1776 The Virginia Convention adopted a Declaration of Rights.
1939 The Baseball Hall of Fame opened.
1943 The Alcan Highway was opened to traffic. (See November 20th entry.)
1979 Bryan Allen flew the first man-powered aircraft.
1991 The Chicago Bulls won their first NBA title. (See June 19th and June 20th entries.)
Today’s anniversary has been largely overlooked. It’s a shame, because it was really a red - letter day in American history. It was on this date, in 1776, that the Virginia Declaration of Rights—largely written by George Mason—was adopted by the Virginia Convention while the Continental Congress met in Philadelphia. Perhaps if you read a few passages
You will see why this precursor to the Declaration of Independence so important. Article One: “That all men are by nature equally free and independent and have certain inherent rights... the enjoyment of life and liberty. . . and pursuing and obtaining happiness.” Article Two: “That all power is... derived from the people.” The Virginia Declaration of Rights made some other points as well, like insistence on freedom of the press and freedom of worship. All in all, this remarkable document’s influence is obvious.
Today is the day when the Baseball Hall of Fame opened in 1939 in Cooperstown, New York. Just like the Hall of Fame in the Bronx, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, and many others, this monument to baseball is an example of America’s desire to recognize and honor accomplishment by both individuals and groups.
The Alaska Highway had taken years to complete, linking our northernmost state to points south. It was officially opened in the dead of winter on November 20th, 1942. However, on this day in 1943, the Alaska Highway had its first traffic, winding its way through the northern wilderness between Dawson Creek, British Columbia, in Canada, and Fairbanks, Alaska. The road was bumpy and potholed in places from the climatic extremes that part of the world experiences annually; and it wasn’t completely paved until 1994, but the highway we now call the Alcan has become a legend. And the 25,000 cars, jeeps, vans, RVs, and trucks that brave the trip each summer attest to our growing love of wilderness adventure.
In 1979, on this very same day, an adventurer named Bryan Allen flew the first viable man-powered aircraft across the English Channel. The twenty-six-year-old cyclist braved the piercing winds and cold in the Gossamer Albatross to prove that gas engines weren’t a necessity to air travel.