14 people were killed when a US Army bomber crashed into the Empire State building. (1945) Lieutenant Colonel William Franklin Smith, Jr. was flying a B-25 Mitchell bomber through dense fog when he crashed into the building. The plane hit between the 79th and 80th floors where the National Catholic Welfare Council offices were located. During the crash, Betty Lou Oliver survived a 75-story fall while operating the building's elevator — it still stands as the longest survived elevator fall in the Guinness Book of World Records. 14 people died and 26 were injured in the crash.
242,000 people were killed when the most devastating earthquake in the 20th century hit Tangshan, China. (1976) The "Great Tangshan Earthquake" measured 7.8 to 8.2 in magnitude, leveling Tangshan, a city with a population of more than one million. 242,000 people died and more than 160,000 were injured.
Monica Lewinsky was given immunity in exchange for testimony regarding her relationship with US President Bill Clinton. (1998) Lewinsky's testimony countered President Clinton's famous statement, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." The "Monica Lewinsky Scandal" together with the sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, ultimately led to President Clinton's impeachment by the House of Representatives on charges of malfeasance in office, perjury and obstruction of justice.
Dennis Martinez became the 13th pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history to pitch a perfect game. (1991) Martinez was also the first Latino player to pitch a perfect game. Only 20 perfect games have been pitched since the establishment of MLB in 1869.
African-Americans were granted US citizenship and guaranteed due process of law. (1868) The 14th Amendment to the US Constitution overruled the 1857 Dred Scott v. Sandford case, which ruled that black people could not become US citizens. The Amendment was adopted on July 9th and was passed on this day as one of the Reconstruction Amendments, also called the "Civil War Amendments."
The British military bombed Hamburg, Germany, killing 42,000 German civilians. (1943) The firestorm, called "Operation Gomorrah," was so intense that it created a 1,500-foot (457-meter) fire tornado. 42,000 people were killed and the city of Hamburg was effectively destroyed.
US President Lyndon B. Johnson sent 50,000 additional troops to Vietnam, increasing the troop total to 125,000. (1965) The US entered into the Vietnam War to fight against a communist takeover of the country. The 20-year war resulted in an enormous death toll — about 1.5 to 2 million Cambodians and Laotians, 3 to 4 million Vietnamese, and 60,000 US soldiers were killed.
US President Hoover evicted the "Bonus Army" marchers from the US capitol. (1932) Nearly 20,000 "Bonus Marchers" had descended on Washington D.C. — they were a group of World War I veterans wanting cash in exchange for their veteran's bonus certificates. The marchers were peaceful at first, but when the bill was shot down in the Senate, the situation turned tense. The US government offered to pay for the marcher's trips home, which most marcher's accepted. About 2,000, however, refused to leave and continued to protest. The US Army had to forcibly evict them, resulting in much controversy and criticism of President Hoover.
A cocaine-laced soft drink killed an unsuspecting man in Miami, Florida. (1990) Maximo Menendez drank half a bottle of the soda, "Pony Malta de Bavaria" from Colombia, before beginning to feel ill. He fell into a coma from which he never recovered. Authorities found a lethal amount of liquid cocaine in the drink and pulled all bottle of Pony Malta from shelves. 45 additional bottles were discovered containing cocaine. Apparently, a drug smuggling operation had gone awry — smugglers were supposed to retrieve all the bottles so the cocaine could be extracted.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born. (1929) "Jackie-O" was a popular and influential American first lady, married to US President John F. Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States. After President Kennedy's assassination, she married Aristotle Onassis. After Onassis's death, she worked as a book editor for US publishers Viking and Doubleday. She died on May 19, 1994 from non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.