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On October 20, 1962, the White House press corps is told that President John F. Kennedy has a cold; in reality, he is holding secret meetings with advisors on the eve of ordering a blockade of Cuba.

Kennedy was in Seattle and scheduled to attend the Seattle Century 21 World’s Fair when his press secretary announced that he had contracted an “upper respiratory infection.” The president then flew back to Washington, where he supposedly went to bed to recover from his cold.

Four days earlier, Kennedy had seen photographic proof that the Soviets were building 40 ballistic missile sites on the island of Cuba, within striking distance of the United States. Kennedy’s supposed bed rest was actually a marathon secret session with advisors to decide upon a response to the Soviet action. The group believed that Kennedy had three choices: to negotiate with the Russians to remove the missiles; to bomb the missile sites in Cuba; or implement a naval blockade of the island. Kennedy chose to blockade Cuba, deciding to bomb the missile sites only if further action proved necessary.

The blockade began October 21 and, the next day, Kennedy delivered a public address alerting Americans to the situation and calling on Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev to remove the missiles or face retaliation by the United States. Khrushchev responded by sending more ships, possibly carrying military cargo, toward Cuba and allowing construction at the sites to continue. Over the following six days, the Cuban Missile Crisis, as it is now known, brought the world to the brink of global nuclear war while the two leaders engaged in tense negotiations via telegram and letter.

By October 28, Kennedy and Khrushchev had reached a settlement and people on both sides of the conflict breathed a collective but wary sigh of relief. The Cuban missile sites were dismantled and, in return, Kennedy agreed to close U.S. missile sites in Turkey.

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October 20th in music.
 
1962 - Bobby 'Boris' Pickett and the Crypt Kickers started a two week run at No.1 on the US singles chart with 'Monster Mash’, the most famous Halloween song of all time. Pickett's vocals are his impression of Boris Karloff, who was known for his role as Frankenstein's monster. The song had been banned by The BBC in the UK, deemed offensive.
 
Birthdays:
 
1950 - Tom Petty. American singer and songwriter. He was the frontman of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and was a founding member of the late 1980s supergroup the Traveling Wilburys and Mudcrutch. Born in Gainesville, Florida. Petty died on 2 October 2017.
 
1951 - Alan Greenwood. Keyboards, with English-American rock band Foreigner, who scored the 1985 US No. 1 single 'I Want To Know What Love Is'. They are one of the world's best-selling bands of all time with worldwide sales of more than 80 million records. Born in New York.
 
1964 - Jim Sonefeld. Drummer for Hootie & the Blowfish. Born in Lansing, Michigan.
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On October 21, 1805, in one of the most decisive naval battles in history, a British fleet under Admiral Lord Nelson defeats a combined French and Spanish fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar, fought off the coast of Spain.

At sea, Lord Nelson and the Royal Navy consistently thwarted Napoleon Bonaparte, who led France to preeminence on the European mainland. Nelson’s last and greatest victory against the French was the Battle of Trafalgar, which began after Nelson caught sight of a Franco-Spanish force of 33 ships. Preparing to engage the enemy force on October 21, Nelson divided his 27 ships into two divisions and signaled a famous message from the flagship Victory: “England expects that every man will do his duty.”

In five hours of fighting, the British devastated the enemy fleet, destroying 19 enemy ships. No British ships were lost, but 1,500 British seamen were killed or wounded in the heavy fighting. The battle raged at its fiercest around the Victory, and a French sniper shot Nelson in the shoulder and chest. The admiral was taken below and died about 30 minutes before the end of the battle. Nelson’s last words, after being informed that victory was imminent, were “Now I am satisfied. Thank God I have done my duty.”

Victory at the Battle of Trafalgar ensured that Napoleon would never invade Britain. Nelson, hailed as the savior of his nation, was given a magnificent funeral in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. A column was erected to his memory in the newly named Trafalgar Square, and numerous streets were renamed in his honor.

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October 21st in music.
 
1908 - The first two-sided vinyl record was offered for sale by the Columbia label in an ad running in this week's Saturday Evening Post.
 
1972 - Chuck Berry started a two week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with 'My Ding-A-Ling', his first and only US No. 1, 17 years after his first chart hit.
 
1977 - Meat Loaf releases the landmark album Bat Out Of Hell. Written by Jim Steinman and produced by Todd Rundgren, it's one of the most popular albums of the '70s, eventually selling over 14 million copies in America.
 
Birthdays:
 
1940 - Manfred Mann. South African–British keyboard player, guitarist, and vocalist Manfred Mann who had the 1964 US No. 1 single 'Do Wah Diddy Diddy' and with Manfred Mann's Earth Band hits include covers of Bruce Springsteen's 'For You', 'Blinded by the Light' and 'Spirit in the Night'. Born in Johannesburg, Transvaal, Union of South Africa.
 
1942 - Elvin Bishop. Guitarist, 1976 US No. 3 single 'Fooled Around And Fell In Love'. Member of Paul Butterfield Blues Band 65-68. Born in Glendale, California.
 
1946 - Lee Loughnane. American trumpeter, flugelhorn player, vocalist, and songwriter Lee Loughnane with Chicago who had the 1976 US No. 1 single 'If You Leave Me Now'. The band formed in 1967 in Chicago, Illinois as The Chicago Transit Authority before shortening the name in 1970. Chicago have had five consecutive No. 1 albums on the Billboard chart and 20 top-ten singles on the Billboard Hot 100. Born in Elmwood Park, Illinois.
 
1952 - Brent Mydland. American keyboardist and vocalist, best known for being in Grateful Dead from 1979 to 1990. His eleven-year tenure was longer than that of any other keyboardist in the band. Born in Munich, Germany. He was found dead on the floor of his home on 26th July 1990, aged 38, from a drug overdose.
 
1954 - Eric Faulkner. Scottish singer and guitarist of the 1970s pop group, Bay City Rollers who had the 1975 UK No. 1 single 'Bye Bye Baby' and the 1976 US No. 1 single 'Saturday Night'. Born in Edinburgh, Scotland.
 
1957 - Steve Lukather. American guitarist, singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer, who with Toto had the 1983 US No. 1 single 'Africa'. Lukather has recorded guitar tracks for more than 1,500 albums. Born in San Fernando Valley, California.
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On October 22, 1962, in a televised speech of extraordinary gravity, President John F. Kennedy announces on October 22, 1962 that U.S. spy planes have discovered Soviet missile bases in Cuba. These missile sites, under construction but nearing completion, housed medium-range missiles capable of striking a number of major cities in the United States, including Washington, D.C. Kennedy announced that he was ordering a naval “quarantine” of Cuba to prevent Soviet ships from transporting any more offensive weapons to the island and explained that the United States would not tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place. The president made it clear that America would not stop short of military action to end what he called a “clandestine, reckless and provocative threat to world peace.”

What is known as the Cuban Missile Crisis actually began on October 14, 1962, the day that U.S. intelligence personnel analyzing U-2 spy plane data discovered that the Soviets were building medium-range missile sites in Cuba. The next day, President Kennedy secretly convened an emergency meeting of his senior military, political, and diplomatic advisers to discuss the ominous development. The group became known as ExCom, short for Executive Committee. After rejecting a surgical air strike against the missile sites, ExCom decided on a naval quarantine and a demand that the bases be dismantled and missiles removed. On the night of October 22, Kennedy went on national television to announce his decision. During the next six days, the crisis escalated to a breaking point as the world tottered on the brink of nuclear war between the two superpowers.

On October 23, the quarantine of Cuba began, but Kennedy decided to give Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev more time to consider the U.S. action by pulling the quarantine line back 500 miles. By October 24, Soviet ships en route to Cuba capable of carrying military cargoes appeared to have slowed down, altered, or reversed their course as they approached the quarantine, with the exception of one ship, the tanker Bucharest. At the request of more than 40 nonaligned nations, U.N. Secretary General U. Thant sent private appeals to Kennedy and Khrushchev, urging that their governments “refrain from any action that may aggravate the situation and bring with it the risk of war.” At the direction of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, U.S. military forces went to DEFCON 2, the highest military alert ever reached in the postwar era, as military commanders prepared for full-scale war with the Soviet Union.

On October 25, the aircraft carrier USS Essex and the destroyer USS Gearing attempted to intercept the Soviet tanker Bucharest as it crossed over the U.S. quarantine of Cuba. The Soviet ship failed to cooperate, but the U.S. Navy restrained itself from forcibly seizing the ship, deeming it unlikely that the tanker was carrying offensive weapons. On October 26, Kennedy learned that work on the missile bases was proceeding without interruption, and ExCom considered authorizing a U.S. invasion of Cuba. The same day, the Soviets transmitted a proposal for ending the crisis: The missile bases would be removed in exchange for a U.S. pledge not to invade Cuba.

The next day, however, Khrushchev upped the ante by publicly calling for the dismantling of U.S. missile bases in Turkey under pressure from Soviet military commanders. While Kennedy and his crisis advisers debated this dangerous turn in negotiations, a U-2 spy plane was shot down over Cuba, and its pilot, Major Rudolf Anderson, was killed. To the dismay of the Pentagon, Kennedy forbid a military retaliation unless any more surveillance planes were fired upon over Cuba. To defuse the worsening crisis, Kennedy and his advisers agreed to dismantle the U.S. missile sites in Turkey but at a later date, in order to prevent the protest of Turkey, a key NATO member.

On October 28, Khrushchev announced his government’s intent to dismantle and remove all offensive Soviet weapons in Cuba. With the airing of the public message on Radio Moscow, the USSR confirmed its willingness to proceed with the solution secretly proposed by the Americans the day before. In the afternoon, Soviet technicians began dismantling the missile sites, and the world stepped back from the brink of nuclear war. The Cuban Missile Crisis was effectively over. In November, Kennedy called off the blockade, and by the end of the year all the offensive missiles had left Cuba. Soon after, the United States quietly removed its missiles from Turkey.

The Cuban Missile Crisis seemed at the time a clear victory for the United States, but Cuba emerged from the episode with a much greater sense of security.The removal of antiquated Jupiter missiles from Turkey had no detrimental effect on U.S. nuclear strategy, but the Cuban Missile Crisis convinced a humiliated USSR to commence a massive nuclear buildup. In the 1970s, the Soviet Union reached nuclear parity with the United States and built intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of striking any city in the United States.

A succession of U.S. administrations honored Kennedy’s pledge not to invade Cuba, and relations with the communist island nation situated just 80 miles from Florida remained a thorn in the side of U.S. foreign policy for more than 50 years. In 2015, officials from both nations announced the formal normalization of relations between the U.S and Cuba, which included the easing of travel restrictions and the opening of embassies and diplomatic missions in both countries.

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On October 22, 1797, the first parachute jump of note is made by André-Jacques Garnerin from a hydrogen balloon 3,200 feet above Paris.

Leonardo da Vinci conceived the idea of the parachute in his writings, and the Frenchman Louis-Sebastien Lenormand fashioned a kind of parachute out of two umbrellas and jumped from a tree in 1783, but André-Jacques Garnerin was the first to design and test parachutes capable of slowing a man’s fall from a high altitude.

Garnerin first conceived of the possibility of using air resistance to slow an individual’s fall from a high altitude while a prisoner during the French Revolution. Although he never employed a parachute to escape from the high ramparts of the Hungarian prison where he spent three years, Garnerin never lost interest in the concept of the parachute. In 1797, he completed his first parachute, a canopy 23 feet in diameter and attached to a basket with suspension lines.

On October 22, 1797, Garnerin attached the parachute to a hydrogen balloon and ascended to an altitude of 3,200 feet. He then clambered into the basket and severed the parachute from the balloon. As he failed to include an air vent at the top of the prototype, Garnerin oscillated wildly in his descent, but he landed shaken but unhurt half a mile from the balloon’s takeoff site. In 1799, Garnerin’s wife, Jeanne-Genevieve, became the first female parachutist. In 1802, Garnerin made a spectacular jump from 8,000 feet during an exhibition in England. He died in a balloon accident in 1823 while preparing to test a new parachute.

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October 22nd in music.

1966 - Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations’ made its debut on the US singles chart. Written by Brian Wilson and Mike Love. The record would reach No. 1 on the US charts in December 1966.

1969 - Led Zeppelin II was released on Atlantic Records in the UK. The Jimmy Page produced album which was recorded over six months between four European and three American tours, peaked at No. 1 in both the UK and US, going on to sell over 12 million copies in the US alone, (and spending 138 weeks on the UK chart). The album is now recognized by writers and music critics as one of the greatest and most influential rock albums ever recorded.

1976 - Bob Seger releases Night Moves, his first studio album to make an impact outside of Michigan.

1988 - Phil Collins started a two week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with his version of 'Groovy Kind Of Love', his 6th US No. 1. The song was also a hit for The Mindbenders, the group that backed Wayne Fontana in 1965.

2005 - Waterloo by ABBA was voted the best song in the history of the Eurovision Song Contest. Viewers in 31 countries across Europe voted during a special show in Copenhagen to celebrate the annual event's 50th birthday.

Birthdays:

1942 - Bobby Fuller. The Bobby Fuller Four. 1966 US No. 9 single 'I Fought The Law' written by Sonny Curtis of Buddy Holly's Crickets. Born in Baytown, Texas. Fuller died on 18th July 1966.

1946 - Eddie Brigati. American rock band, The Rascals (initially known as The Young Rascals) who had the US No. 1 hits 'Good Lovin'' (1966), 'Groovin'' (1967), and 'People Got to Be Free' (1968). Born in Garfield, New Jersey.

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On October 23, 1983, a suicide bomber drives a truck filled with 2,000 pounds of explosives into a U.S. Marine Corps barracks at the Beirut International Airport. The explosion killed 220 Marines, 18 sailors and three soldiers. A few minutes after that bomb went off, a second bomber drove into the basement of the nearby French paratroopers’ barracks, killing 58 more people. Four months after the bombing, American forces left Lebanon without retaliating.

The Marines in Beirut were part of a multinational peacekeeping force that was trying to broker a truce between warring Christian and Muslim Lebanese factions. In 1981, American troops had supervised the withdrawal of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) from Beirut and then had withdrawn themselves. They returned the next year. Eighteen hundred Marine peacekeepers moved into an old Israeli Army barracks near the airport, a fortress with two-foot–thick walls that could, it seemed, withstand anything. Even after a van bomb killed 46 people at the U.S. Embassy in April, the American troops maintained their non-martial stance: their perimeter fence remained relatively unfortified, for instance and their sentries’ weapons were unloaded.

At about 6:20 in the morning on October 23, 1983, a Lebanese terrorist plowed his bomb-laden truck through three guard posts, a barbed-wire fence, and into the lobby of the Marines Corps headquarters in Beirut, where he detonated a massive bomb, killing 241 marine, navy, and army personnel. The bomb, which was made of a sophisticated explosive enhanced by gas, had an explosive power equivalent to 18,000 pounds of dynamite. The identities of the embassy and barracks bombers were not determined, but they were suspected to be Shiite terrorists associated with Iran.

Eyewitnesses said that the force of the blast caused the entire building to float up above the ground for a moment before it pancaked down in a cloud of pulverized concrete and human remains. FBI investigators said that it was the largest non-nuclear explosion since World War II and certainly the most powerful car bomb ever detonated.

After the bombing, President Ronald Reagan expressed outrage at the “despicable act” and vowed that American forces would stay in Beirut until they could forge a lasting peace. In the meantime, he devised a plan to bomb the Hezbollah training camp in Baalbek, Lebanon, where intelligence agents thought the attack had been planned. However, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger aborted the mission, reportedly because he did not want to strain relations with oil-producing Arab nations. The next February, American troops withdrew from Lebanon altogether.

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October 23rd in music.
 
1961 - Dion started a two week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with 'Runaround Sue’.
 
1966 - The Yardbirds, in their first concert featuring Jimmy Page on lead guitar, open at San Francisco's Fillmore West.
 
1976 - Chicago started a two week run at No. 1 on the US singles chart with 'If You Leave Me Now'. It was the group's 18th Top 40 and first US No. 1. It went on to win a Grammy Award for Best Pop Vocal Performance.
 
1990 - AC/DC's Back In Black album is certified Diamond for US sales of 10 million.
 
1993 - Meat Loaf had his first US No. 1 with 'I'd Do Anything For Love' (But I Won't Do That'). A No. 1 in twenty-eight countries and also gave Meat Loaf his first UK No. 1 hit. It stayed at No. 1 for seven weeks.
 
Birthdays:
 
1959 - Weird Al Yankovic. Minor US hits parodying songs such as 'Eat It', Michael Jackson's 'Beat it' and 'Like A Surgeon', Madonna's 'Like A Virgin'. Born in Downey, California.
 
1943 - Greg Ridley. English rock bassist with Spooky Tooth and a founding member of Humble Pie. Born in Aspatria, Cumberland, England.
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On October 24, 1861, workers of the Western Union Telegraph Company link the eastern and western telegraph networks of the nation at Salt Lake City, Utah, completing a transcontinental line that for the first time allows instantaneous communication between Washington, D.C., and San Francisco. Stephen J. Field, chief justice of California, sent the first transcontinental telegram to President Abraham Lincoln, predicting that the new communication link would help ensure the loyalty of the western states to the Union during the Civil War.

The push to create a transcontinental telegraph line had begun only a little more than year before when Congress authorized a subsidy of $40,000 a year to any company building a telegraph line that would join the eastern and western networks. The Western Union Telegraph Company, as its name suggests, took up the challenge, and the company immediately began work on the critical link that would span the territory between the western edge of Missouri and Salt Lake City.

The obstacles to building the line over the sparsely populated and isolated western plains and mountains were huge. Wire and glass insulators had to be shipped by sea to San Francisco and carried eastward by horse-drawn wagons over the Sierra Nevada. Supplying the thousands of telegraph poles needed was an equally daunting challenge in the largely treeless Plains country, and these too had to be shipped from the western mountains. Indians also proved a problem. In the summer of 1861, a party of Sioux warriors cut part of the line that had been completed and took a long section of wire for making bracelets. Later, however, some of the Sioux wearing the telegraph-wire bracelets became sick, and a Sioux medicine man convinced them that the great spirit of the “talking wire” had avenged its desecration. Thereafter, the Sioux left the line alone, and the Western Union was able to connect the East and West Coasts of the nation much earlier than anyone had expected and a full eight years before the transcontinental railroad would be completed.

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On October 24, 1921, in the French town of Chalons-sur-Marne, an American officer selects the body of the first “Unknown Soldier” to be honored among the approximately 77,000 United States servicemen killed on the Western Front during World War I.

According to the official records of the Army Graves Registration Service deposited in the U.S. National Archives in Washington, four bodies were transported to Chalons from the cemeteries of Aisne-Marne, Somme, Meuse-Argonne and Saint-Mihiel. All were great battlegrounds, and the latter two regions were the sites of two offensive operations in which American troops took a leading role in the decisive summer and fall of 1918. As the service records stated, the identity of the bodies was completely unknown: “The original records showing the internment of these bodies were searched and the four bodies selected represented the remains of soldiers of which there was absolutely no indication as to name, rank, organization or date of death.”

The four bodies arrived at the Hotel de Ville in Chalons-sur-Marne on October 23, 1921. At 10 o’clock the next morning, French and American officials entered a hall where the four caskets were displayed, each draped with an American flag. Sergeant Edward Younger, the man given the task of making the selection, carried a spray of white roses with which to mark the chosen casket. According to the official account, Younger “entered the chamber in which the bodies of the four Unknown Soldiers lay, circled the caskets three times, then silently placed the flowers on the third casket from the left. He faced the body, stood at attention and saluted.”

Bearing the inscription “An Unknown American who gave his life in the World War,” the chosen casket traveled to Paris and then to Le Havre, France, where it would board the cruiser Olympia for the voyage across the Atlantic. Once back in the United States, the Unknown Soldier was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near Washington, D.C.

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October 24th in music.
 
1971 - Don McLean's second album, American Pie, is released. Thanks to the title track, it goes to No. 1 and sends him from folk obscurity to pop stardom, a transition that proves challenging.
 
2000 - Lenny Kravitz releases his Greatest Hits album. Peaking at No. 2, the release marks his highest entry on the US albums chart. It also features the track "Again," which earns him his third consecutive Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance.
 
Birthdays:
 
1946 - Jerry Edmonton. Steppenwolf drummer, who had the 1969 US No. 2 hit single 'Born To Be Wild'. Steppenwolf sold over 25 million records worldwide, released eight gold albums and scored 12 Billboard Hot 100 singles. Born in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. He was killed in a car crash on 28th November 1993.
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On October 25, 1944, during the Battle of the Leyte Gulf, the Japanese deploy kamikaze (“divine wind”) bombers against American warships for the first time. It will prove costly, to both sides.

This decision to employ suicide bombers against the American fleet at Leyte, an island of the Philippines, was based on the failure of conventional naval and aerial engagements to stop the American offensive. Declared Japanese naval Capt. Motoharu Okamura: “I firmly believe that the only way to swing the war in our favor is to resort to crash-dive attacks with our planes…. There will be more than enough volunteers for this chance to save our country.”

The first kamikaze force was in fact composed of 24 volunteer pilots from Japan’s 201st Navy Air Group. The targets were U.S. escort carriers; one, the St. Lo, was struck by a A6M Zero fighter and sunk in less than an hour, killing 100 Americans. More than 5,000 kamikaze pilots died in the gulf battle, taking down 34 ships.

For their kamikaze raids, the Japanese employed both conventional aircraft and specially designed planes, called Ohka (“cherry blossom”) by the Japanese, but Baka (“fool”) by the Americans, who saw them as acts of desperation. The Baka was a rocket-powered plane that was carried toward its target attached to the belly of a bomber.

All told, more than 1,321 Japanese aircraft crash-dived their planes into Allied warships during the war, desperate efforts to reverse the growing Allied advantage in the Pacific. While approximately 3,000 Americans and Brits died because of these attacks, the damage done did not prevent the Allied capture of the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

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On October 25, 1774, the First Continental Congress sends a respectful petition to King George III to inform his majesty that if it had not been for the acts of oppression forced upon the colonies by the British Parliament, the American people would be standing behind British rule.

Despite the anger that the American public felt towards the United Kingdom after the British Parliament established the Coercive Acts, called the Intolerable Acts by the colonists, Congress was still willing to assert its loyalty to the king. In return for this loyalty, Congress asked the king to address and resolve the specific grievances of the colonies. The petition, written by Continental Congressman John Dickinson, laid out what Congress felt was undue oppression of the colonies by the British Parliament. Their grievances mainly had to do with the Coercive Acts, a series of four acts that were established to punish colonists and to restore order in Massachusetts following the Boston Tea Party.

The first of the Coercive Acts was the Boston Port Act, which closed the port of Boston to all colonists until damages from the Boston Tea Party were paid. The second, the Massachusetts Government Act, gave the British government total control of town meetings, taking all decisions out of the hands of the colonists. The third, the Administration of Justice Act, made British officials immune to criminal prosecution in America and the fourth, the Quartering Act, required colonists to house and quarter British troops on demand, including in private homes as a last resort.

The king did not respond to the petition to Congress’ satisfaction and eight months later on July 6, 1775, the Second Continental Congress adopted a resolution entitled “Declaration of the Causes and Necessity of Taking Up Arms.” Written by John Dickinson and Thomas Jefferson, the resolution laid out the reasons for taking up arms and starting a violent revolution against British rule of the colonies.

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On October 25, 1983, President Ronald Reagan, citing the threat posed to American nationals on the Caribbean nation of Grenada by that nation’s Marxist regime, orders the Marines to invade and secure their safety. There were nearly 1,000 Americans in Grenada at the time, many of them students at the island’s medical school. In little more than a week, Grenada’s government was overthrown.

The situation on Grenada had been of concern to American officials since 1979, when the leftist Maurice Bishop seized power and began to develop close relations with Cuba. In 1983, another Marxist, Bernard Coard, had Bishop assassinated and took control of the government. Protesters clashed with the new government and violence escalated. Citing the danger to the U.S. citizens in Grenada, Reagan ordered nearly 2,000 U.S. troops into the island, where they soon found themselves facing opposition from Grenadan armed forces and groups of Cuban military engineers, in Grenada to repair and expand the island’s airport. Matters were not helped by the fact that U.S. forces had to rely on minimal intelligence about the situation. (The maps used by many of them were, in fact, old tourist maps of the island.) Reagan ordered in more troops, and by the time the fighting was done, nearly 6,000 U.S. troops were in Grenada. Nearly 20 of these troops were killed and over a hundred wounded; over 60 Grenadan and Cuban troops were killed. Coard’s government collapsed and was replaced by one acceptable to the United States.

A number of Americans were skeptical of Reagan’s defense of the invasion, noting that it took place just days after a disastrous explosion in a U.S. military installation in Lebanon killed over 240 U.S. troops, calling into question the use of military force to achieve U.S. goals. Nevertheless, the Reagan administration claimed a great victory, calling it the first “rollback” of communist influence since the beginning of the Cold War.

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October 25th in music.
 
1968 - Led Zeppelin played their first gig with their new name after initially performing as The New Yardbirds, at Surrey University, England. In 2003 a poster for the Surrey gig (billing the group as The New Yardbirds) sold at auction for $3,300.
 
1969 - 'Sugar Sugar' by The Archies was at No. 1 in the US, selling over six million copies worldwide. The Archies were a rock group based on comic book characters.
 
1970 - Led Zeppelin's LP Led Zeppelin III hits No. 1.
 
1977 - Elton John appears on The Muppet Show, where he performs "Crocodile Rock," "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," and "Don't Go Breaking My Heart." Elton is one of the inspirations for Dr. Teeth of the Muppets' house band, The Electric Mayhem.
 
1986 - Bon Jovi went to No. 1 on the US album chart with 'Slippery When Wet'. Featuring two US No. 1 singles, 'You Give Love A Bad Name' and 'Livin' On A Prayer'. The album went on to sell over 8 million copies world wide.
 
Birthdays:
 
1944 - Jon Anderson. English singer and songwriter Jon Anderson, who was a member of The Warriors, and Yes who scored the 1983 US No. 1 single 'Owner Of A Lonely Heart'. Anderson is also noted for his solo career and collaborations with other artists, including Vangelis as Jon and Vangelis. Born in Accrington, Lancashire, England.
 
1944 - Taffy Danoff. From American pop group Starland Vocal Band, who had the 1976 US No. 1 single 'Afternoon Delight' one of the biggest-selling singles of 1976. Born in Washington, D.C.
 
1948 - Glenn Tipton. Judas Priest English Grammy Award-winning guitar player and songwriter. Born in Blackheath, England.
 
1955 - Matthias Jabs born. From German rock band Scorpions. Their 1990 power ballad 'Wind Of Change' topped the European charts and was a No. 4 hit in the US. The Scorpions hold the record for the best-selling single by a German artist and band. Born in Hannover, Germany.
 
1962 - Chad Smith. Drummer, Red Hot Chili Peppers. Born in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
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On October 26, 1942, the last U.S. carrier manufactured before America’s entry into World War II, the Hornet, is damaged so extensively by Japanese war planes in the Battle of Santa Cruz that it must be abandoned.

The battle for Guadalcanal was the first American offensive against the Japanese, an attempt to prevent the Axis power from taking yet another island in the Solomon chain and gaining more ground in its race for Australia. On this day, in the vicinity of the Santa Cruz Islands, two American naval task forces had to stop a superior Japanese fleet, which was on its way to Guadalcanal with reinforcements. As was the case in the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942, the engagement at Santa Cruz was fought exclusively by aircraft taking off from carriers of the respective forces; the ships themselves were not in range to fire at one another.

Japanese aerial fire damaged the USS Enterprise, the battleship South Dakota, and finally the Hornet. In fact, the explosions wrought by the Japanese bombs that rained down on the Hornet were so great that two of the Japanese bombers were themselves crippled by the blasts, and the pilots chose to dive-bomb their planes into the deck of the American carrier, which was finally abandoned and left to burn. The Hornet, which weighed 20,000 tons, had seen battle during the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo (its commander at the time, Marc Mitscher, was promoted to admiral and would be a significant player in the victory over Japan) and the Battle of Midway.

While the United States losses at Santa Cruz were heavy, the cost in aircraft to the Japanese was so extensive, more than 100, including 25 of the 27 bombers that attacked the Hornet, that they were unable finally to reinforce their troops at Guadalcanal, paving the way for an American victory.

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On October 26, 1776, exactly one month to the day after being named an agent of a diplomatic commission by the Continental Congress, Benjamin Franklin sets sail from Philadelphia for France, with which he was to negotiate and secure a formal alliance and treaty.

In France, the accomplished Franklin was feted throughout scientific and literary circles and he quickly became a fixture in high society. While his personal achievements were celebrated, Franklin’s diplomatic success in France was slow in coming. Although it had been secretly aiding the Patriot cause since the outbreak of the American Revolution, France felt it could not openly declare a formal allegiance with the United States until they were assured of an American victory over the British.

For the next year, Franklin made friends with influential officials throughout France, while continuing to push for a formal alliance. France continued to secretly support the Patriot cause with shipments of war supplies, but it was not until the American victory over the British at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777 that France felt an American victory in the war was possible.

A few short months after the Battle of Saratoga, representatives of the United States and France, including Benjamin Franklin, officially declared an alliance by signing the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance on February 6, 1778. The French aid that these agreements guaranteed was crucial to the eventual American victory over the British in the War for Independence.

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On October 26, 1775, King George III speaks before both houses of the British Parliament to discuss growing concern about the rebellion in America, which he viewed as a traitorous action against himself and Great Britain. He began his speech by reading a “Proclamation of Rebellion” and urged Parliament to move quickly to end the revolt and bring order to the colonies.

The king spoke of his belief that “many of these unhappy people may still retain their loyalty, and may be too wise not to see the fatal consequence of this usurpation, and wish to resist it, yet the torrent of violence has been strong enough to compel their acquiescence, till a sufficient force shall appear to support them.” With these words, the king gave Parliament his consent to dispatch troops to use against his own subjects, a notion that his colonists believed impossible.

Just as the Continental Congress expressed its desire to remain loyal to the British crown in the Olive Branch Petition, delivered to the monarch on September 1, so George III insisted he had “acted with the same temper; anxious to prevent, if it had been possible, the effusion of the blood of my subjects; and the calamities which are inseparable from a state of war; still hoping that my people in America would have discerned the traitorous views of their leaders, and have been convinced, that to be a subject of Great Britain, with all its consequences, is to be the freest member of any civil society in the known world.” King George went on to scoff at what he called the colonists’ “strongest protestations of loyalty to me,” believing them disingenuous, “whilst they were preparing for a general revolt.”

Unfortunately for George III, Thomas Paine’s anti-monarchical argument in the pamphlet, Common Sense, published in January 1776, proved persuasive to many American colonists. The two sides had reached a final political impasse and the bloody War for Independence soon followed.

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On October 26, 1825, the Erie Canal opens, connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean via the Hudson River. Governor DeWitt Clinton of New York, the driving force behind the project, led the opening ceremonies and rode the canal boat Seneca Chief from Buffalo to New York City.

Work began on the waterway in August 1823. Teams of oxen plowed the ground, but for the most part the work was done by Irish diggers who had to rely on primitive tools. They were paid $10 a month, and barrels of whisky were placed along the canal route as encouragement. West of Troy, 83 canal locks were built to accommodate the 500-foot rise in elevation. After more than two years of digging, the 425 mile Erie Canal was opened on October 26, 1825, by Governor Clinton.

The effect of the canal was immediate and dramatic. Settlers poured into western New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin. Goods were transported at one-tenth the previous fee in less than half the time. Barges of farm produce and raw materials traveled east, as manufactured goods and supplies flowed west. In nine years, tolls had paid back the cost of construction. Later enlarged and deepened, the canal survived competition from the railroads in the latter part of the 19th century. Today, the Erie Canal is used mostly by pleasure boaters, but it is still capable of accommodating heavy barges.

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October 26th in music.
 
Birthdays:
 
1946 - Keith Hopwood. Guitarist with English beat rock band, Herman's Hermits who had the 1964 single 'I'm Into Something Good' and the 1965 US No. 1 single 'Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter'. Born in Manchester, England.
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On October 27, 1873, a De Kalb, Illinois, farmer named Joseph Glidden submits an application to the U.S. Patent Office for his clever new design for a fencing wire with sharp barbs, an invention that will forever change the face of the American West.

Glidden’s was by no means the first barbed wire; he only came up with his design after seeing an exhibit of Henry Rose’s single-stranded barbed wire at the De Kalb county fair. But Glidden’s design significantly improved on Rose’s by using two strands of wire twisted together to hold the barbed spur wires firmly in place. Glidden’s wire also soon proved to be well suited to mass production techniques, and by 1880 more than 80 million pounds of inexpensive Glidden-style barbed wire was sold, making it the most popular wire in the nation. Prairie and plains farmers quickly discovered that Glidden’s wire was the cheapest, strongest, and most durable way to fence their property. As one fan wrote, “it takes no room, exhausts no soil, shades no vegetation, is proof against high winds, makes no snowdrifts, and is both durable and cheap.”

The effect of this simple invention on the life in the Great Plains was huge. Since the plains were largely treeless, a farmer who wanted to construct a fence had little choice but to buy expensive and bulky wooden rails shipped by train and wagon from distant forests. Without the alternative offered by cheap and portable barbed wire, few farmers would have attempted to homestead on the Great Plains, since they could not have afforded to protect their farms from grazing herds of cattle and sheep. Barbed wire also brought a speedy end to the era of the open-range cattle industry. Within the course of just a few years, many ranchers discovered that thousands of small homesteaders were fencing over the open range where their cattle had once freely roamed, and that the old technique of driving cattle over miles of unfenced land to railheads in Dodge City or Abilene was no longer possible.

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On October 27, 1962, complicated and tension-filled negotiations between the United States and the Soviet Union finally result in a plan to end the two-week-old Cuban Missile Crisis. A frightening period in which nuclear holocaust seemed imminent began to come to an end. 

Since President John F. Kennedy’s October 22 address warning the Soviets to cease their reckless program to put nuclear weapons in Cuba and announcing a naval “quarantine” against additional weapons shipments into Cuba, the world held its breath waiting to see whether the two superpowers would come to blows. U.S. armed forces went on alert and the Strategic Air Command went to a Stage 4 alert (one step away from nuclear attack). On October 24, millions waited to see whether Soviet ships bound for Cuba carrying additional missiles would try to break the U.S. naval blockade around the island. At the last minute, the vessels turned around and returned to the Soviet Union.

On October 26, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev responded to the quarantine by sending a long and rather disjointed letter to Kennedy offering a deal: Soviet ships bound for Cuba would “not carry any kind of armaments” if the United States vowed never to invade Cuba. He pleaded, “let us show good sense,” and appealed to Kennedy to “weigh well what the aggressive, piratical actions, which you have declared the U.S.A. intends to carry out in international waters, would lead to.” 

 He followed this with another letter the next day offering to remove the missiles from Cuba if the United States would remove its nuclear missiles from Turkey. Kennedy and his officials debated the proper U.S. response to these offers. Attorney General Robert Kennedy ultimately devised an acceptable plan: take up Khrushchev’s first offer and ignore the second letter.

Although the United States had been considering the removal of the missiles from Turkey for some time, agreeing to the Soviet demand for their removal might give the appearance of weakness. Nevertheless, behind the scenes, Russian diplomats were informed that the missiles in Turkey would be removed after the Soviet missiles in Cuba were taken away. This information was accompanied by a threat: If the Cuban missiles were not removed in two days, the United States would resort to military action. It was now Khrushchev’s turn to consider an offer to end the standoff.

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October 27th in music.
 
1957 - Buddy Holly and The Crickets started a three-week run at No. 1 on the UK singles chart with 'That'll Be The Day'. It was also a No. 3 hit in the US where it went on to sell over a million. The song was inspired by a trip to the movies by Holly, Jerry Allison and Sonny Curtis in June 1956. The John Wayne film The Searchers was playing and Wayne's catchphrase, “That'll be the day.” inspired the young musicians.
 
Birthdays:
 
1949 - Byron Allred. Keyboards, Steve Miller Band. Born in Logan, Utah.
 
1951 - K. K. Downing. English guitarist and songwriter, and one of the founding members of the British heavy metal band Judas Priest. Downing officially left Judas Priest in 2011. Born in West Bromwich, England.
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On October 28, 1962, Soviet Premier Nikita Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev orders withdrawal of missiles from Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1960, Khrushchev had launched plans to install medium and intermediate range ballistic missiles in Cuba that would put the eastern United States within range of nuclear attack. In the summer of 1962, U.S. spy planes flying over Cuba had photographed construction work on missile facilities. President John F. Kennedy announced a naval blockade to prevent the arrival of more missiles and demanded that the Soviets dismantle and remove the weapons already in Cuba. 

The situation was extremely tense and could have resulted in war between the United States and the Soviet Union, but at the last minute, Khrushchev turned the Soviet ships around that were to deliver more missiles to Cuba and agreed to dismantle and remove the weapons that were already there. Kennedy and his advisers had stared the Soviets down and the apparent capitulation of the Soviet Union in the standoff was instrumental in Khrushchev’s being deposed in 1964. Khrushchev orders withdrawal of missiles from Cuba, ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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