On this day 30 years ago, Belgians and Britons who displayed heroism during the rescue operation of the March 6 Zeebrugge ferry disaster were honored: 31 people received honors for helping to save an estimated 350 passengers after the ship capsized claiming 193 lives. The BBC reported, “One of the highest civilian awards for gallantry, the George Medal, was awarded to head waiter Michael Skippen who died trying to get passengers to safety, and to Andrew Parker who formed a human bridge to allow others to clamber to safety across him: ‘I had no thoughts of heroism at all.’” (1987)

MORE Good News on this Date:

  • The first New Year’s Eve celebration was held in New York City’s Times Square (1904)
  • The Marshall Plan expired after distributing $12 billion in foreign aid toward the rebuilding of Europe— a peacetime rebuilding effort that won Gen. George Marshall, who became the U.S. Secretary of State, the Nobel Peace Prize (1961)
  • The civil war in El Salvador ended (1991)
  • The Euro was introduced, while the European Exchange Rate Mechanism froze the value on the legacy currencies of the continent (1998)

And, happy 52nd birthday wishes go to writer Nicholas Sparks, author of the international bestseller The Notebook and 17 other novels. Ten of his romantic-drama novels have been adapted for films with multi-million-dollar box office grosses. After growing up in Nebraska and attending the university of Notre Dame, Sparks moved from career to career until age 27 when he was selling pharmaceuticals and wrote The Notebook, which made the New York Times best-seller list in its first week of release. (1965)

(Ferry photo by Archief Ranter, CC)

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