May 12, 1934: The worst dust storm in U.S. history rolls off the Great Plains and eventually reaches all the way to the east coast and Washington, D.C. When Congress sees firsthand the damage done by drought and poor land use in the Midwest, the Soil Conservation Service is launched the following year.
May 12, 2008: During his campaign for the Presidency, Senator John McCain conspicuously breaks with the Bush Administration on climate change: "The facts of global warming demand our urgent attention, especially in Washington. We stand warned by serious and credible scientists across the world that time is short and the dangers are great." Two years later, Sen. McCain opposes climate legislation in the Senate.
May 12, 2008: A magnitude 7.9 earthquake strikes Sichuan Province in China, killing over 70,000 people. At right, a building destroyed by the quake seen in 2011.
Photo: ZUMA Press