March 11th in history:
A three-day standoff in Washington, D.C. ended on March 11th, 1977, when a group of armed Hanafi Muslims released dozens of hostages who had been held at three buildings. Two people died during the siege, and future Washington Mayor Marion Barry was wounded by gunfire.
The Branch Davidian standoff at Waco, Texas had being going for two weeks when Janet Reno became the first female attorney general of the U.S. on this day in 1993. Reno was blamed by many for the fiery and deadly conclusion of the Waco incident, but she remained head of the Justice Department for almost eight years.
Justice Antonin Scalia served nearly 30 years on the U.S. Supreme Court, after being appointed in 1986. Scalia was born March 11th, 1936.
Author and attorney Erle Stanley Gardner played a judge in the final episode of the “Perry Mason” TV series in 1966…which is fitting, because Gardner created the character of Mason, a defense lawyer who never loses a case. Gardner was 80 years old when he died on March 11th, 1970.
November 13 in history:
A “March Against Death” to protest the Vietnam War began at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia on November 13th, 1969. More than 40,000 protesters marched into Washington, as a prelude to a large anti-war moratorium two days later.
On the same date 13 years later, in 1982, a monument to the thousands of Americans killed in Vietnam was dedicated near the Lincoln Memorial. The V-shaped granite wall bearing names of the war dead was not universally popular at first, but since its dedication, it has been praised for the simplicity of its design.
The Holland Tunnel linking New Jersey to Manhattan was an early example of an automotive tunnel designed to keep car exhaust from building up. The nearly two-mile tunnel, named after its chief engineer, Clifford Holland, opened on November 13th, 1927.
November 13th was opening night in 1997 for the Broadway musical version of the Disney movie “The Lion King.” Actress Whoopi Goldberg, born Caryn Johnson on this date in 1955, provided the voice of the hyena Shenzi in the original animated movie.
Since 2007, Whoopi Goldberg has been one of the hosts of the ABC daytime talk show “The View.” Jimmy Kimmel, born on November 13th, 1967, has been a late-night talk show host on ABC even longer, since 2003. Before that, Kimmel was a co-host of “The Man Show” and “Win Ben Stein’s Money.”
September 11 in history:
Since 2001, the date of September 11th brings to mind images of the terror attacks which occurred during one day in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania. As for other events in history on this day…
The U.S. ambassador to Libya was among four persons killed in an attack at a diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11th, 2012. The Obama White House and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have been accused of trying to cover up the true circumstances surrounding the attack.
The Pentagon was hit by one of the airplanes hijacked on 9/11/01. September 11th was the day construction began on the Pentagon in 1941.
One of the airline passengers killed in the Pentagon attack was political commentator Barbara Olson, whose husband Theodore was Solicitor General at the time. Ted Olson was born on September 11th of 1940…the same day as movie director Brian de Palma, who opened the movie “The Bonfire of the Vanities” with a long single-take shot inside the World Trade Center. De Palma’s other films include “Carrie,” “Scarface,” and “The Untouchables.”
September 11th was the day in 1609 that Henry Hudson sailed in what would become New York Harbor, and discovered the mouth of the river eventually named after him.
New York is where Tom Landry began his coaching career in pro football, on the staff of the Giants. Landry, born on September 11th, 1924, left the Giants to become the first head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. He shared his birthday, and a habit of wearing distinctive hats on the sidelines, with another legendary football coach, Alabama’s Paul “Bear” Bryant (born 1913).
“United States” was chosen as the official name of the 13 American colonies by the Continental Congress on September 9th, 1776. The newly-independent nation had been known as the “United Colonies” before that.
Exactly 15 years later, on this date in 1791, the new nation’s capital along the Potomac River was named “Washington,” after the incumbent president.
Esther was the name of the first child of a president to be born at the White House. She was born September 9th, 1893. Esther’s parents were President Grover Cleveland and his wife, Frances.
People in the audience at the Fox Theater in Riverside, California, didn’t know the name of the movie they were about to see on September 9th, 1939, after the scheduled showing of “Hawaiian Nights.” Therefore, they didn’t know they would be the first regular audience to watch a much-anticipated picture. One witness said the crowd reaction was “thunderous” when the movie’s title appeared on the screen…”Gone With the Wind.”
People watching NBC on September 9th, 1967 didn’t know they were going to see a TV show that would become the #1 prime-time series within two years. “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” debuted as a comedy special leading into the broadcast of the Miss America pageant. Performers on the special who would become regulars on the “Laugh-In” series included Ruth Buzzi, Judy Carne, Arte Johnson, Henry Gibson, and Jo Anne Worley.
August 27 in history:
August 27th is the only date which is the birthday of more than one Vice-President of the United States. Three V-P’s actually were born on this date: Lincoln’s first V-P, Hannibal Hamlin (1809), Coolidge’s V-P, Charles Dawes (1865), and Lyndon Johnson (1908), who later became President after Kennedy’s assassination.
Dawes is the only U.S. vice-president who wrote a number-one hit song. His tune titled “Melody in A Major” was turned into “It’s All in the Game,” and the Tommy Edwards recording topped the charts in 1958. On this date in ’58, it looked like the game of major league baseball would be leaving Washington, D.C., when the owner of the Senators ball club said he would probably move the team to Minnesota. President Eisenhower even weighed in that day, urging the Senators to stay in D.C.
Another town got a professional sports team on August 27th, 1921, when the Green Bay Packers went pro and joined an organization which would soon be renamed the National Football League.
May 29th in history:
A National World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on May 29th, 2004, nearly 60 years after the end of the war. The monument was built on the National Mall, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
Two famous Americans who have had U.S. Navy ships named after them were born on May 29th: President John F. Kennedy (1917), and comedian Bob Hope (1903). It was during World War II when Kennedy commanded the boat PT-109 in the Pacific, and Hope began a long tradition of taking USO shows to American troops overseas.
Shortly after JFK’s assassination, his widow Jacqueline compared the Kennedy White House to King Arthur’s Camelot. The musical “Camelot” was based on the “Once and Future King” series of books about Arthur by English author T.H. White, born on May 29th, 1906.
Bob Hope’s partner in the popular “Road” pictures, Bing Crosby, starred in a movie version of “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.” On this day in 1942, Crosby recorded his biggest hit, introduced in the movie “Holiday Inn.” His version of Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” was recorded in just 18 minutes.
Edmund Hillary and his guide Tenzing Norgay reached the white, snow-covered summit of Mount Everest on May 29th, 1953. While there is speculation that other climbers reached the summit years before, Hillary claimed credit as the first one to come back from the summit alive.
May 24th in history:
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The first night game in major league baseball was played at Crosley Field in Cincinnati on May 24th, 1935. The Reds had the home field advantage, beating the Phillies, 2-1.
On this date in 1976, the Concorde supersonic jet began regular service between Washington and London.
Inventor Samuel Morse was in Washington on this date in 1844 when he sent a message over the telegraph to Baltimore for the first time. The message “What hath God wrought” was transmitted in Morse code.
The first message that Thomas Edison recorded on his phonograph was the poem “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” That nursery rhyme by Sarah Josepha Hale was first published on this date in 1830.
A couple of popular singers who have won multiple Grammy awards for their recordings were born on May 24th…Bob Dylan (born 1941), and Patti La Belle (1944).