On This Day
On This Day

October 18, 1867

America Buys Alaska From Russia

 

Alaska didn’t become the 49th state until 92 years later, but the state celebrates Alaska Day each year on October 18th to commemorate the Alaska Purchase.

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Road To Statehood

  • 1725: Russia starts exploring the Alaskan coast
  • 1861: Gold first discovered
  • 1867: U.S. buys Alaska from Russia for $7.2 million
  • 1891: First oil claims staked
  • 1939 – 1945: During WWII, the U.S. began to realize strategic location of Alaska
  • 1959: Alaska becomes 49th state
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“Alaska’s contribution to America’s freedom isn’t just the oil we provide or the food we harvest from the seas or our location which is the best in the world for our military. It is more than that. It begins with the fact that Alaskans are free-thinkers.”

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) in 2004. Russia sold Alaska to America hoping the U.S. would counter Great Britain. Alaska remained a very lawless nation for decades after it joined the Union.
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All About Ala$ka

  • OIL: While Alaska’s oil production has dropped in recent years, it still produces about 7% of our crude oil. Today, a third of Alaska’s jobs are tied to the oil and and gas industry.
  • TOURISM: Alaska attracts over 1.1 million visitor each year.
  • FISHING: Alaska’s seafood industry creates $12.8 billion in economic output.
On This Day

The word Alaska is derived from the Aleut word "Aleyska," meaning "great land."

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Oct. 15, 1860

 

 

A little girl gives beauty advice to Abraham Lincoln that may have forever changed his appearance and, arguably, the future of America.

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“If you let your whiskers grow, I will try and get the rest of them to vote for you. You would look a great deal better for your face is so thin. All the ladies like whiskers and they would tease their husbands to vote for you and then you would be President.”

Grace Bedell (11) writing to then-candidate Abraham Lincoln during his campaign. Shortly after, Lincoln started growing a beard. In fact, he had a full beard on the day of his inauguration several months later.
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The Beard Effect

  • Grace wrote the letter in Oct 1860, only weeks before Election Day.
  • In his response to Grace, Lincoln asked whether he might be made fun of for suddenly growing a beard; he was!
  • A beard likely didn’t impact Pres. Lincoln’s victory, BUT it did impact his appearance as the 16th President and his lasting legacy.
On This Day

Does A Beard Make The Man?

Research says: “Maybe!”

  • One recent study showed 8,500+ women photos of men with varying degrees of facial hair.
  • Those with heavy stubble deemed most attractive.
  • Men with full beards = LEAST attractive, but MOST DESIRABLE as long-term partners.
On This Day

Researchers say beards are perceived as a sign of masculinity and self-confidence.

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October 10, 1886
Tuxedo Debuts in America

 

 

 

The revolutionary style originally considered informal menswear.

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History’s Tuxedo Mystery

Its origins aren’t exactly clear, but a few things are certain:

  • Created by famous, Savile Row tailor Henry Poole & Co in London, still in business today.
  • Made first for Prince of Wales (future King Edward VII) 40 years before American debut in Upstate NY’s posh Tuxedo Park community – hence, its name.
On This Day

As The Story Goes…

Pierre Lorillard, a wealthy tobacco manufacturer, hosted an Autumn Ball & wanted a black jacket without tails interfering with sitting, dancing.

He enlisted Henry Poole to make it. But he never wore it to the ball; his son supposedly did.

Look caught on, with men asking for jackets “like the ones in Tuxedo.”

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SUIT VS. TUXEDO:
What’s the Difference?

  • They are constructed the same, but a tuxedo’s fabric is dressier, lapel includes satin & the pants have a decorative stripe.
  • Takes 8-12 hrs to make a tuxedo, many steps done by hand.
  • Etiquette says a tuxedo should only be worn after 6pm & not by boys under 15 (unless in wedding.)
  • Any color, typically black or blue.
On This Day

Americans popularized calling it a "Tuxedo" or "Tux," but around the world it may also be called a "dinner jacket" or a "smoking jacket." The origin for the word "tuxedo" is a Native American word, the original meaning of which is a source of debate.

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On This Day

Oct 4, 1927

Construction Starts On
Mount Rushmore

 

“America will march along that skyline.”

Gutzon Borglum, Sculptor
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“More and more we sensed we were creating a truly great thing, and after a while all of us old hands became truly dedicated to it.”

Red Anderson, Mount Rushmore Carver. Approx. 400 men & women helped carve the granite memorial over a period of 14 years. The idea for a mountain sculpture started as a tourist attraction to bring people to visit South Dakota's Black Hills; now 2.4M visitors come every year.
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Why *These* 60 Ft Faces?

Each President represents an important chapter in America.

  • Washington: “birth” of the nation.
  • Jefferson: “growth” for his ideas & advocating westward expansion.
  • Roosevelt: “development” for economic growth & exploration.
  • Lincoln: “preservation” for holding country together during Civil War.
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Did You Know?

  • Mount “Rushmore” was named after a NY attorney surveying the area in the late 1800s.
  • Originally the monument was to feature faces of western figures (ex: Sacajawea), but the sculptor advocated for broader appeal.
  • Workers walked 700 stairs before being suspended thousands of feet above ground to carve with chisels & jackhammers.
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”The idea is so that people a million years from now will realize their significance. So many things are lost in history. The Sphinx, the pyramids, the heads on Easter Island. Archeologists are forever trying to figure them out.”

Lincoln Borglum, son of sculptor, who helped complete Mt. Rushmore after his dad's death. He advocated to complete the "Hall of Records"; a room carved into the mt. explaining the project & American history. The Hall of Records opened officially in 1998.
On This Day

90% of Mt. Rushmore was carved by dynamite. In fact, some dynamite was used to blast away the first face of President Jefferson. Pres. Jefferson was originally situated on the outside so Pres. Washington would be in the middle, but the stone turned out to be too weak.

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September 25, 1981

Sandra Day O’Connor Becomes First Female Supreme Court Justice

Pres. Ronald Reagan’s first of two Supreme Court appointees (Antonin Scalia was the second) was confirmed by the Senate 99-0.

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“It’s wonderful to be the first to do something, but I didn’t want to be the last, and if I did not do the job well enough there might be no second woman on the court.”

O'Connor in 2012
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About the Woman:

  • Despite her exceptional academic credentials (#2 in her class at Stanford Law), she couldn’t find a law firm that would hire a woman. Her first law job was unpaid.
  • From 1960-65, she was a stay-at-home mom to her three sons.
  • In 1965, she became the Arizona Assistant Attorney General, and later she became the first female Senate Majority Leader (R) in AZ.
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Her Lasting Legacy:

In 1992, she cast the deciding vote in Planned Parenthood v. Casey,  upholding the court’s 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade and striking down a PA law requiring women to obtain spousal consent for abortion.

In 2000, she cast the deciding vote in Bush v. Gore, settling the dispute in the 2000 election and awarding the presidency to George W. Bush.

 

 

On This Day

“Treat people well. Don’t mislead them. Don’t be prickly. Don’t say things that are aggravating. Try to be as agreeable as you can be. Try to be helpful rather than harmful. Try to cooperate.

O'Connor in 2013 to the Harvard Business Review on what it's like working with colleagues with whom you disagree (potentially) for life. Supreme Court justices have lifetime tenure.
On This Day

There have been 113 Supreme Court justices.  In addition to O’Connor, only three other women have served on our high court:

  • Ruth Ginsburg (1993 – present)
  • Sonia Sotomayor (2009 – present)
  • Elena Kagan (2010 – present)

All (except O’Connor) were appointed by Democrats.

On This Day

Last week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) issued a proclamation establishing September 25, 2018, as Sandra Day O'Connor Day. No word on whether O'Connor will attend any of the festivities at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law at Arizona State University.

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September 20, 1973




“BATTLE OF THE SEXES”

90M across the globe watched Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in what is still one of the most-watched tennis matches of all time.

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Battle of the Sexes

Riggs (55), a tennis champion and self-proclaimed male chauvinist, challenged King (29) a year earlier.

After the match, Riggs said “Billie Jean was just too strong for me. She was too quick in the exchanges. I thought I had her out of court many times but she made the shots.

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Why King Matters

In 1971, King was the first female athlete to win over 100K in prizes.

In 1972, Congress passed Title IX, banning gender discrimination in school programs (including sports) that receive federal fund$.

After her victory against Riggs, King said “I thought it would set us back 50 years if I didn’t win that match.”

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King’s Lasting Legacy

  • Ranked #1 in women’s tennis worldwide six times
  • Awarded 39 Grand Slams & the Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • Founded Women’s Sports Foundation & magazine
  • First female with a major sports arena named in her honor

Her advocacy for gender equality on and off the court continues.

On This Day

“We always put our hands up for Billie. We love her. She has a tremendous history, not just in women’s tennis, but in leading rights for people, in general, no matter who they were.”

Venus Williams, April 2018, after joining the advisory board at the Billie Jean King Leadership Initiative, a nonprofit founded by King aimed at eliminating workplace inequalities & promoting diversity.
On This Day

King recently sat down for her first television interview since Serena Williams alleged sexism at the US Open. King said sexism still exists in tennis, but that "crisis creates opportunity" and this is an opportunity to get things right.

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On This Day

September 17, 1787

U.S. Constitution Signed

“WE THE PEOPLE”

 

Our nation’s founding document is the world’s longest surviving written charter of government.

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The Constitutional Convention

  • Who:  55 delegates attended the Convention, but only 39 signed.
  • When: Written during four-month Convention (May 25 – Sept 17, 1787).
  • Where: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
  • Why: Establish our federal gov’t (executive, judicial, legislative) and divide power btwn fed & states.
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DID YOU KNOW?

  • In 1933, the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th Amendment, and put an end to Prohibition – the ONLY amendment ever repealed in our nation’s history.
  • The Constitution’s first ten amendments are the Bill of Rights.
  • The Constitution has been amended 27 times, most recently in 1992 (re: lawmaker pay).
On This Day

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

Preamble to the U.S. Constitution
On This Day

In June 1788, New Hampshire became the 9th of 13 states to ratify the Constitution. Our new Federal government came into existence in 1789.

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September 11, 2001

 

 

 

Why We “Never Forget” & What To Always Remember

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“Jules, this is Brian. Listen, I’m on an airplane that’s been hijacked. If things don’t go well, and it’s not looking good, I just want you to know I absolutely love you. I want you to do good, go have good times – same to my parents and everybody … and I’ll see you when you get there.”

Brian Sweeney, United Airlines Flight 175 passenger, in a message to his wife
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On This Day

The Morning That Changed Us Forever

8:46 a.m.: American Flight 11 crashes into WTC’s North Tower

9:03 a.m.: United Flight 175 crashes into WTC’s South Tower

9:40 a.m.: American Flight 77 crashes into Pentagon

10:07 a.m.: United Flight 93 crashes in Pennsylvania

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THE VICTIMS

2,977 died

2,753 in New York (including 343 firefighters & approx. 11 pregnant women)

184 at the Pentagon

40 aboard Flight 93

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THE HIJACKERS

  • 15 of 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia. Others were from Egypt (2), UAE (2), and Lebanon (1).
  • al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. in 2011.
  • Reports: Bin Laden’s son married the daughter of lead 9/11 hijacker & the two live in Afghanistan.
  • al-Qaida has reportedly amassed “the largest fighting force in its existence” – LA Times.
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THE AFTERMATH

On October 7, 2001, Pres. Bush announced that the U.S. (& Britain) began air strikes on al-Qaida terror  training camps and Taliban military camps in Afghanistan. In 2003, the U.S. & allies invaded Iraq.

Since September 11th, more than 2.7 million U.S. service members have been deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq; more than 6,800 have died.

On This Day

American military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria following the 9/11 attacks have cost more than $1.5 trillion.

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September 7, 1813
The Birth Of “Uncle Sam”

 

 

 

How did America get its nickname?

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Was Uncle Sam Real?

Although probably best known from the U.S. Army’s “I Want You” posters of World War I, Uncle Sam actually dates back to the War of 1812.

Hungry troops were fed meat from Samuel Wilson. His barrels of beef & pork were stamped with a “U.S.” but soldiers started calling it “Uncle Sam’s.”

 

 

On This Day

Did He Look Like That?

Over the years, artists shaped Uncle Sam’s look which began as a “congenial, folksy, older man.”

  • Cartoonist Thomas Nast popularized him with white beard and stars & stripes suit.
  • Artist James Montgomery Flagg’s “I Want You” painting showed him stern and muscular.
On This Day

205 years after Uncle Sam's creation his legacy lives on - but did you know our national symbol could've be "Miss Columbia"? Read on to learn more about her.

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The Guinness Book of World Records Debuts

 

 

Believe it or not, the famous “Book of World Records” actually has a connection to the world famous Guinness beer.

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Hunting History

  • Who: Managing Director of the Guinness Brewery: Sir Hugh Beaver
  • What: Bird hunting trip in Ireland
  • When: 1951
  • How: An argument over the fastest game bird led to the realization that no ultimate reference book existed.
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BELLY UP

  • Sir Weaver decided to develop a record book.
  • Enlisted the help of twin brothers (the McWhirters) who ran a fact-finding agency in England in 1954.
  • In 1955, they distributed the first Guinness Book of Records for free — in pubs as a form of publicity to settle friendly debates over a few brewskies. It was an instant success.
On This Day

Most Recent Records:

  • Most expensive box of tissues: $90 USD in Japan.
  • Largest ‘nutbush dance’ (to Tina Turner’s “Nutbush City Limits”): 1,719 in a remote Australian town.
  • “All record attempts require the presence of completely independent witnesses who are our eyes on the ground to witness and confirm that all of our rules have been followed.”
On This Day

The twin brothers who help found the Guinness Record Book set a standard - often traveling independently to verify records. They both served in WWII & developed a love for facts from their newspaper editor father. One brother was murdered.

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20 Years Ago Today: ‘Saving Private Ryan’ opened #1 at the box office

 

The WWII film, hailed by critics and veterans alike for its realistic battle depictions, was inspired by the true life story of the Niland brothers.

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Saving Private Ryan

  • Directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Tom Hanks & Matt Damon
  • Cost $70M, including $12M on Omaha Beach D-Day scene.
  • Spielberg didn’t use story boards for notorious D-Day scene, relying instead on photos & news reels.
  • The graphic violence nearly earned it an “NC-17” rating and prevented Spielberg from letting his 13-year-old son see his film.
On This Day

The Niland Brothers

Four Niland brothers hailed from Tonawanda, NY.

Brothers all served during WWII, but they were separated into different units after the tragedy of the 5  Sullivan brothers, who served and died together when the USS Juneau sank in 1942 in the South Pacific.

Two Niland brothers survived WWII.

On This Day

“The minute we finished the D-Day/Omaha Beach sequence, I knew we had something really special to show audiences around the world.  I think all of us who worked on that film – from Director Steven Spielberg down to the lowliest extra in crowd scenes – can be proud that we had a part in making Saving Private Ryan.”

Capt. Dale Dye, senior military advisor on 'Saving Private Ryan' to SmartHER News
On This Day

SPR is Spielberg's 10th highest grossing film ($329M in 2018 dollars). His #1? A Shark Week favorite, 'JAWS' earned $1.2B in 2018 dollars.

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July 20, 1969
“One Giant Leap for Mankind”

 

 

600M people across the globe were glued to their TV sets as Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong & Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.

 

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On This Day

The Race Into Space

In 1961, three years after the Soviet Union launched the Sputnik satellite into space, Pres. Kennedy announced his goal of sending an American to the moon by the end of the decade (and before the Soviets).

On July 16, 1969, Armstrong, Aldrin, and Mike Collins, blasted off for the moon. They accomplished their mission & returned 8 days later.

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Apollo Moon Missions

  • NASA launched 11 lunar missions from 1963 to 1972.
  • During 6 of those missions, 12 astronauts (all men) landed on the moon.
  • In 1973, NASA said the total cost of the moon missions was $25B.
On This Day

A New Era of Space Exploration?

It’s been more than 45 years since NASA went to the moon.

Astronauts say politics & costs are largely to blame.

Today, support for NASA is bipartisan and Pres. Trump’s 2019 budget allocates $$ for a trip to moon, and eventually, a visit to Mars.

On This Day

The Apollo 11 astronauts left behind a U.S. flag, a patch honoring the Apollo 1 crew, and a plaque reading: "Here men from the planet Earth first set foot upon the moon. July 1969 A.D. We came in peace for all mankind."

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