This Day in History… December 22, 1696

Birth of James Oglethorpe 

US #726 – Georgia settlement bicentennial picturing Oglethorpe.  Click picture to buy.

On December 22, James Oglethorpe, founder of the colony of Georgia, was born.

Born in Surrey, England, Oglethorpe briefly attended Corpus Christi College before joining the army of Prince Eugene of Savoy. Oglethorpe served as the prince’s aide-de-camp and served with distinction during the Austro-Turkish War of 1716-18.

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This Day in History… December 21, 1968

Launch of Apollo 8 

US #1371 pictures the famed Earthrise photo captured on this mission.  Click picture to buy.

On December 21, 1968, Apollo 8 launched from Kennedy Space Center.

This mission was the second manned spaceflight mission in the Apollo program, and the first to leave low Earth orbit, travel around the moon and safely return to Earth.  It was also the first human spaceflight launched from Kennedy Space Center.

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This Day in History… December 20, 1941

Flying Tigers First Combat 

US #2187 was issued on Chennault’s 100th birthday.

On December 20, 1941, the Flying Tigers engaged in their first battle.

The Flying Tigers were the brainchild of Claire L. Chennault, a retired US Army Air Corps officer.  Chennault had been working in China as Chiang Kai-shek’s military adviser in 1937 when the Second Sino-Japanese War broke out.  He then worked as director of the Chinese Air Force flight school in Kunming.

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This Day in History… December 19, 1732

Poor Richard’s Almanack 

US #1 – Franklin is considered the Father of the American Postal Service.

On December 19, 1732, Benjamin Franklin published the first edition of his Poor Richard’s Almanack under the pseudonym Richard Saunders.

Franklin began apprenticing with a printer when he was 12 years old.  For the rest of his life, he considered printing to be his primary occupation.

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This Day in History… December 18, 1777

First National Thanksgiving

US #3546 was the first US Thanksgiving stamp.

On December 18, 1777, the United States celebrated its first national Thanksgiving.  The celebration was in reaction to the recent victory at the Battle of Saratoga.

Since the earliest settlement of the American colonies, there were days set aside for thanksgiving, prayer, and fasting in response to important events.  These days of thanksgiving would be held on different days throughout the year and would vary between the colonies.

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This Day in History… December 17, 1903

Wright Brothers’ Famed First Flight

US #649 – The brothers flipped a coin to decide who would fly the plane first.

On December 17, 1903, brothers Wilbur and Orville Wright made the first successful heavier-than-air flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

Sons of a minister in the United Brethren Church, Wilbur Wright (1867-1912) and Orville Wright (1871-1948) grew up to become aviation pioneers. The brothers had always been interested in science and technology, but when their father gave them a flying toy in 1878, they set their sights on developing a heavier-than-air flying machine capable of carrying a man.

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