Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 31, 1777, during the Revolutionary War, the Marquis de Lafayette, a 19-year-old French nobleman, was made a major-general in the American Continental Army.
On this date:
In 1715, a fleet of Spanish ships carrying gold, silver and jewelry sank during a hurricane off the east Florida coast; of some 2,500 crew members, more than 1,000 died.
In 1919, Germany’s Weimar (VY’-mahr) Constitution was adopted by the republic’s National Assembly.
In 1945, Pierre Laval, premier of the pro-Nazi Vichy government, surrendered to U.S. authorities in Austria; he was turned over to France, which later tried and executed him.
In 1953, Sen. Robert A. Taft of Ohio, known as “Mr. Republican,” died in New York at age 63.
In 1957, the Distant Early Warning Line, a system of radar stations designed to detect Soviet bombers approaching North America, went into operation.
In 1970, “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” came to an end after nearly 14 years as co-anchor Chet Huntley signed off for the last time; the broadcast was renamed “NBC Nightly News.”
In 1971, Apollo 15 crew members David Scott and James Irwin became the first astronauts to use a lunar rover on the surface of the moon.
In 1972, Democratic vice-presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton withdrew from the ticket with George McGovern following disclosures that Eagleton had once undergone psychiatric treatment.
In 1981, a seven-week-old Major League Baseball strike ended.
In 1987, 35 years ago, “The Lost Boys” was released in theaters.
In 1991, President George H.W. Bush and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev signed the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty in Moscow.
In 2003, the Vatican launched a global campaign against gay marriages, warning Catholic politicians that support of same-sex unions was “gravely immoral” and urging non-Catholics to join the offensive.
In 2020, a federal appeals court overturned the death sentence of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, saying the judge who oversaw the case didn’t adequately screen jurors for potential biases. (The Supreme Court later reimposed the sentence.) Mexico became the country with the third most COVID-19 deaths in the world, behind the United States and Brazil.
Ten years ago: Three Indian electric grids collapsed in a cascade, cutting power to 620 million people in the world’s biggest blackout. At the London games, the team of Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, Aly Raisman (AL’-ee RAYS’-mihn), Kyla Ross and Jordyn Wieber won the first U.S. Olympic team title in women’s gymnastics since 1996. Michael Phelps broke the Olympic medals record with his 19th as the United States romped to a dominating win in the 4×200-meter freestyle relay. Author, playwright, politician and commentator Gore Vidal, 86, died in Los Angeles.
Five years ago: Retired Marine Gen. John Kelly was sworn in as White House chief of staff, replacing Reince Priebus. Hours later, White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was let go, just 11 days after he was appointed to the job. Former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio was convicted of a criminal charge for refusing to stop traffic patrols that targeted immigrants. (Arpaio was later pardoned by President Donald Trump.) The Trump administration slapped financial sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after a weekend election that gave his ruling party virtually unlimited powers. Los Angeles reached a deal with international Olympic leaders to host the 2028 Summer Games.
One year ago: American swimmer Katie Ledecky closed out her Tokyo Olympics with another gold medal, becoming the first female swimmer to capture six individual golds in her career with a victory in the 800-meter freestyle. Elaine Thompson-Herah broke Florence Griffith Joyner’s 33-year-old Olympic record in the women’s 100 meters, crossing the line in 10.61 seconds. Florida reported its highest one-day total of new COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, 21,683, as more theme park resorts again started asking visitors to wear masks indoors. A nationwide ban on evictions, put in place in response to the COVID-19 crisis as many workers lost income, expired, leaving millions of Americans at risk of being forced from their homes. (The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reimposed the moratorium within days, but the Supreme Court later found that the agency lacked the authority to do so.)
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Don Murray is 93. Jazz composer-musician Kenny Burrell is 91. Actor France Nuyen is 83. Actor Susan Flannery is 83. Singer Lobo is 78. Actor Geraldine Chaplin is 78. Former movie studio executive Sherry Lansing is 78. Singer Gary Lewis is 77. Actor Lane Davies is 72. Actor Susan Wooldridge is 72. International Tennis Hall of Famer Evonne Goolagong Cawley is 71. Actor Barry Van Dyke is 71. Actor Alan Autry is 70. Jazz composer-musician Michael Wolff is 70. Actor James Read is 69. Actor Michael Biehn is 66.
Rock singer-musician Daniel Ash (Love and Rockets) is 65. Actor Dirk Blocker is 65. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban is 64. Rock musician Bill Berry is 64. Actor Wally Kurth is 64. Actor Wesley Snipes is 60. Country singer Chad Brock is 59. Musician Fatboy Slim is 59. Rock musician Jim Corr is 58. Author J.K. Rowling (ROHL’-ing) is 57. Actor Dean Cain is 56. Actor Jim True-Frost is 56. Actor Ben Chaplin is 53. Actor Loren Dean is 53. Actor Eve Best is 51. Actor Annie Parisse (pah-REES’) is 47. Actor Robert Telfer is 45. Country singer-musician Zac Brown is 44. Actor-producer-writer B.J. Novak is 43. Actor Eric Lively is 41. Singer Shannon Curfman is 37. NHL center Evgeni Malkin is 36. Hip-hop artist Lil Uzi Vert is 28. Actor Reese Hartwig is 24. Actor Rico Rodriguez is 24.