ON THIS DAY
1845: Birth of the U.S. Naval Academy
The United States Naval Academy opens in Annapolis, Maryland, with 50 midshipmen students and seven professors. Known as the Naval School until 1850, the curriculum included mathematics and navigation, gunnery and steam, chemistry, English, natural philosophy, and French.
1877: Custer’s funeral is held at West Point
On this day in 1877, the U.S. Army holds a West Point funeral with full military honors for Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer. George Armstrong Custer (December 5, 1839 – June 25, 1876) was a United States Army officer and cavalry commander in the American Civil War and the American Indian Wars who was killed the previous year in Montana by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.
1913: Panama Canal Construction Ends
U.S. President Woodrow Wilson triggers the explosion of the Gamboa Dike, ending construction on the Panama Canal.
1935: Porgy and Bess premieres on Broadway
On October 10, 1935, George Gershwin’s opera Porgy and Bess premieres on Broadway. Porgy and Bess is an English-language opera by the American composer George Gershwin, with a libretto written by author DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin.
1951: Truman signs Mutual Security Act
On this day in 1951, President Harry S. Truman signs the Mutual Security Act. The Mutual Security Act of 1951 launched a major American foreign aid program, 1951–61, of grants to numerous countries. It largely replaced the Marshall Plan. The main goal was to help poor countries develop and to contain the spread of communism.
1957: Braves beat the Yanks to win World Series
On October 10, 1957, the Milwaukee Braves defeat the New York Yankees to win their first World Series since 1914. (They played in Boston then; the team moved to Wisconsin in 1953.)
1957: President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologizes to African diplomat
U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower apologizes to the finance minister of Ghana, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, after he is refused service in a Dover, Delaware restaurant.
1965: 1st Cavalry Division commences operations
In the first major operation since arriving the previous month, the U.S. 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) joins with South Vietnamese Marines to strike at 2,000 North Vietnamese troops 25 miles from An Khe in the Central Highlands.
1967: The Outer Space Treaty Signed
The Outer Space Treaty, signed on January 27 by more than sixty nations, comes into force. The Outer Space Treaty, formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies, is a treaty that forms the basis of international space law.
1969: U.S. Navy transfers vessels to South Vietnamese
The U.S. Navy transfers 80 river-patrol boats to the South Vietnamese Navy in the largest single transfer of naval equipment since the war began. This was part of the ongoing Vietnamization program, which had been announced by President Richard Nixon at Midway in June.
1971: London Bridge Sold to U.S.
London Bridge is a bridge in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It was built in the 1830s and formerly spanned the River Thames in London, England. It was dismantled in 1967 and relocated to Arizona. The bridge was completed in 1971 (along with a canal), and links an island in the Colorado River with the main part of Lake Havasu City.
1973: Vice President Agnew resigns
Less than a year before Richard M. Nixon’s resignation as president of the United States, U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigns after being charged with evasion of federal income tax.
1985: Achille Lauro hijacking ends
United States Navy F-14 fighter jets intercept an Egyptian plane carrying the hijackers of the Achille Lauro cruise ship, and force it to land at a NATO base in Sigonella, Sicily where they are arrested.
1991: A former postal worker commits mass murder
Former U.S. postal worker Joseph Harris shoots two former co-workers to death at the post office in Ridgewood, New Jersey. The night before, Harris had killed his former supervisor, Carol Ott, with a three-foot samurai sword, and shot her fiance, Cornelius Kasten, in their home.
2004: Superman Christopher Reeve dies at age 52
On this day in 2004, the actor Christopher Reeve dies from heart failure at the age of 52 at a hospital near his home in Westchester County, New York. Christopher D’Olier Reeve was an American actor best known for his motion picture portrayal of the classic DC comic book superhero Superman, beginning with the acclaimed Superman, for which he won a BAFTA Award.