A Blast from the Past

By United Press International   |   Sept. 13, 2002 at 3:04 AM
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Today is Sept. 13.

Reagan National in Washington and Logan in Boston remained closed on this date in 2001 in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks but most other airports across the country had resumed business under heightened security.

It was on this date in 1788 that Congress authorized the first U.S. national election, to be held "the first Wednesday in January next (1789)." That same day, lawmakers declared New York City to be the capital of the nation. Not for long -- in 1790, the capital moved BACK to Philadelphia before moving permanently to Washington, D.C., in 1800.

Late in the evening on this day in 1814, attorney Francis Scott Key wrote a little ditty that Americans now like to sing before baseball games. Key had been aboard a ship stranded in Baltimore harbor by the British bombardment of Fort McHenry, Md., and was moved by seeing the American flag still flying over the fort to write "The Star-Spangled Banner" on the back of an envelope.

The melody comes from "Anachreon In Heaven," an old English drinking song.

In a dramatic (and televised) ceremony at the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat signed a declaration of principles for Palestinian self-rule on this date in 1993. The next day, representatives of Israel and Jordan signed an "agenda for peace."

The 1971 uprising at the state prison in Attica, N.Y., ended on this date, as state forces stormed and regained control of the facility. The riot and subsequent inmate rampage had left 42 people dead.

And it was on this day in 1922 that the temperature at El Azizia, Libya, reached 136 degrees F. -- generally accepted as the world's highest recorded atmospheric temperature.

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

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