This Week in History…

The five day work week. The bane of human existence. We’re always trying to find ways to forget about the work week, about the days spent behind a desk collating, copying and filing. But rather than try and forget the work week, let’s dig deeper. Rather than dismiss the days Monday June 16 through Friday June 20, let’s see just how important these days have been to history with this week’s “This Week in History.”

June 16-The First Roller Coaster

On June 16, 1884 the Switchback Railway made its debut at Coney Island— the first roller coaster designed as an amusement ride in AmericaLaMarcus Adna Thompson designed the ride in 1881. Three years later, it would become a reality. Costing just five cents, passengers could travel up and over 6 mph on the Switchback Railway! That might not be much, but you have to remember: there were no high-tech harnesses like there are nowadays.

June 17- Battle of Bunker Hill

We’re jumping back over a century before the Switchback Railway. On this fine day, outnumbered American militiamen took on the regular British Army at the Battle of Bunker Hill in 1775. As is now well-known, the battle actually took place on Breed’s Hill. Though technically the Americans lost the battle, they stunned even seasoned British soldiers with their tenacity and the amount of casualties they inflicted: over 1,000 British total.

June 18 - Napoleon Meets his Waterloo

We know that we’re commemorating another battle, back to back with the previous one. But one cannot mention June 18 without bringing up one of the most famous battles in history: the battle of Waterloo in 1815. Fresh from escaping exile on the island of Elba, Napoleon rallied remnants of his former army and many of his generals. In what become known as the Hundred Days, Napoleon booted out the restored monarchy and gathered up as many troops as possible for a final offensive. Though still a master of war, Napoleon couldn’t change the fact that he could muster just under 300,000 men against the Allies’ near 1 million men. Ultimately, Wellington and Blucher defeated Napoleon in “the nearest-run thing you ever saw in your life.”

June 19 - First Fathers’ Day

If you happened to forget that this past Sunday was Fathers’ Day then call up today, wish your dad a happy Fathers’ Day, saying you wanted to call him today because June 19 marks the 104th anniversary of the first Fathers’ Day. Sonora Smart Dodd founded the holiday in commemoration of her father—a Civil War veteran and single father.

June 20 - Watergate

It’s the scandal that every scandal since has been compared to: Cablegate (the Wikileaks release)Irangate (the Iran-Contra Affair)Monicagate (Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky), etc, etc. There have been scandals in the American politics since we began as a nation. It’s nothing new. Watergate, however, directly implicated the president in illegal activity. The Watergate burglary took place on June 17, 1972. On June 20th Nixon spoke to his advisers in the White House about the Watergate break-in. The conversation, like many in the White House, was taped for personal records. As more and more about Watergate came to light, the public learned about the White House Tapes. The recording from June 20th would become famous: Nixon’s secretary Rose Mary Woods ‘accidentally’ deleted 18 and 1/2 minutes from the recording—the contents of which remain unknown to this day. It didn’t matter, however. Journalists Woodward and Bernstein managed to find enough evidence anyway.

Hillsdale Dental Care has been providing service for the West San Jose, Cambrian and WIllow Glen neighborhoods for well over 30 years. Doctor Stanley, Azzarelli, and Jacob’s main priority is to deliver state-of-the-art, top-quality care to informed patients in a comfortable, affordable, and convenient environment. Come visit us at our websiteFacebook page, and Twitter page!

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