In 1870 there was an official recognition of some special days in the US. Congress established the first four national holidays – New Year’s, Fourth of July, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. Later, in 1894, Labor Day became an official national holiday. And in 1902 Congress passed the Spooner Act authorizing President Teddy Roosevelt to acquire rights from Columbia for the Panama Canal. Columbia balked and Teddy went about it in another way – fanning the flames of a revolt in Panama, backing it with American ships, and got the rights for the canal from the then-new nation of Panama.

There were also two WWI events on this date. One was the assassination of the Archduke and Archduchess of Austria in 1914 which sparked the war. And then in 1919 there came the Treaty of Versailles that marked the end of the war. This is also the date in 1969 when the Stonewall riot happened providing the spark for a revolution in how the LGBTQ community is active in society today – no more taking it quietly!

Today marks the birthdates of several notable individuals. King Henry VIII (1491), Flemish painter and diplomat Peter Paul Rubens (1577), Methodism founder John Wesley (1703), composer and playwright Richard Rogers (1902), and producer Mel Brooks (1926).

James Madison, our fourth president, breathed his last in 1836. Rod Serling last went to the Twilight Zone in 1975. Standout college women’s basketball coach Pat Summitt left the court in 2016. And Harlan Ellison laid down his pen in 2018. He will always be remembered as the one who brought us one of the best Star Trek episodes ever – The City on the Edge of Forever.