On this day in 1975 Sony released its Betamax videocassette recorder to the public. It allowed its owner to record television programs for the first time. Although superior in many ways to the VHS format, Beta wasn't marketed properly and has gone onto being ridiculed as a failure. Sony was presented with the same crossroads 30 years later when it pioneered Blu-Ray against HD-DVD and made sure the put their full weight behind it. History did not repeat itself.
On this day in 1776 Richard Henry Lee presents his Lee Resolution to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia. This was the first official step towards independence from Britain. Because a few states were not yet willing to declare their intentions to break away, the vote was postponed until July. Had there been a little more foresight we'd celebrate Independence day in June.
On this day in 1942 Japanese troops invaded the islands of Attu and Kiska in Alaska. Strategically these islands didn't serve much importance other than land in the northern Pacific, but they were US territory. More motivation to stop the expansion of the Japanese empire. To try and stop further expansion the US government provided indigenous tribesmen with guns and alcohol and told them if they saw Japanese troops land on their islands to defend them.