Today in 1963 at Dallas, Texas, President Kennedy was killed by lone gunman Lee Harvey Oswald by a rifle from a sniper position. The assassination still abounds in conspiracy theories and accusations of cover-up, compounded by inaccurate books and uninformative movies, such as Oliver Stone’s “JFK.”
Kennedy was the fourth president to be assassinated, following Abraham Lincoln (1865); James Garfield (1881); and William McKinley (1901). Ronald Reagan was shot but survived in 1981. Attempts were made on Gerald Ford, Andrew Jackson, and Harry Truman.
Teddy Roosevelt survived an assassination attempt as a presidential candidate; Robert Kennedy was assassinated as a probable presidential candidate.
Today in 1988 at Palmdale, California, the Northrop B-2 “Stealth” bomber was shown to members of Congress and the public for the first time. The aircraft represented a nearly decade-long secret development costing $40 billion and a $1 billion cost for each aircraft.
The original order for 132 stealth bombers was reduced to 21 following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Today in1986, 20-year-old Mike Tyson knocked out 33-year-old Trevor Berbick in just five minutes and 35 seconds to become the youngest titleholder ever. “I’m the youngest heavyweight boxing champion in history,” Tyson told his manager after the fight, “and I’m going to be the oldest.”
Tyson kept his title for nine more bouts, until Buster Douglas beat him in 1990. After that, his life unraveled. He was sent to prison for three years for rape. Then, five fights into his comeback in 1995, he bit off a part of Evander Holyfield’s ear and was disqualified. He retired for good in 2005.
Berbick didn’t fare much better: He, too, spent time in prison for rape, and was found dead (of “chop wounds” to his head, according to the coroner’s report) in a church courtyard in Jamaica in 2006.
Rest in peace John Griffith London better known as Jack London, journalist, social activist, and author best known for his adventurous novels set in the wild frontier of Alaska, who died of kidney disease today in 1916 at Glen Ellen, California, at age 40. London was born January 12, 1876, at San Francisco, California.
Claims that London was an alcoholic womanizer who took his own life have been discredited.
Rest in peace John Hanson, first president under the Articles of Confederation in 1781, who died today in Maryland 1783 at age 62. Hanson was born in Charles County, Maryland, April 14, 1721. He is sometimes regarded as the first President of the US. Not quite so. Hanson was the presiding officer of the formal Congress of the Confederation or the United States in Congress Assembled, a different office and duties from the President of the US as defined in the Constitution.
Rest in peace Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, infamous pirate, who was killed in a battle with British naval forces commanded by Lt. Robert Maynard today in 1718 off the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
Blackbeard’s sunken ship “Queen Anne’s Revenge” has been discovered and artifacts have been salvaged. No indication of immense treasure that enthusiastic hopefuls still search for today.