Sunday, February 20, 2011


February 20, 1962


With these words, US astronaut, Lt.Col. John Glenn (USMC), lifted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida to become America's 1st man to orbit the earth.

Glenn lifted off successfully aboard the Friendship 7 Mercury space capsule at 9:47 a.m. eastern time with 100,000 people watching on the ground & millions on television.

John Glenn is a man who has a history of bravery & service.  He has flown 150 combat missions in WW II & the Korean War.

While his 3 orbits around the globe were not without some technical issues, the Friendship 7 reentered the earth's atmosphere & splashed down safely in the Atlantic where it was retrieved by a helicopter from the USS Noa.

The flight lasted almost 5 hours. 

John Glenn becomes the 3rd man to have orbited the earth.  The 1st was Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin followed by his fellow cosmonaut Gherman Titov.

Glenn is also the 3rd American astronaut to fly in space.  He follows fellow Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard & Virgil "Gus" Grissom.

The success of putting a man in orbit represents a huge step toward achieving President Kennedy's goal, set last year, of "landing a man on the moon & returning him safely to the earth" by the end of the decade.*

*JFK visits Cape Canaveral on February 23 to pin a medal on John Glenn who later addresses congress & is given a ticker tape parade.

February 20, 1920


Mr. & Mrs. Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. announced today the birth of their 1st daughter, Kathleen.

She is welcomed by brothers Joseph P.  (Joe) Kennedy, Jr. & John F. (Jack) Kennedy.*

*Kathleen will be nicknamed "Kick" & will have a close bond with her older brothers. 

When her dad becomes ambassador to Britain, she spends more than a year in London, returning in 1943 to serve in the American Red Cross.   

Joe, Jr., Kick & Jack in London

Kick was known for her beauty & vivacious spirit. She married William Cavendish, Marquis of Hartington, in 1944 but he was to be killed in the war a few months later. 

Lady Hartington died in an air crash in France on May 13, 1948 & is buried in Chatsworth, England.

February 20, 1862


Willie Lincoln, the 3rd son of President Abraham & Mary Todd Lincoln, died today at the White House having been stricken by typhoid fever just 2 weeks ago.  

A typhoid epidemic has existed in the nation's capital for some time.

Willie was pronounced dead at 5 o'clock this evening & the body was placed in the Green Room.

The President sadly commented:

"My poor boy.  He was too good for this earth......It is so hard to have him die."

Mrs. Lincoln, who is reported to be taking the death of her son with great difficulty, was not available for comment.*

*Willie will be buried in Oak Hill Cemetery in Georgetown but after his father's death in 1865 the remains are transferred to Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois.

February 20, 1985


The parliament of Ireland today approved the sale of contraceptives. 

This action follows the 1973 decision of the Irish Supreme Court to approve the use of contraceptives as a matter of "marital privacy" & the 1980 Health Act which allows them to be sold to those with prescriptions.*

*This is the 1st time the Catholic Church has lost a battle with the government of Ireland.