Today in History

AP News
|
Posted: Sep 17, 2011 12:01 AM
Today in History

Today is Saturday, Sept. 17, the 260th day of 2011. There are 105 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Sept. 17, 1911, Calbraith P. Rodgers set off from Sheepshead Bay, N.Y., aboard a Wright biplane in an attempt to become the first flier to travel the width of the United States. (The 49-day journey required 69 stops before Rodgers arrived in Pasadena, Calif., on Nov. 5.)

On this date:

In 1787, the Constitution of the United States was completed and signed by a majority of delegates attending the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

In 1862, Union forces fought Confederate invaders in the Civil War Battle of Antietam (an-TEE'-tum) in Maryland; more than 3,600 men were killed.

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 1939, the Soviet Union invaded Poland during World War II, more than two weeks after Nazi Germany had launched its assault.

In 1947, James V. Forrestal was sworn in as the first U.S. Secretary of Defense.

In 1961, Northwest Orient Airlines Flight 706, a Lockheed Electra, crashed after takeoff from Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, killing all 37 people on board. The Pittsburgh Civic Arena was officially dedicated. The situation comedy "Car 54, Where Are You?" premiered on NBC.

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 (men-AH'-kem BAY'-gihn) and Egyptian President Anwar Sadat signed a framework for a peace treaty.

In 1986, the Senate confirmed the nomination of William H. Rehnquist to become the 16th chief justice of the United States.

In 1991, the U.N. General Assembly opened its 46th session, welcoming new members Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, North and South Korea, the Marshall Islands and Micronesia.

Ten years ago: 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. President George W. Bush visited a mosque in Washington as he appealed to Americans to get back to everyday business and not turn against their Muslim neighbors. "The Late Show with David Letterman" on CBS did its first new show since 9/11, with guests Dan Rather and Regis Philbin.

Five years ago: Pope Benedict XVI said he was "deeply sorry" his recent remarks on Islam and violence had offended Muslims, but the unusual expression of papal regret drew a mixed reaction from Islamic leaders, some of whom said it wasn't enough. Five Duquesne basketball players were shot and wounded during an apparent act of random violence on the Pittsburgh campus. (Two men later pleaded guilty in connection with the shootings and received prison sentences.) Patricia Kennedy Lawford, the sister of President John F. Kennedy and ex-wife of actor Peter Lawford, died in New York City at age 82.

One year ago: Thousands of cheering Catholic schoolchildren feted Pope Benedict XVI on his second day in Britain, offering a boisterous welcome even 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 and charged with conspiracy to help develop a nuclear weapon for Venezuela. (Pedro Leonardo Mascheroni and Marjorie Roxby Mascheroni have pleaded not guilty; the U.S. government has not alleged that Venezuela or anyone working for it sought U.S. secrets.)

Today's Birthdays: Actor David Huddleston is 81. Sen. Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, is 78. Retired Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter is 72. Singer LaMonte McLemore (The Fifth Dimension) is 76. Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni (ret.) is 68. Basketball Hall of Fame coach Phil Jackson is 66. Singer Fee Waybill is 61. Actress Cassandra Peterson ("Elvira, Mistress of the Dark") is 60. Comedian Rita Rudner is 58. Muppeteer Kevin Clash is 51. Movie director Baz Luhrmann is 49. Singer BeBe Winans is 49. Actor Kyle Chandler is 46. Director-producer Bryan Singer ("X-Men') is 46. Rapper Doug E. Fresh is 45. Actor Malik Yoba is 44. Rock musician Keith Flint (Prodigy) is 42. Actor Matthew Settle is 42. Rapper Vinnie (Naughty By Nature) is 41. Actor Felix Solis is 40. Rock singer Anastacia is 38. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marcus Sanders (Hi-Five) is 38. Actress-singer Nona Gaye is 37. Singer-actor Constantine Maroulis is 36. NASCAR driver Jimmie Johnson is 36. Pop singer Maile (MY'-lee) Misajon (Eden's Crush) is 35. Country singer-songwriter Stephen Cochran is 32. Rock musician Chuck Comeau (Simple Plan) is 32. Actor Billy Miller is 32. Country singer Desi Wasdin (3 of Hearts) is 28. Rock musician Jon Walker is 26.

Thought for Today: "Any man is liable to err, only a fool persists in error." _ Cicero, Roman scholar (106-43 B.C.).

(Above Advance for Use Saturday, Sept. 17)

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.