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History's Happenings for April 30

Washington Takes Office as First U.S. President
1789

President George Washington

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U.S. Agrees to Louisiana Purchase
1803

President Thomas Jefferson

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Louisiana Admitted to Union
1812

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Casey Jones Dies at the Throttle
1900

If you thought it was only legend, you were wrong.

On this day in 1900, trying his best to hold his passenger train on the tracks near Vaughan, Mississippi while the rest of the crew jumped clear as best they could, engineer John Luther "Casey" Jones of the Illinois Central Railroad died when the Cannonball Express finally jumped the rails in a collision with a stalled freight.

Oh, it's possible that Casey hoped to follow the crew to safety at the last minute. Maybe his timing was off. Or maybe it was just his concern for the rest of his men, his dedication to his profession and obvious courage that created the legend which lives on today.

Old-time train engineers, like ship captains and today's airline pilots, share absolute authority with an absolute responsibility to their crews and passengers. When they give the ultimate for that duty, it's fitting that we would honor them with such heroic legend.

Hawaii Becomes U.S. Territory
1900

Hawaiian hula dancers

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World's Fair Opens in New York
1939

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Hitler Commits Suicide
1945

German führer Adolf Hitler

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Nixon Sends Troops Into Cambodia
1970

President Richard M. Nixon sparked protests with his decision

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Saigon Falls to Communists
1975

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