On this Day In History January 3

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

January 3 is the third day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. There are 362 days remaining until the end of the year (363 in leap years). The Perihelion, the point in the year when the Earth is closest to the Sun, occurs around this date.

On this day in 1938, The March of Dimes is established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

March of Dimes is an American health charity whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects, premature birth, and infant mortality.

Polio was one of the most dreaded illnesses of the 20th century, and killed or paralyzed thousands of Americans during the first half of the 20th century. In response, President Franklin D. Roosevelt founded the March of Dimes as the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis on January 3, 1938. Roosevelt himself was paralyzed with what at the time was believed to be polio, though recent examination has led some to suggest that this diagnosis might have been mistaken. The original purpose of the Foundation was to raise money for polio research and to care for those afflicted with the disease. The name emphasized the national, nonpartisan, and public nature of the new organization, as opposed to private foundations established by wealthy families. The effort began with a radio appeal, asking everyone in the nation to contribute a dime (ten cents) to fight polio.

“March of Dimes” was originally the name of the annual fundraising event held in January by the Foundation. The name “March of Dimes” for the fundraising campaign was coined by entertainer Eddie Cantor as a play on the popular newsreel feature of the day, The March of Time. Along with Cantor, many prominent Hollywood, Broadway, radio, and television stars served as promoters of the charity. When Roosevelt died in office in 1945, he was commemorated by placing his portrait on the dime. Coincidentally, this was the only coin in wide circulation which had a purely allegorical figure (Liberty) on the obverse. To put Roosevelt on any other coin would have required displacing a president or founding father.

Over the years, the name “March of Dimes” became synonymous with that of the charity and was officially adopted in 1979.

 1431 – Joan of Arc is handed over to the Bishop Pierre Cauchon.

1496 – Leonardo da Vinci unsuccessfully tests a flying machine.

1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.

1749 – Benning Wentworth issues the first of the New Hampshire Grants, leading to the establishment of Vermont.

1777 – American general George Washington defeats British general Charles Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton.

1815 – Austria, the United Kingdom, and France form a secret defensive alliance treaty against Prussia and Russia.

1823 – Stephen F. Austin receives a grant of land in Texas from the government of Mexico.

1848 – Joseph Jenkins Roberts is sworn in as the first president of the independent African Republic of Liberia.

1861 – American Civil War: Delaware votes not to secede from the United States.

1868 – Meiji Restoration in Japan: The Tokugawa shogunate is abolished; agents of Satsuma and Choshu seize power.

1870 – The construction of the Brooklyn Bridge begins.

1888 – The refracting telescope at the Lick Observatory, measuring 91 cm in diameter, is used for the first time. It was the largest telescope in the world at the time.

1924 – British explorer Howard Carter discovers the sarcophagus of Tutankhamen in the Valley of the Kings, near Luxor, Egypt.

1925 – Benito Mussolini announces he is taking dictatorial powers over Italy.

1932 – Martial law is declared in Honduras to stop revolt by banana workers fired by United Fruit.

1933 – Minnie D. Craig becomes the first female elected as Speaker of the North Dakota House of Representatives, the first female to hold a Speaker position anywhere in the United States.

1938 – The March of Dimes is established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

1944 – World War II: Top Ace Major Greg “Pappy” Boyington is shot down in his Corsair by Captain Masajiro Kawato flying a Zero.

1945 – World War II: Admiral Chester W Nimitz is placed in command of all U.S. Naval forces in preparation for planned assaults against Iwo Jima, Okinawa and Japan.

1947 – Proceedings of the U.S. Congress are televised for the first time.

1953 – Frances Bolton and her son, Oliver from Ohio, become the first mother and son to serve simultaneously in the U.S. Congress.

1956 – A fire damages the top part of the Eiffel Tower.

1957 – The Hamilton Watch Company introduces the first electric watch.

1958 – The West Indies Federation is formed.

1959 – Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. State.

1961 – The United States severs diplomatic relations with Cuba.

1961 – The SL-1, a government-run reactor near Idaho Falls, Idaho, leaks radiation, killing three workers.

1962 – Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.

1977 – Apple Computer is incorporated.

1988 – Margaret Thatcher becomes the longest-serving British Prime Minister in the 20th Century.

1990 – Former leader of Panama Manuel Noriega surrenders to American forces.

1993 – In Moscow, George H. W. Bush and Boris Yeltsin sign the second Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START).

1994 – An Aeroflot Tupolev TU-154 crashes and explodes after takeoff from Irkutsk, Russia, killing 125 people including one on the ground.

1994 – More than seven million people from the former Apartheid Homelands, receives South African citizenship.

1997 – The People’s Republic of China announces it will spend $27.7 billion USD to fight erosion and pollution in the Yangtze and Yellow river valleys.

1999 – The Mars Polar Lander is launched.

1999 – Israel detains, and later expels, 14 members of Concerned Christians.

2004 – Flight 604, a Boeing 737 owned by Flash Airlines, an Egyptian airliner, plunges into the Red Sea, killing all 148 people on board.

2007 – National Express has its worst ever coach crash just outside Heathrow Airport.

Holidays and observances

   Christian Feast Day:


       January 3 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)

   Tamaseseri Festival (Hakozaki Shrine, Fukuoka)

   The tenth day of Christmas (Western Christianity)


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