Today in History 9/12


Today is Wednesday, Sept. 12, the 256th day of 2012. 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. The German crew, joined by other U-boats, began rescue operations. (On Sept. 16, the rescue effort came to an abrupt halt when the Germans were attacked by a U.S. Army bomber; some 1,600 people died while more than 1,100 survived. As a result, U-boat commanders were ordered to no longer rescue civilian survivors of submarine attacks.)

On this date:

• In 1814, the Battle of North Point took place in Maryland during the War of 1812 as American forces slowed the advance of British troops on Baltimore.

• In 1846, Elizabeth Barrett secretly married Robert Browning at St. Marylebone Church in London.

• In 1938, Adolf Hitler demanded the right of self-determination for the Sudeten Germans in Czechoslovakia.

• In 1943, German paratroopers took Benito Mussolini from the hotel where he was being held by the Italian government.

• In 1953, Massachusetts Sen. John F. Kennedy married Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in Newport, R.I.

• In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy addressed questions about his Roman Catholic faith, telling a Southern Baptist group, “I do not speak for my church on public matters, and the church does not speak for me.”

• In 1974, Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed by Ethiopia’s military after ruling for 58 years.

• In 1977, South African black student leader Steve Biko died while in police custody, triggering an international outcry.

• 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.

Today’s Birthdays:

Actor Dickie Moore (“Our Gang”) is 87. Country singer George Jones is 81. Actress Linda Gray is 72. Singer Maria Muldaur is 70. Actor Joe Pantoliano is 61. Rock musician Neil Peart (Rush) is 60. Actor Peter Scolari is 57. Actress Rachel Ward is 55. Actress Amy Yasbeck is 50. Rock musician Norwood Fisher (Fishbone) is 47. Actor-comedian Louis C.K. is 45. Rock musician Larry LaLonde (Primus) is 44. Actor Josh Hopkins is 42. Actor Paul Walker is 39. Country singer Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland) is 38. Actor Ben McKenzie is 34. Singer Ruben Studdard is 34. Singer-actress Jennifer Hudson is 31. Actress Emmy Rossum is 26.