January 6th in history:

Two months after being elected president, Franklin Pierce was traveling with his wife and 11-year-old son when their train derailed in Massachusetts on January 6th, 1853. Pierce’s son Benjamin died in the crash, and he was the couple’s last surviving child. Mrs. Pierce reportedly believed that her son’s death was God’s way of punishing Mr. Pierce for seeking the presidency.

Joan of Arc was punished for heresy by being burned at the stake when she was 19. Joan was born on this date in 1412.

Skater Nancy Kerrigan asked “Why me?” after being clubbed in the knee by a stranger while training for the U.S. Figure Skating finals in Detroit on January 6th, 1994. After Kerrigan withdrew from the competition, rival Tonya Harding won the ladies’ title. But then, both were named to the U.S. Olympic team which would compete that winter in Norway, where Kerrigan would win a silver medal. Harding’s career was ruined when it turned out that her ex-husband and others had planned the attack on Kerrigan to help Tonya’s chances of getting to the Olympics.

Kerrigan grew up in the Boston area. On this date in 1975, about two thousand Led Zeppelin fans trashed the Boston Garden arena while waiting to buy tickets to a Zeppelin show. The mayor of Boston punished those fans gone wild by banning Led Zeppelin from the city for five years. The band also boycotted the city on their own, and never played in Boston again.


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