Today in History

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Today is Tuesday, Aug. 21, the 233rd day of 2018. There are 132 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 21, 1831, Nat Turner launched a violent slave rebellion in Virginia resulting in the deaths of at least 55 whites. (Turner was later executed.)

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On this date:

In 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his new telescope to a group of officials atop the Campanile (kahm-pah-NEE’-lay) in Venice.

In 1858, the first of seven debates between Illinois senatorial contenders Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place.

In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. (The painting was recovered two years later in Italy.)

In 1912, the Boy Scouts of America named its first Eagle Scout, Arthur Rose Eldred of Troop 1 in Rockville Centre, N.Y.

In 1940, exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky died in a Mexican hospital from wounds inflicted by an assassin the day before.

In 1959, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed an executive order making Hawaii the 50th state.

In 1961, country singer Patsy Cline recorded the Willie Nelson song “Crazy” in Nashville for Decca Records. (The recording was released in October 1961.)

In 1963, martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police and army troops began a violent crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.

In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino Jr., ending a self-imposed exile in the United States, was shot dead moments after stepping off a plane at Manila International Airport. The musical play “La Cage Aux Folles” opened on Broadway.

In 1987, Sgt. Clayton Lonetree, the first Marine court-martialed for spying, was convicted in Quantico, Virginia, of passing secrets to the KGB. (Lonetree ended up serving eight years in a military prison.)

In 1991, the hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev collapsed in the face of a popular uprising led by Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin.

In 1992, an 11-day siege began at the cabin of white separatist Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, as government agents tried to arrest Weaver for failing to appear in court on charges of selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns; on the first day of the siege, Weaver’s teenage son, Samuel, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Degan were killed.

In 2000, rescue efforts to reach the sunken Russian nuclear submarine Kursk ended with divers announcing none of the 118 sailors had survived.

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush issued a federal disaster declaration for parts of Florida affected by Tropical Storm Fay. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Baghdad for discussions with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other top Iraqi officials. Twin Taliban suicide bombings at Pakistan’s largest weapons complex killed at least 67 people. At the Summer Olympics, Japan defeated the U.S. softball team, 3-1, to win the gold medal. Kerri Walsh and Misty May-Treanor won their second consecutive gold medal in beach volleyball, beating Wang Jie and Tian Jia of China. The U.S. women’s soccer team won the gold medal by beating Brazil 1-0 in extra time.

Five years ago: Army Pfc. Bradley Manning was sentenced at Fort Meade, Maryland, to up to 35 years in prison for spilling an unprecedented trove of government secrets. (The former intelligence analyst, now known as Chelsea Manning, was later sentenced to up to 35 years in prison. The sentence was commuted by President Barack Obama in his final days in office.) The National Security Agency declassified three secret court opinions showing how in one of its surveillance programs, it scooped up as many as 56,000 emails and other communications by Americans not connected to terrorism annually over three years.

One year ago: Americans witnessed their first full-blown coast-to-coast solar eclipse since World War I, with eclipse-watchers gathering along a path of totality extending 2,600 miles across the continent from Oregon to South Carolina. In a national address, President Donald Trump reversed his past calls for a speedy exit from Afghanistan and recommitted the United States to the 16-year-old conflict, saying U.S. troops must “fight to win.” A collision between the destroyer USS John McCain and an oil tanker near Singapore left ten U.S. sailors dead. London’s Big Ben bell atop Parliament’s clock tower fell silent for four years of repair work that would keep it quiet on all but a few special occasions.

Today’s Birthdays: Former NFL player and general manager Pete Retzlaff is 87. Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 86. Playwright Mart Crowley is 83. Singer Kenny Rogers is 80. Actor Clarence Williams III is 79. Rock-and-roll musician James Burton is 79. Singer Harold Reid (The Statler Brothers) is 79. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 77. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is 73. Actress Patty McCormack is 73. Pop singer-musician Carl Giammarese (jee-ah mah-REE’-see) is 71. Actress Loretta Devine is 69. NBC newsman Harry Smith is 67. Singer Glenn Hughes is 66. Country musician Nick Kane is 64. Actress Kim Cattrall is 62. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon is 59. Actress Cleo King is 56. Retired MLB All-Star John Wetteland is 52. Rock singer Serj Tankian (TAN’-kee-ahn) (System of a Down) is 51. Figure skater Josee Chouinard is 49. Actress Carrie-Anne Moss is 48. MLB player-turned-manager Craig Counsell is 48. Rock musician Liam Howlett (Prodigy) is 47. Actress Alicia Witt is 43. Singer Kelis (kuh-LEES’) is 39. Actor Diego Klattenhoff is 39. TV personality Brody Jenner is 35. Singer Melissa Schuman is 34. Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain (yoo-SAYN’) Bolt is 32. Actor Carlos Pratts is 32. Actor-comedian Brooks Wheelan is 32. Actor Cody Kasch is 31. Country singer Kacey Musgraves is 30. Actress Hayden Panettiere (pan’-uh-tee-EHR’) is 29. Actor RJ Mitte is 26. Actor Maxim Knight is 19.