Thursday, March 1, 2012

Learn Our History Today: March 1

Learn Our History Today:  March 1st is quite a busy day in our history... 1781, the Articles of Confederation were ratified.  The Articles guided the nation until 1789, when the U.S. Constitution was implemented.    Then, in 1790, Congress ordered the first U.S. census.

And on March 1, 1872, President Ulysses S. Grant signed the first bill ever to set aside land as a national park.  That land is one of our nation’s most beautiful parks, and home to the cone geyser best known as Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park.

In 1932, Charles Lindberg’s 20-month old son was kidnapped from the family home in Hopewell, New Jersey.  The Lindberg’s paid a $50,000 ransom but the baby was never returned.  Charles Lindberg, Jr. was found dead just a mile from the Lindberg’s mansion.  It looked like the case would go unsolved, but in 1934, a gas station attendant recorded the license plate number of a suspicious customer.  Turns out the customer paid with a marked bill from the ransom money.  The customer, a German immigrant named Bruno Hauptmann, was tracked down and detectives later found $14,000 of the ransom money in his home. He was convicted, and in April of 1936, he was executed by electric chair.

On March 1, 1961, JFK established the Peace Corps, designed to send trained men and women to assist in the development efforts in foreign nations. In just the first week after JFK created the agency, Washington received thousands of letters from young Americans offering to volunteer.

And on March 1, 1971, a bomb exploded inside the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.  Fortunately, no on was harmed.  However, the bomb’s explosion caused $300,000 in damages.  A group called the “Weathered Underground” claimed responsibility for the attack in response to the U.S.-supported invasion of Laos.  The group was a radical faction of the Students for a Democratic Society, and they advocated violence-usually in the form of bombings and arson.  They also targeted the State Department, the Pentagon, the NYPD headquarters and the Long Island Court House.  No one was ever killed in their bombings because they always made bomb threats.  Three members of their group died on March 6, 1970 when the building in which they were constructing the bombs exploded!

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