This Day In History – September 21st
MOST REPRINTED EDITORIAL EVER IS PUBLISHED – SEPT. 21, 1897
Is There a Santa Claus? was the title of an editorial appearing in the September 21, 1897 edition of The Sun of New York. The editorial, which included the famous reply, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”, has become an indelible part of popular Christmas folklore in the United States and Canada.
In 1897, Dr. Philip O’Hanlon was asked by his then eight-year-old daughter, Virginia O’Hanlon (1889–1971), whether Santa Claus really existed. Virginia O’Hanlon had begun to doubt there was a Santa Claus, because her friends had told her that he did not exist. Dr. O’Hanlon suggested she write to The Sun, a prominent New York City newspaper at the time, assuring her that “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.”
He unwittingly gave one of the paper’s editors, Francis Pharcellus Church, an opportunity to rise above the simple question, and address the philosophical issues behind it. its message was very moving to many people who read it. More than a century later it remains the most reprinted editorial ever to run in any newspaper in the English language.
Every year, Virginia’s letter and Church’s response are read at the Yule Log ceremony at Church’s alma mater, Columbia College of Columbia University. The story of Virginia’s inquiry and the The Sun’s response was adapted in 1932 into an NBC produced cantata (the only known editorial set to classical music) and an Emmy Award-winning animated television special in 1974, animated by Bill Meléndez (best known for his work on the various Peanuts specials). In 1991 it was adapted into a made-for-TV movie with Richard Thomas and Charles Bronson. In 1996, the story of Virginia’s inquiry and the The Sun’s response was adapted into a holiday musical “Yes, Virginia, There is a Santa Claus” by David Kirchenbaum (Music and Lyrics) and Myles McDonnel (Book). In New York City, local television journalist Gabe Pressman has recounted the story each Christmas for the past thirty years. [Source]
J.R.R. TOLKIEN’S ‘THE HOBBIT’ IS PUBLISHED – SEPT. 21, 1937
The Hobbit, or There and Back Again, better known by its abbreviated title The Hobbit, is a fantasy novel and children’s book by J. R. R. Tolkien. It was published on 21 September 1937 to wide critical acclaim, being nominated for the Carnegie Medal and awarded a prize from the New York Herald Tribune for best juvenile fiction. The book remains popular and is recognized as a classic in children’s literature.
Due to the book’s critical and financial success, Tolkien’s publishers requested a sequel. As work on The Lord of the Rings progressed, Tolkien made retrospective accommodations for it in one chapter of The Hobbit. These few but significant changes were integrated into the second edition.
The work has never been out of print. Its ongoing legacy encompasses many adaptations for stage, screen, radio, board games and video games. Some of these adaptations have received critical recognition of their own, including a video game that won the Golden Joystick Award, a scenario of a war game that won an Origins Award, and an animated picture nominated for a Hugo Award. [Source]
BOEING CH-47 CHINOOK MAKES FIRST FLIGHT – SEPT. 14, 1961
Photograph by Spc. Mary L. Gonzalez, CJTF-101 Public Affairs
The Boeing CH-47 Chinook is an American twin-engine, tandem rotor heavy-lift helicopter. Its top speed of 170 knots (196 mph, 315 km/h) is faster than contemporary utility and attack helicopters of the 1960s. It is one of the few aircraft of that era, such as the C-130 Hercules and the UH-1 Iroquois, that is still in production and front line service with over 1,179 built to date. Its primary roles include troop movement, artillery emplacement and battlefield resupply. It has a wide loading ramp at the rear of the fuselage and three external-cargo hooks.
The Chinook was designed and initially produced by Boeing Vertol in the early 1960s. The helicopter is now produced by Boeing Rotorcraft Systems. Chinooks have been sold to 16 nations with the US Army and the Royal Air Force (see Boeing Chinook (UK variants)) being the largest users. The CH-47 is among the heaviest lifting Western helicopters. [Source]
Photograph by Spc. Russell J. Good
Photograph by Sgt. Michael R. Caya
1ST FEMALE MEMBER OF SUPREME COURT CONFIRMED: SEPT. 21, 1981
Photograph via US National Arhcives
Sandra Day O’Connor (born March 26, 1930) is an American jurist who was the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States. She served as an Associate Justice from 1981 until her retirement from the Court in 2006. O’Connor was appointed by President Ronald Reagan in 1981. In the latter years of her tenure, she was regarded as having the swing opinion in many cases.
Prior to O’Connor’s appointment to the Court, she was an elected official and judge in Arizona. On July 1, 2005, she announced her intention to retire effective upon the confirmation of a successor. President George W. Bush first unsuccessfully nominated Harriet Miers to replace O’Connor, then nominated Justice Samuel Alito to take her seat in October 2005, and he joined the Court on January 31, 2006.
O’Connor is Chancellor of The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, and serves on the board of trustees of the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In 2001, the Ladies’ Home Journal ranked her as the second-most-powerful woman in America. In 2004 and 2005, Forbes magazine listed her as the sixth- and thirty-sixth-most-powerful woman in the world, respectively; the only American women preceding her on the 2004 list were then-National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, then-U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, and then-First Lady Laura Bush. On August 12, 2009, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States, by President Barack Obama. [Source]
The four women who have served on the Supreme Court of the United States. From left to right: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor (Ret.), Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and Justice Elena Kagan in the Justices’ Conference Room, prior to Justice Kagan’s Investiture Ceremony on October 1, 2010. [Photograph by Steve Petteway]
921 EARTHQUAKE IN TAIWAN – SEPTEMBER 21, 1999
Photograph by Winston Lee
The 921 earthquake, also known as Jiji earthquake, was a 7.3 Ms or 7.6 Mw earthquake which occurred at 1:47:12 am local time (17:47:12 UTC on September 20, 1999) in Jiji, Nantou County, Taiwan. 2,415 people were killed, 11,305 injured, and NT$300 billion (US$10 billion) worth of damage was done. It was the second-deadliest quake in recorded history in Taiwan, after the 1935 Hsinchu-Taichung earthquake.
Rescue groups from around the world joined local relief workers and the ROC military in digging out survivors, clearing rubble, restoring essential services and distributing food and other aid to the more than 100,000 people made homeless by the quake. The disaster, dubbed the “Quake of the Century” by local media, had a profound effect on the economy of the island and the consciousness of the people, and dissatisfaction with government’s performance in reacting to it was said by some commentators to be a factor in the unseating of the ruling Kuomintang party in the 2000 Presidential Election. [Source]
Photograph by Hsu Shihhung
AMERICA: A TRIBUTE TO HEROES BENEFIT CONCERT – SEPT. 21, 2001
America: A Tribute to Heroes was a benefit concert organized by producer Joel Gallen and actor George Clooney and broadcast by the four major United States television networks in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and The Pentagon. Done in the style of a telethon, it featured a number of national and international entertainers performing to raise money for the victims and their families, particularly but not limited to the New York City firefighters and New York City police officers. It aired September 21, 2001, uninterrupted and commercial-free. It was released on December 4, 2001 on compact disc and DVD.
The musical performances took place at three studios in Los Angeles (CBS Television City), New York, and London, while the celebrity messages took place at Los Angeles. The money raised amounted to over $200 million, and was given to the United Way’s September 11 Telethon Fund. In 2004, Rolling Stone magazine selected this concert, along with the later The Concert for New York City, as one of the 50 moments that changed rock and roll. The show was also simulcast in Canada; Neil Young and Celine Dion performed. [Source]
Bruce Springsteen: “My City of Ruins”, a song he had performed at only a few New Jersey shows. Written before the September 11 attacks, it is actually about Asbury Park; with a few phrases slightly modified, and introduced as “a prayer for our fallen brothers and sisters.”
Stevie Wonder with Take 6: “Love’s in Need of Love Today”, from his 1976 album Songs in the Key of Life.
U2 with Dave Stewart, Natalie Imbruglia and Morleigh Steinberg: “Peace on Earth” (intro)/”Walk On”, both from their 2000 album All That You Can’t Leave Behind.
Faith Hill with gospel choir and keyboardist Paul Shaffer: “There Will Come a Day”, from her 1999 album Breathe.
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers: “I Won’t Back Down”, from Petty’s 1989 solo album Full Moon Fever.
Enrique Iglesias: A new single, “Hero”.
Neil Young: John Lennon’s “Imagine”, previously unrecorded by Young.
Alicia Keys: Donny Hathaway’s “Someday We’ll All Be Free”, previously unrecorded by Keys.
Goo Goo Dolls’ John Rzeznik and Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst and Wes Borland: Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here”, previously unrecorded by them. Some new lyrics were written for the occasion.
Billy Joel: “New York State of Mind”, from his 1976 album Turnstiles.
Dixie Chicks: A new song, “I Believe In Love”.
Dave Matthews: Solo performance of “Everyday”, from the Dave Matthews Band 2001 album Everyday.
Wyclef Jean: Bob Marley and The Wailers’ “Redemption Song”, previously unrecorded by Jean.
Mariah Carey: “Hero”, from her 1993 album Music Box.
Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora of Bon Jovi: “Livin’ on a Prayer”, from their 1986 album Slippery When Wet. It was performed as an acoustic version, with two guitars, percussion and a violin.
Sheryl Crow: A new song, “Safe and Sound”.
Sting: “Fragile”, from his 1987 album …Nothing Like the Sun.
Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder and Mike McCready with Neil Young: “Long Road”, a song originally appearing on Pearl Jam’s Merkin Ball EP in 1995.
Paul Simon: “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, from the 1970 Simon & Garfunkel album Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Céline Dion: “God Bless America”.
Willie Nelson accompanied by the entire Los Angeles-based ensemble: “America the Beautiful”.
Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Will Smith, Muhammad Ali, Kelsey Grammer, Jim Carrey, Cameron Diaz, Robin Williams, Dennis Franz, Jimmy Smits, Calista Flockhart, Amy Brenneman, Conan O’Brien, Sarah Jessica Parker, Tom Cruise, Ray Romano, Jeff Goldblum, Lucy Liu, Sela Ward, Jane Kaczmarek, Julia Roberts, Chris Rock, Robert De Niro, Clint Eastwood