On This Day
On This Day

May 15, 1940

Two brothers open America’s first McDonald’s. They didn’t start with hamburgers, or even french fries … and there was no “Ronald.”

On This Day

“At first it was a struggle and we didn’t know where our next cent was coming from. But we believed in our enterprise.”

Maurice McDonald, who with his brother Richard opened the first McDonald's. The two brothers left their home state of New Hampshire after the Great Depression, and headed to California to make it in the movie business. When their Hollywood adventure failed, they started with a hot dog stand, & later opened a restaurant in San Bernadino.
On This Day

Did You Know….

  • The first McDonald’s was actually “McDonald’s Bar-B-Q.”
  • 1948: A “revamped” McDonald’s opens, focusing on a limited menu with 15-cent burgers & fast service. Fries appear on the menu the following year.
  • 1954: Milkshake machine salesman Ray Kroc visits restaurant, becomes a franchise operator & buys business in 1961.
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“I was an overnight success alright, but 30 years is a long, long night.”

Ray Kroc developed the "McDonald's System" which later became the McDonald's Corporation. He focused on consistent, fast service across franchises, which also led to the development of Hamburger University where attendees received their degree in Bachelor of Hamburgerology. The program continues today.
On This Day

The brothers sold their McDonald's to Kroc for just under $3M. Now the company's market cap: $150B+.

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May 13, 1995

“I am on the top of the world and I love you dearly.”

A British mother sends this message to her children as she becomes the first woman to summit Everest unaided.

On This Day

Alison Hargreaves

  • Developed a love for climbing as a child in Britain.
  • Her 6 & 4-year-old son & daughter stayed with her husband in Scotland as she attempted her summit.
  • Climbed Everest with NO supplemental oxygen (only second person in history to do so), and did not use ropes left by other climbers.
On This Day

“My kids are pretty active, and they need a lot of time and energy, which is great. But sometimes you need a break. I found that solo climbing was totally opposite to looking after the kids because it’s so self-indulgent.”

Alison Hargreaves describing how she got into "solo-climbing." She said it was hard for her to find climbing partners because her husband, a climbing photographer, was often traveling. When he got home, he'd watch the kids and she'd head to the mountains alone.
On This Day

3 months after her historic Everest summit, she also became one of the first women to summit Pakistan's K2, one of the world's highest peaks, but didn't survive the descent. Tragically, her 30-year-old son died climbing in Pakistan this past March.

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On This Day

8 years ago…

 

 

 

… the world learned the mastermind of 9/11 & leader of al-Qaeda was killed. Why some say the terror group is stronger than ever.

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You May Not Know…

  • The FBI put Osama Bin Laden on its Most Wanted List in 1999 due to his role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Tanzania & Kenya that killed approx. 200 people; offered $25M reward.
  • Bin Laden had a large collection of American books in his Pakistan compound, reportedly used to find vulnerabilities in American culture & security.
On This Day

“Since 9/11, al-Qaeda’s footprint has greatly expanded…al-Qaeda maintains an active insurgency, and in some, al-Qaeda’s branches or allies control a significant amount of land.”

Bill Roggio, Foundation For Defense of Democracies, who testified Tues. before Congress on the "Global Terrorism Landscape." He says al-Qaeda has a footprint in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, North & West Africa, Somalia, East Africa, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar & Syria.
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Connecting The Dots

  • The Taliban provided safe haven for al-Qaeda to recruit and train in Afghanistan before & after 9/11.
  • Pakistan, where Bin Laden found safe haven, continues to provide safe haven for the Taliban and other jihadi groups.
  • The U.S. considers Pakistan an ally & is negotiating with the Taliban on terms of American withdrawal from Afghanistan.
On This Day

The U.S. recently offered $1M for info on the whereabouts of Bin Laden's son, Hamza, who reportedly lives near the Afghan-Pakistan border & has taken a leadership role in the terror group, calling for attacks on the U.S.

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On This Day

April 25, 1917

 

 

 

 

The First Lady of Song makes her “debut”: Ella Fitzgerald

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Ella Fitzgerald

  • Born 1917, just as the U.S. entered WWI.
  • Mother died when she was 15.
  • Ran away from reform school & danced on Harlem streets during Great Depression to make $$.
  • At 17, she won amateur night at the famed Apollo Theater & quickly joined a band.
  • Won 13 Grammy awards & sold over 40 million albums
On This Day

Fitzgerald could imitate every instrument in an orchestra. She initially wanted to be a dancer, but got stage fright and decided to sing instead. Let's just say everything worked out the way it should as she famously said: "If I was dancin', I'd have been starving a long time ago."

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On This Day

April 18, 1906

 

 


“like the roar of 10,000 lions”

Monster earthquake strikes San Francisco

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What Happened:

  • Shortly after 5 a.m. a 7.9 magnitude earthquake struck San Francisco; one of the most powerful earthquakes on record.
  • An est. 3,000 people died.
  • The shaking reportedly lasted upwards of a minute.
  • While the earthquake caused immeasurable damage, a fire added insult to injury, burning the city for 4 days.
On This Day

Something To Consider:

  • Although history remembers the 1906 earthquake as a San Francisco event, the earthquake shook the California coast from Los Angeles to southern Oregon & inland to Nevada.
  • The USGS estimates this type of devastating earthquake will happen every 200 years. But warns smaller earthquakes can still do incredible damage.
On This Day

Dozens of unique & rarely seen photos of San Francisco in the aftermath of the earthquake are up for auction today on the 113th anniversary of what the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey) still calls "one of the most significant earthquakes of all time." View them on our source page.

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On This Day

April 17, 1964

 

 

 

America’s “Flying Housewife” becomes the first woman to complete a solo flight around the world.

On This Day

Geraldine “Jerrie” Mock

  • Housewife in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Studied aeronautical engineering at Ohio State University, but left school early to get married.
  • She got her private pilot license with her husband between the births of her sons and daughter.
  • Mock’s husband reportedly jokingly told her to fly around the world when she talked about being bored at home. So she did.
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“I didn’t think it was such a great thing; it was just lots of fun.”

Jerrie Mock reflecting on her journey 50 years after completing the trip. When she was 38-years-old, she left her husband and 3 children (17-year-old, 16-year-old & 3-year-old) to spend 29 days flying around the world solo. During the journey, she managed a potentially deadly fire, brake failure, and wore a blue drip-dry skirt and kitten heels when outside of the plane.
On This Day

Mesmerized by flight as a little girl, Mock was 11-years-old when Amelia Earhart disappeared attempting her around-the-world flight. Like Earhart, Mock broke numerous flight records, but she insisted until her death that she flew mostly for fun.

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On This Day

154 years ago…

 

 

 

America wakes to the news of an assassinated President – the first in the nation’s history.

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Set The Stage

  • Days earlier (April 9) the South surrenders to the North, effectively ending the Civil War.
  • Pres. Lincoln speaks about his future plans for America, incl. offering citizenship to Black Union soldiers.
  • John Booth, confederate sympathizer, who previously conspired to kidnap Pres. Lincoln, decides to plot his murder.
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“One Country, One Destiny.”

A quotation embroidered into President Lincoln's jacket lining from a speech delivered by one of his political heroes, Sen. Daniel Webster. He wore this jacket when he was shot at Ford's Theater, just after 10 pm the night of April 14th. John Booth, an actor, used his connections to sneak into the theater, and shot the President at point-blank range before escaping. Pres. Lincoln died the next morning, April 15th. Booth later died in a standoff with police.
On This Day

Something To Consider:

“Since 1865, there have been attempts on the lives of one of every four Presidents and the successful assassination of one of every five.”

Warren Commission Report, 1963, after Pres. Kennedy's assassination. It wasn't until *after* the assassinations of Pres. Garfield (1881) & Pres. McKinley (1901) that the Secret Service provided full-time protection for the U.S. president.
On This Day

The platform that held Pres. Lincoln's casket as he lay in state at the U.S. Capitol after his death continues to be used for those who lay in state today.

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April 2, 1917

 

 

 

The first woman sworn into Congress – 3 years before women granted the constitutional right to vote.

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“I may be the first woman member of Congress, but I won’t be the last.”

Jeannette Rankin (R-MT) when she was elected in 1916. Montana had granted women the right to vote in 1914 and she had gained notoriety, in part, as a suffragist. Today, 25 women serve in the U.S. Senate & 102 women serve in the U.S. House of Representatives. Women make up nearly 24% of Congress.
On This Day

JEANNETTE RANKIN

  • Daughter of a rancher & school teacher; Republican.
  • Suffrage leader & pacifist.
  • The only Member of Congress to vote against the entrance to World War I & World War II. Voted out of her position each time.
  • Since 1978, her scholarship foundation has awarded more than $2.75 million in scholarships to 1,000+ low-income women.
On This Day

Rankin was a two-term congresswoman, serving from 1917–1919 & 1941–1943. Wars defined her platforms & also lead to her political defeat. In 1973, at 92, she even contemplated a third run before her death because of America's involvement in Vietnam.

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On This Day

March 25, 1911

TRAGIC TURNING POINT

 

 

How one disaster in New York City changed labor laws for the nation.

On This Day

It was a day that was bursting with life–a day full of the first breaths of spring and fate ruled that on this day, 146 young lives should be snuffed out in a terrible manner; they were destroyed by the horrible Triangle fire.”

Mary Domsky-Abrams was a blouse operator on the 9th floor of the Triangle Shirtwaist Company factory in New York City. She survived a devastating fire that killed 146 workers, many immigrants leaping to their death.
On This Day

WHY IT MATTERS

  • The horrifying fire became a national story, symbolizing the plight of immigrant workers.
  • Only 18 months earlier, unsafe working conditions in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory helped inspire the first widespread strike of women workers in U.S. history.
  • Fire propelled better reforms both for American workers & fire codes.
On This Day

The site of the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire is a National Historic Landmark. The National Park Service says the fire was "one of the worst industrial disasters in American history."

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On This Day

March 6, 1836

THE ALAMO

 

 

“I shall never surrender or retreat… Victory or death!”

Texas Commander William B. Travis
On This Day

Why The Alamo

  • Mexico, newly independent from Spain, encouraged American settlers to move to Texas to populate the territory (Texians).
  • Settlers lived peacefully under Mexico law UNTIL the rise of Mex. dictator, Gen. Santa Anna. Fight for Texas independence begins.
  • Texians overtake San Antonio, a strategic city with an old fort: the Alamo.
On This Day

“The obstinancy of Travis and his soldiers was the cause of the death of the whole of them, for not one would surrender.”

Mexican Gen. Santa Anna in a letter years after the battle of the Alamo where he led thousands of Mexican troops against what he considered a frontier rebellion. Texians wanted representation in the Mexican gov't & if they couldn't get that, they wanted to be independent. Texians had anticipated a battle but didn't know Santa Anna's force would arrive so quickly.
On This Day

“… I call on you in the name of Liberty, of patriotism & everything dear to the American character, to come to our aid, with all dispatch…If this call is neglected, I am determined to sustain myself as long as possible & die like a soldier who never forgets what is due to his own honor & that of his country.”

Texas Commander William Travis, Feb. 26, 1836, in a letter from the Alamo. The former teacher & lawyer moved to Texas years earlier.
On This Day

3 Things to Know

  • Siege started in late February; final stand March 6, 13 days later.
  • 180+ men w/diverse backgrounds, died defending the Alamo: Black & White. Northern & Southern. European. Mexican. Youngest: 16. Most Well-Known: Davy Crockett.
  • One of the few survivors was Susanna Dickinson whose husband was killed. She was allowed safe exit w/ her daughter.
On This Day

Why It Matters: The loss galvanized Texans against Mexico. Shortly after the battle of the Alamo, Texas defeated Santa Anna's Mexican army near Houston, securing Texas independence, with the battle cry "Remember The Alamo!"

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On This Day

March 5, 1770

 

 

 

THE BOSTON MASSACRE

“On that night the formation of American independence was laid.”
Pres. John Adams

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Crispus Attucks 

  • African-American sailor.
  • The first of five men to die as a result of the Boston Massacre; reportedly killed instantly after British soldiers outnumbered them and fired suddenly into crowd of dozens of angry colonialists (protesting British taxes, restrictions, overall rule).
  • Attucks believed to be first martyr for cause of American Liberty.
On This Day

Lawyer & future U.S. Pres. John Adams' defense of British soldiers led to their acquittal in an American court. An irony since the "Boston Massacre," by its name & story, unified colonists vs. Brits & sowed the seeds of American revolution (begins 1775).

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On This Day

AMERICA’S FACT FINDER
**since 1790**

On this day, the constitutionally mandated headcount administered every decade launched when Pres. Washington was in office.

It will be conducted for the 24th time this year, but faces a challenge in the Supreme Court.

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1790 Census

  • Took 18 months & $45K to count America’s 3.6M people.
  • Conducted by U.S. marshals who traveled the 13 states and soon-to-be states of KY, ME, TN  & VT.
  • Asked only 6 questions: the family name, as well the number of slaves & free people (white females, white males above and below 16-years-old, all other free people) in each household.
On This Day

“A census aims to count the entire population of a country, and at the location where each person usually lives … The goal is to count everyone once, only once, and in the right place.”

U.S. Census Bureau, which also aims to record the sex, age, and race of every American.
On This Day

WHY IT MATTERS

Results used to determine this over next 10 years:

  • federal $ states receive
  • members states get in the House of Representatives (ex: per 2010 Census, CA: 53; FL: 27)
  • electoral votes states get in presidential elections (ex: per 2010 Census, PA: 20; TX: 38)
On This Day

Census Controversy

  • March 2018: U.S Census Bureau announces new citizenship question, after the DOJ requested in 2017 the question be included in the 2020 Census.
  • Feb 2019: After a federal judge ruled in Jan. the Commerce Dep’t didn’t follow proper procedure to implement the new citizenship question, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
On This Day

Citizenship Question

Argument Against: It will lead to fewer responses from immigrants, causing inaccurate state population (citizens & immigrants – legal or not) counts used for $$ & political power.

Argument For: Supporters say data will be more “complete and accurate.” The question has been asked previously in 1950 and in limited form from 1970 to 2000.

On This Day

The Supreme Court will hear the case in April, crucial as the gov't has to finalize questions by end of June for printing, though this will be the first time the census can be completed online. Fun Census Fact: Did you know an American is born every 8 secs?

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