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Today in History

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 12, the 255th day of 2018. There are 110 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 12, 1942, during World War II, a German U-boat off West Africa torpedoed the RMS Laconia, which was carrying Italian prisoners of war, British soldiers and civilians; it’s estimated more than 1,600 people died while some 1,100 survived after the ship sank. The German crew, joined by other U-boats, began rescue operations. (On September 16, the rescue effort came to an abrupt halt when the Germans were attacked by a U.S. Army bomber; as a result, U-boat commanders were ordered to no longer rescue civilian survivors of submarine attacks.)

On this date:

In 1953, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in Newport, Rhode Island.

In 1958, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Cooper v. Aaron, unanimously ruled that Arkansas officials who were resisting public school desegregation orders could not disregard the high court’s rulings.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched its Luna 2 space probe, which made a crash landing on the moon. The TV Western series “Bonanza” premiered on NBC.

In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy addressed questions about his Roman Catholic faith, telling the Greater Houston Ministerial Association, “I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”

In 1986, Joseph Cicippio), the acting comptroller at the American University in Beirut, was kidnapped (he was released in December 1991).

In 1992, the space shuttle Endeavour blasted off, carrying with it Mark Lee and Jan Davis, the first married couple in space; Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space; and Mamoru Mohri, the first Japanese national to fly on a U.S. spaceship. Police in Peru captured Shining Path founder Abimael Guzman. Actor Anthony Perkins died in Hollywood at age 60.

In 1994, a stolen, single-engine Cessna crashed into the South Lawn of the White House, coming to rest against the executive mansion; the pilot, Frank Corder, was killed.

In 2012, the U.S. dispatched an elite group of Marines to Tripoli, Libya, after the mob attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. President Barack Obama strongly condemned the violence, and vowed to bring the killers to justice; Republican challenger Mitt Romney accused the administration of showing weakness in the face of tumultuous events in the Middle East.

Ten years ago: A Metrolink commuter train struck a freight train head-on in Los Angeles, killing 25 people. (Federal investigators said the Metrolink engineer, Robert Sanchez, who was among those who died, had been text-messaging on his cell phone and ran a red light shortly before the crash.) Hurricane Ike began battering the Texas coast. Grand Ole Opry star Charlie Walker died in Hendersonville, Tenn. at age 81.

Five years ago: Omar Hammami, an American who became one of Somalia’s most visible Islamic rebels, was killed by rivals in the al-Qaida-linked extremist group al-Shabab. The U.S. space agency NASA announced that Voyager 1, launched 36 years earlier, had crossed a new frontier, becoming the first man-made spacecraft ever to leave the solar system. American inventor Ray Dolby, 80, founder of Dolby Laboratories, died in San Francisco.

One year ago: Crews worked to repair the lone highway connecting the Florida Keys, where 25 percent of the homes were feared to have been destroyed by Hurricane Irma; more than 9 million Floridians, or nearly half the state’s population, were still without power in the late-summer heat. Seattle Mayor Ed Murray announced that he was resigning amid sex abuse allegations. 

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Freddie Jones is 91. Actor Ian Holm is 87. Former U.S. Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., is 79. Actress Linda Gray is 78. Singer Maria Muldaur is 76. Actor Joe Pantoliano is 67. Singer-musician Gerry Beckley (America) is 66. Original MTV VJ Nina Blackwood is 66. Rock musician Neil Peart (Rush) is 66. Actor Peter Scolari is 63. Former Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback is 62. Actress Rachel Ward is 61. Actress Amy Yasbeck is 56. Rock musician Norwood Fisher (Fishbone) is 53. Actor Darren E. Burrows is 52. Rock singer-musician Ben Folds (Ben Folds Five) is 52. Actor-comedian Louis (loo-ee) C.K. is 51. Rock musician Larry LaLonde (Primus) is 50. Golfer Angel Cabrera is 49. Actor-singer Will Chase is 48. 

Thought for Today: “We must be willing to pay a price for freedom, for no price that is ever asked for it is half the cost of doing without it.” — H.L. Mencken, American author and journalist (1880-1956).