February Anniversaries

Momentous or merely memorable

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25 YEARS AGO: MIRACLE TEAM

With the score tied at 3-3, American Mike Eruzione slams the puck into the Soviet Union's goal in the hockey "game of the century" at the 1980 Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. The underdog U.S. team's win over the Soviets, gold medalists since 1964, boosts spirits leveled by the Iran hostage crisis. Two days later the U.S. beats Finland for the gold.


60 YEARS AGO: BEST-LAID PLANS

Yalta, 1945: "Big Three" Allied leaders Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin begin planning for a postwar Europe. They agree to divide authority over a defeated Germany and about Soviet entry into the war with Japan, but an agreement to foster free elections in Poland and Eastern Europe will not last; Stalin retains power there, and U.S.-Soviet relations chill to the point of a cold war.


140 YEARS AGO: FREE SPEECH

Abolitionist minister Henry Highland Garnet preaches to a packed chamber in the U.S. House of Representatives, the first African-American to speak there, in 1865. "Emancipate, enfranchise, educate," he cries in a Sunday morning sermon against slavery, and calls for the ratification of the recently passed 13th Amendment banning it. By year's end it is ratified. Garnet dies in Liberia in 1882.


100 YEARS AGO: THEY ALSO SERVE

Hoping to cultivate business contacts, Chicago lawyer Paul Harris founds the Rotary Club in 1905 for friends to network. Members "rotate" host duties, and after giving a horse to a local doctor in 1907, make civic service top priority. Required to admit women in 1987, America's first service club today boasts 1.2 million members worldwide. Harris dies in 1947.


75 YEARS AGO: FARSIGHTED

Scanning images taken with a 13-inch telescope at Arizona's Lowell Observatory in 1930, Clyde Tombaugh, 24, discovers a needle in a haystack: Pluto, long suspected to exist but never before seen. The tiny, distant orb—it is two-thirds the size of our Moon and at least 2.6 billion miles away—remains the only planet not photographed at close range. Tombaugh dies in 1997.


60 YEARS AGO: CAPTURE THE FLAG

As U.S. Marines wage a costly battle to capture the strategically important Japanese island of Iwo Jima, AP photographer Joe Rosenthal snaps the most reproduced image of the war. His photograph of six G.I.'s raising a large U.S. flag, the second to go up, atop Mt. Suribachi becomes a symbol of hope and wins the Pulitzer Prize. It will appear on items from postage stamps to a Rose Parade float, and inspire the 1954 USMC War Memorial. Rosenthal, 94, lives in California.

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