Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Just so you know:

July 4 ...

In 1776 the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence. In 1802 the United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point, NY. In 1803 the Louisiana Purchase was announced in newspapers (the Louisiana Purchase Treaty was signed April 30, 1803 and okayed by Congress Oct. 20). The property was purchased by the US from France for $15 million (or 3 cents an acre). The "Corps of Discovery," led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, began the exploration of the territory on May 14, 1804. In 1804 author Nathaniel Hawthorne was born in Salem, MA. In 1826 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died; also on this day, American songwriter Stephen Foster was born in Pittsburgh, PA. In 1831 the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, died in New York City. In 1845 Henry David Thoreau began his two-year experiment in simpler living at Walden Pond, near Concord, MA. In 1863 the Confederate town of Vicksburg, MS, surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant. In 1872 the 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, was born in Plymouth, VT. In 1881 the Tuskegee Institute opened in Alabama. In 1917 during a ceremony in Paris honoring the French hero of the American Revolution, US Lieutenant Colonel Charles E. Stanton declared, "Lafayette, we are here!" In 1934 boxer Joe Louis won his first professional fight in Chicago, IL. In 1939 baseball's "Iron Horse," Lou Gehrig, said farewell to his fans at New York's Yankee Stadium. In 1976 Israeli commandos raided Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing almost all of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by pro-Palestinian hijackers. In 1987 Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo chief known as the "Butcher of Lyon," was convicted by a French court of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison. He died four years later at age 77. In 1995 the space shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir parted after spending five days in orbit docked together. In 1997 NASA's Pathfinder spacecraft landed on Mars, inaugurating a new era in the search for life on the Red Planet. In 2005 NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft took pictures as a space probe smashed into the Tempel 1 comet. The mission was aimed at learning more about comets that formed from the leftover buidling blocks of the solar system. The Deep Impact mission launched on January 12, 2005.