- Birthday – Star-Spangled Banner author Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) was born in Frederick County, Maryland. After witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry on the night of September 13-14, 1814, he was enthralled to see the American flag still flying over the fort at daybreak. He then wrote the poem originally entitled Defense of Fort McHenry which became the U.S. National Anthem in 1931.
- August 13, 1961 – The Berlin Wall came into existence after the East German government closed the border between east and west sectors of Berlin with barbed wire to discourage emigration to the West. The barbed wire was replaced by a 12 foot-high concrete wall eventually extending 103 miles (166 km) around the perimeter of West Berlin. The wall included electrified fences, fortifications, and guard posts. It became a notorious symbol of the Cold War. Presidents Kennedy and Reagan made notable appearances at the wall accompanied by speeches denouncing Communism. The wall was finally opened by an East German governmental decree in November 1989 and torn down by the end of 1990.
- August 21, 1959 – President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a proclamation admitting Hawaii to the Union as the 50th state.
- August 31, 1997 – Britain’s Princess Diana died at age 36 from massive internal injuries suffered in a high-speed car crash, reportedly after being pursued by photographers. The crash occurred shortly after midnight in Paris inside a tunnel along the Seine River at the Pont de l’Alma bridge, less than a half mile north of the Eiffel Tower. Also killed in the crash were Diana’s companion, Dodi Fayed, 42, and chauffeur Henri Paul. A fourth person in the car, bodyguard Trevor Rees-Jones, was seriously injured.
- Birthday – Jazz trumpet player Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. Known as “Satchmo,” he appeared in many films and is best known for his renditions of It’s a Wonderful World and Hello, Dolly.
- August 6, 1945 – The first Atomic Bomb was dropped over the center of Hiroshima at 8:15 a.m., by the American B-29 bomber Enola Gay. The bomb detonated about 1,800 ft. above ground, killing over 105,000 persons and destroying the city. Another estimated 100,000 persons later died as a result of radiation effects.
- Birthday – Penicillin discoverer Alexander Fleming (1881-1955) was born in Lochfield, Scotland. By accident, he found that mold from soil killed deadly bacteria without injuring human tissue. He received the Nobel Prize in 1954.
- August 15, 1969 - Woodstock began in a field near Yasgur’s Farm at Bethel, New York. The three-day concert featured 24 rock bands and drew a crowd of more than 300,000 young people. The event came to symbolize the counter-culture movement of the 1960’s.
- Birthday – French composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was born in St. Germain-en-Laye, France. His unusual chords, based on the whole-tone scale, laid the groundwork for a new style of music called impressionism.
Have you made your place in history yet???
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