

Federal Judge Douglas Ginsburg's nomination for the U.S. Supreme Court went up in smoke on this date in 1987. Ginsburg withdrew his name following criticism of his judicial ethics and his admission that he had used marijuana.

And it was on this date in 1991 that basketball star Earvin "Magic" Johnson disclosed he was infected with the virus that causes AIDS, and announced he was retiring from the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson would play for the U.S. Olympic basketball team in 1992 and briefly consider rejoining the Lakers, only to retire for good later that year.

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Today is Nov. 8.

The Allied invasion of German-occupied North Africa began on this date in 1942, when more than 400-thousand soldiers landed on the shores of the African continent.

It was on this date in 1864, as the Civil War raged on, that Abraham Lincoln was elected to his second term as president. He would not finish the term, however. The following April 14, five days after Robert E. Lee surrendered, Lincoln was shot by John Wilkes Booth and died the next day.

George Herbert Walker Bush was elected the 41st president of the United States on this date in 1988, after serving eight years as Ronald Reagan's vice president. Bush had sought the GOP nomination in 1980, blasting Reagan's "voodoo economics." He changed his tune after Reagan capped the nomination and asked him to be his running mate.

Speaking of elections...

A stunning upset took place on this date in 1994 when Republican candidates swept the general election, regaining control of both chambers of Congress. It marked the first time in 40 years the Republicans controlled both the House and the Senate.

It was on this date in 1985 -- after no small hint from a song by Bob Dylan --- that a judge overturned Rubin "Hurricane" Carter's conviction for a 1966 triple murder in a Patterson, N.J., bar. The former boxer had spent 19 years in prison for a crime he did not commit.

Mount Holyoke Seminary in Massachusetts was established on this date in 1837, becoming the first American college founded exclusively for women. While many institutes of higher education for women became co-ed in the 1960s and '70s, Mount Holyoke College, as it's now known, remains women only.

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Today is Nov. 9.

After 28 years as a reviled symbol of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall was opened on this date in 1989. East Germany announced free passage for its citizens through border checkpoints. The announcement followed a month that saw many East Germans flee to the West through other countries. Not only did the Wall eventually fall, so did the regime of Erich Honecker, who'd supervised the building of the Wall in 1961.

The night of Nov. 9 and into the morning hours of Nov. 10, 1938, saw mobs of Germans attacked Jewish businesses and homes throughout Germany in what became known as Kristallnacht, or Crystal Night. More than 30,000 Jews were arrested and at least 91 killed. The name comes from the smashing of glass store windows.

20 years earlier, in 1918 as World War 1 drew to a close, German Kaiser Wilhelm II abdicated his throne and fled to the Netherlands. Revolt had broken out in Germany as it became clear the war was lost.

On this date in 1933, at the height of the depression, President Roosevelt set up the Civil Works Administration as an emergency agency to provide jobs for the unemployed.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was completed on this day in 1984 by the addition of the Frederick Hart statue titled "Three Servicemen."

Where were you when the lights went out? On this date in 1965, a massive power failure left more than 30 million people in the northeastern United States and eastern Canada in the dark. The experience highlighted the vulnerability of 20th century technology. In many cities hit by the electrical outage, a baby boom followed nine months later.

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Today is Nov. 10.

President George W. Bush told the United Nations General Assembly on this date in 2001 that the time had come for countries to take swift and decisive action against global terrorism, Taliban officials meanwhile confirmed that the Northern Alliance had captured the Afghan city of Mazar-i-Sharif.

It was on this date in 1775 that the United States Marine Corps was formed by order of the Continental Congress.

Soviet President Leonid Brezhnev died on this day in 1982 after 18 years in power. He was 75. Brezhnev was succeeded by former KGB chief Yuri Andropov as general secretary of the Soviet Communist Party.

Having begun his search eight months earlier for Scottish missionary David Livingstone, missing for 2 years at that point, journalist Henry Stanley found him in a small African village on this date in 1871. Stanley's remark -- "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?" -- has since become one of history's favorite phrases.

It was on this date in 1917 that 41 women from 15 states were arrested outside the White House for suffragette demonstrations. American women won the right to vote three years later.

The ore freighter Edmund Fitzgerald broke in two and sank during a storm on Lake Superior on this date in 1975, killing all 29 crew members aboard. It was the worst Great Lakes ship disaster of the decade. A year later, Gordon Lightfoot had a hit single with "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."

And the long-running children's show "Sesame Street" premiered on PBS on this date in 1969. The show, which features human cast members and Jim Henson puppets, educates children while having fun.

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