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On This Day in History

  • 2001 US President George W. Bush establishes the Office of Homeland Security.
  • 1991 Croatia votes to sever its ties with Yugoslavia.
  • 1982 The musical Cats begins a run of nearly 18 years on Broadway.
  • 1978 Ken Warby of Australia sets the world water speed record, 317.60 mph, at Blowering Dam in Australia; no other human has yet (2013) exceeded 300 mph on water and survived.
  • 1973 In the Yom Kippur War an Israeli armored brigade makes an unsuccessful attack on Egyptian positions on the Israeli side of the Suez Canal.
  • 1970 Matt Damon, actor, screenwriter, producer, philanthropist; shared Academy Award and Golden Globe for screenplay Good Will Hunting; appeared in Saving Private Ryan, Invictus.
  • 1969 The "Days of Rage" begin in Chicago; the Weathermen faction of the Students for a Democratic Society initiate 3 days of violent antiwar protests.
  • 1968 U.S. forces in Vietnam launch Operation SEALORDS (South East Asia Lake, Ocean, River and Delta Strategy), an attack on communist supply lines and base areas in and around the Mekong Delta.
  • 1967 Guerrilla Che Guevara captured in Bolivia.
  • 1965 C. J. Ramone, musician, sometimes vocalist of The Ramones.
  • 1959 Erik Gundersen, motorcycle speedway rider; won 3 Speedway World Championships, 2 Long Track World Championships, and 7 World Team Cup awards (riding for Denmark in the latter).
  • 1956 The first perfect game in Major League Baseball World Series
    New York Yankees’ Don Larsen pitched the only no-hitter game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in the history of the World Series.
  • 1952 Edward Zwick, director, producer whose films often are based on historic events (Glory, The Last Samurai).
  • 1949 Sigourney Weaver, actress; (Aliens film series, Gorillas in the Mist).
  • 1948 World’s first internal pacemaker implanted
    A 43-year-old man called Arne Larsson was the recipient of the pacemaker which worked only for a few hours. However, Larsson lived long after the pacemaker stopped working. He died in 2001 at the age of 86.
  • 1939 Nazi Germany annexes Western Poland.
  • 1932 Indian Air Force established.
  • 1922 Lilian Gatlin becomes the first woman pilot to fly across the United States.
  • 1919 World’s first transcontinental air race
    63 airplanes – 15 from San Francisco and 48 from New York – took part in this 5400-mile round-trip race. The winner, Lieutenant Belvin Maynard, took 3 days and 21 hours to return to New York.
  • 1912 First Balkan war begins
    Montenegro started the conflict by declaring war on the Ottoman Empire. A few days later Greece, Bulgaria, and Serbia joined the war and created the Balkan League. The 7-month long war ended with a decisive Balkan League victory. Dissatisfaction over the spoils of the war led to the Second Balkan War a year later.
  • 1871 Great Chicago fire begins
    The fire that destroyed most of Chicago’s business district began in a barn on the evening of October 8, 1871. A very dry summer and an early autumn fanned the fire, which raged for 2 days. It killed over 300 people and destroyed property worth millions of dollars.

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