September comes to a close, and the first days of Autumn have already revealed the seasonal changes. What makes one day in time more important than another? School is now back in session, and those of us who are no longer ruled by the school calendar, have begun to move into the events that set Autumn apart from summer. Recently at my yoga class, one local man arrived in his shorts, determined he said, not to acknowledge the end of summer yet. Interesting changes happen in the Autumn. On this day, September 30th, a number of interesting events have occurred.
On this day in 1709, Mozart’s Magic Flute was performed for the first time in Vienna, Austria. In 1935, George Gershwin’s opera, Porgy and Bess, opened in Boston at the Colonial Theater. In 1965, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation establishing the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities.
Great leaders fall at the end of September. In 1399, Richard the II was deposed, and in 1568, Erik XIV, the King of Sweden, was deposed after it appears he was showing signs of madness. In 1955, Actor, James Dean was killed when he was involved in a car accident in his Porsche while on his way to participate in a car race in Salinas, California.
War often takes the forefront in the Autumn. In 1864, Confederate troops failed in their attempt to retake Fort Harrison from the Union troops during the Battle of Petersburg. In 1911, Italy declares war on Turkey (The Ottoman Empire). In 1938, Italy, Britain, France, and Germany sign an accord allowing Germany to take control of Sudetenland, a German-speaking part of Czechoslovakia. In 1950, UN forces crossed the 38th parallel (the dividing line between North and South Korea) as they pursue the retreating North Korean Army.
Innovations unveiled on the last day of September include the first anesthetized tooth extraction being done by Dr. William Morton in 1846 in Charleston, Massachusetts. In 1954, The Nautilus, the first atomic-powered submarine was commissioned in Groton, Connecticut. The AH-64, the Apache attack helicopter, made its first flight in 1975. In 1943, the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps became the Women’s Army Corps, giving it equal status as the other army service corps.
Natural and human-induced disasters have occurred on September 30 including the 2nd worse nuclear disaster at the Tokaimura uranium processing plant in Japan in 1999 and the earthquake in Sumatra in 2009 that killed more than 1,115 people.
September is baseball season, and on September 30, 1972, Roberto Clemente hit his 3,000th home run, the final hit of his career in baseball.
On September 30, 1861 William Wrigley, Jr., founder of the Wrigley chewing gum empire and the owner of the Chicago Cubs baseball season was born. Author, Truman Capote was born on this date in 1924. Elie Wiesel was born on this date in 1928. Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor and author who continues to work for peace and tolerance. Singer, Johnny Mathis was born on this day in 1935. Persian poet, Jalal al-Din Muhammad Rumi, was born on this date in 1207. Johann Sebastian Bach was born on this date in 1622, and it is rumored that Robinson Crusoe, Daniel DeFoe’s fictional character’s birthday is also September 30. It is also said that Robinson Crusoe’s shipwreck took place on this date in 1659.
Another interesting fact is that in 1777, Congress had to flee to York, Pennsylvania as British troops advanced on Washington, D.C.. Let’s hope this date is remembered for noble acts and deeds, the birth of great and wise men and women, and for creative and artistic endeavors that overshadow and neutralize acts of violence and mean-spiritedness.