Today in History

October 4, 2021 GMT

Today in History

Today is Monday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2021. There are 88 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Oct. 4, 2002, “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh received a 20-year sentence after a sobbing plea for forgiveness before a federal judge in Alexandria, Virginia. (He was released from prison in May, 2019.) In a federal court in Boston, a laughing Richard Reid pleaded guilty to trying to blow up a trans-Atlantic flight with explosives in his shoes (the British citizen was later sentenced to life in prison).

On this date:

In 1814, French painter Jean-Francois Millet was born in Normandy.

In 1861, during the Civil War, the United States Navy authorized construction of the first ironclad ship, the USS Monitor.

In 1940, Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.

In 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.

In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin, 27, was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room.

In 1976, Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz resigned in the wake of a controversy over an obscene joke he’d made that was derogatory to Black people.

In 1990, for the first time in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the first meeting of reunified Germany’s parliament.

In 1991, 26 nations, including the United States, signed the Madrid Protocol, which imposed a 50-year ban on oil exploration and mining in Antarctica.

In 2001, a Russian airliner flying from Israel to Siberia was accidentally downed by a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile over the Black Sea, killing all 78 people aboard. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 70th home run to tie Mark McGwire’s 1998 record in a 10-2 victory over the Houston Astros.

In 2004, the SpaceShipOne rocket plane broke through Earth’s atmosphere to the edge of space for the second time in five days, capturing the $10 million Ansari X prize aimed at opening the final frontier to tourists. Pioneering astronaut Gordon Cooper died in Ventura, California, at age 77.

In 2010, the Supreme Court began a new era with three women serving together for the first time as Elena Kagan took her place at the end of the bench.

In 2019, Diahann Carroll died in Los Angeles at the age of 84 after a bout with breast cancer; she’d been the first Black woman to star as a non-servant in her own television series “Julia,” which ran from 1968 to 1973.

Ten years ago: Three U.S.-born scientists, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess, won the Nobel Prize in physics for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace. The NBA canceled the entire 114-game preseason schedule because a new collective bargaining agreement had not been reached with the National Basketball Players Association.

Five years ago: Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine repeatedly challenged Mike Pence during their vice presidential debate, attempting to tie the Indiana governor to some of Donald Trump’s most controversial statements about women, immigrants and foreign policy, while Trump’s running mate maintained a folksy, soft-spoken demeanor as he defended Trump. Hurricane Matthew slammed into Haiti’s southwest peninsula, the first Category 4 storm to hit the country in more than a half century; the Haitian government would put the death toll from Matthew at 546.

One year ago: Infected and contagious, President Donald Trump briefly ventured out in an SUV from the hospital where he was being treated for COVID-19 to salute cheering supporters. Trump’s medical team reported that his blood oxygen level had dropped suddenly twice in recent days and that they gave him a steroid typically only recommended for the very sick; doctors said he had also been given oxygen before being hospitalized.

Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 92. Actor Felicia Farr is 89. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Sam Huff is 87. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 80. Author Anne Rice is 80. Actor Lori Saunders (TV: “Petticoat Junction”) is 80. Baseball Hall of Famer Tony La Russa is 77. Actor Clifton Davis is 76. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 75. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is 75. Actor Susan Sarandon is 75. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 73. Playwright Lee Blessing is 72. Actor Armand Assante is 72. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 71. Actor Christoph Waltz is 65. Actor Bill Fagerbakke is 64. Music producer Russell Simmons is 64. Actor Kyra Schon (Film: “Night of the Living Dead”) is 64. Actor-singer Wendy Makkena is 63. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 62. Country musician Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 61. Actor David W. Harper is 60. Singer Jon Secada is 60. TV personality John Melendez is 56. Actor-comedian Jerry Minor is 54. Actor Liev Schreiber is 54. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 52. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 51. Singer-guitarist M. Ward (She & Him) is 48. Actor Alicia Silverstone is 45. Actor Dana Davis is 43. Rock musician Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs) is 43. Actor Phillip Glasser is 43. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 43. Actor Brandon Barash is 42. Actor Rachael Leigh Cook is 42. Actor Tim Peper is 41. Actor Jimmy Workman is 41. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 34. Actor Melissa Benoist is 33. NBA All-Star Derrick Rose is 33. Actor Dakota Johnson is 32. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 32. Actor Leigh-Anne Pinnock (Little Mix) is 30. Actor Ryan Scott Lee is 25.