Today in History

Today is Thursday, Sept. 15, the 259th day of 2016. There are 107 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 15, 1963, four black girls were killed when a bomb went off during Sunday services at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala. (Three Ku Klux Klansmen were eventually convicted for their roles in the blast.)

On this date:

In 1789, the U.S. Department of Foreign Affairs was renamed the Department of State.

In 1807, former Vice President Aaron Burr was acquitted of a misdemeanor charge two weeks after he was found not guilty of treason.

In 1857, William Howard Taft — who served as President of the United States and as U.S. chief justice — was born in Cincinnati, Ohio.

In 1890, English mystery writer Agatha Christie was born in Torquay.

In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of their citizenship.

In 1940, during the World War II Battle of Britain, the tide turned as the Royal Air Force inflicted heavy losses upon the Luftwaffe.

In 1950, during the Korean conflict, United Nations forces landed at Incheon in the south and began their drive toward Seoul.

In 1955, the novel “Lolita,” by Vladimir Nabokov, was first published in Paris.

In 1972, a federal grand jury in Washington indicted seven men in connection with the Watergate break-in.

In 1981, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously to approve the Supreme Court nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor.

In 1994, a tape recording of John Lennon singing with his teen-age band, The Quarrymen, in a Liverpool club on July 6, 1957, was sold at Sotheby’s for $122,500 (it was at this gig that Lennon first met Paul McCartney).

In 2000, the 2000 Summer Olympics opened in Sydney, Australia, with a seemingly endless parade of athletes and coaches and a spectacular display; Aboriginal runner Cathy Freeman ignited an Olympic ring of fire.

Ten years ago: Ford Motor Co. took drastic steps to remold itself into a smaller, more competitive company, slashing thousands of jobs and closing down two additional plants. U.S. Rep. Bob Ney, R-Ohio, agreed to plead guilty to two criminal charges in the congressional corruption probe spawned by disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff. (Ney served nearly a year and a-half of a 2-1/2-year prison sentence.) Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci died in Florence at age 77.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama bestowed the Medal of Honor on Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a young and humble Marine who had defied orders and repeatedly barreled straight into a ferocious “killing zone” in Afghanistan to save 36 lives at extraordinary risk to himself. A single rogue trader at Swiss banking giant UBS was arrested after allegedly costing the storied institution an estimated $2 billion. (Kweku Adoboli was later convicted of fraud and served about half of a seven-year sentence.)

One year ago: Hungary sealed off its border with Serbia with massive coils of barbed wire and began detaining migrants trying to use the country as a gateway to Western Europe, harsh new measures that left thousands of frustrated asylum-seekers piled up on the Serbian side of the border. Malcolm Turnbull was sworn in as the new prime minister of Australia after his conservative Liberal Party colleagues voted for him to replace Tony Abbott as the nation’s leader.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Forrest Compton is 91. Comedian Norm Crosby is 89. Actor Henry Darrow is 83. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Gaylord Perry is 78. Actress Carmen Maura is 71. Opera singer Jessye Norman is 71. Writer-director Ron Shelton is 71. Actor Tommy Lee Jones is 70. Movie director Oliver Stone is 70. Rock musician Kelly Keagy (Night Ranger) is 64. Rock musician Mitch Dorge (Crash Test Dummies) is 56. Football Hall of Famer Dan Marino is 55. Actor Danny Nucci is 48. Rap DJ Kay Gee is 47. Actor Josh Charles is 45. Singer Ivette Sosa (Eden’s Crush) is 40. Actor Tom Hardy is 39. Actress Marisa Ramirez is 39. Pop-rock musician Zach Filkins (OneRepublic) is 38. Actor Dave Annable is 37. Actress Amy Davidson is 37. Britain’s Prince Harry is 32. TV personality Heidi Montag is 30. Actress Kate Mansi is 29.

Thought for Today: “I think the greatest curse of American society has been the idea of an easy millennialism — that some new drug, or the next election or the latest in social engineering will solve everything.” — Robert Penn Warren, American poet (born 1905, died this date in 1989).

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