Here’s a look at some interesting events that took place on this day in history:

1782 – George Washington orders the creation of the Badge of Military Merit to honor soldiers wounded in battle; it is later renamed to the more poetic Purple Heart (More info)

1789 – The United States War Department, which later becomes the Department of Defense, is established (More info)

1959 – Explorer 6 launches and takes the first satellite photos of Earth (More info)

1964 – The US Congress passes the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gives President Lyndon B. Johnson broad war powers to deal with North Vietnamese attacks on American forces (More info)

1978 – President Jimmy Carter declares a federal emergency at Love Canal due to the negligent disposal of toxic waste (More info)