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Moments in time

 

• On July 8, 1776, a 2,000-pound copper-and-tin bell now known as the “Liberty Bell” rings out from the tower of the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia, summoning citizens to the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence. In the fall of 1777, the bell was hidden in Allentown to save it from being melted down by the British and used to make cannons.

• On July 11, 1804, Vice President Aaron Burr fatally shoots his long-time political antagonist Alexander Hamilton in a duel. Burr’s shot struck Hamilton in the stomach, and he died the next afternoon.

• On July 5, 1865, in London, revivalist preacher William Booth and his wife, Catherine, establish the Christian Mission, later known as the Salvation Army, to wage war against the evils of poverty and religious indifference. The Army currently works in 75 countries.

• On July 6, 1957, Liverpool teenagers John Lennon and Paul McCartney meet for the first time. Lennon was a member of the Quarry Men, scheduled to play at a public event. Two weeks later, Lennon invited McCartney to join the band.

• On July 10, 1962, the U.S. Patent Office issues Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin a patent for his three-point automobile safety belt. The traditional two-point belt had been known to cause severe internal abdominal injuries in a high-speed crash.

• On July 7, 1983, Samantha Smith, an 11-year-old American girl, begins a two-week visit to the Soviet Union at the invitation of Soviet leader Yuri Andropov after she wrote him a letter as part of a school project.

• On July 9, 1993, British forensic scientists announce they have positively identified the remains of Russia’s last czar, Nicholas II, his wife, and three of their daughters. The scientists used mitochondria DNA to identify the bones, which had been excavated from a mass grave near Yekaterinburg in 1991.

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