Jan. 17, 1961: In his Farewell Address, U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower urges vigilance during the height of the Cold War, but he adds that America risks falling under the power of a "military-industrial complex" diverting its resources into building new and bigger weapons.

Jan. 17, 1968: In a wide-ranging State of the Union Address, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson Mount Nyiragongocalls for new laws on food safety; safe drinking water; protection of redwood forests and scenic rivers; and highway beautification.

Jan. 17, 1993: After dominating the Tacoma, Washington skyline for over a century, the smokestack at ASARCO’s smelter is demolished. Leaving behind a Superfund site with an estimate 12 square miles of Tacoma contaminated by lead, arsenic and other wastes, ASARCO becomes a poster child for avoiding paying its Superfund debts through a combination of lawyering, bankruptcies, and shell-company transfers.

Jan. 17, 2002: Mount Nyiragongo (at right) erupts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, engulfing part of the city of Goma. Most of Goma’s 500,000 residents flee, and about 245 die.

Photo: Rebecca Blackwell/AP

This feature is compiled by Peter Dykstra, an MNN contributor and publisher of Environmental Health News and The Daily Climate.