TODAY IN HISTORY


Today is Friday, Oct. 15, the 288th day of 2021. There are 77 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 15, 1991, despite sexual harassment allegations by Anita Hill, the Senate narrowly confirmed the nomination of Clarence Thomas to the U.S. Supreme Court, 52-48.

On this date:

In 1783, the first manned balloon flight took place in Paris as Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier ascended in a basket attached to a tethered Montgolfier hot-air balloon, rising to about 75 feet.

In 1928, the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin landed in Lakehurst, N.J., completing its first commercial flight across the Atlantic.

In 1954, Hurricane Hazel made landfall on the Carolina coast as a Category 4 storm; Hazel was blamed for some 1,000 deaths in the Caribbean, 95 in the U.S. and 81 in Canada.

In 1976, in the first debate of its kind between vice-presidential nominees, Democrat Walter F. Mondale and Republican Bob Dole faced off in Houston.

In 2003, eleven people were killed when a Staten Island ferry slammed into a maintenance pier. (The ferry’s pilot, who’d blacked out at the controls, later pleaded guilty to eleven counts of manslaughter.)

In 2009, a report of a 6-year-old Colorado boy trapped inside a runaway helium balloon engrossed the nation before the boy, Falcon Heene, was found safe at home in what turned out to be a hoax. (Falcon’s parents served up to a month in jail.)

In 2015, President Barack Obama abandoned his pledge to end America’s longest war, announcing plans to keep at least 5,500 U.S. troops in Afghanistan at the end of his term in 2017 and hand the conflict off to his successor.

In 2017, actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted that women who had been sexually harassed or assaulted should write “Me too” as a status; within hours, tens of thousands had taken up the #MeToo hashtag (using a phrase that had been introduced 10 years earlier by social activist Tarana Burke.)

Today’s Birthdays: Singer Barry McGuire is 86. Actor Linda Lavin is 84. Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer is 76. Singer-musician Richard Carpenter is 75. Former tennis player Roscoe Tanner is 70. Singer Tito Jackson is 68. Actor-comedian Larry Miller is 68. Britain’s Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, is 62. Chef Emeril Lagasse is 62.