Today in History — Saturday, July 11
The Associated Press (together with pointless commentary by Guy Fawkes himself—“Spare a penny for the Guy?”)
Today is Saturday, July 11, the 192nd day of 2009. There are 173 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 11, 1859, Big Ben, the great bell inside the famous London clock tower, chimed for the first time. (The clock itself had been keeping time since May 31.)
On this date:
In 1767, John Quincy Adams, the sixth president of the United States, was born in Braintree, Mass.
Guy Fawkes muses to himself—Adams’ five predecessors pretty well defined the “Early National” phase of U.S. History—Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe. Adams himself represented a failed cultural and political movement in the U.S., as well a distinctly “minority” position on religion. Adams was the last President to belong to the upper-class/aristocratic/ pseudo-monarchist Washington-Adams-Hamilton “Federalist” party and tradition, which by this time had been renamed or was being renamed “Whig”. Adams was, I believe, also the last “New England Unitarian” to be President, although the Unitarian movement continued important from Philadelphia and points north for several decades. Adams favored a National Bank of the United States, which put him seriously ad odds with his successor Andrew Jackson, who reviled the National Bank and ultimately destroyed it, acting by and through his Attorney General Roger B. Taney, who was rewarded by his role in the “Bank War” as well as his role in the Southeastern Indian Removal (aka the Cherokee, Creek, Chickasaw, and Choctaw “Trail of Tears”), by appointment as Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Taney was later to write the only U.S. Supreme Court decision ever to result in war and require three constitutional amendments and over a hundred years of civil rights conflict to be overturned.
In 1798, the U.S. Marine Corps was formally re-established by a congressional act that also created the U.S. Marine Band.
In 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr mortally wounded former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton during a pistol duel in Weehawken, N.J.
There is nothing good that can be said about this historical tragedy. For one thing, it ultimately led to dueling being outlawed almost everywhere in the United States. Andrew Hamilton was the greatest genius of the Federalist movement and party in the U.S.
In 1864, Confederate forces led by Gen. Jubal Early began an abortive invasion of Washington, turning back the next day.
In 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first incumbent chief executive to travel through the Panama Canal.
In 1952, the Republican national convention, meeting in Chicago, nominated Dwight D. Eisenhower for president and Richard M. Nixon for vice president.
In 1955, the U.S. Air Force Academy swore in its first class of cadets at its temporary quarters, Lowry Air Force Base in Colorado.
In 1978, 216 people were immediately killed when a tanker truck overfilled with propylene gas exploded on a coastal highway south of Tarragona, Spain.
In 1979, the abandoned U.S. space station Skylab made a spectacular return to Earth, burning up in the atmosphere and showering debris over the Indian Ocean and Australia.
In 1989, actor and director Laurence Olivier died in Steyning, West Sussex, England, at age 82.
Ten years ago: A U.S. Air Force cargo jet, braving Antarctic winter, swept down over the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Research Center to drop off emergency medical supplies for Dr. Jerri Nielsen, a physician at the center who had discovered a lump in her breast.
Five years ago: Japan’s largest opposition party experienced strong gains in upper house elections, while Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and his Liberal Democratic Party-led ruling bloc held on to a majority. The International AIDS Conference opened in Bangkok, with U.N. chief Kofi Annan challenging world leaders to do more to combat the raging global epidemic. Joe Gold, the founder of the original Gold’s Gym in 1965, died in Los Angeles at age 82.
One year ago: Oil prices reached a record high of $147.27 a barrel. IndyMac Bank’s assets were seized by federal regulators. A North Korean soldier fatally shot a South Korean tourist at a northern mountain resort, further straining relations between the two Koreas. Dr. Michael E. DeBakey, the cardiovascular surgeon who pioneered such procedures as bypass surgery, died in Houston at 99.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Tab Hunter is 78. Actress Susan Seaforth Hayes is 66. Singer Jeff Hanna (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) is 62. Ventriloquist- actor Jay Johnson is 60.
Actor Bruce McGill is 59. Singer Bonnie Pointer is 59. Actor Stephen Lang is 57. Actress Mindy Sterling is 56. Actress Sela Ward is 53. Reggae singer Michael Rose (Black Uhuru) is 52. Singer Peter Murphy is 52. Actor Mark Lester is 51. Jazz musician Kirk Whalum is 51. Singer Suzanne Vega is 50. Guitarist Richie Sambora (Bon Jovi) is 50.
Actress Lisa Rinna is 46. Rock musician Scott Shriner (Weezer) is 44. Actress Debbe Dunning is 43. Actor Gred Grunberg is 43.
Wildlife expert Jeff Corwin is 42. Actor Justin Chambers is 39. Actor Michael Rosenbaum is 37. Pop-rock singer Andrew Bird is 36. Country singer Scotty Emerick is 36. Rapper Lil’ Kim is 34. Rock singer Ben Gibbard is 33.
Rapper Lil’ Zane is 27. Washington Redskins tight end Chris Cooley is 27. Pop-jazz singer-musician Peter Cincotti is 26. Actor David Henrie is 20.
Thought for Today: “Living is strife and torment, disappointment and love and sacrifice, golden sunsets and black storms. I said that some time ago, and today I do not think I would add one word.” Sir Laurence Olivier, English actor-director (1907-1989).