Today In History

Today in History

Today is Thursday, Sept. 16, the 259th day of 2021. 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 1908, General Motors was founded in Flint, Michigan, by William C. Durant.

In 1940, Samuel T. Rayburn of Texas was elected Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

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 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 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 2012, in appearances on Sunday news shows, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said there was no evidence that the attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, was premeditated. But Libya’s interim president, Mohammed el-Megarif, told CBS he had no doubt attackers spent months planning the assault and purposely chose the date, September 11.

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: President Barack Obama signed into law a major overhaul of the nation’s patent system to ease the way for inventors to bring their products to market. A World War II-era fighter plane plunged into spectators during air races in Reno, Nevada, killing 74-year-old Florida stunt pilot Jimmy Leeward and 10 others. A Russian Soyuz capsule carrying three crew members, including NASA astronaut Ron Garan, from the International Space Station touched down safely in Kazakhstan, but not without rattling nerves after a breakdown in communications.

Five years ago: After five years of promoting a false conspiracy theory about Barack Obama’s birthplace, Republican Donald Trump abruptly reversed course, acknowledging that the president was born in America, but then claiming the “birther movement” was begun by his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. (While the question of Obama’s birthplace was raised by some backers of Clinton’s primary campaign against Obama eight years earlier, Clinton had long denounced it as a “racist lie.”) Three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Edward Albee, 88, died in Montauk, New York.

One year ago: College football’s Big Ten conference reversed its plan to push fall sports to spring because of the pandemic, and said it would open its football season in late October; the about-face came after sharp pressure from coaches, players, parents and President Donald Trump. Hurricane Sally lumbered ashore near the Florida-Alabama line with 105 mph winds and rain measured in feet, swamping homes and forcing the rescue of hundreds of people as it pushed inland. Carrie Underwood and Thomas Rhett tied for entertainer of the year at the Academy of Country Music Awards, the first time the top prize had been split between two artists.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Janis Paige is 99. Actor George Chakiris is 89. Bluesman Billy Boy Arnold is 86. Movie director Jim McBride is 80. Actor Linda Miller is 79. R&B singer Betty Kelley (Martha & the Vandellas) is 77. Musician Kenney Jones (Small Faces; Faces; The Who) is 73. Actor Susan Ruttan is 73. Rock musician Ron Blair (Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers; Mudcrutch) is 73. Actor Ed Begley Jr. is 72. Country singer David Bellamy (The Bellamy Brothers) is 71. Actor Mickey Rourke is 69. Actor-comedian Lenny Clarke is 68. Actor Kurt Fuller is 68. Jazz musician Earl Klugh is 68. Actor Christopher Rich is 68. TV personality Mark McEwen is 67. Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount is 66. Magician David Copperfield is 65. Country singer-songwriter Terry McBride is 63. Actor Jennifer Tilly is 63. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Orel Hershiser is 63. Baseball Hall of Famer Tim Raines is 62. Actor Jayne Brook is 61. Singer Richard Marx is 58. Comedian Molly Shannon is 57. Singer Marc Anthony is 53. News anchor/talk show host Tamron Hall is 51. Comedian-actor Amy Poehler is 50. Actor Toks Olagundoye (tohks oh-lah-GOON’-doh-yay) is 46. Country singer Matt Stillwell is 46. Singer Musiq (MYOO’-sihk) is 44. Actor Michael Mosley is 43. Rapper Flo Rida is 42. Actor Alexis Bledel is 40. Actor Sabrina Bryan is 37. Actor Madeline Zima is 36. Actor Ian Harding is 35. Actor Kyla Pratt is 35. Actor Daren Kagasoff is 34. Rock singer Teddy Geiger is 33. Actor-dancer Bailey De Young is 32. Rock singer-musician Nick Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 29. Actor Elena Kampouris is 24.