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Moments in Time

 

• On Aug. 11, 1806, explorer Meriwether Lewis is shot in the hip, probably by one of his own men. Private Cruzatte, who was blind in one eye and nearsighted in the other, insisted he had not shot his captain. Lewis, however, had the offending bullet: A .54 caliber slug from a modern U.S. Army rifle, identical to the one carried by Cruzatte.

• On Aug. 8, 1863, after his defeat at Gettysburg, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee sends a letter of resignation to Confederate President Jefferson Davis. Davis refused the request.

• On Aug. 10, 1937, the electric guitar is recognized by the United States Patent Office with the award of Patent No. 2,089.171 for the Rickenbacker Frying Pan. The guitar used a heavy electromagnet that surrounded the base of the steel strings like a bracelet.

• On Aug. 6, 1945, an American B-29 bomber, the Enola Gay, drops the world’s first atom bomb over the city of Hiroshima, Japan.

• On Aug. 7, 1959, the American satellite Explorer 6 is launched into Earth orbit. The 142-pound spacecraft featured a photocell scanner that transmitted a crude picture of the Earth’s surface from a distance of 17,000 miles. The photo, received in Hawaii, took nearly 40 minutes to transmit.

• On Aug. 9, 1974, Richard Nixon officially resigns as president of the United States, departing in a helicopter from the White House lawn. Minutes later, Vice President Gerald Ford was sworn in. Ford spoke in a television address, declaring, “My fellow Americans, our long national nightmare is over.”

• On Aug. 5, 1981, President Ronald Reagan begins firing 11,359 air-traffic controllers striking in violation of his order to return to work. Two days earlier almost 13,000 air-traffic controllers went on strike over negotiations to raise their pay.

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