On Oct. 21, 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Both nominees were confirmed.)
In 1797, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides,” was christened in Boston’s harbor.
In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.
In 1892, schoolchildren across the U.S. observed Columbus Day (according to the Gregorian date) by reciting, for the first time, the original version of “The Pledge of Allegiance,” written by Francis Bellamy for The Youth’s Companion.
In 1917, members of the 1st Division of the U.S. Army training in Luneville, France, became the first Americans to see action on the front lines of World War I.
In 1941, superheroine Wonder Woman made her debut in All-Star Comics issue No. 8, published by All-American Comics, Inc. of New York.
In 1962, the Seattle World’s Fair closed after six months and nearly 10 million visitors. (President John F. Kennedy, scheduled to attend the closing ceremony, canceled because of what was described as a “head cold”; the actual reason turned out to be the Cuban Missile Crisis.)
In 1966, 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed when a coal waste landslide engulfed a school and some 20 houses in Aberfan, Wales.
In 1967, the Israeli destroyer INS Eilat was sunk by Egyptian missile boats near Port Said; 47 Israeli crew members were lost. Tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters began two days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C.
In 1986, pro-Iranian kidnappers in Lebanon abducted American Edward Tracy (he was released in Aug. 1991).
In 1991, American hostage Jesse Turner was freed by his kidnappers in Lebanon after nearly five years in captivity.
In 1996, President Clinton’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays in the military survived its first Supreme Court test.
In 2001, Washington, D.C., postal worker Thomas L. Morris Jr. died of inhalation anthrax as officials began testing thousands of postal employees.
Ten years ago: Dozens of members of the Mongol motorcycle gang were arrested by federal agents in six states on a variety of charges following a three-year investigation in which undercover agents infiltrated the group. Iraq’s Cabinet decided to ask the U.S. for changes to the draft agreement that would keep American troops there for three more years. The former prime minister of Thailand, Thaksin Shinawatra, was convicted in absentia of corruption and sentenced to two years in prison.
Five years ago: A seventh-grader at Sparks Middle School in Sparks, Nevada, shot and killed a teacher and wounded two classmates before taking his own life. Same-sex weddings began in New Jersey, the 14th state to recognize nuptials between gay partners. The San Francisco Bay Area’s main commuter train system and its unions reached a tentative agreement on a new contract.
One year ago: The five living former presidents appeared together for the first time since 2013 at a concert in Texas to raise money for victims of devastating hurricanes. The Houston Astros reached the World Series for just the second time in the team’s history, beating the New York Yankees 4-0 in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Joyce Randolph is 94. Rock singer Manfred Mann is 78. Musician Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MG’s) is 77. Singer Elvin Bishop is 76. TV’s Judge Judy Sheindlin is 76. Actor Everett McGill is 73. Musician Lee Loughnane (Chicago) is 72. Actor Dick Christie is 70. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 69. Actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson is 69. Musician Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s) is 65. Movie director Catherine Hardwicke is 63. Singer Julian Cope is 61. Rock musician Steve Lukather (Toto) is 61. Actor Ken Watanabe is 59. Actress Melora Walters is 58. Rock musician Che Colovita Lemon is 48. Rock singer-musician Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator) is 47. Christian rock musician Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) is 45. Actor Jeremy Miller is 42. Country singer Matthew Ramsey (Old Dominion) is 41. Actor Will Estes is 40. Actor Michael McMillian is 40. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian West is 38. Actor Matt Dallas is 36. Actress Charlotte Sullivan is 35. Actor Aaron Tveit is 35. Actor Glenn Powell is 30. Country singer Kane Brown is 25.
Thought for Today: “There are different kinds of wrong. The people sinned against are not always the best.” — Dame Ivy Compton-Burnett, English author (1892-1969).