Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the White House, as well as other public buildings.
On this date:
In A.D. 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.
In 1857, the New York branch of the Ohio Life Insurance and Trust Company failed, sparking the Panic of 1857.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, making her the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, from coast to coast.
In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.
In 1959, three days after Hawaiian statehood, Hiram L. Fong was sworn in as the first Chinese-American U.S. Senator while Daniel K. Inouye was sworn in as the first Japanese-American U.S. Representative.
In 1968, France became the world’s fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon. (Chapman remains imprisoned.)
In 1989, the Voyager 2 space probe flew by Neptune, sending back striking photographs.
In 2003, the Justice Department reported the U.S. crime rate in 2002 was the lowest since studies began in 1973.
In 2006, the International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a full-fledged planet, demoting it to the status of a “dwarf planet.”
In 2007, the NFL indefinitely suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick without pay after he acknowledged in court papers that he had, indeed, bankrolled gambling on dogfighting and helped kill some dogs not worthy of the pit.
Ten years ago: All sales under the government’s Cash for Clunkers program came to an end, although car dealers were given more time to submit pending claims for reimbursement. Scotland’s justice minister, Kenny MacAskill, defended his much-criticized decision to free Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, convicted of being the Lockerbie bomber, on compassionate grounds.
Five years ago: A magnitude 6.0 earthquake struck Northern California, causing extensive damage in Napa and the surrounding area. Peter Theo Curtis, an American freelance journalist kidnapped and held hostage for nearly two years by an al-Qaida-linked group in Syria, was released less than a week after the horrific execution of American journalist James Foley by Islamic militants. South Korea won the Little League World Series championship game, defeating Chicago 8-4 in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. At the MTV Video Music Awards, Miley Cyrus won Video of the Year for “Wrecking Ball.”
One year ago: The family of Arizona Sen. John McCain announced that he had discontinued medical treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer; McCain died the following day. Robin Leach, host of the 1980s TV show “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous,” died in Las Vegas at the age of 76. The S&P 500 index finished at an all-time high of 2,874.69, just two days after the bull market in U.S. stocks became the longest in history.
Today’s Birthdays: Composer-musician Mason Williams is 81. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 77. Rock musician Ken Hensley is 74. Actress Anne Archer is 72. Actor Joe Regalbuto is 70. Actor Kevin Dunn is 64. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 64. Actor-writer Stephen Fry is 62. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 61. Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is 59. Actor Jared Harris is 58. Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 57. CBS News correspondent Major Garrett is 57. Rock singer John Bush is 56. Actress Marlee Matlin is 54. Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller is 54. Broadcast journalist David Gregory is 49. Country singer Kristyn Osborn (SHeDaisy) is 49. Movie director Ava DuVernay is 47. Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 46. Actor James D’Arcy is 46. Actor Carmine Giovinazzo is 46. Actor Alex O’Loughlin is 43. Actress Beth Riesgraf is 41. Actor Chad Michael Murray is 38. Christian rock musician Jeffrey Gilbert (Kutless) is 36. Singer Mika is 36. Actor Blake Berris is 35. Actor Rupert Grint (“Harry Potter” films) is 31.
Thought for Today: “Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” — Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher (born and died in the 6th century, B.C.E.).