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What Happened on July 20?

  • The first human walked on the moon. (1969) Apollo 11 was the first manned mission in the Apollo series to land on the moon. Neil Armstrong was the first person to walk on the moon, followed by Buzz Aldrin shortly afterwards. It was also the first mission to bring back samples from a foreign planetary body — the samples dated back 3.7 billion years.

  • The US spacecraft Viking 1 landed on Mars. (1976) Viking 1 was the first craft ever to land on Mars. It holds the record for having the second longest mission on Mars' surface: 6 years and 116 days. NASA terminated communications with the craft on August 17, 1980.

  • Ford shipped its first car. (1903) The company took its first order on July 15th for a two-cylinder Model A car for $850 US Dollars. The car shipped on this day to a Chicago dentist named Ernst Pfenning.

  • Hank Aaron hit his last home run, number 755. (1976) Aaron is considered one of the greatest players in Major League Baseball (MLB) history. He is perhaps most famous for breaking the record for career home runs, which he held until Barry Bonds topped him on September 23, 2006.

  • US President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term. (1944) President Roosevelt and his Vice President Harry S. Truman won 53% of the vote on November 7, 1944 — Roosevelt is the only US President elected to more than two terms. President Roosevelt died during his fourth term on April 12, 1945 and Truman became the 33rd President of the United States.

  • An assassination attempt on Hitler's life failed. (1944) The assassination plan, which had been in the works for weeks, was carefully planned by German Army Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg. After a couple of aborted attempts, Stauffenberg finally hid two bombs in a briefcase which he carried into a briefing room where Hitler was holding a meeting. After Stauffenberg left the room, the blast killed four people, but Hitler was shielded by the conference table and suffered only minor injuries.

  • Alice Mary Robertson became the first US Congresswoman to serve the US House of Representatives. (1921) Robertson was also the second woman ever to serve in the US Congress. She served from 1921 to 1923.

  • Canada legalized same-sex marriage. (2005) Canada was the fourth country to do so, following the Netherlands, Belgium and Spain.

  • The Special Olympics was founded. (1968) With competitions in more than 150 countries worldwide at the local, regional and national levels, the Special Olympics was founded as a competitive gathering for people with intellectual disabilities. The first games were held in Chicago, and more than 1,000 people from the US and Canada competed.

  • Bruce Lee died. (1973) Bruce Lee was an American actor and famous martial artist. He died unexpectedly at just 32 years old — he died from a reaction to a pain killer called Equagesic that he had taken for a headache.

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