A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Oct. 22, 2002 at 3:15 AM
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Today is Oct. 28.

In the continuing war on terror, U.S.-led forces resumed air strikes against targets in Afghanistan on this date in 2001. Planes this time bombed the Taliban's southern stronghold of Kandahar.

This battle marked the beginning of the Christian era in Europe. On this date in 312, Constantine's army, wearing the cross, defeated the forces of Maxentius at Mulvian Bridge in Rome.

The Cuban Missile Crisis ended on this date in 1962 when Soviet leader Nikita Krushchev blinked and announced that all Soviet offensive missiles would be removed from Cuba. Six days earlier, on national television, President John F. Kennedy had demanded the USSR remove those missiles from the Caribbean island nation and imposed a naval blockade to prevent any more weapons from reaching Cuba. In response to Krushchev's concession, the United States agreed to remove its missiles from Turkey that were pointed toward the Soviet Union.

What's now known as Harvard University was founded in Cambridge, Mass., on this date in 1636. The Massachusetts General Court had voted to provide 400 pounds for a "schoale or colledge."

The Donner Party of 90 people -- led by George and Jacob Donner and James F. Reed -- set out from Springfield, Ill., for California on this date in 1846. After enduring the usual problems such caravans encountered, the pioneers were forced by winter weather to interrupt their journey. Famine set in, which led to cannibalism. By the time they reached California in April 1847, only 48 people were left.

And it was on this day in 1986 that the Statue of Liberty marked the actual 100th anniversary of its dedication, without the hoopla of the July 4th ceremonies.

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


Today is Oct. 29.

The second potential terror attack warning in less than a month was issued to a jittery nation by the Justice Department on this date in 2001, Nothing specific, said Attorney General John Ashcroft, but the intelligence leading up to the warning was considered credible.

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.

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.

Allison, the first tropical storm of 2001, was the costliest ever with a $5 billion price tag. That was the word received on this date from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The storm claimed 23 lives and 45,000 homes and businesses flooded in Texas alone.

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.

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


Today is Oct. 31.

On this date in 2001, in a hint of things to come, Enron, the large energy trading company, announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission had opened a formal investigation into parts of its accounting practices

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.

In 2001, a group of reports released in the journal Science suggest dreaming might be more than just a weird hodgepodge of images and memories. While what the brain is doing during sleep has been debated for decades, these latest reports indicate a good night's snooze could actually enhance learning and memory.

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


Today is Nov. 1.

The anthrax scare continued in 2001 as the FBI checked out more postal equipment in New Jersey believed to be the source of reports of anthrax spores found in that area. Meanwhile, spores were confirmed in Pakistan and India.

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.

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


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.

In 2000, five days before the election, Republican presidential nominee George W. Bush acknowledged he had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in 1976 near the family home in Maine. Bush, who was 30 at the time, said he pleaded guilty, paid a $150 fine and temporarily lost his right to drive in Maine.

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.


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.

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