U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles B. DeBellevue (Weapons Systems Officer) flying with his pilot, Capt. John A. Madden, in a McDonnell Douglas F-4D, shoots down two MiG-19s near Hanoi. These were Captain DeBellevue’s fifth and sixth victories, which made him the leading American ace of the war. All of his victories came in a four-month period. Captain Madden would record a third MiG kill two months later.
On this day in 1919, almost one year after an armistice officially ended the First World War, New York City holds a parade to welcome home General John J. Pershing, commander in chief of the American Expeditionary Force (AEF), and some 25,000 soldiers who had served in the AEF’s 1st Division on the Western Front.
At 8:45 a.m. on a clear Tuesday morning, an American Airlines Boeing 767 loaded with 20,000 gallons of jet fuel crashes into the north tower of the World Trade Center in New York City. The impact left a gaping, burning hole near the 80th floor of the 110-story skyscraper, instantly killing hundreds of people and trapping hundreds more in higher floors. As the evacuation of the tower and its twin got underway, television cameras broadcasted live images of what initially appeared to be a freak accident. Then, 18 minutes after the first plane hit, a second Boeing 767–United Airlines Flight 175–appeared out of the sky, turned sharply toward the World Trade Center, and sliced into the south tower at about the 60th floor. The collision caused a massive explosion that showered burning debris over surrounding buildings and the streets below. America was under attack.
On this day in 1918, the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) under the command of General John J. Pershing launches its first major offensive operation as an independent army during World War I.
On this day in 1814, Francis Scott Key pens a poem which is later set to music and in 1931 becomes America’s national anthem, “The Star-Spangled Banner.” The poem, originally titled “The Defence of Fort McHenry,” was written after Key witnessed the Maryland fort being bombarded by the British during the War of 1812. Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over Fort McHenry at daybreak, as reflected in the now-famous words of the “Star-Spangled Banner”: “And the rocket’s red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.”
General Robert E. Lee’s exhausted Confederate forces hold off the pursuing Yankees by closing two passes through Maryland’s South Mountain, allowing Lee time to gather his forces further west along Antietam Creek near Sharpsburg.
Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson captures Harpers Ferry, Virginia, and some 12,000 Union soldiers as General Robert E. Lee’s army moves north into Maryland.