A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  June 25, 2002 at 3:15 AM
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Today is July 1.

It was the stuff legends were made of: Teddy Roosevelt's "Rough Riders," a collection of Western cowboys and Eastern blue bloods, forced to attack on foot, leading the charge up Cuba's heavily fortified San Juan Hill in a decisive battle of the Spanish American War. The date was July 1, 1898. Two days later, Spain surrendered its hold on Cuba.

Thirty-four years later, another Roosevelt was in the news. In 1932, with the nation in the grip of a devastating Depression, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Teddy's cousin, was nominated by the Democrats to be president and went on to defeat incumbent Herbert Hoover. FDR was re-elected three times, serving longer than any president in history.

The final vestiges of the Cold War-era Soviet bloc were swept away on this date in 1991 when the Warsaw Pact ceased to be. A few days earlier, COMECON, the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance, also had disbanded.

Hong Kong returned to China on this date in 1997 after 99 years as a British territory. While Britain owned Hong Kong itself in perpetuity, the land areas surrounding the city were leased from China - with the lease expiring July 1, 1997. Rather than negotiate a new lease, London ceded its claim to Hong Kong.

The United States conducted its first post-war test of the atomic bomb, at Bikini Atoll in the Pacific, on this date in 1946.

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


Today is July 2.

On this date in 1881, President James Garfield was shot and wounded by Charles Giteau, a mentally disturbed office-seeker, as he entered a Washington railway station. Garfield lingered for more than two months before dying on Sept. 19. He was 49. A year later, on June 30, 1882, Giteau, who sang to the jury during his trial and claimed to be the prime minister of Britain, was convicted and hanged.

It was on this date in 1937 that American aviator Amelia Earhart and co-pilot Frederick Noonan vanished over the Pacific Ocean whie attempting an around-the-world flight. They were never found.

The U.S. Supreme Court endorsed numerical hiring goals for minorities in 1986, rejecting the Reagan administration view that affirmative action be limited to proven victims of race discrimination.

South African President F.W de Klerk and African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela announced in1993 that South Africa's first election open to all races would be held April 27, 1994.

On this date in 1993, the Michigan Supreme Court ordered a Michigan couple to turn over their 2-year-old adopted daughter, known publicly as "Baby Jessica," to her biological parents in Iowa. The child had been given up for adoption by the unwed mother but when her biological parents married they asked for their baby back.

While soccer has yet to catch on big-time in the United States, fans in Colombia take the sport seriously. A Colombian player who accidentally scored a goal for the United States, leading to a loss in the World Cup on this date in 1994, was later found shot to death.

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


Today is July 3.

On this day in 1863, the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg, Confederate General Robert E. Lee's last attempt at breaking the Union line ends in disastrous failure, bringing the most decisive battle of the Civil War to an end. The following November, President Lincoln delivered his famous Gettysburg Address while dedicating a national cemetery on the battlefield in southern Pennsylvania.

It was on this date in 1976 that Israeli commandos staged a raid of the airport at Entebbe, Uganda, and rescued 103 hostages on an Air France airliner hijacked by Arab terrorists.

On this date in 1988, Iran Air Flight 655 was destroyed by two surface-to-air missiles fired from the USS Vincennes in the Persian Gulf, killing all 290 people aboard. The official explanation was that the jetliner was mistaken for a hostile F-14 fighter.

The city of Quebec was founded on this date in 1608 by French explorer Samuel de Champlain.

A $66 million restoration of the Statue of Liberty was capped on this date in 1986 when President Reagan re-lit the torch in New York Harbor.

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


Today is July 4.

This is the birthday of the United States of America. On this date in 1776, the Continental Congress, meeting in Philadelphia, adopted the Declaration of Independence proclaiming U.S. independence from Great Britain and its king. The declaration came 442 days after the first volleys of the American Revolution were fired at Lexington and Concord in Massachusetts and marked an ideological expansion of the conflict that would eventually encourage France's intervention on behalf of the Patriots.

Exactly 50 years later, in one of history's more notable coincidences, former Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on this date in 1826.

The besieged Confederate city of Vicksburg, Miss., formally surrendered to Union Genera. U.S. Grant in 1863.

On this date in 1997, NASA's Pathfinder landed on Mars to become the first U.S. spacecraft to land on the Red Planet in more than two decades.

And it was on this date in 1983 that Interior Secretary James Watt banned the Beach Boys from playing at Washington's Capitol Mall because, he said, their music attracted a "bad element." But, they were allowed to play there the following year. Seems President Reagan was a fan.

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


Today is July 5.

On this date in 1946, western Europeans, feeling liberated with the first war-free summer in years, were given something new and daring -- and liberating -- that soon would attract world attention. It was on this day that French designer Louis Reard unveiled his scanty two-piece swim suit he dubbed the "bikini."

On this date in 1935 President Roosevelt signed into law the National Labor Relations Act, guaranteeing workers the right to organize and bargain collectively with their employers.

William Booth founded the Salvation Army in London on this date in 1865. All Salvation Army officers are ordained ministers who have joined for life. The Salvation Army operates in more than 80 countries.

Returning as he said he would, General Douglas MacArthur on this date in 1945 announced the liberation of the Philippines as the war in the Pacific neared the end. The war in Europe had ended about two months earlier.

An estimated 250,000 people gathered in London's Hyde Park on this date in 1969 for a free concert by the Rolling Stones which became a tribute to former Stones guitarist Brian Jones, who had died two days earlier.

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


Today is July 6.

On this date in 1942, Ann Frank and her family took refuge in a secret section of an Amsterdam warehouse where they hid from the Nazis for two years. Finally discovered, they were shipped off to concentration camps where Ann eventually perished. But, her dairy, detailing the harrowing days before their capture, lived on as a worldwide reminder of those barbaric times.

Fire of unknown origin broke out under the big top during a performance of the Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Circus in Hartford, Conn., on this date in 1944, and spread with incredible speed, killing 100 children, 67 adults and injuring 682.

French scientist Louis Pasteur, on this date in 1885, tried out his anti-rabies treatment by inoculating a boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog. The youngster, who did not develop rabies, grew up to become the director of the Pasteur Institute.

The prosecution finally rested in the double murder trial of O.J. Simpson on this date in 1995 after presenting 58 witnesses and 488 exhibits during 92 days of testimony. Simpson subsequently was acquitted of murdering his wife and a friend.

The Republican Party was formally organized on this date in 1854 at a convention in New York City. Coincidentally, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was formed on the same date in 1923.

Hillary Clinton became the first First Lady to seek public office when she announced on this date in 1999 she was forming an exploratory committee to look into running for the Senate. She was elected the following year, taking office as her husband, President Bill Clinton, was leaving office.

Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, died on this date in 1971 in New York City at the age of 69. A world-renowned jazz trumpeter and vocalist, he pioneered jazz improvisation and swing.

And, on this date in 1954, in a Memphis recording studio, Elvis Presley made his first commercial single, "That's All Right Mama" backed by "Blue Moon Of Kentucky."

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


Today is July 7.

Sandra Day O'Connor, an Arizona court of appeals judge, was nominated by President Reagan on this date to become the first woman Supreme Court justice in U.S. history. On Sept. 21, the Senate unanimously approved her appointment to the nation's highest court, and she was sworn in four days later.

When Lt. Col. Oliver North, the fired White House aide, began six days of testimony before the congressional Iran-Contra committees in 1987 he may have been at the heart of a scandal but attracted a lot of support. At the height of Ollie-mania, you could buy posters, t-shirts and even an "Ollie North Coloring Book," done by the folks associated with Mad magazine.

President Nixon said on this date in 1973 he would not appear before the Senate Watergate Investigating Committee or give it access to White House files. Watergate would eventually lead to Nixon's resignation in August 1974.

California and Hawaii joined the United States on the same date, half a century apart. In 1846, U.S. Navy Commodore J.D. Sloat proclaimed the annexation of California. And in 1898, President William McKinley signed a joint resolution of Congress authorizing the annexation of Hawaii.

We now return you to the present, already in progress

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