Four words that shaped America
On August 28, 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. approached the podium near the Lincoln Memorial with something he didn’t normally need: notes. Sensing the importance of the moment, King had stayed up late the night before perfecting his speech. But as he delivered it, he came to a line that wasn’t quite right. Off to the side, the singer Mahalia Jackson shouted, “Tell them about the dream, Martin!” King paused, looked out over the crowd, and went off-script, saying, “I say to you today, my friends, even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” The rest of the speech stayed on that theme and “I have a dream” went down in history as one of the most memorable phrases ever delivered.
Time zone confusion ruined America’s relationship with Cuba
In early April 1961, Cuban exiles were trained and ready to execute the CIA’s secret plan to attack Cuba’s Bay of Pigs and overthrow Fidel Castro’s socialist government. After a failed air strike, President Kennedy sent in six American fighter planes to help. But the pilots forgot to sync their watches to Cuba time and arrived an hour late, rendering them useless. The relationship between Cuba and America has been strained ever since.
A note that cost the Confederacy
During the invasion of Maryland in September 1862, Confederate General Robert E. Lee drafted Special Order 191, outlining the moves the Army should make in preparation for the Battle of Antietam. A copy of the order ended up in the careless hands of Maj. Gen. D.H. Hill, who forgetfully left the note in a box on the ground, wrapped around three cigars. Union troops found the order, read the plans, and fended of the South in the bloodiest battle—and a turning point—of the Civil War. Check out these 18 history lessons your teacher lied about.