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Cecil Whig - - ACCENT -

Eco­nomic and ed­u­ca­tion ad­vance­ment got a leg up on June 22, 1944.

On this day, U.S. Pres­i­dent Franklin D. Roo­sevelt signed the G.I. Bill, an un­prece­dented act of leg­is­la­tion de­signed to com­pen­sate re­turn­ing mem­bers of the armed ser­vices for their ef­forts in World War II.

Be­fore the war, col­lege had been an op­tion for the most priv­i­leged classes. The G.I. Bill gave veter­ans money for tuition, liv­ing ex­penses, books, sup­plies and equip­ment. By 1947, vets made up half of the na­tion’s col­lege en­roll­ment.

It was in July 1947 when ranch fore­man W.W. Brazel found a strange, shiny ma- terial scat­tered over some of his land in south­east­ern New Mex­ico. He turned the ma­te­rial over to the sher­iff, who passed it on to author­i­ties at the nearby Air Force base.

The dis­cov­ery (as well as the dawn of the atomic age) caused public in­ter­est in Uniden­ti­fied Fly­ing Ob­jects, or UFOs, to flour- ish. While in­ter­est has per­haps waned over the years, con­spir­acy the­o­ries are still alive and well.

On June 24, 1997, U.S. Air Force of­fi­cials re­leased a 231-page re­port dis­miss­ing long-stand­ing claims of an alien space­craft crash in Roswell. How­ever, Roswell con­tin­ues to thrive as a tourist desti­na­tion, host­ing the an­nual UFO Encounter Fes­ti­val each July.

Speak­ing of thrilling sto­ries, June 22, 1964, is the birth­day of Dan Brown, au­thor of the in­ter­na­tional block­buster “The Da Vinci Code” as well as other best-sell­ing sto­ries.

Brown’s first novel, “Dig­i­tal Fortress,” a tech­nothriller about a Na­tional Se­cu­rity Agency cryp­tog­ra­pher, was pub­lished in 1998. His first three books were met with mod­est suc­cess, and his ca­reer took off with the 2003 re­lease of “The Da Vinci Code.” A big-screen adap­ta­tion, di­rected by Ron Howard and star­ring Tom Hanks as pro­tag­o­nist Robert Lang­don, was re­leased in 2006.

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