Today in History

Published 12:01 am Saturday, October 14, 2017

Today is Saturday, Oct. 14, the 287th day of 2017. There are 78 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 14, 1947, U.S. Air Force Capt. Charles E. (“Chuck”) Yeager (YAY’-gur) became the first test pilot to break the sound barrier as he flew the experimental Bell XS-1 (later X-1) rocket plane over Muroc Dry Lake in California.

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On this date:

In 1066, Normans under William the Conqueror defeated the English at the Battle of Hastings.

In 1890, Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th president of the United States, was born in Denison, Texas.

In 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt, campaigning for the White House as the Progressive (“Bull Moose”) candidate, went ahead with a speech in Milwaukee after being shot and wounded in the chest by New York saloonkeeper John Schrank, declaring, “It takes more than one bullet to kill a bull moose.”

In 1926, “Winnie-the-Pooh” by A.A. Milne was first published by Methuen & Co. of London.

In 1939, a German U-boat torpedoed and sank the HMS Royal Oak, a British battleship anchored at Scapa Flow in Scotland’s Orkney Islands; 833 of the more than 1,200 men aboard were killed.

In 1944, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel committed suicide rather than face trial and certain execution for allegedly conspiring against Adolf Hitler.

In 1959, actor Errol Flynn died in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, at age 50.

In 1960, Democratic presidential candidate John F. Kennedy suggested the idea of a Peace Corps while addressing an audience of students at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

In 1964, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev was toppled from power; he was succeeded by Leonid Brezhnev as First Secretary and by Alexei Kosygin as Premier.

In 1977, singer Bing Crosby died outside Madrid, Spain, at age 74.

In 1987, a 58-hour drama began in Midland, Texas, as 18-month-old Jessica McClure slid 22 feet down a narrow abandoned well at a private day care center; she was rescued on Oct. 16.

In 1997, novelist Harold Robbins died in Palm Springs, California, at age 81.

Ten years ago: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice opened an intense round of Mideast shuttle diplomacy. Three University of Texas students exploring Airman’s Cave were rescued after getting lost inside a day earlier. Lorena Ochoa clinched her second straight LPGA Tour player of the year award with a runaway victory in the Samsung World Championship, finishing at 18-under 270. The reality TV show “Keeping Up with the Kardashians” premiered on E! Entertainment Television.

Five years ago: Extreme athlete Felix Baumgartner landed gracefully in the eastern New Mexico desert after a 24-mile jump from a balloon in the stratosphere in a daring, dramatic feat that officials said made him the first skydiver to fall faster than the speed of sound. Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Chuck Yeager, at the age of 89, marked the 65th anniversary of his supersonic flight by smashing through the sound barrier again, this time in the backseat of an F-15 which took off from Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada. Former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, 82, died in Philadelphia. The St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 6-4 in Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, while the Detroit Tigers blanked the New York Yankees 3-0 to take a 2-0 lead in the American League Championship Series.

One year ago: A judge in Connecticut dismissed a wrongful-death lawsuit by Newtown families against the maker of the rifle used in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting massacre, citing a federal law that shielded gun manufacturers from most lawsuits over criminal use of their products. The Cleveland Indians defeated the Toronto Blue Jays 2-0 in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series.

Today’s Birthdays: Classical pianist Gary Graffman is 89. Movie director Carroll Ballard is 80. Former White House counsel John W. Dean III is 79. Country singer Melba Montgomery is 80. Fashion designer Ralph Lauren is 78. Singer Sir Cliff Richard is 77. Singer-musician Justin Hayward (The Moody Blues) is 71. Actor Harry Anderson is 65. Actor Greg Evigan is 64. TV personality Arleen Sorkin is 62. World Golf Hall of Famer Beth Daniel is 61. Singer-musician Thomas Dolby is 59. Actress Lori Petty is 54. MLB manager Joe Girardi is 53. Actor Steve Coogan is 52. Singer Karyn White is 52. Actor Edward Kerr is 51. Actor Jon Seda is 47. Country musician Doug Virden is 47. Country singer Natalie Maines (The Dixie Chicks) is 43. Actress-singer Shaznay Lewis (All Saints) is 42. Singer Usher is 39. TV personality Stacy Keibler is 38. Actor Ben Whishaw is 37. Actor Jordan Brower is 36. Director Benh Zeitlin is 35. Actress Skyler Shaye is 31. Actor-comedian Jay Pharoah is 30.