A Historical Day

(1903) Wright brothers fly plane for first time

1903 After years of working in secrecy, Orville and Wilbur Wright successfully test a self-propelled, heavier-than-air aircraft, which stays aloft for 12 seconds and covers 120 feet, near Kitty Hawk, NC. They’ll send their father a telegram of their achievement, telling him to alert the press, but newspapers will pass and few people will learn of the feat until they invite reporters to later test flights.

(1989) ‘The Simpsons’ premieres

1989 The new Fox animated series, created by cartoonist Matt Groening, satirizes the American middle class via the Simpson family — Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and little Maggie. The show will become the longest running scripted prime-time TV show of all time.

(1991) Yeltsin says Soviet Union will cease to exist

1991 A spokesman for Russian Federation President Boris Yeltsin announces that the Soviet Union will dissolve on or before New Year’s Eve. Yeltsin himself puts it more bluntly: “There will be no more red flag.” The public greets this with a shrug, as most former Soviet republics had already declared independence from the USSR.