For any American not in a coma, the date of September 11 automatically brings to mind images of planes crashing into the towers of the World Trade Center. And no matter what side of the political spectrum you may fall on, you have to admit we’re still culturally obsessed with the events of September 11, 2001 and the aftermath.
As I’ve been taking this time to reflect on the inevitable September 11 discussions I’ve been participating in this week, I can’t help bet be surprised we’ve commemorated that tragic event with the date. We don’t call the Christmas holiday “December 25,” after all.
I don’t want you to misunderstand. I think the events of September 11, 2001 still affect us deeply and should be remembered and discussed on the anniversary of the attacks. I just feel bad for all the other things that have happened (or regularly happen) on September 11 that have been forgotten because we’ve named an important event in American history after the date it fell upon.
So, with no further ado, here are some events that happened on other September 11s throughout history.
September 11, 1792: The Hope Diamond is stolen.
Long thought to bring a curse of misfortune upon its holders, the Hope Diamond was stolen on September 11, 1792 from King Louis XIV during the French Revolution. He and Marie Antoinette were in prison when the blue, 45.52 carat diamond was taken. The Hope Diamond currently resides in the Smithsonian Natural History Museum.
September 11, 1906: Gandhi begins the non-violent protest movement in South Africa.
Before Mahatma Gandhi used non-violent tactics to kick the British out of India, he was working for the British Army stationed in South Africa. In South Africa, Gandhi was treated poorly for being a man of color and denied the right to vote by a newly passed South African law. Gandhi first tested his theories of non-violent protest at a September 11, 1906 gathering to protest the treatment of Indians living in South Africa.
September 11, 1962: The Beatles make the third and most widely distributed recording of “Love Me Do.”
The first Beatles recording of “Love Me Do” featured Pete Best on drums. Best, you might not remember, was the “fifth” Beatle who quit right before the band achieved overnight super-stardom. The second recording of “Love Me Do” had Ringo Starr playing drums, and badly enough the studio executives wanted a better recording.
The recording of “Love me Do” that became the Beatles first hit single was recorded on September 11, 1962, and some guy they hired for the day played drums.
September 11, 1973: Augusto Pinochet seizes power in Chile.
In a coup d’etat that deposed Salvador Allende, Augusto Pinochet would soon become one of the most famously cruel dictators in history. Allende killed himself during the seige, and Pinochet quickly set up a concentration camp in Chile’s old National Stadium. Thousands of murders and disappearances later, no one seems to remember that Pinochet’s particular reign of terror began on September 11, 1973.
September 11, 1999: Serena Williams wins the U.S. Open.
Serena Williams won the U.S. Open on September 11, 1999, beginning what would become an American obsession with Serena and her sister Venus. Serena Williams was the first African American woman to win the U.S. Open since 1958.
September 11, Ongoing: First day of Coptic and Ethiopian calendar years.
Happy New Year to those of the Coptic Orthodox faith, and Ethiopians around the world! The Coptic calendar is based on the ancient Egyptian calendar and has three seasons of four months each. The Coptic Orthodox New Year is called the Feast of Neyrouz. The Ethiopian calendar is based on the Coptic calendar, and the Ethiopian New Year is called Enkutatash. Every leap year, the new year is celebrated on September 12 instead of September 11.