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Milestones: Friday, September 8, 2023

September 8, 2023 Brooklyn Eagle Staff
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‘SPACE, THE FINAL FRONTIER’ — STAR TREK made its television premiere on Sept. 8, 1966, on the NBC network. The first 79 episodes of this science fiction/fantasy program were so ahead of their time that the character of Mr. Spock was at first considered too cerebral. The show lasted three seasons. However, Star Trek’s time did arrive — in syndication — and its own universe expanded into a canon of 13 movies; several spinoffs, including “Picard,” which ran until this year; as well as a plethora of animated series and fandom conventions. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry was also considered prophetic: Many of the ethical issues explored in the series are still present nowadays; and then-futuristic items from the Star Trek original series as well as some from the later spinoffs are now in everyday use in the 21st century, including mobile device communicators, holograms, videoconferencing and universal translators.

However, contemporary society is still working on a way of “beaming” people between locations and diagnosing bloodwork without having to inject needles.


BELOVED CZECH COMPOSER — ANTONÍN DVORÁK, born on Sept. 8, 1841, at Nelahozeves, Austrian Empire, in what is now the Czech Republic, was a composer who drew his inspiration from the folk music and customs of his native Bohemia. Among Dvorak’s best-known works are his Symphony No. 9 from “The New World,” the Cello Concerto and the Slavonic Dances, which was an anthology of 16 orchestral pieces, using the traditional musical styles of his homeland.

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During the late 1970s, the Cleveland Ballet, representing a northern Ohio city with a large Slavic and Eastern European population, presented a holiday production featuring the “Slavonic Dances,” Opus 46 and 72, Brahms’ “Hungarian Dances, and a specially commissioned work titled “The Gift.”


‘TWO SIEGES AND REGATTA DAY’ — THE PEOPLE OF MALTA CELEBRATE VICTORY DAY each year on Sept. 8 to commemorate two historical events: the 16th century victory over the Turks, when the Maltese citizens and the Knights of St. John broke the Great Siege that had begun in May of that year; and the survival of another more recent siege that the Axis powers waged in 1943 during World War II. Victory Day is also called “Two Sieges and Regatta Day.” The Maltese people celebrate Victory Day with boat races, parades and fireworks at the capital city of Valletta and at the Grand Harbour.

Malta is a small, strategically located island between Sicily and the northern-African coastal nation of Tunisia.


BROKE HOME RUN RECORDS — BASEBALL GREAT MARK McGWIRE on Sept. 8, 1998, hit his 62nd home run, thus breaking the 1961 record that Roger Maris had set for the most home runs in one season. A first baseman with the St. Louis Cardinals, McGwire hit his September 8 homer in a home-field advantage game at Busch Stadium against the Chicago Cubs pitcher Steve Trachsel, helping the Cardinals score a 6-3 win at that game. McGwire, now 59, finished the 1998 season with 70 home runs and during his career scored a total of 583 home runs.

Three years later, Barry Bonds, a left-fielder with the San Francisco Giants, broke McGwire’s 1998 season home-run record, reaching his 71st home run on Oct. 5, 2001. Bonds finished that season with 73 home runs.


CHAMPION OF SENIOR CITIZENS — CLAUDE DENSON PEPPER, born in Alabama on Sept. 8, 1900, was a U.S. Senator who became an advocate and champion for senior citizens. Pepper served in politics for 53 years and through the terms of 10 U.S. Presidents. Originally elected to the U.S. Senate in 1936, Pepper was a principal architect for many of the nation’s social safety net programs that were part of the New Deal, including Social Security, national medical assistance and the minimum wage. After serving for 14 years in the Senate, Pepper then returned to the House of Representatives, where he had served the State of Florida earlier in his political career. During this time, he was chair of the House Select Committee on Aging, drafted legislation banning forced retirement and fought against cutting Social Security benefits.

President George H.W. Bush presented Claude Pepper with the Presidential Medal of Freedom on May 2, 1989, just four days before Pepper died in his sleep after a long battle with stomach cancer.


‘A CONTROVERSIAL PARDON’ — PRESIDENT GERALD R. FORD PARDONED HIS PREDECESSOR, RICHARD MILHOUS NIXON, on Sept. 8, 1974, almost a month after Nixon had become the first to resign from the Presidency. Ford’s Presidential Proclamation 4311 granted a “full, free, and absolute pardon unto Richard Nixon, for all offenses against the United States which he, Richard Nixon, has committed or may have committed or taken part in during the period from Jan. 20, 1969, through Aug. 9, 1974.” Although Ford went on record saying that he pardoned Nixon because he believed the nation must heal, his act was controversial, and critics denounced it. Historians believe that Ford’s pardon of Nixon was one reason he lost the 1976 Presidential election to Democrat Jimmy Carter, an observation with which Ford did concur.

The John F. Kennedy Library Foundation later presented Ford with its Profile in Courage Award for doing what he believed was morally correct.

See previous milestones, here.

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