A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  June 15, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Today is June 15.

It's considered one of the most important documents in the history of political and human freedom. This is the date, in 1215, that -- under pressure from rebellious barons -- England's King John signed the Magna Carta. Well, he actually didn't sign it -- he affixed his seal to the charter, which was a crucial first step toward creating England's constitutional monarchy. Four original copies of the document survive.

Don't try this at home, kids! It was on this date in 1752 that Benjamin Franklin demonstrated the relationship between lightning and electricity by flying a kite during a thunderstorm in Philadelphia. It was a dangerous experiment -- the iron key suspended from the kite string attracted a bolt of lightning. Franklin got zapped, too, but survived.

In another scientific first: on this date i987, Richard Norton of Philadelphia and Calin Rosetti of West Germany completed the first polar circumnavigation of the Earth in a single-engine propeller aircraft, landing in Paris after a 38,000-mile flight.

And it was on this date in 1995 that defense attorney Johnnie Cochran uttered the famous line, "If the gloves don't fit, you must acquit." His client, murder defendant O.J. Simpson, tried on the bloodstained gloves allegedly worn by the killer of his ex-wife and her friend during that day's court proceedings. He seemed to have trouble putting on the gloves and remarked, "Too tight, too tight."

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

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