The Vietnam Memorial in Washington D.C. opened to visitors for the first time. (1982) US President Reagan joined the opening day ceremony and listened while the names of those who died in the Vietnam War were read aloud. The memorial wall was dedicated three days later on November 13.
Kate Smith sang God Bless America for the first time. (1938) The song, which became Smith's signature song, was written by Irving Berlin in 1918 and revised in 1938. It often is sung at US sporting events.
The Iwo Jima Memorial was dedicated. (1954) The memorial, also known as the US Marine Corps (USMC) War Memorial, was dedicated by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower in Arlington National Cemetery. The memorial honors US Marines who have died in service.
The US Marine Corps was founded. (1775) The Marine Corps was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, at the Tun Tavern by Captain Samuel Nicholas. He formed the Marines as part of the Naval Infantry to fight during the American Revolutionary War.
The first coast-to-coast direct-dial telephone service began in the United States. (1951) The first call was made by M. Leslie Denning, then mayor of Englewood, New Jersey. He called the Mayor of Alameda, California.
A US municipal government was overthrown for the first — and only — time in the nation's history. (1898) In what became known as the Wilmington Insurrection of 1898, a white supremacist mob led by Alfred Moore Waddell overthrew the Wilmington, North Carolina, city government. White supremacists were unhappy with the strong biracial political parties in the city and the increasing rights that were being granted to black people. Waddell became the city's new mayor by 4 p.m. that same day. The event set back the civil rights movement in North Carolina by decades.
The end of World War I was announced in a secret cable sent to a Western Union Cable Office in Nova Scotia. (1918) Western Union forwarded the message to Washington D.C., and Ottawa, Ontario. The message declared that fighting would cease on November 11. The armistice that ended the war between Germany and the Allied was indeed signed on November 11.
The windshield wiper was patented. (1903) The patent was issued to Mary Anderson, a resident of Birmingham, Alabama. She tried to sell her invention to a manufacturing firm in Canada, but the offer was rejected as having no practical value. Others belittled her creation as well, insisting it would distract drivers and result in accidents. In the end, her patent expired before she was able to profit from her invention.
The only person executed for war crimes during the American Civil War was hanged. (1865) The man, Major Henry Wirz, was the superintendent of Camp Sumter, a prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia. He was executed for murder and conspiracy.
The American children's show Sesame Street broadcast for the first time. (1969) The show was broadcast by the National Educational Television network, which later became the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS).
The SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank in the worst disaster in Lake Superior's history. (1975) All 29 crew members were killed when the ship sank during a violent storm. The event became the subject of a well-known song by Gordon Lightfoot, The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
The biggest peacetime evacuation in Canadian history took place. (1979) The evacuation occurred after a 106-car freight train derailed, spilling poisonous chemicals and explosives, resulting in a huge explosion. The evacuation also was one of the largest in the history of North America.
The American Legion held its first national convention. (1919) The US military veterans organization met in Minneapolis, Minnesota.