It Happened On #25

Today is the 25th edition of It Happened On! What a joyous occasion! It’s like the 25th anniversary. This calls for cake

It happened on October 22 1797…André-Jacques Garnerin makes the first parachute jump.  Garnerin attached the parachute to a hydrogen balloon and ascended to an altitude of 3,200 feet. He then clambered into the basket and severed the parachute from the balloon. He failed to include an air vent at the top of the prototype and oscillated wildly in his descent. He landed hurt half a mile from the balloon’s takeoff site

In 1799, Garnerin’s wife, Jeanne-Genevieve, became the first female parachutist. In 1802, Garnerin made a spectacular jump from 8,000 feet during an exhibition in England. He died in a balloon accident in 1823 while preparing to test a new parachute.

Also on October 22 1957, U.S. military suffer their first casualties in the Vietnam War. 13 Americans are wounded in three terrorist bombings of Military Assistance Advisory Group and U.S. Information Service installations in Saigon. The rising tide of guerrilla activity in South Vietnam reached an estimated 30 terrorist incidents by the end of the year and at least 75 local officials were assassinated or kidnapped in the last quarter of 1957

Also on October 22 1975, Air Force Sergeant Leonard Matlovich, a decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, is given a “general” discharge by the air force after publicly declaring his homosexuality. Matlovich appeared on the cover of Time magazine above the headline “I AM A HOMOSEXUAL”. He was challenging the ban against homosexuals in the U.S. military

After winning a much-publicized case against the air force in 1979, his discharge was upgraded to “honourable.” In 1988, Matlovich died at the age of 44. He was buried with full military honours at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington, D.C. His tombstone reads, “A gay Vietnam Veteran. When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.”

3,200 feet seems like nothing compared to Felix Baumgartner’s jump from 127,953 feet on October 14 2012. Guess you gotta start somewhere

I just like to mention, I really like “When I was in the military they gave me a medal for killing two men and a discharge for loving one.” RIP Matlovich


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