On this day 21 years ago, a former prisoner of war became the first American ambassador to communist Vietnam. 22 years after the US evacuated Saigon, former Florida Congressman Pete Peterson presented his credentials to Communist authorities in Hanoi.

Pete Peterson POW CongHe had served as a US Air Force captain during the Vietnam War, and was held as a prisoner of war for six-and-a-half-years after his bomber was shot down near Hanoi in 1966. Thirty-one years later, as the US began normalizing relations with their old enemy, Peterson returned on a mission of diplomacy. (1997)

Peterson also became the chairman of The Alliance for Safe Children, a non-profit organization he founded that works for child safety in Vietnam and the Asia Pacific Region helping reduce the accidents that injure children there.

MORE Good News on this Day:

  • First political cartoon to appear in a newspaper: America as a divided snake (8 colonies pondering revolution) with the caption “Join or die” – by Benjamin Franklin (1754)
  • Czechoslovakia was liberated from Nazi occupation National Day (1945)
  • Ten years after the Nazis surrendered, West Germany joined NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (1955)
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved of birth control as an additional use for Searle’s Enovid, making it the first approved oral contraceptive pill (1960)
  • John Paul II announced a reversal of the Catholic Church’s condemnation of Galileo in 1633 –350 years after the scientist’s declaration that the earth was not the center of the universe (1983)
  • The President of the United States, Barack Obama, affirmed his personal support for same-sex marriage (2012)

And on this day in 1950, Robert Schuman presented his proposal on the creation of an organized Europe, which according to him was indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. EU flagThis proposal, known as the “Schuman Declaration“, is considered by some people to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.

And, Happy 72nd Birthday to actress Candice Bergen, perhaps best known as TV’s Murphy Brown, a comedic role for which she won five Emmy Awards and two Golden Globe Awards over ten seasons.

Candice Bergen-cc Peabody Awards

She was also nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of Jessica in Starting Over, and the BAFTA Award for Gandhi. Other popular roles include her work in the films Miss Congeniality and Sweet Home Alabama, and television’s Boston Legal. Her 2016 autobiography, A Fine Romance details her marriage to film director Louis Malle and giving birth to a daughter at age 39. (1946)

Other Notable Birthdays: Albert Finney (82), Billy Joel (69)


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