You might say this was a Grand day in history. In 1908 Grand Canyon National Monument – later changed to Grand Canyon National Park – was created. This set up this great geographical scenic wonder to be preserved for future generations to enjoy. I have enjoyed it plenty of times, including one memorable hike down to the river and back to the rim.

In 1759 the first American life insurance company was formed in Philadelphia and in 1922 Leonard Thompson became the first person to be injected with insulin – which has helped prolong many lives and improved their quality of life as well. And in 1964 the US Surgeon General came out with a report that finally stated smoking might be hazardous to health. Unfortunately, people continued to smoke and suffer the consequences.

In 1927 Louis B Meyer, head of MGM, announced the creation of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences in LA, leading to the creation of the Oscars. Later in 1949, the first “networked” television broadcasts took place -connecting the east coast and the mid-west. As it is today the west coast was left out.

In 1755 Alexander Hamilton (yes that Hamilton) was born, the first US Secretary of the Treasury, the face of the #20 bill, author of most of the Federalist Papers, and the subject of a great musical. In 1786 Joseph Lister, the English physicist responsible for advocating and implementing the use of antiseptics in surgery, was born. In 1815 John Macdonald, the first Canadian Prime Minister, was born. And in 1885 Alice Paul, American activist, and suffragette was born. She was hugely responsible for building support for the 19th Amendment, giving women the right to vote. What she and her fellow activists endured to gain the vote should be required reading for folks today. Most have no idea what they went through – including horrible experiences in jail – and it should galvanize people to fiercely defend and exercise that right today.

For fans of Outlander – the books and the series – this is the day when Diana Gabaldon entered the world. And in 1971 American hip-hop artist Mary J Blige began her first vocalizations out of the womb in New York City.

In 1843 we said goodbye to Francis Scott Key, long after the writing of the Star Spangled Banner in Baltimore harbor, and long before it became our official National Anthem under President Hoover in the next century. The English novelist Thomas Hardy wrote his last chapter in 1928. The great pitcher Bob Lemon left life’s mound in 2000. And the New Zealand mountaineer and explorer Edmund Hillary went higher than Everest in 2008. And in 2014 Israeli former prime minister and war hero for his country, Ariel Sharon was finally released from his eight-year coma.