1492 – Italian explorer Christopher Columbus reaches the “New World.” He sights a Bahamian Island and believes he has reached East Asia. He claims it for Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain, who sponsored his voyage.
1945 – Conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss, of Virginia, win the Medal of Honor. A dedicated pacifist, Voss served as a medical corpsman and saved dozens of lives in the bloody battle of Okinawa.
1964 – The Soviet Union jumps into the space race lead by launching Voskhod 1 into orbit around earth, with three cosmonauts on board, the first spacecraft to carry a multi-person crew.
1997 – Songwriter and performer John Denver dies in an aircraft accident. “Take Me Home, Country Roads,” and “Rocky Mountain High” were among his hits.