Since many significant events have occurred during September, it might be interesting to examine the ninth month of the year.
When Germany invaded Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, World War II began. Two days later England and France declared war on Germany, and one of the most costly wars in the history of mankind moved to the forefront for the next six years.
World War II finally came to a conclusion, when Japan signed unconditional surrender terms aboard the battleship, Missouri, in Tokyo Bay on Sept. 1, 1945 (Sept. 2, 1945, Japanese time).
Gen. Douglas MacArthur presided over the ceremonies. His words at the end of the historic event have been repeated many times - “These proceedings are now closed.”
WWII was the most devastating war this world has ever experienced. The United States and its Allies lost 8.8 million military personnel. Of this number, approximately 6 million were Russians. Military deaths for the United States totaled about 405,000.
The Axis Powers, primarily composed of Germany, Italy and Japan, had 6.1 million military deaths with about one-half of these being Germans.
And the date we cannot forget happened six years ago - September 11, 2001. It is often referred to as 9/11.
As you recall, Sept. 11, 2001, was the date, when terrorists crashed two planes into the twin towers in New York City, crashed another plane into the Pentagon, outside of Washington D.C. and a fourth plane, which was apparently headed for the White House, crashed in a field in Pennsylvania. The loss of American lives numbered in the thousands.
Other significant events have occurred in September. Among these are -
Sept. 5, 1972 - Eight Arab terrorists invaded the Israeli dormitory of the Olympic Village in Munich, Germany, killing two Israelis and taking nine hostages. The following day, in a shoot-out with German police, the nine Israelis and five terrorists were killed.
Sept. 8, 1847 - Jesse James, the famous American desperado, was born.
Sept. 11, 1862 - William Sydney Porter, better known as O. Henry, was born.
Sept. 15, 1972 - Two former White House aides, E. Howard Hunt and G. Gordon Liddy, were indicted on charges, pertaining to the break-in at the Democratic headquarters in the Watergate complex in Washington, D.C.
Sept. 17, 1996 - Spiro Agnew, 77, vice president, 1969-1973, under President Richard Nixon, died. After pleading guilty to tax evasion, Agnew resigned the vice presidency in 1973.
Sept. 19, 1796 - President George Washington delivered his Farewell Address.
Sept. 26, 1898 - George Gershwin, American composer (“Rhapsody in Blue”) was born.
Sept. 29, 1758 - Horatio Nelson, British naval hero, was born.
Those are some of the important dates to remember in September.
Perhaps the famous musical composition from the late 1940s, “September Song,” conveys a lasting memory of this special month. The lingering lyrics go like this —
“Tho’ it’s a long time from May to December.
“The days grow short, when you reach September.”
Dr. Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville. He occasionally writes for this newspaper.