Today in History

Published 12:01 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

Today is Saturday, Aug. 25, the 237th day of 2018. There are 128 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 25, 1944, during World War II, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation.

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On this date:

In 1718, hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana, with some settling in present-day New Orleans.

In 1875, Capt. Matthew Webb became the first person to swim across the English Channel, getting from Dover, England, to Calais (ka-LAY’), France, in 22 hours.

In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an act establishing the National Park Service within the Department of the Interior.

In 1921, the United States signed a peace treaty with Germany.

In 1928, an expedition led by Richard E. Byrd set sail from Hoboken, N.J., on its journey to Antarctica.

In 1967, George Lincoln Rockwell, founder of the American Nazi Party, was shot to death in the parking lot of a shopping center in Arlington, Virginia; former party member John Patler was later convicted of the killing.

In 1981, the U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 came within 63,000 miles of Saturn’s cloud cover, sending back pictures of and data about the ringed planet.

In 1985, Samantha Smith, 13, the schoolgirl whose letter to Yuri V. Andropov resulted in her famous peace tour of the Soviet Union, died with her father in an airliner crash in Auburn, Maine.

In 1993, Amy Biehl, a 26-year-old Fulbright scholar from Newport Beach, Calif., was slain by a mob near Cape Town, South Africa. (The four men convicted in Biehl’s death claimed the attack was part of the war on apartheid; they were granted amnesty after confessing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.)

In 2001, rhythm-and-blues singer Aaliyah (ah-LEE’-yah) was killed with eight others in a plane crash in the Bahamas; she was 22.

In 2004, an Army investigation found that 27 people attached to an intelligence unit at Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad either approved or participated in the abuse of Iraqi prisoners.

In 2009, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died at age 77 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a battle with a brain tumor.

Ten years ago: Democrats opened their national convention in Denver, where they prepared to nominate Barack Obama for president; in the first major address of the gathering, Michelle Obama declared, “I love this country” as she described herself as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother, no different from many women. Israel freed nearly 200 jailed Palestinians in a goodwill gesture hours before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began her peace mission to the region.

Five years ago: Syria agreed to a U.N. investigation into an alleged chemical weapons attack outside Damascus — a deal a senior White House official dismissed as “too late to be credible,” saying the United States had “very little doubt” President Bashar Assad’s forces used such weapons. Tokyo beat Chula Vista, California, 6-4 to win the Little League World Series in South Williamsport, Pennsylvania. Sixteen-year-old New Zealander Lydia Ko succeeded in defending her title at the Canadian Women’s Open with a five-stroke victory over Karine Icher.

One year ago: Hurricane Harvey, the fiercest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade, made landfall near Corpus Christi, Texas, with 130 mph sustained winds; the storm would deliver five days of rain totaling close to 52 inches, the heaviest tropical downpour ever recorded in the continental U.S. The hurricane left at least 68 people dead and caused an estimated $125 billion in damage in Texas. President Donald Trump pardoned former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of a misdemeanor contempt-of-court charge for defying a judge’s orders that he stop conducting immigration patrols; the 85-year-old retired lawman had faced the prospect of jail time at his sentencing in October. The Trump administration slapped sweeping financial sanctions on Venezuela, making it harder for embattled President Nicolas Maduro to raise cash needed to prevent a debt default.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor Sean Connery is 88. Actor Page Johnson is 88. TV personality Regis Philbin is 87. Actor Tom Skerritt is 85. Jazz musician Wayne Shorter is 85. Movie director Hugh Hudson is 82. Author Frederick Forsyth is 80. Movie director John Badham is 79. Filmmaker Marshall Brickman is 79. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is 76. Rhythm-and-blues singer Walter Williams (The O’Jays) is 75. Actor Anthony Heald is 74. Rock singer-actor Gene Simmons is 69. Actor John Savage is 69. Author Martin Amis is 69. Country singer-musician Henry Paul (Outlaws; Blackhawk) is 69. Rock singer Rob Halford is 67. Rock musician Geoff Downes (Asia) is 66. Rock singer Elvis Costello is 64. Movie director Tim Burton is 60. Actor Christian LeBlanc is 60. Actress Ashley Crow is 58. Actress Ally Walker is 57. Country singer Cyrus (AKA Billy Ray Cyrus) is 57. Actress Joanne Whalley is 57. Rock musician Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) is 56. Actor Blair Underwood is 54. Actor Robert Maschio is 52. Rap DJ Terminator X (Public Enemy) is 52. Alternative country singer Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) is 51. Actor David Alan Basche (BAYSH) is 50. Television chef Rachael Ray is 50. Actor Cameron Mathison is 49. Country singer Jo Dee Messina is 48. Model Claudia Schiffer is 48. Country singer Brice Long is 47. Actor-writer-director Ben Falcone is 45. Actor Eric Millegan is 44. Actor Alexander Skarsgard is 42. Actor Jonathan Togo is 41. Actor Kel Mitchell is 40. Actress Rachel Bilson is 37. Actress Blake Lively is 31. Actor Josh Flitter is 24.