January 2020

This Day in History… January 31, 1958

Launch of Explorer I 

US #3187d from the Celebrate the Century: 1950s sheet.

Late in the evening of January 31, 1958, the US launched its first satellite, Explorer I.

After World War II, the United States and the Soviet Union struggled to stay one step ahead of each other in space exploration.  Both countries made substantial advancements during this time, but Russia was first to launch an artificial satellite, much to America’s chagrin.

Continue reading

Posted in January 2020, This Day in History | 3 Comments

This Day in History… January 30, 1968

The Tet Offensive

US #1802 was issued on Veteran’s Day in 1979.

On January 30, 1968, the North Vietnamese Army launched a surprise attack on South Vietnam during the Tet (New Year) holiday truce.

The North Vietnamese began planning their General Offensive and Uprising in April 1967.  They believed that the government in Saigon was so unpopular in the South that an attack on major cities there would lead the citizens to revolt, guaranteeing a swift victory and an end to calls for peace talks.  Throughout the second half of 1967, North Vietnamese and Viet Cong soldiers moved 81,000 tons of supplies and 200,000 troops across the border.

Continue reading

Posted in January 2020, This Day in History | 9 Comments

This Day in History… January 29, 1761

Birth of Albert Gallatin

US #1279 from the Prominent Americans Series.

Politician and diplomat Abraham Alfonse Albert Gallatin was born on January 29, 1761, in Geneva, Switzerland.  Gallatin’s aristocratic family included physicians, statesmen, and soldiers – one of his relatives commanded a battalion at the Battle of Yorktown. 

Continue reading

Posted in January 2020, This Day in History | 8 Comments

This Day in History… January 28, 1986

The Space Shuttle Challenger Disaster

US #2544 pictures Challenger above Earth during one of its missions.

On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger broke apart during the launch of its 10th mission.

America’s second orbiter in the Space Shuttle program (after Columbia), Challenger was named after the British ship HMS Challenger.  The contract for the shuttle’s construction was awarded in 1979 and was completed in 1981. 

Continue reading

Posted in January 2020, This Day in History | 2 Comments

This Day in History… January 27, 1850

Birth of Samuel Gompers 

US #988 was issued on this day in 1950.

American labor union leader Samuel Gompers was born on January 27, 1850, in London, England.

Gompers went to the Jewish Free School from the time he was six until just before his tenth birthday.  His parents removed him from school so he could apprentice with a cigar maker to help provide money for the family.  Gompers was able to continue his education through night school.

Continue reading

Posted in January 2020, This Day in History | 2 Comments

This Day in History… January 26, 1880

Happy Birthday, Douglas MacArthur

US #1424 was issued on MacArthur’s 91st birthday.

Douglas MacArthur was born on January 26, 1880, in Little Rock, Arkansas. 

MacArthur was the son of Arthur MacArthur, Jr., a US Army captain and recipient of the Medal of Honor for his Civil War service.  The family lived in a series of Army posts in the Old West, where MacArthur remembers he “learned to ride and shoot even before I could read or write – indeed, almost before I could walk and talk.” 

Continue reading

Posted in January 2020, This Day in History | 2 Comments