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January 20: ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

January 20, 2022 Brooklyn Eagle History
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ON THIS DAY IN 1918, Brooklyn Daily Eagle columnist Frederick Boyd Stevenson wrote, “If you happen to be the owner or the renter of a house, you remember that last April when you called upon your regular dealer to give you a contract for your usual supply of winter coal, he told you he wouldn’t give you a contract. You remember he told you he didn’t know whether he could get the coal or not. Now, you knew last April there was going to be a shortage of coal. If you knew it in April, don’t you suppose the government of the United States knew it sometime before that? And yet the fuel administrator was not appointed until the 23rd of August! And yet the railroads were not taken over by the government until the 26th of December. The ‘desperate emergency’ was hanging over the country in April last, so far as the fuel situation was concerned. It is hanging over the country right now so far as the food situation is concerned. Are we going to act now and plan and do, or are we going to wait until it is too late to act and do?”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1934, the Eagle reported, “Mayor [Fiorello] LaGuardia is ready to punch the bag. The old gymnasium under the mayor’s office in City Hall has been renovated and equipped with several wrestling mats, a rowing machine, and a stationary bicycle. And yesterday, Lester B. Stone, his assistant secretary, presented him with the punching bag.”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1955, the Eagle reported, “HONG KONG (U.P.) — Vice Admiral Alfred M. Pride said today he was confident his U.S. 7th Fleet could defend Formosa [Taiwan] against any attack and that he did not believe the Chinese Communists could capture Chiang Kai-shek’s island bastion. ‘We can take them’ if the Chinese throw in Soviet-built MIG-15 jets against U.S. Navy planes, he said in an interview. ‘There is always a flow of new aircraft into the fleet.’ The U.S. 7th Fleet has been charged with the defense of Formosa and the nearby Pescadore Islands from Communist invasion. The Pescadores lie about 40 miles west of Formosa toward the mainland. The Tachen Islands now under Red attack lie just off the mainland some 200 miles from Formosa. Asked if he thought the Tachen fighting would mount into a full-scale war, he replied: ‘Only the Communists know that, but every expansion of the Communist perimeter is serious.’”

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ON THIS DAY IN 1963, the Eagle reported, “LOS ANGELES — A scientist says it is conceivable that microscopic life forms from another planet could cling to returning space craft and destroy life on earth. Dr. Solomon W. Golomb, of California Institute of Technology, said a life form inadvertently imported to earth might have the capability of successfully competing with earth forms for the basic raw materials for life. ‘There’s been a great deal of thought given to preventing contamination of the moon and planets during visits by earth space vehicles,’ he said, ‘but an even greater problem entirely overlooked is what about microscopic organisms carried to the earth on return flights.’ Golomb, who spoke at the closing session of the ninth annual American Astronautical Society, said there is little reason to believe that alien life forms would be more efficient than earth forms in the struggle for survival, but that it is a potential danger. Dr. Fred L. Whipple, vice president of the society and director of Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, saw a grim possibility that a meteor colliding with the earth could trigger a nuclear war. ‘There is no way I know of tracking a meteor,’ he said. ‘There is no advance notice of one crashing to the earth. No one knows when the next one will hit. We can only hope that when it happens again, someone will not push the panic button and launch a nuclear war.’”

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Buzz Aldrin
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Nikki Haley
Cliff Owen/AP

NOTABLE PEOPLE BORN ON THIS DAY include Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was born in 1930; “Doctor Who” star Tom Baker, who was born in 1934; Basketball Hall of Famer Bailey Howell, who was born in 1937; “Twin Peaks” creator David Lynch, who was born in 1946; “Murder One” star Daniel Benzali, who was born in 1946; Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Paul Stanley (Kiss), who was born in 1952; TV host Bill Maher, who was born in 1956; “Falcon Crest” star Lorenzo Lamas, who was born in 1958; “Desperate Housewives” star James Denton, who was born in 1963; “The Office” star Rainn Wilson, who was born in 1966; “Clueless” star Stacey Dash, who was born in 1966; political strategist Kellyanne Conway, who was born in 1967; “Jericho” star Skeet Ulrich, who was born in 1970; musician and DJ Questlove, who was born in 1971; and former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, who was born in 1972.

Paul Stanley
Scott Gries/Invision/AP

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WAR IS OVER: On this day in 1783, British and U.S. commissioners signed a preliminary “Cessation of Hostilities,” which was ratified by England’s King George III on Feb. 14 and led to the treaties of Paris and Versailles on Sept. 3, 1783, ending the Revolutionary War.

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HOME FREE: The Iran hostage crisis ended on this day in 1981 with the release of 52 U.S. citizens after 444 days of captivity. The deal was announced minutes after the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan.

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Special thanks to “Chase’s Calendar of Events” and Brooklyn Public Library.

 

Quotable:

“I still say, ‘Shoot for the moon; you might get there.’”

— Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was born on this day in 1930

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