July 2016

This Day in History… July 25, 1866

General of the Army Rank Created for Ulysses S. Grant 

U.S. #787 pictures Grant and the two other men who succeeded him as General of the Army.

On July 25, 1866, Ulysses S. Grant became the first man to achieve the 4-star rank of General of the Army.

Nothing in Grant’s early life predicted his eventual success.   Grant’s father arranged a West Point appointment for his son, who did not want to be a soldier. Grant was an indifferent student, graduating 21st in a class of 39 in 1843. However, he was an expert horseman and set a high jump record that stood for 25 years. Grant served with distinction during the Mexican-American War and was twice honored for bravery. When the war ended in 1848, Grant married Julia Boggs Dent, the daughter of a slave owner. He remained in the army until 1854, when he abruptly resigned.

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This Day in History… July 24, 1847

Brigham Young Establishes Mormon Homeland in Salt Lake City, Utah

U.S. #950 – pictures Brigham Young and his followers arriving at Salt Lake City in 1847.

After 17 months of travel searching for a new home for his persecuted people, Brigham Young found Utah’s Great Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847 and proclaimed, “This is the place” (as pictured on U.S. #950).

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was founded in 1830 when Joseph Smith published the Book of Mormon. The religion grew fast in his New York community and spread to Ohio, Missouri, and Illinois. However, it included controversial practices, including polygamy, which made its followers targets of mob violence.

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This Day in History… July 23, 1973

Death of WWI Ace Eddie Rickenbacker 

U.S. #2998 pictures Rickenbacker and a French Spad XIII, similar to what he flew during WWI.

On July 23, 1973, Eddie Rickenbacker died in Züruch, Switzerland.

Eddie Rickenbacker was born on October 8, 1890, in Columbus, Ohio.  Rickenbacker’s love of all things mechanical began in his childhood, partly inspired by his father’s words, “a machine has to have a purpose.” His experiments and fearlessness led to several near-death experiences early in life, including a run-in with a horse-drawn carriage and an accident while riding a cart down the slope of a mine.

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This Day in History… July 22, 1963

Introducing… The Beatles Controversy 

U.S. #3188o – From the Celebrate the Century series.

On July 22, 1963, the first U.S. Beatles album was planned for release, but was delayed for several months due to a shakeup at the record company.

The Beatles began with John Lennon, who was raised on Penny Lane in Liverpool, England. He was a teenager when rock greats Elvis Presley, Little Richard, and Chuck Berry became stars in America. Influenced by their music, Lennon formed his first band, the Quarrymen. He invited Paul McCartney to join the group, forming one of the most creative musical duos in pop history.

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This Day in History… July 21, 1861

First Battle of Bull Run

U.S. #4523 pictures a reproduction of Sidney E. King’s painting, The Capture of Rickett’s Battery.

On July 21, 1861, Confederate forces won the First Battle of Bull Run, also known as the Battle of First Manassas.

Both the Union and the Confederacy predicted a short war and an easy victory in the days following the attack on Fort Sumter, South Carolina. Impatient Northerners pushed President Lincoln to attack the Confederate capital in Richmond, Virginia. Southern troops threatened the U.S. capital and Confederate First Lady Varina Davis sent out invitations to a reception at the White House in Washington, D.C.

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This Day in History… July 20, 1969

U.S. Lands First Men on the Moon

U.S. #C76 was the first jumbo-sized U.S. commemorative.

On July 20, 1969, the U.S. effectively won the Space Race when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took man’s first steps on the Moon.

The space race began 12 years earlier, on October 4, 1957, when the Soviet Union used rocket technology developed by the Germans in World War II to launch Sputnik, the world’s first artificial satellite. Originally, Sputnik was intended to be a massive, thousand-pound satellite. However, because the Americans were attempting to launch their own satellite, the decision was made to scale back the design considerably. At the time of launch, Sputnik was no bigger than a basketball.

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