March 8 is a very special day


What do Hines Ward, Kat Von D, James Van Der Beek and Micky Dolenz have in common?

It’s not members of the next “Masked Singer” cast — they were all born on March 8.

Why is that significant?

It’s probably not to most people, but March 8 also happens to be my birthday.

On a whim, I decided to Google celebrity births for March 8. It’s honestly not a very impressive list. had a Top 50 list for March 8, and the “celebrities” I named above are all in the Top 10.

Hines Ward is an NFL wide receiver who is a two-time Super Bowl winner with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He was listed at No. 1. There were two people in the Top 5 that I had never even heard of — Devon Werkheiser (an actor on “Ned’s Declassified”) and Boris Kodjoe (an actor from the “Resident Evil” films.)

Kat Von D, a celebrity tattoo artist from the show “LA Ink,” came in at No. 3, while Micky Dolenze, a member of the 1960s TV band The Monkees was No. 5.

I’m shocked that James Van Der Beek, Dawson Leery from the television show “Dawson’s Creek,” was as far down as No. 6. The Top 10 was finished out by actors Aidan Quinn and Freddie Prinze Jr, first lady Hannah Van Buren and former NBA player Kenny Smith.

One person on the list and I shared the exact same birthday — Nick Zano, an actor on “Melrose Place” and the new “90210.” Needless to say, I’ve never heard of him, but we were both born on the same day in 1978.

According to Wikipedia, the only other noteworthy person born on March 8, 1978, was Mohammed Bouyeri, an Islamic Dutch-Moroccan assassin. Bouyeri was a member of the Hofstad Network and is serving a life sentence without parole for the assassination of Dutch film director Theo van Gogh, as well as many others.

After searching the internet, I’ve come to the conclusion that I basically share a birthday with a bunch of D-list celebrities and an assassin. How in the world have I not cracked this Top 50 list?

I didn’t end my search with celebrity birthdays. I also wanted to see if anything major has ever happened on March 8. It’s definitely not a day that’s been filled with rainbows and sunshine over the years.

Events that have happened on March 8 include:

• 1655 – John Casor becomes the first legally-recognized slave in England’s North American colonies.

• 1782 – The Gnadenhütten massacre took place. Ninety-six Native Americans in Gnadenhütten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity, are killed by Pennsylvania militiamen in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indians.

• 1817 – The New York Stock Exchange is founded.

• 1924 – The Castle Gate mine disaster kills 172 coal miners near Castle Gate, Utah.

• 1942 – In World War II, The Dutch surrender to Japanese forces on Java.

• 1947 – 13,000 troops sent by the Kuomintang government of China arrived in Taiwan after the 228 Incident and launched crackdowns which killed at least thousands of people, including many elites. This turned into a major root of the Taiwan independence movement.

• 1966 – A bomb planted by Irish Republicans destroys Nelson’s Pillar in Dublin.

• 1979 – Philips demonstrates the Compact Disc publicly for the first time.

• 1983 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan calls the Soviet Union an “evil empire.”

• 1999 – The Supreme Court of the United States upholds the murder convictions of Timothy McVeigh for the Oklahoma City bombing.

On my actual birthday in 1978, the only significant event listed was the first radio episode of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams, was transmitted on BBC Radio 4.

Really? That’s all. With an event that weak, my birth probably rocked the world that day.

On Monday, I turn 43. In my life, I’ve been incredibly blessed. I just want to take this opportunity to say “thank you” to everyone who I consider close to me. Family, friends and coworkers have always been there for me, and I thank you for your friendship, love and support.

Now, where are my birthday gifts?

James Phillips is editor and publisher of the Daily Mountain Eagle. He would really like a snow cone machine for his birthday, because his wife didn’t get him one for Christmas. He can be reached at 205-221-2840 or

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