Sept. 2015

This Day in History… September 12, 1913

Birth of Superstar Athlete Jesse Owens 

U.S. #2496 – Owens claimed the secret to his success was that “I let my feet spend as little time on the ground as possible. From the air, fast down, and from the ground, fast up.”

Born on September 12, 1913, Jesse Owens broke several track and field records and won four Olympic gold medals. He was ranked as the greatest athlete in the history of his sport.

The youngest of ten children, Owens spent his childhood in Alabama and then Ohio. He took on various jobs as a child to help out the family, including delivering groceries, loading freight cars, and working in a shoe repair store. He discovered his passion for running at an early age, which eventually earned him national attention in high school when he tied the world record for the 100-yard dash.

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This Day in History… September 11, 2001

U.S. #B2 – This Semi-postal stamp raised funds to assist the families of emergency relief personnel killed or permanently disabled in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

9/11 Terrorist Attacks and the Fate of the Ground Zero Flag 

At 8:46 a.m. on the morning of September 11, 2001, American Airlines Flight 11 crashed into the North Tower of New York City’s World Trade Center, changing our world forever. Before the day was over, close to 3,000 people would lose their lives, and countless heroes would be made. From that day forward, the term “9/11” would symbolize both disaster and heroics.

One of the most enduring images of the day was captured by photographer Thomas E. Franklin, and is pictured on the U.S. semipostal stamp, #B2.

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This Day in History… September 10, 1846

Elias Howe Patents First Lockstitch Sewing Machine 

U.S. #892 – Howe went on to serve in the Civil War, using money he’d earned from his sewing machines to outfit his regiment. He also worked as the regiment’s postmaster, delivering war news.

After eight years of tinkering, Elias Howe was awarded the first U.S. patent for a practical lockstitch sewing machine on September 10, 1846.

Howe didn’t invent the first sewing machine – various forms of mechanized sewing had been used as early as 1790. Over the years, various inventors created and even patented sewing machines, but none produced a durable enough stitch to replace hand-sewing. Walter Hunt came close in the early 1830s. He invented a back-stitch sewing machine, but refused to patent it for fear of the jobs it would take away from seamstresses.

Meanwhile, in Massachusetts, Elias Howe was working for machinist Ari Davis. Davis once told Howe that whoever invented a practical sewing machine would be rich. And so, Howe set about being that man. He worked on the machine for eight years in his spare time, working out the logistics.

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This Day in History… September 9, 1776

The “United Colonies” Become “United States” 

U.S. #1543-46 commemorates the First Continental Congress, which met in 1774. The Second Continental Congress convened the following year to manage the war effort and declare independence, among other things.

On September 9, 1776, the Second Continental Congress declared that the United Colonies would now be known as the United States.

Richard Henry Lee may have been one of the first people to officially refer to America as the “United States.” On June 7, 1776, he submitted a resolution to Congress stating “That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.” Congress approved his resolution on July 2 – a date future president John Adams believed would be one of the most celebrated in American history. However, the adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence two days later received that honor.

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This Day in History… September 8, 1892

Pledge of Allegiance First Published 

U.S. #2593 was issued in Francis Bellamy’s hometown of Rome, New York, which is less than 20 miles from Mystic’s home in Camden.

On September 8, 1892, Francis Bellamy’s Pledge of Allegiance was published in The Youth’s Companion magazine to promote patriotism among children.

Francis Bellamy was raised in Rome, New York, where his father, David, was the pastor of the First Baptist Church. In 1885, Bellamy accepted a position with the Dearborn Street Church in Boston. While in Boston, Bellamy was part of a national committee that formed to foster patriotism in schools in conjunction with the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of America. James Upham of The Youth’s Companion magazine also saw the event as an opportunity to realize his goal – of placing flags in every school in America.

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This Day in History… September 7, 1797

First USS Constellation Launched 

U.S. #3869 honors the second Constellation, built in 1854 with some materials salvaged from the original ship.

Ordered by a Congressional Act in 1794, the first American ship to be christened the Constellation was launched on September 7, 1797.

Designed by naval constructors Joshua Humphreys and Josiah Fox, the Constellation was the first ship commissioned into the United States Navy and the first put to sea. As such, it received the most esteemed name – Constellation, in honor of the ring of white stars against a blue background that was once featured on the American flag.

The Constellation was quickly pressed into service the following year, convoying merchantmen before traveling to the West Indies to protect American commerce in the Quasi War against France. The ship first saw battle on February 9, 1799 in the waters near Nevis. There it captured France’s fastest ship – the L’Insurgente – making it the first U.S. boat to capture an enemy vessel. Over the next few months, the Constellation seized two more French privateers. Amazed by its ability to travel 13 knots while sailing under nearly an acre of canvas sails, French sailors nicknamed it the “Yankee Racehorse.”

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