On this day in 1937, the German airship Hindenburg, the largest dirigible ever built, explodes as it arrives in Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people died in the fiery accident that has since become iconic, in part because of the live radio broadcast of the disaster.
On this day in 1915, a German submarine sinks the passenger liner Lusitania. The ship would sink within 20 minutes and would take with her 1201 passengers, including 128 Americans.
On this day in 1945, both Great Britain and the United States celebrate Victory in Europe Day. Cities in both nations, as well as formerly occupied cities in Western Europe, put out flags and banners, rejoicing in the defeat of the Nazi war machine.
On this day in 1926, polar explorer Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd and co-pilot Floyd Bennett fly over the North Pole on this day in the Josephine Ford, a triple-engine Fokker monoplane. It would have been the first time an aircraft flew over the top of the world. The pair had taken off from Spitsbergen, Norway, and reportedly covered the 1,545-mile trip to the pole and back in 15 hours and 30 minutes. For the achievement, both men were awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and acclaimed as national hero.
On this day in 1865, Jefferson Davis, president of the fallen Confederate government, is captured with his wife and entourage near Irwinville, Georgia, by a detachment of Union General James H. Wilson’s cavalry.
On this day in 1969, members of the 101st Airborne division assault Hill 987 aka Hamburger Hill. Heavy casualties would be finally tallied as 72 dead and 372 wounded.
On this day in 1975, The American freighter Mayaguez is captured by communist government forces in Cambodia, setting off an international incident. The U.S. response to the affair indicated that the wounds of the Vietnam War still ran deep.