News, Events, Birthdays, History - January 29 - February 4
January 29, 1737 - Thomas Paine
Thomas Paine left England poor and disgraced, but holding in his hands a letter of recommendation from none other than Benjamin Franklin. Paine would become active in the American Revolution, and author "Common Sense", a political tract that is widely credited for turning the hearts and minds of the colonists towards separation from Great Britain.
In a followup pamphlet entited "The Crisis", Paine wrote these famous words: "These are the times that try mens souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country, but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman."
January 29, 1880 - W.C. Fields
Fields was a stage and motion picture actor, screenwriter and expert juggler. Born Claude William Dukenfield at Philadelphia, PA. He wrote his own epitaph: "On the whole, I'd rather be in Philadelphia."
January 30, 1882 - Franklin Delano Roosevelt
32nd president of the US (Mar 4, 1933-Apr 12, 1945). The only president to serve more than two terms, FDR was elected four times. He supported the Allies in WWII before the US entered the struggle by supplying them with war materials through the Lend-Lease Act; he became deeply involved in broad decision making after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Dec 7, 1941. Born at Hyde Park, NY, he died a few months into his fourth term at Warm Springs, GA, Apr 12, 1945..
February 1, 2003 - Space Shuttle Columbia Disaster
Minutes before space shuttle Columbia was due to land after a successful 16-day scientific mission, it disintegrated 40 miles above the state of Texas, killing its seven-member crew. Commander Rick Husband, pilot William McCool, Michael Anderson, David Brown, Kalpana Chawla (first woman astronaut from India), Laurel Clark and Ilan Ramon (first Israeli astronaut) lost their lives and were mourned worldwide. The cause of the disaster was traced to a missing heat deflection tile that been lost during liftoff 16 days prior.
February 3, 1913 - Income Tax Created - Sixteenth Amendment to the Constitution
The 16th Amendment was ratified, granting Congress the authority to levy taxes on income. (Church bells did not ring throughout the land, and no dancing in the streets was reported.)