On This Day in History August 7

1782 – General George Washington, the commander in chief of the Continental Army, creates the “Badge for Military Merit,” a decoration consisting of a purple, heart-shaped piece of silk, edged with a narrow binding of silver. It later becomes known as the Purple Heart, awarded to soldiers who have been killed or wounded in action.

1912 – Teddy Roosevelt, the Bull Moose candidate, is nominated for the presidency by the Progressive Party.

1959 – The first U.S. satellite to photograph the earth is launched from Cape Canaveral into an orbit around the earth. The unmanned spacecraft Explorer 6 features a photocell scanner which transmitted a crude picture of the earth’s surface and cloud cover from a distance of 17,000 miles. The photo took nearly 40 minutes to transmit.

1964 – Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving Pres. Lyndon Johnson nearly unlimited power to oppose “communist aggression” in Southeast Asia. It expanded the U.S. military role in Vietnam.

1990 – Pres. George Herbert Walker Bush orders the organization of Operation Desert Shield in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait. The order prepared American troops to become part of an international coalition in the war against Iraq.

1998 – Massive truck bombs explode outside U.S. embassies and Nairobi, Kenya, and in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. 224 people are killed.