Today in History 9/25


Today is Tuesday, Sept. 25, the 269th day of 2012. There are 97 days left in the year.

The Jewish Day of Atonement, Yom Kippur, begins at sunset.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 25, 1789, the first United States Congress adopted 12 amendments to the Constitution and sent them to the states for ratification. (Ten of the amendments became the Bill of Rights.)

On this date:

• In 1513, Spanish explorer Vasco Nunez de Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and sighted the Pacific Ocean.

• In 1690, one of the earliest American newspapers, Publick Occurrences, published its first — and last — edition in Boston.

• In 1775, American Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen was captured by the British as he led an attack on Montreal. (Allen was released by the British in 1778.)

• In 1911, ground was broken for Boston’s Fenway Park.

• In 1919, President Woodrow Wilson collapsed after a speech in Pueblo, Colo., during a national speaking tour in support of the Treaty of Versailles.

• In 1957, nine black students who’d been forced to withdraw from Central High School in Little Rock, Ark., because of unruly white crowds were escorted to class by members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division.

• In 1962, Sonny Liston knocked out Floyd Patterson in round one to win the world heavyweight title at Comiskey Park in Chicago. “The Longest Day,” 20th Century Fox’s epic recreation of the D-Day invasion, based on the book by Cornelius Ryan, had its world premiere in France.

• In 1978, 144 people were killed when a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 and a private plane collided over San Diego.

• In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was sworn in as the first female justice on the Supreme Court.

• In 1992, the Mars Observer blasted off on a $980 million mission to the Red Planet (the probe disappeared just before entering Martian orbit in August 1993). A judge in Orlando, Fla., ruled in favor of Gregory Kingsley, a 12-year-old seeking to “divorce” his biological parents.

Ten years ago:

• American schoolchildren escaped a rebel-held Ivory Coast city that was under siege as U.S. special forces and French troops moved in to rescue Westerners caught in the West African nation’s bloody uprising.

Five years ago:

• Warren Jeffs, the leader of a polygamous Mormon splinter group, was convicted in St. George, Utah, of being an accomplice to rape for performing a wedding between a 19-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl. (The conviction was later overturned by the Utah Supreme Court; prosecutors ended up dropping the charges, since Jeffs is serving a life sentence in Texas in a separate case.)

• Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, addressing the United Nations, announced “the nuclear issue of Iran is now closed,” and indicated Tehran would disregard Security Council resolutions imposed by what he called “arrogant powers.”

One year ago:

• Declaring they’d been detained because of their nationality, not their actions, Joshua Fattal and Shane Bauer, two American hikers held for more than two years in an Iranian prison, returned to the United States.

• Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah decreed that women would, for the first time, have the right to vote and run in local elections due in 2015.

Today’s Birthdays:

Broadcast journalist Barbara Walters is 83. Rhythm-and-blues singer Joe Russell is 73. Actor Josh Taylor is 69. Actor Robert Walden is 69. Actor-producer Michael Douglas is 68. Model Cheryl Tiegs is 65. Actress Mimi Kennedy is 63. Actor-director Anson Williams is 63. Actor Mark Hamill is 61. Basketball Hall of Famer Bob McAdoo is 61. Actor Colin Friels is 60. Actor Michael Madsen is 54. Actress Heather Locklear is 51. Actress Aida Turturro is 50. Actor Tate Donovan is 49. TV personality Keely Shaye Smith is 49. Basketball Hall of Famer Scottie Pippen is 47. Actor Jason Flemyng is 46. Actor Will Smith is 44. Actor Hal Sparks is 43. Actress Catherine Zeta-Jones is 43. Rock musician Mike Luce (Drowning Pool) is 41. Actress Bridgette Wilson-Sampras is 39. Actress Clea DuVall is 35. Actor Chris Owen is 32. Rapper T. I. is 32. Actor Van Hansis is 31. Actor Lee Norris is 31. Singer Diana Ortiz (Dream) is 27. Actress Emmy Clarke (“Monk”) is 21.