Old School Film Hack

X Marks the Spot


President Reagan waving to crowds immediately before being shot in an assassination attempt. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Congrats go to Tillerman! I think that may have been the fastest he ever gave me the correct answer, which he attributed to a hunch and blind luck.

Yes, it is the infamous Washington Hilton, the same place where — on a Monday at the end of March, 1981 — President Ronald Reagan, just 69 days into his presidency — was struck by an assassin’s bullet and nearly killed. In fact, it’s in the exact spot where the attempt happened. Check it out. Here is the Wikipedia article on the Reagan assassination attempt, and below is the image I captured. The Wiki article is worth revisiting to refresh your memory, if for nothing else. For example, I forgot that Hinckley used explosive bullets in his attempt.

And today? Nothing. There’s no plaque, no sign, no footnote to history that anything remarkable ever happened here. Sure, there’s a bit shrubbery now that wasn’t there at the time of the event… but that’s about the only visible change since that fateful day.

Likewise, for the younger crowd, they aren’t even aware that they’re standing and sitting at a focal point in the past that nearly changed the entire future of the nation.

11 thoughts on “X Marks the Spot

  1. Tillerman

    I had forgotten that this happened so early in Reagan’s presidency. It is a little strange that there is nothing that marks the spot. Although I can also understand why neither Reagan’s family nor the hotel owners might want to commemorate the act in any way.


    1. M_Zeissler Post author

      I was in college down in Richmond at the time and didn’t learn of the attack until a couple hours after it happened. I remember everyone being in a state of shock and being glued to the radio or TV through the day and into the night.

      I think enough time has gone by that some sort of historical marker is warranted, otherwise it’ll just fade into the mists of time.


  2. Peter Belenky

    I had intended to give the answer until I saw that Tillerman got his word in first. I was at a meeting in the Universal North building, right across the street from that Hilton entrance when the attack took place.


  3. Keep Reaching

    I remember this event very well. Reagan maintained his cool and even his wit – he is reputed to have said to the doctors just before he was operated on – I hope none of you are Democrats.

    The other very sad part of the story was James Brady – and the battle he and his wife fought for many years in favor of gun control. Finally twelve years later the Brady bill passed. Both he and his wife are no longer Republicans.


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