Today is Thursday, Sept. 12, the 255th day of 2019. There are 110 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight: On Sept. 12, 2001, stunned rescue workers continued to search for bodies in the World Trade Center’s smoking rubble a day after a terrorist attack that shut down the financial capital, badly damaged the Pentagon and left thousands dead. President Bush, branding the attacks in New York and Washington “acts of war,” said “this will be a monumental struggle of good versus evil” and that “good will prevail.”

On this date:

In 1942, during World War II, a German U-boat off West Africa torpedoed the RMS Laconia, which was carrying Italian prisoners of war, British soldiers and civilians; it’s estimated more than 1,600 people died while some 1,100 survived after the ship sank. The German crew, joined by other U-boats, began rescue operations. Four days later, the rescue effort came to an abrupt halt when the Germans were attacked by a U.S. Army bomber; as a result, U-boat commanders were ordered to no longer rescue civilian survivors of submarine attacks.

In 1959, the Soviet Union launched its Luna 2 space probe, which made a crash landing on the moon. The TV Western series “Bonanza” premiered on NBC.

In 1962, in a speech at Rice University in Houston, President John F. Kennedy reaffirmed his support for the manned space program, declaring: “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

In 1977, South African black student leader and anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko, 30, died while in police custody, triggering an international outcry.

In 1987, reports surfaced that Democratic presidential candidate Joseph Biden had borrowed, without attribution, passages of a speech by British Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock for one of his own campaign speeches. The Kinnock report, along with other damaging revelations, prompted Biden to drop his White House bid.

In 1994, a stolen, single-engine Cessna crashed into the South Lawn of the White House, coming to rest against the executive mansion; the pilot, Frank Corder, was killed.

In 2003, In the Iraqi city of Fallujah, U.S. forces mistakenly opened fire on vehicles carrying police, killing eight of them.

In 2008, a Metrolink commuter train struck a freight train head-on in Los Angeles, killing 25 people. Federal investigators said the Metrolink engineer, Robert Sanchez, who was among those who died, had been text-messaging on his cell phone and ran a red light shortly before the crash.

In 2012, the U.S. dispatched an elite group of Marines to Tripoli, Libya, after the mob attack in Benghazi that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans. President Barack Obama strongly condemned the violence, and vowed to bring the killers to justice;.

Ten years ago: Tens of thousands of protesters marched to the U.S. Capitol, showing their disdain for President Barack Obama’s health care plan.

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