A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Dec. 5, 2002 at 3:00 AM
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Today is Dec. 5.

The legend of the Bermuda Triangle got a prominent boost on this date in 1945. Five Navy Avenger torpedo-bombers with 14 men aboard took off from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on a routine flight and vanished. Later, a rescue plane with 13 aboard, took off to look for the missing squadron. It also disappeared. The planes were believed to have gone down in the Atlantic somewhere north of the Bahamas and east of the Florida coast but no trace was ever found.

It was one of the early civil rights actions in the South. On this date in 1955, blacks declared a boycott of city buses in Montgomery, Ala., demanding seating on an equal basis with whites. The boycott had been sparked by the Dec. 1, 1955, arrest of Rosa Parks for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white man. It lasted until Dec. 20, 1956, when a U.S Supreme Court ruling was implemented -- integrating the city's public transit system.

Prohibition ended on this date in 1933, when Utah became the 36th state to ratify the 21st Amendment to the Constitution. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th, which had prohibited the manufacture and sale of liquor in ;the U.S.

There's gold in them there hills! On this date in 1848, President James Polk confirmed the discovery of gold in California, leading to the "gold rush" of 1848 and '49.

It was on this date in 1991 that British media magnate Robert Maxwell disappeared while on his yacht off the Canary Islands. His body would later be found floating in the Atlantic.

The same day, convicted mass murderer Richard Speck died -- one day short of his 50th birthday and 25 years after killing eight student nurses in Chicago.

Paving the way for toga parties and hazing, the first scholastic fraternity in America, Phi Beta Kappa, was organized at William and Mary College in Virginia on this date in 1776.

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

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