Today in History
Today is Tuesday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2019. There are 133 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 20, 1986, postal employee Patrick Henry Sherrill went on a deadly rampage at a post office in Edmond, Okla., shooting 14 fellow workers to death before killing himself.
On this date:
In 1862, the New York Tribune published an open letter by editor Horace Greeley calling on President Abraham Lincoln to take more aggressive measures to free the slaves and end the South’s rebellion.
In 1866, President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over, months after fighting had stopped.
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 1953, the Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
In 1955, hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.
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 1988, a cease-fire in the war between Iraq and Iran went into effect.
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 in London after colliding with a dredger.
In 2005, Northwest Airlines mechanics went on strike rather than accept pay cuts and layoffs; Northwest ended up hiring replacement workers. San Francisco 49ers offensive lineman Thomas Herrion, 23, died of a heart attack shortly after a preseason game against the Denver Broncos.
In 2008, a Spanish jetliner crashed during takeoff from Madrid, killing 154 people; 18 survived.
In 2017, actor, comic and longtime telethon host Jerry Lewis died of heart disease in Las Vegas at the age of 91.
Ten years ago: The only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 returned home to Libya after his release on compassionate grounds from a Scottish prison. (Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, said to have only months to live because of prostate cancer, died nearly three years later.) Ryan Alexander Jenkins, a contestant on the VH1 reality show “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” was charged with murdering his wife, Jasmine Fiore, whose body was found in Buena Park, California. (Jenkins was found dead three days later, an apparent suicide.) One-time Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress accepted a plea bargain with a two-year prison sentence for accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub.
Five years ago: The United States launched a new barrage of airstrikes against Islamic State extremists and weighed sending more troops to Iraq as President Barack Obama vowed to be relentless in pursuit of a terrorist group that beheaded American journalist James Foley. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder arrived in Ferguson, Missouri, to meet with federal investigators and reassure residents of the community torn by several nights of racial unrest since the fatal shooting of a black 18-year-old by a white police officer.
One year ago: In a letter to Catholics worldwide, Pope Francis vowed that “no effort must be spared” to root out sex abuse by priests and cover-ups by the Catholic Church. Afghan forces rescued nearly 150 people, hours after the Taliban ambushed a convoy of buses and abducted them; the militants escaped with 21 captives. The Recording Industry of America said The Eagles’ greatest hits album had surpassed Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” to become the best-selling album of all time in the U.S.
Today’s Birthdays: Writer-producer-director Walter Bernstein is 100. Boxing promoter Don King is 88. Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, is 86. Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is 84. Former MLB All-Star Graig Nettles is 75. Broadcast journalist Connie Chung is 73. Musician Jimmy Pankow (Chicago) is 72. Actor Ray Wise is 72. Actor John Noble is 71. Rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) is 71. Country singer Rudy Gatlin is 67. Singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 67. Actor-director Peter Horton is 66. TV weatherman Al Roker is 65. Actor Jay Acovone is 64. Actress Joan Allen is 63. Movie director David O. Russell is 61. TV personality Asha Blake is 58. Actor James Marsters is 57. Rapper KRS-One is 54. Actor Colin Cunningham is 53. Actor Billy Gardell is 50. Rock singer Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) is 49. Actor Jonathan Ke Quan is 49. Rock musician Brad Avery is 48. Actor Misha Collins is 45. Rock singer Monique Powell (Save Ferris) is 44. Jazz/pop singer-pianist Jamie Cullum is 40. Actor Ben Barnes is 38. Actress Meghan Ory is 37. Actor Andrew Garfield is 36. Actor Brant Daugherty is 34. Actress-singer Demi Lovato is 27. Actor Christopher Paul Richards is 16.
Thought for Today: “Justice is conscience, not a personal conscience but the conscience of the whole of humanity.” — Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Russian author (1918-2008).