Joshua Shenk

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Fall 1994

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Early on the morning of September 12, 800 new national service corps participants strode onto the White House grounds, anticipating a noon ceremony in which they'd be sworn in by President Clinton, as thousands of others joined in via satellite. One catch, though. Earlier that morning, Frank Eugene Corder had also entered the grounds-over the gates, not through them-in his Cessna 150 aircraft, which crashed just short of his apparent target, the president's bedroom.

In addition ro guaranteeing himself a distinguished spot on history's roster of would-be assassins, Corder - who perished on impact-had also made himself one giant pain in the ass of the Corporation for National Service. The plane's wreckage sat precisely where the ceremony had been mapped out. As tourists on Pennsylvania Avenue stared at the unlikely sight of gray T-shined youths playing hacky-sack just a hacky-sack's toss from the walls of the executive mansion, the ceremony was hastily rearranged. "It's killing us," one Corporation staffer said of the wreck.