SEPTEMBER 8, in the year 70 AD, the Jewish capital of Jerusalem was destroyed by the Romans.
This was the same date, known as Tisha B'Av in the Hebrew calendar, that Jerusalem was destroyed by the Babylonians 655 years earlier.
Historian Josephus recorded over a million Jews died as the Roman army laid siege, led by the future Roman Emperor Titus.
The conquest included the destruction of the Second Temple and the carrying away of the Temple treasures, memorialized on the Arch of Titus and used to finance the building of the Colosseum in Rome.
Judea was made into a Roman Province.
In 135 AD, after Bar Kokhba's revolt, Roman Emperor Hadrian renamed the Province "Syria Palaestina," and renamed Jerusalem "Aelia Capitolina," in an attempt to erase Jewish history from the area.
Jews were even banned from entering the city on pain of death, though in 325 AD, Jews were allowed to enter once a year to pray at the Western Wall on Tisha B'Av.
The Land of Israel was successively invaded or occupied:
390 AD Byzantine Empire
614 AD Sassanid Persians
635 AD Umayyad Caliphate
750 AD Abbasid Caliphate
909 AD Fatimid Caliphate
1071 AD Seljuk Turks
1099 AD Latin Kingdom of Jerusalem
1187 AD Ayyubid Sultanate
1260 AD Mongolian Empire
1291 AD Mamluk Sultanate of Egypt
1517 AD Ottoman Sultanate
1660 AD Druze Dynasty
1799 AD French Napoleon
1844 AD Tanzimat Ottoman Empire
1864 AD Ottoman Vilayet of Syria
1917 AD Britain Mandate, issuing the Balfour Declaration establishing the Jewish homeland.
On May 14, 1948 AD, the Nation of Israel came into being again, and after the 1967 War, Jerusalem was once again under Jewish control.
Jerusalem was reaffirmed as Israel's capital with "The Basic Law: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel," passed in 1980.
For centuries, people desired to pilgrimage to Jerusalem, including Abraham Lincoln.
A scrapbook in the Library of Congress contains the account of Rev. N.W. Miner of Springfield, who officiated at Lincoln's burial, recalling President Lincoln's last words while at Ford's Theater with his wife:
"Mrs. Lincoln informed me that...the very last moments of his conscious life were spent in conversation with her about his future plans...
He said he wanted to visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footprints of the Saviour.
He was saying there was no city he so much desired to see as Jerusalem."
Israel was pressured by the U.S. to evacuate its Gaza region in exchange for a promise of peace, with the last residents being forced out on August 22, 2005.
The next day, on the other side of the world, a tropical depression turned into Hurricane Katrina which headed for New Orleans, forcing tens of thousands to evacuate.
With property damage estimated at $81 billion and nearly 2,000 people dead, it was the deadliest hurricane in U.S. history.
On SEPTEMBER 8, 2005, President Bush declared a Day of Prayer and Remembrance, saying:
"Hurricane Katrina was one of the worst natural disasters in our Nation's history and has caused unimaginable devastation and heartbreak throughout the Gulf Coast Region...
Communities...decimated...Lives...lost...Hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans are suffering great hardship."
President Bush continued:
"To honor the memory of those who lost their lives, to provide comfort and strength to families of the victims...
I call upon all Americans to pray to Almighty God and to perform acts of service...
Across our Nation, many selfless deeds reflect the promise of the Scripture:
'For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in.'"
Lincoln, Abraham. April 14, 1865, Ford's Theatre, his last words. Miner, Lincoln, p. 52. Peter Marshall & David Manuel, The Glory of America (Bloomington, MN: Garborg's Heart 'N Home, Inc., 1991), 4.14. The New York Times, Opinionator - A Gathering of Opinion From Around the Web, December 24, 2010, Christmas With Lincoln by Ted Widmer. "...There are several competing traditions about Lincoln’s final words, but a fascinating claim was advanced by the Rev. N. W. Miner of Springfield, who officiated at Lincoln’s burial. In a scrapbook at the Library of Congress, he registered the following claim about Lincoln’s last seconds: 'Mrs. Lincoln informed me that the last day he lived was the happiest of his life. The very last moments of his conscious life were spent in conversation with her about his future plans, and what he wanted to do when his term of office expired. He said he wanted to visit the Holy Land and see those places hallowed by the footprints of the Saviour. He was saying there was no city he so much desired to see as Jerusalem, and with the words half spoken on his tongue, the bullet of the assassin entered his brain, and the soul of the great and good President was carried by the angels to the New Jerusalem above.'" Sources: Harper’s Weekly, Dec. 22 and Dec. 29, 1860; Henry Villard, “Lincoln on the Eve of ’61″ (ed. Harold G. and Oswald Garrison Villard); Merrill Peterson, “Lincoln in American Memory”; Karal Ann Marling, “Merry Christmas! Celebrating America’s Greatest Holiday”; Joanne Martell, “American Christmases”; William Herndon and Jesse W. Weik, “Herndon’s Life of Lincoln”; John Wesley Hill, “Abraham Lincoln, Man of God”; Edgar DeWitt Jones, “Lincoln and the Preachers”; William Barton, “The Soul of Abraham Lincoln”; William J. Johnson, “Abraham Lincoln The Christian”; Carl Sandburg (ed.), “Lincoln’s Devotional.”