“I was a pilot flying an airplane and it just so happened that, where I was flying, made what I was doing spying.”
~Francis Gary Powers
1776 – Standing on the steps of the Pennsylvania State House, Col. John Nixon – commander of the defenses of the Delaware River – gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence to a crowd gathered at Independence Square in Philadelphia.
1889 – The Wall Street Journal was first published.
The first products of Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of the Journal, were brief news bulletins, nick-named “flimsies”, hand-delivered throughout the day to traders at the stock exchange in the early 1880s. They were later aggregated in a printed daily summary called the Customers’ Afternoon Letter.
Today, the Wall Street Journal is read by 2.4 million people a day.
1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reached its lowest level of the Great Depression, closing at 41.22.
In June 1930 Congress approved the Smoot–Hawley Tariff Act which raised tariffs on thousands of imported items.
The intent of the Act was to encourage the purchase of American-made products by increasing the cost of imported goods, while raising revenue for the federal government and protecting farmers.
Other nations increased tariffs on American-made goods in retaliation, reducing international trade, and worsening the Depression.
By July 1932, unemployment had reached 23.6% Drought persisted in the agricultural heartland, causing businesses and families to default on record numbers of loans. More than 5,000 banks failed.
1950 – The day after the U.N. Security Council recommended that all U.N. forces in Korea be placed under the command of the U.S. military, General Douglas MacArthur, the hero of the war against Japan, was appointed head of the United Nations Command by President Harry S. Truman.
MacArthur’s ego would guarantee the position wouldn’t be his for long.
In September, he organized a risky but highly successful landing at Inchon, and by October North Korean forces had been driven back across the 38th parallel.
With President Truman’s approval, U.N. forces crossed into North Korea and advanced all the way to the Yalu River – the border between North Korea and communist China – despite warnings that this would provoke Chinese intervention.
When China did intervene, forcing U.N. forces into a desperate retreat, MacArthur pressed for permission to bomb China. President Truman, fearing the Cold War implications of an expanded war in the Far East, refused.
MacArthur then publicly threatened to escalate hostilities with China in defiance of Truman’s stated war policy, leading Truman to fire him on April 11, 1951.
1959 – Maj. Dale R. Ruis and Master Sgt. Chester M. Ovnand became the first Americans killed in the American phase of the Vietnam War when guerrillas struck a Military Assistance Advisory Group (MAAG) compound in Bien Hoa, 20 miles northeast of Saigon.
1960 – Francis Gary Powers was charged with espionage resulting from his flight over the Soviet Union.
The CIA had recruited him in 1956 to fly the Lockheed U-2, a spy plane that could reach altitudes of 80,000 feet, essentially making it invulnerable to Soviet anti-aircraft weapons. The U-2 was equipped with a state-of-the-art camera designed to snap high-resolution photos from the edge of the atmosphere.
On what turned out to be Powers’ last flight for the CIA on May 1, the Soviets shadowed his U-2 at a lower altitude, then took him down as he crossed over Sverdlosk, deep in enemy territory.
To make matters worse, Powers was unable to activate the plane’s self-destruct mechanism, as instructed, before he parachuted safely to the ground, right into the hands of the KGB.
The incident undermined a major peace summit between the two Cold War superpowers, and resulted in the withdrawal of an invitation to President Dwight Eisenhower to visit Moscow.
One month after being charged, Powers was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but was released after two, in exchange for Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.
1991 – Actor James Franciscus, best remembered for his title roles in television’s Mr. Novak and Longstreet, died from emphysema at the age of 57.
Mr. Novak – in which Franciscus played the role of teacher John Novak, was the first series to depict both teachers and students in a dramatic and realistic manner.
In its two year run, the program won over 47 awards from various educational institutions including the National Education Association and was the recipient of a prestigious Peabody Award for excellence.
1994 – Kim Il sung, the communist dictator of North Korea since 1948, died of a heart attack at the age of 82.
From the very beginning of his reign, Kim led his country into a deep isolation from even its former communist allies. Repressive rule and a personality cult that celebrated him as the “Great Leader” kept him in power until his death.
He was succeeded as president by his son, Kim Jong il, whose reign was equally repressive and isolating, and his son, Kim Jong-un, has continued the policy of keeping his nation virtually isolated from the world, even as millions of his country’s people live in poverty.
2012 – Academy Award winning actor Ernest Borgnine died of kidney failure at the age of 95.
His early career included supporting roles in China Corsair, From Here To Eternity, Bad Day at Black Rock and The Wild Bunch.
He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Marty(1955).
He achieved continuing success in the sitcom McHale’s Navy. and later co-starred in the action series Airwolf.
2015 – Former NFL quarterback Ken “Snake” Stabler died of colon cancer at the age of 69.
A two-year star at the University of Alabama, Stabler quarterbacked the Oakland Raiders to victory in Super Bowl XI, was the 1974 NFL Most Valuable Player and was selected as a quarterback for the NFL 1970s All-Decade Team.
He was posthumously elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.
Compiled by Ray Lemire ©2018 RayLemire.com. / Streamingoldies.com. All Rights Reserved.