Today in History

Published 12:01 am Friday, July 20, 2018

Today is Friday, July 20, the 201st day of 2018. There are 164 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On July 20, 1944, an attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed as the explosion only wounded the Nazi leader. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for a fourth term of office at the Democratic convention in Chicago.

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On this date:

In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States convened in Richmond, Virginia.

In 1923, Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa was assassinated by gunmen in Parral.

In 1942, the first detachment of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps — later known as WACs — began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. The Legion of Merit was established by an Act of Congress.

In 1954, the Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into northern and southern entities.

In 1968, the first International Special Olympics Summer Games, organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, were held at Soldier Field in Chicago.

In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon after reaching the surface in their Apollo 11 lunar module.

In 1976, America’s Viking 1 robot spacecraft made a successful, first-ever landing on Mars.

In 1977, a flash flood hit Johnstown, Pennsylvania, killing more than 80 people and causing $350 million worth of damage. The U.N. Security Council voted to admit Vietnam to the world body.

In 1982, Irish Republican Army bombs exploded in two London parks, killing eight British soldiers, along with seven horses belonging to the Queen’s Household Cavalry.

In 1989, Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi (soo chee) was placed under house arrest by the military government of Myanmar.

In 1990, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, one of the court’s most liberal voices, announced he was stepping down.

In 2012, gunman James Holmes opened fire inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises,” killing 12 people and wounding 70 others. (Holmes was later convicted of murder and attempted murder, and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.)

Ten years ago: Pope Benedict XVI wrapped up a six-day World Youth Day Festival in Sydney, Australia, by challenging young people to shed the greed and cynicism of their time to create a new age of hope for humankind. Padraig Harrington became the first European in more than a century to win golf’s British Open two years in a row.

Five years ago: People rallied in dozens of U.S. cities, urging authorities to press federal civil rights charges against George Zimmerman, the former neighborhood watch leader found not guilty in the shooting death of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin. Five employees of an Italian cruise company were convicted of manslaughter in the Costa Concordia shipwreck that killed 32 people, receiving sentences of less than three years. Longtime White House correspondent Helen Thomas, 92, died in Washington.

One year ago: O.J. Simpson was granted parole after more than eight years in prison for a hotel room heist in Las Vegas. (He was released on October 1.) Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he would remain in office, a day after President Donald Trump rebuked him for recusing himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress-singer Sally Ann Howes is 88. Author Cormac McCarthy is 85. Rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef is 83. Former Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., is 82. Actress Diana Rigg is 80. Artist Judy Chicago is 79. Rock musician John Lodge (The Moody Blues) is 75. Country singer T.G. Sheppard is 74. Singer Kim Carnes is 73. Rock musician Carlos Santana is 71. Rock musician Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister) is 66. Rock musician Paul Cook (The Sex Pistols, Man Raze) is 62. Actress Donna Dixon is 61. Rock musician Mick McNeil (Simple Minds) is 60. Country singer Radney Foster is 59. Actor Frank Whaley is 55. Actor Dean Winters is 54. Rock musician Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) is 52. Actor Reed Diamond is 51. Actor Josh Holloway is 49. Singer Vitamin C is 49. Actress Sandra Oh is 47. Actor Omar Epps is 45. Actor Simon Rex is 44. Actress Judy Greer is 43. Actor Charlie Korsmo is 40. Singer Elliott Yamin (yah-MEEN’) (American Idol) is 40. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is 38. Rock musician Mike Kennerty (The All-American Rejects) is 38. Actor Percy Daggs III is 36. Actor John Francis Daley is 33. Country singer Hannah Blaylock (Edens Edge) is 32. Dancer-singer-actress Julianne Hough is 30. Actress Billi Bruno is 22.