This Month in History: September

From a presidential impeachment to a global pandemic, from murder hornets to a presidential election, 2020 seems like the year that has it all. But looking back throughout history, we are reminded that many important, and world-altering things have happened before. And we’ve always survived, moved on, and become stronger from our experiences.

Let’s take a look back on some important events from Septembers past.

Luis XIV of France Dies

Louis XIV of France was king for more than 72 years, wearing the crown from the age of five until he died at age 76 on September 1, 1715. The 72 years of his reign were eventful, and impactful on all of Europe. He was one of the most powerful leaders in European history, and ruled France with absolute authority. His most enduring legacy may in fact be the absolutely stunning Versailles which he developed and turned into the grandest palace in Europe.

Palace of Versailles (Birds Eye)
Palace of Versailles

Assault on Israeli Athletes in Olympic Village

The 1972 Summer Olympics were held in Munich, Germany, and were supposed to be a global event focused on non-violence and global unity.

However, on September 4, several terrorists from the Palestinian Liberation Organization attacked the apartments of Israeli athletes, killing two and taking nine hostage. After a tense day of negotiations, as the terrorists and their captives were about to leave the country by helicopter, a shootout erupted. The remaining nine hostages were killed, along with five of the eight terrorists and a West German police officer.

The event led to significant changes in Olympic security, as well as a years-long hunt by Israel’s Mossad to track down and eliminate everyone responsible for the attack.

Olympic Village (Google Maps)
Olympic Village

Unites States Attacked by Terrorists

If you live in the United States, it’s hard to forget the importance of September 11, 2001, when more than 3,000 men, women, and children were killed in terrorist attacks. In the 19 years since, the country has done so much to commemorate those who died that day, and to make sure something so terrible doesn’t happen again.

There is a beautiful memorial at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, to commemorate those who died on the flight and on the ground.

Pentagon Memorial (StreetView)
Pentagon Memorial

Just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania is the memorial to those who died on Flight 93 as they thwarted an attack likely aimed for the U.S. Capitol.

9/11 Flight 93 Crash Site and Memorial (Google Maps)
9/11 Flight 93 Crash Site and Memorial

In New York City, at the site where the Twin Towers once stood is a large and peaceful memorial for those who died on the airplanes, those who died in the towers and on the ground, and those brave first responders who died or were injured trying to save others after the attacks.

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Battle of Baltimore and Writing of Star Spangled Banner

The Revolutionary War wasn’t the only battle between the United States and Great Britain. In 1812, the two countries went to war again. American lawyer Francis Scott Key was on a British ship to negotiate a prisoner exchange when the Battle of Baltimore broke out. As he watched British ships bombard Fort McHenry on the night of September 13, 1814, he focused on the American flag flying over the fort.

When he woke the next morning, a larger American flag was flying, showing they had not surrendered during the overnight battle. He was so inspired that he wrote a poem, which later became the “Star Spangled Banner”, the country’s national anthem.

Fort McHenry (Birds Eye)
Fort McHenry

Battle of Antietam

The Battle of Antietam, fought on September 17, 1862, was the bloodiest day of fighting during the Civil War. Between the two sides, nearly 23,000 men were killed, wounded, or went missing. It was fought near Sharpsburg, Maryland, and was the first battle in the eastern hemisphere of the war to be fought on Union soil.

While the battle was fought to a draw, it was a tactical win for the Union, as the battle discouraged France and Great Britain from recognizing the Confederate States of America as an independent country. The battlefield has been turned into a national historical site and is a great place for families to visit and learn more about the sacrifices made by individuals during the Civil War.

Antietam National Battlefield (Google Maps)
Antietam National Battlefield

Sandra Day O’Connor Joins US Supreme Court

When Republican President Ronald Reagan nominated Sandra Day O’Connor to the US Supreme Court in 1981, it was groundbreaking. She was the first female nominee to the highest court in the United States. She was approved by the Senate by a vote of 99-0, and was sworn in as an Associate Justice on September 25, 1981. She served as a swing vote for many important cases, and is a role model to young women everywhere, reminding them that they can achieve anything if they get a good education, work hard, and never give up.

US Supreme Court (StreetView)
US Supreme Court

James Dean Dies in Car Crash

James Dean was an American heartthrob in the 1950s, even though he only starred in three movies in his career. His celebrity icon status endures even to this day. James Dean rocketed to fame after starring in East of Eden in 1955, and quickly cemented his status in Rebel without a Cause later in the year.

On September 30, 1955, James Dean was driving his Porsche Spyder in the California desert when he collided with another car and was killed in the accident. Dean was nominated for an Academy Award in 1955 for his work in East of Eden and in 1956 for his work in Giant.

James Dean crash site (StreetView)
James Dean crash site

These are just a few of the memorable, tragic, and world-changing events that have happened in history. It’s cool to think that the experiences we have will someday be considered important history. And even if they don’t end up in the history books, they’re important to all those experiencing them.

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