On This Day September 14

History Highlights

1814 – After witnessing the British bombardment of Fort McHenry in Maryland during the War of 1812, 35-year-old lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key writes a poem titled “Defence of Fort M’Henry,” which is later set to music, and in 1931, becomes America’s national anthem under its new title: “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Key was inspired by the sight of a lone U.S. flag still flying over the fort at daybreak.

1901 – Six months into his second term as U.S. president, William McKinley dies after being shot by a deranged anarchist during the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. 

1959 – The Soviet’s Luna 2 rocket reaches the surface of the moon, becoming the first man-made object sent from Earth to the lunar surface. The event gives the Soviets a short-lived lead in the Space Race, and prompts the U.S. to speed up efforts to develop its own space program.

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards entertainment pioneer Walt Disney the Presidential Medal of Freedom, saying “in the course of entertaining an age, he has created an American folklore.”

1964 – President Lyndon Johnson awards the Presidential Medal of Freedom to author John Steinbeck, who had already received numerous other honors for his literary work, including the 1962 Nobel Prize and 1939 Pulitzer Prize for “The Grapes of Wrath.”

1965 – Marching onto TV screens for the first time are the military farce “F Troop” and the short-lived sitcom “My Mother the Car.” 

1972 – Americans meet the Walton family and witness its trials and tribulations for nine years on CBS. “The Waltons” airs for the last time on this day in 1981, the same day that “Entertainment Tonight” premieres.  

1982 – Princess Grace of Monaco (Grace Kelly), who was an Oscar and Golden Globe-winning American actress before marrying into royalty, dies in a car crash at the age of 52. 

1999 – Millions evacuate their homes along the southeastern coast of the U.S. as Hurricane Floyd advances. The storm weakens from Category 4 to Category 2 by the time it makes landfall at Cape Fear, North Carolina on September 16. Floyd is blamed for nearly 60 deaths across eight U.S. states and The Bahamas.

2015 – A 14-year-old Muslim boy is arrested at his Irving, Texas high school after a digital clock he had reassembled at home using a pencil case was mistaken by his teacher to be a bomb. Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest triggers a media frenzy, as many saw the incident as a case of racial profiling.

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The Essentials

The Rascals

The Best of Eric Clapton: The Millennium Edition

Eric Clapton

How To Be Like Walt

Pat Williams with Jim Denney

The Waltons

Based on the life of series creator Earl Hamner Jr. and starring Richard Thomas

The Hunt for Red October

Starring Sean Connery, Alec Baldwin, Scott Glenn and Sam Neill, and directed by John McTiernan

The Fighter

Starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo, and directed by David O. Russell

On This Day September 7

Musical Milestones

1936 – Rock ‘n’ roll legend Buddy Holly is born Charles Hardin Holley in Lubbock, Texas. He produces a string of hits before his death at age 22 in a 1959 plane crash that also claims the lives of musical greats Ritchie Valens and “The Big Bopper” (J.P. Richardson).

1968 – The Rascals claim the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 with “People Got to Be Free.

1974 – “(You’re) Having My Baby,” by Paul Anka and Odia Coates, wraps up three weeks on top of the singles chart.

1978 – Acclaimed drummer Keith Moon of the British rock band The Who dies of a drug overdose at the age of 32. 

1985 – The theme from the movie “St. Elmo’s Fire” (“Man In Motion”), by John Parr, is the No. 1 single. 

1994 – With TV host David Letterman as her escort, Madonna hands Aerosmith the Best Video award for “Cryin’” during the MTV Video Music Awards at New York’s Radio City Music Hall.

2001 – Michael Jackson is reunited onstage with the Jackson Five at his 30th Anniversary Celebration in New York City’s Madison Square Garden.

2002 – “Dilemma,” by Nelly featuring Kelly Rowland, rules the Billboard Hot 100.

2003 – Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Warren Zevon (“Werewolves of London,” “Lawyers, Guns and Money”) dies of lung cancer at the age of 56. Ironically, Zevon earned the Grammys posthumously for his final album, “The Wind,” which was released just two weeks before his death.

2013 – “Blurred Lines,” by Robin Thicke featuring T.I. and Pharrell, enters its 12th and final week as a Billboard chart-topper.

History Highlights

1813 – The United States gets its nickname, “Uncle Sam.” The name is linked to Samuel Wilson, a meat packer from Troy, New York, who supplied barrels of beef to the U.S. Army during the War of 1812. Wilson stamped the barrels with “U.S.” for United States, but soldiers began referring to their rations as “Uncle Sam’s.”

1965 – Hurricane Betsy churns across extreme southern Florida en route to Louisiana where it kills 76 people and triggers widespread flooding. She’s the first hurricane to cause more than a billion dollars in damage, earning the nickname “Billion-Dollar Betsy.” 

1968 – Fifty women led by the New York Radical Women feminist group stages the first protest against the Miss America pageant. 

1977 – President Jimmy Carter signs a treaty granting Panama control over the Panama Canal beginning in the year 2000. The treaty ends an agreement signed in 1904 between then-President Theodore Roosevelt and Panama, which gave the U.S. the right to build the canal and a renewable lease to control five miles of land along either side of it.

1979 – The sports network ESPN debuts on cable TV. 

1980 – The 33rd annual Primetime Emmy Awards ceremony takes place, with statues going to the producers of “Taxi” and “Lou Grant” and performers Ed Asner and Barbara Bel Geddes — Asner for his starring role as newspaper editor Lou Grant, and Bel Geddes for her role as Miss Ellie, the Ewing family matriarch in the prime time soap “Dallas.” 

1986 – Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu becomes the first black man to lead the Anglican Church in South Africa. 

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The Real Buddy Holly Story

Hosted by Paul McCartney

Moon: The Life and Death of a Rock Legend

Tony Fletcher

Uncle Sam

Terry Allan Hicks

ESPN: The Uncensored History

Michael Freeman

The Simpsons: Season 1

Starring Albert Brooks, Maggie Roswell, Ron Taylor, Yeardley Smith and Harry Shearer

Across the Universe

Starring Evan Rachel WoodJim SturgessJoe Anderson, and directed by Julie Taymor