Emma Bowman

Editor's note: This story contains some graphic descriptions of injuries that some readers may find disturbing.

On Oct. 23, 1983, Navy hospital corpsman James Edward Brown survived one of the deadliest terrorist attacks on Americans.

When a bomb detonated at the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Brown was at his post in the sick hall on the Marine compound — about 200 yards away.

At the time, 1,800 Marines were stationed in the city during the Lebanese Civil War.

Fifteen years ago, David Wilson and his husband Rob Compton were one of the first same-sex couples to marry in the U.S.

If it had been up to Wilson and Compton, their union would've been recognized years before that. Frustrated by the injustice, both men became plaintiffs in a lawsuit that led to Massachusetts becoming the first state to legalize same-sex marriage on May 17, 2004.

They married in Boston at City Hall and at their church that same day.

Already a bold trendsetter on the pop stage, Rihanna is also breaking barriers in the makeup and fashion industries.

The 31-year-old Barbadian singer has partnered with the historic LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton fashion house, becoming the first woman of color to have a label under LVMH and the first woman to start an original brand for the world's largest luxury group.

The new label is named Fenty, after the last name of the singer (born Robyn Rihanna Fenty). It's an expansion of her cosmetics empire of the same name, launched in a 2017 partnership with LVMH.

Sada Jackson lost her mother, Ileana Watson, to breast cancer in 2016.

There are many things Sada, now a mother herself, wonders about her late mom. So at StoryCorps, she sat with Ileana's best friend, Angela Morehead-Mugita, to learn more. "I want to know more about my mom, as a woman, because I only knew her as Mom," says Sada, 35.

Angela, 55, says she and Ileana were each other's emotional support during vulnerable moments. When Ileana was facing cancer for the second time – when Sada was pregnant — she broke down to her friend, saying, "I may not see my grandbaby."

This week, Lego announced plans to unveil customized bricks designed to help children who are blind or visually impaired learn to read Braille.

At a time when Braille literacy is declining among Americans, advocates for the visually impaired say the new product introduces a fun, interactive way to engage with the tactile system.

After surviving the Holocaust, Judel and Pauline Schuster resettled in Buffalo, N.Y., to start a family.

This Holocaust Remembrance Week, two of their children, Abe and Esther Schuster, reflect on their parents' joyful view of life in a recent StoryCorps conversation.

That philosophy didn't always mean following the rules.

Abe said that one evening when he was in high school, he introduced his parents to his calculus teacher and her husband at a neighborhood restaurant.

Editor's note: This story contains language that some may find offensive.

On the morning of April 20, 1999, 16-year-old sophomore Lauren Cartaya escaped quickly from Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo., after two students began opening fire.

Lauren's older brother, Zach, then a 17-year-old senior, hid for three hours in an empty classroom with his classmates. The gunmen killed 13 people and themselves in what was then considered the largest mass shooting at a high school.

Baylor gave up a double-digit lead but hung on in the final minutes to win the NCAA women's title game against defending champs Notre Dame by a single point Sunday night in Tampa, Fla.

With the 82-81 victory, the Lady Bears clinched their third NCAA women's basketball championship — joining UConn and Tennessee as the only Division I programs with three or more titles. The last time Baylor clinched the title was in 2012 against the Fighting Irish.

Nina Martinez just became the world's first living HIV-positive organ donor.

In a medical breakthrough, surgeons at Johns Hopkins Hospital late last month successfully transplanted one of her kidneys to a recipient who is also HIV positive.

"I feel wonderful," Martinez, 35, said in an interview with NPR's Michel Martin, 11 days into her recovery. The patient who received her kidney has chosen to remain anonymous, but is doing well, Martinez is told.

Felipe Dana has spent more than two years photographing the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but he says he's shot his most compelling work in just the past several weeks.

Along the desert terrain of southeast Syria, Dana, a photojournalist for the Associated Press, has watched as long lines of civilians filed out of the small town of Baghouz.

Updated 12:15 p.m. ET Monday

Rescuers in eastern Alabama combed through the debris from homes ripped apart by powerful tornadoes that swept through the area on Sunday, killing at least 23 people.

Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones confirmed to media outlets Sunday the number of dead. He told The Associated Press late Sunday evening that children are among the dead, and that it is possible that the death toll could continue to rise.

Lee County is located in the east central part of the state, along the border with Georgia.

Army veteran Sgt. Mickey Willenbring has always been a fighter. She grew up shuffling between homes — with her parents on the West Coast, with family on Native American reservations in the upper Midwest and within the foster care system across the country — during an adolescence she describes as sometimes violent.

But the military struck Willenbring as a way to channel the aggression she says built up during an unstable upbringing. In 1998, Willenbring, then 20, enlisted in the Army and deployed to Iraq five years later.

Updated at 5:20 a.m. ET Monday

State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert withdrew herself from consideration on Saturday for the nomination of U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

This story is part of the StoryCorps series of conversations.

Last Valentine's Day, Maya Altman stepped out of her freshman biology class at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School when she heard booming sounds.

You may know Henry Winkler as The Fonz from Happy Days or the "very good" Bluth family lawyer from Arrested Development. Or perhaps, more recently, for his Emmy-winning role as the eccentric acting coach Gene Cousineau on the HBO comedy series Barry.

The Los Angeles Rams and the New England Patriots will face off in this year's Super Bowl after winning the NFC and AFC conference championships, respectively, on Sunday.

The Rams, who overcame a 13-point deficit to beat the Saints, last played in the Super Bowl in 2002 — against none other than the Patriots. The St. Louis Rams won the NFL title two years before that.

The Patriots defeated the Chiefs to return to the Super Bowl for a third consecutive year.

Los Angeles Rams beat New Orleans Saints

For as long as he can remember, Tommy Tomlinson has understood his identity as inseparable from his body.

The day Martin Luther King Jr. gave his landmark "I Have a Dream" speech in August 1963, a lesser known moment in civil rights history was unfolding in southern Georgia.

More than a dozen African-American girls, ages 12 to 15, were being held in a small, Civil War-era stockade set up by law enforcement in Leesburg, Ga., as a makeshift jail.

He was an adviser to Martin Luther King Jr. and the organizer behind the 1963 March on Washington.

Still, Bayard Rustin's legacy as a leading figure in the civil rights movement is little known today, even among many history buffs and within the LGBTQ community. His homosexuality cost him that visibility and was considered by some as a hindrance to the movement's success.

The federal judge in Texas who ruled the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional earlier this month said that the law can remain in effect while under appeal.

U.S. District Court Judge Reed O'Connor wrote in his ruling filed on Sunday that "many everyday Americans would otherwise face great uncertainty during the pendency of appeal."

Amid a sea of dire climate change news, researchers say they've found a rare bright spot.

A meadow of seagrass among Australia's Great Barrier Reef — estimated to be twice the size of New Jersey — is soaking up and storing carbon that would otherwise contribute to global warming.

In 1973, Barnie Botone got a job in Albuquerque, N.M., working on the railroad. He was 22 years old.

Now, 67, Botone remembers when he told his grandmother that he'd be working as an engineer for the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. He had been excited to share the news, but her reaction, he explains in a StoryCorps conversation, was not what he expected.

"She cried with a moan, because the irony — it was too much to bear," Botone says.

Americans are expected to spend $3.8 billion on Amazon's Echo Dot, Google's Home and other smart home devices this holiday season. And that figure doesn't include the even wider market of other Internet-connected devices.

In keeping with presidential tradition, a detailed schedule of the funeral and memorial services for former President George H.W. Bush was released Saturday evening, with ceremonies planned in Houston, Washington, D.C., Spring, Texas, and College Station, Texas.

John Nordeen and Kay Lee served in the same Army platoon during the Vietnam War.

Nordeen and Lee had very different personalities, but in the life-or-death setting of war, the two bonded. Nordeen, a soldier from Seattle, was one of the first people that Lee, a combat medic from San Francisco, talked to.

But after the war, they lost touch.

In 2015, after a years-long search by Nordeen, the veterans finally reconnected.

Updated at 10:48 p.m. ET

Wildfires continued to tear through Northern and Southern California on Monday, where firefighters were at the mercy of dry air and whipping winds fanning the deadly blazes. At least 44 people have died statewide; many people remain unaccounted for.

In a year of record-breaking fires, Cal Fire Chief Ken Pimlott told NPR's All Things Considered the Camp fire in the north and Woolsey fire in the south may be "the most destructive and the deadliest" on record for the state.

Updated at 4:35 a.m. ET

Altogether, at least 25 people have died and more than 250,000 people have been driven out of their homes as California was engulfed by five identified fires, from north to south, on Saturday. Strong winds, low humidity, drought and vegetation so dry it has acted like matchsticks have exacerbated the flames.

At the New York City Marathon on Sunday, the race's top long-distance runners greeted an ideally brisk and sunny fall morning with near record times.

It was a day of many personal firsts, as a field of more than 50,000 sought to push their way through the city's five boroughs in the annual race.

Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia won the men's race — his first in New York — in 2 hours, 5 minutes, 59 seconds.

The final burial took place Friday for the last of the 11 people killed by a gunman at the Tree of Life synagogue one week ago.

For Rabbi Daniel Wasserman, it was a week unlike any other.

Wasserman is a member of Pittsburgh's Orthodox chevra kadisha, as a Jewish burial society is known. According to Jewish custom, a body is not supposed to be left alone from the time of death until the time of burial, and all remains must be buried with the body.

The Boston Red Sox just capped a dominating season with their fourth World Series in 15 years.

Heading into Sunday night's Game 5, the Los Angeles Dodgers needed a win to stall Boston's chances at this year's title.

But Boston, led by David Price's pitching and Steve Pearce's batting, ruled the road turf to take home their ninth World Series title — and their fourth since 2004.

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