A Blast from the Past

By United Press International  |  Sept. 10, 2002 at 3:22 AM
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Today is Sept. 16.

The U.S. began rounding up people with possible terrorist ties in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington. Meanwhile, the Gargantuan task of cleaning up the tons of rubble that once was the World Trade Center continued.

The Mayflower left Plymouth, England, on this day in 1620. On board were 102 passengers, "pilgrims" seeking religious freedom in America, and a small crew. Capt. Miles Standish was in command of the vessel. While vicious storms encountered en route caused serious doubt about the wisdom of continuing, the Mayflower reached Cape Cod, Mass., on Dec. 21 and discharged the Pilgrims in what's now Plymouth, Mass., five days later.

A large area of Indian Territory, now known as Oklahoma, was opened to homesteaders on this date in 1893. More than 100,000 people rushed the Cherokee Strip, seeking free land.

During the Vietnam War, many young men left the United States rather than be drafted into military service. It was on this date in 1974 that President Ford offered conditional amnesty to those draft evaders, saying they could come home if they performed up to two years of public service.

It was on this date in 1994 that a federal court jury in Anchorage, Ala., ordered Exxon to pay $5 billion dollars to the fishermen and natives whose lives were affected by the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989. It was the second largest assessment for punitive damages ever directed at one company, and the largest ever in a pollution case.

And what Republican Vice President Dan Quayle called the "Hollywood Cultural Elite" turned out en masse in Beverly Hills, Calif., on this date in 1992 for a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Bill Clinton. The fund-raiser marked Barbra Streisand's return to the stage following a six-year absence.

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


Today is Sept. 17.

President Bush continued efforts to line up international support for his proposed war on terror on this date in 2001 and branded Osama bin Laden, the suspected ringleader in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, as a man "wanted dead or alive."

In one of the most gruesome battles of the Civil War, one in which more than 23,000 soldiers were killed on a single day, Union forces. led by Gen. George McClellan, attacked Confederate troops of by Gen. Robert E. Lee near Antietam Creek, Md. McClellan blocked Lee's advance on Washington, but fell short of victory.

Soviet troops invaded Poland on this day in 1939, 16 days after Nazi Germany moved into the same country. Stalin was showing up to claim his portion of the spoils.

Delegates from 12 states (Rhode Island did not send a delegation) at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia voted unanimously on this date in 1787 to approve the proposed U.S. Constitution. A majority of the convention delegates then signed the document, which was to go into effect when ratified by nine states.

And it was on this date in 1983 that Vanessa Williams of New York became the first African-American to be named Miss America. (She resigned the crown 11 months later when Penthouse magazine published nude photos of her, but later became famous again as a singer and actress.)

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


Today is Sept. 18.

It was on this date in 1975, 19 months after she was abducted from her apartment, that heiress Patricia Hearst was captured by FBI agents in San Francisco -- along with two of her Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) comrades, William and Emily Harris. Hearst, who had taken part in SLA terrorist activities as "Tanya," was convicted on bank robbery charges and spend some time in prison.

Also on this date, in 1990, S&L scandal figure Charles Keating was arrested.

Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act on this date in 1850, allowing slave owners to reclaim slaves who escaped into another state. The measure was part of Sen. Henry Clay's Compromise of 1850, which admitted California to the union as the 31st state, with slavery forbidden, and made Utah and New Mexico U.S. territories.

A U.S. delegation headed by former President Carter persuaded Haiti's military leaders on this date in 1994 to step aside in favor of the democratically elected president. They probably were highly motivated by the fact that U.S. troops were en route to the Caribbean nation.

British adventurer George Meegan finished a 19,021-mile, six-year walk from the tip of South America to the Arctic Ocean at Prudhoe Bay, Alaska, on this day in 1983. No record of the number of pairs of shoes Meegan went through during his journey.

The shuttle Atlantis docked with the Mir space station on this date in 1996 to pick up U.S. astronaut Dr. Shannon Lucid, who'd set an American record for time spent in space. When she arrived back on Earth Sept. 26, Lucid had spent a record 188 days in orbit.

And it was on this date in 1992 that the son of conservative activist and gay-rights opponent Phyllis Schlafly confirmed he was homosexual. Said Schlafly, "I love my son."

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


Today is Sept. 19.

In 2001, in a follow-up to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the Defense Department sent combat aircraft to the Persian Gulf, Indian Ocean, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The following day, the Army said ground troops were being sent to the region.

In Mexico City's worst disaster, at least 7,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings damaged when a pair of earthquakes rocked the city on this date in 1985. Amazingly, a number of people -- including several newborn babies -- were found alive in the rubble of a hospital as long as nine days after the quakes.

President James Garfield died in Elberon, N.J., on this date in 1881 of gunshot wounds inflicted July 2 by a disgruntled office-seeker. Vice President Chester Arthur was sworn in as his successor. The shooting came only 16 years after the assassination of another president, Abraham Lincoln.

Though he hit his head on the diving board during preliminary competiton, U.S. swimmer Greg Louganis took the gold medal in three-meter springboard diving at the Seoul Olympics on this date in 1988. Louganis later revealed he was HIV-positive, but hadn't told that to the medical personnel who'd treated his head wound.

American soldiers won the first Battle of Saratoga, N.Y., during the Revolutionary War on this date in 1777. The British ended up surrendering 5,000 men.

And it was on this date in 1995 that the Washington Post published the 35,000-word manifesto written by the notorious Unabomber, who had said he wouldn't try to kill again if it was published. The Post and the New York Times shared the costs of publication. Suspect Theodore Kaczynski would be arrested at his remote Montana cabin April 3, 1996, largely in part because his brother recognized some of the wording of the manifesto.

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

Today is Sept. 20.

President Bush named Tom Ridge, the governor of Pennsylvania, to head up the new Office of Homeland Security on this date in 2001.

On this day In 2000, the six-year Whitewater investigation of President Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton ended with no indictments. Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan began a voyage on this day in 1519 to find a western passage to the East Indies. The mission was a success -- although Magellan himself didn't make it home, having been killed in the Philippines. Only one of the five ships that started out from Spain returned to port. It was the first-ever circumnavigation of the globe.

In another historical first, financial chaos forced the New York Stock Exchange to close on this date in 1873. It would remain closed for 10 days.

Muslim terrorists bombed the U.S. Embassy annex in Beirut, Lebanon, on this day in 1984. The bombing killed 23 people, including two Americans. It was the third terrorist attack on U.S. installations in Beirut in 17 months.

The Cunard ocean liner Queen Elizabeth II was launched on this date in 1966 by the British monarch Queen Elizabeth II. Today the QE-2 is the only remaining ocean liner on the formerly thriving trans-Atlantic route.

And it was on this date in 1999 that a jury in Bryan, Texas, convicted a second white man, Lawrence Brewer, in the 1998 dragging death of a black man. James Byrd Jr. was killed after being chained to the back of a pickup truck and dragged for more than a mile. Another man, John King, had previously been convicted and sentenced to death in the crime. A third awaited trial.

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


Today is Sept. 21.

Three days after the House Judiciary Committee voted along party lines to release it, President Clinton's videotaped grand jury testimony -- during which he admitted to an inappropriate relationship with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky -- aired on television on this date in 1998. It ran more than four hours.

Speaking of presidential scandals, it was on this date in 1977 that President Carter announced the resignation of Bert Lance - even as he defended the beleaguered budget director. Lance had been accused of a series of illegal acts in banking.

Today is an anniversary in the history of the automobile. The first truly successful American-made, gasoline-operated motorcar appeared on the streets of Springfield, Mass., on this date in 1893. It was designed and built by Charles and Frank Duryea. The Duryea brothers competed in, and won, some of the first car races in Europe. But Walter Chrysler and Henry Ford they were not -- the brothers never made it big in the car business.

An estimated 600 people were killed by a hurricane that battered the coast of New England on this date in 1938.

In 1996, John F. Kennedy, Jr. -- son of the late U.S. president and described by tabloids as the world's most eligible bachelor -- wed Carolyn Bessette. The couple, along with Bessette's sister, would die in a plane crash off Martha's Vineyard, Mass., on July 16, 1999.

And on this date in 2001, a telecast by top movie stars and musicians raised more than $500 million for survivors of the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

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


Today is Sept. 22.

The British hanged the American Revolutionary War hero and patriot Nathan Hale on this day in 1776. His famous last words, although often misquoted, were: "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country." Hale had been caught spying behind enemy lines for Washington's Army.

It was on this date in 1975 that self-proclaimed revolutionary Sara Jane Moore, 46, attempted to kill President Ford as he walked from a San Francisco hotel. A bullet she fired slightly wounded a man in the crowd. A few days earlier, a member of Charles Manson's "family" -- Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme - had tried to kill the prez. Her gun misfired.

The U.S. nuclear monopoly ended on this date in 1949 as the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb -- sparking the arms race in earnest.

it was on this date in 1993 that President Clinton unveiled his much ballyhooed health-care reform package in a speech before a joint session of Congress.

Hurricane Hugo slashed through Charleston and coastal South Carolina on this date in 1989 with 135-mph winds, claiming at least 28 lives. Hugo had earlier rampaged through the Caribbean, hitting Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands particularly hard.

Irving Berlin, who wrote "God Bless America," "White Christmas" and hundreds of other enduring songs, died in his sleep at his home in New York City at age 101 on this date in 1989.

In 1927, Jack Dempsey muffed a chance to regain the heavyweight championship when he failed to go to a neutral corner promptly after knocking down Gene Tunney. The extra time it took to start the count gave the champ time to recover and eventually win the match.

And the very first Farm Aid concert was held on this date in 1985. More than 50 rock and country stars performed for 14 hours for 78,000 rain-soaked spectators in Champaign, Ill. The event raised $9 million for debt-ridden U.S. farmers.

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

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