Today in History

·4-min read

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 8, the 251st day of 2021. There are 114 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 8, 1565, a Spanish expedition established the first permanent European settlement in North America at present-day St. Augustine, Florida.

On this date:

In 1504, Michelangelo’s towering marble statue of David was unveiled to the public in Florence, Italy.

In 1664, the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York.

In 1761, Britain’s King George III married Princess Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz a few hours after meeting her for the first time.

In 1892, an early version of “The Pledge of Allegiance,” written by Francis Bellamy, appeared in “The Youth’s Companion.” It went: “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

In 1900, Galveston, Texas, was struck by a hurricane that killed an estimated 8,000 people.

In 1935, Sen. Huey P. Long, a Louisiana Democrat, was shot and mortally wounded inside the Louisiana State Capitol; he died two days later. (The assailant was identified as Dr. Carl Weiss, who was gunned down by Long’s bodyguards.)

In 1939, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared a “limited national emergency” in response to the outbreak of war in Europe.

In 1941, the 900-day Siege of Leningrad by German forces began during World War II.

In 1943, during World War II, Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower announced Italy’s surrender; Nazi Germany denounced Italy’s decision as a cowardly act.

In 1964, public schools in Prince Edward County, Virginia, reopened after being closed for five years by officials attempting to prevent court-ordered racial desegregation.

In 1974, President Gerald R. Ford granted a “full, free, and absolute pardon” to former President Richard Nixon covering his entire term in office.

In 2019, Rafael Nadal held off a strong comeback bid to win his 19th Grand Slam title in a five-set U.S. Open final against Daniil Medvedev.

Ten years ago: Addressing a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama challenged a reluctant Congress to urgently pass a larger-than-expected $450 billion jobs plan to “jolt an economy that has stalled.” Ten oil workers were forced to abandon a crippled 94-foot research vessel in the Gulf of Mexico and pile into a life raft during Tropical Storm Nate; by the time rescuers arrived three days after, three of the men had died, and a fourth died later at a hospital.

Five years ago: California and federal regulators fined Wells Fargo a combined $185 million, alleging the bank’s employees illegally opened millions of unauthorized accounts for their customers in order to meet aggressive sales goals. U.S. aviation safety officials took the extraordinary step of warning airline passengers not to turn on or charge a new-model Samsung smartphone, the Galaxy Note 7, during flights following numerous reports of the devices catching fire. Greta Zimmer Friedman, identified as the woman in an iconic photo seen kissing an ecstatic sailor in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II, died in Richmond, Virginia, at age 92.

One year ago: The Northern California foothill hamlet of Berry Creek was largely destroyed in what would be the deadliest of the wildfires burning through much of the state; it left 16 people dead. More than a dozen California firefighters trying to protect a fire station in rugged mountains were overrun by flames; several were hurt as they deployed emergency shelters. Students across the nation ran into computer glitches as they began the school year with online instruction at home because of the coronavirus. Britain’s government banned gatherings of more than six people in England, as officials tried to keep a lid on daily new coronavirus infections.

Today’s Birthdays: Ventriloquist Willie Tyler is 81. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is 80. Actor Alan Feinstein is 80. Pop singer Sal Valentino (The Beau Brummels) is 79. Author Ann Beattie is 74. Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis is 71. Cajun singer Zachary Richard (ree-SHARD’) is 71. Musician Will Lee is 69. Actor Heather Thomas is 64. Singer Aimee Mann is 61. Pop musician David Steele (Fine Young Cannibals) is 61. Actor Thomas Kretschmann is 59. Gospel singer Darlene Zschech (chehk) is 56. Alternative country singer Neko (NEE’-koh) Case is 51. TV personality Brooke Burke is 50. Actor Martin Freeman is 50. Actor David Arquette is 50. TV-radio personality Kennedy is 49. Rock musician Richard Hughes (Keane) is 46. Actor Larenz Tate is 46. Actor Nathan Corddry is 44. R&B singer Pink is 42. Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson is 41. Actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas is 40. Rapper Wiz Khalifa is 34. Actor Gaten Matarazzo (TV: “Stranger Things”) is 19.

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