September 8, 1974. Richard Nixon, who resigned as US President one month earlier over the Watergate scandal, is given a pardon by his successor Gerald Ford for any crimes he may have committed while in office. Nixon became the first president in American history to step down, with impeachment proceedings under way against him relating to revelations of illegal election campaign activities and efforts to cover them up. Ford, himself the first president not to be elected to office, had been under pressure to punish Nixon, but he eventually offered a pardon in exchange for a public apology. Although initially reluctant to issue such a statement, Nixon finally agreed and Ford granted the pardon. Years later he defended his decision, saying that he wanted to end the national rift caused by Watergate.
Also on September 8: the first ever Football League matches are played in England (1888); Italy offically surrenders to the Allies in WWII (1943); broadcast of the first episode of Star Trek (1966); The Republic of Macedonia gains independence (1991).
Born on September 8: Antonin Dvorak (1841), Siegfried Sassoon (1886), Patsy Cline (1932), Pink (1979).