On This Day October 8
1977 – Billy Joel’s “The Stranger” hits the album chart. This breakthrough work contains some of Joel’s biggest hits to date, including “Movin’ Out (Anthony’s Song),” “Only The Good Die Young” and the Grammy-winning “Just The Way You Are.”
1871 – The Great Chicago Fire breaks out, according to legend, when Catherine O’Leary’s cow kicks over a lantern in her barn on DeKoven Street. The blaze quickly spreads, leveling 3.5 miles, killing 250 people and leaving 100,000 homeless.
1919 – America’s first transcontinental air race begins, featuring 63 planes, piloted by U.S. Army aviators, competing in the round-trip aerial derby between California and New York. As 15 planes departed the Presidio in San Francisco, 48 planes left Roosevelt Field on Long Island, New York.
1970 – Russian author Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn wins the Nobel Prize for literature. His first publication, “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” (1963), was widely read in both Russia and the West. Its harsh criticism of Stalinist repression provided a dramatic insight into the Soviet system.
2001 – The U.S. Office of Homeland Security is founded less than a month after the September 11 terrorist attacks. It is charged with preventing terror attacks, border security, immigration and customs, disaster relief and prevention and related tasks.
2014 – The first person diagnosed with a case of Ebola in the U.S. dies in a Dallas, Texas hospital. Shortly before his death, the 42-year-old male patient, who lived in Liberia, had traveled to America from West Africa, which was in the throes of the largest outbreak of the often-fatal disease since its 1976 discovery.
1970 – Oscar and Golden Globe-winning actor Matt Damon (“Good Will Hunting,” “Saving Private Ryan,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “The Bourne” series,” ” Syriana,” “The Good Shepherd,” “The Departed,” “The Martian”)