Year
1964

Johnson announces appointment of Westmoreland

President Lyndon B. Johnson announces that Gen. William Westmoreland will replace Gen. Paul Harkins as head of U.S. Military Assistance Command Vietnam (MACV) as of June 20. The assignment would put Westmoreland in charge of all American military forces in Vietnam. One of the war’s most controversial figures, General Westmoreland was given many honors when the fighting was going well, but when the war turned sour, many Americans saw him as a cause of U.S. problems in Vietnam. Negative feeling about Westmoreland grew particularly strong following the Tet Offensive of 1968, when he had requested a large number of additional troops for deployment to Vietnam. On March 22, 1968, President Johnson announced that Westmoreland would depart South Vietnam to take on the post of Army Chief of Staff; Gen. Creighton Abrams replaced him as the senior U.S. commander in South Vietnam.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

The Flint water crisis begins

On April 25, 2014 officials from Flint, Michigan switched the city’s water supply to the Flint River as a cost-cutting measure for the struggling city. In doing so, they unwittingly introduced lead-poisoned water into homes, in what would become a massive public-health crisis. ...read more

Space telescope in orbit

The crew of the U.S. space shuttle Discovery places the Hubble Space Telescope, a long-term space-based observatory, into a low orbit around Earth. The space telescope, conceived in the 1940s, designed in the 1970s, and built in the 1980s, was designed to give astronomers an ...read more

Ground broken for Suez Canal

At Port Said, Egypt, ground is broken for the Suez Canal, an artificial waterway intended to stretch 101 miles across the isthmus of Suez and connect the Mediterranean and the Red seas. Ferdinand de Lesseps, the French diplomat who organized the colossal undertaking, delivered ...read more

Andropov writes to U.S. student

On this day in 1983, the Soviet Union releases a letter that Russian leader Yuri Andropov wrote to Samantha Smith, an American fifth-grader from Manchester, Maine, inviting her to visit his country. Andropov’s letter came in response to a note Smith had sent him in December 1982, ...read more

Maple Leafs win third Stanley Cup in a row

On April 25, 1964, the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the Detroit Red Wings, 4-0, and win the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup championship, four games to three. The victory marked the Maple Leafs’ third consecutive Stanley Cup victory. On their way to the 1963-1964 Stanley Cup ...read more

Ginger Rogers dies

On this day in 1995, the actress Ginger Rogers, best known for the 10 films she made with her dance partner Fred Astaire, dies at the age of 83. Born in Missouri, Rogers began taking dance and singing lessons as a toddler. By age five, she was appearing in commercials. At age 15, ...read more

Air tragedy hits Canary Islands

A Dan-Air Boeing 727 carrying British tourists to the Canary Islands crashes and kills all 146 on board on this day in 1980. This terrible crash came just three years after another even deadlier accident at the Canary Islands airport. In 1977, a KLM jumbo jet had collided with a ...read more

A father is exonerated after 21 years

James Richardson walks out of a Florida prison 21 years after being wrongfully convicted of killing his seven children. Special prosecutor Janet Reno agreed to the release after evidence showed that the conviction resulted from misconduct by the prosecutor. In addition, neighbor ...read more

Andropov writes to an American fifth-grader

The Soviet Union releases a letter that Russian leader Yuri Andropov wrote to Samantha Smith, an American fifth-grader. This rather unusual piece of Soviet propaganda was in direct response to President Ronald Reagan’s vigorous attacks on what he called “the evil empire” of the ...read more