Today in History
Today in History
Today is Sunday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2017. There are 133 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 20, 1977, the United States launched Voyager 2, an unmanned spacecraft carrying a 12-inch, gold-plated copper phonograph record containing images, greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature. (The probe is now more than 10 billion miles away from earth; a more precise, continually updated figure can be found online at https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/voyager/mission/status/.)
On this date:
In 1833, Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States, was born in North Bend, Ohio.
In 1866, more than a year after the end of fighting in the Civil War, President Andrew Johnson issued Proclamation 157, which declared that “peace, order, tranquillity, and civil authority now exist in and throughout the whole of the United States of America.”
In 1882, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” had its premiere in Moscow.
In 1910, a series of forest fires swept through parts of Idaho, Montana and Washington, killing at least 85 people and burning some 3 million acres.
In 1914, German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War I.
In 1940, during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force before the House of Commons, saying, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Coyoacan, Mexico by Ramon Mercader. (Trotsky died the next day.)
In 1953, the Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure.
In 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring” liberalization drive.
In 1972, the Wattstax concert took place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
In 1989, entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty, were shot to death in their Beverly Hills mansion by their sons, Lyle and Erik. Fifty-one people died when a pleasure boat sank in the River Thames (tehmz) in London after colliding with a dredger.
In 1992, shortly after midnight, the Republican National Convention in Houston nominated President George H.W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle for second terms in office.
Ten years ago: Tens of thousands of tourists fled the beaches of the Mayan Riviera as Hurricane Dean roared toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. A smoking China Airlines Boeing 737-800 exploded in a fireball at an airport gate in Okinawa seconds after all 157 passengers and eight crew members had safely evacuated. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama expressed irritation with the “Obama Girl” web video starring actress Amber Lee Ettinger, telling The Associated Press it had upset his young daughters. Hotel magnate Leona Helmsley died in Greenwich, Connecticut, at age 87.
Five years ago: In a historic change at one of the world’s most exclusive golf clubs, Augusta National invited former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and South Carolina financier Darla Moore to become the first female members; both accepted. Two college friends, Elizabeth Nass and Rose Mayr, were killed when a CSX train derailed on a rail bridge in Ellicott City, Maryland, burying the young women in coal. Comedian Phyllis Diller, 95, died at her Los Angeles home.
One year ago: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told a rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia that his party had to do a better job of appealing to African-American voters and that he wanted the GOP to become their political home as it was in the era of Abraham Lincoln. At the Rio Games, the U.S. women’s basketball team won a sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal in dominant fashion, routing Spain 101-72. Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt anchored the 4x400 relay teams to victory. Caster Semenya of South Africa won her first Olympic gold in a personal-best of 1:55.28 in the 800 meters.
Today’s Birthdays: Writer-producer-director Walter Bernstein is 98. Boxing promoter Don King is 86. Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, is 84. Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is 82. Former MLB All-Star Graig Nettles is 73. Broadcast journalist Connie Chung is 71. Musician Jimmy Pankow (Chicago) is 70. Actor Ray Wise is 70. Actor John Noble is 69. Rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) is 69. Country singer Rudy Gatlin is 65. Singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 65. Actor-director Peter Horton is 64. TV weatherman Al Roker is 63. Actor Jay Acovone is 62. Actress Joan Allen is 61. Movie director David O. Russell is 59. TV personality Asha Blake is 56. Actor James Marsters is 55. Rapper KRS-One is 52. Actor Colin Cunningham is 51. Actor Billy Gardell is 48. Rock singer Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) is 47. Actor Jonathan Ke Quan is 47. Rock musician Brad Avery is 46. Actor Misha Collins is 43. Rock singer Monique Powell (Save Ferris) is 42. Jazz/pop singer-pianist Jamie Cullum is 38. Actor Ben Barnes is 36. Actress Meghan Ory is 35. Actor Andrew Garfield is 34. Actor Brant Daugherty is 32. Actress-singer Demi Lovato is 25.
Thought for Today: “You know you’re old when your walker has an airbag.” — Phyllis Diller (1917-2012).