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Moments in time




 

 

• On March 13, 1781, the German-born English astronomer William Hershel discovers Uranus, the seventh planet from the sun. Herschel’s discovery of a new planet was the first to be made in modern times, and the first to be made by use of a telescope.

• On March 11, 1918, a historic influenza epidemic breaks out at the U.S. Army hospital at Fort Riley, Kan. The disease soon traveled to Europe with the American soldiers heading to the battlefields of France. The flu would eventually kill 675,000 Americans and more than 20 million people around the world.

• On March 12, 1922, author Jack Kerouac is born in Lowell, Mass. In World War II, he served in the Navy but was expelled for severe personality problems that may have been symptoms of mental illness. It was not until 1957 when he published “On the Road” that he became famous as a seminal figure of the Beat Generation.

• On March 7, 1938, Janet Guthrie, the first woman to compete in the Indianapolis 500 and Daytona 500 races, is born in Iowa City, Iowa. Guthrie drove in her final Indy 500 in 1979 and her last Daytona 500 in 1980. Her helmet and driver’s suit are in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

• On March 10, 1945, 300 American bombers drop almost 2,000 tons of incendiaries on Tokyo. The attack destroyed large portions of the Japanese capital and killed 100,000 civilians. Ten square miles of eastern Tokyo were entirely obliterated, and an estimated 250,000 buildings were destroyed.

• On March 8, 1951, the Lonely Hearts Killers — Martha Beck and Raymond Martinez Fernandez — are executed in the electric chair at Sing Sing Prison in New York. The odd couple had schemed to seduce, rob and murder women who placed personal ads in newspapers. Their story has been the subject of several movies, most recently “ Lonely Hearts” (2006).

• On March 9, 1985, the first-ever Adopt-a-Highway sign is erected on Highway 69 in Texas. The highway was adopted by the Tyler Civitan Club, which committed to picking up trash along a designated 2-mile stretch of the road. (c) 2011 King Features Synd.


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