Today in History


By The Associated Press

Today is Saturday, Aug. 20, the 233rd day of 2016. There are 133 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 20, 1866, months after fighting in the Civil War had ended, President Andrew Johnson issued Proclamation 157, which declared that “peace, order, tranquility, and civil authority now exist in and throughout the whole of the United States of America.”

On this date:

In 1833, Benjamin Harrison, 23rd president of the United States, was born in North Bend, Ohio.

In 1882, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” had its premiere in Moscow.

In 1914, German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War I.

In 1940, during World War II, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill paid tribute to the Royal Air Force before the House of Commons, saying, “Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few.” Exiled Communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky was assassinated in Coyoacan, Mexico by Ramon Mercader. (Trotsky died the next day.)

In 1953, the Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.

In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure.

In 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring” liberalization drive.

In 1972, the Wattstax concert took place at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

In 1977, the U.S. launched Voyager 2, an unmanned spacecraft carrying a 12-inch copper phonograph record containing greetings in dozens of languages, samples of music and sounds of nature.

In 1986, postal employee Patrick Henry Sherrill went on a deadly rampage at a post office in Edmond, Oklahoma, shooting 14 fellow workers to death before killing himself.

In 1989, entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife, Kitty, were shot to death in their Beverly Hills mansion by their sons, Lyle and Erik. Fifty-one people died when a pleasure boat sank in the River Thames (tehmz) in London after colliding with a dredger.

In 1994, Benjamin Chavis Jr. was fired as head of the NAACP after a turbulent 16-month tenure.

Ten years ago: John Mark Karr, the suspect in the death of 6-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, sipped champagne and dined on fried king prawns in business class of Thai Airways as he was flown to the U.S. (Although he’d implicated himself in JonBenet’s slaying, Karr was later cleared.) Former Associated Press photographer Joe Rosenthal, who’d taken the iconic Iwo Jima flag-raising picture during World War II, died in Novato, California, at age 94. Tiger Woods won the PGA Championship, closing with a 4-under 68 for a 5-shot victory over Shaun Micheel and his 12th career major.

Five years ago: Israel issued a rare apology for the deaths of three Egyptian soldiers who were killed during a cross-border attack blamed on Palestinians. North Korean leader Kim Jong Il arrived in Russia’s Far East on a nearly weeklong visit. Jordyn Wieber won her first title at the U.S. gymnastics championships in St. Paul, Minnesota, in a rout, finishing with 121.30 points, 6.15 points ahead of McKayla Maroney.

One year ago: With a broad smile and an upbeat attitude, former President Jimmy Carter told a news conference in Atlanta that he had cancer in his brain, and felt “perfectly at ease with whatever comes.” (In March 2016, Carter announced that recent scans had shown no signs of cancer and that he no longer needed to receive doses of an immune-boosting drug.)

Today’s Birthdays: Writer-producer-director Walter Bernstein is 97. Boxing promoter Don King is 85. Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, is 83. Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is 81. Former MLB All-Star Graig Nettles is 72. Broadcast journalist Connie Chung is 70. Musician Jimmy Pankow (Chicago) is 69. Actor Ray Wise is 69. Actor John Noble is 68. Rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) is 68. Country singer Rudy Gatlin is 64. Singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 64. Actor-director Peter Horton is 63. TV weatherman Al Roker is 62. Actor Jay Acovone is 61. Actress Joan Allen is 60. Movie director David O. Russell is 58. TV personality Asha Blake is 55. Actor James Marsters is 54. Rapper KRS-One is 51. Actor Colin Cunningham is 50. Actor Billy Gardell is 47. Rock singer Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) is 46. Rock musician Brad Avery is 45. Actor Jonathan Ke Quan is 45. Actor Misha Collins is 42. Rock singer Monique Powell (Save Ferris) is 41. Jazz/pop singer-pianist Jamie Cullum is 37. Actor Ben Barnes is 35. Actress Meghan Ory is 34. Actor Andrew Garfield is 33. Actor Brant Daugherty is 31. Actress-singer Demi Lovato is 24.

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