Good News in History, September 11

193 years ago today, American landscape painter Thomas Hill was born in Warwickshire, England. Loosely affiliated with the Hudson River School, he joined the burgeoning movement of American landscape painters in awe of North American natural beauty, and his time in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California, and the White Mountains of New Hampshire contributed their splendor to the majority of his canvasses. SEE two of his finest works… (1829)

Moving to the United States from Birmingham with his family at the age of 15, he would marry a local of Massachusetts and sire 9 children. One of his daughters, Anne Mary Hill, had a son whose paintings captivated America like few others could—Norman Rockwell.

MORE Good News on this Day:

Mahatma Gandhi coined the term ‘Satyagraha’ (Truth-Force) to characterize Non-Violent movements (1906)
The Boston Red Sox won the World Series; wouldn’t repeat for 86 years (1918)
The Beatles recorded their first single, “Love Me Do” at EMI studios in London (1962)
At Camp David, President Jimmy Carter, Egyptian President Sadat, and Israeli Prime Minister Begin agreed on a framework for peace in the Middle East (1978)
Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds recorded his 4192nd hit, breaking Ty Cobb’s career record (1985)
Scots voted to create their own Parliament after a 291 year union with England (1997)

61 years ago today, the World Wildlife Fund was formed to save diverse species across the planet. With 35 million supporters and offices in nearly 100 countries, WWF has helped establish protected areas like the Galapagos National Park and worked to conserve iconic species including pandas, tigers, rhinos, and elephants – giving these animals and many more a brighter future.

copyright WWF / by Bernard DE WETTER

They also launched the world’s first eco-labels for food and consumer products, engineered debt swaps for nature in Africa, and advocated for the adoption of global agreements on wetlands, wildlife trade, biodiversity and climate.

“Thank you to the millions of people who have trusted and supported us, and to the thousands of WWF staff and trustees across the world for 60 years of passion and determination,” said Marco Lambertini, Director General of WWF International.

copyright WWF / Alex Walsh

From its beginnings as a small group of committed naturalists, WWF has expanded from protecting species to a systemic approach to conservation and sustainable development, tackling the main drivers of nature loss including energy and food production, as well as improving the governance of natural resources. Its familiar panda logo has become a symbol of hope that people and nature can live in harmony. SEE the dozens of WWF headlines on GNN… (1961)

21 years ago today, while waiting for a train in New York City to commute to work as a comic book illustrator, Gerard Way witnessed the World Trade Center collapse after the 9/11 attack.

2014 photo by rufus, CC license

The experience prompted him to start a new band, My Chemical Romance, for which he became the lead singer. He realized, “I need to do something that means something or my life will mean nothing… You don’t have to save the world, but make some kind of difference or say something that has some kind of value to it.” In March 2013, at the height of their success, the band broke up and Way became a successful solo artist for Warner Bros. Records. (2001)

On this day 25 years ago, the Mars Global Surveyor reached its destination—a stable orbit around the red planet.


NASA’s robotic spacecraft traveled nearly 466 million miles in 300 days (750 Million km) on a quest to map and examine the entire planet, from the ionosphere down through the atmosphere to photographing the surface—including images that appeared to prove the presence of water.

Powered by solar panels, it made 88 orbits, and continued its expedition for ten years, even taking pictures of two other NASA spacecrafts that had arrived. After its launch in 1996, the mission was extended twice, outlasting expectations, before the robot in 2006 finally quit transmitting a signal. The MGS remains in a stable near-polar circular orbit at about 450 km altitude, and will crash onto the surface of the planet in about 2047. (1997)

Happy 82nd Birthday to Brian De Palma, the film director and screenwriter of such films as The Untouchables and the 1996 Tom Cruise debut in Mission: Impossible.

2011, by Georges Biard, CC license

Born in New Jersey, he was a computer enthusiast enrolled at Columbia as a physics student, but became enraptured with the filmmaking process after viewing Citizen Kane, and the films of Alfred Hitchcock, to whom he has often been compared.

With a career spanning over 50 years, he is best known for his work in the suspense, crime, and psychological thriller genres, with such box office hits as Carrie, Dressed to Kill, Scarface, and Carlito’s Way. Ironically, he says he doesn’t like “scary movies” and would never go to see his own films. (1940)

And, on this day in 1945, the Dutch Physician Willem J Kolff performed the first successful kidney dialysis using his artificial hemodialysis machine.

Photo by KNAW, CC license

After becoming a doctor in the Netherlands, one of his first patients was a 22-year-old man who was slowly dying of renal failure. This prompted Kolff to perform research on an artificial dialyzer. His first prototype, built from orange juice cans, used auto parts, and sausage casings, lead to the successful treatment two years later that has saved the lives of millions ever since. (During his residency as a youth in 1940, Kolff also organized the first blood bank in Europe.)

Also on this day in 1967, the Carol Burnett Show premiered on CBS. The influential variety show ran for 11 seasons and featured the unforgettable ensemble of Carol Burnett, Vicki Lawrence, Harvey Korman, Lyle Waggoner, and Tim Conway.

The show won 25 Emmy Awards and was ranked number 16 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time. WATCH a few classic scenes below, fromThe Carol Burnett Show.

And, finally, on this day in 1893, the World’s Parliament of Religions conference opened—the very first organized interfaith gathering.

7000 people met in Chicago from at least 11 religions at the inaugural event that brought together both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Organized by the Swedenborgian layman and judge Charles Carroll Bonney, the vision of the Parliament was for a just, peaceful, and sustainable world.

Their idealistic values adopted included…

Religious and spiritual communities live in harmony and contribute to a better world from their riches of wisdom and compassion.
Religious and cultural fears and hatreds are replaced with understanding and respect.
People everywhere come to know and care for their neighbors.
The richness of human and religious diversity is woven into the fabric of communal, civil, societal and global life.
The world’s most powerful and influential institutions move beyond narrow self-interest to realize common good.
The Earth and all life are cherished, protected, healed and restored.
All people commit to living out their highest values and aspirations.

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