In 1792, the first recorded U.S. celebration of Columbus Day was held to mark the tricentennial of Christopher Columbus’ landing.
In 1933, bank robber John Dillinger escaped from a jail in Allen County, Ohio, with the help of his gang, who killed the sheriff, Jess Sarber.
In 1942, during World War II, American naval forces defeated the Japanese in the Battle of Cape Esperance. Attorney General Francis Biddle announced during a Columbus Day celebration at Carnegie Hall in New York that Italian nationals in the United States would no longer be considered enemy aliens.
In 1973, President Richard Nixon nominated House minority leader Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to succeed Spiro T. Agnew as vice president.
In 1976, it was announced in China that Hua Guofeng had been named to succeed the late Mao Zedong as chairman of the Communist Party; it was also announced that Mao’s widow and three others, known as the “Gang of Four,” had been arrested.
In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher escaped an attempt on her life when an Irish Republican Army bomb exploded at a hotel in Brighton, England, killing five people.
In 1986, the superpower meeting in Reykjavik, Iceland, ended in stalemate, with President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail S. Gorbachev unable to agree on arms control or a date for a full-fledged summit in the United States.
In 1997, singer John Denver was killed in the crash of his privately built aircraft in Monterey Bay, California; he was 53.
In 2002, bombs blamed on al-Qaida-linked militants destroyed a nightclub on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians and seven Americans.
In 2007, former Vice President Al Gore and the U.N.‘s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the Nobel Peace Prize for sounding the alarm over global warming.
In 2017, President Donald Trump lashed out at hurricane-devastated Puerto Rico, saying the federal government can’t keep sending help “forever” and suggesting that the U.S. territory was to blame for its financial struggles.
In 2019, a Black woman, Atatiana Jefferson, was fatally shot by a white Fort Worth, Texas, police officer inside her home after police were called to the residence by a neighbor who reported that the front door was open. (Officer Aaron Dean, who shot Jefferson through a back window, resigned in the days after the shooting and is charged with murder; he has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go to trial in November.)
Ten years ago: A Nigerian al-Qaida operative pleaded guilty to trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear; Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab (OO’-mahr fah-ROOK’ ahb-DOOL’-moo-TAH’-lahb) defiantly told a federal judge in Detroit that he had acted in retaliation for the killing of Muslims worldwide. Eight people were killed in a shooting at a hair salon in Seal Beach, California. (Scott Dekraai, whose ex-wife, Michelle Fournier, was among the victims, pleaded guilty to murder in 2014 and is serving life in prison.)
Five years ago: Wells Fargo announced that its embattled CEO, John Stumpf, was stepping down as the nation’s second-largest bank found itself roiled by a scandal over its sales practices.
One year ago: At the start of fast-tracked Senate confirmation hearings, Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett presented her approach to the law as conservative and fair, while Democrats cast her as a threat to Americans’ health care coverage during the coronavirus pandemic. At his first campaign rally since he contracted COVID-19, President Donald Trump insisted to supporters in Florida that he had delivered the nation a “rapid recovery” from the pandemic. A Wisconsin judge allowed the state’s mask mandate to stand, rejecting an attempt by the Republican-controlled Legislature and a conservative law firm to overturn it even as coronavirus cases spiked and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 hit a new high. Facebook said it would ban posts that deny or distort the Holocaust. Roberta McCain, the mother of the late Arizona Sen. John McCain, died at 108.
Today’s Birthdays: Former Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, is 89. Singer Sam Moore (formerly of Sam and Dave) is 86. Broadcast journalist Chris Wallace is 74. Actor-singer Susan Anton is 71. Pop/rock singer/songwriter Jane Siberry is 66. Actor Hiroyuki Sanada is 61. Actor Carlos Bernard is 59. Jazz musician Chris Botti (BOH’-tee) is 59. R&B singer Claude McKnight (Take 6) is 59. Rock singer Bob Schneider is 56. Actor Hugh Jackman is 53. Actor Adam Rich is 53. R&B singer Garfield Bright (Shai) is 52. Country musician Martie Maguire (Courtyard Hounds, The Chicks) is 52. Actor Kirk Cameron is 51. Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller is 44. Rock singer Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory) is 42. Actor Brian J. Smith is 40. Actor Tyler Blackburn is 35. Actor Marcus T. Paulk is 35. Actor Ito Aghayere is 34. Actor Josh Hutcherson is 29.