This Week in History: Apr. 22-28, 2024

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This Week in History
by Dianne Hermann

“The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate
their own understanding of their history.” George Orwell

Apr. 22-28, 2024




April 22

1864 – The United States mints a 2-cent coin. It has the first appearance of “In God We Trust.” On this date in 1955, Congress ordered all U.S. coins to bear the motto “In God We Trust.”

1931 – James G. Ray lands an autogyro on the lawn of the White House. President Hoover presented pilot Ray and autogyro builder Harold Pitcairn with the National Aeronatic Association’s Collier Trophy, awarded “for the greatest achievement in aviation in America, the value of which has been demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.” Watch a silent video of the landing.



1970 – The first “Earth Day” is observed by millions of Americans. Twenty million Americans participated in various events coordinated by Denis Hayes. Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI), the founder of Earth Day, died in 2005 at age 89.

1972 – Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charles Duke ride on the moon in the Lunar Roving Vehicle. Apollo 17 in December 1972 was the last manned mission to the moon. Watch the historic moon ride.



2000 – In a pre-dawn raid, federal agents seize six-year-old Elián González from his uncle’s home in Miami, Florida. González was among Cuban boat people rescued on Thanksgiving Day when 12 members of his family died. He was released to his uncle but his father in Cuba demanded custody. Attorney General Janet Reno approved the plan to forcibly remove González from the home. He returned to Cuba on June 28th. González is now 30 years old.

2005 – Zacarias Moussaoui (a French citizen of Moroccan descent) pleads guilty to conspiring with other al-Qaeda members in the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. He is now serving a life sentence at the Federal ADX Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado.

2014 – The Supreme Court rules 6 to 2 in favor of a University of Michigan ban on affirmative action.


April 23

1635 – The oldest U.S. public institution still in operation, Boston Latin School, is founded.

1908 – President Theodore Roosevelt signs an act creating the U.S. Army Reserve.

1924 – The U.S. Senate passes the Soldiers Bonus Bill for World War I vets. President Coolidge vetoed the bill in May, but Congress overrode the presidential veto. President Harding vetoed a similar bill in 1922. Veterans marched on Washington in 1932 to forced Congress to pay the promised bonuses.

1954 – Hammerin’ Hank Aaron hits the first of his 755 homers. Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record with 715 during a home game for the Atlanta Braves on April 8, 1974. He hit his final home run as a Milwaukee Brewer on July 20, 1976. Aaron died in 2021 at the age of 86.

1985 – The Coca-Cola Company announces that it is changing its 99-year-old secret formula. New Coke was not successful, which resulted in the resumption of the selling the original version. Watch the mea culpa announcement of Coca-Cola returning to the original formula.



1988 – A federal ban on smoking during domestic airline flights of 2 hours or less takes effect.

2005 – The first video is uploaded to YouTube.com. Watch the first YouTube video, which now has over 226 million views.




April 24

1704 – The “Boston News-Letter” is established. It was the first successful newspaper in the U.S.

1800 – The Library of Congress is established when President John Adams signs a bill that also moves the capital from Philadelphia to Washington, DC. The bill included a $5,000 allocation for a reference library for Congressional use.

1898 – Spain declares war after rejecting the U.S. ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba. The U.S. won the 10-week-long war.

1907 – Hersheypark, founded by Milton S. Hershey for the exclusive use of his employees, is opened to the public.

1917 – The U.S. Congress passes the Liberty Loan Act, authorizing the Treasury to issue a public subscription for $2 billion in bonds for the war.

1962 – MIT sends a TV signal by satellite for the first time. The signal traveled from California to Massachusetts.

1980 – The U.S. military operation Eagle Claw, ordered by President Jimmy Carter to rescue 52 hostages in Iran, fails. Eight servicemen died during a refueling stop in bad weather. All the hostages were released moments after President Reagan completed his inauguration speech on January 20, 1981.

1990 – The space shuttle Discovery blasts off from Cape Canaveral, Florida carrying the $1.5 billion Hubble Space Telescope. The telescope was launched the following day. Discovery flew 39 missions spanning 26 years, more than any other Shuttle. It is now on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Watch a brief report on the Hubble and its 1993 repair.



1997 – The U.S. Senate ratifies the Chemical Weapons Convention. The global treaty banned the development, production, storage and use of chemical weapons.

2015 – Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner announces during a Diane Sawyer interview that he is now a woman. He changed his name to Caitlyn. Watch excerpts from the interview. Bruce Jenner Interview


April 25

1846 – A military skirmish known as the Thornton Affair begins over the disputed border of Texas, triggering the Mexican-American War.

1928 – Morris Frank becomes the first American to use a guide dog. Buddy, a German shepherd, is the first guide dog. Watch a touching video of Morris, in his own words, and Buddy.



1945 – Delegates from about 50 countries meet in San Francisco to organize the United Nations. There are now 193 UN member nations.

1954 – Bell Laboratories announces the first solar battery made from silicon. It had about 6% efficiency.

1967 – Colorado Governor John Love signs the first law in the U.S. legalizing abortion. The law was limited to therapeutic abortions when agreed to unanimously by a panel of three physicians.

1984 – David Anthony Kennedy, son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, is found dead in a hotel room of a drug overdose.

1998 – First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton is questioned by Whitewater prosecutors on videotape about her work as a private lawyer for the failed savings and loan at the center of the investigation. Watch the entire 1998 interview on Good Morning America.



2007 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above 13,000 for the first time. The Dow is now about 38,000.


April 26

1607 – The British establish an American colony at Cape Henry near Jamestown, Virginia. It was the first permanent English establishment in the Western Hemisphere.

1859 – New York politician Dan Sickles is acquitted of murdering his wife’s lover on grounds of temporary insanity. It was the first time the insanity defense was used successfully.

1865 – John Wilkes Booth is killed by the U.S. Federal Cavalry at the Garrett Farm in Virginia. Booth assassinated President Lincoln on April 15th at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, DC.

1941 – A tradition of playing organ music during a baseball game begins when the Chicago Cubs use an organ as a one-time gimmick. It was so popular that the Cubs management kept the instrument. Gary Pressy ended his 33 year stint as organist at Wrigley Field at the end of the 2019 season. Watch an interview with Pressy.



1954 – A nationwide test of Salk anti-polio vaccine begins.

1962 – NASA’s Ranger 4 spacecraft makes a crash landing on the backside of the moon when its onboard computer fails to deploy the solar panels and navigation system.

1993 – NBC announces that Conan O’Brien will replace David Letterman on late night TV. O’Brien was replaced by Jay Leno. Jimmy Fallon is the current host. Steve Allen was the first.

2000 – Vermont Gov. Howard Dean signs the nation’s first bill allowing same-sex couples to form civil unions. Dean ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004.

2009 – American health officials declare a public health emergency after 20 cases of swine flu (H1N1) were confirmed.


April 27

1805 – U.S. Marines attack the shores of Tripoli at the port city of Derna in present-day Libya at the end of the First Barbary War. “The Halls of Montezuma” refer to the 1847 Battle of Chapultepec during the Mexican-American War when Marines storm the Chapultepec Castle. Both events were memorialized in the Marine Corps’ official song. The unknown author of the song put the events in reverse chronological order.

1897 – Grant’s Tomb is dedicated. The answer to the age-old question of who’s buried in Grant’s tomb is President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia. It’s the largest mausoleum in North America.

1911 – William P. Frye resigns as President Pro Tempore of the Senate. He died before his successor could be named. A compromise was reached to rotate the office of President Pro Tempore between political parties for the next two years.

1953 – The U.S. offers $50,000 and political asylum to any Communist pilot who delivers a MIG jet in Operation Moolah. The plan was not successful.

1956 – Heavyweight champ Rocky Marciano retires undefeated from boxing at the age of 31. He was the only boxer to ever retire undefeated. Marciano died in a plane crash in 1969 at age 45.

1987 – The U.S. Justice Department bars Austrian President Kurt Waldheim from entering the U.S., claiming he aided in the deportation and execution of thousands of Jews and others as a German Army officer during World War II.

2006 – In New York City, construction begins on the 1,776-foot Freedom Tower on the site of former World Trade Center. Watch an incredible 2-minute time-lapse video of the 9-year construction project.



2011 – President Obama releases his long-form birth certificate from the state of Hawaii in an effort to quell “birther” conspiracy theorists.


April 28

1818 – The U.S. Senate ratifies the Rush-Bagot Pact of 1817, limiting naval forces on the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain except for small patrol vessels. The Convention of 1818 set the boundary between the Missouri Territory and British North America (which becomes Canada) at the 49th parallel.

1919 – Les Irvin makes the first jump from an airplane with a U.S. Army Air Corps parachute (rip-cord type).

1952 – The U.S. occupation of Japan officially ends when a treaty with the U.S. and 47 other countries goes into effect.

1967 – Muhammad Ali refuses induction into the army and is stripped of his boxing title.

1972 – Courts award the 1968 Kentucky Derby prize money to 2nd place winner “Forward Pass” after the winner “Dancer’s Image” is disqualified for being given drugs before the race.

1992 – The U.S. Agriculture Department unveils a pyramid-shaped recommended-diet chart. In 2015, the USDA introduced new guidelines that used an image of a segmented plate of food instead of a pyramid.

1994 – Former CIA officer Aldrich Ames and his wife Rosario plead guilty to spying. Aldrich, now 80, is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Rosario was deported back to Columbia in 1999 after completing her 5-year sentence.

2001 – Millionaire Dennis Tito becomes the world’s first space tourist. He spent eight days in space and visits the International Space Station at an estimated cost of $20 million. Tito is now 83 years old. Watch a report about Tito in space.






Image from: globalnews.ca


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