Lincoln-Douglas debates began in 1858. The seven debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas provided the voters of Illinois a chance to see the candidates for a senate seat. The last debate was held in Alton, Illinois, on October 15, 1858. Although Lincoln lost the election, he became more known nationally. Older children can read transcripts of the speeches at: Lincoln-Douglas Debates.
Gregorian calendar adjustment was made in 1582. Earlier that year Pope Gregory XIII had announced that the day following October 4 would be October 15. The adjustment took place in most Catholic countries. Great Britain and the colonies did not change until 1752.
White Cane Safety Day is remembered by Presidential Proclamation. The day celebrates the independence of the blind and visually impaired. President Lyndon Johnson issued the first proclamation in 1964. In 2011 President Barack Obama declared the day to also be called Blind Americans Equality Day. Children can read a very good history of the white cane at: White Cane Safety Day.
Andy Green set a new land speed record and broke the sound barrier on land in 1997 in ThrustSSC. Traveling at 763.035 miles per hour (Mach 1.016), he broke the land record 50 years and one day after Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in an airplane.
Cassini-Huygens spacecraft was launched in 1997. The unmanned NASA craft reached Saturn, its goal, in 2004. Huygens broke away from Cassini and landed on Titan, one of Saturn’s moons, on January 14, 2005.
Shenzhou 5 was launched from China in 2003. China’s first successful manned space venture sent Yang Liwei into earth orbit. He orbited earth 14 times and spent over 21 hours in space.
National Dictionary Day honors Noah Webster’s birth. Children could participate in the “Dictionary Olympics.” One event could be the fastest finder of words. Another event could be the best user of guide words. Or…since many people today use online dictionaries, children could use a dictionary in book form. They could discuss what Noah Webster would think if he could see online dictionaries today.