Today in History – August 31

Today is Monday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2009. There are 122 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History

On Aug. 31, 1803, explorer Meriwether Lewis departed Pittsburgh, sailing down the Ohio River; he joined up with William Clark in Louisville, Ky., the following October. (The next year, Lewis and Clark began their famous expedition toward the Pacific coast.)

On this date

In 1886, an earthquake rocked Charleston, S.C., killing 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 1888, Mary Ann Nichols, the apparent first victim of “Jack the Ripper,” was found slain in London’s East End.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an act prohibiting the export of U.S. arms to belligerents.

In 1941, the radio program “The Great Gildersleeve” debuted on NBC.

In 1954, Hurricane Carol hit the northeastern Atlantic states. Connecticut, Rhode Island and part of Massachusetts bore the brunt of the storm, which resulted in nearly 70 deaths.

In 1969, boxer Rocky Marciano died in a light airplane crash in Iowa, a day before his 46th birthday.

In 1980, Poland’s Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk that ended a 17-day-old strike.

In 1986, 82 people were killed when an Aeromexico jetliner and a small private plane collided over Cerritos, Calif. The Soviet passenger ship Admiral Nakhimov collided with a merchant vessel in the Black Sea, causing both to sink; up to 448 people reportedly died.

In 1988, 14 people were killed when a Delta Boeing 727 crashed during takeoff from Dallas-Fort Worth Airport.

In 1989, Britain’s Princess Anne and husband Mark Phillips announced they were separating.

Ten years ago: Detroit’s teachers went on strike, wiping out the first day of class for 172,000 students in one of the largest teachers’ strikes in years. (The walkout lasted nine days.) An LAPA Boeing 737 crashed on takeoff from Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 64 people.

Five years ago: At the Republican National Convention in New York, first lady Laura Bush and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger praised President George W. Bush as a man of strength and compassion. Palestinian suicide bombers blew up two buses in Beersheba, Israel, killing 16 passengers. A woman strapped with explosives blew herself up outside a busy Moscow subway station, killing 10 people.

One year ago: With Hurricane Gustav approaching New Orleans, Mayor Ray Nagin pleaded with the last of its residents to get out, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on those who were staying and warned looters they would be sent directly to prison. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Edwin O. Guthman, who served as press secretary to Robert F. Kennedy, died in Los Angeles at age 89. Former CBS newsman Ike Pappas died in Arlington, Va., at age 75.

Today’s Birthdays

Broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr is 93. Baseball Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson is 74. Actor Warren Berlinger is 72. Rock musician Jerry Allison (Buddy Holly and the Crickets) is 70. Actor Jack Thompson is 69. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 64. Singer Van Morrison is 64. Rock musician Rudolf Schenker (The Scorpions) is 61. Actor Richard Gere is 60. Olympic gold medal track and field athlete Edwin Moses is 54. Rock singer Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) is 52. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go’s) is 52. Singer Tony DeFranco (The DeFranco Family) is 50. Rhythm-and-blues musician Larry Waddell (Mint Condition) is 46. Actor Jaime P. Gomez is 44. Baseball pitcher Hideo Nomo is 41. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 40. Singer-composer Deborah Gibson is 39. Rock musician Greg Richling (Wallflowers) is 39. Actor Zack Ward is 39. Golfer Padraig Harrington is 38. Actor Chris Tucker is 37. Actress Sara Ramirez is 34. Rhythm-and-blues singer Tamara (Trina & Tamara) is 32. NFL player Larry Fitzgerald is 26.

Thought for Today

“Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess.” — Edna Woolman Chase, American fashion editor (1877-1957).


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