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Today in History — September 8

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day.
/ Source: The Associated Press

BC-History-Sept 8,0578

Today in History

By The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Sept. 8, the 251st day of 2007. There are 114 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 8, 1900, Galveston, Texas, was struck by a hurricane that killed an estimated 8,000 people.

On this date:

In 1565, a Spanish expedition established the first permanent European settlement in North America at present-day St. Augustine, Fla.

In 1664, the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York.

In 1930, the comic strip “Blondie,” created by Chic Young, was first published.

In 1934, 134 people lost their lives in a fire aboard the liner Morro Castle off the New Jersey coast.

In 1941, the 900-day Siege of Leningrad by German forces began during World War II.

In 1951, a peace treaty with Japan was signed by 49 nations in San Francisco.

In 1971, the John F. Kennedy Memorial Center for the Performing Arts had its official public debut in Washington, D.C., with a performance of Leonard Bernstein’s “Mass.”

In 1974, President Ford granted an unconditional pardon to former President Nixon.

In 1987, former Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart admitted during an interview on ABC’s “Nightline” that he had committed adultery, and said he had no plans to resume his White House bid.

In 1994, a USAir Boeing 737 crashed into a ravine as it was approaching Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people on board.

Ten years ago: Monday commuters in and around San Francisco faced huge traffic jams a day after workers for the Bay Area’s commuter rail system went on strike. (An agreement ending the walkout was reached five days later.) A Haitian ferry, the Pride of Gonave, capsized, killing nearly 200 people. The TV series “Ally McBeal,” starring Calista Flockhart, premiered on Fox.

Five years ago: The government reported that violent crime rate had dropped by 10 percent the previous year, reaching lowest level since 1973. Pete Sampras beat Andre Agassi 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 to win his 14th Grand Slam title and the U.S. Open for the fifth time.

One year ago: A Senate report faulted intelligence gathering in the lead-up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, and said Saddam Hussein regarded al-Qaida as a threat rather than a possible ally, contradicting assertions President Bush had used to build support for the war. A suicide car bomber struck a convoy of U.S. military vehicles in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 16 people, including two American soldiers.

Today’s Birthdays: Comedian Sid Caesar is 85. Ventriloquist Willie Tyler is 67. Actor Alan Feinstein is 66. Author Ann Beattie is 60. Cajun singer Zachary Richard is 57. Musician Will Lee (“Late Show with David Letterman”) is 55. Actress Heather Thomas is 50. Singer Aimee Mann is 47. Pop musician David Steele (Fine Young Cannibals) is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marc Gordon (Levert) is 43. Alternative country singer Neko Case is 37. TV personality Brooke Burke is 36. Actor Martin Freeman is 36. Actor Henry Thomas is 36. Actor David Arquette is 36. Rock musician Richard Hughes (Keane) is 32. Actor Larenz Tate is 32. Rhythm-and-blues singer Pink is 28. Actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas is 26.

Thought for Today: “We shall seek the truth and endure the consequences.” — Charles Seymour, American educator and historian (1884-1963).