Milestones: Monday, September 11, 2023
ATTACK ON AMERICA — THE CLEAR SUNNY MORNING OF SEPT. 11, 2001, turned darkly tragic as terrorists who were agents of the Islamic extremist group Al Qaeda hijacked four U.S. passenger jets, planes two of them collided with the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City and one into the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. The twin towers collapsed within an hour of being hit. The entire coordination killed more than 3,000 people, including the passengers, workers at the World Trade Center, first-responders, 189 people in the Pentagon attack, the crew and passengers of the fourth plane who fought to stop the terrorists from reaching their target — and many others who have since died from illnesses related to the toxic debris and air at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan, which became known as Ground Zero.
Stories of great heroism arose from the tragedy, including the entire shift of firefighters at Engine Co. 205/Hook & Ladder 118, who raced from their Middagh St. firehouse in Brooklyn Heights, across the Brooklyn Bridge, and were killed when the towers collapsed. In Brooklyn, churches and some merchants served as triage centers, helping survivors reconnect with family once they had escaped across the bridge.
PATRIOT DAY — JUST THREE MONTHS AFTER THE 9/11 ATTACKS, PRESIDENT George W. Bush declared Sept. 11 to be an annual observance of Patriot Day and a National Day Of Service And Remembrance. A joint resolution of Congress on Dec. 18, 2001, amended Title 36, Chapter 1, Section 144 of the U.S. Code to authorize the President to declare this annual Patriot Day observance. The resolution called for state and local governments to organize “appropriate programs and activities,” display the U.S. flag at half-staff from sunrise to sunset and that a moment of silence be observed. Each year, a program is held at the 9/11 Memorial, where the names of each victim are recited, and moments of silence are observed.
Although the ceremony itself this Monday is closed to the public, it is often televised live. Other events, including memorial concerts, take place around the city. The Tribute in Light, two beams shining where the Twin Towers once stood, becomes visible at night starting a few days before Sept. 11 each year.
A DIFFERENT CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION — THE ANNAPOLIS CONVENTION, which took place from Sept. 11–14, 1786 was organized to resolve a trade issue involving the Potomac River that caused a conflict arising between Maryland and Virginia, and matters of mutual interest. New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Virginia delegates gathered at Annapolis, Maryland and on Sept. 14 of that year adopted a resolution that Founding Father Alexander Hamilton prepared, which included a request to all states to attend a full convention in May 1787, at Philadelphia, “to render the constitution of the Federal Government adequate to the exigencies of the Union.”
The Annapolis Convention, which did not include any Maryland delegates, was necessitated because the individual states had enacted protectionist trade policies that were hindering commerce, but the federal government did not yet have the authority to regulate trade.
THAT FAMOUS EAR TUG — “THE CAROL BURNETT SHOW” MADE ITS TV PREMIERE on Sept. 11, 1967 airing on the CBS network. This variety show with comic sketches became a household favorite, and customarily began with the eponymous star inviting her audience to ask her questions ranging from the genuinely curious to the inane, and ended with an ear tug as a tribute to her grandmother, who raised her. The show, now in syndication and available on streaming networks, ran for 11 seasons, until March 29, 1978 and 279 episodes. The ensemble cast members joining Burnett were Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence and Lyle Waggoner (and funny man Tim Conway after Waggoner left in 1975).
Among the most classic sketches and spoofs were “Mama’s Family,” which became a spinoff.
ALL BUT ONE RESIGNED — U.S. PRESIDENT JOHN TYLR’S CABINET RESIGNED ON Sept. 11, 1841 protesting his veto of the Banking Bill. Tyler had been the vice president under President William Henry Harrison, who died a month into office, and became the first vice president to succeed a deceased president. Upon Harrison’s death, Tyler took the oath of office and became the 10th President, but not a popular one. Tyler’s governing style was autocratic and he believed that the President, rather than Congress, who represented the citizens, should set policy. He vetoed the important banking bill and gained the dubious distinction of being the first president to be overridden in Congress, in addition to his cabinet’s quitting. Tyler served only one term.
The only cabinet member who did not quit on Tyler was Daniel Webster, at the time serving as Secretary of State, as he did under three Presidents. A Massachusetts man, Webster was one of the “Great Triumvirate” of politicians who dominated 19th century politics.
See previous milestones, here.
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