1. 1776: The Liberty Bell toll that changed the world
It was on this date in 1776 that the Liberty Bell rang from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia. The 2,000lb bell made of tin and copper summoned all the town citizens so Colonel John Nixon could publicly read the Declaration of Independence for the first time. There has been many debates regarding when the famous crack in the massive bell occurred. Some believe it started as early as 1776, but there is no arguing the final expansion of the crack that ultimately left it unable to ring took place George Washington’s Birthday in 1846
2. 1951: The city of Paris celebrates its 2,000th birthday
The city of Paris, France celebrates its 2,000th birthday on this date in 1951, although historians believe the city could potentially be even older. It was 987 A.D. when Paris became the official name of the city; prior to that it had gone by Lutetia since 52 B.C. when the Romans led by Julius Caesar took over the area. There were two main sections of the city and as it grew the Right Bank became known as a business area and the Left Bank more the intellectual district. Paris became the epicenter for art and culture during the Renaissance period of the late 15th through early 17th centuries. Today, more than 12 million people live in the City of Paris and surrounding suburb areas just out of town, and the city still maintains a stellar reputation for food, art, and fashion cultures.
3. 1960: Francis Gary Powers charged with espionage
Pilot Francis Gary Powers had been selected in 1956 by the CIA to fly a new high tech spy plane that went by the name U-2. This plane was completely state of the art with capabilities of flying as high as 80,000 feet above the ground. Because it could reach such an incredible altitude, it was nearly impossible for the Soviets to do anything about it. The plane also featured a camera that was completely ahead of its time being able to take high resolution photos from nearly the edge of space. After completing several successful missions, Powers took off on May 1st to do another recon mission but as he got deep into enemy territory he was shot out of the air by new Soviet technology designed to combat the U-2. Powers was instructed to hit the self destruct button before ejecting from the plane in the event of a take down but he wasn’t able to do so. Somehow the plane landed almost fully intact, which made the already tense situation with the Soviets much worse. Especially considering the U.S. government released a statement immediately after finding out Powers had gone missing claiming that a “weather plane” had crashed after the pilot had difficulties with his oxygen equipment. On this date in 1960, the Soviet Union charged Powers with espionage and sentenced him to 10 years in prison. However, he would only spend two because the U.S. decided to offer Soviet spy Rudolf Abel in exchange as told in the Hollywood film Bridge of Spies.