On This Date In 79 Stratovolcano Mount Vesuviusis erupted in the Gulf of Naples, Italy, one of the most catastrophic and famous eruptions of all time. The towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were obliterated and buried underneath massive pyroclastic flows. An estimated 3,000 people died from the eruption.
On This Date In 410 The Sack of Rome took place. The city was attacked by the Visigoths, led by Alaric I. At that time, Rome was no longer the capital of the Western Roman Empire, replaced in this position initially by Mediolanum and then later Ravenna.
On This Date In 1572 King Charles IX of France, under the sway of his mother, Catherine de Medici, ordered the assassination of Huguenot Protestant leaders in Paris, setting off an orgy of killing, known as the Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre, that resulted in the massacre of tens of thousands of Huguenots all across France.
On This Date In 1682 The Duke of York awarded Englishman William Penn a deed to the “Three Lower Counties” that make up the present state of Delaware, recently transferred from Dutch to British jurisdiction. Penn acquired this tract of land just west of the Delaware Bay in order to ensure ocean access for his new colony of Pennsylvania. http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/today/aug24.html
On This Date In 1781 During the American Revolutionary War, the Lochry Massacre occurred near present-day Aurora, Indiana, in the United States. The battle was short and decisive: about one hundred Indians under Joseph Brant, a Mohawk war leader who was temporarily in the west, ambushed about an equal number of Pennsylvania militiamen led by Archibald Lochry. Brant and his men killed or captured all of the Pennsylvanians without suffering any casualties.
On This Date In 1814 During the War of 1812, British forces under General Robert Ross overwhelmed American militiamen at the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland, and marched unopposed into Washington, D.C. Most congressmen and officials fled the nation's capital as soon as word came of the American defeat, but President James Madison and his wife, Dolley, escaped just before the invaders arrived. Earlier in the day, President Madison had been present at the Battle of Bladensburg and had at one point actually taken command of one of the few remaining American batteries, thus becoming the first and only president to exercise in actual battle his authority as commander in chief. British soldiers would later set the city aflame in revenge for the burning of Canadian government buildings by U.S. troops earlier in the war. The White House, a number of federal buildings, and several private homes were destroyed. The still uncompleted Capitol building was also set on fire, and the House of Representatives and the Library of Congress were gutted before a torrential downpour doused the flames.
On This Date In 1821 The Treaty of Córdova was signed in Córdoba, Veracruz, Mexico, establishing Mexican independence from Spain at the conclusion of the Mexican War of Independence. The signatories were the head of the Army of the Three Guarantees, Agustín de Iturbide, and Jefe Político Superior Juan O'Donojú. The treaty was rejected by Spanish government.
On This Date In 1857 The major financial catalyst for the panic of 1857 took place, the falure of the New York branch of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company. It was soon reported that the entire capital of the Trust's home office had been embezzled. What followed was one of the most severe economic crises in U.S. history.
On This Date In 1873 William Henry Jackson became the first person to photograph Colorado's elusive Mount of the Holy Cross, providing reliable proof of the extraordinary cross of snow.
On This Date In 1875 Captain Matthew Webb became the first recorded person to swim the English Channel without the use of artificial aids. He swam from Dover to Calais in less than 22 hours.
On This Date In 1914 Through September 7, 1914, the Siege of Maubeuge took place with the French garrison of the Maubeuge Fortress finally surrendering to the Germans at the start of World War I on the Western Front.
On This Date In 1939 The Treaty of Non-Aggression between the Third German Reich and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was signed in Moscow. It was a Non-Aggression Pact between the two countries and pledged neutrality by either party if the other were attacked by a third party. Each signatory promised not to join any grouping of powers that was “directly or indirectly aimed at the other party.” It remained in effect until June 22, 1941 when Germany implemented Operation Barbarossa, invading the Soviet Union.
On This Date In 1940 During World War II, Nazi German Luftwaffe night-time air raids began on the English City of Portsmouth, when 1,320 of high explosive bombs, 38,000 incendiary devices were dropped on the city, damaging The Guildhall, 30 churches, 8 schools, 1 hospital and over 80, 000 homes. 930 people were killed and 1,216 people were injured. While most of the city has since been rebuilt, to this day developers still occasionally find unexploded bombs.
On This Date In 1940 “London After Dark” began, a joint venture radio program between CBS Radio and BBC Radio that ran during the 1940 London Blitz. CBS News Chief Paul White and CBS European Events Director Edward R. Murrow arranged the show by cable and short wave conference, and it was broadcast live from Trafalgar Square in London.
On This Date In 1942 During World War II, U.S. forces continued to deliver crushing blows to the Japanese, sinking the aircraft carrier Ryuho in the Battle of the East Solomon Islands. Key to the Americans' success in this battle was the work of coastwatchers, a group of volunteers whose job it is to report on Japanese ship and aircraft movement. Footnote: It was a coastwatcher who arranged for the deliverance and safe return of John F. Kennedy and his crew when they were stranded in the Solomons in 1943.
On This Date In 1942 “Saludos Amigos,” an animated feature package film produced by Walt Disney, was released by RKO Radio Pictures. It is the sixth animated feature in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, and the first of six package films made by the Disney studio in the 1940s.
On This Date In 1943 Through December 23, 1943, the Lower Dnieper Offensive took place during World War II. It was one of the largest Second World War operations, involving almost 4,000,000 troops on both sides and stretching on a 1400 kilometer long front. During this four-month operation, the eastern bank of the Dnieper was recovered from German forces by five of the Red Army's Fronts, which conducted several river assault crossings to establish several bridgeheads on the western bank. One of the costliest operations of the war, the casualties are estimated at being from 1,700,000 to 2,700,000 on both sides.
On This Date In 1954 The Communist Control Act was signed into law by Dwight Eisenhower, which outlawed the Communist Party of the United States and criminalized membership in, or support for the Party or “Communist-action” organizations and defined evidence to be considered by a jury in determining participation in the activities, planning, actions, objectives, or purposes of such organizations. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=9999
On This Date In 1958 Maria Teresa de Filippis, the first woman ever to compete in Formula One racing, drove a Maserati in the Portuguese Grand Prix at Oporto. She was forced to quit the race due to engine troubles.
On This Date In 1963 During the Vietnam War, Cable 243 was sent, a high-profile message by the United States Department of State to Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr., the US ambassador to South Vietnam. The cable came in the wake of the midnight raids on August 21 by the Catholic regime of Ngo Dinh Diem against Buddhist pagodas across the country, in which hundreds were believed to have been killed. The raids were orchestrated by Diem's brother Ngo Dinh Nhu and precipitated a change in US policy. The cable declared that Washington would no longer tolerate Nhu remaining in a position of power and ordered Lodge to pressure Diem to remove his brother. It said that if Diem refused, the Americans would explore the possibility for alternative leadership in South Vietnam. In effect, the cable authorized Lodge to give the green light to Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) officers to launch a coup against Diem if he did not willingly remove Nhu from power. The cable marked a turning point in US-Diem relations and was described in the Pentagon Papers as “controversial”. Historian John W. Newman described it as “the single most controversial cable of the Vietnam War”.
On This Date In 1969 During the Vietnam War, Company A of the Third Battalion, 196th Light Infantry Brigade refused the order of its commander, Lieutenant Eugene Schurtz, Jr., to continue an attack that had been launched to reach a downed helicopter shot down in the Que Son valley, 30 miles south of Da Nang. The unit, in fierce combat for five days against entrenched North Vietnamese forces, had taken heavy casualties. Schurtz called his battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. Bacon, and informed him that his men had refused to follow his order to move out because they had “simply had enough” and that they were “broken.” The unit eventually moved out when Bacon sent his executive officer and a sergeant to give Schurtz's troops “a pep talk,” but when they reached the downed helicopter on August 25, they found all eight men aboard dead. Schurtz was relieved of his command and transferred to another assignment in the division. Neither he nor his men were disciplined. This case of “combat refusal,” as the Army described it, was reported widely in U.S. newspapers.
On This Date In 1970 “Spirit in the Dark,” an album by Soul and R & B singer Aretha Franklin, was released. Despite having two hit singles “Don't Play That Song (You Lied)” which peaked at #1 R&B, #11 on the Hot 100, and “Spirit in the Dark” peaking at #3 R&B and #23 Hot 100 in Billboard magazine, it was Aretha's first Atlantic album to fall short of Billboard's Top 20. The album is considered one of Aretha's classic Atlantic Records LPs.
On This Date In 1981 “Tattoo You,” the 16th British and 18th American studio album by The Rolling Stones, was released. The follow-up to Emotional Rescue, it proved to be a big critical and commercial success. A very popular album upon release, it is the last Rolling Stones album to reach the top position of the US charts, concluding a string of #1's dating back to 1971's Sticky Fingers.
On This Date In 1982 Martin Siegel met Ivan Boesky at the Harvard Club in New York City to discuss his mounting financial pressures. Arbitrageur Boesky offered Siegel, a mergers-and-acquisitions executive at Kidder, Peabody & Co., a job, but Siegel, who was looking for some kind of consulting arrangement, declined. Boesky then suggested that if Siegel would supply him with early inside information on upcoming mergers there would be something in it for him. In 1986, the resulting illegal schemes, which by then included many of the biggest traders in the country, came crashing down. Arrests were made up and down Wall Street, and Boesky and Michael Milken, the junk bond king charged with violating federal securities laws, were no exception.
On This Date In 1995 The Microsoft Network debuted as an online service and Internet service provider, to coincide with the release of the Windows 95 operating system.
On This Date In 2007 “The Dub Room Special,” an album by Frank Zappa, was released. It is a soundtrack for the film of the same name, and combines recordings from a TV-show performance on August 27, 1974, and from a concert in New York City on October 31, 1981. The album, originally prepared for vinyl release by Zappa, was first sold at Zappa Plays Zappa shows in the United States during August 2007. Shortly thereafter, it became available for mail order.
On This Date In 2009 The Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), a U.S. federal scrappage program colloquially known as "Cash for Clunkers," ended.
A bleeding soul is truly a sad thing. But those who fight against the flow will always rise from the pool of sorrow a stronger, more determined person. Blake Woodring
What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but, scattered along life's pathway, the good they do is inconceivable. Joseph Addison
Like the moon, come out from behind the clouds! Shine... Meditate. Live purely. Be quiet. Do your work with mastery. Buddha
Don’t confuse the two: Intelligence is knowing how to make decisions. Wisdom is knowing which of those decisions you can build your life upon. J.R. Morales
An important success trait is the ability to detach from people who aren’t on course with you. It doesn’t mean that everyone you know and love has to agree totally with your life choices. But don’t waste time with people who want to diminish you in any way. Nothing destroys passion quicker than negativity. Lily Chatterjee
Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. Martin Luther King Jr.