History notes all the first happenings, along with the first ones who made them happen. But what about the seconds? They are as much important as the firsts. Take a look at this list of famous ‘seconds’ brought to you by Historyplex.
2008 Beijing Olympics
In the 100-meter butterfly category, Milorad Cavic, a US-born Serbian swimmer, missed an opportunity to be the famous first, just by 0.01 seconds (or one-hundredth of a second). The winner was Michael Phelps, who had already won six golds and wanted this seventh one to break a 1972 Munich Olympics record made by Mark Spitz.
Who was the first to…? If you don’t know the answers to these ‘first-to-do-this’ questions, your general knowledge is to be blamed. OK, fine, do you at least know who was the second to…? Wait a minute, am I supposed to know the second, at all?
Honestly, you should be. But, for a fact, we don’t know much about the famous seconds in history. How and why do we always focus on the firsts, and simply disregard the seconds? If not disregard, we hardly remember them. Perhaps, because we are all taught to glorify the beginners, the initiators, or basically the origins. Rightly so. Although we cannot be sure, a part of the success of the famous firsts, can be ascribed to some of the ‘not so famous seconds’ too, as they sincerely followed in the paths laid down by the beginners. Here is an effort to put together a list of some such famous seconds in history.
Famous Seconds in History
Second Man on the Moon
An American engineer and astronaut, Buzz Aldrin was the second to set his foot on the Moon. It was on July 21, 1969, on the Apollo Mission, where he walked on the surface of Moon after Neil Armstrong. After leaving NASA, in 1985, he proposed the ‘Aldrin Cycler’, a special spacecraft trajectory, which was a Mars cycler encountering Earth and Mars on a regular basis. Interestingly, one of his sisters misspoke the word “brother” as “buzzer”, which gave him his name.
Second Man in Space
Gherman Stepanovich Titov was the second to orbit the Earth on August 6, 1961, little less than four months after Yuri Gagarin (April 12, 1961). He was aboard Vostok 2 that studied the impact of prolonged weightlessness on the human body. Not known to many of us, Titov orbited the Earth more than 17 times, whereas Gagarin had gone around the Earth only once. Besides, the following ‘firsts’ of the second man in space may sound quite weird: He was the first person to have vomited in the space, also because he was the first to have spent over a day and slept in the orbit, and to have felt space sickness.
Second US President to be Assassinated
The 20th President of the United States, James Abram Garfield, served the nation from March 4, 1881 to September 19, 1881. Six months after he assumed his responsibilities he was assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau on July 2, 1881. Hailing from the state of Ohio, he became and still is, the only sitting House Member to be elected as the President of United States.
Second US President to be Impeached
Bill Clinton became the second US President to be impeached, after President Andrew Johnson. Having served the first term through 1993 to 1997 as the 42nd President, he was reelected to a second term. Allegations of perjury (giving false statements under oath) and obstruction of justice pertaining to the Lewinsky Scandal in 1998, led to his impeachment. He was alleged to have lied about his relationship with a White House (later Department of Defense) employee named Monica Lewinsky.
Second Black Supreme Court Justice
Clarence Thomas, an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, is the second African-American to serve the Supreme Court. The first African-American Justice to do so was Thurgood Marshall. Looked upon as the most conservative member of the Court, Thomas was nominated by President Bush in 1991 to occupy Marshall’s position.
Second Roman Emperor
Tiberius Claudius Nero ruled the Roman empire from 14 AD to 37 AD. He bore the name ‘Tiberius Julius Caesar’ after he married Augustus’ elder daughter and was adopted to become a Julian. The ‘Julio-Claudian’ dynasty began with him as a merger of these two families, and continued further for a period of thirty years. Accused of being a reclusive and somber ruler, he is known to have believed in strengthening the existing empire than in expensive foreign conquests.
Second Wife of Henry VIII
Anne Boleyn was the Queen of England for three years between 1533 and 1536. She was the second wife of King Henry VIII, Catherine of Aragon being the first wife. Anne was the Marquess of Pembroke, which was a title in the Peerage of England (the first hereditary peerage title granted to a woman) created by Henry VIII for her. The King sent her to trial before a jury for high treason. The charges of incest, adultery, and witchcraft that proved her guilty and led to her execution, are perceived by modern historians to be rather unlikely. She is believed to be a very important queen consort, as it was because of her that Henry had to declare his marriage with Catherine as void, and could separate from Rome.
Second Duke of York
Edward of Norwich was the second Duke of York, after Edmund of Langley. He was the eldest son of Edmund of Langley. Edward was known to have been appointed to important positions during the rules of Richard II, Henry IV, and Henry V. He was killed in the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. His“The Master of Game” is the oldest book written on hunting, in English, of which some 27 manuscripts have survived.
Second Miss Universe
Miss Universe 1953, or the young 18-year-old Miss France, Christiane Martel, had won the second pageant held that year in California. Armi Kuusela from Finland had won during the first year. The competition involved 27 participants from around 24 countries in 1953. ‘Yankee Pasha’, ‘So This Is Paris’, ‘Viva el Amor!’, ‘Rosa Blanca’, and ‘Leoni al Sole’ include some of the movies that got this French actress much international fame.
American Idol Runner-up
Part of the recent history, Justin Guarini, or Justin Eldrin Bell, must be a more familiar name than all the earlier ones. A singer, songwriter, and actor, he was the first runner-up on the first season of American Idol in 2002. In the 2003 romantic comedy titled, “From Justin to Kelly”, starring Kelly Clarkson and him, he plays the college student named Justin Bell. His albums released in 2003 and 2005 include ‘Justin Guarini’ and ‘Stranger Things Have Happened’.