This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
Find the past “On This Day in History” here.
October 14 is the 287th day of the year (288th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 78 days remaining until the end of the year.
On this day in 1947, U.S. Air Force Captain Chuck Yeager becomes the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.
Charles Elwood “Chuck” Yeager (born February 13, 1923) is a retired major general in the United States Air Force and noted test pilot. He was the first pilot to travel faster than sound (1947). Originally retiring as a brigadier general, Yeager was promoted to major general on the Air Force’s retired list 20 years later for his military achievements.
His career began in World War II as a private in the United States Army Air Forces. After serving as an aircraft mechanic, in September 1942 he entered enlisted pilot training and upon graduation was promoted to the rank of flight officer (the World War II USAAF equivalent to warrant officer) and became a P-51 Mustang fighter pilot. After the war he became a test pilot of many kinds of aircraft and rocket planes. Yeager was the first man to break the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, flying the experimental Bell X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 13,700 m (45,000 ft). . . .
Yeager remained in the Air Force after the war, becoming a test pilot at Muroc Army Air Field (now Edwards Air Force Base) and eventually being selected to fly the rocket-powered Bell X-1 in a NACA program to research high-speed flight, after Bell Aircraft test pilot “Slick” Goodlin demanded $150,000 to break the sound “barrier.” Such was the difficulty in this task that the answer to many of the inherent challenges were along the lines of “Yeager better have paid-up insurance.” Yeager broke the sound barrier on October 14, 1947, flying the experimental X-1 at Mach 1 at an altitude of 45,000 feet (13,700 m). Two nights before the scheduled date for the flight, he broke two ribs while riding a horse. He was so afraid of being removed from the mission that he went to a veterinarian in a nearby town for treatment and told only his wife, as well as friend and fellow project pilot Jack Ridley about it.
On the day of the flight, Yeager was in such pain that he could not seal the airplane’s hatch by himself. Ridley rigged up a device, using the end of a broom handle as an extra lever, to allow Yeager to seal the hatch of the airplane. Yeager’s flight recorded Mach 1.07, however, he was quick to point out that the public paid attention to whole numbers and that the next milestone would be exceeding Mach 2. Yeager’s X-1 is on display at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum.
1066 – Norman Conquest: Battle of Hastings – In England on Senlac Hill, seven miles from Hastings, the Norman forces of William the Conqueror defeat the English army and kill King Harold II of England.
1322 – Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeats King Edward II of England at Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland’s independence.
1582 – Because of the implementation of the Gregorian calendar this day does not exist in this year in Italy, Poland, Portugal and Spain.
1586 – Mary, Queen of Scots, goes on trial for conspiracy against Elizabeth I of England.
1656 – Massachusetts enacts the first punitive legislation against the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers). The marriage of church-and-state in Puritanism makes them regard the Quakers as spiritually apostate and politically subversive.
1758 – Seven Years’ War: Austria defeats Prussia at the Battle of Hochkirk
1773 – Just before the beginning of the American Revolutionary War, several of the British East India Company’s tea ships are set ablaze at the old seaport of Annapolis, Maryland.
1834 – In Philadelphia, members of the American Whig Party and American Democrats carry out a brick, stone, and firearm, battle for the control of an election in Moyamensing Township, resulting in one death, several injuries, and the burning down of a block of the town’s buildings.
1840 – The Maronite leader Bashir II surrenders to the British Army and then is sent into exile on the islands of Malta.
1843 – The British arrest the Irish nationalist Daniel O’Connell for conspiracy to commit crimes.
1863 – American Civil War: Battle of Bristoe Station – Confederate troops under the command of General Robert E. Lee fail to drive the American Union Army completely out of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
1867 – The 15th and the last military Shogun of the Tokugawa shogunate resigns in Japan, returning his power to the Emperor of Japan and thence to the re-established civil government of Japan
1882 – University of the Punjab is founded in a part of India that later became West Pakistan.
1884 – The American inventor, George Eastman, receives a U.S. Government patent on his new paper-strip photographic film.
1888 – Louis Le Prince films first motion picture: Roundhay Garden Scene.
1910 – The English aviator Claude Grahame-White lands his Farman Aircraft biplane on Executive Avenue near the White House in Washington, D.C.
1912 – While campaigning in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the former President of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, is shot and mildly wounded by John Schrank, who was angry with Roosevelt for some reason. With the fresh wound in his chest, and the bullet still within it, Mr. Roosevelt still carries out his scheduled public speech.
1913 – Senghenydd Colliery Disaster, the United Kingdom’s worst coal mining accident, occurs, and it claims the lives of 439 miners.
1920 – Part of Petsamo Province is ceded by the Soviet Union to Finland.
1925 – An Anti-French uprising in French-occupied Damascus, Syria. (All French inhabitants flee the city.)
1926 – The children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne, is first published.
1933 – Nazi Germany withdraws from The League of Nations.
1938 – The first flight of the Curtiss Aircraft Company’s P-40 Warhawk fighter plane.
1939 – The German Kriegsmarine submarine (U-boat) U-47 sinks the British battleship HMS Royal Oak within her harbor at Scapa Flow, Scotland.
1940 – Balham subway station disaster, in London, England, occurs during the Nazi Luftwaffe air raids on Great Britain.
1943 – Prisoners at the Nazi German Sobibor extermination camp in Poland revolted against the Germans, killing eleven SS troops who were guards there, and wounding many more. About 300 of the Sobibor Camp’s 600 prisoners escaped from this Nazi extermination camp, and about 50 of these survived past the end of World War II (on May 8, 1945, European time).
1943 – The American Eighth Air Force loses 60 B-17 Flying Fortress heavy bombers in aerial combat during the second mass-daylight air raid on the Schweinfurt ball-bearing factories in western Nazi Germany.
1944 – Athens, Greece, is liberated by British Army troops entering the city as the Nazi German Army pulls out during World War II. This clears the way for the Greek government-in-exile to return to its historic capital city, with George Papandreou, Sr., as the head-of-government.
1947 – Captain Chuck Yeager of the U.S. Air Force flies a Bell X-1 rocket-powered experimental aircraft, the Glamorous Glennis, faster than the speed of sound – over the high desert of Southern California – and becomes the first pilot and the first airplane to do so in level flight.
1949 – Eleven leaders of the American Communist Party are convicted, after a nine-month trial in a Federal District Court, of conspiring to advocate the violent overthrow of the U.S. Federal Government.
1949 – Chinese Civil War: Chinese Communist forces occupies the city of Guangzhou (Canton), in Guangdong, China.
1952 – Korean War: United Nations and South Korean forces launched Operation Showdown against Chinese strongholds at the Iron Triangle. The resulting Battle of Triangle Hill was the biggest and bloodiest battle of 1952.
1956 – Dr. B. R. Ambedkar, the Indian Untouchable caste leader, converts to Buddhism along with 385,000 of his followers (see Neo-Buddhism).
1957 – Queen Elizabeth II becomes the first Canadian Monarch to open up an annual session of the Canadian Parliament, presenting her Speech from the Throne in Ottawa, Canada.
1958 – The American Atomic Energy Commission, with supporting military units, carries out an underground nuclear weapon test at the Nevada Test Site, just north of Las Vegas, Nevada.
1958 – The District of Columbia’s Bar Association votes to accept African-Americans as member attorneys.
1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis begins: A U.S. Air Force U-2 reconnaissance plane and its pilot fly over the island of Cuba and take photographs of Soviet missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads being installed and erected in Cuba.
1964 – Leonid Brezhnev becomes the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, and thereby, along with his allies – such as Alexei Kosygin – the leader of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), ousting the former monolithic leader Nikita Khrushchev, and sending him into retirement as a nonperson in the USSR.
1966 – The city of Montreal, Quebec, begins the operation of its underground Montreal Metro rapid-transit system.
1967 – The Vietnam War: The folk singer Joan Baez is arrested concerning a physical blockade of the U.S. Army’s induction center in Oakland, California.
1968 – Vietnam War: 27 soldiers are arrested at the Presidio of San Francisco in California for their peaceful protest of stockade conditions and the Vietnam War.
1968 – Vietnam War: The United States Department of Defense announces that the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps will send about 24,000 soldiers and Marines back to Vietnam for involuntary second tours of duty in the combat zone there.
1968 – The first live telecast from any manned spacecraft, the Apollo 7, launched by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the U.S.A.
1968 – An earthquake rated at 6.8 on the Richter Scale destroys the Australian town of Meckering, Western Australia, and it also ruptures all nearby main highways and railroads.
1968 – Jim Hines of the United States of America becomes the first man ever to break the so-called “ten-second barrier” in the 100-meter sprint in the Summer Olympic Games held in Mexico City with a time of 9.95 seconds. Hines remained the only athlete to sprint 100 meters in under 10.0 seconds until the year 1977.
1969 – The United Kingdom introduces the British fifty-pence coin, which replaced, over the following years, the British ten-shilling note, in anticipation of the decimalization of the British currency in 1971, and the abolition of the shilling as a unit of currency anywhere in the world. (Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, etc., had already abolished the shilling in favor of a decimal currency with exactly 100 pence per pound sterling or dollar, whichever was applicable.}
1979 – The first Gay Rights March on Washington, D.C., the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, demands “an end to all social, economic, judicial, and legal oppression of lesbian and gay people”, and draws 200,000 people.
1981 – Citing official misconduct in the investigation and trial, Amnesty International charges the U.S. Federal Government with holding Richard Marshall of the American Indian Movement as a political prisoner.
1981 – Vice President Hosni Mubarak is elected as the President of Egypt one week after the assassination murder of the President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat. As of June 1, 2010, Mr. Mubarak is still the President of Egypt, having been re-elected several times.
1982 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan proclaims a War on Drugs.
1994 – The Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, The Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Rabin, and the Foreign Minister of Israel, Shimon Peres, receive the Nobel Peace Prize for their role in the establishment of the Oslo Accords and the framing of the future Palestinian Self Governing.
1998 – Eric Robert Rudolph is charged with six bombings including the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia.