Sept. 22 (UPI) -- On this date in history:
In 1776, the British hanged American Revolutionary War hero and patriot Nathan Hale. His famous last words were, "I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country."
In 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, freeing some 3 million slaves.
In 1888, National Geographic began publishing.
In 1927, Jack Dempsey muffed a chance to regain the heavyweight championship when he knocked down Gene Tunney but failed to go to a neutral corner promptly, thereby delaying the referee's count and giving the champ time to get up.
In 1949, the U.S. nuclear monopoly ended when the Soviet Union detonated its first atomic bomb.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed a law giving the Peace Corps permanent status. He hailed it as a way for Americans to work for world peace and understanding.
In 1975, U.S. President Gerald Ford escaped a second assassination attempt in 17 days, this one by self-proclaimed revolutionary Sara Jane Moore, who tried to shoot him as he walked from a San Francisco hotel. Her shot, deflected by ex-Marine Oliver Sipple, a bystander who grabbed her arm, slightly wounded a man in the crowd. Moore served 32 years of a life prison sentence. She was released in 2007 at the age of 77. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, convicted in a Sept. 5, 1975, assassination attempt in Sacramento, was paroled in 2009, at age 60, after 34 years in prison.
In 1980, long-standing border disputes and political turmoil in Iran prompted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein to launch an invasion of Iran's oil-producing province of Khuzestan, touching off an eight-year war.
In 1985, more than 50 rock and country stars, headed by Willie Nelson, Neil Young and John Mellencamp, staged the 14-hour Farm Aid concert for 78,000 rain-soaked spectators in Champaign, Ill., raising $10 million for debt-ridden U.S. farmers.
In 1994, Friends, starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer, premiered on NBC. The comedy series ran for 10 season, each of which was ranked in the Top 10 of the final TV season ratings.
In 2008, officials at China's health ministry said nearly 53,000 children, most of them younger than 2 years old, had been sickened by milk powder tainted with an industrial chemical. At least four children died. Ten Asian and African nations, including Japan, temporarily banned Chinese dairy products.
In 2010, a Miami appeals court affirmed the adoption of two foster children by a gay couple, ruling Florida's ban on same-sex adoption was unconstitutional.
In 2017, the U.S. Marine Corps announced that for the first time in its 250-year history, a woman will be joining its ranks as an infantry officer.
In 2019, Billy Porter became the first openly gay man to win an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama in a Series for Pose.
In 2020, the United States reported a milestone 200,000 deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic.