Today in History

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Today is Wednesday, Aug. 15, the 227th day of 2018. There are 138 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 15, 1945, in a pre-recorded radio address, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito announced that his country had accepted terms of surrender for ending World War II.

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On this date:

In 1483, the Sistine Chapel was consecrated by Pope Sixtus IV.

In 1812, the Battle of Fort Dearborn took place as Potawatomi warriors attacked a U.S. military garrison of about 100 people. (Most of the garrison was killed, while those who remained were taken prisoner.)

In 1914, the Panama Canal officially opened as the SS Ancon crossed the just-completed waterway between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans.

In 1935, humorist Will Rogers and aviator Wiley Post were killed when their airplane crashed near Point Barrow in the Alaska Territory.

In 1944, during World War II, Allied forces landed in southern France in Operation Dragoon.

In 1947, India became independent after some 200 years of British rule.

In 1961, as workers began constructing a Berlin Wall made of concrete, East German soldier Conrad Schumann leapt to freedom over a tangle of barbed wire in a scene captured in a famous photograph.

In 1965, the Beatles played to a crowd of more than 55,000 at New York’s Shea Stadium.

In 1969, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair opened in upstate New York.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon announced a 90-day freeze on wages, prices and rents.

In 1974, a gunman attempted to shoot South Korean President Park Chung-hee during a speech; although Park was unhurt, his wife, Yuk Young-soo, was struck and killed, along with a teenage girl. (The gunman was later executed.)

In 1989, F.W. de Klerk was sworn in as acting president of South Africa, one day after P.W. Botha resigned as the result of a power struggle within the National Party.

Ten years ago: Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili grudgingly signed a U.S.-backed truce with Russia, even as he denounced the Russians as invading barbarians and accused the West of all but encouraging them to overrun his country. Michael Phelps won his sixth gold medal with his sixth world record, in the 200-meter individual medley at the Summer Olympics. American Nastia Liukin won the gold in women’s individual all-around gymnastics; friend and teammate Shawn Johnson was second. Record producer Jerry Wexler, who coined the term “rhythm and blues,” died in Sarasota, Fla. at age 91.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama scrapped plans for joint military exercises with Egypt, where spiraling violence in and around Cairo were claiming hundreds of lives. A powerful car bomb ripped through a crowded southern Beirut stronghold of Hezbollah, killing at least 27 people.

One year ago: President Donald Trump, who’d faced harsh criticism for initially blaming the deadly weekend violence in Charlottesville, Virginia on “many sides,” told reporters that there were “very fine people on both sides” of the confrontation and that groups protesting against the white supremacists were “also very violent.” (In between those statements, at the urging of aides, Trump had offered a more direct condemnation of white supremacists.) An Army Black Hawk helicopter with five soldiers aboard crashed during offshore training in Hawaii; all five were declared dead after a lengthy search. Sen. Luther Strange and former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore advanced to a Republican primary runoff to fill the U.S. Senate seat previously held by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. (Moore won the September runoff, but was defeated in the December special election by Democrat Doug Jones.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Abby Dalton is 86. Actress Lori Nelson is 85. Civil rights activist Vernon Jordan is 83. Actor Jim Dale is 83. Actress Pat Priest is 82. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer is 80. U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., is 80. Musician Pete York (Spencer Davis Group) is 76. Author-journalist Linda Ellerbee is 74. Songwriter Jimmy Webb is 72. Rock singer-musician Tom Johnston (The Doobie Brothers) is 70. Actress Phyllis Smith is 69. Britain’s Princess Anne is 68. Actress Tess Harper is 68. Actor Larry Mathews is 63. Actor Zeljko Ivanek (ZEHL’-koh eh-VON’-ehk) is 61. Actor-comedian Rondell Sheridan is 60. Rock singer-musician Matt Johnson (The The) is 57. Movie director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu (ihn-YAH’-ee-tu) is 55. Philanthropist Melinda Gates is 54. Country singer Angela Rae (Wild Horses) is 52. Actor Peter Hermann is 51. Actress Debra Messing is 50. Actor Anthony Anderson is 48. Actor Ben Affleck is 46. Singer Mikey Graham (Boyzone) is 46. Actress Natasha Henstridge is 44. Actress Nicole Paggi is 41. Christian rock musician Tim Foreman (Switchfoot) is 40. Actress Emily Kinney is 34. Figure skater Jennifer Kirk is 34. Latin pop singer Belinda (cq) is 29. Actress Courtney Hope is 29. Rock singer Joe Jonas (The Jonas Brothers) is 29. Actor-singer Carlos PenaVega is 29. Actress Jennifer Lawrence is 28. Rap DJ Smoove da General (Cali Swag District) is 28.