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.
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August 8 is the 220th day of the year (221st in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 145 days remaining until the end of the year.
In an evening televised address, President Richard M. Nixon announces his intention to become the first president in American history to resign. With impeachment proceedings underway against him for his involvement in the Watergate affair, Nixon was finally bowing to pressure from the public and Congress to leave the White House. “By taking this action,” he said in a solemn address from the Oval Office, “I hope that I will have hastened the start of the process of healing which is so desperately needed in America.”
Just before noon the next day, Nixon officially ended his term as the 37th president of the United States. Before departing with his family in a helicopter from the White House lawn, he smiled farewell and enigmatically raised his arms in a victory or peace salute. The helicopter door was then closed, and the Nixon family began their journey home to San Clemente, California. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald R. Ford was sworn in as the 38th president of the United States in the East Room of the White House. After taking the oath of office, President Ford spoke to the nation in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.” He later pardoned Nixon for any crimes he may have committed while in office, explaining that he wanted to end the national divisions created by the Watergate scandal.
1220 – Sweden is defeated by Estonian tribes in the Battle of Lihula.
1503 – King James IV of Scotland marries Margaret Tudor, daughter of King Henry VII of England at Holyrood Abbey, Edinburgh, Scotland.
1585 – John Davis enters Cumberland Sound in search of the Northwest Passage.
1588 – Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines – The naval engagement ends, ending the Spanish Armada’s attempt to invade England.
1647 – The Irish Confederate Wars and Wars of the Three Kingdoms: Battle of Dungans Hill – English Parliamentary forces defeat Irish forces.
1709 – Bartolomeu de Gusmao demonstrates the lifting power of hot air in an audience before the King of Portugal in Lisbon
1786 – Mont Blanc on the French – Italian border is climbed for the first time by Jacques Balmat and Dr Michel-Gabriel Paccard.
1793 – The insurrection of Lyon occurs during the French Revolution.
1794 – Joseph Whidbey and George Vancouver lead an expedition to search for the Northwest Passage near Juneau, Alaska.
1839 – Beta Theta Pi is founded in Oxford, Ohio.
1844 – The Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, headed by Brigham Young, is reaffirmed as the leading body of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church).
1863 – American Civil War: following his defeat in the Battle of Gettysburg, General Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis (which is refused upon receipt).
1876 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for his mimeograph.
1908 – Wilbur Wright makes his first flight at a racecourse at Le Mans, France. It is the Wright Brothers’ first public flight.
1910 – The US Army installs the first tricycle landing gear on the Army’s Wright Flyer.
1911 – The millionth patent is filed in the United States Patent Office by Francis Holton for a tubeless vehicle tire.
1911 – Public Law 62-5 sets the number of representatives in the United States House of Representatives at 435. The law would come into effect in 1913.
1918 – World War I: the Battle of Amiens begins a string of almost continuous victories with a push through the German front lines (Hundred Days Offensive).
1929 – The German airship Graf Zeppelin begins a round-the-world flight.
1931 – Workers go on strike at the Hoover dam.
1938 – The building of Mauthausen concentration camp begins.
1940 – The “Aufbau Ost” directive is signed by Wilhelm Keitel.
1942 – World War II: in Washington, DC, six German would-be saboteurs (Operation Pastorius) are executed.
1942 – The Quit India resolution is passed by the Bombay session of the AICC, leading to the start of a civil disobedience movement across India.
1945 – World War II: the Soviet Union declares war on Japan and begins the Manchurian Strategic Offensive Operation.
1945 – The United Nations Charter is signed by the United States, which becomes the third nation to join.
1946 – First flight of the Convair B-36.
1949 – Bhutan becomes independent.
1960 – South Kasai secedes from the Congo.
1963 – Great Train Robbery: in England, a gang of 15 train robbers steal 2.6 million pounds in bank notes.
1968– Juro Wada successfully performs Japan’s first heart transplant.
1973 – U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew appears on television to denounce accusations he had taken kickbacks while governor of Maryland.
1974 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announces his resignation, effective the next day.
1976 – As part of the ABA-NBA merger agreement, a dispersal draft was conducted to assign teams for the players on the two ABA franchises which had folded.
1988 – The lights are turned on at Wrigley Field for the first time, making it the last major league stadium to host night games. (The game, against the Philadelphia Phillies, is rained out after three-and-a-half innings.)
1989 – Space Shuttle program: STS-28 Mission – Space Shuttle Columbia takes off on a secret five-day military mission.
1990 – Iraq occupies Kuwait and the state is annexed to Iraq. This would lead to the Gulf War shortly afterward.
1991 – The Warsaw radio mast, at one time the tallest construction ever built, collapses.
2000 – Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley is raised to the surface after 136 years on the ocean floor and 30 years after its discovery by undersea explorer E. Lee Spence and 5 years after being filmed by a dive team funded by novelist Clive Cussler.
2007 – An EF2 tornado touches down in Kings County and Richmond County, New York State, the most powerful tornado in New York to date and the first in Brooklyn since 1889.
* Christian Feast Day:
* Dominic de Guzman, founder of the Dominican Order.
* Mary MacKillop
* Smaragdus (and companions)
* August 8 (Eastern Orthodox liturgics)
* Earliest day on which Melon Day can fall, while August 14 is the latest; celebrated on the second Sunday in August. (Turkmenistan)
* Farmer’s Day or Nane Nane, Swahili for “8-8”. (Tanzania)
* Father’s Day or Ba ba Day, Ba Ba is Mandarin for “father” and “8-8”, or August 8. (Taiwan)
* Flag Day, namesday of Queen Silvia. (Sweden)