This Day in History

Posted: Monday, July 16, 2007

In Alaska, in the Nation and the World

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In Alaska

• In 1741, Vitus Bering made his first landfall in Alaska on Kayak Island.

• In 1934, two U.S. Army observation planes made the first landing on the airfield in Juneau.

• In 1937, the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Haida arrived in Juneau to take permanent station.

• In 1969, Anchorage residents watched live television coverage of the launch of Apollo 11 through a mobile satellite ground station installed for the occasion by the U.S. Department of Defense.

In the nation

• In 1862, David G. Farragut became the first rear admiral in the U.S. Navy.

• In 1945, the United States exploded its first experimental atomic bomb, in the desert of Alamogordo, N.M.

• In 1957, Marine Maj. John Glenn set a transcontinental speed record by flying a jet from California to New York in three hours, 23 minutes and eight seconds.

• In 1964, in accepting the Republican presidential nomination in San Francisco, Barry M. Goldwater said "extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice" and that "moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue."

• In 1969, Apollo 11 blasted off from Cape Kennedy, Fla., on the first manned mission to the surface of the moon.

• In 1973, during the Senate Watergate hearings, former White House aide Alexander P. Butterfield publicly revealed the existence of President Richard Nixon's secret taping system.

• In 1999, John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and her sister, Lauren Bessette, died when their single-engine plane, piloted by Kennedy, plunged into the Atlantic Ocean near Martha's Vineyard, Mass.

• In 1997, hundreds of FBI agents, some handing out photos in gay bars and hotels, blanketed South Florida in the continuing hunt for alleged prostitute-turned-serial killer Andrew Phillip Cunanan, suspected of gunning down designer Gianni Versace.

• In 2002, the body of Samantha Runnion, the 5-year-old who had been kidnapped from her home in Stanton, Calif., was found in a heavily forested area about 50 miles away.

In the world

• In 1790, the District of Columbia was established as the seat of the U.S. government.

• In 1979, Saddam Hussein became president of Iraq.

• In 2002, the Irish Republican Army issued an unprecedented apology for hundreds of civilian deaths over 30 years.

• In 2006, President Bush and other Group of Eight world leaders meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia, urged Israel to show "utmost restraint" and blamed Hezbollah and Hamas for escalating violence in the Middle East. Claiming election fraud had robbed him of the presidency, leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador led hundreds of thousands of marchers through Mexico's capital.

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