On Sept. 21, 1989, Hurricane Hugo crashed into Charleston, South Carolina (the storm was blamed for 56 deaths in the Caribbean and 29 in the United States). Twenty-one students in Alton, Texas, died when their school bus, hit by a soft-drink delivery truck, careened into a water-filled pit.
On this date:
In 1792, the French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy.
In 1912, magician Harry Houdini first publicly performed his “Water Torture Cell” trick at the Circus Busch in Berlin.
In 1938, a hurricane struck parts of New York and New England, causing widespread damage and claiming some 700 lives.
In 1948, Milton Berle made his debut as permanent host of “The Texaco Star Theater” on NBC-TV.
In 1961, the first Boeing CH-47 Chinook military helicopter made its first hovering flight.
In 1981, the Senate unanimously confirmed the nomination of Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice on the Supreme Court.
In 1982, Amin Gemayel, brother of Lebanon’s assassinated president-elect, Bashir Gemayel, was himself elected president. National Football League players began a 57-day strike, their first regular-season walkout ever.
In 1985, in North Korea and South Korea, family members who had been separated for decades were allowed to visit each other as both countries opened their borders in an unprecedented family-reunion program.
In 1987, NFL players called a strike, mainly over the issue of free agency. (The 24-day walkout prompted football owners to hire replacement players.)
In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages, a day after saying the law should not be used as an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against gays and lesbians. (Although never formally repealed, DoMA was effectively overturned by U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2015.)
In 2001, Congress again opened the federal coffers to those harmed by terrorism, providing $15 billion to the airline industry, which was suffering mounting economic losses since the Sept. 11 attacks.
In 2008, baseball said farewell to the original Yankee Stadium as the Bronx Bombers defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-3.
Ten years ago: Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer, two Americans jailed in Iran as spies, left Tehran for the Gulf state of Oman, closing a high-profile drama that brought more than two years of hope and heartbreak for their families. The state of Texas executed Lawrence Russell Brewer for his role in the gruesome dragging death of James Byrd Jr. The state of Georgia executed Troy Davis, who used his last words to declare his innocence in the killing of police officer Mark MacPhail. Alternative rock group R.E.M. announced on its website that it had “decided to call it a day as a band.”
Five years ago: Outraged Republican and Democratic lawmakers grilled Heather Bresch, the CEO of pharmaceutical company Mylan, about the significant cost increase of its life-saving EpiPens; defending her company’s business practices, Bresch told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee she wished the company had “better anticipated the magnitude and acceleration” of the rising prices for some families.
One year ago: President Donald Trump met at the White House with Amy Coney Barrett, as the conservative judge emerged as an early favorite for the Supreme Court seat left vacant by the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. An enormous wildfire in the mountains northeast of Los Angeles was one of more than two dozen major fires burning across California, including five of the largest wildfires in state history. The Las Vegas Raiders, playing their first game a new $2 billion stadium following their move from Oakland, defeated the New Orleans Saints 34-24; there were no fans in attendance because of the coronavirus.
Today’s Birthdays: Author-comedian Fannie Flagg is 80. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is 78. Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is 77. Musician Don Felder is 74. Author Stephen King is 74. Basketball Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore is 72. Actor-comedian Bill Murray is 71. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is 64. Movie producer-writer Ethan Coen is 64. Actor-comedian Dave Coulier is 62. Actor David James Elliott is 61. Actor Serena Scott Thomas is 60. Actor Nancy Travis is 60. Actor Rob Morrow is 59. Actor Angus Macfadyen is 58. Retired MLB All-Star Cecil Fielder is 58. Actor Cheryl Hines is 56. Country singer Faith Hill is 54. Rock musician Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies) is 54. Country singer Ronna Reeves is 53. Actor-talk show host Ricki Lake is 53. Rapper Dave (De La Soul) is 53. Actor Billy Porter is 52. Actor Rob Benedict is 51. Actor James Lesure is 50. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is 50. Actor Luke Wilson is 50. Actor Paulo Costanzo is 43. Actor Bradford Anderson is 42. Actor Autumn Reeser is 41. TV personality Nicole Richie is 40. Actor Maggie Grace is 38. Actor Joseph Mazzello is 38. Actor Ahna O’Reilly is 37. Rapper Wale is 37. R&B singer Jason Derulo is 35. Actor Ryan Guzman is 34. Actor Nikolas Brino is 23.