1. 1970: Marshall University devastated by plane crash
It was on this date in 1970 that Marshall University was devastated when a plane carrying their entire football team crashed outside Kenova, West Virginia. The team didn’t normally travel by plane because most of their games were close enough to drive, but after a tough loss of 17-14 against East Carolina University the team chartered Southern Airways DC-9 from Kingston, North Carolina to the Huntington Tri-State airport in Ceredo, West Virgina. The pilots made contact with air traffic control at roughly 7:23 pm and were instructed to descend to 5,000 feet, and that there was “rain, fog, smoke and a ragged ceiling”. Just after 7:34 pm, the crew reported passing the airports outer marker and the controller gave them clearance to land. It was at that time the plane descended to a much lower altitude than it should have according to the approach procedures. The plane collided with a group of trees and burst into flames landing just over a half mile away from the runway. On the plane was a total of 75 people, 20 of which were team booster club members, 37 members of the team, the coaching staff and team doctors as well as the flight crew. Unfortunately, there were no survivors.
2. 1969: Apollo 12 launches
Astronauts Richard F Gordon, Charles Conrad Jr., and Alan L Bean strap into Apollo 12 for the second manned mission to the moon on this date in 1969. It almost ended in disaster just 37 seconds after launching when a bolt of lightning struck the Saturn 5 rocket, which caused circuit breakers to trip and ultimately lead to a power failure. Luckily the pocket continued to perform like it was supposed to and a few minutes later power was able to be restored. It was also a special day because President Nixon was in attendance, which was the first time the leader of the free world had been present for a manned space flight. Five days later the crew landed near the Ocean of Storms and Bean and Conrad became the 3rd and 4th human beings to walk on the moon. They returned home safely on November 24th after spending a total of 32 hours on the moon.
3. 1851: Moby Dick published in the United States
It was on this date in 1851 that what is now considered to be one of the great pieces of literature was published in the United States. However, at the time, Moby Dick by Herman Melville was a complete flop as most people felt it was far too long and boring. The novel tells the tale of a whaling ship named Pequod that was lead by Captain Ahab and his never-ending quest for a massive white whale. It had been released less than a month prior in Great Britain and had a similar, poor reaction. By the time Melville passed away in 1891, Moby Dick was completely out of print due to being such a commercial failure. However, it was rediscovered in the early 1900’s by scholars and by the 1920’s had found a level of success it had never seen before. Eventually, it would become a major part of the curriculum taught in high schools all over the world.