Today In History...

In 1782 George Washington creates the Order of the Purple Heart, a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and non-commissioned officers.

In 1789 The U.S. War Department is established by Congress.

In 1882 The famous feud between the Hatfield family of southern West Virginia and the McCoys of eastern Kentucky breaks out.

In 1912 The Progressive Party nominates Theodore Roosevelt for president.

In 1918 Philadelphia hit its alltime high temperature record of 106 degrees.

In 1927 The Peace Bridge between the U.S. and Canada is dedicated during ceremonies attended by the Prince of Wales and U.S. Vice President Charles Dawes.

In 1929 Babe Ruth ties a record by hitting grand slams in consecutive games.

In 1933 The comic strip "Alley Oop" begins.

In 1934 The U.S. Court of Appeals upholds a lower court ruling striking down the government's attempt to ban the controversial James Joyce novel "Ulysses."

In 1942 U.S.forces land at Guadalcanal, marking the start of the first major Allied offensive in the Pacific during World War II.

In 1946 First coin bearing a portrait of a African-American is authorized.

In 1947 The balsa wood raft Kon-Tiki, which had carried a 6-man crew 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean, crashes into a reef in a Polynesian archipelago.

In 1959 The U.S. launches Explorer VI which transmits the first TV photo of Earth from space.

In 1961 Cosmonaut Gherman Titov orbits Earth for a full day in Vostok 2.

In 1963 The original beach movie, "Beach Party," debuts starring Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello.

In 1964 Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving President Lyndon B. Johnson broad powers in dealing with North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. forces.

In 1970 The first computer chess tournament is held.

In 1970 An attempt by black militant James David McClain to escape from his trial in Marin County, CA, ends in a shootout with police killing McClain, two of three co-horts, and Judge Harold J. Daley, one of several hostages.

In 1971 Apollo XV returns to Earth.

In 1974 French stuntman Philippe Petit walks a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York City.

In 1976 Scientists in Pasadena, CA, announce that the Viking I spacecraft had found indications of possible life on Mars.

In 1978 The Ferris Wheel endurance record of is set at 37 days.

In 1984 The U.S. women's basketball team wins the gold medal at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, defeating the South Korean team, 85-55.

In 1985 Baseball commissioner Peter Ueberroth announces the end of a two-day strike by major league baseball players.

In 1986 The Soviet Union announces it had granted political asylum to Edward Lee Howard, a CIA agent who had disappeared in September 1985.

In 1987 Lynne Cox swims 4.3 km from the U.S. to USSR in 39 degree water.

In 1987 The presidents of 5 Central American nations, meeting in Guatemala City, sign an 11-point agreement designed to bring peace to their region.

In 1989 A small plane carrying U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland (D-TX) and 15 other people crashes on a flight to Ethiopia killing all aboard.

In 1989 Then communist East Germany issues a "serious warning" to West Germany complaining of refugees inside Western diplomatic facilities in the East.

In 1990 President Bush orders U.S. troops and warplanes to Saudi Arabia to guard against a possible invasion by Iraq in what will become known as "Desert Shield."

In 1991 The five permanent members of the UN Security Council agree to authorize Iraq to sell as much as $1.6 billion in oil over six months to pay for food, humanitarian supplies and war reparations; however, Baghdad rejected the resolution.

In 1992 "Unforgiven" starring Clint Eastwood opens in movie theaters.

In 1992 Jennifer Capriati wins the gold medal in tennis at the Barcelona Olympics, beating Steffi Graf.

In 1992 The luxury liner Queen Elizabeth II runs aground off Massachusetts.

In 1993 The public gets its first glimpse inside Buckingham Palace as people were given the opportunity to tour the London home of Queen Elizabeth II.

In 1994 The 10th International Conference on AIDS opens in Yokohama, Japan.

In 1995 Ten days before he was to be put to death for the murder of a police officer, black activist and radio reporter Mumia Abu-Jamal won a reprieve from the original trial judge in Philadelphia.

In 1996 A NASA-backed team formally presents what it considered to be evidence of ancient microbial life on Mars.

In 1996 More than 6 million American Online customers worldwide are left stranded when the system crashed for almost 19 hours.

In 1996 A flash flood at a Pyrenees mountain camp site in Spain claims at least 86 lives.

In 1997 A Russian capsule on a fix-it mission docks with the crippled Mir space station to drop off a new crew.

In 1998 Terrorist bombs at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania kill 224, including 12 Americans, and injure thousands.

In 1999 Wade Boggs becomes the first player to homer for his 3,000th hit.

In 2000 Al Gore selects Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman as his running mate; he was the first Jew on a major party's presidential ticket.

In 2001 Three researchers tell a National Academy of Sciences committee they would soon try to clone human beings.

In 2004 Celebrated oil field firefighter Paul "Red" Adair dies at age 89.

In 2005 Longtime ABC News anchor Peter Jennings dies of lung cancer. He was 67.

In 2005 Broadcast journalist, Peter Jennings, who anchored "ABC World News Tonight" since 1983, dies of lung cancer at age 67.


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