Apr-12: Heroes and Spam
April 12th is a day of heroes from President Franklin Roosevelt and Yuri Gagarin who piloted the first manned spacecraft to orbit the earth; to Chicago Mayor Harold Washington and heroic runner/cancer crusader Terry Fox. It is also the birth date of modern spam.
President Roosevelt Dies
President Franklin Roosevelt dies from a massive cerebral hemorrhage while on vacation in Warm Springs, Georgia. Vice President Harry Truman is sworn-in a President after a mere 82 days as Vice President. British Prime Minister paid tribute to his American friend:
It is, indeed, a loss, a bitter loss to humanity that those heart-beats are stilled for ever. President Roosevelt’s physical affliction lay heavily upon him. It was a marvel that he bore up against it through all the many years of tumult-and storm. Not one man in ten millions, stricken and crippled as he was, would have attempted to plunge into a life of physical and mental exertion and of hard, ceaseless political controversy. Not one in ten millions would have tried, not one in a generation would have succeeded, not only in entering this sphere, not only in acting vehemently in it, but in becoming indisputable master of the scene
Yuri Gagarin Becomes First Man in Space
Vostok 1 was the first spaceflight of the Vostok program and the first human spaceflight in history making Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin the first human to cross into outer space. The orbital spaceflight consisted of a single orbit around Earth which skimmed the upper atmosphere at 169 kilometers (91 nautical miles) at its lowest point. The flight took 108 minutes from launch to landing. Gagarin parachuted to the ground separately from his capsule after ejecting at 7 km (23,000 ft) altitude.
Terry Fox Begins Marathon of Hope Across Canada
Eighteen year-old Terry Fox, who had lost a leg while battling cancer, began a run across Canada in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He was forced to abandon his question after 143 days later after his cancer spread to his lungs. After one-year, Fox had raised over $23 for cancer research. He died a national hero in June 1981 and was eulogized by Prime Minister Trudeau:
It occurs very rarely in the life of a nation that the courageous spirit of one person unites all people in the celebration of his life and in the mourning of his death … We do not think of him as one who was defeated by misfortune but as one who inspired us with the example of the triumph of the human spirit over adversity
The Terry Fox Foundation organizes an annual Terry Fox Run and has raised over $650 million for cancer research to-date.