1. 1958: The King Himself, Elvis Presley, Joins The Army
Today was the day the old Uncle Sam finally caught up with Elvis Presley to fulfill his draft obligations. Like most other boys at 18, Elvis went in and registered his name to be apart of the Army’s draft program. When his name came up the first time, he received a student deferment due to the fact that he was doing so well in school. Then when it came up the second time, Elvis was in the middle of shooting his third Hollywood movie, “King Creole”, so he was able to get a deferment there also. But after the movie had been completed, Uncle Sam wasn’t going to let him slide for a third time. On this day in 1958, Elvis was inducted into the Army for a 2 year obligation. Just a few months in, his mother got sick and he was able to get away to go be with her on her deathbed. The army changed Elvis as a person and especially his music. Where before he went in he had hits like “Jailhouse Rock” then after he returned he came with hits like “Pocketful of Rainbows”.
2. 1989: The Exxon Valdez Oil Spill Disaster In Alaska
On this day, one of the worst oil spills in the U.S. territories takes place up in Prince William Sound in southern Alaska as the Exxon Valdez supertanker runs aground on a reef, splitting its hull and releasing anywhere from 11 to 38 million gallons of oil into the water. The impact on the coastline and sea life was catastrophic, and although there were many attempts to clean up the massive spill it it was still able to affect as much as 1300 miles of coastline and covered 11,000 square miles of ocean. The ships owner, the Exxon oil company, was supposed to to pay a total of $1 billion over the course of 10 years for the cleanup of the spill, but after some serious work in the courtroom they somehow were only required to pay $25 million. Which granted may be a lot of money, but it is a small drop in the bucket compared to the $1 billion that was initially agreed upon. Still to this day there are signs of the spill in that area.
3. 2002: First Time African American Performers Win Best Actor and Actress Academy Awards
On this day in 2002, Halle Berry made history when she won an Best Actress Academy Award for her role in the gritty film Monsters Ball. She was the first African American to win the best actress category and only the second in history after Hattie McDaniel won best supporting actress in 1939. This happened only a few months after 9/11, so the mood was already a little tense with security being tighter than previous award ceremonies. When Halle walked up on stage and received the award, you could see that she was genuinely excited and I don’t think there was a dry eye in the audience after her heartfelt thank you speech referring to the moment as ” so much bigger than me.” Also that night, Denzel Washington won the Best Actor category, making it the first time that African American performers took home the top honors of Best Actor and Actress categories. Washington received his award for his role in Training Day and he was only the second African American to win the best actor award behind Sidney Poitier back in 1964.