2005—Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Ohio) apologizes to ’Nam combat vet Rep. Jack Murtha (D-Pa.) on the House floor for implying he’s a coward.
1999—Texas A&M’s student-built Bonfire—a 59-foot stack of vertical logs—somehow collapses; 12 die.
1997—Operation Northwoods is exposed: the 1962 plan would have murdered U.S. citizens on the street to build support for an invasion of Cuba.
1988—Congress jacks up penalties for smoking crack. Lighter penalties for powder cocaine are unchanged.
1978—Jim Jones and 913 followers drink cyanide-laced Flavor-Aid in Jonestown, Guyana.
1977—“Dynamite Bob” Chambliss gets life for his 1963 bombing of Birmingham’s 16th Street Church.
1964—Disregarding Richard Nixon, J. Edgar Hoover calls Martin Luther King Jr. “the most notorious liar in the country.”
1929—Marshall Ratliff, sentenced to the chair for robbing a bank in a Santa Claus suit, kills a man in a failed breakout from the Cisco, Texas jail.
1916—The Battle of the Somme peters out. The Allies have gained 2.5 square yards each for 1,250,000 British, French, and German casualties. Germans later re-take most of it.
1883—U.S. railroad corporations acquire the power to dictate the time.
1755—The strongest earthquake in New England history [Richter 6.2] occurs off Cape Ann, Mass.