First Air Service Fatality

Today in History, September 17, 1908:

US Army Lt. Thomas Selfridge, who had been the first US military officer to fly a powered aircraft solo, also becomes the first fatality of powered flight.

He was a passenger flying in the Wright Flyer with Orville Wright, during a demonstration flight at Ft. Myer, Virginia. One of the propellers snapped, damaging the aircraft, causing it to crash.

Lt. Selfridge struck his head on impact and died 3 hours later. Orville suffered severe injuries but recovered. Lt. Selfridge rests at adjacent Arlington National Cemetery.

Happy Constitution Day!

Today in History, September 17: 1787 –

The Constitutional Convention draws to a close with the signing of the final draft of the United States Constitution.

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” We owe so much to our nation’s founders and to this document. We must continue to defend it from it’s detractors.

Bloody Antietam’s Importance¬†

Today in History, September 17: 1862 – The Battle of Antietam during the Civil War. Confederate General Robert E. Lee made the first of several attempts at taking Washington, DC. The Army of the Potomac met Lee’s army at Antietam Creek to defend the city. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and James Longstreet lead the Southern forces, While George McClellan, Ambrose Burnside and Joseph Hooker lead the Union forces. In 13 hours of fierce fighting, 23,000 of 100,000 combatants are killed or wounded, more in one day than all of America’s wars to that point, and the most American’s ever killed in a single day in our history. Typically, while Hooker’s and Burnside’s commands moved on their enemy, McClellan stayed in place, not engaging. The end of the battle found both armies where they were when it began. But Lee soon retreated back to Virginia. Two important consequences of the battle…it gave President Lincoln a victory that gave him the confidence to issue the Emancipation Proclamation, and European powers decided against recognizing the Confederacy.