What Happened on November 11?

  • World War I ended. (1918) The war came to and end when the Allies and Germany signed an armistice agreement on this day. Officially, fighting ended at 11 a.m. — 11-11-11, which traditionally is remembered with two minutes of silence each year.

  • The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was dedicated in the US. (1921) US President Warren G. Harding dedicated the tomb, also called the Tomb of the Unknowns, which is located at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C. The tomb honors those who have died in US military service but could not be identified.

  • The first college fraternity in the US was established. (1750) The Flat Hat Club, also called the F.H.C. Society, was established in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the College of William and Mary.

  • The first aircraft carrier strike in world history was launched. (1940) The airborne strike was launched by the United Kingdom's Royal Navy against an Italian Navy fleet during World War II.

  • NASA launched Gemini 12. (1966) The mission was significant because it established that astronauts could easily work outside the spacecraft and perform extravehicular activity. The "underwater training" used to teach the astronauts techniques for working outside spacecrafts became the standard training procedure for all future missions.

  • Direct US involvement in the Vietnam War ended. (1972) The US handed over its Long Binh base to the South Vietnamese, symbolizing the end of its involvement in the war. The base was the largest US military installation outside US borders at the time.

  • The sale of Van Gogh's painting Irises set a new world record for art sales. (1987) The painting was purchased by an anonymous buyer for $53.9 million US Dollars (USD). The record since has been broken several times.

  • The Church of England agreed to allow women to become priests for the first time. (1992) The Church of England's governing body, the General Synod, voted to amend the Canons and allow women to be ordained as priests.

  • The US government lowered the military draft age to 18. (1942) The US Congress approved changing the minimum age to 18 from 21 in order to increase the number of servicemen available to fight in World War II.

  • Integral calculus was demonstrated for the first time. (1675) German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz introduced what became one of the basic tools in calculus: y = ƒ(x). He also introduced several of the commonly used symbols, such as the elongated "s" used as the integral symbol: ∫.

  • US Midwest states recorded record high and low temperatures, all in the same day. (1911) Called the "Great Blue Norther of 11/11/11," the strange weather conditions were caused by a storm system that separated the freezing cold air from the hot, humid air. The records set in Oklahoma City, with a high of 83°F (about 28.3°C) and a low of 17°F (about -8°C), have held for nearly 100 years.

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