October 12: Columbus encountered the Americas, Pledge of Allegiance implemented in U.S. public schools. and other events of the date
A number of important events took place on October 12 in U.S. history. Here is our take on the most interesting and valuable of them.
1492 – Columbus lands in the Bahamas, being sure he landed in India
It’s a widely-known fact that Columbus was certainly neither the first European to reach the shores of the Americas, nor had he any intention to “discover” the continent, as the Italian explorer simply wanted to find a short way from Europe to India.
Yet, since the Spanish colonization of the Americas (and Columbus served the crown of that country) started from Columbus landing in the Bahamas (or somewhere in present-day Turks and Caicos), this date is considered to be very important in the history of the continent, as well as in world history.
As is believed, land was first sighted at 2 a.m. on October 12, 1492, by a sailor named Rodrigo de Triana (also known as Juan Rodriguez Bermejo) aboard the Pinta. It’s also noted by a number of historians that the indigenous people Columbus encountered in their homelands were peaceful and friendly.
October 12 is also the traditional date to celebrate Columbus Day—one of the major holidays in many American continent countries. Columbus Day was celebrated in the U.S. for the first time on October, 12 1792, marking the 300th anniversary of the discovery. Today, however, Columbus Day is celebrated on the second Monday of October in the States.
1892 – Pledge of Allegiance is implemented in U.S. public schools
The Pledge of Allegiance of the United States is an expression of allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republican order of the United States of America. This is an expression of American patriotism. The pledge was originally composed by Captain George Thatcher Balch, who served in the Union Army during the Civil War.
Looking at the mere date the pledge was implemented, it is obvious it was introduced within the framework of the celebration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus coming to the Americas. Since that day, every school kid in the U.S. says the following words in the morning every day (with few exceptions):
“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation indivisible, with liberty and justice for all…” (1942 edition)
1918 – Cloquet Fire occurs
The worst natural disaster in the history of Minnesota, and one of the worst in the history of the U.S., the Cloquet Fire killed no less than 1,000 people, left 52,000 people injured, and totally destroyed 38 local communities.
The fire left much of western Carlton County devastated, mostly affecting Moose Lake, Cloquet, and Kettle River. Yet, Cloquet was hit the hardest by those fires.
“At 6 o’clock last night, a forest ranger gave warning that unless the wind died down the townspeople would have to flee... The scene at the station was indescribable. There came a rush of wind and the entire town was in flames. The trains pulled out with the fires blazing closely behind them. Women wept and clung to their children, while others cried frantically for their missing ones. The flames licked at the cars. Windows in the coaches were broken by the heat. The engineers and firemen alternately stoked, to give the boilers all the fuel they could stand…” said Cloquet police officer Albert Michaud in an interview with the New York Times at that time.
2000 –Al-Qaeda terrorists attack USS Cole in Aden
A brutal and cruel act of terrorism against the USS Cole destroyer occurred eighteen years ago when it was at anchor in Aden (Yemen), as Al-Qaeda sent suicide bombers to attack the ship. The terrorists sailed a small boat near the ship and detonated several explosives. As a result of this attack, 17 American sailors were killed and 39 wounded.
Yet, the terrorists didn’t evade justice: On November 4, 2002, Qaed Salim Sinan al-Harethi, a suspected al-Qaeda operative who was believed to have planned and commanded the USS Cole attack was killed in Yemen by the CIA, by an AGM-114 Hellfire missile launched from an MQ-1 Predator drone.