Today is Saturday, Sept. 29, the 273rd day of 2012. There are 93 days left in the year.
On Sept. 29, 1862, Prussia’s newly appointed minister-president, Otto von Bismarck, delivered a speech to the country’s parliament in which he declared the issue of German unification would be decided “not through speeches and majority decisions” but by “iron and blood (Eisen und Blut).” (Some references give the date of this speech as Sept. 30, 1862.)
On this date:
In 1789, the U.S. War Department established a regular army with a strength of several hundred men.
In 1829, London’s reorganized police force, which became known as Scotland Yard, went on duty.
In 1902, William Topaz McGonagall, affectionately remembered as one of Britain’s worst poets (if not the worst), died in Edinburgh, Scotland.
In 1907, the foundation stone was laid for the Washington National Cathedral, which wasn’t fully completed until this date in 1990.
In 1912, movie director Michelangelo Antonioni was born in Ferrara, Italy.
In 1938, British, French, German and Italian leaders concluded the Munich Agreement, which was aimed at appeasing Adolf Hitler by allowing Nazi annexation of Czechoslovakia’s Sudetenland.
In 1957, the New York Giants played their last game at the Polo Grounds, losing to the Pittsburgh Pirates, 9-1. (The Giants moved to San Francisco.)
In 1962, Canada joined the space age as it launched the Alouette 1 satellite from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The musical “My Fair Lady” closed on Broadway after 2,717 performances.
In 1978, Pope John Paul I was found dead in his Vatican apartment just over a month after becoming head of the Roman Catholic Church.
In 1982, Extra-Strength Tylenol capsules laced with cyanide claimed the first of seven victims in the Chicago area. (To date, the case remains unsolved.)
In 1987, Henry Ford II, longtime chairman of Ford Motor Co., died in Detroit at age 70.
In 2005, John G. Roberts Jr. was sworn in as the nation’s 17th chief justice after winning Senate confirmation.
Ten years ago: Israel bowed to U.N. demands and U.S. pressure, pulling troops and tanks out through the barbed wire encircling Yasser Arafat’s West Bank headquarters. West Coast longshoremen were ordered off their jobs for a second time in a costly labor dispute with shipping lines. Europe beat the Americans to win the Ryder Cup, 15½-12½.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush signed a bill to prevent a government shutdown, but lambasted Democrats controlling Congress for sending him the stopgap measure while they continued to work on more than a dozen spending bills. Actress Lois Maxwell, who’d starred as Miss Moneypenny in 14 James Bond movies, died in Fremantle, Australia, at age 80.
One year ago: Germany kept alive hopes that the 17-nation euro currency could survive the debt crisis as lawmakers in Europe’s largest economy voted overwhelmingly in favor of expanding the powers of the eurozone’s bailout fund. Phillip Matthew Hannan, the former New Orleans archbishop who eulogized President John F. Kennedy and who served more than three decades as the popular leader of his Roman Catholic archdiocese, died on the 47th anniversary of his ordination.
Today’s birthdays: Actress Lizabeth Scott is 90. Actor Steve Forrest is 87. Conductor Richard Bonynge is 82. Actress Anita Ekberg is 81. Writer-director Robert Benton is 80. Singer Jerry Lee Lewis is 77. Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is 76. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., is 70. Actor Ian McShane is 70. Jazz musician Jean-Luc Ponty is 70. Lech Walesa, the former president of Poland, is 69. Television-film composer Mike Post is 68. Actress Patricia Hodge is 66. TV personality Bryant Gumbel is 64. Rock singer-musician Mark Farner is 64. Rock singer-musician Mike Pinera is 64. Country singer Alvin Crow is 62. Actor Drake Hogestyn is 59. Broadcast journalist Gwen Ifill is 57. Former child actor Ken Weatherwax (“The Addams Family”) is 57. Olympic gold medal runner Sebastian Coe is 56. Singer Suzzy Roche (The Roches) is 56. Comedian-actor Andrew “Dice” Clay is 55. Rock singer John Payne (Asia) is 54. Actor Roger Bart is 50. Singer-musician Les Claypool is 49. Actress Jill Whelan is 46. Actor Luke Goss is 44. Rock musician Brad Smith (Blind Melon) is 44. Actress Erika Eleniak is 43. Rhythm-and-blues singer Devante Swing (Jodeci) is 43. Country singer Brad Cotter (“Nashville Star”) is 42. Actress Emily Lloyd is 42. Actress Natasha Gregson Wagner is 42. Actress Rachel Cronin is 41. Country musician Danick Dupelle (Emerson Drive) is 39. Actor Alexis Cruz is 38. Actor Zachary Levi is 32. Country singer Katie McNeill (3 of Hearts) is 30. Rock musician Josh Farro is 25.
Thought for today: “Wars teach us not to love our enemies, but to hate our allies.” — W.L. George, English writer (1882-1926).