Bill O'Reilly History Tip of the Day

HISTORY TIP OF THE DAY

History Tip of the Day – March 30th

Virginia Convention declares independence, May 15, 1776

As the Second Continental Congress debated if the colonies should declare independence, the Fifth Virginia Convention, the patriot legislature, commits itself. It instructs its delegates to tell the Congress “to declare the United Colonies free and independent states, absolved from all allegiance to, or dependence upon, the Crown or Parliament of Great Britain.” Residents in Williamsburg, where the convention was meeting, mark the occasion by taking down the Union Jack from over the colonial capitol and running up a continental union flag. The convention also produces the first state constitution and the Virginia Declaration of Rights.

History Tip of the Day – March 29th

Ronald Reagan announces he has Alzheimer’s disease, November 5, 1994

Despite his growing confusion and forgetfulness, the eighty-three-year-old Reagan is still alert enough to be aware of the fate that has befallen him. The world is still learning about Alzheimer’s, lumping it with terms like dementia and senility. Reagan takes pen to paper to tell the world: “I have recently been told that I am one of the millions of Americans who will be afflicted with Alzheimer’s disease. . . . In opening our hearts, we hope this might promote greater awareness of this condition. Perhaps it will encourage a clearer understanding of the individuals and families who are affected by it.”

History Tip of the Day – March 28th

Brigadier General Anthony McAuliffe tells the Germans, December 22, “Nuts!” 1944

During the Battle of the Bulge, the US 101st Airborne Division, under McAuliffe’s command, was tasked with defending Bastogne, Belgium, against a siege from a numerically superior German force.

A most odd sight presents itself. Marching toward the American lines, carrying a white flag, are four German soldiers. The German general Heinrich Lüttwitz thinks it absurd to needlessly slaughter so many brave American soldiers. Instead, he has sent a note, offering McAuliffe and the 101st a chance to save their own lives by surrendering. A response is quickly typed: “To the German Commander, ‘Nuts!’ The American Commander.”

History Tip of the Day – March 27th

Gerald Ford is nearly killed in World War II, December 18, 1944

While he is serving aboard the light aircraft carrier USS Monterey, the ship is struck by Typhoon Cobra near the Philippines. The storm is so severe that it sinks several destroyers, killing nearly eight hundred US sailors. The pitching Monterey is buffeted by screaming winds and seventy-foot waves. Young Lieutenant Ford ventures onto the exposed flight deck to climb a ladder to the ship’s wheelhouse. Suddenly, a wave taller than the Monterey itself breaks over the side of the ship, sending Ford toward the Pacific Ocean. At the very last minute, he grabs a small metal catwalk, and pulls himself to safety.

History Tip of the Day – March 26th

Mary Todd Lincoln dies, July 16, 1882

She never recovered from the assassination. Mary insisted on wearing only the color black for the rest of her life. Just when it appeared that she was recovering from her grief, in 1871 her eighteen-year-old son, Tad, died of a mysterious heart ailment. This brought on a downward spiral of mental instability—once she almost jumped out of a building after wrongly believing she saw flames. Her only remaining son, Robert, had her committed to a mental institution in 1875. Released the next year, she lived in France for four years before returning to Springfield, Illinois. She is buried alongside her husband.

History Tip of the Day – March 25th

Japan destroys American fleet in Philippines, December 8, 1941

One day after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese struck again, five thousand miles west across the open Pacific. Shortly after noon, a flight of Japanese fighter bombers from the Eleventh Air Fleet destroyed the American air base at Clark Field in the Philippines. Two days later, more waves of Japanese aircraft flew unopposed over the Cavite Navy Yard, laying waste to the docks. Capturing the Philippines would effectively give Japan control of the western Pacific.

History Tip of the Day – March 24th

Anne Frank’s family is arrested, August 3, 1944

Otto Frank moved his family from Frankfurt to Amsterdam in 1934, as the rise of Nazism increased anti-Jewish sentiment in Germany. Two months after the German invasion of the Netherlands in May 1940, Frank, unable to immigrate to the United States, took his family into hiding in a secret apartment above his business. Three months before the Allied liberation of the Netherlands, a secret informant gave away the family’s hiding place to the Gestapo. Within a month, Otto; his wife, Edith; and his teenaged daughters, Margot and Annelies (just “Anne” to her family), arrived at Auschwitz.

History Tip of the Day – March 23rd

Hideki Tojo is captured, September 11, 1945

The former Japanese prime minister hides in plain sight, waiting patiently in his farmhouse on the outskirts of Tokyo for American soldiers to arrest him. But if not for two American journalists who knocked on his front door yesterday, they might still be looking for him. Tojo was only too happy to grant them an exclusive interview. Now, he sees two American army vehicles come to a stop. “I am Tojo!” he yells, and places a pistol to his chest and pulls the trigger. Every element of his suicide plan has been staged to perfection but one: the bullet misses his heart. Hideki Tojo is not dead.

History Tip of the Day – March 22nd

Impressment riots in Boston, November 16, 1747

Riots erupt in the streets of Boston after the Royal Navy impressed, or kidnapped, forty-six men, intending to force them to serve aboard British ships in the long war against France. While impressment was common in other parts of the world, until this night both tradition and the law had protected the men of Massachusetts. The riots will last three days. The city will be paralyzed, and colonists will take several British naval officers hostage. Governor William Shirley will arrange a trade of the impressed men for the hostages. But the seeds of discontent have taken root.

History Tip of the Day – March 21st

President Reagan: “Tear down this wall!” 1987

He stands before the Berlin Wall, June 12, a symbol of the Cold War. It divides democratic West Berlin from Soviet-occupied East Berlin. At least eighty people have died trying to escape East Berlin. Reagan, like Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, has enjoyed better relations with Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev over the past year. But Reagan is not afraid of verbally scorching the Communist ideology. “There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace,” Reagan says. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

History Tip of the Day – March 20th

The Chappaquiddick scandal, July 18, 1969

Senator Edward Kennedy leaves a party on Chappaquiddick Island, near Martha’s Vineyard, with a campaign worker, Mary Jo Kopechne. Kennedy had been drinking, but drives off with the twenty-eight-year-old woman. Their car slides off a bridge into the water. Kennedy gets free and swims to the surface. He does not see or hear Kopechne. He flees the scene and does not inform authorities for nine hours. Though given a suspended sentence for leaving the scene of an accident, unanswered questions and innuendo will cling to Kennedy’s name and sabotage his efforts to run for President.

History Tip of the Day – March 19th

General Douglas MacArthur returns to Philippines, October 20, 1944

“As Ripley says, believe it or not, we’re here, ” MacArthur says from the rail of the USS Nashville. He gazes at his beloved Philippines, which have just been invaded by more than 100,000 US Army troops under his command. The most humiliating defeat of MacArthur’s storied career came when the Japanese took the islands two years ago. He promised that he would one day come back to retake the islands. Now, he is setting forth to make good on that vow. Almost a thousand days after fleeing the Philippines, MacArthur orders the landing craft to set sail for shore. He has returned.

History Tip of the Day – March 18th

Ronald Reagan undergoes an operation, September 8, 1989

Two months ago, Reagan was thrown from a horse while riding at a friend’s ranch. At first he appeared uninjured. But a blood vessel in his head ruptured during the fall. Fluid has been leaking into his brain, causing a clot that is putting pressure on his brain. Were it not for his annual physical, his condition might never have been discovered. Surgeons drill a hole in Reagan’s skull, a procedure known as a burr. It is a success, and doctors are satisfied that Reagan shows no sign of stroke, nerve damage, or paralysis. But the fall has accelerated Reagan’s deteriorating condition.

History Tip of the Day – March 17th

Ronald Reagan inaugurated as California governor, January 2nd, 1967

Despite making fifty-three films, he has never known a moment of drama like the one he is experiencing now. His left hand rests on a Bible. “I, Ronald Reagan, do solemnly swear I will faithfully defend the Constitution of the United States.” His voice fills the rotunda of the state capitol building in Sacramento. At long last he gets to play the leading man. Just two years ago, he was hosting a television show, Death Valley Days. Now he is the newly elected governor of California. There’s not a single writer in Hollywood who could have scripted this better.

History Tip of the Day – March 16th

Winston Churchill is made a US citizen, April 9th, 1963

“A son of America though a subject of Britain,” President John Kennedy begins, referring to the fact that Churchill’s mother was a US citizen, “has been throughout his life a firm and steadfast friend of the American people and the American nation.” Kennedy stands in the White House Rose Garden. Churchill, the ninety-one-year-old prime minister whose inspirational courage helped save Britain during World War II, watches live by satellite from his home in London. The purpose of the Rose Garden ceremony is to make him an American citizen—the only foreign leader since Lafayette to be so honored.

History Tip of the Day – March 15th

Aaron Burr is arrested, February 18th, 1807

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – March 14th

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral train departs for Illinois, April 21st, 1865

One week after the assassination, Lincoln’s body is loaded aboard a special train for his trip home to Illinois. The body of Lincoln’s late son Willie rides in a nearby casket. The trip will recreate Lincoln’s journey to the White House—though in the opposite direction—stopping along the way in 12 cities and passing through 444 communities. Thirty million people will see this train before it comes to a halt in Springfield. Lincoln once confided to Mary that he wanted to be buried someplace quiet, so the president and his son are destined for Oak Ridge Cemetery.

History Tip of the Day – March 13th

Germany enacts “Aryan Certificate” law, April 7th, 1933

Top-level members of the SS had to prove their racial purity by providing records of their family lineage dating back to 1750. German law required that obtaining a certificate known as the Ariernachweis was mandatory for any individual wishing to hold public office in Germany or gain membership into the Nazi Party. This “Aryan Certificate” was attained by showing a complete record of family lineage (through birth and marriage certificates) that proved racial purity. The Aryan bloodline was thought to be purer because it had not intermingled with that of other ethnicities. The extermination of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, and mentally and physically handicapped people was a way of cleansing Europe of people with non-German impurities.

History Tip of the Day – March 12th

Russian soldiers liberate Otto Frank from Auschwitz, January 27th, 1945

Otto Frank, father of the diarist Anne Frank, had been immured in the Nazi death camp for five months.

Five months later, Frank does not know if his family members are alive or dead. He hears ecstatic shouts outside his barracks. “We’re free,” the prisoners are shouting. Soviet troops are marching into the camp. They move from barracks to barracks, shocked at what they see. As Frank rises from his sickbed, his thoughts immediately turn to finding his family. But he will never find them. His wife, Edith, has died of starvation. His daughters were transferred to Bergen-Belsen. Margot died soon afterward. Anne was done in by a typhoid epidemic that would kill 17,000 inmates. She was just fifteen years old.

History Tip of the Day – March 11th

Julius Caesar crosses the Rubicon, 49 BC

In terms of sheer glory, legend, and impact, no moment will ever match this. Caesar is a great general, a fifty-year-old man who has spent much of the last decade conquering Gaul. He stands on the north side of a swollen, half-frozen river known as the Rubicon. All returning generals are required to disband their troops before crossing this border. Failure to do so is considered an act of war. But in Rome, Caesar faces charges of war crimes. So he decides on civil war. He addresses his four thousand soldiers: “The die is cast.” Caesar and his legion cross into Italy.

History Tip of the Day – March 10th

President Harry Truman dismisses General Douglas MacArthur, April 11th, 1951

In contravention of direct orders from Truman, MacArthur, commander of American and Korean forces during the Korean War, authorized a strike into China. It was clear MacArthur planned to fight on his own terms, without heed to the authority of the president of the United States. The Joint Chiefs of Staff soon weighed in, favoring the dismissal of MacArthur for insubordination. Truman formally announces that he is relieving MacArthur of his command. This marks the end of Douglas MacArthur’s military career.

History Tip of the Day – March 9th

Wild Bill Hickok becomes marshal of Abilene, Kansas, April 15th, 1871

The citizens of Abilene live in fear each time a herd comes in. Texas cowboys, after months on the trail and with a payoff in their pockets, intend to have fun—and there are plenty of disreputable men and fancy women eager to help them do it. Neither side is about to let honest citizens stop them. Finally, the mayor offers Wild Bill Hickok a badge. Hickok offers advice to potential troublemakers: “Leave town on the eastbound train, the westbound train, or go north in the morning”—“north” meaning Boot Hill. No one doubts his words.

History Tip of the Day – March 8th

John Wilkes Booth is killed, April 26th, 1865

Booth and his fellow conspirator David Herold are hiding in a Virginia barn. Booth does not know that US Calvary is surrounding them. The two are trapped; they have no idea how many men are outside. Herold says he wants out and exits, wrists first. He is immediately arrested. Booth hears the crackling of burning hay. He sees a soldier opening the door. Booth hefts his loaded carbine, preparing to take aim. He hears the crack of a rifle and feels a jolt in his neck, and then nothing. A soldier has fired a bullet that slices Booth’s spinal cord.

History Tip of the Day – March 7th

The fall of the Alamo, March 6th, 1836

Furious at rebel victories in the Texas Revolution, General Antonio López de Santa Anna was determined to demonstrate that resistance to Mexican rule was futile. His troops laid siege for 13 days against 145 Texans garrisoned in a fortified mission called the Alamo. At dawn, Santa Anna’s 4,000 soldiers advance, and, on their third attempt, breach the mission’s walls. The Mexicans show no quarter in vicious hand-to-hand fighting, and in two hours every defender is killed. Almost immediately, “Remember the Alamo” becomes the rallying cry of the Texas army of independence.

History Tip of the Day – March 6th

“Give me liberty or give me death!” March 23rd, 1775

The Virginia Convention is meeting in Richmond to consider raising its own militia. Many convention delegates have urged patience. However, the matter is settled when Patrick Henry speaks eloquently about the many steps that have led to this point, then concludes, “Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” The convention passes a resolution declaring the independence of the United Colonies from England. Henry himself is charged with building a militia.

History Tip of the Day – March 5th

Hezbollah kidnaps CIA bureau chief, March 16th, 1984

Minutes before 8 a.m., William Buckley, the fifty-five-year-old chief of the CIA’s Beirut station, is captured at his apartment building. He is the fourth of thirty key Americans kidnapped by Muslim extremists in Lebanon. Soon after, his captors round up his network of spies and informers within Lebanon, and murder them one by one. This confirms to the CIA that Buckley was tortured, and has broken. Buckley will endure more than a year of captivity before he is executed by Hezbollah. His corpse will not be located until 1991. He will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery with full military honors.

History Tip of the Day – March 4th

Francis Marion, the “Swamp Fox,” dies, February 27th, 1795

He is remembered today mostly by America’s toughest and bravest warriors, who often honor him as the “Father of Special Operations.” With his small band of untrained and unpaid fighting men, who lived and fought in the swamps and forests of South Carolina, Marion successfully harassed the British army for almost three years. His men traveled like ghosts, appearing suddenly and creating havoc—and then just as quickly were gone. After the war, Marion was elected to the South Carolina Assembly where he championed reconciliation between Loyalists and Patriots. He rebuilt his plantation and spent the remainder of his life in obscurity.

History Tip of the Day – March 3rd

Battle of Okinawa begins, April 1st, 1945

The American island-hopping strategy began with the capture of Guadalcanal in 1942, which put American forces within 3,000 miles of Tokyo. Capturing Peleliu in late 1944 put the Americans within 2,000 miles. The surrender of Iwo Jima closed the distance to 750 miles. Okinawa is half that. It is the linchpin of the final American campaign against Japan. The closer to Tokyo the Americans advance, the more brutal the fighting becomes. Japan’s casualties will number more than 100,000 dead soldiers in the 82 days of fighting. More than 20,000 Americans are killed, including 5,000 American soldiers killed in kamikaze attacks.

History Tip of the Day – March 2nd

Christopher Seider is shot to death, January 22nd, 1770

The flame that would ignite the American Revolution is lit when, according to the Boston Gazette, “a barbarous murder . . . was committed on the body of a young lad of about eleven years of age.” Christopher Seider and a crowd of young men had marched defiantly through Boston’s cobblestoned streets. Ebenezer Richardson, the greatly despised customs collector, tried to stop them. Forced to retreat to his home, a crowd of about sixty boys hurled rubbish and rocks. When an egg or a rock struck his wife, Richardson appeared at a window, brandishing a musket. He fires once. Christopher Seider is killed.

History Tip of the Day – March 1st

Allies begin bombing Dresden, February 13th, 1945

The British Royal Air Force and the US Army Air Force conducted four raids on Germany’s seventh-largest city. The attack figures in the novel Slaughterhouse-Five, written by Kurt Vonnegut, who was being held as a prisoner of war in Dresden at the time. The bombing has been cited by Holocaust deniers to propose a moral equivalence between the war crimes committed by the Nazi government and the killing of German civilians by Allied bombing raids.

The Dresden bombings were a catastrophic slaughter of civilians. Allied bombers dropped 3,900 tons of bombs, killing somewhere between 35,000 and 100,000 people and leveling four square miles of the city.

History Tip of the Day – February 28th

Jack Ruby dies, January 3rd, 1967

Ruby argued that he shot Lee Harvey Oswald to redeem the city of Dallas after the Kennedy assassination. The legendary San Francisco attorney Melvin Belli defended Ruby for free at his trial, but his insanity defense did not sway the jury. Ruby was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. The Texas Criminal Court of Appeals granted him a new trial, on the grounds that the enormous publicity precluded him from getting a fair trial, but before proceedings could begin, Ruby was hospitalized and found to have cancer in his liver, lungs, and brain. He dies of a pulmonary embolism at the age of fifty-nine.

History Tip of the Day – February 27th

Wells Fargo is founded, March 18th, 1852

The company begins in San Francisco, offering both banking and express services to miners. It uses every possible means of transportation—stagecoach, railroad, Pony Express, and steamship—to carry property, mail, and money in its many forms across the West. By 1866, Wells Fargo stagecoaches will cover more than 3,000 miles from California to Nebraska. Their famous green strongboxes, usually carried under the driver’s seat, weigh as much as 150 pounds, and often hold thousands of dollars’ worth of gold dust, gold bars, gold coins, checks, drafts, and currency.

History Tip of the Day – February 26th

Adolf Hitler born, April 20th, 1889

Born in Braunau am Inn, in present-day Austria, Hitler was one six children of Alois and Klara Hitler.

Hitler was raised Catholic. His parents were very devout. He was born into a middle-class household and never expected that he would have to work for a living but would live on his family’s savings. While he had dreams of being a famous architectural artist, he had not done well enough in school to get into the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. This man, who would later command thousands with horrible charisma, was shy and unusually silent as a child.

History Tip of the Day – February 25th

George Washington sworn in as first president, April 30th, 1789

In January, Washington, running unopposed, was elected first president of the United States. He did not campaign; in fact, he had to be convinced to come out of retirement. The Founding Fathers had failed to determine the president’s salary. While Washington considered rejecting any payment, concerned about the ethics of being paid for pubic service, he eventually agreed to accept $25,000 annually—although he had to use his own money to cover household expenses. As his carriage took him from Virginia to New York, crowds gathered to offer their respects. Finally, on the balcony of Federal Hall, where the First Congress was meeting, Washington is sworn into office.

History Tip of the Day – February 24th

George Washington rebukes Benedict Arnold, April 6th, 1780

It has never been determined when or even why Arnold made the decision to betray his country. Several factors may have culminated with being insulted by the man he admired most, George Washington. In 1779 Arnold’s oft-suspect business dealings resulted in thirteen charges of profiteering, including misuse of government property. He was court-martialed, and although he was acquitted of eleven charges and convicted of only two minor ones, part of his penalty is a public rebuke from General Washington, who calls Arnold’s conduct “imprudent and improper.” Arnold responds to this censure by resigning his post.

History Tip of the Day – February 23rd

American flag is raised on Iwo Jima, February 23rd, 1945

Along with Okinawa, and perhaps Formosa, taking Iwo Jima was necessary for the American invasion of Japan. The battle, which saw some of the fiercest fighting in the Pacific Theater, lasted five weeks. It began with a three-day naval bombardment before Marines stormed the island. On the fifth day of battle, six marines raised the Stars and Stripes on Mount Suribachi. The action was repeated the next day and photographed by Joe Rosenthal of the Associated Press, whose Pulitzer Prize–winning shot has become the iconic representation of the war.

History Tip of the Day – February 22nd

United States and Iran sign the Algiers Accords, January 19th, 1981

The agreement results in the freeing up of $7.9 billion in Iranian assets that had been frozen by the United States since the takeover of the American embassy in Tehran. Under the agreement, Iranian debts to US institutions will be paid, and the United States also promises not to intervene politically or militarily in Iranian internal affairs. The fifty-two Americans who worked in the embassy and had been taken hostage on November 4, 1979, will be set free and allowed to leave Iran.

History Tip of the Day – February 21st

General Douglas MacArthur vows, “I shall return,” February 21st, 1942

Following the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, the Japanese destroyed the American air base, then the navy yard, in the Philippines, effectively gaining control of the western Pacific. Forces under the command of Douglas MacArthur retreated to the Bataan Peninsula, many taking refuge on an island known as Corregidor. The Japanese seemed unbeatable; President Roosevelt had to rescue MacArthur. Upon reaching Australia, MacArthur declares, “I came through and I shall return.”

History Tip of the Day – February 20th

John Hancock is born, January 23rd, 1737

He was only seven years old when his father died and he was sent to live with his wealthy uncle, the revered shipping tycoon Thomas Hancock. John was raised as a child of great privilege, and after graduating from Harvard, he traveled to Britain to attend the coronation of King George III. When his uncle died, the twenty-six-year-old Hancock took control of his import-export empire and became the second-richest man in the colonies. He was known as a generous man to causes and friends—among them Samuel Adams—and eventually would become one of the primary financiers of the freedom movement.

History Tip of the Day – February 19th

Aaron Burr is arrested, February 19th, 1807

After finishing his term as vice president, Burr left politics and became embroiled in one of the most curious episodes of early American history. It appears Burr went west to try to create his own independent nation. He began traveling up and down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, negotiating to sell parts of the Louisiana Purchase to England for half a million dollars. Alerted to this plot, President Jefferson informed Congress and ordered Burr’s arrest. He is discovered and taken into custody in the Mississippi Territory. Months earlier, he had been vice president; now he was arrested for treason.

History Tip of the Day – February 18th

President Franklin Roosevelt signs Japanese internment order, February 19th, 1942

Under Executive Order 9066, approximately 127,000 Japanese American citizens were incarcerated, having committed no crime other than having ancestors from Japan. Families were rounded up and sent to live in camps for the duration of the war. They slept side by side in barracks, surrounded by barbed-wire fences. Armed guards in high sentry towers watched their every move. There was no privacy: showers were communal, as were the latrines, which lacked any partitions. These Americans were unsure of what their lives would be when the war ended—where they will go, where they will work, how they will rebuild their lives.

History Tip of the Day – February 17th

Battle of Manila begins, February 3rd, 1945

The month-long action saw the worst urban fighting in the Pacific Theater.
Even though General Tomoyuki Yamashita has ordered Japanese forces to evacuate the city, rogue elements under his command refuse to obey. A large group of Japanese sailors and marines join them in fighting the Americans to the last man. They have mined the streets. Concealed snipers shoot Americans on sight. Many have become obsessed with brutalizing the citizens of Manila before they die. Even as they fight for control of the city, the Japanese are systematically murdering as many innocent residents as possible. The number of such deaths has been estimated from 100,000 to more than 500,000.

History Tip of the Day – February 16th

Billy the Kid escapes from jail, April 28th, 1881

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – February 15th

President Harry Truman authorizes invasion of Japan, April 25th, 1945

Twelve days after he has been sworn into office, Harry S. Truman approves the wholesale invasion of Japan by American forces. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers are expected to perish if the attack is finally given the go. But the invasion might be unnecessary. The day before, Truman was briefed on the top secret news that the United States will soon test the atomic bomb. If successful, this weapon could end the Pacific War. At this point, Truman is not sure what the atomic bomb is. But he knows that the bleeding of American lives must be stopped—Japan must be crushed.

History Tip of the Day – February 14th

Jacqueline Kennedy’s televised tour of the White House, February 14th, 1962

Forty-six million Americans tune into NBC and CBS to watch. This is Jackie’s moment to show off her ongoing effort to restore the White House. She has scoured storage rooms and the National Gallery, turning up paintings by Cézanne, Teddy Roosevelt’s drinking mugs, and James Monroe’s gold French flatware. Even the president’s desk is one of her finds, a gift from Queen Victoria to Rutherford B. Hayes. She has removed oddities like the water fountains that made the White House look like an office building. The program is one of the most watched shows in television history, earning Jackie a special Emmy.

History Tip of the Day – February 13th

Judas betrays Jesus, 30 AD

Jesus has yet to publicly announce that he is the Christ. But he has enraged the religious leaders. So Judas decides to force Jesus’s hand. If Jesus is arrested and then declares himself to be the Christ, he will have no problem saving himself from the high priests. Judas finds the palace of Caiaphas, the high priest and the most powerful Jewish leader in Jerusalem. “What are you willing to give me if I hand over Jesus to you?” Judas asks. “Thirty silver coins,” comes the reply. This is the equivalent of four to six months’ wages for a laborer.

History Tip of the Day – February 12th

Lee Harvey Oswald receives the death weapon, March 25th, 1963

Oswald decides to buy a second gun to go along with the pistol he keeps in his Dallas home. This time it’s a rifle, purchased through American Rifle magazine. The Italian Mannlicher-Carcano, model 91/38, was made in 1940 and originally designed for the Italian infantry during World War II. This is not a gun designed for hunting animals, but for shooting men. Of all the amazing things happening in the world in 1963, this simple mail-order purchase would seem to have little significance. In fact, nothing will have greater impact on world events than this nineteen-dollar Italian war-surplus bolt-action rifle.

History Tip of the Day – February 11th

“Shot heard round the world” begins the Revolutionary War, April 19th, 1775

Not more than a hundred men await the British army on the common at Lexington. The redcoats order the colonists to disperse. Who fired the first shot—what will become known as “the shot heard round the world”—has never been determined. Both sides believe the shots had come from the opposing force. Within eight seconds, eight patriots are killed, another ten wounded. As the survivors flee, the British continue their march toward Concord. On their return to Lexington, the patriots attack, killing seventy-three British soldiers and wounding 250 more. It was an extraordinary victory for the colonists.

History Tip of the Day – February 10th

Robert E. Lee surrenders to Ulysses S. Grant, April 9th, 1865

The end has come. The Army of Northern Virginia is cornered in a little Virginia village called Appomattox Court House—Lee’s 8,000 men surrounded on three sides by Grant’s 60,000. Dressed in an impeccable formal gray uniform, polished black boots, and clean red sash, Lee waits. Grant wears a private’s uniform; it’s missing a button and is spattered with mud. Grant’s terms of surrender are remarkably lenient. The gist is simple: Put down your guns and go home. Let’s rebuild the nation together. This is President Lincoln’s vision, to which Grant subscribes. Lee and Grant arise simultaneously and shake hands.

History Tip of the Day – February 9th

Paul Revere’s ride, April 18th, 1775

Lord Dartmouth, the British secretary of state for the colonies, had decided to end the rebellion before it could take root by seizing the rebels’ weapons, arresting their leaders, and reasserting royal authority. Samuel Adams and John Hancock were lodging in Lexington and were in grave danger. Paul Revere and William Dawes are ordered to give warning. Revere arranges a simple code: one lantern would be hung in the bell tower of Old North Church if British troops were marching by land from Boston Neck, two lanterns if they were rowing across the bay to march from Cambridge.

History Tip of the Day – February 8th

British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery riles American soldiers, January 7th, 1945

Montgomery publicly takes credit for the Allied victory at the Battle of the Bulge. Monty insists that it was his British forces of the Twenty-First Army Group, not American GIs, who stopped the German advance. What Montgomery neglects to mention is that just three British divisions were made available for the battle. Of the 650,000 Allied soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Bulge, more than 600,000 were American. Montgomery’s press conference does considerable damage to Anglo-American relations. Prime Minister Winston Churchill is forced to give a pro-American speech in the British House of Commons to heal the wounds.

History Tip of the Day – February 7th

Julius Caesar is assassinated, 44 BC

He is the most powerful man in the world. But today he contemplates murder—his own. Friends, soothsayers, even his beloved wife, Calpurnia, have warned him that something terrible will happen. But the hint that the Senate might name him king lures him to its chambers. All nine hundred senators rise as Caesar enters. Immediately, a group of sixty walks toward him, until he is ringed by a small mob. Each holds a dagger, and they attack the defenseless Caesar. Then Marcus Brutus delivers the killing blow. “You too, my boy?” Caesar asks despairingly. His limp body slides to the floor. Death arrives.

History Tip of the Day – February 6th

Ronald Reagan marries Jane Wyman, January 26th, 1940

They met during the filming of Brother Rat, and quickly became Hollywood’s golden couple. They marry shortly before Reagan begins filming Knute Rockne, All American, his first A-level film. But Wyman grows bored with her husband, particularly his growing political activism and his fondness for screening his personal print of Kings Row, the favorite of his films, for dinner guests. He, in turn, resents Wyman’s growing level of celebrity, as his career is on the wane. She files for divorce in 1948. “I just couldn’t stand to watch that damned Kings Row one more time,” she says.

History Tip of the Day – February 5th

President Reagan gives secret order to fight terrorism, April 3rd, 1984

National Security Decision Directive 138 is a top-secret decision to counter state-sponsored terrorism “by all legal means.” But “legal means” will soon be set aside. Iran is at war with its neighbor Iraq, and has run out of weapons. Reagan will secretly authorize weapon sales to Iran, a sworn US enemy and the nation responsible for killing hundreds of Americans. Reagan knows this, but he decides that liberating American hostages is worth breaking the law. Under a plan masterminded by Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North, American funds will be secretly funneled to rebel Contras fighting communism in Nicaragua.

History Tip of the Day – February 4th

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt dies, April 12th, 1945

He is trying to appear authoritative for the artist painting his picture. But the president looks far older than his sixty-three years. FDR is exhausted from twelve years in office and the incredible burden of world war. His hands shake with feeble palsy, forcing him to press his fountain pen firmly against the documents he is trying to sign as his portrait is being drawn. Suddenly the artist sees a crimson flush filling Roosevelt’s cheeks. He is in the early stages of a cerebral hemorrhage. “I have a terrific pain in my head,” he moans. His eyes close. His head spills forward. FDR is gone.

History Tip of the Day – February 3rd

Japanese Emperor Hirohito repudiates divine status, January 1st, 1946

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – February 2nd

Buffalo Bill Cody entertains Pope Leo XIII, March 8th, 1890

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West was a three-hour show that included, among many other entertainments, recreations of Indian attacks, train robberies, buffalo hunting, and displays of riding, roping, and shooting—even a reenactment of Custer’s Last Stand. The show created a sensation during a European tour. In Rome, Pope Leo XIII personally conducted a tour for Cody and Sitting Bull. To promote the show, an Indian village was built inside the Coliseum and a mock shoot-out was staged in St. Peter’s Square, followed by a sharpshooting exhibition by Annie Oakley. And the show’s concessionaires introduced another American creation to the Italians—popcorn!

History Tip of the Day – February 1st

Buffalo Bill Cody is born, February 26th, 1846

William Cody was born in rural Iowa to educated parents. When he was seven years old, Isaac and Mary Ann Cody sold their farm and moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, arriving in the middle of a raging debate over slavery. In that part of the state, Isaac Cody’s antislavery sentiments were not popular. He died a few years later while trying to bring in antislavery settlers from Ohio. To support the family, young Bill Cody took an assortment of jobs, including ‘boy extra’ on wagon trains, teamster, bull whacker on cattle drives, and, finally, army scout.

History Tip of the Day – January 31st

Benjamin Franklin is born, January 6, 1705

There was little in Franklin’s early childhood to suggest that he would become such a towering figure. He was born in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, the fifteenth child of candle maker Josiah Franklin. Although he had a limited formal education, he learned by reading every book or pamphlet he found. His lifetime of inventing began when he was eleven, when he devised a pair of swim fins that fit his hands. Among his many later inventions were bifocals, the heat-efficient Franklin stove, a musical instrument called the glass harmonica, and the lightning rod.

History Tip of the Day – January 30th

John Profumo dies, March 9th, 2006

As a dapper forty-eight-year-old British war hero and politician, Profumo had been caught having an affair with nineteen-year-old party girl Christine Keeler. And Keeler is also having sex with a deputy Soviet naval attaché. Profumo was Britain’s secretary of state for war and one of the most powerful men in the government of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan. When first confronted about his affair in the House of Commons, Profumo denied it, but was forced to admit he lied, and resigned in 1963. His wife, the film actress Valerie Hobson, stood by him, and Profumo devoted the rest of his life to charity work.

History Tip of the Day – January 29th

Abraham Lincoln’s funeral, April 19th, 1865

Six hundred mourners were ushered into the East Room of the White House. Its walls were decorated in black, the mirrors all covered, and the room lit by candles. General Ulysses S. Grant sat alone nearest his dear departed friend, next to a cross of lilies. He wept. Mary Lincoln is still so distraught that she will spend the next six weeks sobbing alone in her bedroom. Immediately after the funeral, Lincoln’s body is escorted by a military guard through the streets of Washington. One hundred thousand mourners line the route to the Capitol, where the body is put on view.

History Tip of the Day – January 28th

Lee Harvey Oswald shoots at Major General Edwin Walker, April 10th, 1963

Oswald hides in the shadows of a Dallas alleyway. His new rifle is pointed at Major General Edwin Walker, less than one hundred feet away. Walker is an anti-communist fanatic and a rabid segregationist who had been arrested in 1962 for attempting to block the integration of the University of Mississippi. Oswald watches Walker’s every move through the telescopic sight of his Italian rifle. Oswald fires just one shot, then turns and runs as fast as he can. The bullet ricochets off the windowpane, missing Walker’s head by three inches. Oswald has botched the easiest shot he will ever take.

History Tip of the Day – January 27th

Jacqueline Kennedy brings the Mona Lisa to the United States, January 8th, 1963

Jacqueline Kennedy looks stunning in a pink gown and dangling diamond earrings. She makes small talk with André Malraux, the French minister of culture. As she stands in the National Gallery of Art, she turns to look at a painting: La Gioconda, better known as the Mona Lisa. About a year ago, Jackie had made a discreet request to Malraux, who then arranged the loan of the painting, which, except for evacuation during the world wars, had never left the Louvre. “Mona Mania” grips the country; more than a million Americans will view it at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

History Tip of the Day – January 26th

The Big Three meet at Yalta, February 4th, 1945

The purpose of the Yalta Conference between Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin is to define the shape of the postwar world. The end of the war in Europe is now in sight. American and British troops have just thwarted Germany’s last great offensive at the Battle of the Bulge. In the east, Russian troops have already taken Poland, Hungary, and Czechoslovakia from the Nazis, and are just forty miles from Berlin. But Stalin’s goal is to recover Japanese-occupied Manchuria. When Roosevelt requests that Russia enter the war against Japan, Stalin agrees after demanding FDR’s acquiescence to his designs in Asia.

History Tip of the Day – January 25th

James-Younger Gang commits the first daylight bank robbery, February 13th, 1866

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – January 24th

Soviet leader Joseph Stalin dies, March 5th, 1953

The Russian dictator ruled the Soviet Union for thirty years, dying at the age of seventy-four from a stroke and complications of heart disease brought on by years of heavy smoking. Ironically, his life might have been lengthened if doctors had reached him more quickly after his stroke, but Stalin’s standing orders that his guards never enter his room worked against him. Once, just to test them, he lay on his bed and screamed in agony. The guards rushed into the room to save his life. Stalin’s screams were fake. Each man was then executed for failure to follow orders.

History Tip of the Day – January 23rd

Jesse James is killed, April 3rd, 1882

After breakfast, Jesse has some chores to do. It is a warm day, so he takes off his coat. Jesse always wears his guns, but he also wears a coat so no one questions why he is carrying two six-shooters. Jesse also takes off his gun belt and lays his guns on the bed. He suddenly notices that a picture is askew on his wall and stands on a chair to straighten it. His treacherous gang members, Charley and Bob Ford, draw their guns. Bob Ford shoots Jesse James dead. He is thirty-four years old.

History Tip of the Day – January 22nd

Patton, Eisenhower, and Bradley visit a concentration camp, April 12th, 1945

Generals George Patton, Dwight Eisenhower, and Omar Bradley tour the newly liberated concentration camp at Ohrdruf, Germany. A former inmate shows them the gallows where men were hanged for trying to escape and the whipping table where beatings were administered at random. “Just beyond the whipping table,” Patton later wrote, “there was a pile of forty bodies, more or less naked. All of these had been shot in the back of the head at short range, and the blood was still cooling on the ground.” Patton, who has seen men blown to pieces and others lose their entire faces to exploding shells, excuses himself and vomits against the side of a building.

History Tip of the Day – January 21st

Adolf Hitler dies, April 30th, 1945

With the Russian army methodically advancing through Berlin, Hitler is ensconced in his Führerbunker in central Berlin and decides to avoid capture.

His staff lines up in the corridor outside his bedroom. Hitler shakes each hand and whispers a personal message to the two dozen secretaries, soldiers, and doctors who have tended to him during his three months in the bunker. He and Eva Braun, whom he had married the day before, have known each other for sixteen years. She goes first, placing the cyanide pill between her teeth. Seconds later, Eva Braun is dead. The Führer then places his capsule between his teeth. At the same time, he places the business end of his Walther 7.53 pistol at his right temple. He bites down on the capsule and pulls the Walther’s trigger a split second later.

History Tip of the Day – January 20th

Jesus’s resurrection, 30 AD

Dawn will soon break over Jerusalem, marking the third day since Jesus’s death. Mary Magdalene now takes it upon herself to perform the traditional task of examining the dead body. She travels with another woman named Mary, though not the mother of Jesus. But when the two Marys approach the tomb, they are stunned. The tombstone has been rolled away. The crypt is empty. Mary Magdalene cautiously steps forward and looks inside. She smells the myrrh and aloe in which Jesus’s body was anointed. She clearly sees the linen shroud in which he was wrapped. But there is nothing else there. To this day, the body of Jesus of Nazareth has never been found.

History Tip of the Day – January 19th

Louisiana Purchase Treaty is signed, April 30th, 1803

President Jefferson dispatched James Monroe to France, authorizing him to offer $10 million for New Orleans or all or part of the Floridas. The French made an extraordinary and completely unexpected counteroffer. Napoleon had been advised to abandon his plan to restore the French Empire in North America and to simply sell the entire Louisiana Territory to the United States. For $15 million Jefferson purchased 828,000 square miles, stretching from the Gulf of Mexico to the Hudson Bay basin, from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains. The purchase more than doubled the size of the United States, at about 3 cents an acre.

History Tip of the Day – January 18th

Adolf Hitler is appointed chancellor of Germany, January 30th, 1933

In response to appeals from influential politicians, industrialists, and businessmen who considered Hitler “independent from parliamentary parties” and leader of a movement that could “enrapture millions of people,” German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler second in command in the German government.

Hitler and his Nazi Party are seen as saviors of a country where six million people were unemployed. More than 50,000 people are said to have joined the Nazi party in the week following Hitler’s rise to power. As he consolidated his regime, 83 percent of German Jews under the age of twenty-one flee the country.

History Tip of the Day – January 17th

Shays’ Rebellion, January 25th, 1787

To raise desperately needed revenue, states had begun imposing taxes on their citizens—in some cases, at rates higher than the British had once demanded. When farmers were unable to pay, their homes, fields, and livestock were seized; in some places, they were imprisoned. Once more anger was simmering in New England. The growing rebellion finds a leader in a Massachusetts farmer named Daniel Shays. He and some 1,500 protestors prevent courts from hearing foreclosure cases. Shays then leads 2,000 farmers in an attempt to seize an arsenal in Springfield. When they are repulsed, the rebellion is finished.

History Tip of the Day – January 16th

Bay of Pigs incident, April 17th, 1961

“Short, shy, near-sighted, Michinomia Hirohito, the 124th emperor of Japan, is considered to be a descendant of the sun goddess, Amaterasu, a Shinto religious deity. But after the Japanese surrender, he has worried that he will be prosecuted for war crimes. However, General Douglas MacArthur, the supreme commander of the Pacific Theater, sees him as vital to forging an alliance that will successfully rebuild Japan. But MacArthur makes sure to forever remind the Japanese people that their emperor no longer rules Japan. And so, at MacArthur’s urging, Hirohito admits to his people that he is not a god.”

History Tip of the Day – January 15th

Richard Nixon’s funeral, April 27th, 1994

Twenty years after the Watergate scandal brought him down, and less than a year after his wife, Pat, succumbed to a long cancer, the thirty-seventh president of the United States is dead of a stroke at the age of eighty-one. Nixon is being laid to rest on the grounds of his birthplace and presidential library in Yorba Linda, California. There are four former Presidents—Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, George H. W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan—and the current chief executive, Bill Clinton, in attendance, with their wives. A crowd of 4,000 other mourners awaits the start of the ceremony.

History Tip of the Day – January 14th

The Boston Massacre, March 5th, 1770

The city is alive with danger. Two British soldiers are attacked and beaten. Then about three hundred colonists attack a regiment of British soldiers, pelting them with ice and snowballs. What happens next will be disputed by both sides, but soldiers begin firing into the crowd. A forty-seven-year-old mulatto sailor named Crispus Attucks is struck by two bullets in the chest and thus becomes the first casualty of battle of the Revolutionary War. Two others will die and six more are injured. The confrontation lasts no more than twenty minutes, but it resonates throughout the colonies and the British Empire.

History Tip of the Day – January 13th

Hitler orders scorched-earth policy, March 19th, 1945

The Allies are bombing around the clock. Berlin is a city in ruins. The Führer begins a policy designed to deprive Germany’s approaching conquerors of sustenance. His Nero Decree states, “All military, transportation, communications, industrial, and food supply facilities, as well as all other resources within the Reich which the enemy might use either immediately or in the foreseeable future for continuing the war are to be destroyed.” This is all Hitler can do: Prepare for the end.

History Tip of the Day – January 12th

President Abraham Lincoln is shot, April 14th, 1865

John Wilkes Booth takes a bold step out of the shadows, derringer clutched in his right fist and knife in his left. He extends his arm and aims for the back of Abraham Lincoln’s head. Booth pulls the trigger. Lincoln slumps forward in his rocking chair. Booth drops the derringer and steps to the front of the presidential box. “Freedom!” he bellows. He hurls his body over the railing, onto the stage of Ford’s Theatre. ‘Sic semper tyrannis!’ he yells. The theater explodes in confusion. Booth slashes at anyone who gets in his way. He disappears into the night.

History Tip of the Day – January 11th

The United States firebombs Tokyo, March 10th, 1945

Known as Operation Meetinghouse, the aerial bombardment of Tokyo is the most horrific bombing in history. American B-29s drop special M-69 firebombs, each a twenty-inch steel pipe packed with the jellied gasoline known as napalm. One M-69 is capable of starting a massive fire. One ton will ensure complete destruction. On the morning of March 10, American bombers drop 2,000 tons of M-60 on Tokyo. Trapped inside walls of fire, citizens spontaneously burst into flames. The fire consumes sixteen square miles, one-fourth of the city. One hundred thousand are killed, forty thousand badly burned but alive, and one million homeless.

History Tip of the Day – January 10th

The Tower Commission issues its report, February 26th, 1987

After three months, in which it interviewed eighty witnesses, including the president, the commission delivers its three-hundred-page report. It lays the blame for Iran-Contra on Ronald Reagan, demanding that he “take responsibility” for the illegality. The report also blames his staff for shielding him from a number of key issues involving the sale of arms to Iran. “Yes, the president made mistakes,” the commission’s chairman, John Tower, tells the press. “I think that’s very plain English.”

History Tip of the Day – January 9th

Ronald Reagan marries Nancy Davis, March 4th, 1952

Nancy Davis has campaigned hard for this moment since setting sights on Ronald Reagan three years ago, even telling him she might be pregnant. The ceremony is stunningly casual. Except for the minister, the only people in attendance are the best man, the actor William Holden, and the matron of honor, Holden’s wife, Ardis Anderson (whose screen name is Brenda Marshall). There is no formal reception. The group will adjourn to the Holdens’ home for cake and champagne. Nancy is so eager to marry Reagan that she willingly accommodates his every wish.

History Tip of the Day – January 8th

John Hinckley shoots President Reagan, March 30th, 1981

President Reagan follows his Secret Service escort out of the Washington Hilton. John Hinckley sees him clearly. Quickly he pulls the gun out. One shot hits Reagan’s press secretary, James Brady, just above his left eye. The next strikes DC police officer Thomas Delahanty in the neck, lodging against his spinal column. Another strikes Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy—the only agent ever to take a bullet for a president. Hinckley’s last shot ricochets off the presidential limousine, then pierces Reagan’s body under his left arm. The bullet enters his lung, coming to rest one inch from his heart.

History Tip of the Day – January 7th

Battle of Stalingrad ends, February 2nd, 1943

The turning point of the war between the Russians and the Germans took place in the city of Stalingrad. The fierce battle lasted for five-and-a-half months, and saw the deaths of 1.2 million Russian soldiers and civilians and 850,000 Germans dead or wounded. Eventually, the German Sixth Army was cut off from supplies. German General Friedrich von Paulus implored Hitler to let his army withdraw. The Führer refused. This results in 91,000 Germans being taken prisoner when the battle comes to an end. Of that number, only 6,000 survived the cruelty of their Russian captors and returned home alive after the war.

History Tip of the Day – January 6th

President Abraham Lincoln delivers his second inaugural address, March 4th, 1865

Lincoln makes an eloquent plea for reunification. “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds . . . to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” It is a speech worthy of a dramatic actor. And one of America’s most famous actors stands just yards away. Focused on the president is John Wilkes Booth.

History Tip of the Day – January 5th

John Kennedy is inaugurated as president, January 20th, 1961

After taking the oath of office, Kennedy, the youngest president ever elected, stands at the podium bearing the presidential seal. His listeners long for some words that will heal a nation divided by McCarthyism, terrified of the cold war, and struggling with racial segregation and discrimination. His words resonate like a psalm. “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans. . . . Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

History Tip of the Day – January 4th

Winston Churchill dies, January 24th, 1965

After losing the general election in 1945, Churchill was once again elected prime minister in 1951. He served until 1955, whereupon he resigned, citing a series of strokes and his advanced age of eighty. He dies seventy years to the day after his father passed. His funeral is the largest such state ceremony in world history until that time, with delegates from 112 nations coming to pay their respects. As his casket is borne down the Thames aboard a barge, the cranes lower their jibs in salute. He is buried in the Churchill family plot at St. Martin’s Church in Bladon, next to his wife, Clementine. They were married for fifty-six years.

History Tip of the Day – January 3rd

Alexander Hamilton is born, January 11th, 1757

He was born on the West Indian island of Nevis, the illegitimate son of a Scottish merchant and a divorced young woman. He proved to be a brilliant student and at seventeen was sent to the colonies by several patrons to further his education. He finally settled at King’s College, which is now Columbia University. In 1775, his passions aroused by the growing demands for freedom, he dropped out of school and organized his own volunteer militia unit. His mathematical prowess earned him a reputation as an outstanding artillery officer, capable of plotting and adjusting the trajectory of his cannons.

History Tip of the Day – January 2nd

Argentina invades the Falkland Islands, April 2nd, 1982

Argentine troops take over a collection of mountainous, windswept islands that Britain has controlled for nearly 150 years, despite Argentina’s assertion that the islands are its territory. In desperation, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher reaches out to President Reagan for military assistance. Reagan refuses, seeing the islands as a vestige of Britain’s colonial past. Thatcher resolves that Britain must go it alone, and dispatches armed forces to retake the islands. Although Reagan repeatedly advises her to negotiate, Thatcher perseveres in military action. After ten weeks, Argentina surrenders. Margaret Thatcher has emerged as a global force.

History Tip of the Day – January 1st

Bank of the United States is chartered, February 25th, 1791

Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the Treasury, advocated the creation of a national bank with the power to issue paper money. It was a daring suggestion, especially when many Americans did not trust bankers. Thomas Jefferson, the first secretary of state, believed the creation of a national bank was unconstitutional; he also opposed Hamilton’s plan to impose excise taxes, pointing out that such taxes were the very reason that states had declared independence. When President Washington finally backs Hamilton, the bank is chartered—and Jefferson begins organizing opposition parties, the Democratic-Republican Societies.