Jan-28: A Day of Tragedy, Humanity and Privacy

January 28th is mostly remembered in the United States for the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, but it also a date of great humanity as it was when the charitable single “We Are the World” was recorded.  In addition, January 28 is Data Privacy Day, as well as the date the Coast Guard was founded, when Senator Ted Kennedy endorsed Barack Obama’s candidacy for President turning the tide in his favor and when former Providence Mayor Vincent “Buddy” Cianci died.

P.S.  Happy 50th Birthday to Sarah McLachlan.


Coast Guard Founded

The Coast Guard was founded by merging the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service (which collected customs duties at ports) and U.S. Life-Saving Service.  As one of the country’s five armed services, the Coast Guard has been involved in every U.S. war since.  It is the smallest of the five military service branches, but by itself is the 12th largest naval force in the world.



We Are the World Recorded

United Support of Artists (USA) for Africa, an ensemble of 62 recording artists, recorded “We are the World,” a song written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Ritchie.  The song was written in response to the famine in Ethiopia and the UK ensemble Band Aid’s 1984 release of “Do They Know It’s Christmas“.   The song was released on March 7, 1985 and topped music charts throughout the world becoming the first single to go Quadruple Platinum.  The song and related promotional merchandise helped raise over $63 million for aid to Africa.


Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion

On its tenth mission, the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded 73 seconds after launch killing all seven crew members which included New Hampshire schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe.  Unusually cold conditions caused a failure in one of the rocket’s seals.  A Presidential Commission and a Congressional investigation attributed the accident to a failure in communication and management with NASA and its contractors.


Data Privacy/Data Protection Day

On this day in 1981, the first legally binding international treaty dealing with privacy and data protection (the Convention for the Protection of Individuals with regard to Automatic Processing of Personal Data) was opened for signature by the Council of Europe.  Beginning in 2007, this event was recognized as European Data Protection Day. In 2009, Congress recognized this day as “National Data Privacy Day“.


Senator Ted Kennedy Endorses Barack Obama for President

Following Senator Obama’s upset win in the Iowa Caucus and commanding win in the South Carolina primary, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), joined by his son Rep. Patrick Kennedy (D-RI) and his niece Caroline Kennedy endorsed Obama at American University.  While both the Obama and Clinton campaigns believed the endorsement to be decisive, coming a week before Super Tuesday’s 23 primaries and caucuses (including Massachusetts), Clinton still won the Massachusetts primary.



Former Providence Mayor Buddy Cianci Dies

Vincent “Buddy” Cianci, the longest-serving Mayor of Providence and one of the longest-serving “big city” mayors in United States history, having held office for over 21 years, died of cancer.  Cianci served as Mayor from 1975-1984 when he was forced to resign following his pleading nolo contedere to assault charges.  He was reelected in 1990 and served until 2002 until his conviction for racketeering in connection with “Operation Plunderdome”.  Cianci is credited with transforming Providence into the “Renaissance City.”



Canadian singer Sarah McLachlan turns 50 today.

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