Mt. St. Helen Erupts 42 Years Ago Today

Today in 1652, Rhode Island became the first American colony to pass a law abolishing African slavery; however, the law was never enforced.

Today in 1852, Massachusetts decreed that all school-age children must attend school.

Today in 1917, Congress passed the Selective Service Act, authorizing the federal government to raise a national army for the American entry into World War I through compulsory enlistment.

Today in 1952, Professor WF Libby revealed that Stonehedge dates back to 1848 BC.

Today in 1953, Jacqueline Cochran became the first woman to break the sound barrier as she piloted a North American F-86 Canadair over Rogers Dry Lake in California.

Today in 1980, St. Helens erupted in Washington State. With the force of several hundred nuclear explosions, it blew 1300 feet of rock off the top of the mountain, leveled 300 square miles of forest, turned rivers into mud bogs, blew an ash cloud 15 miles into the sky that encircled the globe and killed 57 people. The eruption was the only significant one to occur in the contiguous 48 U.S. states since the 1915 eruption of Lassen Peak in California.

Today in 1983, the U.S. Senate approved, 76-18, a major revision of the nation's immigration laws that would give millions of illegal aliens already in the United States the opportunity to gain legal status under an amnesty program.

Today in 1997, President Clinton announced the creation of a research center at the National Institutes of Health devoted to the goal of developing an AIDS vaccine within the next decade. While there isn’t a vaccine, various treatment regimens have come to fruition.

Today in 2000, mother-and-son grifters Sante Kimes and Kenneth Kimes were convicted in New York of murdering Irene Silverman in a plot to steal her elegant townhouse (The body of the 82-year-old millionaire widow has never been found.) It wasn’t their only crime…and while mama Kimes died in prison in 2014, Kenneth remains incarcerated at Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in California. Their story has even been given the made-for-TV-movie treatment.

Today in 2004, Arizona Diamondbacks' Randy Johnson became the 16th pitcher to throw a perfect game (2-0 vs Atlanta).

Today in 2014, Adam Scott overtook Tiger Woods as the number one ranked golfer in the world.

Today in 2017, a driver who told police he was high on drugs plowed through a pedestrian-packed sidewalk in New York’s Times Square; a Michigan teen was killed, and 22 other people were injured.

Today in 2017, President Donald Trump denounced the appointment of a special counsel to investigate his campaign’s potential ties with Russia, repeatedly calling it an unprecedented “witch hunt” that “hurts our country terribly.”

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