On this date in 1865 the US Secret Service began operations – 3 months too late to save President Lincoln, but over the years helping many others – though not perfect as we all know (3 others were assassinated). In 1935 the National Labor Relations Act was signed into law by President FDR, aiming to bring more sanity to labor negotiations and even the balance between management and labor. Plus reduce the violence. You would be amazed and saddened at the violent clashes over labor strikes and the number of killed and injured workers who were just advocating for better working conditions and compensation. And now for once to have an advocate in the White House, instead of the opposition of people like Wilson, who was very anti-labor.

In 1948 the National Health Services Act created a national health system in the UK while 75 years later the US is crawling to catch up. In 1954 the BBC -British Broadcasting Corporation- issued its first daily news bulletin. And in 1971 the 26th Amendment was certified by President Nixon to have received the required number of state ratifications and thus became law. It lowered the voting age from 21 to 18, with the logic that if you were old enough to be drafted you were old enough to vote. It paved the way for me to vote for the first time in 1976 instead of having to wait until 1980.

The man who talked about suckers being born every minute – circus promoter P.T. Barnum – was born on this date in 1810. The industrialist who is remembered not for his character (racist to the core) but for his funding of scholarships – Cecil Rhodes – was born in 1851. And the current phenom of major league baseball, pitcher and home run hitter Shohei Ohtani, was born in 1994.

The great Ted Williams, the last ballplayer to hit .400 in a season, passed away (went into the cornfields, to use Field of Dreams imagery) in 2002. A past vice-presidential nominee, with Pres nominee Ross Perot, who should be remembered less for looking lost in a debate and more for his distinguished service, Admiral James Stockdale, passed on in 2005. He was a Medal of Honor recipient and was the highest-ranking officer to suffer as a POW in the Hanoi Hilton during Vietnam, where he was a prisoner for 7 years.

And Richard Donner, the movie director who brought us Christopher Reeve as Superman, among other great movies – like The Goonies and Scrooged – passed away on this date in 2021.

This is Independence Day for Algeria (from France), Cape Verde (from Portugal),Lif and Venezuela (from Spain).