Today in History


Today is Friday, Sept. 1, the 244th day of 2023. There are 121 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 1, 1983, 269 people were killed when a Korean Air Lines Boeing 747 was shot down by a Soviet jet fighter after the airliner entered Soviet airspace.

On this date:

In 1715, following a reign of 72 years, King Louis XIV of France died four days before his 77th birthday.

In 1897, the first section of Boston’s new subway system was opened.

In 1923, the Japanese cities of Tokyo and Yokohama were devastated by an earthquake that claimed some 140,000 lives.

In 1939, Nazi Germany invaded Poland, an event regarded as the start of World War II.

In 1969, a coup in Libya brought Moammar Gadhafi to power.

In 1972, American Bobby Fischer won the international chess crown in Reykjavik, Iceland, as Boris Spassky of the Soviet Union resigned before the resumption of Game 21.

In 1985, a U.S.-French expedition located the wreckage of the Titanic on the floor of the Atlantic Ocean roughly 400 miles off Newfoundland.

In 2005, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued a “desperate SOS” as his city descended into anarchy amid the flooding left by Hurricane Katrina.

In 2009, Vermont’s law allowing same-sex marriage went into effect.

In 2015, invoking “God’s authority,” Rowan County, Kentucky, Clerk Kim Davis denied marriage licenses to gay couples again in direct defiance of the federal courts, and vowed not to resign, even under the pressure of steep fines or jail.

Ten years ago: Syria derided President Barack Obama’s decision to hold off on punitive military strikes, while the Obama administration countered that its case for military action against the regime of President Bashar Assad was getting stronger, saying it had evidence that the nerve agent sarin was used in a deadly August attack. Former South African President Nelson Mandela left a hospital after nearly three months of treatment. Former heavyweight boxing champion Tommy Morrison, 44, died at a Nebraska hospital.

Five years ago: At a nearly three-hour memorial service for the late Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain in Washington, McCain’s daughter and two former presidents led a public rebuke of President Donald Trump’s divisive politics and called for a return to civility among the nation’s leaders. Human rights watch said an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi rebels that hit a school bus, killing dozens of people including 40 children, was an “apparent war crime.”

One year ago: A United Nations inspection team entered Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on a mission to safeguard it against catastrophe, reaching the site amid fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces that prompted the shutdown of one reactor and underscored the urgency of the task. Singer R. Kelly told a federal judge that he would not testify at his ongoing trial in Chicago on charges that accused him of child pornography and enticement of minors for sex. (Kelly would be convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison.)

Today’s Birthdays: Conductor Seiji Ozawa (SAY’-jee oh-ZAH’-wah) is 88. Attorney and law professor Alan Dershowitz is 85. Comedian-actor Lily Tomlin is 84. Actor Don Stroud is 80. Conductor Leonard Slatkin is 79. Singer Archie Bell is 79. Singer Barry Gibb is 77. Rock musician Greg Errico is 75. Talk show host Dr. Phil McGraw is 73. Singer Gloria Estefan is 66. Jazz musician Boney James is 62. Singer-musician Grant Lee Phillips (Grant Lee Buffalo) is 60. Country singer-songwriter Charlie Robison is 59. Retired NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway is 57. Actor Ricardo Antonio Chavira is 52. Actor Maury Sterling is 52. Rock singer JD Fortune is 50. Actor Scott Speedman is 48. Country singer Angaleena Presley (Pistol Annies) is 47. Actor Boyd Holbrook is 42. Actor Zoe Lister-Jones is 41. Rock musician Joe Trohman is 39. Actor Aisling (ASH’-ling) Loftus is 33.

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