90 years ago today, the Grand National Assembly of Turkey removed Article II from their Constitution. The Muslim state declared religion to be separate from government and banned the teaching of Islam in schools. The current Constitution neither recognizes an official religion nor promotes any, which includes Islam, to which more than 99% of its citizens subscribe. (1928)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The first public art exhibition was held at the Palais Royal in Paris, with works by members of the Royal Academy of Painting and Sculpture on displayed in the galleries of the Salon de 1667 for 15 days (1667)
  • First tax-supported public library opened in the US in Peterborough, NH (1833)
  • Marian Anderson sang for 75,000 people — and millions of radio listeners — on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial for Easter Sunday in a concert organized by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in response to Anderson’s being banned from performing at DC’s DAR Constitution Hall because she was black (1939)
  • The Houston Astrodome opened its doors for the first indoor baseball game ever played (1965)
  • David Bowie went to #1 on the UK singles chart for the fourth time with the song, ‘Let’s Dance’– the first time he reached top of the charts on both sides of the Atlantic. (1983)

Churchill_V_sign_1940-pubdomainAnd, on this day in 1963, Sir Winston Churchill, the English Prime Minister who led Allied forces to defeat the Nazis in World War II, became the first of only eight people ever to be proclaimed an Honorary citizen of the United States. Too ill to travel, he watched on television as President John F. Kennedy bestowed the honor in a ceremony attended by Churchill’s son and grandson.

The other seven non-US citizens to have received the honor, all posthumously except for one, in order of the proclamation date, are as follows:

Raoul Wallenberg – The Swedish architect, businessman, and diplomat is widely celebrated for saving tens of thousands of Jews in Nazi-occupied Hungary during the Holocaust in the later stages of World War II. While serving as Sweden’s special envoy in Budapest between July and December 1944, Wallenberg issued protective passports and sheltered Jews in buildings designated as Swedish territory.

William Penn – The English real estate entrepreneur, philosopher, and early Quaker was the founder of Pennsylvania who was an early advocate of democracy and religious freedom, and notable for his good relations and successful treaties with the Lenape Indians. Under his direction, the city of Philadelphia was planned and developed.

Hannah Callowhill Penn – The Second wife of William Penn, she administered the Province of Pennsylvania for six years after her husband suffered a series of strokes and then for another eight years after her husband’s death.

Mother Teresa – The beatified Catholic nun and Nobel Peace Prize winner of Albanian ethnicity and Indian citizenship founded the now global Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, where she served the poor and sick.

Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette – Known simply as Lafayette to Americans, the French aristocrat and military officer ensured victory for the United States in the Revolutionary War and was a hero later in the French Revolution of 1789. A close friend of George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and Thomas Jefferson, his military prowess in the battle of Yorktown (and in many other battles) and leadership in securing French Naval forces were crucial to the American outcome.

Casimir Pulaski – The Polish military officer and nobleman fought alongside the American colonists in the American Revolutionary War and has been called “The Father of the American Cavalry.”

Bernardo de Gálvez y Madrid, Viscount of Galveston and Count of Gálvez – The Spaniard was an American Revolutionary War hero wounded during the Siege of Pensacola who provided supplies, intelligence, and military support, and demonstrated bravery that forever endeared him to US soldiers.

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