Today in History – Saturday, Aug. 12, 2017

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Today is Saturday, Aug. 12, the 224th day of 2017. There are 141 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 12, 1867, President Andrew Johnson sparked a move to impeach him as he defied Congress by suspending Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton, with whom he had clashed over Reconstruction policies. (Johnson was acquitted by the Senate.)

On this date:

In 1898, fighting in the Spanish-American War came to an end.

In 1915, the novel “Of Human Bondage,” by William Somerset Maugham, was first published in the United States, a day before it was released in England.

In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt nominated Hugo Black to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 1944, during World War II, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., eldest son of Joseph and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, was killed with his co-pilot when their explosives-laden Navy plane blew up over England.

In 1953, the Soviet Union conducted a secret test of its first hydrogen bomb.

In 1960, the first balloon communications satellite — the Echo 1 — was launched by the United States from Cape Canaveral.

In 1962, one day after launching Andrian Nikolayev into orbit, the Soviet Union also sent up cosmonaut Pavel Popovich; both men landed safely Aug. 15.

In 1977, the space shuttle Enterprise passed its first solo flight test by taking off atop a Boeing 747, separating, then touching down in California’s Mojave (moh-HAH’-vee) Desert.

In 1981, IBM introduced its first personal computer, the model 5150, at a press conference in New York.

In 1985, the world’s worst single-aircraft disaster occurred as a crippled Japan Airlines Boeing 747 on a domestic flight crashed into a mountain, killing 520 people. (Four people survived.)

In 1992, after 14 months of negotiations, the United States, Mexico and Canada announced in Washington that they had concluded the North American Free Trade Agreement. Avant-garde composer John Cage died in New York at age 79.

In 1994, Woodstock ’94 opened in Saugerties, New York.

Ten years ago: A gunman opened fire in the sanctuary of a southwest Missouri church, killing a pastor and two worshippers. (A suspect later pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and four counts of assault, and received three life sentences without parole, plus four 30-year sentences for the assaults.) Tiger Woods captured the PGA Championship to win at least one major for the third straight season and run his career total to 13. Crooner, talk show host and game show producer Merv Griffin died in Los Angeles at age 82.

Five years ago: With a little British pomp and a lot of British pop, London brought the curtain down on the Olympic Games with a spectacular pageant. Before the closing ceremony, the U.S. men’s basketball team defended its title by fighting off another huge challenge from Spain, pulling away in the final minutes for a 107-100 victory and its second straight Olympic championship. The victory by the men’s basketball team gave the United States its 46th gold medal in London; the U.S. initially won 104 medals overall, but was later stripped of a silver medal after a men’s relay team member tested positive for steroids. Rory McIlroy won the PGA Championship with a 6-under 66 for an eight-shot victory at Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

One year ago: The Pentagon said that Hafiz Saeed Khan, a top Islamic State group leader in Afghanistan, had been killed in a U.S. drone strike the previous month. A judge in Milwaukee overturned the conviction of Brendan Dassey, who was found guilty of helping his uncle kill a woman in a case profiled in the Netflix series “Making a Murderer,” ruling that investigators coerced a confession using deceptive tactics. Katie Ledecky won her fourth gold medal of the Rio Olympics, shattering her own mark in the 800-meter freestyle; fellow American Anthony Ervin won the men’s 50-meter freestyle.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor George Hamilton is 78. Actress Dana Ivey is 76. Actress Jennifer Warren is 76. Rock singer-musician Mark Knopfler (Dire Straits) is 68. Actor Jim Beaver is 67. Singer Kid Creole is 67. Jazz musician Pat Metheny is 63. Actor Sam J. Jones is 63. Actor Bruce Greenwood is 61. Country singer Danny Shirley is 61. Pop musician Roy Hay (Culture Club) is 56. Rapper Sir Mix-A-Lot is 54. Actor Peter Krause (KROW’-zuh) is 52. Actor Brent Sexton is 50. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pete Sampras is 46. Actor-comedian Michael Ian Black is 46. Actress Yvette Nicole Brown is 46. Actress Rebecca Gayheart is 46. Actor Casey Affleck is 42. Rock musician Bill Uechi is 42. Actress Maggie Lawson is 37. Actress Dominique Swain is 37. Actress Leah Pipes is 29. Actor Lakeith Stanfield is 26. Actress Cara Delevingne (DEHL’-eh-veen) is 25. Actress Imani Hakim is 24.
Thought for Today: “Wisdom is born, stupidity is learned.” — Russian proverb.