October 1, 1908 – Henry Ford‘s Model T, a “universal car” designed for the masses, went on sale for the first time.

October 1, 1938 – Hitler’s troops occupied the Sudetenland portion of Czechoslovakia. In an effort to avoid war, the leaders of Britain and France had agreed to cede the German-speaking area to Hitler, who later broke the agreement and occupied all of Czechoslovakia.

October 1, 1946 – Twelve Nazi leaders were sentenced to death at the International War Crimes Tribunal in Nuremberg, Germany.

October 1, 1949 – The People’s Republic of China was founded with Mao Zedong as Chairman.

October 1, 1979 – After 70 years of American control, the Panama Canal Zone was formally handed over to Panama.

Birthday – Virtuoso pianist Vladimir Horowitz (1904-1989) was born in Berdichev, Russia. He made his American debut in 1928 with the New York Philharmonic and became a U.S. citizen in 1944. In 1986, after a self-imposed absence of 60 years, he performed a concert in his native Russia.

October 2, 1935 – Mussolini’s Italian troops invaded Abyssinia, beginning an occupation lasting until 1941.

October 2, 1967 – Thurgood Marshall (1908-1993) was sworn in as the first African American associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He served until 1991 and was known for opposing discrimination and the death penalty, and for championing free speech and civil liberties.

October 2, 1968 – California’s Redwood National Park was established. Redwoods are the tallest of all trees, growing up to 400 feet (120 meters) during a lifetime that can span 2,000 years.

October 2, 1975 – Japanese Emperor Hirohito made his first-ever visit to the White House.

Birthday – Indian political and spiritual leader Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi (1869-1948) was born in Porbandar, India. He achieved worldwide fame for his devout lifestyle and nonviolent resistance which ended British rule over India. He was assassinated by a religious fanatic in the garden of his home in New Delhi on January 30, 1948.

Birthday – American statesman Cordell Hull (1871-1955) was born in Pickett County, Tennessee. He served in both houses of Congress, as Secretary of State, and was instrumental in the establishment of the United Nations.

October 3, 1863 – President Abraham Lincoln issued a proclamation designating the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving Day.

October 3, 1929 – Yugoslavia became the official name of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes.

October 3, 1932 – Iraq gained independence from Britain and joined the League of Nations.

October 3, 1974 – Frank Robinson was hired by the Cleveland Indians as baseball’s first African American major league manager.

October 3, 1990 – After 45 years of Cold War division, East and West Germany were reunited as the Federal Republic of Germany.

October 4, 1582 – The Gregorian Calendar took effect in Catholic countries as Pope Gregory XIII issued a decree stating the day following Thursday, October 4, 1582, would be Friday, October 15, 1582, correcting a 10-day error accumulated by the Julian Calendar. Britain and the American colonies adopted the Gregorian Calendar in 1752.

October 4, 1830 – Belgium gained its independence, after having been a part of the Netherlands since 1815.

October 4, 1943 – The Island of Corsica became the first French territory in Europe freed from Nazi control as Free French troops liberated the city of Bastia.

October 4, 1957 – The Space Age began as the Russians launched the first satellite into orbit. Sputnik I weighed just 184 lbs. and transmitted a beeping radio signal for 21 days. The remarkable accomplishment by Soviet Russia sent a shockwave through the American political leadership resulting in U.S. efforts to be the first on the moon.

October 4, 1965 – Pope Paul VI became the first Pope to visit the U.S. and the first to address the United Nations.

October 4, 1993 – Russian tank-soldiers loyal to President Boris Yeltsin shelled the Russian White House, crushing a hard-line Communist rebellion. Yeltsin then fired Vice-president Alexander Rutskoi and jailed other opposition leaders.

Birthday – St. Francis of Assisi (1181-1226) was born in Assisi, Umbria, Italy (as Giovanni Francesco Bernardone). He renounced his family’s wealth and founded the Friars Minor (Franciscan Order).

Birthday – Rutherford B. Hayes (1822-1893) the 19th U.S. President was born in Delaware, Ohio. He served from March 4, 1877 to March 3, 1881. He was a Republican best known for his much-quoted statement, “He serves his party best who serves his country best.”

Birthday – Artist Frederic Remington (1861-1909) was born in Canton, New York. He studied at Yale Art School then traveled extensively throughout the American West in the late 1800s sketching cowboys, Native Americans, frontiersmen, and soldiers. He also created lively sculptures featuring bucking broncos.

October 5, 1813 – Shawnee Indian Chief Tecumseh was defeated and killed during the War of 1812. Regarded as one of the greatest American Indians, he was a powerful orator who defended his people against white settlement. When the War of 1812 broke out, he joined the British as a brigadier general and was killed at the Battle of the Thames in Ontario.

October 5, 1877 – Following a 1,700-mile retreat, Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce Indians surrendered to U.S. Cavalry troops at Bear’s Paw near Chinook, Montana. “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever,” he declared.

October 5, 1908 – Bulgaria proclaimed its independence from the Ottoman Empire.

October 5, 1910 – Portugal became a republic following a successful revolt against King Manuel II.

October 5, 1938 – Czech President Dr. Eduard Benes resigned and fled abroad amid threats from Adolf Hitler.

October 5, 1964 – The largest mass escape since the construction of the Berlin Wall occurred as 57 East German refugees escaped to West Berlin after tunneling beneath the wall.

October 5, 1986 – Former U.S. Marine Eugene Hasenfus was captured by Nicaraguan Sandinistas after a plane carrying arms for the Nicaraguan rebels (Contras) was shot down over Nicaragua. This marked the beginning of the “Iran-Contra” controversy resulting in Congressional hearings and a major scandal for the Reagan White House after it was revealed that money from the sale of arms to Iran was used to fund covert operations in Nicaragua.

Birthday – Theologian Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) was born in East Windsor, Connecticut. He led the “Great Awakening” religious revival in the American colonies and later became president of Princeton.

Birthday – Chester A. Arthur (1830-1886) the 21st President of the U.S. was born in Fairfield, Vermont. He succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of James A. Garfield. He served from September 20, 1881 to March 3, 1885 but was not nominated by the Republican Party for a second term.

Birthday – “Father of the Space Age” Robert Goddard (1882-1945) was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. During his lifetime he was ridiculed by the public and the press over his idea of constructing a space flight machine. In 1926, he launched the world’s first liquid-fueled rocket on a farm near Auburn, Mass. In 1935, his liquid-fueled rocket surpassed the speed of sound. Other developments included a steering apparatus for rocket machines, staged rockets to reach high altitudes, rocket fuel pumps, and a self-cooling rocket motor.

Birthday – Czech playwright and political leader Vaclav Havel was born in Prague, October 5, 1936. He spent over 5 years in prison for speaking out against government abuses. He went on to lead the peaceful “velvet revolution” which ended Soviet-style Communism in Czechoslovakia in 1989.

October 6, 1927 – The first “talkie” opened in New York. The Jazz Singer starring Al Jolson was the first full-length feature film using spoken dialogue.

October 6, 1928 – Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek became president of the Republic of China upon the introduction of a new constitution.

October 6, 1949 – “Tokyo Rose” (Iva Toguri d’Aquino) was sentenced in San Francisco to 10 years imprisonment and fined $10,000 for treason. She had broadcast music and Japanese propaganda to American troops in the Pacific during World War II. She was pardoned by President Gerald Ford in 1977.

October 6, 1973 – The Yom Kippur War started as Egypt and Syria launched attacks on Israeli positions on the East Bank of the Suez and the Golan Heights.

October 6, 1978 – Iranian religious leader Ayatollah Khomeini was granted asylum in France after being expelled from Iran for his opposition to the Shah.

October 6, 1981 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat (1918-1981) was assassinated in Cairo by Muslim fundamentalists while watching a military parade. He had shared the 1978 Nobel Peace Prize with Menachem Begin of Israel. He had signed an American-sponsored peace accord with Israel but had been denounced by other Arab leaders.

Birthday – Engineer and inventor George Westinghouse (1846-1914) was born in Central Bridge, New York. He developed air brakes for trains and was later responsible for the adoption of alternating current (AC) systems for electric power transmission in the U.S. He was also the first employer to give his employees paid vacations.

Birthday – Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl was born in Larvik, Norway, October 6, 1914. He used Kon-Tiki and other primitive ocean-going vessels to prove the possibility of transoceanic contact between ancient, widely separated civilizations.

October 7, 1765 – The Stamp Act Congress convened in New York City with representatives from nine colonies meeting in protest to the British Stamp Act which imposed the first direct tax by the British Crown upon the American colonies.

October 7, 1940 – During World War II in Europe, German troops invaded Romania to take seize strategic oil fields.

October 7, 1949 – The German Democratic Republic came into existence in East Germany. Dominated by Soviet Russia, it lasted until German reunification in 1990.

October 7, 1985 – Palestinian terrorists seized the Italian passenger ship Achille Lauro carrying about 440 persons, threatening to blow it up if Israel did not free 50 Palestinian prisoners. Leon Klinghoffer, an elderly wheelchair-bound American, was murdered.

October 8, 1871 – The Great Fire of Chicago erupted. According to legend, it started when Mrs. O’Leary’s cow kicked over a lantern in her barn on DeKoven Street. Over 300 persons were killed and 90,000 were left homeless as the fire leveled 3.5 square miles, destroying 17,450 buildings. Financial losses totaled over $200 million.

October 8, 1918 – During World War I in the Argonne Forest in France, U.S. Sergeant Alvin C. York single-handedly took out a German machine-gun battalion, killing over a dozen and capturing 132. He was later awarded the Medal of Honor and the French Croix de Guerre.

October 8, 1993 – The U.N. General Assembly lifted economic sanctions against South Africa following the end of racial apartheid. The sanctions had been imposed since the 1960s.

October 8, 1996 – Palestinian President Yasser Arafat made his first public visit to Israel for talks with Israeli President Ezer Weizman at his private residence.

October 8, 1998 – The U.S. House of Representatives voted 258-176 to approve a resolution launching an impeachment inquiry of President Bill Clinton. It was only the third time in U.S. history the House launched a formal impeachment inquiry of a sitting president. (The other two: Andrew Johnson and Richard Nixon).

Birthday – American fighter pilot Ace Eddie Rickenbacker (1890-1973) was born in Columbus, Ohio. He commanded the first U.S. aero unit to take part in World War I and was credited with 26 victories, becoming America’s leading Ace. He was awarded the Medal of Honor. He later got involved in auto racing and headed Eastern Air Lines from 1934-63.

October 9, 1962 – Uganda achieved independence after nearly 70 years of British rule.

October 9, 1970 – Cambodia declared itself the Khmer Republic following the abolishment of the monarchy by the legislature.

Birthday – John Lennon (1940-1980) was born in Liverpool, England. He was a member of The Beatles, an influential rock group which captivated audiences first in England and Germany, and later in America and throughout the world. He was murdered in New York City on December 8, 1980.

October 10, 1954 – Ho Chi Minh entered Hanoi, Vietnam, after the withdrawal of French troops, in accordance with armistice terms ending the seven-year struggle between Communist Vietnamese and the French.

October 10, 1973 – Spiro T. Agnew (1918-1996) resigned the office of Vice President of the United States amid charges of income tax evasion on illegal payments allegedly received while he was governor of Maryland and after he became Vice President. He was later given a $10,000 fine and sentenced to serve three years’ probation. He was succeeded as Vice President by Gerald R. Ford, who went on to become President after the resignation of Richard M. Nixon.

Birthday – Italian opera composer Giuseppi Verdi (1813-1901) was born in Le Roncole, Italy. His 26 operas include; Rigoletto, Il Trovatore, La Traviata and Aida, and are among the most popular of all classical music performed today.

October 11, 1521 – King Henry VIII of England was given the title “Defender of the Faith” by Pope Leo X following the publication of the King’s book against Martin Luther.

October 11, 1899 – The Boer War began in South African between the British Empire and Boers of the Transvaal and Orange Free State. The war ended in 1902 with the Treaty of Pretoria in which the Transvaal and Orange Free State became British colonies.

October 11, 1939 – Albert Einstein warned President Franklin D. Roosevelt that his theories could lead to Nazi Germany’s development of an atomic bomb. Einstein suggested the U.S. develop its own bomb. This resulted in the top secret “Manhattan Project.”

October 11, 1962 – The Second Vatican Council was opened in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome by Pope John XXIII. Sessions were held in four successive autumns from 1962-65. Vatican II resulted in sweeping changes to the Catholic Church including the use of English and local native languages in the Mass instead of Latin, and openness and cooperation with other religions and denominations.

October 11, 1976 – The “Gang of Four,” including the widow of Mao Zedong, was arrested in China, charged with plotting a coup. They were subsequently tried and convicted of various crimes against the state.

Birthday – Eleanor Roosevelt (1884-1962) was born in New York City. She was the wife of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, 32nd U.S. President. As First Lady, she led an unprecedented independent life, striving to improve the lives of people all over the world. In 1933, she became the first wife of a president to give her own news conference in the White House. She traveled extensively on her own and was affectionately called “First Lady of the world.” She served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations for many years and helped write the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

October 12, 1492 – After a 33-day voyage, Christopher Columbus made his first landfall in the New World in the Bahamas. He named the first land sighted as El Salvador, claiming it in the name of the Spanish Crown. Columbus was seeking a western sea route from Europe to Asia and believed he had found an island of the Indies. He thus called the first island natives he met, ‘Indians.’

October 12, 1811 – Paraguay declared its independence from Spain and Argentina.

October 12, 1822 – Brazil became independent of Portugal.

October 12, 1960 – During a debate over colonialism in the United Nations, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev took off his shoe and pounded his desk repeatedly.

Birthday – British composer and conductor Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) was born in Down Ampney, Gloucestershire, England. He combined modern composition techniques with traditional English folk and Tudor music to create a uniquely British style. His major compositions include; Mass in G Minor, Fantasia on a Theme of Tallis and the opera The Pilgrim’s Progress. He also composed nine symphonies, church and choral music, film and stage music and several operas.

October 13, 54 A.D. – Roman Emperor Claudius died after eating mushrooms poisoned by his wife, the Empress Agrippina.

October 13, 1775 – The United States Navy was born after the Second Continental Congress authorized the acquisition of a fleet of ships.

October 13, 1792 – The cornerstone of the White House was laid by George Washington. The building, located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, is three stories tall with over 100 rooms, and was designed by James Hoban. In November of 1800, President John Adams and his family moved in. The building was first known as the “Presidential Palace,” but acquired the name “White House” about 10 years after its completion. It was burned by British troops in 1814, then reconstructed, refurbished and reoccupied in 1817.

October 13, 1884 – Greenwich was established as the universal time from which standard times throughout the world are calculated.

October 13, 1943 – Italy declared war on its former Axis partner Germany after the downfall of Mussolini and collapse of his Fascist government.

October 13, 1990 – The first Russian Orthodox service in over 70 years was held in St. Basil’s Cathedral, next to the Kremlin, in Red Square, Moscow.

Birthday – Molly Pitcher (1754-1832) was born near Trenton, New Jersey (as Mary Ludwig). She was a water carrier at the Battle of Monmouth in 1778 during the American Revolution. After her husband, artilleryman John Hays, collapsed, she took his place at his cannon.

October 14, 1066 – The Norman Conquest began with the Battle of Hastings in which King Harold II of England, the last of the Saxon kings, was defeated and killed by William of Normandy’s troops.

October 14, 1912 – Former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot by a fanatic while campaigning in Milwaukee. Roosevelt was saved by his thick overcoat, a glasses case and a folded speech in his breast pocket, all of which slowed the bullet. Although wounded, he insisted on making the speech with the bullet lodged in his chest and did not go to the hospital until the meeting ended. Roosevelt, a rugged outdoorsman, fully recovered in two weeks.

October 14, 1933 – Nazi Germany announced its withdrawal from the League of Nations and stated it would take no further part in the Geneva Disarmament Conference.

October 14, 1947 – U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager became the first man to break the sound barrier, flying in a rocket-powered research aircraft.

October 14, 1964 – Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., became the youngest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He donated the $54,000 in prize money to the Civil Rights movement.

Birthday – Pennsylvania founder William Penn (1644-1718) was born in London. In 1681, he received a Royal charter with a large land grant in America from King Charles II. Penn, a Quaker, welcomed members of all religious faiths and established a democratic form of government in his province which measured over 50,000 square miles.

Birthday – Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) the 34th U.S. President was born in Denison, Texas. He served two terms as President, from January 20, 1953 to January 20, 1961. Nicknamed “Ike,” he was a West Point graduate and career Army officer who became Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe during World War II. He held the rank of Five-star General of the Army.

October 15, 1815 – Napoleon Bonaparte arrived on the Island of St. Helena beginning a British-imposed exile following his defeat at the Battle of Waterloo.

October 15, 1917 – World War I spy Mata Hari was executed by a French firing squad at Vincennes Barracks, outside Paris.

October 15, 1945 – Pierre Laval, the former premier of Vichy France, was executed for collaborating with Nazi Germany during World War II.

October 15, 1946 – Nazi leader Hermann Goering committed suicide by swallowing poison in his Nuremberg prison cell just hours before his scheduled hanging for war crimes.

October 15, 1964 – Soviet Russia’s leader Nikita Khrushchev was deposed as First Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party and replaced by Leonid Brezhnev.

October 15, 1991 – The U.S. Senate confirmed Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court by a 52-48 vote following several days of tumultuous hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee concerning sexual harassment charges made by a former aide. Thomas became the second African American to sit on the Court, replacing retired Justice Thurgood Marshall, an African American.

Birthday – German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900) was born in the Province of Saxony. Best known for stating, “God is dead,” and for his prediction in the late 1800s, “There will be wars such as there have never been on Earth before.” He eventually succumbed to mental illness.

Birthday – Lee Iacocca was born to Italian immigrant parents in Allentown, Pennsylvania, October 15, 1924 (as Lido Anthony Iacocca). Dubbed “America’s first corporate folk hero,” he was a mechanical engineer who became an automobile executive at Ford and later helped save Chrysler from bankruptcy. He also served as foundation chairman for the rehabilitation of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

October 16, 1701 – Yale University was founded in Killingworth, Connecticut (as the Collegiate School of Connecticut). The school moved to New Haven in 1716. Two years later, the name was changed to Yale College to honor Elihu Yale, a philanthropist. In 1886, it became Yale University.

October 16, 1793 – Queen Marie Antoinette was beheaded during the Reign of Terror following the French Revolution. She was the wife of King Louis XVI and had become the symbol of the people’s hatred for the old regime due to her extravagance and frivolity. According to legend, she responded, “Let them eat cake,” when told poor people had no bread.

October 16, 1853 – The Crimean War began after the Turkish Ottoman Empire declared war on Russia, Britain, France and portions of Italy allied with the Turks against Russia. It became the first war observed up close by newspaper reporters and photographers. One of the battles was immortalized in Tennyson’s poem, The Charge of the Light Brigade. Amid poor sanitary conditions, disease killed many wounded French and British troops. British nurse Florence Nightingale then pioneered modern-style sanitation methods, saving many lives.

October 16, 1859 – Fanatical abolitionist John Brown seized the Federal Arsenal at Harpers Ferry with about 20 followers. Three days later, Brown was captured, and the insurrection was put down by U.S. Marines under the command of Col. Robert E. Lee. Brown was convicted by the Commonwealth of Virginia of treason, murder, and inciting slaves to rebellion, and was hanged on December 2, 1859.

October 16, 1916 – The first birth control clinic in America was opened in Brooklyn, New York, by Margaret Sanger, a nurse who worked among the poor on the Lower East Side of New York City.

October 16, 1946 – Ten former Nazi leaders were hanged by the Allies following their conviction for war crimes at Nuremberg, Germany.

October 16, 1964 – China detonated its first nuclear bomb at the Lop Nor test site in Sinkiang.

October 16, 1978 – Cardinal Karol Wojtyla of Poland was elected Pope. He was the first non-Italian Pope chosen in 456 years and took the name John Paul II.

October 16, 1995 – The Million Man March took place in Washington, D.C., under the direction of Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who delivered the main address to the gathering of African American males.

Birthday – American teacher and journalist Noah Webster (1758-1843) was born in West Hartford, Connecticut. His name became synonymous with “dictionary” after he compiled the first American dictionaries of the English language.

Birthday – Irish poet and playwright Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was born in Dublin, Ireland. Best known for his comedies including; The Importance of Being Earnest. And his novel The Picture of Dorian Gray in which he wrote, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about and that is not being talked about.”

Birthday – David Ben-Gurion (1886-1973) was born in Plonsk, Poland. He was largely responsible for founding the modern state of Israel in 1948 and is revered as “Father of the Nation.”

Birthday – American playwright Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) was born in New York City. He wrote more than 35 plays and was the first American dramatist awarded a Nobel Prize for literature. He also received four Pulitzers. His dramas, which dealt realistically with psychological and social problems, included; Beyond the Horizon, The Iceman Cometh, The Emperor Jones and Long Day’s Journey into Night.

Birthday – American jurist William O. Douglas (1898-1980) was born in Maine, Minnesota. He served as an associate justice on the Supreme Court for 36 years and was also a world traveler, conservationist, outdoorsman and author.

October 17, 1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, British General John Burgoyne and his entire army of 5,700 men surrendered to American General Horatio Gates after the Battle of Saratoga, the first big American victory.

October 17-25, 1944 – The Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history, took place off the Philippine Islands, during World War II in the Pacific. The battle involved 216 U.S. warships and 64 Japanese ships and resulted in the destruction of the Japanese Navy including the Japanese Battleship Musashi, one of the largest ever built.

Birthday – Pope John Paul I (1912-1978) was born in Forno di Canale, Italy (as Albino Luciani). He was elected the 263rd Pope of the Roman Catholic Church on September 28, 1978 but died in Rome just 34 days later.

October 18, 1685 – The Edict of Nantes was revoked by King Louis XIV of France thus depriving Protestant Huguenots of all religious and civil liberties previously granted to them by Henry IV in 1598.

October 18, 1945 – The Nuremberg War Crimes Trial began with indictments against 24 former Nazi leaders including Hermann Göring and Albert Speer. The trial lasted 10 months, with delivery of the judgment completed on October 1, 1946. Twelve Nazis were sentenced to death by hanging, three to life imprisonment, four to lesser prison terms, and three were acquitted.

October 19, 1781 – As their band played The World Turned Upside Down, the British Army marched out in formation and surrendered to the Americans at Yorktown. More than 7,000 British and Hessian troops, led by British General Lord Cornwallis, surrendered to General George Washington. The war between Britain and its American colonies was effectively ended. The final peace treaty was signed in Paris on September 3, 1783.

October 19, 1960 – The U.S. embargo of Cuba began as the State Department prohibited shipment of all goods except medicine and food.

October 19, 1987 – “Black Monday” occurred on Wall Street as stocks plunged a record 508 points or 22.6 per cent, the largest one-day drop in stock market history.

October 19, 1990 – Beset by a seriously eroding economy, Soviet Russia’s President Mikhail Gorbachev won parliamentary approval to switch to a market economy.

October 20, 1818 – The U.S. and Britain agreed to set the U.S.- Canadian border at the 49th parallel.

October 20, 1935 – Mao Zedong’s 6,000 mile “Long March” ended as his Communist forces arrived at Yanan, in northwest China, almost a year after fleeing Chiang Kai-shek’s armies in the south.

October 20, 1944 – During World War II in the Pacific, General Douglas MacArthur set foot on Philippine soil for the first time since his escape in 1942, fulfilling his promise, “I shall return.”

October 20, 1968 – Jacqueline Kennedy married multi-millionaire Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis, ending nearly five years of widowhood following the assassination of her first husband, President John F. Kennedy.

October 20, 1973 – The ‘Saturday Night Massacre’ occurred during the Watergate scandal as President Richard M. Nixon fired Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus. Attorney General Elliot Richardson resigned. A firestorm of political protest erupted over the firings leading to widespread demands for Nixon’s impeachment.

October 20, 2014 – Harry Charles Woods married Judi Ann Hagthrop at 11:06am.

Birthday – British architect Christopher Wren (1632-1723) was born in Wiltshire, in southwestern England. Considered one of the greatest minds of his time, he designed St. Paul’s Cathedral and 52 churches for the City of London. His secular buildings included the “new” wing of Hampton Court near London and Greenwich Hospital, now the Royal Naval College.

October 21, 1805 – The Battle of Trafalgar took place between the British Royal Navy and the combined French and Spanish fleets. The victorious British ended the threat of Napoleon’s invasion of England. British naval hero Admiral Horatio Nelson was mortally wounded aboard his ship Victory.

October 21, 1879 – Thomas Edison successfully tested an electric incandescent lamp with a carbonized filament at his laboratory in Menlo Park, New Jersey, keeping it lit for over 13 hours.

October 21, 1915 – The first transatlantic radio voice message was made by the American Telephone and Telegraph Company from Virginia to Paris.

October 21, 1944 – During World War II in Europe, American troops captured Aachen in western Germany after a week of hard fighting. It was the first large German city taken by the Allies.

October 21, 1967 – Thousands of anti-war protesters stormed the Pentagon during a rally against the Vietnam War in Washington, D.C. About 250 were arrested. No shots were fired, but demonstrators were struck with nightsticks and rifle butts.

Birthday – Jazz great Dizzy Gillespie (1917-1993) was born in Cheraw, South Carolina (as John Birks Gillespie). He was a trumpet player, composer, band leader and one of the founding fathers of modern jazz, known for his trademark puffed cheeks and bent trumpet.

October 22, 1962 – President John F. Kennedy appeared on television to inform Americans of the existence of Russian missiles in Cuba. The President demanded their removal and announced a naval “quarantine” of Cuba. Six days later, the Russians announced they would remove the weapons. In return, the U.S. later removed missiles from Turkey.

October 22, 1979 – The exiled Shah of Iran arrived in the United States for medical treatment. A few weeks later, Iranian militants seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 66 Americans hostage. They demanded the return of the Shah for trial. The U.S. refused. The Shah died of cancer in July of 1980. The hostages were freed in January of 1981.

Birthday – Hungarian composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was born in Raiding, Hungary. He was a brilliant pianist best known for Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Liebestraum No. 3, and his Faust and Dante symphonies.

October 23, 1942 – British General Bernard Montgomery launched a major offensive against German forces under Erwin Rommel at El Alamein, Egypt.

October 23, 1956 – A Hungarian uprising against Communist rule began with students and workers demonstrating in Budapest. Soviet Russians responded by sending in tanks and put down the revolt after several days of bitter fighting.

October 23, 1983 – Terrorists drove a truck loaded with TNT into the U.S. and French headquarters in Beirut, Lebanon, exploding it and killing 241 U.S. Marines and 58 French paratroopers.

October 23, 1989 – Hungary declared itself a republic 33 years after Soviet Russian troops crushed a popular revolt against Communist rule.

October 23, 1990 – Ukrainian Prime Minister Vitaly Masol resigned after mass protests by students, becoming the first Soviet official of that rank to quit under public pressure.

October 24, 1861 – The first transcontinental telegram in America was sent from San Francisco to Washington, addressed to President Abraham Lincoln from the Chief Justice of California.

October 24, 1922 – The Irish Parliament voted to adopt a constitution for an Irish Free State, which formally came into existence in December.

October 24, 1929 – “Black Thursday” occurred in the New York Stock Exchange as nearly 13 million shares were sold in panic selling. Five days later “Black Tuesday” saw 16 million shares sold.

October 24, 1931 – Chicago gangster “Scarface” Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in jail for Federal income tax evasion. In 1934, he was transferred to Alcatraz prison near San Francisco. He was paroled in 1939, suffering from syphilis. He retired to his mansion in Miami Beach where he died in 1947.

October 24, 1945 – The United Nations was founded.

October 24, 1980 – Communist authorities in Poland granted recognition to the trade union “Solidarity.” It was subsequently outlawed in 1981 after the government imposed martial law. In 1989, it was re-legalized.

October 24, 1994 – For the first time in 25 years, British troops were absent from the streets of Londonderry, Northern Ireland, following cease-fires by Irish Republican Army (IRA) and pro-British forces.

October 25, 1854 – During the Crimean War, the Charge of the Light Brigade occurred as Lord Cardigan led the British cavalry against the Russians at Balaclava. Of 673 British cavalrymen taking part in the charge, 272 were killed. The Charge was later immortalized in the poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson.

October 25, 1955 – Austria reassumed its sovereignty with the departure of the last Allied forces. The country had been occupied by the Nazis from 1938-45. After World War II, it was divided into four occupation zones by the U.S., Russia, Britain and France.

October 25-30, 1983 – The Caribbean island of Grenada was invaded by the U.S. to restore “order and democracy.” Over 2,000 Marines and Army Rangers seized control after a political coup the previous week had made the island a “Soviet-Cuban colony,” according to President Ronald Reagan.

Birthday – Artist Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) was born in Malaga, Spain. He was an experimental painter and became a fine sculptor, engraver and ceramist.

October 26, 1881 – The shoot-out at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, Arizona, occurred between the feuding Clanton and Earp families. Wyatt Earp, two of his brothers and “Doc” Holliday gunned down two Clantons and two others.

October 26, 1825 – The Erie Canal opened as the first major man-made waterway in America, linking Lake Erie with the Hudson River, bypassing the British-controlled lower St. Lawrence. The canal cost over $7 million and took eight years to complete.

October 26, 1951 – Winston Churchill became Britain’s prime minister for a second time, following his Conservative Party’s narrow victory in general elections. In his first term from 1940-45 he had guided Britain through its struggle against Nazi Germany.

October 26, 1955 – Ngo Dinh Diem proclaimed South Vietnam a republic and declared himself president.

Birthday – Hillary Rodham Clinton was born in Park Ridge, Illinois, October 26, 1947. She was First Lady from 1993-2001 during the presidency of her husband Bill Clinton. In 2000, she became the only First Lady ever elected to the U.S. Senate, serving as a Democrat from New York. She was re-elected in 2006 and then began a presidential campaign, hoping to become America’s first female president. She lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama who went on to win the general election and appointed her as U.S. Secretary of State in 2008.

October 27, 1787 – The first of 85 Federalist Papers appeared in print in a New York City newspaper. The essays argued for the adoption of the new U.S. Constitution. They were written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay.

October 27, 1904 – The New York City subway began operating, running from City Hall to West 145th Street, the first underground and underwater rail system in the world.

October 27, 1978 – The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded jointly to Menachem Begin of Israel and Anwar Sadat of Egypt.

Birthday – British navigator James Cook (1728-1779) was born in Yorkshire, England. He explored New Zealand, Australia, and the Hawaiian Islands.

Birthday – Theodore Roosevelt (1858-1919) the 26th U.S. President was born in New York City. He succeeded to the presidency following the assassination of President William McKinley. Roosevelt served from September 14, 1901 to March 3, 1909. Best remembered for stating, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

Birthday – Welsh poet and playwright Dylan Thomas (1914-1953) was born in Swansea, Wales. His works included; The World I Breathe, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog, The Doctor and the Devil and the drama Under Milk Wood.

October 28, 1636 – Harvard University, the oldest institution of higher learning in America, was founded in Cambridge, Massachusetts. It was named after John Harvard, a Puritan who donated his library and half of his estate. Distinguished alumni include; Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Henry James, and NAACP founder W.E.B. Du Bois.

October 28, 1846 – The Donner Party departed Illinois heading for California. The group totaled 90 persons, including immigrants, families and businessmen, led by George and Jacob Donner. Tragedy later struck as they became stranded in snow in the Sierras where famine and cannibalism took its toll. There were 48 survivors by the end of their journey in April of 1847.

October 28, 1886 – The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor. The statue was a gift from the people of France commemorating the French-American alliance during the American Revolutionary War. Designed by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi, the entire structure stands 300 feet (92.9 meters) tall. The pedestal contains the words: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

October 28, 1918 – The Republic of Czechoslovakia was founded, assembled from three provinces – Bohemia, Moravia, and Slovakia – which had been part of the former Austro-Hungarian empire.

October 28, 1918 – In the waning days of World War I, mutiny broke out in the German fleet at Kiel. Ships in port ran up the red flag of revolution. The uprising spread to Hamburg, Bremen and Lubeck, resulting in a general strike in Berlin which brought the government of Kaiser Wilhelm to a halt.

October 28, 1919 – Prohibition began in the U.S. with the passage of the National Prohibition (Volstead) Act by Congress. Sales of drinks containing more than one half of one percent of alcohol became illegal. Called a “noble experiment” by Herbert Hoover, prohibition last nearly 14 years and became highly profitable for organized crime which manufactured and sold liquor in saloons called speakeasies.

October 28, 1922 – Fascist blackshirts began their “March on Rome” from Naples which resulted in the formation of a dictatorship under Benito Mussolini.

October 28, 1949 – Helen Anderson became the first woman ambassador, appointed by President Harry Truman to be Ambassador to Denmark.

October 28, 1958 – Cardinal Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Patriarch of Venice, was elected Pope, taking the title John XXIII. Best known for undertaking the 21st Ecumenical Council (Vatican II).

October 28, 1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis ended with the announcement by Soviet Russia’s leader Nikita Khrushchev that his Soviet government was halting construction of missile bases in Cuba and would remove the offensive missiles. President Kennedy immediately accepted the offer then lifted the U.S. naval blockade of Cuba.

October 28, 1971 – The British House of Commons voted 356-244 in favor of joining the European Economic Community.

Birthday – Dr. Jonas Salk (1914-1995) was born in New York City. In 1952, he developed a vaccine for the dreaded childhood disease Polio (poliomyelitis, also known as infantile paralysis). His vaccine reduced deaths from Polio in the U.S. by 95%.

Birthday – Microsoft founder Bill Gates was born in Seattle, Washington, October 28, 1955. In 1975, he co-founded Microsoft with Paul Allen, designing software for IBM computers. By 1980, Microsoft became the leading software company for IBM compatible computers. Gates became a billionaire by age 31 and remains one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

October 29, 1618 – British explorer Sir Walter Raleigh was executed in London for treason on orders from King James I.

October 29, 1929 – The stock market crashed as over 16 million shares were dumped amid tumbling prices. The Great Depression followed in America, lasting until the outbreak of World War II.

Birthday – Nazi propaganda minister Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945) was born in Rheydt, near Dusseldorf, Germany. Considered a master propagandist, he controlled all Nazi newspapers, radio and film production. He was a virulent anti-Semite who advocated the extermination of the Jews. Devoted to Hitler until the end, he died at Hitler’s Berlin bunker in 1945 after poisoning his six children.

October 30, 1905 – To counter the spread of revolutionary movements in Russia, Czar Nicholas II took a step toward constitutional government by allowing for an elected parliament (Duma) with legislative powers and guaranteeing civil liberties.

October 30, 1938 – The War of the Worlds radio broadcast panicked millions of Americans. Actor Orson Welles and the Mercury Players dramatized the story by H.G. Wells depicting a Martian invasion of New Jersey. Their script utilized simulated radio news bulletins which many listeners thought were real.

October 30, 1990 – For the first time since the Ice Age, Great Britain was connected with the European continent, via a new rail tunnel under the English Channel.

Birthday – John Adams (1735-1826) the 2nd U.S. President was born in Braintree, Massachusetts. He served from March 4, 1797 to March 3, 1801. He had been George Washington’s vice president, and was the father of John Quincy Adams, the 6th President. He died on July 4, 1826, the same day as Thomas Jefferson, on the 50th anniversary of adoption of the Declaration of Independence.

Birthday – Emily Post (1872-1960) was born in Baltimore, Maryland. She wrote influential books on etiquette and a syndicated newspaper column giving advice on manners in specific situations.

Birthday – Admiral William “Bull” Halsey (1882-1959) was born in Elizabeth, New Jersey. He was the American fleet commander during World War II in the Pacific and played a leading role in the defeat of the Japanese. In 1942, he launched the Doolittle Raid, the first air raid on Japan. From 1942-44, he coordinated successful attacks on the Solomon Islands and New Guinea. In 1944, he led the U.S. fleet to victory at the Battle of Leyte Gulf, the largest naval battle in history.

October 31st – Halloween or All Hallow’s Eve, an ancient celebration combining the Christian festival of All Saints with Pagan autumn festivals.

October 31, 1517 – Martin Luther nailed his 95 Theses to the door of Wittenberg’s palace church, denouncing the selling of papal indulgences and questioning various ecclesiastical practices. This marked the beginning of the Protestant Reformation in Germany.

October 31, 1940 – The Battle of Britain concluded. Beginning on July 10, 1940, German bombers and fighters had attacked coastal targets, airfields, London and other cities, as a prelude to a Nazi invasion of England. British pilots in Spitfires and Hurricanes shot down over 1,700 German aircraft while losing 915 fighters. “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few,” declared Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

October 31, 1941 – Mount Rushmore National Memorial was completed after 14 years of work. The memorial contains 60-foot-tall sculptures of the heads of Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt – representing America’s founding, political philosophy, preservation, and expansion and conservation.

October 31, 1950 – Earl Lloyd became the first African American to play in a National Basketball Association (NBA) game when he took the floor for the Washington Capitals in Rochester, New York.

October 31, 1952 – The U.S. detonated its first hydrogen bomb at the Elugelab Atoll in the Eniwetok Proving Grounds in the Pacific Marshall Islands.

October 31, 1961 – The body of Joseph Stalin was removed from the mausoleum in Red Square and reburied within the Kremlin walls among the graves of lesser Soviet heroes. This occurred as part of Russia’s de-Stalinization program under his successor Nikita Khrushchev. Stalin’s name was also removed from public buildings, streets, and factories. Stalingrad was renamed Volgograd.

October 31, 1968 – During the Vietnam War, President Lyndon Johnson ordered a halt of American bombing of North Vietnam.

October 31, 1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by three Sikh members of her bodyguard while walking in the garden of her New Delhi home.

Birthday – Chinese soldier and statesman Chiang Kai-shek (1887-1975) was born in Chekiang. Educated at the Wampoa Military Academy, he led the KMT (nationalist) forces in the struggle against the Communist army led by Mao Zedong.

September: This Month in History


September 1, 1715 – The “Sun King” (King Louis XIV of France) died. He had ruled since the age of five and was succeeded by his 5-year-old great-grandson Louis XV.

September 1, 1939 – At 5.30 a.m., Hitler’s armies invaded Poland starting World War II in Europe.

September 1, 1969 – Military officers overthrew the Libyan government. The Libyan Arab Republic was then proclaimed under Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

September 1, 1983 – Korean Air Lines Flight 007 was shot down by a Russian fighter jet while on route from New York to Seoul, killing all 269 persons on board. The Boeing 747 reportedly strayed 100 miles off course over secret Soviet Russian military installations on the Kamchatka Peninsula and Sakhalin Island. It crashed in the Sea of Japan.

Birthday – Tarzan of the Apes creator Edgar Rice Burroughs (1875-1950) was born in Chicago. Before becoming a novelist, he was as a correspondent for the Los Angeles Times.

Birthday – Boxing champ Rocky Marciano (1923-1969) was born in Brockton, Massachusetts (as Rocco Francis Marchegiano). He fought Jersey Joe Walcott for the heavyweight title on September 23, 1952 and knocked him out. In 1956, he retired as the only undefeated heavyweight champion. He died in a plane crash in 1969.

September 2, 31 B.C. – Roman legions under Augustus Caesar defeated Mark Anthony’s naval force at Actium.

September 2, 1666 – The Great Fire of London began in a bakery in Pudding Lane near the Tower. Over the next three days more than 13,000 houses were destroyed, although only six lives were believed lost.

September 2, 1752 – The British ended their use of the Julian calendar, switching instead to the Gregorian calendar, resulting in a major adjustment as Wednesday, September 2, was followed by Thursday, September 14. The correction resulted in rioting by people who felt cheated and demanded the missing eleven days back.

September 2, 1789 – The third Presidential cabinet department, the U.S. Treasury, was established by Congress.

September 2, 1864 – During the American Civil WarAtlanta was captured by Sherman’s Army. “Atlanta is ours, and fairly won,” General William T. Sherman telegraphed President Lincoln.

September 2, 1870 – Napoleon III surrendered to the Prussians during the Battle of Sedan, resulting in the fall of the Second French Empire.

September 2, 1923 – The first elections were held in the Irish Free State after achieving independence from Britain.

September 2, 1930 – French aviators Dieudonne Coste and Maurice Bellonte made the first non-stop flight from Europe to the USA.

September 2, 1945 – President Harry Truman declared V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) commemorating the formal Japanese surrender to the Allies aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

September 2, 1945 – Ho Chi Minh proclaimed the independence of Vietnam and the establishment of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

September 2, 1962 – Soviet Russia agreed to send arms to Cuba, leading to the October Missile Crisis after the shipments were discovered by the U.S.

September 2, 1963 – Alabama Governor George Wallace forcibly halted public-school integration by encircling Tuskegee High School with state troopers.

Birthday – Christa McAuliffe (1948-1986) was born in Boston (as Sharon Christa Corrigan). On January 28, 1986, the 37-year-old high-school teacher, the first “ordinary citizen” in space, died with six crew members in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion.

September 3, 1783 – The Treaty of Paris was signed by John AdamsBen Franklin and John Jay, formally ending the American Revolutionary War between Britain and the United States.

September 3, 1833 – The New York Sun newspaper first appeared, marking the beginning of the ‘penny press,’ inexpensive newspapers sold on sidewalks by newspaper boys. The paper focused on human interest stories and sensationalism and by 1836 was the largest seller in America with a circulation of 30,000.

September 3, 1838 – Anti-slavery leader Frederick Douglass began his escape from slavery by boarding a train in Baltimore dressed as a sailor. He rode to Wilmington, Delaware, where he caught a steamboat to the free city of Philadelphia, then took a train to New York City where he came under the protection of the Underground Railway network.

September 3, 1939 – Great Britain and France declared war on Nazi Germany after its invasion of Poland two days earlier.

September 3, 1943 – Italy signed an armistice with the Allies during World War II in Europe as the British Eighth Army, commanded by General Bernard Montgomery, invaded the Italian mainland from Sicily.

September 4, 1609 – The island of Manhattan was discovered by navigator Henry Hudson.

September 4, 1781 – Los Angeles was founded by the Spanish Governor of California, Felipe de Neve, near the site of the Native American village of Yang-na. The original name was El Pueblo de la Reina de Los Angeles (The Town of the Queen of the Angels).

September 4, 1886 – The last major U.S.-Indian war came to an end as Geronimo was captured. He died of natural causes in 1909 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Birthday – Austrian composer Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was born in Ansfelden, Austria. Best known for his monumental ten symphonies.

September 5, 1774 – The First Continental Congress assembled in Philadelphia with 56 delegates, representing every colony, except Georgia. Attendants included Patrick Henry, George WashingtonSam Adams and John Hancock.

September 5-6, 1972 – Eleven members of the Israeli Olympic Team were killed during an attack on the Olympic Village in Munich by members of the Black September faction of the Palestinian Liberation Army. Israeli jets then bombed Palestinian positions in Lebanon and Syria in retaliation on September 8, 1972.

September 5, 1975 – The first of two September assassination attempts on President Gerald Ford occurred as a woman pointed a gun at the President in Sacramento, California. Two weeks later, a second attempt occurred as another woman fired a shot at Ford in San Francisco. Ford was not harmed in either incident.

September 5, 1997 – Mother Teresa died in Calcutta at age 87, after a life of good works spent aiding the sick and poor in India through her Missionaries of Charity order.

Birthday – Wild West legend Jesse James (1847-1882) was born in Centerville, Missouri. Following the American Civil War, Jesse and his brother Frank formed a group of outlaws, robbing banks, trains, stagecoaches and stores. In 1882, after the governor of Missouri offered a $10,000 reward for their capture dead or alive, a member of the gang shot 34-year-old Jesse in the back of the head and claimed the reward.

Birthday – Film producer Darryl F. Zanuck (1902-1979) was born in Wahoo, Nebraska. He co-founded 20th Century Studios, which later merged with Fox. His films included the first sound picture The Jazz Singer, and The Snake Pit and The Grapes of Wrath.

September 6, 1991 – Leningrad was renamed Saint Petersburg by Russian legislators following the collapse of the Soviet Union. Russia’s second largest city had been known as Leningrad for 67 years in honor of Vladimir Lenin, founder of the Soviet Union.

Birthday – Marquis de Lafayette (1757-1834) was born in Chavaniac, France (as Marie-Joseph-Paul-Yves-Roch-Gilbert du Motier). He came to America in 1777 to volunteer in the American Revolution, beginning a long friendship with George Washington. He later persuaded Louis XVI of France to send a 6,000-man force to assist the Americans. Lafayette was given command of an army in Virginia and was instrumental in forcing Cornwallis to surrender at Yorktown, leading to the American victory.

Birthday – Pioneering American social worker Jane Addams (1860-1935) was born in Cedarville, Illinois. In 1883, she toured the great European cities to study famous historic sites but was deeply moved by the hunger and misery she found among the common people. She then founded Hull House in Chicago to serve the sick and poor and managed the settlement for the next 46 years.

September 7, 1822 – Brazil declared its independence from Portugal after 322 years as a colony.

September 7, 1940 – The German Luftwaffe began its Blitz bombing campaign against London during World War II.

September 7, 1986 – Bishop Desmond Tutu became Archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, the first black head of South Africa’s Anglicans.

September 7, 1994 – The U.S. Army closed its headquarters in Berlin, ending the American military presence in the once-divided city after nearly half a century.

September 7, 1999 – For the first time since World War II, Germany’s parliament, the Bundestag, returned to Berlin, former capital of Imperial Germany as well as Hitler’s Reich. The Bundestag held its first session in the fully restored Reichstag building, attended by parliamentarians from around the world. The session also marked the 50th anniversary of the Bundestag’s first post-war session, held in Bonn, the former capital of West Germany.

Birthday – Queen Elizabeth I (1533-1603) was born in Greenwich Palace. She was the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. She ascended the throne in 1558 at age 25. During her reign, Britain became a world power by defeating the Spanish Armada. The Anglican Church was also fully established.

September 8, 1565 – The first Catholic settlement in America was founded by Spaniard Don Pedro Menendez de Aviles at St. Augustine, Florida.

September 8, 1883 – The Northern Pacific Railroad across the U.S. was completed.

September 8, 1900 – A hurricane with winds of 120 mph struck Galveston, Texas, killing over 8,000 persons, making it the worst natural disaster in U.S. history. The hurricane and tidal wave that followed destroyed over 2,500 buildings.

September 8, 1935 – Louisiana Senator Huey P. Long was shot and mortally wounded while attending a session of the state House of Representatives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He died two days later.

September 8, 1941 – The German Army began its blockade of Leningrad, lasting until January 1944, resulting in the deaths of almost one million Russian civilians.

September 8, 1974 – A month after resigning the presidency in disgrace as a result of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon was granted a full pardon by President Gerald R. Ford for all offenses committed while in office.

September 9, 1776 – The United States came into existence as the Continental Congress changed the name of the new American nation from the United Colonies.

September 9, 1943 – The invasion of Salerno began during World War II in Europe as Allied forces under General Mark Clark made amphibious landings along the western coast of Italy near Naples. Initial gains by the Allies met strong resistance from German forces.

September 9, 1948 – Following the withdrawal of Soviet forces from North Korea, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea was proclaimed with Pyongyang as its capital.

September 9, 1976 – Longtime leader of Communist China, Chairman Mao Zedong, died. As a Chinese revolutionary soldier and statesman, he had proclaimed the People’s Republic of China in 1949 in Beijing.

September 9, 1993 – Israel and the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization) agreed to recognize each other, paving the way for a possible peaceful end to the hundred-year-old conflict between Arabs and Jews in the Mideast.

September 10, 1898 – Elizabeth, Empress of Austria-Hungary, was assassinated in Geneva by an anarchist.

September 10, 1919 – Following the defeat of Germany in World War I, the victorious Allies signed the Treaty of Saint-Germain ceding parts of pre-war German-Austria to Italy and Czechoslovakia. Austria was also forbidden to unite with Germany.

September 10, 1943 – Hitler’s troops occupied Rome and took over the protection of Vatican City.

September 11, 2001 – The worst terrorist attack in U.S. history occurred as four large passenger jets were hijacked then crashed, killing nearly 3,000 persons. Four separate teams of Mideast terrorists, operating from inside the U.S., boarded the morning flights posing as passengers, then forcibly commandeered the aircraft. Two fully fueled jumbo jets, American Airlines Flight 11 carrying 92 people and United Airlines Flight 175 carrying 65 people, had departed Boston for Los Angeles. Both jets were diverted by the hijackers to New York City where they were piloted into the twin towers of the World Trade Center. The impact and subsequent fire caused both 110-story towers to collapse, killing 2,752 persons including hundreds of rescue workers and people employed in the towers. In addition, United Airlines Flight 93, which had departed Newark for San Francisco, and American Airlines Flight 77, which had departed Dulles (Virginia) for Los Angeles, were hijacked. Flight 77 with 64 people on board was diverted to Washington, D.C., then piloted into the Pentagon building, killing everyone on board and 125 military personnel inside the building. Flight 93 with 44 people on board was also diverted toward Washington but crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers attempted to overpower the terrorists on board.

Birthday – Ferdinand Marcos (1917-1989) was born in Sarrat, Philippines. He ruled the Philippines from 1966, imposing an authoritarian regime until he was ousted in 1986.

September 12, 1943 – Former Italian Dictator Benito Mussolini was rescued by German paratroopers on orders from Adolf Hitler. Mussolini was being held prisoner by Italian authorities following the collapse of his Fascist regime.

September 12, 1953 – John F. Kennedy, 36, married Jacqueline Bouvier, 24, in a ceremony before 750 invited guests at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island, conducted by Archbishop Richard Cushing of Boston.

September 12, 1953 – Nikita Khrushchev was elected First Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the USSR.

September 12, 1974 – Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, was deposed by an army coup after 44 years as ruler.

September 12, 1977 – Steve Biko, the South African black civil rights leader, died while he was in police detention.

September 12, 1990 – A treaty was signed by East and West Germany and the Allies of World War II allowing for the restoration of sovereignty to a re-unified Germany.

Birthday – African American Olympic athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980) was born in Oakville, Alabama (as James Cleveland Owens). He won four medals in track and field at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, defeating Nazi athletes and disappointing Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

September 13, 1788 – The U.S. Congress chose New York as the Federal capital of the new American government.

September 13, 1814 – The Battle of Fort Henry in Baltimore Harbor occurred, observed by Francis Scott Key aboard a ship. He watched the British attack overnight and at dawn saw the American flag still flying over the fort, inspiring him to write the verses which were later coupled with the tune of a popular drinking song and became the U.S. National Anthem in 1931.

September 13, 1971 – State police and National Guardsmen stormed Attica prison in New York State ending a five-day prisoners’ revolt. Thirty-one prisoners and 11 guards were killed.

Birthday – American Army physician Walter Reed (1851-1902) was born in Gloucester County, Virginia. Best known for his Yellow Fever research, he served as an army surgeon for more than 20 years. The U.S. Army’s general hospital in Washington, D.C., is named in his honor.

Birthday – Army General John J. Pershing (1860-1948) was born in Laclede, Missouri. He commanded the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) during World War I and oversaw the Meuse-Argonne operation that helped bring about the Armistice of November 11, 1918.

September 14, 1741 – Composer George Frederick Handel finished Messiah after working on it nonstop for 23 days.

September 14, 1812 – Napoleon and his troops first entered Moscow as the retreating Russians set the city on fire. Napoleon found it was impossible to stay through the winter in the ruined city. He then began a retreat from Moscow which became one of the great disasters of military history. Fewer than 20,000 of the original 500,000 men with him survived the Russian campaign.

September 14, 1901 – Eight days after being shot, President William McKinley died from wounds suffered during an assassination attempt in Buffalo, New York. He was succeeded by Theodore Roosevelt.

September 14, 1927 – In Nice, France, famed ballet dancer Isadora Duncan was killed in a freak accident as the long scarf she was wearing became caught in the moving wheel of the car in which she was riding, strangling her.

September 14, 1930 – The Nazi Party became the second largest party in Germany following a stunning election triumph by Adolf Hitler.

September 14, 1960 – The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) was formed by representatives of oil-producing countries meeting in Baghdad.

September 14, 1975 – Elizabeth Ann Seton became the first American saint.

September 14, 1982 – Princess Grace of Monaco died following an accident in which her car plunged off a mountain road in Monte Carlo. Her daughter Stephanie, also in the car, survived and was treated for shock and bruises. Princess Grace (Grace Kelly) was a Hollywood actress who met Prince Rainier III of Monaco during filming of the Hitchcock film To Catch a Thief. She then gave up a successful acting career and married him in 1956.

September 15, 1776 – British forces under General William Howe captured New York during the American Revolution.

September 15, 1916 – Tanks were first used in combat, during the Allied offensive at the Battle of the Somme, in World War I.

September 15, 1935 – Nazis enacted the Nuremburg Laws depriving German Jews of their rights of citizenship.

September 15, 1940 – The height of the Battle of Britain occurred as massive German air raids took place against London, Southampton, Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool and Manchester. The British claimed 185 German planes were shot down.

September 15, 1944 – The first entry of American troops into Hitler’s Germany occurred as elements of the U.S. 7th and 5th Corps reached the southwestern frontier of Germany.

Birthday – American novelist, historian and social critic, James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851) was born in Burlington, New Jersey. Best known for The Last of the Mohicans.

Birthday – William Howard Taft (1857-1930) the 27th U.S. President was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. He served as President from 1909-1913, then became a law professor at Yale University until his appointment as Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in 1921.

Birthday – British mystery author Agatha Christie (1890-1976) was born in Torquay, England. She wrote nearly a hundred books including mysteries, dramas, poetry and nonfiction.

September 16, 1620 – The Mayflower ship departed from England, bound for America with 102 passengers and a small crew. The ship weathered dangerous Atlantic storms and reached Provincetown, Massachusetts on November 21st. The Pilgrims disembarked at Plymouth on December 26th.

September 16, 1810 – Mexico’s break from Spain began in the town of Dolores Hidalgo as Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his church’s bells and exhorted local Indians to “recover from the hated Spaniards the land stolen from your forefathers…”

September 16, 1908 – General Motors was founded by entrepreneur William Crapo “Billy” Durant in Flint, Michigan.

September 16, 1976 – The Episcopalian Church in the U.S. approved the ordination of women priests and bishops.

September 16, 1982 – Beginning of a two-day massacre in Palestinian refugee camps in West Beirut as Christian militiamen (the Phalangists) entered Sabra and Shatila and began shooting hundreds of Palestinians, including elderly men, women and children.

September 17, 1787 – At the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, delegates from twelve states voted unanimously to approve the proposed U.S. Constitution.

September 17, 1862 – The bloodiest day in U.S. military history occurred as General Robert E. Lee and the Confederate armies were stopped at Antietam in Maryland by General George B. McClellan and numerically superior Union forces. By nightfall 26,000 men were dead, wounded, or missing.

September 17, 1908 – The first fatality involving powered flight occurred as a biplane piloted by Orville Wright fell from a height of 75 feet, killing Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge, his 26-year-old passenger. A crowd of nearly 2,000 spectators at Fort Myer, Virginia, observed the crash of the plane which was being tested for possible military use. Wright himself was seriously injured.

September 17, 1939 – Soviet Russians invaded Eastern Poland, meeting little resistance and taking over 200,000 Poles prisoner. This was done in accordance with the Nazi-Soviet Pact in which the Nazis and Soviets had predetermined how they would divide up Poland.

Birthday – Supreme Court Justice Warren E. Burger (1907-1995) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota. Appointed by President Nixon, he had the longest tenure (1969-86) of any Chief Justice in the 20th Century. In 1973, he voted in the majority on Roe vs. Wade which upheld a woman’s right to an abortion. In 1974, he voted to force Nixon to surrender White House audio tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.

September 18, 1810 – Chile declared its independence from Spain after 269 years as a colony.

September 18, 1947 – The U.S. Air Force was established as a separate military service.

Birthday – Movie actress Greta Garbo (1905-1990) was born in Stockholm, Sweden (as Greta Lovisa Gustafsson). She retired and became a recluse after making 27 films, spanning the silent era through the beginning of sound movies.

September 19, 1676 – Jamestown, Virginia, was attacked and burned during a rebellion led by Nathaniel Bacon against the Royal Governor, Sir William Berkeley.

September 19, 1893 – New Zealand became the first country to grant women the right to vote.

September 19-20, 1985 – Earthquakes in Mexico City killed an estimated 5,000 to 20,000 persons and left more than 100,000 homeless, causing $4 billion in damage. The quakes registered 8.1 and 7.5 on the Richter scale.

September 19, 1994 – U.S. troops invaded Haiti, with the stated goal of restoring democracy.

Birthday – British author William Golding (1911-1993) was born in Cornwall, England. Best known for Lord of the Flies, he received a Nobel Prize in 1983.

September 20 Return to Top of Page

September 20, 1873 – The New York Stock Exchange was forced to close for the first time in its history as a result of a banking crisis during the financial Panic of 1873.

September 20, 1973 – The much-hyped “Battle of the Sexes” took place in the Houston Astrodome as tennis player and women’s rights activist, Billie Jean King, defeated self-styled male chauvinist Bobby Riggs in three straight sets. Riggs, a retired tennis champion, had been critical of the quality of women’s tennis.

September 20, 1989 – F.W. De Klerk was sworn in as president of South Africa. He began an era of reform aimed at ending apartheid and was succeeded by Nelson Mandela.

September 21, 1949 – The People’s Republic of China was proclaimed by its Communist leaders.

September 22, 1776 – During the American Revolution, Nathan Hale was executed without a trial after he was caught spying on British troops on Long Island, his last words, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.”

September 22, 1828 – Shaka, chief of the Zulus and founder of the Zulu empire, was killed by his two half-brothers.

September 22, 1862 – President Abraham Lincoln issued a preliminary Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves in territories held by Confederates as of January 1, 1863.

September 22, 1862 – Otto von Bismarck became premier of Prussia. He forged a loose confederation of German states into a powerful nation, with Wilhelm I becoming Kaiser of the new German Empire.

September 22, 1996 – Australian Bob Dent, a cancer victim, became the first person to commit legally assisted suicide, via a lethal injection, under a voluntary euthanasia law.

Birthday – British scientist Michael Faraday (1791-1867) was born in Surrey, England. His discovery of electromagnetic induction proved that moving a magnet through a coil of wire produces a current, resulting in the development of electric generators.

September 23rd – Autumn (Sept. 23-Dec. 21) begins in the Northern Hemisphere with the autumnal equinox, at 1:37 a.m. EDT. In the Southern Hemisphere today is the beginning of spring.

September 23, 1952 – Vice-presidential candidate Richard Nixon delivered his Checkers Speech on television and radio to address accusations of financial misdeeds.

September 23, 1991 – Armenia declared its independence from the Soviet Union.

Birthday – American journalist and influential commentator, Walter Lippmann (1889-1974) was born in New York. “Without criticism and reliable and intelligent reporting, the government cannot govern,” he once stated.

Birthday – Friedrich von Paulus (1890-1957) was born in Breitenau, Germany. In 1942, Adolf Hitler chose Paulus, a desk officer, to lead the German 6th Army in an all-out attack against Stalingrad, deep inside Russia. Although his troops captured most of Stalingrad, they became trapped within the city. On January 31, 1943, the day Hitler made him a field marshal, Paulus surrendered to the Russians, marking the first big defeat of Hitler’s armies. After the war, Paulus appeared as a witness for the Russian prosecution at the Nuremberg war crime trials.

September 24, 1957 – President Dwight Eisenhower ordered the National Guard to enforce racial integration of schools in Little Rock, Arkansas.

September 24, 1980 – War erupted between Iran and Iraq as Iraqi troops crossed the border and encircled Abadan, then set fire to the world’s largest oil refinery.

Birthday – John Marshall (1755-1835) was born in Germantown, Virginia. He was appointed by President John Adams to the position of Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court in January 1801. He became known as “The Great Chief Justice,” largely responsible for expanding the role of the Supreme Court through such cases as Marbury vs. Madison and McCulloch vs. Maryland.

Birthday – American writer F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) was born in St. Paul, Minnesota (as Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald). Best known for This Side of Paradise, The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night.

Birthday – Puppeteer Jim Henson (1936-1990) was born in Greenville, Mississippi. He created the Muppets, including Kermit the Frog, and Bert and Ernie, entertaining and educating generations of children via the daily TV show Sesame Street.

September 25, 1513 – Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa first sighted the Pacific Ocean after crossing the Isthmus of Panama.

September 25, 1690 – The first American newspaper was published. A single edition of Public Occurrences Both Foreign and Domestic appeared in Boston, Massachusetts. However, British authorities considered the newspaper offensive and ordered its immediate suppression.

September 25, 1789 – The first U.S. Congress proposed 12 Amendments to the Constitution, ten of which, comprising the Bill of Rights, were ratified.

Birthday – American writer William Faulkner (1897-1962) was born in New Albany, Mississippi. Best known for The Sound and the Fury and The Reivers.

Birthday – Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) was born in St. Petersburg, Russia. He witnessed the Russian Revolution and went on to become one of the greatest Soviet composers.

September 26, 1687 – The Acropolis in Athens was attacked by the Venetian army attempting to oust the Turks, resulting in heavy damage to the Parthenon.

September 26, 1918 – The last major battle of World War I, the Battle of the Argonne, began as a combined force of French and Americans attacked the Germans along a 40-mile front.

September 26, 1960 – The first-ever televised presidential debate occurred between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. Many who watched were inclined to say Kennedy ‘won’ the debate, while those who listened only to the radio thought Nixon did better. Nixon, who declined to use makeup, appeared somewhat haggard looking on TV in contrast to Kennedy.

September 26, 1984 – Britain agreed to allow Hong Kong to revert to Chinese sovereignty in 1997.

Birthday – American folk legend Johnny Appleseed (1774-1845) was born in Leominster, Massachusetts (as John Chapman). For 40 years, he traveled through Ohio, Indiana and into Illinois, planting orchards. He was a friend to wild animals and was regarded as a “great medicine man” by Native Americans.

Birthday – Writer T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (1888-1965) was born in St. Louis, Missouri. He rejected conventional verse and language in favor of free expression.

Birthday – Composer George Gershwin (1898-1937) was born in Brooklyn, New York. Along with his brother Ira, he created enduring songs including The Man I Love, Strike Up the Band, I Got Rhythm and the opera Porgy and Bess.

September 27, 1964 – After a 10-month investigation, the Warren Commission Report was issued stating a lone gunman had been responsible for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963.

September 27, 1995 – The Israeli cabinet agreed to give Palestinians control of much of the West Bank which had been occupied by Israel for 28 years.

Birthday – American revolutionary leader Samuel Adams (1722-1803) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was a passionate, vocal man who helped ignite the revolution and served as a delegate to the First and Second Continental Congresses. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and the Articles of Confederation.

Birthday – American political cartoonist Thomas Nast (1840-1902) was born in Landau, Germany. He originated the symbols for the two main U.S. political parties, the Democratic donkey and the Republican elephant. Nast was also instrumental in destroying the Tweed Ring, a group of corrupt politicians plundering the New York City treasury.

September 28, 1066 – The Norman conquest of England began as Duke William of Normandy landed at Pevensey, Sussex.

September 28, 1542 – California was discovered by Portuguese navigator Juan Rodriguez Cabrillo upon his arrival at San Diego Bay.

September 28, 1978 – Pope John Paul I died after only 33 days in office. He was succeeded by John Paul II.

September 28, 1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization leader Yasser Arafat signed an accord at the White House establishing Palestinian self-rule in the West Bank.

September 29, 1789 – Congress created the United States Army, consisting of 1,000 enlisted men and officers.

September 29, 1829 – Britain’s “bobbies” made their first public appearance. Greater London’s Metropolitan Police force was established by an act of Parliament at the request of Home Secretary, Sir Robert Peel, after whom they were nicknamed. The force later became known as Scotland Yard, the site of their first headquarters.

September 29-30, 1941 – Nazis killed 33,771 Jews during the Babi Yar massacre near Kiev.

Birthday – Nuclear physicist Enrico Fermi (1901-1954) was born in Rome. While teaching at the University of Chicago, he developed a method of causing nuclear fission, producing a chain reaction releasing explosive nuclear energy which led to the development of the Atomic bombs.

September 30, 1938 – British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain returned to England declaring there would be “peace in our time,” after signing the Munich Pact with Adolf Hitler. The Pact ceded the Czechoslovakian Sudetenland to the Nazis. Chamberlain claimed the agreement meant peace, however, Hitler seized all of Czechoslovakia in March of 1939.

September 30, 1949 – The Berlin Airlift concluded after 277,264 flights carrying over 2 million tons of supplies to the people of West Berlin, who were blockaded by the Soviets.

September 30, 1955 – Actor James Dean was killed in a car crash in California at age 24. Although he made just three major films, Rebel Without a Cause, East of Eden and Giant, he remains one of the most influential actors.

September 30, 1966 – Nazi war criminals Albert Speer and Baldur von Schirach were released from Spandau prison after serving 20 years. The prison, originally built for 600 inmates, was left with only one prisoner, former Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess.

Birthday – American writer Truman Capote (1924-1984) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana (as Truman Streckfus Persons). He took the last name of his stepfather, becoming Truman Capote. Best known for Breakfast at Tiffany’s and In Cold Blood.


August 1, 1838 – Slavery was abolished in Jamaica. It had been introduced by Spanish settlers 300 years earlier in 1509.

August 1, 1944 – Anne Frank penned her last entry into her diary. “[I] keep on trying to find a way of becoming what I would like to be, and what I could be, if…there weren’t any other people living in the world.” Three days later, Anne and her family were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps. Anne died at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp on March 15, 1945, at age 15.

August 1, 1944 – The Warsaw Uprising began as the Polish Home Army, numbering about 40,000 Polish patriots, began shooting at German troops in the streets. The Nazis then sent eight divisions to battle the Poles, who had hoped for, but did not receive, assistance from the Allies. Two months later, the rebellion was quashed.

Birthday – Star-Spangled Banner author Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was born in Frederick County, Maryland. After witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry on the night of September 13-14, 1814, he was enthralled to see the American flag still flying over the fort at daybreak. He then wrote the poem originally entitled Defense of Fort McHenry which became the U.S. National Anthem in 1931.

Birthday – Moby Dick author Herman Melville (1819-1891) was born in New York.

August 2, 1776 – In Philadelphia, most of the 55 members of the Continental Congress signed the parchment copy of the Declaration of Independence.

August 2, 1923 – President Warren G. Harding died suddenly in a hotel in San Francisco while on a Western speaking tour. His administration had been tainted by the Teapot Dome political scandal and his sudden death prompted many unfounded rumors. He was succeeded the next day by Calvin Coolidge.

August 2, 1939 – Albert Einstein wrote a letter to President Franklin D. Roosevelt concerning the possibility of atomic weapons. “A single bomb of this type carried by boat and exploded in a port, might very well destroy the whole port together with some of the surrounding territory.” Six years later, on August 6, 1945, the first Atomic Bomb, developed by the U.S., was dropped on the Japanese port of Hiroshima.

August 2, 1990 – The Iraqi army invaded Kuwait amid claims that Kuwait threatened Iraq’s economic existence by overproducing oil and driving prices down on the world market. An Iraqi military government was then installed in Kuwait which was annexed by Iraq on the claim that Kuwait was historically part of Iraq. This resulted in Desert Shield, the massive Allied military buildup, and later the 100-hour war against Iraq, Desert Storm.

August 3, 1492 – Christopher Columbus set sail from Palos, Spain, with three ships, Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria. Seeking a westerly route to the Far East, he instead landed on October 12th in the Bahamas, thinking it was an outlying Japanese island.

Birthday – War correspondent Ernie Pyle (1900-1945) was born in Dana, Indiana. His syndicated column offered sympathetic insights into the experiences of common soldiers during World War II. He received a Pulitzer Prize for his reports of the bombing of London in 1940 and later war reports from Africa, Sicily, Italy and France. He was killed by machine-gun fire near Okinawa in the South Pacific on April 18, 1945.

Birthday – Gray Panthers founder Maggie Kuhn (1905-1995) was born in Buffalo, New York. After she was forced into mandatory retirement at age 65, she founded the Gray Panthers organization to fight age discrimination and succeeded in the banning of mandatory retirement in most professions.

August 4, 1962 – Apartheid opponent Nelson Mandela was arrested by security police in South Africa. He was then tried and sentenced to five years in prison. In 1964, he was placed on trial for sabotage, high treason and conspiracy to overthrow the government and was sentenced to life in prison. A worldwide campaign to free him began in the 1980s and resulted in his release on February 11, 1990, at age 71 after 27 years in prison. In 1993, Mandela shared the Nobel Peace Prize with South Africa’s President F.W. de Klerk for their peaceful efforts to bring a nonracial democracy to South Africa. In April 1994, black South Africans voted for the first time in an election that brought Mandela the presidency of South Africa.

August 4, 1964 – Three young civil rights workers, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, were found murdered and buried in an earthen dam outside Philadelphia, Mississippi. They had disappeared on June 21 after being detained by Neshoba County police on charges of speeding. They were participating in the Mississippi Summer Project organized by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) to increase black voter registration. When their car was found burned on June 23, President Lyndon Johnson ordered the FBI to search for the men.

Birthday – Jazz trumpet player Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Known as “Satchmo,” he appeared in many films and is best known for his renditions of It’s a Wonderful World and Hello, Dolly.

Birthday – Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg (1912-1947) was born in Stockholm. During the Holocaust, Wallenberg saved an estimated 33,000 Jews by issuing thousands of protective documents, by securing the release of Jews from deportation trains, death march convoys, labor service brigades, and by establishing the International Ghetto, a network of 31 protected houses. He was detained by Soviet agents on January 17, 1945 and is believed to have died in prison in 1947.

Birthday – Barack Obama the 44th U.S. President was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on August 4, 1961. His father was from Kenya, Africa, while his mother was originally from Kansas. Upon completing his college education, young Obama moved to Chicago, becoming active in community affairs. He then attended Harvard Law School, becoming the first African American president of the Harvard Law Review in 1990. He returned to Chicago, worked in a law firm, then entered politics. Elected to the Illinois State Senate in 1996, he went on to become a U.S. Senator in 2004. Four years later, he successfully challenged former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination and went on to defeat Republican John McCain in the general election, November 4, 2008, thus becoming the first President of African American origin.

August 5, 1583 – The first British colony in North America was founded by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a British navigator and explorer. He sighted the Newfoundland coast and took possession of the area around St. John’s harbor in the name of the Queen. He was later lost at sea in a storm off the Azores on his return trip to England.

August 5, 1861 – President Abraham Lincoln signed into law the first Federal income tax, a 3 percent tax on incomes over $800, as an emergency wartime measure during the Civil War. However, the tax was never actually put into effect.

August 5, 1962 – Film star Marilyn Monroe died at age 36 from an overdose of sleeping pills. She made 29 films during her career and came to symbolize Hollywood glamour.

August 5, 2011 – Standard & Poor’s credit rating agency downgraded the United States debt from its highest rating of AAA to a lesser AA+ rating, marking the first-ever decline of credit worthiness for the U.S. The agency cited America’s $14 trillion in outstanding debt and ineffective political leadership regarding debt reduction.

Birthday – John Eliot (1604-1690) was born in Hertfordshire, England. Known as the “Apostle to the Indians,” his translation of the Bible into an Indian tongue was the first Bible to be printed in America.

August 6-10, 1787 – The Great Debate occurred during the Constitutional Convention. Outcomes included the establishment of a four-year term of office for the President, granting Congress the right to regulate foreign trade and interstate commerce, and the appointment of a committee to prepare a final draft of the Constitution.

August 6, 1945 – The first Atomic Bomb was dropped over the center of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m., by the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay. The bomb detonated about 1,800 ft. above ground, killing over 105,000 persons and destroying the city. Another estimated 100,000 persons later died as a result of radiation effects.

August 6, 1962 – Jamaica achieved independence after centuries of British and Spanish rule. During 150 years of Spanish rule, African slaves were first brought to the island. The British invaded in 1655 and the slave trade greatly expanded during the 1700s. Following the abolition of slavery in the 1830s, Jamaica remained a British colony.

August 6, 1965 – The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson. The Act suspended literacy, knowledge and character tests designed to keep African Americans from voting in the South. It also authorized the appointment of Federal voting examiners and barred discriminatory poll taxes. The Act was renewed by Congress in 1975, 1984 and 1991.

Birthday – British poet Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892) was born in Somersby, Lincolnshire, England. He was appointed Poet Laureate in succession to William Wordsworth. Memorable poems by Tennyson include Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington and The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Birthday – Penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) was born in Lochfield, Scotland. By accident, he found that mold from soil killed deadly bacteria without injuring human tissue. He received the Nobel Prize in 1954.

August 7, 1964 – Following an attack on two U.S. destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin off North Vietnam, the U.S. Congress approved the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, granting President Lyndon B. Johnson authority “to take all necessary measures to repel any armed attack against the forces of the United States and to prevent further aggression.”

August 7, 1990 – Just five days after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, President George Bush ordered Desert Shield, a massive military buildup to prevent further Iraqi advances.

Birthday – International spy Mata Hari (1876-1917) was born (as Margaret Gertrude Zelle) in Leewarden, Netherlands. Arrested by the French in 1917 as a German spy, she was tried, convicted and sentenced to death. At her execution, she refused a blindfold and instead threw a kiss to the French firing squad.

Birthday – African American statesman and Nobel Prize recipient Ralph J. Bunche (1904-1971) was born in Detroit, Michigan. In 1949, as a mediator for the United Nations, he helped bring an end to hostilities in the war between Israel and the Arab League.

August 8, 1945 – Soviet Russia declared war on Japan and sent troops into Japanese-held Manchuria.

Birthday – African American explorer Matthew Henson (1866-1955) was born in Charles County, Maryland. He accompanied Robert E. Peary on several Arctic expeditions and reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909.

August 9, 1945 – The second Atomic bombing of Japan occurred as an American B-29 bomber headed for the city of Kokura, but because of poor visibility then chose a secondary target, Nagasaki. About noon, the bomb detonated killing an estimated 70,000 persons and destroying about half the city.

August 9, 1974 – Effective at noon, Richard M. Nixon resigned the presidency as a result of the Watergate scandal. Nixon had appeared on television the night before and announced his decision to the American people. Facing possible impeachment by Congress, he became the only U.S. President ever to resign.

August 10

Birthday – Herbert Hoover (1874-1964) the 31st U.S. President was born in West Branch, Iowa. He was the first President born west of the Mississippi.

August 11, 1841 – Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave, spoke before an audience in the North for the first time. During an anti-slavery convention on Nantucket Island, he gave a powerful, emotional account of his life as a slave. He was immediately asked to become a full-time lecturer for the Massachusetts Antislavery Society.

August 11-16, 1965 – Six days of riots began in the Watts area of Los Angeles, triggered by an incident between a white member of the California Highway Patrol and an African American motorist. Thirty-four deaths were reported, and more than 3,000 people were arrested. Damage to property was listed at $40 million.

Birthday – Roots author Alex Haley (1921-1992) was born in Ithaca, New York. His Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, published in 1976, explored seven generations of his family from its origins in Africa through slavery in America and eventual hard-fought freedom. Roots was translated into 37 languages and became an eight-part TV miniseries in 1977 which attracted a record American audience and raised awareness concerning the legacy of slavery.

August 12, 1676 – King Philip’s War ended with the assassination of Metacom, leader of the Pokanokets, a tribe within the Wampanoag Indian Federation. Nicknamed ‘King Philip’ by colonists, he led a Native American uprising against white settlers which resulted in a war that raged for nearly two years, now known as King Philip’s War.

Birthday – Film pioneer Cecil B. DeMille (1881-1959) was born in Ashfield, Massachusetts. He produced over 70 major films including Cleopatra, The Ten Commandments, and The Greatest Show on Earth.

August 13, 1961 – The Berlin Wall came into existence after the East German government closed the border between east and west sectors of Berlin with barbed wire to discourage emigration to the West. The barbed wire was replaced by a 12-foot-high concrete wall eventually extending 103 miles (166 km) around the perimeter of West Berlin. The wall included electrified fences, fortifications, and guard posts. It became a notorious symbol of the Cold War. Presidents Kennedy and Reagan made notable appearances at the wall accompanied by speeches denouncing Communism. The wall was finally opened by an East German governmental decree in November 1989 and torn down by the end of 1990.

Birthday – Women’s rights pioneer Lucy Stone (1818-1893) was born near West Brookfield, Massachusetts. She dedicated her life to the abolition of slavery and the emancipation of women and aided in the founding of the American Suffrage Association.

Birthday – Wild West performer Annie Oakley (1860-1926) was born in Darke County, Ohio. Famous for her shooting ability, she joined Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show in 1885 and was one of the star attractions for 17 years.

Birthday – British film director Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) was born in London. His suspenseful films included classics such as The 39 Steps, Rebecca, Suspicion, Notorious, Rear Window, The Birds, Psycho and Frenzy, in addition to his American TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Birthday – Cuban President Fidel Castro was born in Mayari, Oriente Province, Cuba, August 13, 1927. He led a rebellion in 1959 that drove out Dictator Fulgencio Batista and remains one of the last outspoken advocates of Communism.

August 14, 1935 – President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act establishing the system which guarantees pensions to those who retire at age 65. The Social Security system also aids states in providing financial aid to dependent children, the blind and others, as well as administering a system of unemployment insurance.

August 14, 1941 – After three days of secret meetings aboard warships off the coast of Newfoundland, the Atlantic Charter was issued by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Charter, a foundation stone for the later establishment of the United Nations, set forth eight goals for the nations of the world, including; the renunciation of all aggression, right to self-government, access to raw materials, freedom from want and fear, freedom of the seas, and disarmament of aggressor nations. By September, fifteen anti-Axis nations signed the Charter.

August 14, 1945 – Following the two Atomic Bomb drops and believing that continuation of the war would only result in further loss of Japanese lives, delegates of Emperor Hirohito accepted Allied surrender terms originally issued at Potsdam on July 26, 1945, with the exception that the Japanese Emperor’s sovereignty would be maintained. Japanese Emperor Hirohito, who had never spoken on radio, then recorded an announcement admitting Japan’s surrender, without actually using the word. The announcement was broadcast via radio to the Japanese people at noon the next day. The formal surrender ceremony occurred later, on September 2, 1945, on board the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

August 14, 1945 – V-J Day, commemorating President Truman’s announcement that Japan had surrendered to the Allies.

August 15, 1969 – Woodstock began in a field near Yasgur’s Farm at Bethel, New York. The three-day concert featured 24 rock bands and drew a crowd of more than 300,000 young people. The event came to symbolize the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s.

Birthday – French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) was born on the island of Corsica. Originally an officer in King Louis’ Army, he rose to become Emperor amid the political chaos that followed the French Revolution. He built a half-million strong Grand Army which utilized newly invented modern tactics and improvisation in battle to sweep across Europe and acquire an empire for France. However, after defeats in Russia and later by the British, he went into exile on the island of St. Helena off the coast of Africa. On May 5, 1821, he died alone on the tiny island abandoned by everyone.

August 16, 1777 – During the American Revolutionary War, the Battle of Bennington, Vermont, occurred as militiamen from Vermont, aided by Massachusetts troops, wiped out a detachment of 800 German-Hessians sent by British General Burgoyne to seize horses.

August 16, 1780 – The Battle of Camden in South Carolina occurred during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was a big defeat for the Americans as forces under General Gates were defeated by troops of British General Charles Cornwallis, resulting in 900 Americans killed and 1,000 captured.

August 16, 1896 – Gold was discovered in Rabbit Creek, a tributary of the Klondike River in Alaska, resulting in the Great Klondike Gold Rush.

August 16, 1977 – Elvis Presley was pronounced dead at the Memphis Baptist Hospital at 3:30 p.m., at age 42.

Birthday – T.E. Lawrence ‘of Arabia’ (1888-1935) was born in Tremadoc, North Wales. He led an Arab revolt against the Turks during World War I and served as a spy for the British. He was killed in a motorcycle accident at Dorset, England, on May 19, 1935.

Birthday – Israeli leader Menachem Begin (1913-1992) was born in Brest-Litovsk, Poland. He fought for the establishment of a Jewish state in Palestine in the 1940’s, serving as the leader of a militant Zionist group. In 1977, he became Prime Minister of Israel, and is best known for signing the 1979 Camp David Peace Accord between Israel and Egypt with President Jimmy Carter and President Anwar el Sadat of Egypt.

August 17, 1943 – During World War II in Europe, the Allies completed the conquest of the island of Sicily after just 38 days. This gave the Allies control of the Mediterranean and led to the downfall of Benito Mussolini and Italy’s eventual withdrawal from the war. However, the Germans managed to evacuate 39,569 troops, 47 tanks, 94 heavy guns, over 9,000 vehicles and 2,000 tons of ammunition back to the Italian mainland from Sicily.

August 17, 1978 – The first transatlantic balloon trip was completed by three Americans; Max Anderson, Ben Abruzzo, and Larry Newman, all from Albuquerque, New Mexico. Starting from Maine on August 11th, they traveled in Double Eagle II over 3,000 miles in 137 hours, landing about 60 miles west of Paris.

August 17, 1998- Bill Clinton became the first sitting President to give testimony before a grand jury in which he, the President, was the focus of the investigation. This resulted from a sweeping investigation of the President by Independent Counsel Ken Starr as well as a private lawsuit concerning alleged sexual harassment by Clinton before he became President. In the evening, President Clinton appeared on national television and gave a speech admitting he had engaged in an improper relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The admission occurred several months after a much-publicized denial.

Birthday – American frontiersman Davy Crockett (1786-1836) was born in Hawkins County, Tennessee. He was a farmer, scout and politician who perished at age 49 during the final heroic defense of the Alamo in Texas.

August 18, 1920 – The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote.

Birthday – American explorer Meriwether Lewis (1774-1809) was born near Charlottesville, Virginia. Along with William Clark, he explored the American West, and in 1805, after a journey of over 18 months, reached the Pacific Ocean.

August 19, 1934 – In Germany, a plebiscite was held in which 89.9 percent of German voters approved granting Chancellor Adolf Hitler additional powers, including the office of president.

August 19, 1991 – Soviet hardline Communists staged a coup, temporarily removing Mikhail Gorbachev from power. The coup failed within 72 hours as democratic reformer Boris Yeltsin rallied the Russian people. Yeltsin then became the leading power in the country. The Communist Party was soon banned and by December the Soviet Union itself disintegrated.

Birthday – Aviation pioneer Orville Wright (1871-1948) was born in Dayton, Ohio. In 1903, Orville and his brother Wilbur achieved the world’s first successful sustained and controlled flight of a motor-driven aircraft, following years of experimentation with kites and gliders.

Birthday – Bill Clinton, the 42nd U.S. President was born in Hope, Arkansas, August 19, 1946. He was the first President elected who was not alive during World War II.

August 20 

Birthday – Benjamin Harrison (1833-1901) the 23rd U.S. President was born in North Bend, Ohio. He was the grandson of William Henry Harrison, the 9th President.

August 21, 1863 – During the American Civil War, William Quantrill led 450 irregular Confederate raiders on a pre-dawn terrorist raid of Lawrence, Kansas, leaving 150 civilians dead, 30 wounded and much of the town a smoking ruin. In 1862, Quantrill had been denied a Confederate commission by the Confederate Secretary of War, who labeled Quantrill’s notions of war as ‘barbarism.’

August 21, 1959 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii to the Union as the 50th state.

August 21, 1983 – Filipino opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino, Jr., was assassinated at the Manila airport while leaving his plane. Public outcry over the killing ultimately led to the collapse of the government of Ferdinand E. Marcos and the inauguration of Corazon C. Aquino, widow of the slain man, as president.

August 22, 1986 – Deadly fumes from a volcanic eruption under Lake Nios in Cameroon killed more than 1,500 persons.

Birthday – French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was born in St. Germain-en-Laye, France. His unusual chords, based on the whole-tone scale, laid the groundwork for a new style of music called impressionism.

August 23, 1927 – Italian immigrants Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were electrocuted inside a prison at Charlestown, Massachusetts. They had been convicted of a shoe factory payroll robbery during which the paymaster and a guard had been killed. Following their convictions, all appeals for a new trial had failed, despite the lack of hard evidence and a later admission by a known criminal that he had participated in the robbery with an organized criminal gang. The days and weeks leading up to their execution aroused worldwide protests amid accusations of unfair treatment because they had radical political views and were Italian.

August 24, 79 A.D. – Vesuvius, an active volcano in southern Italy, erupted and destroyed the cities of Pompeii, Stabiae and Herculaneum.

August 24, 1572 – Thousands of Protestant Huguenots were massacred in Paris and throughout France by Catholics, in what became known as the St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre.

August 24-25, 1814 – During the War of 1812, Washington, D.C., was invaded by British forces that burned the Capitol, the White House and most other public buildings along with several private homes. The burning was in retaliation for the earlier American burning of York (Toronto).

August 25, 1985 – Samantha Smith died in an airplane crash in Maine. In 1982, the 11-year-old American schoolgirl had written a letter to Soviet Russia’s leader Yuri Andropov asking, “Why do you want to conquer the whole world, or at least our country?” To her surprise, Andropov replied personally to her and offered an all-expense paid trip to the U.S.S.R. She toured Russia for two weeks amid worldwide publicity and came to symbolize American and Russian hopes for peaceful co-existence.

Birthday – American conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) was born in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Considered one of the finest conductors in American music history, his works included West Side Story, On the Town, and the opera Candide.

August 26, 1883 – One of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in recorded history occurred on the Indonesian island of Krakatoa. Explosions were heard 2,000 miles away. Tidal waves 120 ft. high killed 36,000 persons on nearby islands, while five cubic miles of earth were blasted into the air up to a height of 50 miles.

Birthday – American inventor Lee De Forest (1873-1961) was born at Council Bluffs, Iowa. He held hundreds of patents for inventions and was also a pioneer in the creation of wireless radio broadcasting and television.

August 27

Birthday – Charles Dawes (1865-1951) was born in Marietta, Ohio. He served as U.S. Vice President from 1925-29, and is best remembered for his “Dawes Plan” for German reparations following World War I. He received the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize.

Birthday – Lyndon Baines Johnson (1908-1973) the 36th U.S. President was born near Stonewall, Texas. He ascended to the presidency upon the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. Johnson served until January 20, 1969.

Birthday – Mother Teresa (1910-1997) was born (as Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) in Skopje, Yugoslavia. She founded a religious order of nuns in Calcutta, India, called the Missionaries of Charity and spent her life working to help the poor and sick of India.

August 28, 1963 – The March on Washington occurred as over 250,000 persons attended a Civil Rights rally in Washington, D.C., at which Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his now-famous I Have a Dream speech.

Birthday – German author-philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) was born in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. He is best known for the dramatic poem Faust, completed in 1831.

Birthday – The first American-born Roman Catholic saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton (1774-1821) was born (as Elizabeth Ann Bayley) in New York. She founded the first American Catholic religious order, the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph. In 1809, she opened an elementary school in Baltimore, marking the beginning of the parochial school system in the U.S.

August 29, 1792 – In one of the worst maritime disasters, 900 men drowned on the British battleship Royal George. As the ship was being repaired, a gust of wind allowed water to flood into open gun ports. The ship sank within minutes.

August 29, 1991 – Following the unsuccessful coup of August 19-21, the Soviet Communist Party was suspended, thus ending the institution that ruled Soviet Russia for nearly 75 years.

Birthday – Physician and author Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809-1894) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He once wrote, “A moment’s insight is sometimes worth a life’s experience.” His poem Old Ironsides aroused popular sentiment in the 1830’s which helped to save the historic frigate USS Constitution from destruction.

Birthday – British philosopher and pioneer in modern political thinking, John Locke (1632-1704) was born in Wrington, England. His ideas greatly influenced American colonists, namely that rulers derive their power only from the consent of the governed – and the doctrine that men naturally possess certain rights, the chief being life, liberty, and property.

August 30

Birthday – Frankenstein author Mary Shelley (1797-1851) was born in London.

Birthday – Civil rights leader Roy Wilkins (1901-1981) was born in St. Louis, Missouri. The grandson of a Mississippi slave, he was active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

August 31, 1786 – Shays’ Rebellion began in Massachusetts as ex-Revolutionary War Captain Daniel Shays led an armed mob. The rebellion prevented the Northampton Court from holding a session in which debtors, mostly poor ex-soldier farmers, were to be tried and likely put in prison. Following this, in September, Shays’ troops prevented Supreme Court sessions at Springfield, Massachusetts. Early in 1787, they attacked the Federal arsenal at Springfield, but were soon routed and fled. Shays was sentenced to death but was pardoned in 1788.

August 31, 1980 – Solidarity, the Polish trade union, was formed at Gdansk, Poland. Led by Lech Walesa, Solidarity opposed Communist rule and was outlawed in 1981. Seven years later, the re-legalization of Solidarity occurred, and the government agreed to hold partially free parliamentary elections. Solidarity candidates scored stunning victories in the elections that followed, gaining power in Poland and paving the way for the downfall of Communism there.

August 31, 1997 – Britain’s Princess Diana died at age 36 from massive internal injuries suffered in a high-speed car crash, reportedly after being pursued by photographers. The crash occurred shortly after midnight in Paris inside a tunnel along the Seine River at the Pont de l’Alma bridge, less than a half mile north of the Eiffel Tower. Also killed in the crash were Diana’s companion, Dodi Fayed, 42, and chauffeur Henri Paul. A fourth person in the car, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, was seriously injured.

Gold Star Mother’s Day

The DAV Honors our Gold Star Mothers.


A Gold Star Family is the immediate family member(s) of a fallen service member who died while serving in a time of conflict.


A Gold Star Family can display a Gold Star Service Flag for service members who were killed or died, while serving in the Armed Forces, from causes other than dishonorable. The number of gold stars on the flag corresponds to with the number of individuals who were killed or died. A gold star is placed over the blue star on a Blue Star Service Flag so that the blue forms a border and creates GoldStar Service Flag. The U.S. Department of Defense also issues Gold Star lapel pins to immediate family members of a fallen service member of the military. These pins are worn by spouses, parents, and children of service members killed in the line of duty and contain a gold star on a purple circular background.


President Wilson authorized a suggestion made by the Women’s Committee of the Council of National Defenses, that mothers who had lost a child who served in the war could wear a traditional black mourning armband with a gold gilt star in 1918. This approval led to the tradition of a gold star covering the blue star on the Service flag to show that the service member had passed. It’s believed Wilson coined the term “Gold Star Mother.”

May God continually bless you all.