Thirty years ago, on March 30, 1981, an attempt was made to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in Washington, D.C.
At 2:27 p.m., as the president walked to his limousine outside the Washington Hilton after a speaking engagement, John Hinckley Jr. stepped out from a crowd less than 20 feet from the president, raised a .22-caliber pistol, and fired.
Press Secretary James Brady was hit by one shot; police officer Tom Delahanty by another. Secret Service Agent Tim McCarthy intercepted one that was on a vector to hit Reagan, after turning and shielding the president with his body; another bullet slammed into the door of the car as Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr urgently pressed Reagan into the vehicle.
And one bullet glanced off the frame of the limousine and ricocheted, hitting President Reagan under his left arm, puncturing a lung and lodging an inch from his heart.
Less than five seconds after the first shot was fired, the limousine carrying the president sped off toward George Washington University Hospital where Reagan underwent emergency surgery followed by 12 days of recovery.
The attempt on the life of the 40th president of the United States was unsuccessful but it was a day that would forever change America.
Framework presents a photographic remembrance of that fateful spring day in our nation’s capital.
The road out of Bin Jawwad looked like rush hour on the 405 Freeway as the rebels ran for their lives today after taking a pounding from forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.
With no air cover from the allied Western powers, the rebels faced the enemy completely on their own — and again were outgunned and overmatched.
Initial reports had the rebels taking the Kadafi stronghold of Surt early Monday, but in fact they barely made it 50 miles east of the town before being pushed back from a landmark called Gate 80.
I was watching the action from atop an earthen berm about a mile east of Bin Jawwad, and saw shell after shell slam into the desert town. The hours-long bombardment created a dusty pall over the area. The ground shook and rockets streaked across the sky. It was a sight to behold.
Then, late in the afternoon, I saw the strobe-like flashes of antiaircraft artillery blasting away at the edge of town. The guns were aimed horizontally, not vertically as they are intended. Direct fire streaked across the landscape.
I saw a jumble of action at the edge of town as the rebels boarded their vehicles and fled headlong away from Bin Jawwad. Within minutes they reached where I stood, and the rebels around me joined the exodus. My driver, Mohammed, and I ran too, and we eventually got a ride from rebels in a pickup truck.
I jumped aboard, landed on a pile of rocket-propelled grenades, and nearly freaked out. A lone rebel sat in the bed of the truck and said something to Mohammed in Arabic, causing him to laugh. When we finally got out of the truck and into our car, I asked him what the rebel had said.
“He said he was just on the phone to (French President Nicolas) Sarkozy to ask what was happening with the air cover,” Mohammed said. “Sarkozy said, ‘Could you wait five minutes? I’m [using the toilet].’ “
It was a great joke for such a precarious moment, and we both had a good laugh. I have to hand it to the rebels. They’ve taken their licks but manage to maintain a pretty good sense of humor.
We drove for the next two hours amid thousands of rebels in pickup trucks and private cars. I have never seen anything like it. The traffic didn’t thin out until we reached Uqaylah, which is a long way from Bin Jawwad.
On the ride out, Mohammed told me a tale from Libyan mythology. The dividing line between eastern and western Libya has been disputed for centuries, he said, going back to the time of the Phoenicians and Carthaginians.
To settle it, the Carthaginians sent a runner from Khoums and the Phoenicians one from Cyrene. They met somewhere near Bin Jawwad, and that’s where the border between west and east came to be. It was the dividing line then, and it is today, physically and psychologically, for the Libyan people. And nothing but the expansive desert seems to ever straddle that line.
Popong: Mukang masarap yung ulam nung manong sa kabilang table ah, bigyan mo nga ako nung kinakain nya.
Rigor: Hindi pwede sir, kinakain pa nya ‘e. Order na lang din kayo ng ganon.
Popong: Loko ka ang pilosopo mo ah! Tawagin mo manager mo!
Manager: May problemo po ba?
Popong: Etong waiter nyo, sabi ko bigyan nya ako nung kinakain nung manong sa kabilang table. Sinagot ba naman ako ng hindi pwede dahil kinakain pa daw yun nung manong. Kung hindi ba naman siraulo yang waiter nyo!
Manager: Nako sorry sir. Pasensya na ho bago lang ho kasi yang waiter na yan. Bayaan nyo, pagsasabihan ko ho agad. Rigor!
Rigor: Yes sir?
Manager: Kunin mo yung ulam nung manong tapos ibigay mo dito kay sir. Sabihin mo dun sa manong bibigyan na lang natin sya ng bago.
Isang malamig na gabi, natutulog ang mag-asawang si Ridrigo at Selma, nang biglang…
May lalakeng bumasag sa salamin ng bintana at pumasok sa kwarto nila. Gulat ang mag-asawa at hindi makakilos sa takot. Hinablot ng lalake si Ridrigo, pinaupo sa sahig at tinali ang paa’t kamay. Pagkatapos ay tinali naman sa kama si Selma habang nakadikit ang muka nya sa leeg ng babae. Matapos itali si Selma, biglang bumangon ang lalake, at pumunta sa kubeta.
Rodrigo: Wag kang maingay. Nakita ko yung suot nung lalake, takas sa bilibid yun. Napansin kong matagal nyang ninamnam ang leeg mo. Mukang matagal nang hindi nakakatikim ng babae yon kaya sobrang hayok sayo. Sundin na lang natin lahat ng ipagawa nya, dalikado pag nagalit yon baka patayin pa tayo. Tibayan mo ang loob mo Selma. I love you.
Selma: Oo Rodrigo. Kaso hindi nya ninanamnam yung leeg ko kanina. May binubulong lang sya. Type ka daw nya, tinatanong nya kung may lotion ba tayo. Sabi ko nasa CR. Tibayan mo ang loob mo Rodrigo. I love you too.
“Two persons who have chosen each other out of all the species with a design to be each other’s mutual comfort and entertainment have, in that action, bound themselves to be good-humored, affable, discreet, forgiving, patient, and joyful, with respect to each other’s frailties and perfections, to the end of their lives.”— Joseph Addison