This Day in History… December 24, 1923

First National Christmas Tree 

US #1240 was the second US Christmas stamp. Click the image to buy.

On December 24, 1923, President Calvin Coolidge lit the first national Christmas tree outside the White House.

Benjamin Harrison was reportedly the first US president to decorate the White House with a Christmas tree.  He set one up inside for his family and White House visitors to enjoy in 1889.

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This Day in History… December 23, 1986

First Non-Stop Non-Refueled Flight Around the Globe 

US #C44 was issued for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Postal Union. Click picture to buy.

On December 23, 1986, Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager completed the first non-stop flight around the world without refueling.

As far back as the 1500s, daring explorers have sought to circumnavigate the globe.  In the 1520s, a crew of 18 was the first to circle the globe by the sea in a single expedition.  The journey took a little over three years.

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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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