1. 1970: Apollo 13 space mission begins.
On this day, the iconic space mission Apollo 13 started as the spacecraft launched into space. The plan was to land on the moon, but due to an oxygen tank exploding the mission was cut short. But the oxygen tank was on the part of the Spacecraft that allowed the Astronauts James Lovell, John Swigert and Fred Haise to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere, so over the next 6 days mission control had to come up with a way for the men to fix the Command Module using only the parts and tools that the astronauts would have on board with them. Luckily for the crew on board the Apollo 13 there was a landing module that was intended to shuttle Lovell and Haise from the command module to the surface of the moon, but after the oxygen tank blew in the CM all three men were forced to use the landing module as a life raft until mission control in Houston came up with a way to get the three men home safely. On April 17, after four minutes of radio silence, mission control spotted parachutes coming from the spacecraft entering the atmosphere and all three men made it home safely thanks to the quick thinking of all three men on board and the brilliant minds of NASA. In 1995 Hollywood released a movie telling the Apollo 13 story where Tom Hanks plays the part of James Lovell, Bill Paxton as Swigert and Kevin Bacon as Haise.
2. 1961: Bob Dylan Plays first major gig in New York City
Today was the day that legendary singer and songwriter Bob Dylan stepped on stage at Gerde’s Folk City music venue in New York City to play a short five-song setlist opening for John Lee Hooker. Gerde’s Folk City was reported to be one of the top three venues in the world so it was by far the best gig Dylan had up until that point. He had only been in New York for a short time before getting the opportunity to play on the famous stage. The set list included “House of the Rising Sun,” “Song to Woody,” “Talkin’ Hava Negeilah Blues,” and two others, identified only as “unknown Woody Guthrie song” and “a Black Blues” and just a week later Dylan returned to Gerde’s to debut his hit song “Blowin in the Wind”. Although this didn’t make Dylan famous, it definitely started the ball rolling towards him becoming an international superstar.
3. 1951: President Truman steps in to releive General MacArthur from his duties.
General Douglas MacArthur was in command of the military during the Korean War in 1950, and did a great job coming up with strategies that would keep the communist North Koreans from taking over South Korea. He was known to be somewhat egotistical and after his success keeping the invading North Korean forces at bay, MacArthur decided that it would be best to keep pushing into North Korea and completely defeat the communist forces and President Truman decided to allow this to happen, but only because the General had assured him that The Republic of China would not intervene in the conflict but November and December of 1950 hundreds of thousands of Chinese troops landed in North Korea and proceeded to push the Americans back out of North Korea. This is where things got really tricky, as MacArthur wanted authorization to bomb the Republic of China that would surely have started a war in Asia that could have changed the entire world. Luckily, Truman stepped in and shut it down saying that he wanted to keep this a “limited war.” Truman felt that the U.S. being in Korea was totally necessary but passed that point it was not, after MacArthur publicly disagreed long enough Truman was forced to step in and relieve him of his duties. Some say the firing was to prove to the Republic of China that the President had no plans of conflict with China.