Year
2013

Wallenda makes Grand Canyon crossing on high wire

On this day in 2013, 34-year-old aerialist Nik Wallenda becomes the first person to walk a high wire across the Little Colorado River Gorge near Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. Wallenda wasn’t wearing a safety harness as he made the quarter-mile traverse on a 2-inch-thick steel cable some 1,500 feet above the gorge. In June of the previous year, Wallenda, a member of the famous Flying Wallendas family of circus performers, became the first person to walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls.

Nik Wallenda learned to walk on a wire as a young boy, and made his professional debut as an aerialist at age 13. He went on to set a number of Guinness World Records, including the longest tightrope crossing on a bicycle and the highest eight-person tightrope pyramid. In 2011, Wallenda hung from a high-flying helicopter above Branson, Missouri, by his teeth. That same year, he and his mother successfully completed the high-wire walk in Puerto Rico that had killed Karl Wallenda.

On June 15, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to walk directly over Niagara Falls on a high wire. He crossed an 1,800-foot-long, 7-ton wire from the U.S. side of the falls to the Canadian side at a height of around 200 feet in about 25 minutes. Because the event was televised around the world, broadcast officials required the famous funambulist to wear a safety tether in case he fell.

The following June, Wallenda made his Grand Canyon traverse. Wearing jeans and a T-shirt and holding a 43-pound balancing pole, he prayed out loud as he walked untethered across a 1,400-foot-long, 8.5-ton cable suspended 1,500 feet above the Little Colorado River. It was the highest walk of his career, and he completed it in just less than 23 minutes.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Nasser elected president

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Klaus Fuchs released

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Teflon Don sentenced to life

Mafia boss John Gotti, who was nicknamed the “Teflon Don” after escaping unscathed from several trials during the 1980s, is sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty on 14 accounts of conspiracy to commit murder and racketeering. Moments after his sentence was read in ...read more

Hitler takes a tour of Paris

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First Battle of the Isonzo

On June 23, 1915, exactly one month after Italy declared war on Austria-Hungary, the Italian army attacks Austro-Hungarian positions near the Isonzo River, in the eastern section of the Italian front; it will become the first of twelve Battles of the Isonzo fought during World ...read more

North Vietnamese encircle Ben Het

Ben Het, a U.S. Special Forces camp located 288 miles northeast of Saigon and six miles from the junction of the Cambodian, Laotian and South Vietnamese borders, is besieged and cut off by 2,000 North Vietnamese troops using artillery and mortars. The base was defended by 250 ...read more

Title IX enacted

On this day in 1972, Title IX of the education amendments of 1972 is enacted into law. Title IX prohibits federally funded educational institutions from discriminating against students or employees based on sex. It begins: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of ...read more

Nixon signs Higher Education Act

On this day in 1972, President Richard Nixon signs into law the Higher Education Act, which includes the groundbreaking Title IX legislation. Title IX barred discrimination in higher education programs, including funding for sports and other extracurricular activities. As a ...read more

Haldeman encourages Nixon to ward off FBI

On this day in 1973, President Richard Nixon’s advisor, H.R. Haldeman, tells the president to put pressure on the head of the FBI to “stay the hell out of this [Watergate burglary investigation] business.” In essence, Haldeman was telling Nixon to obstruct justice, which is one ...read more

Frontiersman Martin Sweeny is murdered

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Tiffany visits the mall on her way to stardom

Long before Hannah Montana and High School Musical, in the late 1980s, a 16-year-old aspiring pop star named Tiffany Darwish had a self-titled debut album on a major record label that was gathering dust on record store shelves around the country. What transformed Tiffany the ...read more

Batman released

On this day in 1989, Tim Burton’s noir spin on the well-known story of the DC Comics hero Batman is released in theaters.Michael Keaton starred in the film as the multimillionaire Bruce Wayne, who has transformed himself into the crime-fighting Batman after witnessing his ...read more

Tornadoes hit West Virginia and Pennsylvania

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Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Aleksei Kosygin

Hopes for better U.S.-Soviet relations run high as U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson meets with Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin in Glassboro, New Jersey, for a three-day summit. The meeting ended inconclusively, however, as issues such as Vietnam and the Middle East continued to ...read more