9/11: Tragic, heartbreaking, but still only one day in history


The terror attacks upon the United States which happened 11 years ago today shadow seemingly every other occurrence that happened this day. That is, at least, upon the minds of many in the U.S. Names are read of the dead. Wreaths are laid. A moment of silence is offered. It is a solemn occasion. It should be. Perhaps only three days stand out in modern history for its American heartbreak. Those would be the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks which took place at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and near Shanksville, Pa.

Today will probably be known for many years, no telling how long in years to come, for “9/11.” That isn’t all that has happened in American or world history though, as sad and tragic as those events were.

I can’t say the extent of angst caused by the death of President Franklin Roosevelt in 1945. I’m sure it was shocking but it was a natural death rather than a violent one. One other president was assassinated in the 20th century when anarchist Leon Czolgosz shot  William McKinley on Sept. 6, 1901. He died a week later. Both events were imaginably startling and sad. But those events still lacked the immediate attention of a worldwide media audience.

Just as is the case with most of the 365 days of the year there were other events which took place on this day in the history of our planet.

One event which was a coincidence of history was that the groundbreaking of the Pentagon took place on this same day in 1941. This was 60 years before American Airlines Flight 77 from Washington Dulles to Los Angeles International was commandeered by hijackers and flown into the Arlington, Va., architectural wonder and headquarters for the U.S. military. Also of circumstance is that on today in 1609, English explorer Henry Hudson discovered Manhattan, where the World Trade Center attacks happened almost 400 years later.

Also on this day in history:

  • 1777 — British and Hessian forces under Gen. George Howe defeated the rebel troops of Gen. George Washington in the Battle of Brandywine in Pennsylvania. Perhaps as many as 1,300 American soldiers died while deaths among the enemy were near 100.
  • 1814 — The British were defeated in their final invasion of the northern states during the War of 1812 in the Battle of Plattsburgh, also known as the Battle of Lake Champlain, near the New York-Vermont border.
  • 1961 — Hurricane Carla made landfall on the middle Texas coast. It wasn’t the worst hurricane or costliest. It was the first I remember. Even though I lived about 230 miles from where the storm made landfall. I remember the concern and the evacuees who came from the coastal areas. It was also the first hurricane televised live on TV as Dan Rather covered the story for Houston station KHOU.
  • 1978 — President Jimmy Carter began talks with Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin at Camp David for a peace treaty between the two countries and for peace in the Middle East.
  • 1987 — Fatal Attraction premiered scaring the living hell out of men everywhere. You didn’t think I could get away through all of this without a little levity did you?


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