On This Day
On This Day

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.

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“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.
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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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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).
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“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
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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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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.

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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.”

 

 

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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.

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“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
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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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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.
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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.

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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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July 10, 1905

 

Mildred Wirt Benson born.

A dedicated journalist for 60 years who introduced the world to Nancy Drew.

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“I always wanted to be a writer from the time I could walk.”

  • Born in rural Iowa; few opportunities for women outside the home.
  • Her parents encouraged her writing pursuits; she won her 1st writing award at age 14.
  • First student (man or woman) to earn master’s in journalism at Univ. of Iowa.
  • Her first trip to NYC changed everything…
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Creating Nancy Drew

  • Benson met kids book publisher Edward Stratemeyer who had ideas, but needed ghost writers.
  • Benson wrote 23 of 30 original Nancy Drew stories, establishing Nancy’s determination & bravery.
  • She wrote the 2nd & 3rd stories in the series at age 24.
  • Paid $125 per booksigned away rights to royalties on books, movies & board games.
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Enduring Popularity

“The heroines of girls’ books back then were all namby-pamby. I wanted to do something different.”

  • Nancy Drew fans say the books allowed girls & young women to imagine anything was possible at a time when females struggled for equality.
  • Series still in print, selling over 200M books in 17 languages.
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Mystery Solved!

  • All of the Nancy Drew books written under the ghost name “Carolyn Keene” – chosen by the publisher.
  • Benson legally prevented from publicly revealing her identity as the series author.
  • In 1980 Benson testified in a court case involving the publisher and her name became known.
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Not only was she a writer & journalist for 58 years (at the AP, Toledo Times & Toledo Blade), Benson became a pilot, amateur archaeologist & adventurer much like Nancy Drew. She worked at the newspaper until the day she died - at age 96.

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Still Turning Heads

 

 

 

The bikini turns 72 today.
Named for – of all things – a nuclear test site, it ended up making a bang of its own.

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Scandalous History

  • Bikini was invented by (who else?) a Frenchman, Louis Reard.
  • Named after a nuclear test site off the Bikini Atoll in Pacific Ocean.
  • No Parisian model would wear his revealing design so he got a nude dancer to model it.
  • NOT the first 2-piece swimsuit, but the first to show navel.
  • Banned in numerous countries, Vatican called it sinful.
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Less is Much, Much More

  • There were actually TWO French designers competing to make the tiniest swimsuit in 1946.
  • Reard’s winning design, two inverted triangles connected by string, used just 30 ins of fabric.
  • Reard shocked saying: 2-piece wasn’t a bikini “unless it could be pulled through a wedding ring.”
  • Fun fact: If the other design won out, we’d call a bikini an “atom.”
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The bikini didn't really catch on in America until the '60s, but by the '70s, it went from scandalous to ubiquitous. Last month, the Miss America contest said it will end its swimsuit competition which has been included since the 1st pageant in 1921.

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Lady Liberty Arrives

June 19, 1885

 

 

The Statue of Liberty arrives into New York Harbor. Although 12M immigrants passed under her gaze, she was delivered (and constructed) years before Ellis Island opened.

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How Did Liberty Arrive?

  • 350 separate pieces; 214 crates.
  • A decade late. France wanted to gift “Liberty Enlightening the World” for the centennial of the Declaration of Independence (1776). Lack of funds held back production. Eventually both USA/FR raised enough $$ through charity, lottery, donation etc.
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Liberty & Immigration

  • Statue of Liberty fully constructed in 1886; immigration wasn’t sole focus of statue, but celebration of American democracy overall.
  • Ellis Island Immigration Station opened in 1892.
  • Famous Lazarus poem “Give me your tired, your poor” written in 1883 and engraved on base 10 years later in 1903.
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"Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles" READ FULL POEM:

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One Giant Leap for WOMANkind

 

 

 

 

On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride became the 1st American woman in space.

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“When I was a little girl, I dreamed of flying in space. Amazingly enough, and I still can’t believe it, that dream came true. And through hard work and a good education, all of you will reach for the stars and that dream will come true for you.”

Sally Ride at the 2002 Sally Ride Science Club's Boston Science Festival
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About Dr. Sally Ride:

  • Born in 1951 in Los Angeles.
  • Earned bachelor’s, master’s & a Ph.D. in physics from Stanford.
  • Founded the Sally Ride Science Club in 2001 to encourage girls to pursue careers in math & science.
  • Named into the Astronauts Hall of Fame in 2003 & awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2013, a year after her death.
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WOMEN IN SPACE

According to NASA, there have been at least 71 female astronauts in the history of space exploration.

  • Ride was the THIRD woman in space.
  • The first two were Soviet cosmonauts.
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Ride was a huge STEM advocate education. In 2010, she helped found the Change the Education initiative, a CEO-led effort to raise student engagement and improve education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

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D-Day June 6, 1944

74 YEARS AGO TODAY

“Two kinds of people are staying on this beach—the dead and those who are going to die.”

Col. George A. Taylor, commanding the Sixteenth Infantry Regiment, First Infantry Division, on Omaha Beach.
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Why It Matters

  • Largest naval, air & land operation in history.
  • D-Day allowed the allies (U.S., England, New Zealand, Poland, Australia, etc.) to gain strategic position in Europe vs. Hitler’s Germany.
  • Est. 6,603 Americans died June 6, 1944 (for context: this is more than the total number of Americans killed in the entire Iraq War).
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“Operation Overlord”

General Eisenhower commanded the invasion.

The invasion involved 5,000 ships, 1,200 planes and 100,000 ground troops assaulting bunkered German forces across five beaches code named: Utah, Omaha, Gold, Juno, and Sword.

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“Well, is it or isn’t it the invasion?”

Adolf Hitler

On the day of the invasion, Hitler slept until noon. His staff was too scared to tell him of the attack.

D-Day signifies the beginning of the end for Hitler.

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From U.S. Army: "D in D-Day merely stands for Day. This coded designation was used for the day of any important invasion or military operation." President Eisenhower had a different take. Read More:

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