Theodore Roosevelt makes Grand Canyon a national monument On January 11, 1908, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt declares the massive Grand Canyon in northwestern Arizona a national monument. Though Native Americans lived in the area as early as the 13th century, the first European sighting of the canyon wasn’t until 1540, by members of an expedition headed by the Spanish explorer Francisco Vasquez de Coronado. Because of its remote and inaccessible location, several centuries passed before North American settlers really explored the canyon. In 1869, geologist John Wesley Powell led a group of 10 men in the first difficult journey down the rapids of the Colorado River and along the length of the 277-mile gorge in four rowboats. By the end of the 19th century, the Grand Canyon was attracting thousands of tourists each year. One famous visitor was President Theodore Roosevelt, a New Yorker with a particular affection for the American West.After becoming president in1901 after the assassination of President William McKinley, Roosevelt made environmental conservation a major part of his presidency. After establishing the National Wildlife Refuge to protect the country’s animals, fish and birds, Roosevelt turned his attention to federal regulation of public lands. Though a region could be given national park status–indicating that all private development on that land was illegal–only by an act of Congress, Roosevelt cut down on red tape by beginning a new presidential practice of granting a similar “national monument” designation to some of the West’s greatest treasures. In January 1908, Roosevelt exercised this right to make more than 800,000 acres of the Grand Canyon area into a national monument. “Let this great wonder of nature remain as it now is,” he declared. “You cannot improve on it. But what you can do is keep it for your children, your children’s children, and all who come after you, as the one great sight which every American should see.” Congress did not officially outlaw private development in the Grand Canyon until 1919, when President Woodrow Wilson signed the Grand Canyon National Park Act. Today, more than 5 million people visit the canyon each year. The canyon floor is accessible by foot, mule or boat, and whitewater rafting, hiking and running in the area are especially popular. Many choose to conserve their energies and simply take in the breathtaking view from the canyon’s South Rim–some 7,000 feet above sea level–and marvel at a vista virtually unchanged for over 400 years. 2010 Miep Gies, who hid Anne Frank, dies at 100 On this day in 2010, Miep Gies, the last survivor of a small group of people who helped hide a Jewish girl, Anne Frank, and her family from the Nazis during World War II, dies at age 100 in the Netherlands. After the Franks were discovered in 1944 and sent to concentration camps, Gies rescued the notebooks that Anne Frank left behind describing her two years in hiding. These writings were later published as “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” which became one of the most widely read accounts of the Holocaust. Miep Gies was born into a working-class, Catholic family in Vienna, Austria, on February 15, 1909. At age 11, with food shortages in her native land following World War I, she was sent to the Netherlands to live with a foster family who nicknamed her Miep (her birth name was Hermine Santrouschitz). In 1933, she went to work as a secretary for Otto Frank, who ran a small Amsterdam company that produced a substance used to make jam. By the following year, Frank’s wife and two daughters, Margot and Anne, had left their native Germany to join him in the Dutch capital. In May 1940, the Germans, who had entered World War II in September of the previous year, invaded the Netherlands and quickly made life increasingly restrictive and dangerous for the country’s Jewish population. In early July 1942, the Frank family went into hiding in an attic apartment behind Otto Frank’s business. They were eventually joined by Otto Frank’s business associate and his wife and son, as well as Miep Gies’ dentist, all of whom were Jewish. Gies, along with her husband Jan, a Dutch social worker, and several of Otto Frank’s other employees risked their own lives to smuggle food, supplies and news of the outside world into the secret apartment (which came to be known as the Secret Annex). Gies and her husband even spent a night in hiding with the group to learn firsthand what it was like. On August 4, 1944, after 25 months in hiding, the eight people in the Secret Annex were discovered by the Gestapo, the German secret state police, who had learned about the hiding place from an anonymous tipster who has never been definitively identified. Gies was working in the building at the time of the raid and avoided arrest because the officer was from her native Vienna and felt sympathy for her. She later went to police headquarters and tried, unsuccessfully, to pay a bribe to free the group. The occupants of the Secret Annex were sent to concentration camps; only Otto Frank survived. After he was liberated from Auschwitz by Soviet troops in January 1945, he returned to Amsterdam, where Miep Gies gave him a collection of notebooks and several hundred loose papers containing observations the teenage Anne Frank had penned during her time in hiding. Gies recovered the materials from the Secret Annex shortly after the Franks’ arrest and hid them in her office desk. She avoided reading the papers during the war out of respect for Anne’s privacy. Otto Frank, who lived with the Gies family after the war, compiled his daughter’s writings into a manuscript that was first published in the Netherlands in 1947 under the title “Het Acheterhuis” (“Rear Annex”). Later published in English as “Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl,” the book went on to sell tens of millions of copies worldwide. In 1987, Gies published a memoir, “Anne Frank Remembered,” in which she wrote: “I am not a hero. I stand at the end of the long, long line of good Dutch people who did what I did and more–much more–during those dark and terrible times years ago, but always like yesterday in the heart of those of us who bear witness. Never a day goes by that I do not think of what happened then.” 1935 Amelia Earhart flies from Hawaii to California In the first flight of its kind, American aviatrix Amelia Earhart departs Wheeler Field in Honolulu, Hawaii, on a solo flight to North America. Hawaiian commercial interests offered a $10,000 award to whoever accomplished the flight first. The next day, after traveling 2,400 miles in 18 hours, she safely landed at Oakland Airport in Oakland, California. On May 21, 1932, exactly five years after American aviator Charles Lindberghbecame the first person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean, Earhart became the first woman to repeat the feat when she landed her plane in Londonderry, Ireland. However, unlike Lindbergh when he made his historic flight, Earhart was already well known to the public before her solo transatlantic flight. In 1928, as a member of a three-member crew, she had become the first woman to cross the Atlantic in an aircraft. Although her only function during the crossing was to keep the plane’s log, the event won her national fame, and Americans were enamored with the modest and daring young pilot. For her solo transatlantic crossing in 1932, she was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross by the U.S. Congress. Two years after her Hawaii to California flight, she attempted with co-pilot Frederick J. Noonan to fly around the world, but her plane was lost on July 2, 1937, somewhere between New Guinea and Howland Island in the South Pacific. Radio operators picked up a signal that she was low on fuel–the last trace the world would ever know of Amelia Earhart.