Virginia August 09, 2015
14 Times The Entire Country Was Looking At Virginia In Suspense And Awe
Virginia has more than just a few claims to fame. When it comes to American history, a recorded history that’s, admittedly, much younger than that of many other countries around the world, Virginia is an old-timer. Starting on April 26, 1607, when three boats filled with English colonists landed on the shores of Cape Henry, Virginia has served as a place where things happen – both good and bad, but almost always newsworthy.
The following is a list of times that the world turned its eyes to Virginia – some good, some bad. And of course, some LONG before we had international communication, 24-hour news channels and social media. Many of these are events that changed the course of American history – and others are simply fun stories. But all of them show that in the end, Virginia is anything but boring.
1. April 26, 1607: Colonists landed on Virginia soil to form what would become the first permanent English colony in the United States.
2. October 19, 1781: After the unsuccessful Battle of Yorktown, Lord General Charles Cornwallis surrendered to American troops in Yorktown to end the Revolutionary War.
3. July 16, 1790: Washington, D.C. was founded as the capital of the newly formed United States of America from land ceded by Virginia and Maryland.
George Washington, a Virginia native and the country’s first president, chose the site as a neutral territory that would represent the interests of both the North and the South.
4. September 11, 1941 - January 15, 1943: The Pentagon was built in Arlington County to house the Department of Defense.
Today, the Pentagon is still one of the largest office buildings in the world and stands as a symbol of the nation’s military.
5. June 6, 1944: The town of Bedford suffered the highest proportional losses in the United States when Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy during the D-Day invasion.
Today, “The Bedford Boys” are remembered at the D-Day Memorial in Bedford.
6. June 12, 1967: The Supreme Court unanimously voted to make Virginia’s law prohibiting interracial marriage unacceptable in the landmark case, Loving vs. Virginia. This ruling led to similar rulings in 15 other states.
Virginia played a large role in the Civil Rights struggle of the mid-20th century. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) of Virginia filed more lawsuits than any other state, many of them leading to monumental victories in the battle for equality.
7. 1972: Deep Throat, the Watergate Scandal - and a parking garage.
Six times between October 1972 and November 1973, a mysterious FBI informant, known only as "Deep Throat," met with Washington Post reporter, Bob Woodward, at a parking garage in Rosslyn. Information provided at these meetings played a key part in unraveling the Watergate Scandal of 1972-73. On May 31, 2005, thirty-three years after their meetings, Mark Felt, who had been Deputy Director of the FBI at the time, came forward in an article published in Vanity Fair. Just last year, it was announced the garage is scheduled for demolition in 2017, but that the historical marker erected in 2011 will remain.
8. December 28, 1981: Elizabeth Jordan Carr, the first test tube baby in the United States, was born at Norfolk General Hospital thanks to in vitro fertilization procedures performed at Eastern Virginia Medical School.
9. January 13, 1990 - Douglas Wilder was inaugurated in Richmond as governor of Virginia and became the first elected African American governor in the United States.
Previously, he served as Lt. Governor and 2 terms in the Virginia Senate. Later, he went on to serve as Mayor of Richmond, as well.
10. September 11, 2001: 60 years to the day after ground was first broken for the Pentagon, five hijackers overtook American Airlines Flight 77 and crashed it into the building, killing all 64 passengers, as well as 125 people inside.
11. August 2007: Professional football player and former Virginia Tech standout, Michael Vick pleaded guilty to federal felony charges resulting from his involvement in an illegal dogfighting ring.
He went on to serve 21 months in prison and 2 months in home confinement in his Virginia home.
12. April 16, 2007: 32 students and faculty were killed at Virginia Tech by a lone gunman who also took his own life.
The tragedy was listed as the deadliest shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history.
13. November 2012: Hank the Cat from Springfield came in 3rd in the 2012 U.S. Senate race.
The would-be senator kitty gained international attention after his satirical run for U.S. senate earned him 7,319 write-in votes and a strong 3rd place finish.
14. July 28, 2015: Archaeologists in Jamestown announced that they had identified the remains of 4 men thought to be some of the earliest leaders in the colony that served as the foundation of our nation.
While these 14 stories are by NO means the only notable events in Virginia over the last few hundred years, they are definitely some of the highlights! What other stories do you think should be on the list? Tell us in the comments below!