Year
1962

Jackie Kennedy receives horse from governor of Pakistan

On this day in 1962, Pakistan’s governor, Ayub Khan, in a gesture of goodwill, gives first lady Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy a horse named Sardar. Governor Khan and President Kennedy cultivated a close diplomatic relationship between their two countries. When the Pakistani governor first visited the White House, he and Jackie discovered a common interest in horses. In her memoirs, the first lady referred to Sardar as her “favorite treasure.” She nicknamed the jet gelding “Black Jack.”

An avid and fearless horsewoman, Jackie Kennedy competed as a child in New York horse shows. While attending college at Georgetown University in 1951, she met her future husband, John F. Kennedy, who was severely allergic to animal hair of any kind. She later remarked to a friend that she could not imagine dating someone who was allergic to horses.

In spite of his allergy, JFK encouraged his wife and, later, his daughter Caroline to ride and indulged his children’s love for animals. The Kennedy White House menagerie included a number of dogs, cats, birds and a rabbit named Zsa Zsa. When Caroline was five years old, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson gave her a pony that she named Macaroni. He also gave Kennedy’s son John Jr. a pony named Leprechaun, but John Jr.’s allergies, which were even worse than his father’s, prevented him from sharing his sister’s hobby. Caroline, JFK and Macaroni were often photographed together on the White House grounds (though the Kennedy horses lived on a farm in Virginia most of the time).

Jackie chose “Black Jack” to serve as the ceremonial rider-less horse during JFK’s funeral. The horse’s nervous capering once caused the procession to come to a halt while everyone waited for him to settle down.

After JFK’s death, Jackie and Caroline found comfort in their horses. Even in her later years, the former first lady could often be found on horseback fox-hunting or riding at break-neck speed in the Virginia countryside.

ALSO ON THIS DAY

Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor dies at 79

On this day in 2011, actress Elizabeth Taylor, who appeared in more than 50 films, won two Academy Awards and was synonymous with Hollywood glamour, dies of complications from congestive heart failure at a Los Angeles hospital at age 79. The violet-eyed Taylor began her acting ...read more

Jim Morrison prompts a “Rally for Decency”

"Dear Mike," wrote the recently inaugurated President Nixon to Miami-area teenager Mike Levesque in a letter dated March 26, 1969, "I was extremely interested to learn about the admirable initiative undertaken by you and 30,000 other young people at the Miami Teen-age Rally for ...read more

Mussolini founds the Fascist party

Benito Mussolini, an Italian World War I veteran and publisher of Socialist newspapers, breaks with the Italian Socialists and establishes the nationalist Fasci di Combattimento, named after the Italian peasant revolutionaries, or “Fighting Bands,” from the 19th century. Commonly ...read more

Artificial-heart patient dies

On March 23, 1983, Barney Clark dies 112 days after becoming the world’s first recipient of a permanent artificial heart. The 61-year-old dentist spent the last four months of his life in a hospital bed at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City, attached to a ...read more

OK enters national vernacular

On this day in 1839, the initials “O.K.” are first published in The Boston Morning Post. Meant as an abbreviation for “oll korrect,” a popular slang misspelling of “all correct” at the time, OK steadily made its way into the everyday speech of Americans.During the late 1830s, it ...read more

Paris hit by shells from new German gun

At 7:20 in the morning on March 23, 1918, an explosion in the Place de la Republique in Paris announces the first attack of a new German gun.The Pariskanone, or Paris gun, as it came to be known, was manufactured by Krupps; it was 210mm, with a 118-foot-long barrel, which could ...read more

U.S. plane shot down over Laos

One of the first American casualties in Southeast Asia, an intelligence-gathering plane en route from Laos to Saigon is shot down over the Plain of Jars in central Laos. The mission was flown in an attempt to determine the extent of the Soviet support being provided to the ...read more

Prince Sihanouk issues a call for arms

From Peking, Prince Norodom Sihanouk of Cambodia issues a public call for arms to be used against the Lon Nol government in Phnom Penh and requests the establishment of the National United Front of Kampuchea (FUNK) to unite all opposition factions against Lon Nol. North Vietnam, ...read more

Wayne Gretzky scores number 802

On March 23, 1994, Wayne Gretzky scores his 802nd goal, breaking his childhood idol Gordie Howe’s National Hockey League record for most goals scored in a career. Gretzky, known to hockey fans as “The Great One,” broke a total of 61 offensive records in his NHL career, including ...read more

Lewis and Clark depart Fort Clatsop

After passing a wet and tedious winter near the Pacific Coast, Lewis and Clark happily leave behind Fort Clatsop and head east for home.The Corps of Discovery arrived at the Pacific the previous November, having made a difficult crossing over the rugged Rocky Mountains. Their ...read more

Thomas Harris delivers Hannibal manuscript

Bestselling author Thomas Harris delivers his 600-page manuscript for his new novel, Hannibal, to Delacorte press. He had promised the book more than 10 years earlier as part of a two-book contract that paid him a $5.2 million advance. The book was the third novel featuring ...read more

Tornadoes devastate Nebraska

A horrible month for weather-related disasters in the United States culminates with a devastating tornado ripping through Nebraska, near Omaha, on this day in 1913. It was the worst of five twisters that struck that day in Nebraska and Iowa, killing 115 people in total. The ...read more

Reagan calls for new antimissile technology

In an address to the nation, President Ronald Reagan proposes that the United States embark on a program to develop antimissile technology that would make the country nearly impervious to attack by nuclear missiles. Reagan’s speech marked the beginning of what came to be known as ...read more

Jackson is defeated at Kernstown

On this day in 1862, at the First Battle of Kernstown, Virginia, Confederate General Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson suffers a rare defeat when his attack on Union forces in the Shenandoah Valley fails.Jackson was trying to prevent Union General Nathaniel Banks from sending troops ...read more