A Blast from the Past

By United Press International   |   Aug. 27, 2002 at 3:12 AM
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Today is Sept. 2.

World War II formally ended on this date in 1945 when Japan officially surrendered to the Allies during a ceremony aboard the U.S.S. Missouri in Tokyo Bay. President Truman declared the day to be Victory-over-Japan Day, or V-J Day.

It was on this date in 1935 that one of the worst hurricanes to hit the U.S. mainland ripped through the Florida Keys. The unnamed storm -- this was back in the days before the National Hurricane Center started naming tropical storms -- killed more than 350 people.

Earthquake-spawned tidal waves swept several Pacific coast villages in Nicaragua on this date in 1992, killing more than 100 people.

What became known as the Great Fire of London began on this date in 1666. It eventually destroyed 13,000 houses in four days.

And it was on this date in 1998 that a Swissair jetliner en route from New York City to Geneva, Switzerland, crashed off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. All 229 people aboard were killed.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

All rights reserved.


Today is Sept. 3.

In 1777, the American flag flew in battle for the first time, during a Revolutionary War skirmish at Cooch's Bridge, Md. The seven-year-long war ended on this date in 1783 with the signing of the Treaty of Paris. Among other things, the pact recognized U.S. independence from Britain. By the way, the American signatories of the treaty were John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay.

One day after Germany invaded Poland, Britain declared war on Germany on this date in 1939. Britain was quickly joined by France, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada.

And on this date in 1943, Italy's Fascist government -- which had fought on the side of Germany and Japan during World War II -- surrendered to the Allies.

It was on this date in 1999 that charges were dropped against nine photographers and a motorcyclist in connection with the 1997 crash that killed Princess Diana. The 10 had been pursuing Diana's car through the streets of Paris prior to the accident, but two French magistrates decided their actions could not be definitely linked to the crash that also took the life of Diana's companion, Dodi Fayed, and their driver.

And a 28-year-old Chicago print shop employee won $40 million in the Illinois state lottery on this date in 1984. At the time, it was the largest sum any individual had ever won in a lottery. So what did he do with the money? Besides sharing it with family, he also bought ... a liquor store, which we assume also sells lottery tickets.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Sept. 4.

For the first time since news of his affair with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky broke, President Clinton said he was "sorry" for what he had done. The presidential apology came on this date in 1998. It didn't stop the House of Representatives from impeaching him later in the year. (The Senate would acquit him in early 1999.)

The long, drawn-out, Iran-Iraq war began on this date in 1980 when Iraqi troops seized Iranian territory in a border dispute..

It was on this date in 1609 that Henry Hudson, an English explorer working for the Dutch, sailed into what's now known as New York Harbor and discovered the island of Manhattan. In other exploratory news, the first passage of the fabled Northwest Passage was completed by icebreakers from the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard on this date in 1954.

In 1957, Arkansas Gov. Orval Faubus sent National Guardsmen to prevent nine African-American students from entering Central High School in Little Rock.

American swimmer Mark Spitz became the hero of many kids (and adults) on this date in 1972 when he won his seventh Olympic gold medal. He was the first athlete to win that many Olympic gold medals.

And it was on this date in 1957 that the Ford Motor Co. introduced the Edsel automobile. The Edsel -- named for Henry Ford's son -- offered as standard items features that were optional on other models of cars. Despite that, the car was not a hit.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Sept. 5.

Palestinian terrorists invaded the Olympic Village outside Munich, West Germany, on this date in 1972 and killed 11 Israeli athletes and six other people. Four of the seven guerrillas -- members of the Black September faction of the Palestinian Liberation Army -- were also killed. In retaliation, Israel bombed Palestinian positions in Lebanon and Syria three days later.

President Ford was the target of an assassination attempt on this date in 1975. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, a follower of mass murderer Charles Manson, tried to shoot the president. The gun misfired, and Fromme was arrested.

Another attempt on Ford's life occurred less than three weeks later -- on Sept. 22, 1975 -- when Sara Jane Moore shot at him.

In an historic quest for peace in the Middle East, President Carter opened a summit with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Camp David, Md., on this date in 1978.

The first Continental Congress convened in secret in Philadelphia on this date in 1774. It called for civil disobedience against the British.

And it was on this date in 1882 that 10,000 workers marched in the very first Labor Day parade in New York City.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Sept. 6.

Reversing a decision from the Clinton Administration, the Justice Department said on this date in 2001 that it would no longer seek to split the Microsoft Corp. into more than one company. Nor would the feds pursue the claim that the company had illegally tied its network browser to its operating system.

Britain bid an emotional farewell to Princess Diana on this date in 1997 with a funeral at London's Westminster Abby that was broadcast worldwide. The former wife of Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, had been killed in a car accident in Paris a week earlier. Her body was buried in a private service at Althorp House, her family's home in Northamptonshire.

On this date in 1901 President William McKinley was shot and critically wounded in Buffalo, N.Y. He died eight days later. He was succeeded in the White House by his vice president, Theordore Roosevelt.

It was on this date in 1620 that 149 Pilgrims set sail from England aboard the Mayflower, bound for the New World.

Word was received on this date in 1909 that Adm. Robert Peary had discovered the North Pole on April 6, 1909. In this age of instant communications, it hard to believe it took five months for word of his discovery to reach the civilized world.

And it was on this date in 1995 that the Senate Ethics Committee voted unanimously to recommend that Sen. Bob Packwood, R-Ore., be expelled from the Senate. Packwood faced allegations of sexual misconduct and influence peddling. He would announce his resignation two days later.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Sept. 7.

It was on this date in 1940 that Nazi Germany launched the London blitz -- a bombing that Adolf Hitler believed would soften Britain for invasion. The plan failed and the invasion of England never materialized.

President Jimmy Carter and Panamanian dictator Omar Torrijos signed a treaty on this date in 1977 agreeing to transfer control of the Panama Canal from the United States to Panama at the end of the 20th century.

Desmond Tutu was installed as the Anglican archbishop of Cape Town, South Africa, on this date in 1986. He was the first black ever to head South Africa's fourth-largest Christian church.

It was on this date in 1822 that Brazil declared independence from Portugal. These days, the South American nation marks the occasion with a weeklong celebration that begins Sept. 1.

Venus and Serena Williams advanced to the final of the 2001 U.S. Open women's singles tennis tournament on this date, setting up the first meeting of sisters in a Grand Slam finale since 1884.

And the first major boxing match under the Marquess of Queensberry Rules took place on this date in 1892 in New Orleans. James Corbett knocked out John L. Sullivan in the 21st round.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.


Today is Sept. 8.

It was on this date in 1974 that President Ford granted former President Nixon a "free, full and absolute" pardon for any and all offenses he may have committed during his years in office. It had been only a month since Nixon announced he was resigning rather than face impeachment by the U.S. House of Representatives as a result of the Watergate scandal and cover-up.

Nixon was the ultimate survivor. In the years following his fall from grace, he redeemed himself and became somewhat of an elder statesman -- consulted by his successors, including President Clinton -- prior to his death in 1994.

Spanish navigator Juan de Elcano returned to Spain on this date in 1522, three years after explorer Ferdinand Magellan left with five ships in a bid to sail around the world. Only one ship and a handful of men would complete the first circumnavigation of the globe -- Magellan having been killed in the Philippines.

More than 6,000 people were killed when a hurricane and tidal wave struck Galveston, Texas, on this date in 1900. Remember, they didn't have weather satellites or sophisticated computer models in those days.

An assassin shot autocratic Louisiana Sen. Huey P. Long at the Capitol building in Baton Rouge, La., on this date in 1935. Long died two days later.

The first permanent European settlement in what is now the continental United States was founded at what is now St. Augustine, Fla., on this date in 1565.

And it was on this date in 1966 that the first of 79 episodes of "Star Trek" premiered on NBC-TV. Although the science-fiction series lasted only three seasons, it became a hit in syndication -- spawning perhaps the most successful television and movie franchise in history. There have been several spin-off series including "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Star Trek: Deep Space 9" and "Star Trek: Voyager", a Saturday morning animated series, and nine motion pictures.

We now return you to the present, already in progress.

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