One of the key events of the long-running Cold War started 50 years ago today — the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ships and aircraft of the Soviet Union had brought nuclear-armed missiles into Cuba, only 90 miles from the U.S. On this date in 1962, President John F. Kennedy made a national television address, demanding the removal of Soviet missiles, launch equipment and bombers from Cuba. He also imposed a naval quarantine to prevent further weapons from reaching Cuba. Six days later, the Soviets announced they would remove the weapons in question. At the time, the U.S. had 2.8 million men and women on active duty. Now, our armed forces total half that number. You can find more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at <www.census.gov>.
Sunday, October 21st. You can see it in your refrigerator, on the shelves in your favorite supermarket, and in ads on television. Americans love cheese, ranging from sophisticated French recipes to cheeseburgers. That’s why this is American Cheese Month. Across the U.S., in small towns and large cities, cheese lovers will be treated to tastings, introduced to new cheeses, and learn new ways to enjoy old favorites in special classes and new meals at local restaurants. Each year, Americans eat an average of almost 33 pounds of cheese. Our favorites include American, cheddar, Italian and mozzarella. You can find current data on the country’s economy — on the go — by downloading the new “America’s Economy” mobile application at <www.census.gov/mobile>.
Saturday, October 20th. The world’s biggest extreme sports event, as well as West Virginia’s largest festival, is being held today at the New River Gorge Bridge Day. Up to 500 so-called “base” jumpers are expected to leap off the nation’s longest single span bridge, 876 feet above the new river. They will free fall a set distance, and then end their adventure with a parachute. Up to 80,000 spectators will gather at various points to watch. Only experienced jumpers and rapellers are allowed. However, the general public is welcome to ride a 700-foot highline, originating from the catwalk under the bridge. The New River Gorge Bridge is among the most spectacular in the nation’s inventory of just over 600,000 spans. Profile America is in its 16th year as a public service of the U.S. Census Bureau.