22
Oct
08

On This Day, 10-22-2008: Cuban Missile Crisis

October 22, 1962

Cuban Missile Crisis

In a televised speech of extraordinary gravity, President John F. Kennedy announces that U.S. spy planes have discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba. These missile sites–under construction but nearing completion–housed medium-range missiles capable of striking a number of major cities in the United States, including Washington, D.C. Kennedy announced that he was ordering a naval “quarantine” of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from transporting any more offensive weapons to the island and explained that the United States would not tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place. The president made it clear that America would not stop short of military action to end what he called a “clandestine, reckless, and provocative threat to world peace.”

The Cuban Missile Crisis seemed at the time a clear victory for the United States, but Cuba emerged from the episode with a much greater sense of security. A succession of U.S. administrations have honored Kennedy’s pledge not to invade Cuba, and the communist island nation situated just 80 miles from Florida remains a thorn in the side of U.S. foreign policy. The removal of antiquated Jupiter missiles from Turkey had no detrimental effect on U.S. nuclear strategy, but the Cuban Missile Crisis convinced a humiliated USSR to commence a massive nuclear buildup. In the 1970s, the Soviet Union reached nuclear parity with the United States and built intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking any city in the United States.

“Cuban Missile Crisis.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Oct 2008, 11:27 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=7058.

On This Day

1746 – The College of New Jersey was officially chartered. It later became known as Princeton University.

1836 – Sam Houston was inaugurated as the first constitutionally elected president of the Republic of Texas.

1844 – This day is recognized as “The Great Disappointment” among those who practiced Millerism. The world was expected to come to an end according to the followers of William Miller.

1934 – Charles “Pretty Boy” Floyd, the notorious bank robber, was shot and killed by Federal agents in East Liverpool, OH.

1954 – The Federal Republic of Germany was invited to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

1968 – Apollo 7 splashed down in the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft had orbited the Earth 163 times.

1975 – Air Force Technical Sergeant Leonard Matlovich was discharged after publicly declaring his homosexuality. His tombstone reads ” “A gay Vietnam Veteran. When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”

1979 – The ousted Shah of Iran, Mohammad Riza Pahlavi was allowed into the U.S. for medical treatment.

1998 – Pakistan’s carpet weaving industry announced that they would begin to phase out child labor.

October 22, 1775

Peyton Randolph dies

After years of poor health, Peyton Randolph, former president of the Continental Congress, dies on this day in 1775 at the age of 54.

On September 5, 1774, Randolph was elected by unanimous vote as the first president of the Continental Congress. He resigned as president in October 1774 to attend a meeting of the Virginia House of Burgesses but remained a powerful and influential figure within Congress. He returned to Congress in May 1775 and was again elected president, but was forced to resign less than one month later due to his failing health.

Randolph briefly returned to Congress in September 1775, but died just one month later in Philadelphia. He did not live to see America achieve independence, a goal toward which he had worked for most of his adult life.

“Peyton Randolph dies.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Oct 2008, 11:40 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=Article&id=51324.

October 22, 1965

173rd Airborne trooper saves comrades

In action this day near Phu Cuong, about 35 miles northwest of Saigon, PFC Milton Lee Olive III of Company B, 2nd Battalion, 503rd Infantry, throws himself on an enemy grenade and saves four soldiers, including his platoon leader, 1st Lt. James Sanford.

The action came during a patrol that made contact with Communist forces on the southern fringes of the infamous “Iron Triangle,” a traditional Communist stronghold. Private Olive’s body absorbed the full, deadly blast of the grenade and he died saving his comrades. Lieutenant Sanford later said of Olive’s act that “It was the most incredible display of selfless bravery I ever witnessed.” Olive, a native of Chicago, was only 18 years old when he died; he received the Medal of Honor posthumously six months later. The city of Chicago honored its fallen hero by naming a junior college, a lakefront park, and a portion of the McCormick Place convention center after him.

“173rd Airborne trooper saves comrades.” 2008. The History Channel website. 22 Oct 2008, 11:39 http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history.do?action=tdihArticleCategory&id=1436.

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