This Day in History

Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2006

In Alaska

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• In 1871, a 32-ship whaling fleet from New England was abandoned at Wainwright Inlet when ice cut it off from open water. The 1,200 crew members used whale boats to reach safety at Icy Cape on the Chukchi Sea coast. No lives were lost.

• In 1884, Alaska's first governor, John Kinkead, appointed by President Chester Arthur, arrived in Sitka to take up his duties. The first meeting of the presbytery of Alaska was held in Wrangell.

In the nation

• In 1814, Francis Scott Key was inspired to write his poem "The Star-Spangled Banner" after witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812.

• In 1948, a groundbreaking ceremony took place in New York at the site of the United Nations' world headquarters.

• In 1975, Pope Paul VI declared Mother Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton the first U.S.-born saint.

• In 1996, Tara Dawn Holland of Kansas was crowned Miss America.

• In 2001, patriotism mixed with prayer as Americans packed churches and clogged public squares on a day of remembrance for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. President Bush prayed with his Cabinet and attended services at Washington National Cathedral, then flew to New York, where he waded into the ruins of the World Trade Center and addressed rescue workers in a flag-waving, bullhorn-wielding show of resolve. Officials announced the Pentagon would call up as many as 50,000 members of the National Guard and Reserve.

• In 2005, Delta Air Lines and Northwest Airlines filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. A federal judge in San Francisco declared the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools unconstitutional (the Bush administration has vowed to appeal).

In the world

• In 1812, the Russians set fire to Moscow in the face of an invasion by Napoleon Bonaparte's troops.

• In 1927, modern dance pioneer Isadora Duncan died in Nice, France, when her scarf became entangled in a wheel of her sports car.

• In 1959, the Soviet space probe Luna 2 became the first manmade object to reach the moon as it crashed onto the lunar surface.

• In 1964, Pope Paul VI opened the third session of the Second Ecumenical Council of the Vatican, also known as "Vatican Two." (The session closed two months later.)

• In 1982, Lebanon's president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was killed by a bomb.

• In 1985, Shiite Muslim kidnappers in Lebanon released the Rev. Benjamin Weir after holding him captive for 16 months.

• In 1996, Bosnians went to the polls in their first national elections since the 3 1/2-year civil war that had ravaged the Balkan republic.

• In 2005, coordinated bombings killed at least 160 in Baghdad, the deadliest attack since Iraq's new government took office in April 2005.



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