A Blast from the Past

By United Press International   |   Jan. 27, 2003 at 3:00 AM   |   Comments

Today is Jan. 27.

Fire triggered a series of huge explosions at an army weapons depot in a crowded residential area of Lagos, Nigeria, on this date in 2002. There also was a mass evacuation. The death toll topped 1,000.

Three American astronauts -- "Gus" Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee -- died when fire broke out aboard the Apollo-1 spacecraft during a launch simulation at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on this date in 1967. The first launch of the Apollo program had been scheduled for just a month later. Despite the setback, the United States still managed to put a man on the moon just 2 1/2 years later.

In 1973, the United States and North Vietnam signed a cease-fire agreement -- thus ending the U.S. combat role in the war. The same day, the United States announced an end to the military draft.

Iran-Contra news: in 1987, President Reagan acknowledged mistakes and accepted responsibility in the Iran arms scandal. He said his only major regret was that the gamble failed to open political channels and free American hostages in Lebanon.

Seven years later, in 1994, Iran-Contra scandal figure Oliver North declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination for U.S. senator from Virginia. He would win the nomination but lose the election to Democratic incumbent Charles Robb.

Also in 1994, Tonya Harding announced she knew several days after the attack on rival ice skater Nancy Kerrigan that "persons that were close to" her were involved, but didn't tell authorities right away.

Let there be light. It was on this date in 1880 that Thomas Edison was granted a patent for an electric incandescent lamp.

And just days after his murder trial began in Los Angeles in 1995, a book by O.J. Simpson, "I Want to Tell You," was published. In it, the former football star asserted his innocence in the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

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

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