On this day in 1851 Moby Dick by the bearded one, Herman Melville, is published for the first time. Regarded as a true American literary classic (like there's a false one) it follows the exploits of Ishmael on board the Pequod. Largely forgotten until years after Melville's death, this novel was republished to great fanfare during the 1920's. Melville was probably looking down saying "Motherfuckers!" Cheers buddy!
On this day in 1970 a plane carrying most of the Marshall University football team crashes into a hillside killing everyone on board. The entire school was in mourning and left to decide whether or not to bring back the football program the next season. They decided it would help heal the school and surrounding city by bringing back the team. Not expecting to win any games that first season with a patchwork team, it was a story fit for a movie when the team won their second game on a last second touchdown pass. Yeah, they made a movie about it.
On this day in 1914 the leaders of the Ottoman Empire declare a holy war or Jihad, against Britain, France, and the other allied nations during WWI. The declining empire had lost most of it's vast territory during the previous century and saw the great war as a means to regain lost lands. Right until joining the Germans in the war it wasn't clear which side the Ottoman's would join. Perhaps if they would have sided with Britain they would be able to remain in the middle east, thus avoiding the upheaval that we enjoy today.