1. 1980: Miracle On Ice; U.S. hockey Team beats 4-time gold medalists USSR
In the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid NY, the United States Hockey team, consisting of all college level players, plays the defending 4-time gold medal winning Soviet Union dream team and scene is set for one of the biggest upsets in sports history. The Soviet team had been regarded as one of the best hockey teams of all time and were heavily favored to win a 5th straight gold medal and so they definitely weren’t concerned about a young group of amateurs from the USA. But that was obviously a mistake because on this date in 1980 that group of college players went on to beat the Soviet dream team 4-3 in an epic showdown that was a nail-biter to the finish. The Soviets had not lost an Olympic game since 1968 and had actually played the young US team in an exhibition match at Madison Square Garden just 3 days before they would meet in Lake Placid and they destroyed them 10-3. Onlookers said that the team seemed scrappy but many expected that considering that the average age of the US team was only 22 years old. That scrappy group of 20 yr old American college kids went on to defeat Finland 2 days later in the gold medal game.
2. 2006: Biggest robbery in British history
Early morning on this day in 2006, at least 6 men steal £53 Million from the Securitas bank depot in Kent, Great Britain. A story that you would think is a Hollywood movie begins the night before when two men dressed as policemen pull over Colin Dixon, who was the depot manager, and proceed to get him into the back of the police car and take him out to a farm in West Kent. At the same time, 2 other men went to Dixon’s house to get his wife and 8yr old son and all three met at the farm in West Kent. The armed robbers then threaten Dixon and his family if Colin did not cooperate by getting them passed the Bank Depot security measures. The gang then takes the Dixon family to the depot where they tie up 14 staff members, load up £53 million of used currency into a truck and about 2:15 am the gang pulls away without a shot fired and nobody got hurt. There have been almost 30 arrests since the £2 million reward was announced but haven’t been any convictions and only about £20 million of the unused bills have been recovered.
3. 1932: The Purple Heart Award gets revived.
The Purple Heart is one of the highest awards or honors that someone in the military can receive. Established back in 1782 by George Washington, it was only given to 3 soldiers from the Revolutionary War. Interestingly, it wasn’t used for next 100 years or more but its legend continued on. In October 1927 Army chief of staff General Charles Summeral drafted a bill that congress “revive the Badge of Military Merit” but just three months later the bill was withdrawn and all action on reviving the badge stopped. Later in 1931, Summeral’s successor, General Douglas MacArthur secretly begins work on the redesign on the medal and the following year on the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s death the Purple Heart was brought back into use.