A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Sept. 29, 2002 at 3:04 AM
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Today is Sept. 29.

The Revolutionary War was over, and the Continental Army disbanded. But the founding fathers thought it might be a good idea to institute some means of defense for our country. And so it was on this date in 1789 that the U.S. War Department organized America's first standing army. 700 troops would serve for three years.

It was on this date in 1986 that the Soviet Union released American journalist Nicholas Daniloff, whom Moscow accused of spying and whom Washington said was just a reporter.

Radio was used by both political parties for this first time on this date in 1936. Previously, the candidates slugged it out in the newspapers. In 1936, by the way, Democratic President Franklin D. Roosevelt was running for a second term against Republican challenger Alf Landon.

Also on this date in 1992, after weeks of stalemate, President Bush challenged his Democratic challenger, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, to four debates.

And it was also in 1992 that Magic Johnson announced he would again play basketball for the Los Angeles Lakers. Johnson had retired less than a year earlier because he was HIV-positive. He was lured back on the court by a yearly salary of more than $14 million.

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

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