2002 – Trapped miners are rescued from Quecreek Mine

On July 24, 2002, a team of 18 miners in the Quecreek Mine (in Somerset County, Pennsylvania) accidentally broke through into an older, poorly documented mine. The second mine, the Saxman Coal Mine, was flooded, and the water quickly spread into the Quecreek Mine as well. Half of the miners escaped easily, but nine others were cut off by the rising flood.

After several days of drilling, all nine men were safely rescued on July 28, 2002, after five days underground. The men were suffering from starvation and exposure, but all of them were airlifted to hospitals, where they all made full recoveries. Only one of the nine men still works in a mine as of this writing.

Referenced in:
Quecreek — Buddy Miller
He Said Yes — John Larimer
Buried Alive — Dropkick Murphys
Quecreek Flood — Anaïs Mitchell

1965 – President Johnson announces the escalation of the Vietnam War

On July 28, 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced an increase in the numbers of American troops deployed to Vietnam. From their prvious level of 75,000, another 50,000 troops were to be sent, bringing to total level to 125,000 – representing more than quintupling of American numbers from the end of 1964. By the end of 1965, numbers would have quintupled again, and American casualties would be running at over a thousand dead each month.

Johnson was acutely conscious of the importance of public opinion in the prosecution of the Vietnam War, and watched the polls closely. He made strong efforts to downplay the war, which were largely successful. At first. Only a few years later, backlash against the war would be enough to end Johnson’s political career.

Referenced in:

Send The Marines — Tom Lehrer

1750 — Johann Sebastian Bach dies

One of the best known and most loved composers of all time, Johann Sebastian Bach was 85 years old at the time of his death. In those years, he created such works as the Brandenburg Concertos, the Goldberg Variations, The Well-Tempered Clavier, the Mass in B minor, The Art of Fugue, and the famous Toccata and Fugue in D minor. Although he did not create any new forms, his works broadened and deepened the scope of existing forms.

After his death, several of his sons carried on his legacy as composers in their own right, notably Johann Christian Bach, Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach, Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach and Wilhelm Friedemann Bach. The Bach, it seems, did not stop here.

Referenced in:

Green Onions — The Blues Brothers

1914 — World War One begins

World War One was, according to the commonly held wisdom, unavoidable. The complex web of alliance and counter-alliance that bound the European powers to each other did make declarations of war on the part of each nation more or less inevitable once an inciting incident occurred.

That incident turned out to be the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914. Over the next thirty days, declarations of war started one after another, in two opposed chains of political allies. On one side: Austria-Hungary, Germany and the Ottoman Empire. On the other side, the United Kingdom and its Commonwealth, France, Russia, Italy, Japan, and eventually, the USA as well.

It was the first truly worldwide war, fought in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the Atlantic Ocean. World War One lasted for four years and a little under four months. It killed 16.5 million people, the greatest single toll of any conflict to that date, and despite the propaganda of the following years, it did not end wars.

Referenced in:

Children’s Crusade — Sting
No Man’s Land – Eric Bogle