Today in History: September 21

A man and woman scurry from the beach at Miami Beach, Fla., on Sept. 21, 1948 as winds of near hurricane force lash the peninsula. (AP Photo/Rudolph Faircloth)
A man and woman scurry from the beach at Miami Beach, Fla., on Sept. 21, 1948 as winds of near hurricane force lash the peninsula. (AP Photo/Rudolph Faircloth)

Today is Wednesday, Sept. 21, the 265th day of 2016. There are 101 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Sept. 21, 1996, President Bill Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act denying federal recognition of same-sex marriages a day after saying the law should not be used as an excuse for discrimination, violence or intimidation against gays and lesbians. (Although never formally repealed, DoMA was effectively overturned by U.S. Supreme Court decisions in 2013 and 2015.)

On this date:

In 1792, the French National Convention voted to abolish the monarchy.

In 1866, English novelist H.G. Wells was born in Bromley, Kent.

In 1897, the New York Sun ran its famous editorial, written anonymously by Francis P. Church, which declared, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.”

In 1925, the Rudolf Friml operetta “The Vagabond King” opened on Broadway.

In 1938, a hurricane struck parts of New York and New England, causing widespread damage and claiming some 700 lives.

In 1948, Milton Berle made his debut as permanent host of “The Texaco Star Theater” on NBC-TV.

In 1957, Norway’s King Haakon VII died in Oslo at age 85. The legal mystery-drama “Perry Mason,” starring Raymond Burr, premiered on CBS-TV.

In 1964, Malta gained independence from Britain.

In 1970, “NFL Monday Night Football” made its debut on ABC-TV as the Cleveland Browns defeated the visiting New York Jets, 31-21.

In 1976, Orlando Letelier, onetime foreign minister to Chilean President Salvador Allende, was killed when a bomb exploded in his car in Washington D.C. (The bombing, which also killed Letelier’s assistant, Ronni Moffitt, was blamed on Chile’s secret police.)

In 1989, Hurricane Hugo crashed into Charleston, South Carolina (the storm was blamed for 56 deaths in the Caribbean and 29 in the United States). Twenty-one students in Alton, Texas, died when their school bus, hit by a soft-drink delivery truck, careened into a water-filled pit.

In 1996, John F. Kennedy Jr. married Carolyn Bessette in a secret ceremony on Cumberland Island, Georgia. The board of all-male Virginia Military Institute voted to admit women.

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