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What Happened on July 2?

  • The world's first Walmart store opened. (1962) The store, called Wal-Mart Discount City, opened in Rogers, Arkansas. Walmart is now the largest grocery chain and private employer in the United States and has stores in Mexico, Japan, India, the United Kingdom, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Brazil and Canada. It has a total revenue of more than $400 billion US Dollars annually. The building that housed the first store is now a pawn shop and a hardware store.

  • The one millionth Corvette rolled off the assembly line. (1992) The one millionth Chevrolet sports car mimicked the first model that was produced in 1953 — a white roadster with a black roof and red interior. The first car sold for $3,760 US Dollars; the base price in 1992 was $33,635 US Dollars. In 2003, the Corvette became the first sports car in America to celebrate a 50th anniversary.

  • The world's first self-contained artificial heart was implanted. (2001) Robert Tools of Louisville, Kentucky, received the heart and lived for another 151 days. The "AbioCor" was the first artificial heart that could be surgically implanted completely inside a patient. It is approved for patients with a 30-day life expectancy.

  • Famed pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan disappeared while attempting the first flight around the world. (1937) The pair disappeared flying over the Pacific Ocean; no trace of them was ever found.

  • Steve Fossett was the first to fly around the world in a hot-air balloon. (2002) Fossett flew the solo, non-stop flight in the balloon Spirit of Freedom. The 20,626-mile (33,195-kilometer) trip took 14 days, 19 hours and 50 minutes. Upon landing, he was dragged on the ground for 20 minutes waiting for the balloon to stop. Fossett disappeared September 3, 2007, flying a plane in Nevada. Months later the plane crash site was discovered and Fossett was identified through DNA tests on two bones found at the scene.

  • The United States declared independence from Great Britain. (1776) The US Continental Congress adopted the resolution on this day; the formal Declaration of Independence was approved two days later on July 4.

  • US President James A. Garfield was assassinated. (1881) Charles J. Guiteau, a lawyer, shot President Garfield at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station, claiming God had commanded him to do so. His trial was the first big case in the US in which the insanity defense was considered. He was found guilty and was hanged on June 30, 1882.

  • American author Ernest Hemingway shot himself in the head. (1961) Hemingway's mental state had been deteriorating and he received more than 15 shock treatments from the Mayo Clinic which left him in much worse shape. He was released from his second stay at the Mayo Clinic in late June. On this day in 1961, he selected his favorite shot gun from the basement, went to the front foyer in his home, put the gun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. His wife Mary found him.

  • Witnesses saw an alien space craft crash near Roswell, New Mexico. (1947) The US Air Force claimed the craft was a weather balloon used in a classified project called "Mogul." Conspiracy theorists maintain that alien bodies were recovered from a spaceship.

  • A stampede of religious pilgrims in a tunnel in Mecca killed 1,400 people. (1990) The stampede was attributed to failures in law enforcement procedures and the high number of pilgrims in attendance. Each year, more than 2 million people make the pilgrimage.

  • The Susan B. Anthony coin, the first coin in the United States to honor a woman, entered circulation. (1979) Unfortunately, the coin was not popular and didn't circulate well. Almost 758 million were produced in 1979, but fewer than 90 million were produced in 1980 and 9.5 million in 1981. The coin was minted one last time in 1999, with 47.5 million coins produced. When production ceased, the US Treasury had hundreds of millions of unwanted coins.

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