What Happened on August 9?

  • The US dropped a nuclear bomb on Nagasaki, Japan, killing 39,000 people instantly. (1945) The bomb, known as "Fat Man," was dropped three days after the nuclear bomb referred to as "Little Boy" was dropped on Hiroshima. A total of 74,000 people were killed and about as many were injured. The effects of the radiation continue to cause illness and death to this day.

  • Charles Manson and his cult murdered US actress Sharon Tate and four others. (1969) Tate, who was married to famed Hollywood director Roman Polanski, was pregnant at the time of the murders. Manson and his cult followers were later convicted of murder charges. Manson was sentenced to death, but the sentence was commuted to life in prison when the death penalty was temporarily eliminated in California in 1972.

  • Terry Nichols was sentenced to 161 consecutive life sentences for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing. (2004) Nichols' conviction included charges of one count of fetal homicide, 161 counts of first-degree murder and conspiracy. He is serving his sentence in a super-maximum security prison in Colorado.

  • Construction began on the Tower of Pisa; it wouldn't be completed for 200 years. (1173) The bell tower is also known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa — the tower started to lean almost immediately after construction began because of an improperly laid foundation. Construction was delayed almost 200 years because the Pisans were almost constantly at war.

  • 6.5 million tires were recalled in the US after being linked to 46 deaths and hundreds of accidents.(2000) Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. recalled its Wilderness AT, ATX and ATX II tires. Ultimately, 271 deaths and hundreds more injuries were linked to the faulty tires. There also more than 50 lawsuits filed against the company and a US federal investigation into how much the company knew about the tire problems before selling them to consumers. The recall and lawsuits cost Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. more than $400 million US Dollars.

  • Mahatma Gandhi was arrested by the British in Bombay. (1942) Indian leader Gandhi and almost the entire Indian National Congress were arrested following a speech Gandhi gave calling for independence from Britain. The situation launched the Quit India Movement.

  • Gerald R. Ford became the 38th President of the United States after US President Richard M. Nixon resigned. (1974) Ford was the only person to hold the office of US Vice President and US President without being elected to either office. He was appointed Vice President by Nixon when Spiro Agnew resigned because Agnew was facing criminal charges.

  • The Sistine Chapel opened. (1483) The chapel is the home of the Pope in Vatican City. It also is famous for art work and frescoes by such painters as Raphael and Michelangelo.

  • US President George W. Bush approved government funding for embryonic stem cell research. (2001) That same year, scientists successfully cloned the first early human embryos — with four to six cells — to provide more stem cells for research.

  • Jesse Owens became the first American to win four Olympic medals in one Olympiad. (1936) Owens won gold medals in the 100- and 200-meter races, the 4x100-meter relay and the long jump. Such a feat wasn't repeated until the 1984 Summer Olympics when Carl Lewis won gold medals in exactly the same events.

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