December 21, 1968 – Apollo 8 launches and becomes the first maned flight to leaves the Earth’s orbit and travel to another planet. These very brave men left home and travelled for three days to the Moon which they orbited ten times. They were the first humans to see the whole planet, as well as the far side of the moon. On Christmas Eve, they made a live television broadcast and read the first ten verses from the Book of Genesis which was, at the time, the most watched television broadcast ever. Back on Earth, the world marveled when, for the first time, we actually left our planet and were able to see it as it looks from space. The dreams of man, from the very earliest days were soon at hand.
In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called the Seas: and God saw that it was good.
December 20, 1960 – Human beings have been living in Southeast Asia for a long, long time. For roughly a thousand years, the Chinese dominated the area between China and India. Then there followed several hundred years of evolution, as the borders of China and Southeast Asia were defined. Between 1859 and 1885, French Colonial Imperialism [a system whereby European powers like France could seize control of an area, its assets (a/k/a capital), and claim it as their own — forcing their government, religion and culture on the indigenous peoples] gradually eroded the power of Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos and in 1890 consolidated them into French IndoChina with its capital in Hanoi. Establishing large plantations for the export of indigo, tobacco, tea and coffee [a familiar formula in India, Africa, and the Americas] the greatest French influence centered around Saigon in South Vietnam. During WWII, the Vichy French administered the area under Japanese occupation. [When the Third Republic (1870 – 1940) surrendered to Nazi Germany in 1940, the Vichy Government (1940 -1944) were forced to conceded control to Germany’s ally Japan and exports were diverted to the Japanese war machine.] In 1941 the Viet Minh, lead by communist Ho Chi Minh, was formed to fight for independence from the French Empire. During the war they fought underground against the Japanese. After the war, the French were driven out and the Geneva Accords of 1954 split the country in two. Ho Chi Minh founded the communist Democratic Republic of Vietnam with Hanoi as its capital in the north while in the south, an anti-communist State of Vietnam was formed. In 1960, at a communist party meeting, the National Front for the Liberation of Vietnam was formed to combat the government formed in Saigon with the objective a forming a unified, communist Vietnam. Their ideology was extreme, and they would stop at nothing to win. These were not nice people.
On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hits his 715th career home run and breaks the long-standing record held by Babe Ruth. Aaron’s record-breaking 715th homer came in the fourth inning of the Braves’ home opener against the Los Angeles Dodgers, with over 53,000 fans in attendance at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Aaron hit a pitch off lefthander Al Downing and the ball went sailing over the fence in left center field. After Aaron rounded the bases and reached home plate, he was lifted up and congratulated by his teammates. He then shook his father’s hand and hugged his mother. Sadly, in the months leading up to the new record, Aaron, who is African-American, received racist hate mail and death threats.-History.com
March 6, 1972 – A week after the North Vietnamese launch their Easter Offensive, President Nixon orders 120,000 American soldiers and 1200 tanks to support the South Vietnamese Army. By also ordering the Air Force and Navy to provide all available support, more than 225 air missions were launched in the first 3 days.
April 1, 1976 Apple is founded.
March 10, 1969 – career criminal and racist James Earl Ray pleads guilty to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ray had been in and out of prison several times and had been sentenced to 20 years in 1959. In 1967 he escaped prison and eluded capture moving around the United States, Canada and Mexico. He arrived in Atlanta, hometown of MLK, on March 24, 1968 and traveled to Memphis on April 2nd. While standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel, King was shot by an assassin on April 4th. On June 8, 1968, Ray was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport, allegedly en route to what was then called Rhodesia. Returned to the United States, Ray confesses to the killing but recants 3 days later. Eventually convicted, he is sentenced to 99 years in prison but would escape for 3 days in 1977. Over the years he repeatedly attempts to win a new trial claiming that he was not the killer but was involved in a conspiracy with a mysterious man named Raul. In 1997 King’s son meets with Ray and the King family publicly supports his efforts to obtain a retrial. They eventually concluded that Ray was innocent. Ray died in 1998, age 70, still claiming he was not the killer. Questions about a conspiracy, possibly involving government agencies, are never resolved. The only thing known for certain was Jay Edgar Hoover’s obsession with Martin Luther King.