The mystery of John Doe No. 24 outlived him. But this 1993 obituary in the New York Times, briefly covering what was known of a deaf, dumb, blind teenager found wandering the streets of Jacksonville in 1945, inspired a song by Mary Chapin Carpenter, which in turn inspired Illinois journalist Dave Bakke to "meticulously reconstruct nearly fifty years of John Doe's life...using police reports, mental health records, oral interviews, newspapers" and write God Knows His Name: The True Story of John Doe No. 24.
Interview with David Crosby. "The people who run record companies now wouldn't know a song if it flew up their nose and died. They haven't a clue, and they don't care. You tell them that, and they go, 'Yeah? So, your point is?' Because ...they don't care. They're actually sort of proud that they don't care.... Now they're going in the tank, because the world has changed, and they did not change with it...I think the only way to sell records that I know about now that does look really, really, really promising is iTunes."
Night of the Johnstown Flood. "There was no larger news story in the latter nineteenth century after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The story of the Johnstown Flood has everything to interest the modern mind: a wealthy resort, an intense storm, an unfortunate failure of a dam, the destruction of a working class city, and an inspiring relief effort." Curious about about a line in this song, I went looking for information and found this story and this monument and the wonder/horror of this playground, where a giant force played with masses of iron, weighing scores of tons each, as a child might play with pebbles.
Talk about tough: These guys throw themselves out of 50-year-old aircraft into burning Siberian forests. Unfortunately, the entire article isn't available on line, but the pictures, and the brief text, and the writer's notes are worthwhile anyway. Or you can go listen to the stories told at Idaho's Smokejumper Oral History Project. Or get the history from the National Smokejumper Association. And really, you can't beat Norman Maclean's Young Men and Fire, which metafilter dug up a while back, but is well worth revisiting.