1986: Space Shuttle Challenger breaks apart 73 seconds into its flight, killing 7 astronauts. President Ronald Reagan postpones his State of the Union address scheduled for that evening, and instead delivered a national address on the disaster from the Oval Office.
1980: Canada’s Ambassador to Iran Kenneth Taylor engineers escape of six US diplomats, housed with Canadian Embassy staff since November 22, 1979, when the US Embassy was overrun during the Iranian revolution, and 66 hostages taken. The Americans leave with Canadian passports; Taylor himself leaves a few hours later, and becomes a hero in the US, for masterminding ‘The Canadian Caper’.
1918: Manitoba becomes the first province in Canada to allow women the right to vote and to hold provincial office, after protests by leaders such as Nellie McClung.