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Be convinced that to be happy means to be free and that to be free means to be brave. Therefore do not take lightly the perils of war.

-- Thucydides

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This Day in History
1789: Parisian revolutionaries and mutinous troops storm and dismantle the Bastille, a royal fortress that had come to symbolize the tyranny of the Bourbon monarchs. This dramatic action signaled the beginning of the French Revolution.

1864: Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest suffers his biggest defeat when Union General Andrew J. Smith routs his force in Tupelo, Mississippi.

1950: The U.S. 555th Field Artillery Battalion ("Triple Nickel") was overrun and lost 300 soldiers.

1964: U.S. military intelligence publicly charges that North Vietnamese regular army officers command and fight in so-called Viet Cong forces in the northern provinces, where Viet Cong strength had doubled in the past six months.

1968: Defense Secretary Clark Clifford visits South Vietnam to confer with U.S. and South Vietnamese leaders. Upon his arrival in Saigon, Clifford stated that the United States was doing all that it could to improve the fighting capacity of the South Vietnamese armed forces and intended to provide all South Vietnamese army units with M-16 automatic rifles.

1974: U.S. Army General Carl Spaatz, fighter pilot and the first chief of staff of an independent U.S. Air Force, dies in Washington, D.C., at age 83. Spaatz graduated from the Military Academy at West Point in 1914. He was a combat pilot during World War I, and at the outbreak of World War II went to England to help evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the German military. In July 1942, he became commander of the U.S. Eighth Air Force and inaugurated daylight bombing runs against German-occupied territory in Europe.