This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.
September 13 is the 256th day of the year (257th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 109 days remaining until the end of the year.
“The Star-Spangled Banner“ is the national anthem of the United States of America. The lyrics come from “Defence of Fort McHenry”, a poem written in 1814 by the 35-year-old lawyer and amateur poet, Francis Scott Key, after witnessing the bombardment of Fort McHenry by the British Royal Navy ships in Chesapeake Bay during the Battle of Fort McHenry in the War of 1812.
The poem was set to the tune of a popular British drinking song, written by John Stafford Smith for the Anacreontic Society, a men’s social club in London. “The Anacreontic Song” (or “To Anacreon in Heaven”), with various lyrics, was already popular in the United States. Set to Key’s poem and renamed “The Star-Spangled Banner“, it would soon become a well-known American patriotic song. With a range of one and a half octaves, it is known for being difficult to sing. Although the song has four stanzas, only the first is commonly sung today, with the fourth (“O thus be it ever when free men shall stand…”) added on more formal occasions. In the fourth stanza, Key urged the adoption of “In God is our Trust” as the national motto (“And this be our motto: In God is our Trust”). The United States adopted the motto “In God We Trust” by law in 1956.
“The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the Navy in 1889 and the President in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.
Before 1931, other songs served as the hymns of American officialdom. “Hail, Columbia” served this purpose at official functions for most of the 19th century. “My Country, ‘Tis of Thee“, whose melody was derived from the British national anthem, also served as a de facto anthem before the adoption of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Following the War of 1812 and subsequent American wars, other songs would emerge to compete for popularity at public events, among them “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
509 BC – The temple of Jupiter on Rome’s Capitoline Hill is dedicated on the ides of September.
122 – The building of Hadrian’s Wall begins.
533 – General Belisarius of the Byzantine Empire defeats Gelimer and the Vandals at the Battle of Ad Decimium, near Carthage, North Africa.
1213 – Ending of Battle of Muret, during the Albigensian Crusade to destroy the Cathar heresy.
1440 – Gilles de Rais is finally taken into custody upon an accusation brought against him by the Bishop of Nantes.
1503 – Michelangelo begins work on his statue of David.
1584 – San Lorenzo del Escorial Palace in Madrid is finished.
1609 – Henry Hudson reached the river that would later be named after him – the Hudson River.
1743 – Great Britain, Austria and Savoy-Sardinia sign the Treaty of Worms (1743).
1759 – Battle of the Plains of Abraham: British defeat French near Quebec City in the Seven Years’ War, known in the United States as the French and Indian War.
1788 – The United States’ Philadelphia Convention sets the date for the country’s first presidential election, and New York City becomes the temporary capital of the U.S..
1791 – King Louis XVI of France accepts the new constitution.
1808 – Finnish War: Inthe Battle of Jutas, Swedish forces under Lieutenant General Georg Carl von Döbeln beat the Russians, making von Döbeln a Swedish war hero.
1812 – War of 1812: A supply wagon sent to relieve Fort Harrison is ambushed in the Attack at the Narrows.
1814 – The British fail to capture Baltimore, Maryland. Turning point in the War of 1812.
1814 – Francis Scott Key writes The Star-Spangled Banner
1847 – Mexican-American War: Six teenage military cadets known as Ninos Heroes die defending Chapultepec Castle in the Battle of Chapultepec. American General Winfield Scott captures Mexico City in the Mexican-American War.
1848 – Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage incredibly survives a 3-foot-plus iron rod being driven through his head; the reported effects on his behavior and personality stimulate thinking about the nature of the brain and its functions.
1850 – First ascent of Piz Bernina, the highest summit of the eastern Alps.
1862 – American Civil War: Union soldiers find a copy of Robert E. Lee’s battle plans in a field outside Frederick, Maryland. It is the prelude to the Battle of Antietam.
1882 – The Battle of Tel el-Kebir is fought in the 1882 Anglo-Egyptian War.
1898 – Hannibal Goodwin patents celluloid photographic film.
1899 – Henry Bliss is the first person in the United States to be killed in an automobile accident.
1900 – Filipino resistance fighters defeat a small American column in the Battle of Pulang Lupa, during the Philippine-American War.
1906 – First fixed-wing aircraft flight in Europe.
1914 – World War I: South African troops open hostilities in German south-west Africa (Namibia) with an assault on the Ramansdrift police station.
1914 – World War I: The Battle of Aisne begins between Germany and France.
1922 – The final act of the Greco-Turkish War, the Great Fire of Smyrna, commences.
1923 – Military coup in Spain – Miguel Primo de Rivera takes over, setting up a dictatorship.
1933 – Elizabeth McCombs is the first woman elected to the New Zealand Parliament.
1935 – Rockslide near Whirlpool Rapids Bridge ends the International Railway (New York – Ontario).
1940 – World War II: German bombs damage Buckingham Palace.
1942 – World War II: Second day of the Battle of Edson’s Ridge in the Guadalcanal campaign. U.S. Marines successfully defeated attacks by the Imperial Japanese Army with heavy losses for the Japanese forces.
1943 – Chiang Kai-shek elected president of the Republic of China.
1943 – The Municipal Theatre of Corfu is destroyed during an aerial bombardment by Luftwaffe.
1948 – Margaret Chase Smith is elected senator, and becomes the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
1953 – Nikita Khrushchev appointed secretary-general of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
1956 – IBM introduces the first computer disk storage unit, the RAMAC 305.
1964 – South Vietnamese Generals Lam Van Phat and Duong Van Duc failed in a coup attempt against General Nguyen Khanh.
1968 – Albania leaves the Warsaw Pact.
1971 – State police and National Guardsmen storm New York’s Attica Prison to end a prison revolt.
1971 – People’s Republic of China, Chairman Mao Zedong’s second in command and successor Marshal Lin Biao fled the country via a plane after the failure of alleged coup against the supreme leader, the plane crashed in Mongolia, killing all aboard.
1979 – South Africa grants independence to the “homeland” of Venda (not recognised outside South Africa).
1988 – Hurricane Gilbert is the strongest recorded hurricane in the Western Hemisphere, later replaced by Hurricane Wilma in 2005 (based on barometric pressure).
1989 – Largest anti-Apartheid march in South Africa, led by Desmond Tutu.
1993 – Public unveiling of the Oslo Accords, an Israeli-Palestinian agreement initiated by Norway.
1993 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shakes hands with PLO chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House after signing an accord granting limited Palestinian autonomy.
1994 – Ulysses probe passes the Sun’s south pole.
2001 – Civilian aircraft traffic resumes in the U.S. after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
2007 – The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted.
2008 – Hurricane Ike makes landfall on the Texas Gulf Coast of the United States, causing heavy damage to Galveston Island, Houston and surrounding areas.