The eastern world, it is explodin’
Violence flarin’, bullets loadin’
You’re old enough to kill, but not for votin’
You don’t believe in war, but what’s that gun you’re totin’
~Barry McGuire
Eve Of Destruction

1863 – Brigadier General Lewis Armistead, the tough, but soft-spoken and highly respected leader at such battles as Seven Pines, Antietam, and Malvern Hill, died from wounds suffered during Pickett’s Charge at the Battle of Gettysburg. He was 46.
Armistead, who had resigned his commission with the U.S. Army at the start of the Civil War to join the Confederate army, was mortally wounded while leading the 57th brigade towards the center of the Union line during Pickett’s Charge.
Armistead led his troops from the front, waving his hat from the tip of his saber, and reached the stone wall at “The Angle”, which served as the charge’s objective.
The brigade got farther in the charge than any other, an event sometimes known as the High Water Mark of the Confederacy, but it was quickly overwhelmed by a Union counterattack. Armistead was shot moments after crossing the wall.

The monument above marks the spot where Armistead fell, while the monument behind it indicates The High Water Mark at The Angle.

Armistead Factoid: His uncle was Major George Armistead, the commander of Fort McHenry during the battle that inspired Francis Scott Key to write The Star-Spangled Banner, which would later become the national anthem of the United States.

1937 – Intended to increase the sale of pork shoulder which was not a very popular cut, Hormel Foods introduced America to Spam.
According to the company’s Spam Museum, the name of the product was a portmanteau word for “spiced ham” but housewives who wanted cheap, quick meals requiring almost no prep, were hesitant to serve meat to their family that didn’t need to be refrigerated.
It didn’t take long for the U.S. military to find a use for the food innovation. Spam went global during World War II, when America shipped out over 100 million cans to the Pacific, where it made an inexpensive yet filling meal for U.S. troops.
It remains popular in areas where soldiers were stationed, especially in Hawaii, Guam and the Philippines.

1954 – Elvis Presley recorded his first single – and it happened by mistake.
During an uneventful recording session at Sun Studios in Memphis, Presley, Scotty Moore (guitar) and Bill Black (upright bass) were taking a break between recordings when Presley started fooling around with an up-tempo version of Arthur Crudup’s song That’s All Right, Mama.
Black and Moore and joined in and producer Sam Phillips, taken aback by this sudden upbeat atmosphere, asked the three of them to start again so he could record it. The song was produced in the style of a “live” recording (all parts performed at once and recorded on a single track).
Phillips gave copies of the acetate to local disc jockeys Dewey Phillips of WHBQ, Uncle Richard of WMPS, and Sleepy Eyed John Lepley of WHHM.
On July 7, Dewey Phillips played That’s All Right (“Mama” was left off the record label when Elvis released it) on his radio show.
Interest in the song was so intense that Dewey reportedly played the acetate 14 times and received over 40 telephone calls.

The rest, as they say, is history.

1971 – The Twenty-Sixth Amendment to the United States Constitution, lowering the voting age from 21 to 18 years, was formally certified by President Richard Nixon.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, who led the U.S. armed forces to victory in Europe in 1945, later became the first president to publicly voice his support for a constitutional amendment lowering the minimum voting age.
In his 1954 State of the Union address, Eisenhower declared, “For years our citizens between the ages of 18 and 21 have, in time of peril, been summoned to fight for America. They should participate in the political process that produces this fateful summons.”
In the late 1960s, with the United States embroiled in a long, costly war in Vietnam, youth voting rights activists held marches and demonstrations to draw lawmakers’ attention to the hypocrisy of drafting young men and women who lacked the right to vote.
In 1969, no fewer than 60 resolutions were introduced in Congress to lower the minimum voting age, but none resulted in any action.
The following year, when Congress passed a bill extending and amending the Voting Rights Act of 1965, it contained a provision that lowered the voting age to 18 in federal, state and local elections.
Though he signed the bill into law, President Nixon issued a public statement declaring that he believed the provision to be unconstitutional. “Although I strongly favor the 18-year-old vote,” I believe – along with most of the Nation’s leading constitutional scholars – that Congress has no power to enact it by simple statute, but rather it requires a constitutional amendment.”

On March 10, 1971, the U.S. Senate voted unanimously in favor of the proposed amendment. After an overwhelming House vote in favor on March 23, the 26th Amendment went to the states for ratification.
In just over two months – the shortest period of time for any amendment in U.S. history – the necessary three-fourths of state legislatures (or 38 states) ratified the 26th Amendment, and President Nixon signed it into law.

1975 – Arthur Ashe defeated the heavily favored Jimmy Connors to become the first black man ever to win Wimbledon, the most coveted championship in tennis.
Given no chance by the “experts” to win, Ashe systematically destroyed the brash 22-year-old Connors, 6-1, 6-1, 5-7, 6-4.

1994 – Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos in Bellevue, Washington.
Setting up shop in the garage of his rental house (shown above), Bezos financed the company with $10,000 from his own pocket.
Actually, the company wasn’t originally called It was first known as Cadabra, a play on the word abracadabra. However, the name was later changed because it was too often misheard as “Cadaver”.
The company initially started as an online marketplace for books but later expanded to sell electronics, software, video games, apparel, furniture, food, toys, jewelry … well, just about everything you could ever imagine.
In 2015, Amazon surpassed Walmart as the most valuable retailer in the United States by market capitalization.

2002 – Baseball Hall of Fame player Ted Williams died of cardiac arrest at the age of 83.
Williams played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox from 1939 through 1960. He compiled a lifetime average over those 19 years of .344, the centerpiece, of course, being 1941 when he finished the season at .406, the last major leaguer to hit over .400.
Yes, the math doesn’t quite add up – 1939 to 1960 should have been 22 seasons – so here’s the explanation.
He missed three years during World War II when he was in the Navy air corps. And if you take into account the Korean conflict, during which he only went to bat 43 times in two years because of a stint as a Marine fighter pilot, war took a significant toll on his career numbers.
Those numbers include 521 home runs, 1,839 RBI, 2,654 hits, a career On Base Pct. of .484 (still a Major league record), a 19-time All-Star and a 2-time American League MVP.

2005 –, designed by the late (and great) Robert Skold, premiered on the Internet. This website, which has gone through several configurations since its debut (and has morphed into, has received over 16.9 million hits … and yes, I am very proud of that.

2011 – A jury in Orlando, Fla., found Casey Anthony, 25, not guilty of murder, manslaughter and child abuse in the 2008 disappearance and death of her 2-year-old daughter, Caylee.
The child was last seen June 16, 2008, but was not reported missing until July 15, when Casey Anthony’s mother tracked her daughter down and demanded answers regarding Caylee’s whereabouts.
Investigators searched for the child for five months, eventually finding Caylee’s skeletal remains in woods less than a mile from her grandparents’ Orlando home.

After nearly three years of legal maneuvers, Anthony’s capital murder trial began on May 24, 2011.
Prosecutors alleged that she killed Caylee by using chloroform and covering her nose and mouth with duct tape, and that she put her body in the trunk of her car before dumping it in the woods.
Defense attorney Jose Baez argued that Caylee drowned in the Anthony family pool on June 16, 2008, and that Casey Anthony and her father, George, covered up the death.
The jury found Casey not guilty of counts one through three regarding first-degree murder, aggravated manslaughter of a child, and aggravated child abuse, while finding her guilty on counts four through seven for providing false information to law enforcement.
She was sentenced to four years in jail and $4,000 in fines. (Two of the false information counts would later be thrown out in appeals court.) Anthony received credit for time served and good behavior. Having been imprisoned for three years and one day, she was released on July 17.

Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2024 / All Rights Reserved.