Today in History – Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016


Today is Wednesday, Aug. 24, the 237th day of 2016. There are 129 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Aug. 24, A.D. 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.

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On this date:

In 1572, the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre of French Protestants at the hands of Catholics began in Paris.

In 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the White House, as well as other public buildings.

In 1821, the Treaty of Cordoba (kohr-DOH’-buh) was signed, granting independence to Mexico from Spanish rule.

In 1912, Congress passed a measure creating the Alaska Territory. Congress approved legislation establishing Parcel Post delivery by the U.S. Post Office Department, slated to begin on January 1, 1913.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, making her the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, from coast to coast.

In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.

In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.

In 1968, France became the world’s fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.

In 1970, an explosives-laden van left by anti-war extremists blew up outside the University of Wisconsin’s Sterling Hall in Madison, killing 33-year-old researcher Robert Fassnacht.

In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon. (Chapman remains imprisoned.)

In 1989, Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti (juh-MAH’-tee) banned Pete Rose from the game for betting on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds.

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing $30 billion in damage; 43 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm.

Ten years ago: The International Astronomical Union declared that Pluto was no longer a full-fledged planet, demoting it to the status of a “dwarf planet”; Patricia Tombaugh, the widow of Pluto discoverer Clyde Tombaugh, called the decision “disappointing” and “confusing.”

Five years ago: A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed from hiding to fight on “until victory or martyrdom” and called on residents of the Libyan capital and loyal tribesmen across his North African nation to free Tripoli from the “devils and traitors” who had overrun it. Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple Inc.; he was succeeded by Tim Cook. Mike Flanagan, a Cy Young winner and part of the Baltimore Orioles’ 1983 World Series championship team, was found dead outside his home in Monkton, Maryland; he was 59.

One year ago: U.S. Airman Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos, their longtime friend Anthony Sadler and British businessman Chris Norman were presented with the Legion of Honor by French President Francois Hollande (frahn-SWAH’ oh-LAWND’), who credited them with tackling a heavily armed attacker and preventing carnage on a high-speed train headed to Paris. Driver Justin Wilson, 37, died one day after he was struck in the head by a piece of debris during the Verizon IndyCar Series race at Pocono Raceway.

Today’s Birthdays: Composer-musician Mason Williams is 78. Rhythm-and-blues singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 74. Rock musician Ken Hensley is 71. Actress Anne Archer is 69. Actor Joe Regalbuto is 67. Actor Kevin Dunn is 61. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 61. Actor-writer Stephen Fry is 59. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 58. Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is 56. Actor Jared Harris is 55. Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 54. CBS News correspondent Major Garrett is 54. Rock singer John Bush is 53. Actress Marlee Matlin is 51. Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller is 51. Broadcast journalist David Gregory is 46. Country singer Kristyn Osborn (SHeDaisy) is 46. Movie director Ava DuVernay is 44. Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 43. Actor James D’Arcy is 43. Actor Carmine Giovinazzo is 43. Actor Alex O’Loughlin is 40. Actress Beth Riesgraf is 38. Actor Chad Michael Murray is 35. Christian rock musician Jeffrey Gilbert (Kutless) is 33. Singer Mika is 33. Actor Blake Berris is 32. Actor Rupert Grint (“Harry Potter” films) is 28.

Thought for Today: “Show me a man who cannot bother to do little things and I’ll show you a man who cannot be trusted to do big things.” — Lawrence D. Bell, American aircraft manufacturer (1894-1956).

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