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A: American Tune, Paul Simon 
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A: America


     A.  1492 - After sailing 33 days, Christopher Columbus discovers America. Thinking he has reached the East Indies, he actually sets foot first on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas. Columbus makes four voyages, visiting the Bahamas, Canary Islands, Cuba, Hispaniola, Honduras, Jamaica, Trinidad, and the Virgin Islands. Although he never stood on the North American continent, the United States still celebrates October 12th as Columbus Day.

     B.  1620 - The Pilgrims land at Plymouth Rock. Escaping religious persecution and seeking religious freedom, they establish a colony at Plymouth, Massachusetts.

     C.  1626 - The Dutch purchase Manhattan Island (New York) for a reported $24 worth of trinkets from the Indians.

     D.  July 4, 1776 - The Declaration of Independence, written by 33-year-old Thomas Jefferson, is signed and adopted by the Continental Congress declaring the United States' independence from England. Thus, July 4th was Independence Day.

     E.  1787 - The Constitution of the United States is written. The document receives necessary ratification in 1788. The Constitution is the foundation of our government and sets forth the rules and regulations of how we are to be governed.

     F.  1803 - The United States nearly doubles its size in agreeing to the Louisiana Purchase. Napoleon, ruling France at this time, makes the deal for 15 million dollars, selling the land for about a nickel an acre.

     G.  1861 - 1865 - Abraham Lincoln is inaugurated as the 16th President on March 4th. On April 12, 1861 the Civil War begins as South Carolina troops attack Fort Sumter. On April 9, 1865 General Lee surrenders at Appomattox Courthouse in Virginia, ending the Civil War after four years of suffering.

     H.  April 14, 1865 - The same year the 13th Amendment is ratified, abolishing slavery, and just five days after the end of the Civil War, President Lincoln is assassinated by John Wilkes Booth at Ford's Theatre.

A: America

     I.  February 24, 1868 - In 1865, following Lincoln's assassination, Andrew Johnson becomes the 17th President of the United States. In February 1868 Johnson is impeached on 11 counts, by a 126-to-47 vote in the House of Representatives. He survives the Presidency by one vote (a 2/3 vote is required for impeachment), as 35 of the 54 Senators vote against him. Johnson, who was born in Raleigh, North Carolina and represented the state of Tennessee, became Vice-President after the election of 1864. President Johnson did not receive his party's Presidential nomination in 1868; however, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1874.

     J.  1879 - In 1879, Thomas Alva Edison invented the incandescent electric light bulb at Menlo Park, New Jersey. He would later organize companies to manufacture and sell his electrical inventions. General Electric would become the largest, coining the phrase, "progress is our most important product."

     K.  December 17, 1903 - Wilbur and Orville Wright, two bicycle mechanics from Ohio, made the first airplane flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

     L.  April 6, 1917 - The Congress of the United States declares war on Germany entering World War I. Three years after its beginning, an armistice is signed ending the war on November 11, 1918.

     M.  August 26, 1920 - After the United States has been in existence 144 years, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, allowing women the right to vote.

     N.  May 21, 1927 - Charles Lindbergh becomes the first pilot to cross the Atlantic alone without a stop. Taking off in Long Island, New York, he lands in Paris, France 33 1/2 hours later: a hero of world renown.

     O.  The Depression - Just when it started, no one is really sure. But it ravaged this nation like no war. Its effects have been impossible to gauge and the reasons for its coming are unanswerable.

     P.  December 7, 1941 - On Sunday morning, Pearl Harbor, an American Naval Base in Hawaii, is attacked by a mass of Japanese bombers. The attack kills over 2,000 men, while destroying hundreds of ships and planes.

     Q.  December 8, 1941 - September 2, 1945 - The United States Congress declares war on Japan, entering World War II.

A: America

Twelve years after Adolph Hitler assumed power, Germany signed unconditionally to surrender on May 7, 1945. Less than a month earlier, President Roosevelt died, making Harry S. Truman the 33rd President of the United States. On August 6th, the first atomic bomb is dropped on Hiroshima and three days later a second bomb is exploded on Nagasaki. Almost four years of death and destruction ends formally on September 2, 1945 aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.

     R.  November 22, 1963 - President John Fitzgerald Kennedy is assassinated while riding in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas.

     S.  1968 - Perhaps the most significant year in our history. 365 days of incredible turbulence, marred by the assassinations of Reverend Martin Luther King, on April 4th, and Presidential candidate, Senator Robert F. Kennedy on June 6th. The U.S. population reaches 200 million and elects Richard M. Nixon President, as he defeats Hubert Humphrey by a popular vote of 31,785,480 to 31,275,165.

     T.  July 20, 1969 - Neil Armstrong becomes the first earthling to walk on the moon. Millions watch incredulously as live television transmits the historic occasion with Armstrong commenting, "One step for man - a giant leap for mankind".

A: America

     U.  July 5, 1971 - The 26th Amendment to the Constitution is passed. Eighteen year olds are permitted to vote, making it impossible for a man to be forced to go to war without at least having the right to vote for those that wage it.

     V.  January 28, 1973 - March 29, 1973 - A cease-fire is agreed to on January 28th and a treaty signed in Paris. U.S. involvement in the war ends on March 29th, when our troops leave Viet Nam, bringing about the long awaited "peace with honor." Over 45,000 American citizens gave their lives for their country in this war. U.S. involvement caused over 350,000 American casualties and cost its taxpayers well over 100 billion dollars.

     W.  August 9, 1974 - Richard M. Nixon becomes the first U.S. President ever to resign. When re-elected along with Vice-President Spiro Agnew in 1972, Nixon carries one of the biggest landslides in history winning 520 of the 538 electoral votes and beating George McGovern 47 million to 29 million in the popular vote. Vice-President Agnew resigns on October 10, 1973 and Congressman Gerald R. Ford, by Nixon's appointment and subsequent Congressional approval, became the Vice President on December 6, 1973. Gerald Ford became President of the United States on August 9, 1974, less than a year after assuming the Vice-Presidency. He selected Nelson Rockefeller, who was confirmed as Vice-President on December 19, 1974. Ford was narrowly defeated in his first Presidential contest in 1976.

     X.  July 4, 1976 - United States celebrates its 200th birthday.

     Y.  1979 - United States formally recognizes China (mainland China).

     Z.  1980 A year of great decisions.

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