This Day in History

Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2004

In Alaska

• In 1929, Alaska Washington Airways initiated fly-in fishing service by taking a group to Hasselborg Lake on Admiralty Island.

• In 1939, a fire consumed the Haines Power Plant, the Post Office and a theater. The Chilkoot Barracks provided emergency electric power to Haines.

In the nation

• In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States began holding sessions in Richmond, Va.

• In 1881, Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, a fugitive since the Battle of the Little Big Horn, surrendered to federal troops.

• In 1942, the first detachment of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps - later known as WACs - began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa.

• In 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office at the Democratic convention in Chicago.

• In 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon as they stepped out of their lunar module.

• In 1976, America's Viking One robot spacecraft made a successful, first-ever landing on Mars.

• In 1977, a flash flood hit Johnstown, Pa., killing 80 people and causing $350 million worth of damage.

• In 1993, White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster Jr. was found shot to death in a park near Washington, D.C. It was ruled a suicide.

• In 1999, after 38 years at the bottom of the Atlantic, astronaut Gus Grissom's "Liberty Bell Seven" Mercury capsule was lifted to the surface.

• In 2004, President Bush welcomed Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi to his Texas ranch for a two-day visit.

In the world

• In 1810, Colombia declared independence from Spain.

• In 1871, British Columbia entered Confederation as a Canadian province.

• In 1944, an attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed. The explosion at Hitler's Rastenburg headquarters only wounded the Nazi leader.

• In 1994, Bosnian Serbs rejected an international peace plan sponsored by the United States, Russia, France, Britain and Germany.

• In 2004, Gen. John Abizaid, the top commander of coalition forces in Iraq, predicted that resistance to U.S. forces in Iraq would grow as progress was made in creating a new government to replace the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein. Ben Curtis, an unknown PGA Tour rookie in his first major championship, won the British Open.

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