January 2011-Month for Historical Anniversaries

January 2011 is a memorable month for historical anniversaries.  On January 20, 1961 — exactly 50 years John F. Kennedy gave his one and only unforgettable Inaugural Address of 1364 words. Far and wide considered to be the paramount Presidential Inauguration speech, JFK’s address lasted mere 13+ minutes.  He gave his inaugural address at 12:51 (ET) Friday, January 20, 1961, directly after taking the presidential oath of office administered by Chief Justice Earl Warren.
Notable passages still relevant today:

  • fought are still at issue around the globe—the belief that the rights of man come not from the generosity of the state, but from the hand of God.
  • Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.
  • Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.
  • If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich.
  • So let us begin anew—remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof. Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.
  • Now the trumpet summons us again—not as a call to bear arms, though arms we need; not as a call to battle, though embattled we are—but a call to bear the burden of a long twilight struggle, year in and year out, “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation”—a struggle against the common enemies of man: tyranny, poverty, disease, and war itself.
  • And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.
  • My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.

25 years ago The Space Shuttle Challenger tragedy occurred on Tuesday, January 28, 1986, when Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds into its flight, leading to the deaths of its seven crew members. The spacecraft disintegrated over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida, United States, at 11:38 a.m. EST at the Kennedy Space Center.

STS-51-L crew: Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith Resnik.

“Scob fought for any and every edge to survive. He flew that ship without wings all the way down….they were alive” Robert Overmyer, NASA Lead Investigator

Mercury-Redstone 2 (MR-2) was a rocket mission, launched on January 31, 1961 from LC-5 at Cape Canaveral, FL. Mercury spacecraft # 5 carried Ham the Chimp as a passenger on a suborbital space flight launched on RedstoneMRLV-2 occurred 50 years ago. The capsule traveled 157 miles before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.

Commander Alan Shepard, Command Module Pilot Stuart Roosa, and Lunar Module Pilot Edgar Mitchell launched on their nine-day mission on January 31, 1971 40 years ago.

Apollo 14 was the eighth manned mission in the American Apollo program, the third to land on the Moon. It was the last of the “H missions”, targeted landings with two-day stays on the Moon with two lunar EVA’s, or moonwalks.

The Loss of Apollo 1:  NASA suffered its first fatal accident on January 27, 1967 during a launch pad test at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Apollo 1 crew Gus Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were killed when a flash fire broke out in the pure oxygen atmosphere of the capsule.


  1. http://www.bartleby.com/124/pres56.html
  2. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/20/remarks-president-50th-anniversary-john-f-kennedys-inauguration
  3. http://history.nasa.gov/sts51l.html
  4. http://www.nasa.gov/externalflash/NASA45/textonly/history.html

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