A Blast From The Past

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Oct. 23, 2001 at 6:45 AM
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Today is Oct. 29.

This is the anniversary of the Stock Market Crash of 1929. Only four days earlier, President Herbert Hoover had declared the country's economy "on a sound and prosperous basis." But on Oct. 29, 1929, more than 16 million shares of stocks were dumped and billions of dollars lost, causing prices on the New York Stock Exchange to collapse --- and setting the stage for the Great Depression, which lasted until 1939 and involved North America, Europe and other industrialized nations. At the height of the depression, in 1932, one out of every four Americans was unemployed.

Former astronaut and then-Sen. John Glenn, D-Ohio, became the oldest person ever to travel in space when he blasted off into orbit as part of the crew of the shuttle Discovery on this date in 1998. Glenn was 77. 36 years earlier, in 1962 aboard Friendship 7, Glenn had been the first American to orbit the Earth.

It was on this date in 1969 that the first connection on what would become the Internet was made when bits of data flowed between computers at UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute. This was the beginning of ARPANET, the precurser to the Internet developed by the Department of Defense. (See? Al Gore didn't invent the Internet.)

It was on this date in 1618 that Sir Walter Raleigh was beheaded in London. He had been charged with plotting against King James I.

On this date in 1901, Leon Czolgosz was electrocuted for the assassination of President McKinley the previous month.

And on this date in 1994, a Colorado man was arrested after he sprayed the White House with bullets from an assault rifle. President Clinton was inside at the time, but neither he nor anyone else was injured.

And the Roaring '20s dance craze known as the Charleston was introduced to the public on this date in 1923 when the musical "Runnin' Wild" opened on Broadway.

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


Today is Oct. 30.

This is the anniversary of the 1938 radio broadcast that triggered a near panic. As part of a series of radio dramas based on famous novels, Orson Welles and the Mercury Players produced H.G. Wells' "War of the Worlds." However, many listeners believed the simulated news bulletins, describing a Martian invasion of New Jersey, to be real.

The Columbian Exposition closed in Chicago on this date in 1893. An elaborate ceremony had been planned. However, two days earlier, Chicago Mayor Carter Harrison had been shot to death by a disgruntled job-seeker. Instead, a single speech was delivered and flags lowered to half-staff.

It was on this date in 1941, more than a month before the United States entered World War II, that an American destroyer, the Reuben James, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine.

Simon Bolivar established the independent government of Venezuela on this date in 1817.

And it was on this date in 1983 that the Rev. Jesse Jackson announced plans to become the first black to mount a full-scale campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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Today is Oct. 31.

This is Reformation Day. On this date in 1517, Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation in Germany by nailing his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg's Palace church. Among other things, he denounced the selling of papal indulgences.

India's Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh guards on this date in 1984. Her funeral three days later in New Delhi drew heads of state from around the world. Gandhi's son, Rajiv, a former airline pilot, succeeded her. He, too, was assassinated in May 1991 while campaigning for re-election.

It was on this date in 1926 that magician, illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini died of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital following a blow to the abdomen. To this day, people hold séances on Halloween, the anniversary of his death, in hopes of contacting Houdini on "the other side."

President Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam on this date in 1968.

And after 14 years of work, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial --- consisting of the sculpted heads of Presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt -- was completed on this date in 1941. The monument had been suggested by the South Dakota State Historical Society. The 60-foot-tall sculptures represent the nation's founding, political philosophy, preservation, expansion and conservation.

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Today is Nov. 1.

The Hapsburg monarchy of Austria-Hungary was dissolved on this date in 1918. Vienna became the capital of Austria and Budapest the capital of Hungary. German-speaking Austria immediately began moving closer to the orbit of the German republic.

Four years later -- on this date in 1922, following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire -- Turkey became a republic. The Ottoman Empire had once stretched well into Europe, and to this day the southern half of Eastern Europe has many Turkish influences. And Turkey is a member of NATO.

It was on this date in 1950 that two Puerto Rican nationalists tried to force their way into Blair House in Washington, D.C., in an attempt to assassinate President Truman. Truman and his family had been living temporarily in Blair House while the White House underwent some much-needed renovations.

60,000 people died on this date in 1755 when an earthquake hit Lisbon, Portugal.

Remember the polystyrene containers in which McDonald's used to package its sandwiches? It was on this date in 1990 that the hamburger chain, under pressure from environmental groups, announced that it would replace those plastic food containers, which last almost forever in landfills, with nice biodegradable paper wrappers.

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Today is Nov. 2.

It was on this date in 1962 that President John F. Kennedy announced that the Soviet nuclear missile bases established in Cuba were indeed being dismantled. JFK's announcement came five days after Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev agreed to remove all Soviet offensive missiles from the Caribbean island nation, which sits only about 90 miles south of Florida. The Soviet Union had tested the new U.S. president in one of the most dangerous face-offs in all history.

It was on this date in 1917 that British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour proposed a Jewish homeland in Palestine, an English-ruled area of land at the eastern end of the Mediterranean. Israel became a reality 31 years later.

Amid much fanfare, President Reagan signed into law the bill establishing a federal holiday to mark the birth anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr., on this date in 1983.

American hostage David Jacobsen was released in Beirut on this date in 1986 after being held by pro-Iranian terrorists for 17 months. Later disclosures showed his freedom was a trade for U.S. arms sent to Iran as part of the Iran-Contra scandal.

And a mammoth plywood airplane known as the Hercules but nicknamed the "Spruce Goose," then the world's largest aircraft, took its only flight on this date in 1947 in Long Beach, Calif. Howard Hughes designed, built and piloted the 200-ton flying boat.

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Today is Nov. 3.

Congress ordered the Continental Army demobilized, and Gen. George Washington bid his troops farewell, on this date in 1783. Their job was done -- American independence from England had been established. Washington went on to become the first war hero to become president. Subsequent cases of that phenomenon would include Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, Ulysses S. Grant and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Opening statements were made in a federal courtroom in Denver on this date in 1997 in the Oklahoma City bombing trial of Terry Nichols. He was accused of collaborating with his army buddy Timothy McVeigh in the April 19, 1995, bombing of the federal building that killed 168 people. While McVeigh was sentenced to death, Nichols would be convicted and sentenced to life for his role in the worst instance of terrorism on U.S. soil.

It was on this date in 1964 that Lyndon B. Johnson was elected president with a margin larger than in any previous presidential election. He defeated Republican Barry Goldwater.

And it was on this date in 1948 that the Chicago Tribune printed the premature headline, "Dewey defeats Truman." The picture of a triumphant Truman holding up the newspaper is a classic.

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


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.

In the mid-1970s, the treasures of Tutankhamen toured U.S. museums and inspired comedian Steve Martin to write a song about the boy-king who "had a condo made of stone-ah."

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

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