Today in History
Published 9:10 am Thursday, September 17, 2020
By The Associated Press
Today is Thursday, Sept. 17, the 261st day of 2020. There are 105 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept. 17, 1787, the Constitution of the United States was completed and signed by a majority of delegates attending the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.
On this date:
In 1862, more than 3,600 men were killed in the Civil War Battle of Antietam in Maryland.
In 1908, Lt. Thomas E. Selfridge of the U.S. Army Signal Corps became the first person to die in the crash of a powered aircraft, the Wright Flyer, at Fort Myer, Va., just outside Washington, D.C.
In 1937, the likeness of President Abraham Lincoln’s head was dedicated at Mount Rushmore.
In 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland during World War II, more than two weeks after Nazi Germany had launched its assault.
In 1944, during World War II, Allied paratroopers launched Operation Market Garden, landing behind German lines in the Netherlands. (After initial success, the Allies were beaten back by the Germans.)
In 1947, James V. Forrestal was sworn in as the first U.S. Secretary of Defense.
In 1971, citing health reasons, Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, 85, retired. (Black, who was succeeded by Lewis F. Powell Jr., died eight days after making his announcement.)
In 1978, after meeting at Camp David, Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a framework for a peace treaty.
In 1987, the city of Philadelphia, birthplace of the U.S. Constitution, threw a big party to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the historic document; in a speech at Independence Hall, President Ronald Reagan acclaimed the framing of the Constitution as a milestone “that would profoundly and forever alter not just these United States but the world.”
In 1997, Comedian Red Skelton died in Rancho Mirage, Calif., at age 84.
In 2001, six days after 9/11, stock prices nosedived but stopped short of collapse in an emotional, flag-waving reopening of Wall Street; the Dow Jones industrial average ended the day down 684.81 at 8,920.70.
In 2011, a demonstration calling itself Occupy Wall Street began in New York, prompting similar protests around the U.S. and the world.
Ten years ago: Thousands of cheering Catholic schoolchildren feted Pope Benedict XVI on his second day in Britain, offering a boisterous welcome, as the pontiff urged their teachers to make sure to provide a trusting, safe environment. A scientist and his wife who once worked at a top-secret U.S. nuclear laboratory were arrested after an FBI sting operation and charged with conspiring to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela. (After pleading guilty, Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni was sentenced to five years in federal prison while his wife, Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni, received a year and a day; the U.S. government never alleged that Venezuela or anyone actually working for it had sought U.S. secrets.)
Five years ago: General Motors agreed to pay $900 million to fend off criminal prosecution over the deadly ignition-switch scandal, striking a deal that brought criticism down on the Justice Department for not bringing charges against individual employees; GM also announced it would spend $575 million to settle the majority of the civil lawsuits filed over the scandal. The Federal Reserve kept U.S interest rates at record lows in the face of threats from a weak global economy, persistently low inflation and unstable financial markets.
One year ago: New York became the first state to ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes; the move came as federal health officials investigated a surge of severe breathing illnesses linked to vaping. Broadcast journalist Cokie Roberts, who had chronicled Washington for NPR and ABC News, died of complications from breast cancer at the age of 75. Israeli elections left Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu well short of the parliamentary majority he had sought.
Today’s Birthdays: Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is 87. Retired Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter is 81. Singer LaMonte McLemore (The Fifth Dimension) is 85. Retired U.S. Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni is 77. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson is 75. Singer Fee Waybill is 72. Actor Cassandra Peterson (“Elvira, Mistress of the Dark”) is 69. Comedian Rita Rudner is 67. Muppeteer Kevin Clash (former voice of Elmo on “Sesame Street”) is 60. Director-actor Paul Feig is 58. Movie director Baz Luhrmann is 58. Singer BeBe Winans is 58. TV personality/businessman Robert Herjavec (TV: “Shark Tank”) is 57. Actor Kyle Chandler is 55. Director-producer Bryan Singer is 55. Rapper Doug E. Fresh is 54. Actor Malik Yoba is 53. Rock singer Anastacia is 52. Actor Matthew Settle is 51. Rapper Vinnie (Naughty By Nature) is 50. Actor-comedian Bobby Lee is 49. Actor Felix Solis is 49. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marcus Sanders (Hi-Five) is 47. Actor-singer Nona Gaye is 46. Singer-actor Constantine Maroulis is 45. NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson is 45. Pop singer Maile Misajon (Eden’s Crush) is 44. Country singer-songwriter Stephen Cochran is 41. Rock musician Chuck Comeau (Simple Plan) is 41. Actor Billy Miller is 41. Rock musician Jon Walker is 35. NHL forward Alex Ovechkin is 35. Actor Danielle Brooks is 31. Gospel singer Jonathan McReynolds is 31. Actor-singer Denyse Tontz is 26. NHL center Auston Matthews is 23.