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Today In History – February 15 – First Teddy Bear Goes On Sale

1903: First Teddy bear goes on sale: On this day in 1903, toy store owner and inventor Morris Michtom places two stuffed bears in his shop window, advertising them as Teddy bears. Michtom had earlier petitioned President Theodore Roosevelt for permission to use his nickname, Teddy. The president agreed and, before long, other toy manufacturers began turning out copies of Michtom’s stuffed bears, which soon became a national childhood institution. One of Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting expeditions provided the inspiration for the Teddy bear. Ironically, though he was an avid conservationist, Roosevelt-led hunting trips often resulted in excessive slaughter, including one African trip during which his party killed more than 6,000 animals for sport and trophies. However, the idea for the teddy bear likely arose out of one of Roosevelt’s more compassionate acts. More here

1933: FDR escapes assassination in Miami: On this day in 1933, a deranged, unemployed brick layer named Giuseppe Zangara shouts Too many people are starving! and fires a gun at America’s president-elect, Franklin D. Roosevelt. Roosevelt had just delivered a speech in Miami’s Bayfront Park from the back seat of his open touring car when Zangara opened fire with six rounds. Five people were hit. The president escaped injury but the mayor of Chicago, Anton Cermak, who was also in attendance, received a mortal stomach wound in the attack. More here

1961: Sabena Flight 548 crashes in Belgium: Sabena Flight 548, registration OO-SJB, was a Boeing 707 aircraft that crashed en route to Brussels, Belgium, from New York City on February 15, 1961, killing the entire United States Figure Skating team on its way to the 1961 World Championships in Prague,Czechoslovakia. The flight, which originated at Idlewild International Airport (New York International Airport, later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport), crashed on approach to Brussels’ Zaventem Airport. All 72 on board were killed, as well as one person on the ground (the farmer Theo de Laet who was struck by debris). The crash was the first fatal accident involving a Boeing 707 in regular passenger service, 28 months after it was placed into commercial use. More here

1965: Canada adopts maple leaf flag: In accordance with a formal proclamation by Queen Elizabeth II of England, a new Canadian national flag is raised above Parliament Hill in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Beginning in 1610, Lower Canada, a new British colony, flew Great Britain’s Union Jack, or Royal Union Flag. In 1763, as a result of the French and Indian Wars, France lost its sizable colonial possessions in Canada, and the Union Jack flew all across the wide territory of Canada. In 1867, the Dominion of Canada was established as a self-governing federation within the British Empire, and three years later a new flag, the Canadian Red Ensign, was adopted. The Red Ensign was a solid red flag with the Union Jack occupying the upper-left corner and a crest situated in the right portion of the flag. More here

1989: Soviet war in Afghanistan Ends: The Soviet War in Afghanistan was a nine-year conflict involving the Soviet Union, supporting the Marxist-Leninist government of the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan at their own request against the Mujahideen Resistance when on December 27, 1979, 50,000 Soviet troopers dressed in Afghan uniforms, including KGB and GRU special force officers from the Alpha Group and Zenith Group, occupied major governmental, military and media buildings in Kabul, including their primary target—the Tajbeg Presidential Palace. The mujahideen found other support from a variety of sources including the United States, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Egypt, China and other Muslim nations through the context of the Cold War.

The initial Soviet deployment of the 40th Army in Afghanistan began on December 24, 1979 under Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. The final troop withdrawal started on May 15, 1988, and ended on February 15, 1989 under the last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev. Due to the interminable nature of the war, the conflict in Afghanistan has sometimes been referred to as the Soviet Union’s Vietnam WarMore here

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