Sept-6: Ironmen and Assassins
This is a day marked mostly by evil deeds, assassinations and murders, but twenty years ago today the world took notice when a new iron man in baseball was crowned.
President McKinley Fatally Shot
President William McKinley, shot by anarchist Leon Czolgosz at Pan American Exposition in Buffalo NY. McKinley initially appeared to be recovering from his wounds, but took a turn for the worse six days after the shooting and died on September 14, 1901.
South African PM Stabbed to Death in Parliament
Prime Minister Dr. Hendrik Verwoerd, one of the architects of South Africa’s system of Apartheid, was stabbed to death by a Parliamentary messenger. Verwoerd had escaped an assassination attempt six years earliy when a bullet grazed him.
“They Are All Gone”
The day after 11 Israeli athletes were taken hostage by terrorist group Black September, ABC’s Jim McKay delivered this somber message the following day
We just got the final word … you know, when I was a kid, my father used to say “Our greatest hopes and our worst fears are seldom realized.” Our worst fears have been realized tonight. They’ve now said that there were eleven hostages. Two were killed in their rooms yesterday morning, nine were killed at the airport tonight. They’re all gone.
Soviets Admit Shooting Down KAL 007
After initially denying knowledge of the event, on this day the Soviet Union admitted it has intercepted and shot down Korean Airline flight 007 after it flew into Soviet airspace.
As a result of the incident, the United States altered tracking procedures for aircraft departing Alaska. The interface of the autopilot used on airliners was redesigned to make it more ergonomic. In addition, the event was one of the most important single events that prompted the Reagan administration to allow worldwide access to the United States military’s GNSS system, which was classified at the time. Today this system is widely known as GPS.
Cal Ripken, Jr. Becomes the New Iron Man
Baltimore Orioles Hall of Famer, Cal Ripken Jr., broke Lou Gehrig’s record of 2130 consecutive games played. The record, which had stood for 62 years, had been considered unbreakable. See related blog post.