“The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it.”
1813 – During the War of 1812, a combined British and Indian force was defeated by General William Harrison’s American army at the Battle of the Thames near Ontario, Canada. The leader of the Indian forces was Tecumseh, the Shawnee chief who organized intertribal resistance to the encroachment of white settlers on Indian lands. He was killed in the fighting.
1892 – The Dalton Gang attempted the daring daylight robbery of two Coffeyville, Kansas banks at the same time. Two of the Dalton brothers – Bob and Emmett – headed for the First National, while Grat Dalton led Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers in to the Condon Bank. While Bob and Emmett were stuffing money into a grain sack, word was spreading around the town that the banks were being robbed. When the Dalton brothers walked out of the bank, a hail of bullets forced them back into the building. Regrouping, they tried to flee out the back door of the bank, but the townspeople were waiting for them and Bob was killed.
In the Condon Bank, a cashier managed to delay Grat Dalton, Powers, and Broadwell with the classic claim that the vault was on a time lock and couldn’t be opened. That gave the townspeople enough time to gather force, and suddenly a bullet smashed through the bank window and hit Broadwell in the arm. The three men bolted out the door and fled down a back alley. But like their friends next door, they were immediately shot and killed, this time by a local livery stable owner and a barber.
When the battle was over, the people of Coffeyville had destroyed the Dalton Gang, killing every member except for Emmett Dalton. But their victory was not without a price: the Dalton’s took four townspeople to their graves with them. After recovering from serious wounds, Emmett was tried and sentenced to life in prison, although after 14 years, he was paroled.
The trip was problematic from the start. First, the crew accidentally released four tons of water ballast – the weight carried in order to control altitude, at the outset of the trip. They also took off straight into a storm hovering over the English Channel, even though dirigibles were known to be dangerous in bad weather.
As soon as the blimp reached the air over France, it was not able to hold a level altitude and was flying only 250 feet above the town of Poix. The pilots were not aware of the problem because of the dark night. Soon, the blimp was skimming the trees of Beauvais. Eventually it hit a small ridge and the impact ignited the blimp’s hydrogen supply.
1947 – President Harry Truman made the first-ever televised presidential address from the White House, asking Americans to cut back on their use of grain in order to help starving Europeans. At the time of Truman’s food-conservation speech, Europe was still recovering from World War II and suffering from famine.
Truman worried that if the U.S. didn’t provide food aid, his administration’s Marshall Plan for European economic recovery would fall apart. He asked farmers and distillers to reduce grain use and requested that the public voluntarily forgo meat on Tuesdays, eggs and poultry on Thursdays and save a slice of bread each day.
1953 – The New York Yankees defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers to win their fifth consecutive World Series. It was a record-breaking championship. Joe McCarthy’s legendary 1936-1939 Yanks had won four in a row, but no team had ever won five straight.
1969 – In an embarrassing breach of the United States’ air-defense capability, a Cuban defector entered U.S. air space undetected and landed a Soviet-made MiG-17 at Homestead Air Force Base, south of Miami, Florida.
Air Force One was at the base at the time, waiting to return President Richard Nixon to Washington. The base was subsequently put on continuous alert, and it opened a new radar tracking facility to prevent the repetition of a similar incident in the future.
1982 – Johnson & Johnson initiated a nationwide product recall in the United States for all products in its Tylenol brand after several bottles in Chicago were found to have been laced with cyanide, resulting in seven deaths.
1986 – Eugene Hasenfus was captured by troops of the Sandinista regime in Nicaragua after the plane in which he was flying was shot down. Under questioning, Hasenfus confessed that he was shipping military supplies into Nicaragua for use by the Contras, an anti-Sandinista force that had been created and funded by the United States. Most dramatically, he claimed that operation was really run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.
Despite denials from President Ronald Reagan, Vice President George Bush, and other officials that the CIA had any connection with the flight, persistent investigations by journalists and Congress began to unravel the so-called Iran-Contra scandal. The scandal involved the secret sale of U.S. weapons to Iran (which was supposed to help in the release of U.S. hostages in the Middle East). Some of the proceeds from these sales were used to covertly fund the Contra war in Nicaragua.
A Congressional investigation, begun in December 1986, revealed the scheme to the public. Many figures from the Reagan administration were called to testify. These included Marine Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, who was the action officer in charge of coordinating both the arms sales and funneling of money to the Contras. The resulting scandal rocked the Reagan administration and shook the public’s confidence in the U.S. government; 11 members of the President’s administration eventually were convicted of a variety of charges related to the scandal.
1988 – Democrat Lloyd Bentsen lambasted Republican Dan Quayle during their vice-presidential debate. After Quayle was asked if he a plan in mind about what he would do “if it fell to you to become President of the United States.”
Quayle: The question you’re asking is, ‘What kind of qualifications does Dan Quayle have to be president? What kind of qualifications do I have,’ and ‘What would I do in this kind of a situation?’ And ‘what would I do in this situation?’ I have far more experience than many others that sought the office of vice president of this country. I have as much experience in the Congress as Jack Kennedy did when he sought the presidency. I will be prepared to deal with the people in the Bush administration, if that unfortunate event would ever occur.”
Bentsen: “Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.” (prolonged shouts and applause)
Quayle: “That was really uncalled for, Senator.”
Bentsen: “You are the one that was making the comparison, Senator – and I’m one who knew him well. And frankly I think you are so far apart in the objectives you choose for your country that I did not think the comparison was well-taken.”
1989 – The Dalai Lama, the exiled religious and political leader of Tibet, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his nonviolent campaign to end the Chinese domination of Tibet.
Twenty-three of the bodies were found in a concealed chamber beneath a remote farmhouse in the village of Cheiry, 48 miles north-east of Geneva. An additional 25 bodies, including some children, were recovered in three burnt-out chalets in Granges-sur-Salvan, 47 miles east of Geneva, near the Italian border.
1994 – Barry Bonds hit his 71st and 72nd home run of the season to break Mark McGwire’s record. Two nights later, he hit his last homer of the season. His record – tainted by allegations of steroid use –still stands.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2016 RayLemire.com. All Rights Reserved.