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This Day in History

Sun, 9 May 2021

First Flight over the North Pole? (1926)

In 1926, aviators Floyd Bennett and Richard Byrd took off from Spitsbergen Island on what would be a historic flight. When they returned, they announced that they had flown over the North Pole, becoming the first to do so. Although both men received the Congressional Medal of Honor for the feat—and Byrd went on to make the first flight over the South Pole in 1929—many were skeptical about their North Pole claims. What diary entries have led many to believe they never reached the pole? Discuss

Sat, 8 May 2021

Coca-Cola Hits the Market as a Health Tonic (1886)

At a time when soda fountains were popular in the US due to the widespread belief that carbonated water was good for the health, American pharmacist John Pemberton came up with his own formula for a health tonic. Among its ingredients were cocaine, derived from the coca leaf, and caffeine, derived from the kola nut, leading to the name Coca-Cola. It was initially sold as a patent medicine for five cents a glass. What serious ailments did Pemberton claim Coca-Cola had the power to cure?

Fri, 7 May 2021

Suicidal Passenger Brings Down Pacific Air Lines Flight 773 (1964)

In early May, Francisco Gonzales—a disturbed former member of the Philippine Olympic sailing team—bought a gun and life insurance and began talking about killing himself. He followed through on his threat during a flight to San Francisco, but he did more than just end his own life; he took the lives of all 44 people on board by shooting both the pilot and co-pilot, causing the plane to crash. What cockpit security regulation—adopted before the flight—only went into effect after the tragic crash?

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