Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Sept. 16, the 260th day of 2020. There are 106 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlights in History:
On Sept. 16, 1974, President Gerald R. Ford announced a conditional amnesty program for Vietnam war deserters and draft-evaders.
On this date:
In 1630, the Massachusetts village of Shawmut changed its name to Boston.
In 1810, Mexico began its revolt against Spanish rule.
In 1966, the Metropolitan Opera officially opened its new opera house at New York’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s “Antony and Cleopatra.”
In 1982, the massacre of between 1,200 and 1,400 Palestinian men, women and children at the hands of Israeli-allied Christian Phalange militiamen began in west Beirut’s Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.
In 1987, two dozen countries signed the Montreal Protocol, a treaty designed to save the Earth’s ozone layer by calling on nations to reduce emissions of harmful chemicals by the year 2000.
In 1994, a federal jury in Anchorage, Alaska, ordered Exxon Corp. to pay $5 billion in punitive damages for the 1989 Exxon Valdez (val-DEEZ’) oil spill (the U.S Supreme Court later reduced that amount to $507.5 million). Two astronauts from the space shuttle Discovery went on the first untethered spacewalk in ten years.
In 2001, President George W. Bush, speaking on the South Lawn of the White House, said there was “no question” Osama bin Laden and his followers were the prime suspects in the Sept. 11 attacks; Bush pledged the government would “find them, get them running and hunt them down.”
In 2005, President George W. Bush ruled out raising taxes to pay the massive costs of Gulf Coast reconstruction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, saying other government spending had to be cut to pay for the recovery effort.
In 2007, contractors for the U.S. security firm Blackwater USA guarding a U.S. State Department convoy in Baghdad opened fire on civilian vehicles, mistakenly believing they were under attack; 14 Iraqis died. O.J. Simpson was arrested in the alleged armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in Las Vegas. (Simpson was later convicted of kidnapping and armed robbery and sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison; he was released in 2017.)
In 2009, Mary Travers, 72, part of the folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary, died in Danbury, Connecticut.
In 2013, Aaron Alexis, a former U.S. Navy reservist, went on a shooting rampage inside the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12 people before being shot dead by police.
In 2014, President Barack Obama declared that the Ebola epidemic in West Africa could threaten security around the world and ordered 3,000 U.S. troops to the region in emergency aid muscle.
Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI began a controversial state visit to Britain, acknowledging the Catholic Church had failed to act decisively or quickly enough to deal with priests who raped and molested children. The Seattle Storm completed their undefeated march through the postseason, beating the Atlanta Dream 87-84 for a three-game sweep in the WNBA finals. John “Jack” Goeken, founder of telecommunications giant MCI and father of air-to-ground telephone communications, died in Joliet, Illinois, at age 80.
Five years ago: Eleven Republican presidential candidates debated at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, wrangling over immigration, gay marriage and foreign affairs. Baton-wielding Hungarian riot police unleashed tear gas and water cannons against hundreds of migrants after they broke through a razor-wire fence and tried to surge into the country from Serbia. Country singer Sturgill Simpson and singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams, both eclectic genre-bending artists, took home top honors at the Americana Honors and Awards show in Nashville.
One year ago: More than 49,000 members of the United Auto Workers went on strike against General Motors, bringing more than 50 factories and parts warehouses to a standstill. (The strike ended after 40 days when workers ratified a new contract.) “Saturday Night Live” said it had rescinded its invitation to Shane Gillis to join the cast; he was found to have posted a video in which he used a racial slur for Chinese people. The Pittsburgh Steelers announced that quarterback Ben Roethlisberger would undergo surgery on his right elbow, ending the 37-year-old quarterback’s 16th NFL season just two weeks in. Former television newsman Sander Vanocur died in California at the age of 91; he’d been a questioner at the first Kennedy/Nixon debate in 1960.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Janis Paige is 98. Actor George Chakiris is 88. Bluesman Billy Boy Arnold is 85. Movie director Jim McBride is 79. Actor Linda Miller is 78. Rhythm-and-blues singer Betty Kelley (Martha & the Vandellas) is 76. Musician Kenney Jones (Small Faces; Faces; The Who) is 72. Actor Susan Ruttan is 72. Rock musician Ron Blair (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; Mudcrutch) is 72. Actor Ed Begley Jr. is 71. Country singer David Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 70. Country singer-songwriter Phil Lee is 69. Actor Mickey Rourke is 68. Actor-comedian Lenny Clarke is 67. Actor Kurt Fuller is 67. Jazz musician Earl Klugh is 67. Actor Christopher Rich is 67. TV personality Mark McEwen is 66. Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount is 65. Magician David Copperfield is 64. Country singer-songwriter Terry McBride is 62. Actor Jennifer Tilly is 62. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Orel Hershiser is 62. Baseball Hall of Famer Tim Raines is 61. Actor Jayne Brook is 60. Singer Richard Marx is 57. Comedian Molly Shannon is 56. Singer Marc Anthony is 52. News anchor/talk show host Tamron Hall is 50. Comedian-actor Amy Poehler is 49. Actor Toks Olagundoye (tohks oh-lah-GOON’-doh-yay) is 45. Country singer Matt Stillwell is 45. Singer Musiq (MYOO’-sihk) is 43. Actor Michael Mosley is 42. Rapper Flo Rida is 41. Actor Alexis Bledel is 39. Actor Sabrina Bryan is 36. Actor Madeline Zima is 35. Actor Ian Harding is 34. Actor Kyla Pratt is 34. Actor Daren Kagasoff is 33. Rock singer Teddy Geiger is 32. Actor-dancer Bailey De Young is 31. Rock singer-musician Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 28. Actor Elena Kampouris is 23.