On July 20, 2012, a gunman wearing a helmet, body armor and a gas mask opened fire inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colo., during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history. (Suspect James Eagen Holmes has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to more than 160 counts of murder and attempted murder.)
On this date:
In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States convened in Richmond, Va.
In 1871, British Columbia entered confederation as a Canadian province.
In 1917, the World War I draft lottery went into operation.
In 1923, Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa was assassinated.
In 1944, an attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed as the explosion only wounded the Nazi leader. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for a fourth term of office at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
In 1951, Jordan's King Abdullah I was assassinated in Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman who was shot dead on the spot by security.
In 1968, the first International Special Olympics Summer Games, organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, were held at Soldier Field in Chicago.
In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon after reaching the surface in their Apollo 11 lunar module.
In 1976, America's Viking 1 robot spacecraft made a successful, first-ever landing on Mars.
In 1982, Irish Republican Army bombs exploded in two London parks, killing eight British soldiers, along with seven horses belonging to the Queen's Household Cavalry.
In 1988, Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis received the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's convention in Atlanta. Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini (hoh-MAY'-nee) accepted a truce with Iraq, even though he said the decision was like drinking poison.
In 1993, White House deputy counsel Vincent Foster Jr., 48, was found shot to death in a park near Washington, D.C.; his death was ruled a suicide.
Ten years ago: Gen. John Abizaid, the top commander of coalition forces in Iraq, predicted that resistance to U.S. forces in Iraq would grow in coming months as progress was made in creating a new government to replace the dictatorial regime of Saddam Hussein. President George W. Bush welcomed Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi o his Texas ranch for a two-day visit. Ben Curtis, an unknown PGA Tour rookie in his first major championship, won the British Open.
Five years ago: Pope Benedict XVI wrapped up a six-day World Youth Day Festival in Sydney, Australia, by challenging young people to shed the greed and cynicism of their time to create a new age of hope for humankind. Padraig Harrington became the first European in more than a century to win golf's British Open two years in a row.
One year ago: After years of preparation and months of buildup, London's Olympic moment finally arrived as Royal Marine Martyn Williams carried the Olympic torch from a Royal Navy Sea King helicopter into the Tower of London on the shore of the River Thames.
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