Today in 1990, Panama’s General Manuel Antonio Noriega, after holing up for 10 days at the Vatican embassy in Panama City, surrendered to U.S. military troops to face charges of drug trafficking. Noriega was flown to Miami the following day and crowds of citizens on the streets of Panama City rejoiced. On July 10, 1992, the former dictator was convicted of drug trafficking, money laundering and racketeering and sentenced to 40 years in prison.
Today in 1777 George Washington managed to evade conflict with General Charles Cornwallis, who had been dispatched to Trenton to bag Washington, and won several encounters with the British rear guard, as Cornwallis left Princeton for Trenton, New Jersey.
Forty Patriots and 275 British soldiers died during ensuing Battle of Princeton. After the defeat, the Howe brothers (General William and Admiral Richard) chose to leave most of New Jersey to Washington.
New Jersey had endured British invasion and rape and plunder at the hands of Britain’s Hessian mercenaries. Now, as the Patriot militia resumed control, New Jersey Loyalists faced exile or humiliating repatriation.
Today in 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower closed the American embassy in Havana and severed diplomatic relations. Relations between the United States and Cuba had been steadily declining since Castro seized power in early 1959.
This marked the end of America’s policy of trying to resolve its differences with Castro’s government through diplomacy.
Today in 1959 President Eisenhower signed a special proclamation admitting the territory of Alaska into the Union as the 49th and largest state.
Today in 1967 Jack Ruby (originally known as Jacob Rubenstein), the Dallas nightclub owner who killed the alleged assassin of President John F. Kennedy, died of cancer in a Dallas hospital. The Texas Court of Appeals had recently overturned his death sentence for the murder of Lee Harvey Oswald and was scheduled to grant him a new trial.
The official Warren Commission report of 1964 concluded that neither Oswald nor Ruby were part of a larger conspiracy, either domestic or international, to assassinate President Kennedy. Despite its seemingly firm conclusions, the report failed to silence conspiracy theories surrounding the event.
Today in 1987 at Cleveland, Ohio, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducted the first woman, Aretha Franklin. For various reasons male inductees far outnumber female performers.
Today there are 701 individuals inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Today in 1993 at Buffalo, New York the Buffalo Bills faced a losing score of 28-3 against the Houston Oilers in a wild card playoff. The Oilers scored another touchdown at the beginning of the second half, the score was 35-3. In a game remembered as “The Comeback” the Bills won 41-38 in overtime.
Many Bills fans went home at half time, missing the largest comeback in history.
The Bills got to the Super Bowl that year and lost to the Dallas Cowboys.
Today in 1938 Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis, originally a non-profit Georgia Warm Springs Foundation FDR started in 1926.
Funded originally through the generosity of wealthy celebrities at yearly President’s Birthday Balls, Roosevelt decided to appeal to the general public for help. .At one fundraiser, celebrity singer Eddie Cantor jokingly urged the public to send dimes to the president, coining the term March of Dimes. The public flooded the White House with 2,680,000 dimes and thousands of dollars in donations.
Roosevelt, who died in 1945, did not live to see Dr. Jonas Salk develop and test the first successful polio vaccine in 1955.
Today in 1945 in preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa, and mainland Japan, Gen. Douglas MacArthur was placed in command of all U.S. ground forces and Adm. Chester Nimitz placed in command of all U.S. naval forces. This effectively ended the concept of unified commands, in which one man oversaw more than one service from more than one country in a distinct region.
Both MacArthur and Nimitz had the honor of accepting the formal Japanese surrender on September 2, 1945, aboard the USS Missouri.
Today in 1993 President George Bush and Russian President Boris Yeltsin signed the Start-II (Strategic Arms Reduction Talks) Treaty, eliminating about two-thirds of each country’s long range nuclear weapons.