Today in History


Today in History

Today is Saturday, Sept. 24, the 268th day of 2016. There are 98 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 24, 1996, the United States, represented by President Bill Clinton, and 70 other countries signed a treaty at the United Nations to end all testing and development of nuclear weapons. (To date, 183 countries have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, but the agreement has yet to enter into force because of the refusal so far of eight nations — including the United States — to ratify it.)

On this date:

In 1789, President George Washington signed a Judiciary Act establishing America’s federal court system and creating the post of attorney general.

In 1869, thousands of businessmen were ruined in a Wall Street panic known as “Black Friday” after financiers Jay Gould and James Fisk attempted to corner the gold market.

In 1890, the president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Wilford Woodruff, wrote a manifesto renouncing the practice of plural marriage, or polygamy.

In 1929, Lt. James H. Doolittle guided a Consolidated NY-2 Biplane over Mitchel Field in New York in the first all-instrument flight.

In 1934, Babe Ruth made his farewell appearance as a player with the New York Yankees in a game against the Boston Red Sox. (The Sox won, 5-0.)

In 1948, Mildred Gillars, accused of being Nazi wartime radio propagandist “Axis Sally,” pleaded not guilty in Washington D.C. to charges of treason. (Gillars, later convicted, ended up serving 12 years in prison.)

In 1955, President Dwight D. Eisenhower suffered a heart attack while on vacation in Denver.

In 1957, the Los Angeles-bound Brooklyn Dodgers played their last game at Ebbets Field, defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 2-0.

In 1960, the USS Enterprise, the first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched at Newport News, Virginia. “The Howdy Doody Show” ended a nearly 13-year run with its final telecast on NBC.

In 1976, former hostage Patricia Hearst was sentenced to seven years in prison for her part in a 1974 bank robbery in San Francisco carried out by the Symbionese Liberation Army. (Hearst was released after 22 months after receiving clemency from President Jimmy Carter.)

In 1988, Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson won the men’s 100-meter dash at the Seoul (sohl) Summer Olympics — but he was disqualified three days later for using anabolic steroids. Members of the eastern Massachusetts Episcopal diocese elected Barbara C. Harris the first female bishop in the church’s history.

In 1991, kidnappers in Lebanon freed British hostage Jack Mann after holding him captive for more than two years. Children’s author Theodor Seuss Geisel (GY’-zul), better known as “Dr. Seuss,” died in La Jolla, California, at age 87.

Ten years ago: In a combative taped interview on “Fox News Sunday,” former President Bill Clinton defended his handling of the threat posed by Osama bin Laden, and accused host Chris Wallace of a “conservative hit job.” Democrats seized on an intelligence assessment that said the Iraq war had increased the terrorist threat, saying it was further evidence Americans should choose new leadership in upcoming elections. The Europeans turned the Ryder Cup into another rout, winning 18 1/2-9 1/2 to make history as the first European team to win three straight times.

Five years ago: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev proposed Vladimir Putin as a presidential candidate for 2012, paving the way for Putin’s return to office four years after he was legally forced to step aside. NASA’s dead six-ton Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite fell to Earth, 20 years after being deployed from the space shuttle Discovery.

One year ago: Pope Francis finished his whirlwind visit to the nation’s capital, becoming the first pope to address a joint meeting of Congress and calling on the lawmakers to help immigrants “and embrace the stranger in our midst.” The pope then traveled to New York for an evening prayer service in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) arrived in Washington, where he and President Barack Obama met for dinner at Blair House, the guest residence near the White House. A stampede and crush of Muslim pilgrims occurred at an intersection near a holy site in Saudi Arabia; The Associated Press estimates that at least 2,426 people were killed, while the official Saudi toll has stood at 769. A repurposed military “duck boat” carrying passengers swerved into an oncoming charter bus on Seattle’s Aurora Bridge; five international college students were killed in the crash.

Today’s Birthdays: Rhythm-and-blues singer Sonny Turner (The Platters) is 77. Singer Barbara Allbut Brown (The Angels) is 76. Singer Phyllis “Jiggs” Allbut Sirico (The Angels) is 74. Singer Gerry Marsden (Gerry and the Pacemakers) is 74. News anchor Lou Dobbs is 71. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Joe Greene is 70. Actor Gordon Clapp is 68. Songwriter Holly Knight is 60. Former U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy II, D-Mass., is 64. Actor Kevin Sorbo is 58. Christian/jazz singer Cedric Dent (Take 6) is 54. Actress-writer Nia Vardalos is 54. Rock musician Shawn Crahan (AKA Clown) (Slipknot) is 47. Country musician Marty Mitchell is 47. Actress Megan Ward is 47. Singer-musician Marty Cintron (No Mercy) is 45. Contemporary Christian musician Juan DeVevo (Casting Crowns) is 41. Actor Ian Bohen is 40. Actor Justin Bruening is 37. Olympic gold medal gymnast Paul Hamm (hahm) is 34. Actor Erik Stocklin is 34. Actor Kyle Sullivan is 28.

Thought for Today: “The easiest way to get a reputation is go outside the fold, shout around for a few years as a violent atheist or a dangerous radical, and then crawl back to the shelter.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald (born this date in 1896, died 1940).

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