Today in History
Today is Friday, Sept. 3, the 246th day of 2021. There are 119 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Sept. 3, 1939, Britain, France, Australia and New Zealand declared war on Germany, two days after the Nazi invasion of Poland; in a radio address, Britain’s King George VI said, “With God’s help, we shall prevail.” The same day, a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the British liner SS Athenia some 250 miles off the Irish coast, killing more than 100 out of the 1,400 or so people on board.
On this date:
In 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson and his crew aboard the Half Moon entered present-day New York Harbor and began sailing up the river that now bears his name. (They reached present-day Albany before turning back.)
In 1783, representatives of the United States and Britain signed the Treaty of Paris, which officially ended the Revolutionary War.
In 1943, Allied forces invaded Italy during World War II, the same day Italian officials signed a secret armistice with the Allies.
In 1976, America’s Viking 2 lander touched down on Mars to take the first close-up, color photographs of the red planet’s surface.
In 1978, Pope John Paul I was installed as the 264th pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1995, the online auction site eBay was founded in San Jose, California, by Pierre Omidyar under the name “AuctionWeb.”
In 1999, a French judge closed a two-year inquiry into the car crash that killed Princess Diana, dismissing all charges against nine photographers and a press motorcyclist, and concluding the accident was caused by an inebriated driver.
In 2003, Paul Hill, a former minister who said he murdered an abortion doctor and his escort to save the lives of unborn babies, was executed in Florida by injection, becoming the first person put to death in the United States for anti-abortion violence.
In 2005, President George W. Bush ordered more than 7,000 active duty forces to the Gulf Coast as his administration intensified efforts to rescue Katrina survivors and send aid to the hurricane-ravaged region in the face of criticism it did not act quickly enough.
In 2009, a private funeral service was held in Glendale, California, for pop superstar Michael Jackson, whose body was entombed in a mausoleum more than two months after his death.
In 2010, Defense Secretary Robert Gates toured U.S. bases and war zones in Afghanistan, saying he saw and heard evidence that the American counterinsurgency strategy was taking hold in critical Kandahar province.
In 2019, Walmart said it would stop selling ammunition for handguns and short-barrel rifles, and the store chain requested that customers not openly carry firearms in its stores; the announcement followed a shooting at a Walmart store in Texas that left 22 people dead.
Ten years ago: A judge in North Carolina sentenced Robert Stewart to spend the rest of his life behind bars for killing eight people at a rural nursing home in 2009. (Stewart had opened fire on his victims, seemingly at random, as he searched for his wife, an employee at the home.) The Vatican vigorously rejected accusations it had sabotaged efforts by Irish bishops to report priests who sexually abused children to police.
Five years ago: President Barack Obama and China’s President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) sealed their nations’ participation in the Paris climate change agreement during a ceremony on the sidelines of a global economic summit in Hangzhou. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump visited the Great Faith Ministries International, a predominantly Black church in Detroit, to call for a “civil rights agenda for our time.” Authorities in Minnesota said they had identified the remains of Jacob Wetterling, an 11-year-old boy kidnapped by a masked gunman in October 1989 near his home in St. Joseph; the case was solved when a man confessed to sexually assaulting and killing the boy.
One year ago: A report in The Atlantic detailed multiple instances of President Donald Trump making disparaging remarks about members of the U.S. military who had been captured or killed; Trump emphatically denied making the comments, many of which were confirmed by The Associated Press. In a series of tweets, Trump said people who voted early by mail should also show up at their polling places on Election Day and vote again if their ballots hadn’t been counted; experts said the suggestion would lead to chaos and long lines. Self-described anti-fascist Michael Reinoehl, the suspect in the slaying of a right-wing protester in Portland, Oregon, the previous weekend, was fatally shot by federal agents who said he had pulled a gun as they tried to arrest him near Lacey, Washington. Facebook said it would restrict new political ads in the week before the election and remove posts that conveyed misinformation about COVID-19 and voting.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Pauline Collins is 81. Rock singer-musician Al Jardine is 79. Actor Valerie Perrine is 78. Rock musician Donald Brewer (Grand Funk Railroad) is 73. Rock guitarist Steve Jones (The Sex Pistols) is 66. Actor Steve Schirripa is 64. Actor Holt McCallany is 57. Rock singer-musician Todd Lewis is 56. Actor Costas Mandylor is 56. Actor Charlie Sheen is 56. Singer Jennifer Paige is 48. Dance-rock musician Redfoo is 46. Actor Ashley Jones is 45. Actor Nichole Hiltz is 43. Actor Joel Johnstone is 43. Actor Nick Wechsler is 43. Rock musician Tomo Milicevic (30 Seconds to Mars) is 42. Bluegrass musician Darren Nicholson (Balsam Range) is 38. Actor Christine Woods is 38. Actor Garrett Hedlund is 37. Olympic gold medal snowboarder Shaun White is 35. Hip-hop singer August Alsina is 29.