Today in History

Today is Wednesday, Oct. 4, the 277th day of 2023. There are 88 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Oct. 4, 1957, the Space Age began as the Soviet Union launched Sputnik 1, the first artificial satellite, into orbit.
On this date:
In 1777, Gen. George Washington’s troops launched an assault on the British at Germantown, Pennsylvania, resulting in heavy American casualties.
In 1887, the International Herald Tribune had its beginnings as the Paris Herald, a European edition of the New York Herald.
In 1940, Germany’s Adolf Hitler and Italy’s Benito Mussolini conferred at Brenner Pass in the Alps.
In 1965, Pope Paul VI became the first pope to visit the Western Hemisphere as he addressed the U.N. General Assembly.
In 1970, rock singer Janis Joplin was found dead in her Hollywood hotel room at age 27.
In 1990, for the first time in nearly six decades, German lawmakers met in the Reichstag for the first meeting of the nation’s reunified 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.
In 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).
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.
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 2013, Vo Nguyen Giap, the military commander who’d led Vietnamese Communist forces against the French and then the Americans, died in Hanoi at age 102.
In 2017, President Donald Trump visited hospital bedsides and a police base in Las Vegas in the aftermath of the shooting rampage three nights earlier that left 58 people dead.
In 2020, 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.
In 2022, Elon Musk abandoned his legal battle to back out of buying Twitter and offered to go through with his original $44 billion bid for the social media platform.
Today’s Birthdays: Country singer Leroy Van Dyke is 94. Actor Felicia Farr is 91. Author Roy Blount Jr. is 82. Actor Lori Saunders (TV: “Petticoat Junction”) is 82. Chicago White Sox manager Tony La Russa is 79. Actor Clifton Davis is 78. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, is 77. Former Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is 77. Actor Susan Sarandon is 77. Blues musician Duke Robillard is 75. Playwright Lee Blessing is 74. Actor Armand Assante is 74. Actor Alan Rosenberg is 73. Actor Christoph Waltz is 67. Actor Bill Fagerbakke is 66. Music producer Russell Simmons is 66. Actor-singer Wendy Makkena is 65. Musician Chris Lowe (The Pet Shop Boys) is 64. Country musician Gregg “Hobie” Hubbard (Sawyer Brown) is 63. Actor David W. Harper is 62. Singer Jon Secada is 62. TV personality John Melendez is 58. Actor-comedian Jerry Minor is 56. Actor Liev Schreiber is 56. Actor Abraham Benrubi is 54. Country singer-musician Heidi Newfield is 53. Singer-guitarist M. Ward (She & Him) is 50. Actor Alicia Silverstone is 47. Actor Dana Davis is 45. Rock musician Robbie Bennett (The War on Drugs) is 45. Actor Phillip Glasser is 45. Rock singer-musician Marc Roberge (O.A.R.) is 45. Actor Brandon Barash is 44. Actor Rachael Leigh Cook is 44. Actor Tim Peper is 43. Actor Jimmy Workman is 43. Actor Michael Charles Roman is 36. Actor Melissa Benoist is 35. NBA All-Star Derrick Rose is 35. Actor Dakota Johnson is 34. Figure skater Kimmie Meisner is 34. Actor Leigh-Anne Pinnock (Little Mix) is 32. Actor Ryan Scott Lee is 27.