Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 21, the 233rd day of 2019. There are 132 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 21, 2000, rescue efforts to reach the sunken Russian nuclear submarine Kursk ended with divers announcing none of the 118 sailors had survived.
On this date:
In 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his new telescope to a group of officials atop the Campanile in Venice.
In 1831, Nat Turner launched a violent slave rebellion in Virginia resulting in the deaths of at least 55 whites. (Turner was later executed.)
In 1863, pro-Confederate raiders attacked Lawrence, Kansas, massacring the men and destroying the town’s buildings.
In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. (The painting was recovered two years later in Italy.)
In 1912, the Boy Scouts of America named its first Eagle Scout, Arthur Rose Eldred of Troop 1 in Rockville Centre, N.Y.
In 1940, exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky died in a Mexican hospital from wounds inflicted by an assassin the day before.
In 1963, martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police and army troops began a violent crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.
In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., ending a self-imposed exile in the United States, was shot dead moments after stepping off a plane at Manila International Airport. The musical play “La Cage Aux Folles” opened on Broadway.
In 1991, the hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev collapsed in the face of a popular uprising led by Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin.
In 1992, an 11-day siege began at the cabin of white separatist Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, as government agents tried to arrest Weaver for failing to appear in court on charges of selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns; on the first day of the siege, Weaver’s teenage son, Samuel, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Degan were killed.
In 1993, in a serious setback for NASA, engineers lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft as it was about to reach the red planet on a $980 million mission.
In 1995, ABC News settled a $10 billion libel suit by apologizing to Philip Morris for reporting the tobacco giant had manipulated the amount of nicotine in its cigarettes.
Ten years ago: A wildfire broke out north of Athens, Greece; in the days that followed, the blaze spread, charring 80 square miles before being extinguished. A high-level delegation of North Korean officials paid their respects to late former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung. Leaders of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America voted to lift a ban that prohibited sexually active gays and lesbians from serving as ministers.
Five years ago: Calling it a “miraculous day,” an American doctor infected with Ebola left his isolation unit at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta; Dr. Kent Brantly warmly hugged his physicians and nurses, showing the world that he posed no public health threat one month after getting sick with the virus. Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson, where nightly scenes of unrest had erupted since a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black 18-year-old nearly two weeks earlier.
One year ago: Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer, pleaded guilty to campaign-finance violations and other charges; Cohen said Trump directed him to arrange the payment of hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels and a former Playboy model to fend off damage to his White House bid. Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was found guilty of eight financial crimes in the first trial victory of the special counsel investigation into Trump’s associates. Republican Cong. Duncan Hunter of California and his wife were charged with using more than $250,000 in campaign funds for personal expenses such as family trips to Italy and Hawaii. The body of college student Mollie Tibbetts was found in an Iowa cornfield; authorities say they were led to the body by a farmworker from Mexico who was suspected of being in the country illegally and that he confessed to kidnapping and killing her while she was out running.
Today’s Birthdays: Former NFL player and general manager Pete Retzlaff is 88. Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 87. Playwright Mart Crowley is 84. Singer Kenny Rogers is 81. Actor Clarence Williams III is 80. Rock-and-roll musician James Burton is 80. Singer Harold Reid (The Statler Brothers) is 80. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 78. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is 74. Actress Patty McCormack is 74. Pop singer-musician Carl Giammarese is 72. Actress Loretta Devine is 70. NBC newsman Harry Smith is 68. Singer Glenn Hughes is 67. Country musician Nick Kane is 65. Actress Kim Cattrall is 63. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon is 60. Actress Cleo King is 57. Retired MLB All-Star John Wetteland is 53. Rock singer Serj Tankian (System of a Down) is 52. Figure skater Josee Chouinard is 50. Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 49. MLB player-turned-manager Craig Counsell is 49. Rock musician Liam Howlett (Prodigy) is 48. Actress Alicia Witt is 44. Singer Kelis is 40. Actor Diego Klattenhoff is 40. TV personality Brody Jenner is 36. Singer Melissa Schuman is 35. Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain Bolt is 33. Actor Carlos Pratts is 33. Actor-comedian Brooks Wheelan is 33. Actor Cody Kasch is 32. Country singer Kacey Musgraves is 31. Actress Hayden Panettiere is 30. Actor RJ Mitte is 27. Actor Maxim Knight is 20.
Thought for Today: “I don’t measure America by its achievement but by its potential.” — Shirley Chisholm, American politician (1924-2005).