On this day: October 26

Posted: 3:17 PM EDT Oct 25, 2012   Updated: 2:00 AM EDT Oct 26, 2015

The Erie Canal opens, the Pony Express closes, Wyatt Earp shoots it out in Tombstone, "Baby Fae" gets a baboon heart, and the Patriot Act is signed into law, all on this day.

OTD October 26 - Park Chung-hee
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German Federal Archive/Wikimedia Commons

1979: South Korean President Park Chung-hee and the leader of his guards are shot to death by Kim Jae-kyu, the head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, during a dinner in the South Korean presidential compound in Seoul. After the initial shootings, Kim's agents quickly killed four more of the presidential bodyguards before the group was apprehended. Kim, who would later claim that Park was an obstacle to democracy and that his act was one of patriotism, would be arrested, tortured and later executed along with five of his conspirators. There is yet a great deal of controversy on Kim's motive and whether it was a planned attempt for coup d'├ętat or an impulsive act on the spur of the moment.


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