Today in 1958 at Sylacauga, Alabama, Mrs. Elizabeth Hodges was struck by a 7-inch meteorite weighing 8.5 pounds when it crashed through the roof of her home. She was hit in the hip without serious injury.
Ancient Chinese records tell of people being injured or killed by falling rocks from the sky. In 1911 a dog in Egypt was killed by a meteorite. Sylacauga is the only modern recording of a human being struck.
Today in 1993 President Bill Clinton signed the Brady Handgun-control Bill into law. Basically, the law requires the purchaser of a handgun to wait 5 days while his background is checked.
James Brady suffered a gunshot wound to the head in 1981 when John Hinkley tried to assassinate President Reagan. Opponents of the Brady Bill (as it became known) questioned the regulation of gun ownership, citing the 2nd Amendment.
Today in 2004 “Jeopardy!” contestant Ken Jennings lost after winning 74 straight programs of the game show. Jennings’ winnings totaled a little more than $2.5 million, a record in game show winnings.
The software engineer turned celebrity appeared on the talk show circuit and even appeared on “Sesame Street.” He also became a spokesperson for several products and wrote at least one book.
The question (or answer) that stumped Jennings was “Most of this firm’s 70,000 seasonal white-collar employees work only four months a year.”
Today in 1995 Bill Clinton became the first American president to visit Northern Ireland.
Today in 1782 a provisional peace treaty was signed with Great Britain, ending the Revolutionary War. The final treaty was signed in Paris on September 3, 1783. It declared the U.S. “…to be free, sovereign and independent states…” and that the British Crown “…relinquishes all claims to the government, propriety and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof.”
Happy Birthday Samuel Langhorne Clemens, aka Mark Twain, reporter, correspondent, humorist, and author, born today 1835 in Florida, Missouri. His best known novels are “Innocents Abroad” (1869); “Tom Sawyer” (1875); “Life on the Mississippi” (1883); and “Huckleberry Finn” (1885), what some consider his masterpiece.
Clemens died April 21, 1910, at Redding, Connecticut, at age 74. He is buried at Elmira, New York. His grave has a marker measuring 12 feet—two fathoms, or “mark twain.”
Happy birthday Abbot Howard “Abbie” Hoffman, 1960′s political activist, born today in 1936 at Worcester, Massachusetts. He was a member of the Chicago Seven, a group of young radicals accused of conspiring to disrupt the 1968 Democratic National Convention. Abbie and four others were sentenced to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. The convictions were overturned by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Hoffman wrote “Revolution for the Hell of It” (1968); “Woodstock Nation” (1969); and “Steal This Book” (1971, reprinted 1996)
Abbie Hoffman committed suicide April 12, 1989, by swallowing 150 Phenobarbital tablets with hard liquor at Solebury Township, Pennsylvania. He was age 52.