Archive for July 20th, 2008

20
Jul
08

White-tailed Deer: Buck in Velvet

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20
Jul
08

Early Morning Eagle

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20
Jul
08

On This Day, 7-20-08: One Small Step

At 10:56 p.m. EDT, American astronaut Neil Armstrong, 240,000 miles from Earth, speaks these words to more than a billion people listening at home: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Stepping off the lunar landing module Eagle, Armstrong became the first human to walk on the surface of the moon.

The American effort to send astronauts to the moon has its origins in a famous appeal President John F. Kennedy made to a special joint session of Congress on May 25, 1961: “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.” At the time, the United States was still trailing the Soviet Union in space developments, and Cold War-era America welcomed Kennedy’s bold proposal.

“Buzz” Aldrin joined him on the moon’s surface at 11:11 p.m., and together they took photographs of the terrain, planted a U.S. flag, ran a few simple scientific tests, and spoke with President Richard M. Nixon via Houston. By 1:11 a.m. on July 21, both astronauts were back in the lunar module and the hatch was closed. The two men slept that night on the surface of the moon, and at 1:54 p.m. the Eagle began its ascent back to the command module. Among the items left on the surface of the moon was a plaque that read: “Here men from the planet Earth first set foot on the moon–July 1969 A.D–We came in peace for all mankind.”

There would be five more successful lunar landing missions, and one unplanned lunar swing-by, Apollo 13. The last men to walk on the moon, astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt of the Apollo 17 mission, left the lunar surface on December 14, 1972. The Apollo program was a costly and labor intensive endeavor, involving an estimated 400,000 engineers, technicians, and scientists, and costing $24 billion (close to $100 billion in today’s dollars). The expense was justified by Kennedy’s 1961 mandate to beat the Soviets to the moon, and after the feat was accomplished ongoing missions lost their viability.

“Armstrong walks on moon.” 2008. The History Channel website. 19 Jul 2008, 11:14 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=6964.

 

On This Day

1810 – Colombia declared independence from Spain.

1861 – The Congress of the Confederate States began holding sessions in Richmond, VA.

1868 – Legislation that ordered U.S. tax stamps to be placed on all cigarette packs was passed.

1917 – The draft lottery in World War I went into operation.

1942 – The first detachment of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, (WACS) began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

1944 – An attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler failed. The bomb exploded at Hitler’s Rastenburg headquarters. Hitler was only wounded.

1944 – U.S. President Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.

1951 – Jordan’s King Abdullah Ibn Hussein was assassinated in Jerusalem.

1974 – Turkish forces invaded Cyprus.

1976 – America’s Viking I robot spacecraft made a successful landing on Mars.

1977 – A flash flood hit Johnstown, PA, killing 80 people and causing $350 million worth of damage.

 

Battle of Peachtree Creek

On this day, General John Bell Hood’s Confederate force attack William T. Sherman’s troops outside of Atlanta, Georgia, but are repulsed with heavy losses.

“Battle of Peachtree Creek.” 2008. The History Channel website. 19 Jul 2008, 11:17 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=2253.

Sitting Bull surrenders

Five years after General George A. Custer’s infamous defeat at the Battle of Little Bighorn, Hunkpapa Teton Sioux leader Sitting Bull surrenders to the U.S. Army, which promises amnesty for him and his followers. Sitting Bull had been a major leader in the 1876 Sioux uprising that resulted in the death of Custer and 264 of his men at Little Bighorn. Pursued by the U.S. Army after the Indian victory, he escaped to Canada with his followers.

“Sitting Bull surrenders.” 2008. The History Channel website. 19 Jul 2008, 11:15 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=5192.

Truman issues peacetime draft

President Harry S. Truman institutes a military draft with a proclamation calling for nearly 10 million men to register for military service within the next two months. Truman’s action came during increasing Cold War tensions with the Soviet Union.

Truman’s decision underlined the urgency of his administration’s concern about a possible military confrontation with the Soviet Union. It also brought home to the American people in concrete terms the possibility that the Cold War could, at any moment, become an actual war. In 1950, possibility turned to reality when the United States entered the Korean War, and the size of America’s armed forces once again increased dramatically.




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