US President Nixon was pardoned for his role in the Watergate Scandal. (1974) US President Gerald R. Ford, who took office when Nixon resigned, gave Nixon an unconditional pardon for crimes he might have committed while in office. The executive pardon was met with controversy, but President Ford defended his decision, stating that he wanted to bring closure to the Watergate Scandal that had divided the nation. He later was awarded the Profile in Courage Award for the pardon from the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.
The US Pledge of Allegiance was first recited. (1892) The Pledge, which was written by Baptist minister Francis Bellamy, was also published on this day in The Youth's Companion children's magazine. School's began having children recite the pledge on October 12th that same year.
The deadliest hurricane in US history hit Galveston, Texas. (1900) The Galveston Hurricane caused more than 8,000 deaths, making it the deadliest in US history and the third deadliest of any hurricane on the Atlantic Ocean in world history.
Internet users saw the first law suits for downloading shared music content. (2003) The Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) started filing copyright lawsuits for illegally downloaded MP3 music files. The RIAA had already started suing the file sharing sites in efforts to get them to shut down. This new strategy involved suing individual users, many of whom were children.
Italy's surrender to the Allied Forces in World War II was announced by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower. (1943) Under the leadership of Benito Mussolini, Italy had allied with Hitler starting in 1936. Mussolini was relieved of his power in July 1943. Marshal Pietro Badoglio assumed leadership and began negotiations with President Eisenhower, leading to a secret surrender on September 3rd.
Michaelangelo's sculpture David was unveiled. (1504) The Renaissance statue was unveiled in Florence, Italy, at the Palazzo della Signoria. The statue was moved in 1873 to the Accademia Gallery for preservation; it still is displayed there today.
Spanish settlers founded St. Augustine, Florida — the oldest European settlement in North America to be continuously occupied. (1565) Pedro Menéndez de Avilés founded the city, which is also the oldest port in the United States.
The Treaty of San Francisco was signed by 48 countries. (1951) The treaty established peace between the 47 nations and Japan, bringing an end to the Pacific War.
The first gay man in the US military made a stand for gay rights. (1975) Leonard Matlovich, a Tech Sergeant in the US Air Force and a decorated Vietnam War veteran, posed in uniform for the cover of Time magazine with the headline, "I Am A Homosexual." In October 1975, Matlovich was given a general discharge after he refused to sign a document agreeing to "never practice homosexuality again."
Invisible tape made its first appearance. (1930) The packaging company 3M started marketing its new brand of transparent Scotch tape, changing present-wrapping practices worldwide.