Today is Thursday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2017. There are 101 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On September 21, 1897, responding to a letter from 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, the New York Sun ran its famous editorial by Francis P. Church that declared, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.”
On this date:
In 1792, the French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy.
In 1925, the Rudolf Friml operetta “The Vagabond King” opened on Broadway.
In 1937, “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien, was first published by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. of London.
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 1957, Norway’s King Haakon VII died in Oslo at age 85. The legal mystery-drama “Perry Mason,” starring Raymond Burr, premiered on CBS-TV.
In 1964, Malta gained independence from Britain.
In 1970, “NFL Monday Night Football” made its debut on ABC-TV as the Cleveland Browns defeated the visiting New York Jets, 31-21.
In 1977, after weeks of controversy over past business and banking practices, President Jimmy Carter’s embattled budget director, Bert Lance, resigned.
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 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.
In 1996, John F. Kennedy Jr. married Carolyn Bessette in a secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, Georgia. The board of all-male Virginia Military Institute voted to admit women.
Ten years ago: One student was mortally wounded, another injured, at Delaware State University. (A suspected gunman was indicted for second-degree murder, but the case was dismissed by a judge because prosecutors withheld evidence.) The Rev. Rex Humbard, whose televangelism ministry once spanned the globe, died in Atlantis, Florida, at age 88. Tony Award-winning actress Alice Ghostley died in Los Angeles at age 83.
Five years ago: A plane carrying Ann Romney from Omaha, Nebraska, to Los Angeles made an emergency landing in Denver after smoke filled the cabin; there were no injuries. A man was bitten multiple times after leaping from a monorail into a tiger exhibit at the Bronx Zoo. People lined up to buy Apple’s iPhone5 as it went on sale in the United States and several other countries.
One year 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.
Today’s Birthdays: Author-comedian Fannie Flagg is 76. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer is 74. Former Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear is 73. Musician Don Felder is 70. Author Stephen King is 70. Basketball Hall of Famer Artis Gilmore is 68. Actor-comedian Bill Murray is 67. Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye is 66. Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is 60. Movie producer-writer Ethan Coen is 60. Actor-comedian Dave Coulier is 58. Actor David James Elliott is 57. Actress Serena Scott-Thomas is 56. Actress Nancy Travis is 56. Actor Rob Morrow is 55. Actor Angus Macfadyen is 54. Retired MLB All-Star Cecil Fielder is 54. Actress Cheryl Hines is 52. Country singer Faith Hill is 50. Rock musician Tyler Stewart (Barenaked Ladies) is 50. Country singer Ronna Reeves is 49. Actress-talk show host Ricki Lake is 49. Rapper Dave (De La Soul) is 49. Actor Rob Benedict is 47. Actor James Lesure is 46. Actor Alfonso Ribeiro is 46. Actor Luke Wilson is 46. Actor Paulo Costanzo is 39. Actor Bradford Anderson is 38.
Actress Autumn Reeser is 37. TV personality Nicole Richie is 36. Actress Maggie Grace is 34. Actor Joseph Mazzello is 34. Actress Ahna O’Reilly is 33. Rapper Wale (WAH’-lay) is 33. Actor Ryan Guzman is 30. Actors Lorenzo and Nikolas Brino are 19.
Thought for Today: “I found more joy in sorrow / Than you could find in joy.” — Sara Teasdale, American author and poet (1884-1933).