Today is Saturday, September 8, the 251st day of 2018. There are 114 days left in the year.
Today's highlight in history: On September 8, 1974, US president Gerald R Ford granted a "full, free, and absolute pardon" to former president Richard Nixon covering his entire term in office.
On this date: In 1504, Michelangelo's towering marble statue of David was unveiled to the public in Florence, Italy.
In 1565, a Spanish expedition established the first permanent European settlement in North America at present-day St. Augustine, Fla.
In 1664, the Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York.
In 1892, an early version of "The Pledge of Allegiance," written by Francis Bellamy, appeared in "The Youth's Companion." It went: "I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."
In 1900, Galveston, Texas, was struck by a hurricane that killed an estimated 8,000 people.
In 1930, the comic strip "Blondie," created by Chic Young, was first published.
In 1935, Senator Huey P. Long, a Louisiana Democrat, was shot and mortally wounded inside the Louisiana State Capitol; he died two days later. (The assailant was identified as Dr. Carl Weiss, who was gunned down by Long's bodyguards.)
In 1939, President Franklin D Roosevelt declared a "limited national emergency" in response to the outbreak of war in Europe.
In 1941, the 900-day Siege of Leningrad by German forces began during World War II.
In 1951, a peace treaty with Japan was signed by 49 nations in San Francisco.
In 1985, Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds tied Ty Cobb's career record for hits, singling for hit number 4,191 during a game against the Cubs in Chicago.
In 1994, USAir Flight 427, a Boeing 737, crashed into a ravine as it was approaching Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people on board.
Ten years ago:
In a pointed but mostly symbolic expression of displeasure with Moscow, President George W. Bush canceled a once-celebrated civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Russia. Roger Federer salvaged the 2008 season by easily beating Andy Murray 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 to win his fifth consecutive US Open championship and 13th major title overall.
Five years ago: NAACP President and CEO Benjamin Jealous, credited with boosting finances at the nation's largest civil rights organization and helping to stabilize it, announced plans to step down at year's end. Top-seeded Serena Williams won her fifth US Open championship and 17th Grand Slam title overall by beating No. 2 Victoria Azarenka 7-5, 6-7 (6), 6-1 in a windy final. The International Olympic Committee voted wrestling back onto the programme for the 2020 and 2024 Games. Perennial pitchman and car dealer Cal Worthington died in Orland, California, at age 92.
One year ago: Hurricane Irma regained Category 5 status, battering Cuba with 160-mph winds and taking aim on the Miami area; the death toll across the Caribbean climbed past 20 after the storm ravaged islands including St. Martin, St. Barts, St. Thomas, Barbuda and Anguilla. In one of the country's largest evacuations, officials in Florida told more than 5 million people to leave their homes ahead of the hurricane; parts of interstates 75 and 95 northbound were bumper-to-bumper.
Singer Troy Gentry, half of the country music duo Montgomery Gentry, died in a helicopter crash in Medford, New Jersey; pilot James Robinson was also killed.
Today's Birthdays: Ventriloquist Willie Tyler is 78. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., is 77. Actor Alan Feinstein is 77. Pop singer Sal Valentino (The Beau Brummels) is 76. Author Ann Beattie is 71. Secretary of Defense James Mattis is 68. Cajun singer Zachary Richard (ree-SHARD') is 68. Musician Will Lee is 66. Actress Heather Thomas is 61. Singer Aimee Mann is 58. Pop musician David Steele (Fine Young Cannibals) is 58. Actor Thomas Kretschmann is 56. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marc Gordon (Levert) is 54. Gospel singer Darlene Zschech (chehk) is 53. Alternative country singer Neko (NEE'-koh) Case is 48. TV personality Brooke Burke-Charvet is 47. Actor Martin Freeman is 47. Actor David Arquette is 47. TV-radio personality Kennedy is 46. Rock musician Richard Hughes (Keane) is 43. Actor Larenz Tate is 43. Actor Nathan Corddry is 41. Rhythm-and-blues singer Pink is 39. Singer-songwriter Eric Hutchinson is 38. Actor Jonathan Taylor Thomas is 37. Rapper Wiz Khalifa is 31. Actor Gaten Matarazzo (TV: "Stranger Things") is 16.
Thought for Today: "Fools act on imagination without knowledge, pedants act on knowledge without imagination." — Alfred North Whitehead, English philosopher and mathematician (1861-1947).
First Published: IST