This Day in History
September 21: The Great Fire of New York and the XB-70 Valkyrie’s Maiden Flight
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September 21: The Great Fire of New York and the XB-70 Valkyrie’s Maiden Flight


1776 – Five days after the British take New York, a quarter of the city burns down. The Great Fire of New York was a devastating fire that burned through the night of September 20, 1776, and into the morning of September 21, on the southern end of the island of Manhattan. 493 structures were destroyed. The fire was later widely thought to have been started by American saboteurs to keep the city from falling into British hands, though Washington and the Congress had already denied this idea. Some have speculated that the fire was the work of British soldiers acting without orders. In the fire's aftermath, more than 200 American partisans were rounded up by the British.

1776 - Nathan Hale, spied on British for American rebels, arrested. Hale was an American soldier and spy for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. He volunteered for an intelligence- gathering mission in New York City but was captured by the British and hanged without trial the next day. Hale has long been considered an American hero and, in 1985, he was officially designated the state hero of Connecticut.

1780 - Benedict Arnold gives British Major John André plans to West Point. George Washington had given him his fullest trust and placed him in command of the fortifications at West Point, New York. Arnold planned to surrender the fort to British forces, but the plot was discovered and he fled to the  British. His name quickly became a byword in the United States for treason and betrayal because he led the British army in battle against the very men whom he had once commanded.

1784 – First daily newspaper in America begins circulation. The Pennsylvania Packet, or the General Advertiser was an American newspaper founded in 1771 that became the first successful daily newspaper published in the United States. The paper was founded by John Dunlap as a weekly paper in late 1771 It was based in Philadelphia except during the British occupation of the city in 1777–1778, when Dunlap published the paper at Lancaster. David C. Claypoole eventually became a partner with Dunlap. As of September 21, 1784, the paper was issued as the Pennsylvania Packet, and Daily Advertiser, reflecting the paper's move to daily publication.

1823 - According to Joseph Smith Jr., the angel Moroni gave him a record of gold plates, one-third of which Joseph translated into The Book of Mormon. According to his later accounts, Smith was visited by an angel named Moroni, while praying one night in 1823 Smith said that this angel revealed the location of a buried book made of golden plates, as well as other artifacts, including a breastplate and a set of interpreters composed of two seer stones set in a frame, which had been hidden in a hill near his home. Smith found the plates buried in a stone box near his father’s farm. Four years later, the angel permitted him to remove the plates and instructed him to translate the characters engraved on their surfaces with the aid of special stones called “interpreters.” Smith insisted that he did not compose the book but merely “translated” it under divine guidance. Completing the work in less than 90 days, he published it in March 1830 as a 588-page volume called the Book of Mormon.

1863 - Union forces retreat to Chattanooga after defeat at Chickamauga.

1872 - John Henry Conyers of South Carolina becomes first black student at Annapolis.

1895 - America's first automotive producer, the Duryea Motor Wagon Company, is founded by Charles and J. Frank Duryea.

1922 - US President Warren G. Harding signs a joint resolution of approval to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

1938 - The Great Hurricane of 1938 makes landfall on Long Island in New York. The death toll is estimated at 500-700 people.

1950 - George Marshall sworn in as the 3rd Secretary of Defense of United States.

1958 - First airplane flight exceeding 1,200 hours lands in Dallas TX. Jim Heth and Bill Burkhart set a new endurance record when they landed their Cessna 172 ‘The Old Scotchman’ at Dallas, Texas, on September 21, after having been aloft 1,200 hours 18 minutes 30 seconds.

1964 - The North American XB-70 Valkyrie, the world's first Mach 3 bomber, makes its maiden flight from Palmdale, California. The XB-70 Valkyrie was the prototype version of the planned B-70 nuclear-armed, deep-penetration strategic bomber for the United States Air Force Strategic Air Command. Designed in the late 1950s by North American Aviation, the six-engined Valkyrie was capable of cruising for thousands of miles at Mach 3+ while flying at 70,000 feet (21,000 m).

1966 - Jimmy Hendrix (born Johnny Allen Hendrix) changes spelling of his name to Jimi.

1967 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1973 - Henry Kissinger was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to become 56th Secretary of State. He was the first naturalized citizen to hold the office of Secretary of State.

1981 - Sandra Day O'Conner becomes the first female US Supreme Court Justice.

1983 - US performs nuclear test at Nevada Test Site.

1984 - NASA launches Galaxy-C.

2004 - Green Day release their album "American Idiot" in the US. American Idiot is the seventh studio album by American rock band Green Day. Produced by Rob Cavallo, the album was released in the US on September 21, 2004 by Reprise Records. Green Day first achieved popularity in the 1990s with a string of successful albums. Following disappointing sales of their sixth album, Warning (2000), the band took a break before recording their next album, titled Cigarettes and Valentines. The recording process was cut short when the album's master tapes were stolen. Rather than re-record that material, the group decided to start over. A concept album dubbed a "punk rock opera" by the band members, American Idiot follows the story of Jesus of Suburbia, a lower-middle-class American adolescent anti-hero. Through its plot, the album expresses the disillusionment and dissent of a generation that came of age in a period shaped by many tumultuous events like the Iraq War. The album was inspired by several musicals and the work of The Who. Recording of American Idiot was split between two California studios between 2003 and 2004 Its album art depicts a heart-shaped hand grenade.

2008 - Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, the two last remaining independent investment banks on Wall Street, become bank holding companies as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis.

Author: USA Really