1. 1980: The assassination of John Lennon
Music fans all over the world mourned on this date in 1980 after it was announced the legendary former member of the Beatles, John Lennon, was assassinated outside of his home in New York City. It all started earlier in the night when a fan by the name of Mark David Chapman stood outside Lennon’s home, waiting to receive an autograph from the legendary performer. After getting the autograph on his copy of Lennon’s new album Double Fantasy, Chapman continued to wait, reading a copy of Catcher in the Rye until John and Oko came home later that night. As the happy couple returned home just before 11 p.m. after working in the studio all night, Chapman pulled out a .38 caliber revolver and shot Lennon four times in the back at close range. The famous Beatle was immediately rushed to the local hospital but unfortunately died en route. According to reports, Chapman bought the gun in Hawai’i with intentions of shooting Lennon, even telling his wife he was going to do so, but she took them as idle threats. When he arrived in New York, he realized he couldn’t buy ammunition so he actually had to fly to Atlanta where he purchased hollow point bullets and returned to the Big Apple. After the shooting, Chapman just sat there calmly reading his copy of Catcher in the Rye as he waited for police to arrive on the scene. He was later sentenced to 20 years to life in the Attica prison.
2. 1941: Declaration of war against Japan
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, as a great majority of the United States Pacific fleet lay in ruins, President Roosevelt requests and received the declaration of war on this date in 1941. This was the day that FDR gave his famous “a date which will live in infamy” speech to the House of Representatives. After more than 10 minutes of the captivating speech, there was a thunderous applause, including stamping of the feet which should give you a bit of insight into the energy that flowed through that room at the time. It wasn’t but an hour later that the declaration was approved and while wearing a black armband in respect of those lost at Pearl Harbor the day before, FDR signed the declaration that would send our country to war against the Japanese.
3. 1940: Worst blowout in NFL history
The Chicago Bears were once one of the most dominant teams in the NFL, especially back in the early ’40s. As a matter of fact, they actually hold the record for the biggest blowout in NFL history, which they happened to set on this date in 1940 against the Washington Redskins. Just in case you’re thinking it was some preseason game against a college level team or something, it surely wasn’t. It was the NFL Championship game and the Bears went out and almost literally walked all over the Redskins. When the game ended the score was 73-0. The two teams had played less than a month before during the regular season and the Redskins came out on top with a score of 7-3. Head Coach of the Redskins told reporters after the game that George Halas, Head Coach of the Bears, and his team were a bunch of “cry babies” and “quitters”. Halas got wind of these comments and used that as motivation for his players in the Championship game. Needless to say, Marshall probably regrets making those comments.