This Day in History: May 13

Pope John Paul II is shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter's Square; Johnny Carson makes his last TV appearance

On this day, May 13 ...

1981: Pope John Paul II is shot and seriously wounded in St. Peter's Square by Turkish assailant Mehmet Ali Agca.

Also on this day:

  • 1864: The first soldier is buried at what would become Arlington National Cemetery.
  • 1918: The first U.S. airmail stamp, costing 24 cents and featuring a picture of a Curtiss JN-4 biplane, is publicly issued. (On some of the stamps, the "Jenny" is printed upside-down, making them collector's items.)
  • 1940: In his first speech as British prime minister, Winston Churchill tells Parliament, "I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat."
  • 1958: Vice President Richard Nixon and his wife, Pat, are spat upon and their limousine battered by rocks thrown by anti-U.S. demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.
  • 1972: 118 people die after fire broke out at the Sennichi department store in Osaka, Japan.
  • 1973: In tennis' first so-called "Battle of the Sexes," Bobby Riggs defeated Margaret Court 6-2, 6-1 in Ramona, California. (Billie Jean King soundly defeated Riggs at the Houston Astrodome in September.)
  • 1985: A confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ends as police drop a bomb onto the group's row house, igniting a fire that killed 11 people and destroyed 61 homes.
  • 1994: President Bill Clinton nominates federal appeals Judge Stephen G. Breyer to the U.S. Supreme Court to replace retiring Justice Harry A. Blackmun; Breyer would go on to win Senate confirmation.
  • 1994: Johnny Carson makes his last television appearance with a short visit to the Late Show with David Letterman.
  • 2003: A new $20 bill is introduced, the first to feature a colorful background.
  • 2004: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visits the Abu Ghraib prison camp in Iraq, where he insists the Pentagon did not try to cover up abuses there. During a campaign swing in West Virginia, President George W. Bush says he feels "disgraced" by the images of U.S. soldiers abusing Iraqi prisoners but tells his listeners that the actions of a handful of Americans should not sully the nation’s military.
  • 2009: Pittsburgh Pirates’ Adam LaRoche and Florida Marlins’ Ross Gload become the first baseball players to have home runs taken away following a video replay review.
  • 2014: An European court, in an important test of the "right to be forgotten," rules that Google has to amend some of its search results at the request of ordinary people when they show links to outdated, irrelevant information.
  • 2018: President Trump says he would help the Chinese telecommunications company ZTE get "back into business"; the Commerce Department had earlier moved to block the company from importing American components.
  • 2018: The body of 69-year-old "Superman" actress Margot Kidder is found by a friend near her Montana home in what was later ruled a suicide from a drug and alcohol overdose.
  • 2019: Attorney General William Barr appoints John Durham, the U.S. attorney in Connecticut, to examine the origins of the Russia investigation and determine if intelligence collection efforts targeting the Trump campaign were "lawful and appropriate."