Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 19, the 262nd day of 2018. There are 103 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 19, 1881, the 20th president of the United States, James A. Garfield, died 2½ months after being shot by Charles Guiteau; Chester Alan Arthur became president.

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On this date:

In 1777, the first Battle of Saratoga was fought during the Revolutionary War; although British forces succeeded in driving out the American troops, the Americans prevailed in a second battle the following month.

In 1783, Jacques Etienne Montgolfier (zhahk ayt-YEHN’ mohn-gohl-fee-AY’) launched a duck, a sheep and a rooster aboard a hot-air balloon at Versailles (vehr-SY’) in France.

In 1796, President George Washington’s farewell address was published. In it, America’s first chief executive advised, “Observe good faith and justice toward all nations. Cultivate peace and harmony with all.”

In 1934, Bruno Hauptmann was arrested in New York and charged with the kidnap-murder of 20-mont-old Charles A. Lindbergh Jr.

In 1945, Nazi radio propagandist William Joyce, known as “Lord Haw-Haw,” was convicted of treason and sentenced to death by a British court.

In 1959, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, in Los Angeles as part of his U.S. tour, reacted angrily upon being told that, for security reasons, he wouldn’t get to visit Disneyland.

In 1970, the “Mary Tyler Moore” show debuted on CBS-TV.

In 1982, the smiley emoticon was invented by Carnegie Mellon University professor Scott E. Fahlman, who suggested punctuating humorously intended computer messages with a colon followed by a hyphen and a parenthesis as a horizontal “smiley face.” 🙂

In 1985, the Mexico City area was struck by a devastating earthquake that killed at least 9,500 people.

In 1986, federal health officials announced that the experimental drug AZT would be made available to thousands of AIDS patients.

In 1997, in his first public comments since the death of Princess Diana, Prince Charles told the British people he would always feel the loss of his former wife, and thanked them for their support. Six people were killed when an express passenger train and a freight train collided in west London. The crime drama “L.A. Confidential” was released by Warner Bros.

In 2004, Hu Jintao (hoo jin-tow) became the undisputed leader of China with the departure of former President Jiang Zemin (jahng zuh-MEEN’) from his top military post.

Ten years ago: Struggling to stave off financial catastrophe, the Bush administration laid out a radical bailout plan calling for a takeover of a half-trillion dollars or more in worthless mortgages and other bad debt held by tottering institutions. Relieved investors sent stocks soaring on Wall Street and around the globe. Baseball’s new instant replay system produced its first reversal when Tampa Bay’s Carlos Pena had a two-run double changed to a three-run homer during the fourth inning of a game against Minnesota. (The Rays beat the Twins, 11-1.)

Five years ago: Signaling a dramatic shift in Vatican tone, Pope Francis said in a published interview that the Roman Catholic church had become obsessed by “small-minded rules” about how to be faithful and that pastors should instead emphasize compassion over condemnation when discussing divisive social issues such as abortion, gays and contraception. A Texas appeals court tossed the criminal conviction of former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, saying there was insufficient evidence for a jury in 2010 to have found him guilty of illegally funneling money to Republican candidates.

One year ago: In a speech to the U.N. General Assembly, President Donald Trump vowed to “totally destroy North Korea” if the U.S. were forced to defend itself or its allies against the North’s nuclear weapons program. A 7.1 magnitude quake struck central Mexico, killing more than 360 people and causing more than three dozen buildings in Mexico City to completely collapse. Hurricane Maria barreled toward Puerto Rico after leaving widespread destruction on the small Caribbean island of Dominica. Former middleweight champion Jake LaMotta, who was portrayed by Robert De Niro in the film “Raging Bull,” died at 95.

Today’s Birthdays: Author Roger Angell is 98. Host James Lipton (TV: “Inside the Actors Studio”) is 92. Actress Rosemary Harris is 91. Former Defense Secretary Harold Brown is 91. Actor David McCallum is 85. Singer-songwriter Paul Williams is 78. Singer Bill Medley is 78. Singer Sylvia Tyson (Ian and Sylvia) is 78. R&B singer Freda Payne is 76. Golfer Jane Blalock is 73. Singer David Bromberg is 73. Actor Randolph Mantooth is 73. Rock singer-musician Lol Creme (10cc) is 71. Former NFL running back Larry Brown is 71. Actor Jeremy Irons is 70. Actress Twiggy Lawson is 69. TV personality Joan Lunden is 68. Singer-producer Daniel Lanois (lan-WAH’) is 67. Actor Scott Colomby is 66. Musician-producer Nile Rodgers is 66. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Reggie Williams is 64. Singer-actor Rex Smith is 63. Rock singer Lita Ford is 60. Actor Kevin Hooks is 60. Actress Carolyn McCormick is 59. Celebrity chef Mario Batali is 58. Actress-comedian Cheri Oteri is 56. Country singer Jeff Bates is 55. Country singer Trisha Yearwood is 54. News anchor Soledad O’Brien is 52. Rhythm-and-blues singer Espraronza Griffin (Society of Soul) is 49. Celebrity chef Michael Symon is 49. Actor Victor Williams is 48. Actress Sanaa Lathan (suh-NAH’ LAY’-thun) is 47. Actress Stephanie J. Block is 46. Rock singer A. Jay Popoff (Lit) is 45. “Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon is 44. TV personality Carter Oosterhouse is 42. Actress-TV host Alison Sweeney is 42. Rock musician Ryan Dusick is 41. Folk-rock singers-musicians Sara and Tegan (TEE’-gan) Quin are 38. Actor Columbus Short is 36. Rapper Eamon is 35. Christian rock musician JD Frazier is 35. Actor Kevin Zegers is 34. Actress Danielle Panabaker is 31.