August 13

Construction of the Berlin Wall began in 1961. East Germany closed the border between the eastern and western sectors of Berlin to stop East Germans from escaping into the West. Guard towers were eventually built along the wall that ran 26.8 miles just within the Berlin city limits. The East Germans called the wall the “Anti-Fascist Protection Rampart” that was designed to permit East Germans to build a socialist state. To the West Germans, it was the “Wall of Shame,” a termed coined by Mayor Willie Brandt. The Berlin Wall came to symbolize the “Iron Curtain.” Before the construction of the wall, some 3.5 million East Germans fled to the West. During the period of the Berlin Wall from 1961 to 1989 approximately 5,000 people attempted to cross it, resulting in over 100 deaths, although that number is disputed.

In 1969, after a three-week quarantine, the Apollo 11 astronauts were given a ticker tape parade in New York City. Michael Collins, Buzz Aldrin, and Neil Armstrong also attended parades in Chicago and Los Angeles. That same night in Los Angeles they attended an official state dinner attended by members of Congress, 44 of the nation’s governors, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, and 83 ambassadors from foreign nations. The three were awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The Apollo 11 astronauts then went on a 45-day tour that took them to 25 foreign countries.

Hurricane Charley struck the west coast of Florida at Punta Gorda in 2004. It was the second major hurricane that season and the winds peaked at 150 mph making it a Category 4 hurricane. The hurricane lasted from August 9 until August 15. Charley was the strongest hurricane in southwest Florida since Hurricane Donna in 1960. Damage from Charley was over $13 billion in the state of Florida.

Birthdays Today

1895Bert Lahr, American actor and singer (d. 1967)
1899Alfred Hitchcock, English-American director and producer (d. 1980)
1912Ben Hogan, American golfer (d. 1997)
1926Fidel Castro, Cuban lawyer and politician, 15th President of Cuba

Larry Moskal began his career as a Social Studies teacher in 1971. He graduated from the University of Buffalo with degrees in history and education. Larry taught Social Studies for the Ken-Ton School system, a suburban school system north of Buffalo, New York until 2005, and then taught and was the Dean of Students at San Miguel High School in Tucson. At Ken-Ton, he pioneered several online courses for high school students. In the 1980s, he spent three years teaching in Colombia, South America and spent four years at Lewiston-Porter High School. He currently is the PowerSchool Administrator for San Miguel accomplishing his work over the Internet.