This Day in History

The First Father's Day (1910)
Father's Day is a day set apart in many countries for honoring fathers. In the US, UK, and Canada, it is observed on the third Sunday in June. The idea for a father's day originated when Sonora Louise Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington, heard a sermon on Mother's Day in 1909 and was inspired to create a date to honor fathers like her own, a Civil War veteran. Through her efforts, the first Father's Day was celebrated in Spokane in 1910. When was the holiday made official in the US? Discuss

Li Yuan Becomes Emperor Gaozu of Tang (618 CE)
Emperor Gaozu was the founder of the greatest of China's imperial dynasties, the Tang dynasty (618-907 CE), which ruled over what was then the world's largest empire and initiated a golden age for art, science, and Buddhism. Before becoming emperor, Li Yuan, as he was then known, was governor of a province under the Sui Dynasty. When the Sui emperor, Yangdi, was assassinated in 618, Li Yuan reunited the empire and took power. Why did he later abdicate the throne in favor of his son, Li Shimin?

The Night Attack (1462)
The Night Attack was a battle fought between the forces of Wallachian Prince Vlad III, known as Vlad the Impaler, and the forces of Mehmed II, sultan of the Ottoman Empire. After Vlad raided Bulgaria and killed more than 20,000 Turks and Bulgarians, Mehmed marched on Wallachia, and the two powers fought a series of skirmishes. In the Night Attack, Vlad attacked the Turkish camp in an attempt to assassinate Mehmed. The attempt failed, but Mehmed retreated anyway. Why?

Today

Blaise Pascal (1623)
Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. A child prodigy, he earned the envy of René Descartes with an essay he wrote on conic sections when he was still a teen. Credited with founding the modern theory of probability and advancing differential calculus, he also made important contributions to physics, notably in the study of atmospheric pressure. Why did he later abandon his scientific work to focus on theology and philosophy? Discuss

George Mallory (1886)
Mallory was an English mountain climber who participated in the Everest expeditions of 1921, 1922, and 1924. The 1924 expedition culminated in a bold and possibly successful drive toward the summit by Mallory and Andrew Irvine, from which they did not return. Mallory's body was discovered on Everest in 1999. His achievements and the mystery surrounding his final effort have made him a mountaineering legend. What "three most famous words in mountaineering" are attributed to Mallory?

John Hersey (1914)
Born in China to missionary parents, Hersey worked as a journalist in East Asia, Italy, and the Soviet Union from 1937 to 1946, including as a war correspondent during WWII. In 1944, he won the Pulitzer Prize for his novel A Bell for Adano, which depicts the Allied occupation of a Sicilian town. He later combined fact and fiction in his most famous work, Hiroshima, about the experiences of atomic-blast survivors. How did Hersey inspire Dr. Seuss to write The Cat in the Hat?