Today in history

October 12, 1928–An iron lung respirator is used for the first time at Children’s Hospital, Boston. This negative pressure ventilator has been replaced by positive pressure ventilation, and the disease most associated with it, polio, has been mostly eradicated by vaccines.

I remember seeing some old iron lung respirators in a basement in the LSU hospital when I was a medical student.

Today in history

September 27, 1777–Lancaster, Pennsylvania is the capital of the United States, for one day. The Continental Congress fled Philadelphia, which had been captured by British forces, To Lancaster. The following day, they fled even further, to York, PA.

Lancaster is also known for the first paved road in the United States, the Lancaster Turnpike.

Good-bye to John Glenn

John Herschel Glenn Jr., America’s hero of the 1960s, has passed away at age 95. In 1962 Glenn became the first American to orbit the earth, circling three times. Before joining NASA, he was a distinguished fighter pilot in both World War II and Korea, with five Distinguished Flying Crosses and eighteen clusters.

He was one of the “Mercury Seven” group of military test pilots selected in 1959 by NASA to become America’s first astronauts. On February 20, 1962, Glenn flew the Friendship 7 mission and became the first American to orbit the Earth and the fifth person in space. Glenn received the Congressional Space Medal of Honor in 1978, and was inducted into the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in 1990.

Add.–A fact I didn’t know: Glenn flew 149 combat missions in World War II and Korea, where his wingman and eventual lifelong friend was baseball legend Ted Williams.


This day in history

November 5, 1994–George Foreman, age 45, becomes boxing’s oldest heavyweight champion when he defeats 26-year-old Michael Moorer in the 10th round of their WBA fight in Las Vegas. Foreman dedicated his upset win to “all my buddies in the nursing home and all the guys in jail.”