1942 — Harrison Ford born

Born in Chicago, Harrison Ford would rise from humble beginnings to become one of the best known and highest grossing movie stars of his era. He is best known for his roles as Han Solo in the Star Wars film series and Indiana Jones in the four films of that series. To a certain generation of filmgoer, he defined rugged manliness in the way that Eastwood or Wayne had before him.

Ford’s family has a highly mixed background – his paternal grandfather was Irish, his paternal grandmother German, and his maternal grandparents Jews from Belarus. When asked about the effect this had on his life, Ford jokingly replied “As a man I’ve always felt Irish, as an actor I’ve always felt Jewish.”

Referenced in:
The Chanukah Song (Part I) — Adam Sandler

1950 – The USAF begins bombing operations in the Korean War

The 19th, 22nd and 92nd Bombardment Groups were reassigned from Strategic Air Commaned bases in the United States to new bases in South Korea and placed under the overall command of the Far East Air Force of the United States after the North Korean aerial attacks of June 25, 1950. Mostly flying B-29 Superfortresses, these three units were later reinforced by elements of other bombing groups, and defended on sorties by a range of fighter aircraft.

Over the course of the war, B-29s flew 20,000 sorties and dropped 200,000 tonnes (180,000 tons) of bombs. B-29 gunners are credited with shooting down 27 enemy aircraft during the conflict.

Referenced in:
I Bombed Korea — Cake

1793 – Jean-Paul Marat is killed in his bathtub

Jean-Paul Marat was a fiery republican journalist who was an important figure in the French revolutionary movement. A scientist (he translated Newton’s “Opticks” into French, among other accomplishments), after the revolution, he devoted himself to politics and propaganda. He was heavily involved in the factional struggles surrounding the revolution.

It was this latter that led to his death. Charlotte Corday was a member of a rival political faction, the Girondists, who believed that Marat was largely responsible for the fall of the Girondists – and that the outcome of that factional struggle might well lead to outright civil war in France. And so it was that Corday surprised Marat in his bathtub one night, stabbing him once in the carotid artery, which killed him in very short order. Later that year, he was immortalised in a painting, “The Death of Marat” by Jacques-Louis David, which has become an iconic image of revolutionary martyrdom.

Referenced in:

We Walk — REM

1985 – Live Aid

Live Aid was, on the face of it, impossible. The technology for the sort of hook ups that were needed was unreliable. And the idea that so many musicians could put aside their egos, for any cause no matter how good, seemed more than mildly implausible.

But it did come together. At two major concerts in London and Philadelphia, and several smaller ones in Sydney, Moscow, Cologne and The Hague, almost every musician currently working – and several who weren’t – played. Several bands reunited especially for the effort.

The concerts were broadcast around the world to an estimated audience of 400 million people, in addition to the more than 200,000 who attended the various concerts. A total of 150 million British pounds were raised directly by the concerts.

Referenced in:

The Tide Is Turning – Roger Waters