A Blast From The Past

By PENNY NELSON BARTHOLOMEW, United Press International  |  Nov. 2, 2001 at 4:45 AM
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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.

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

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