Today in History

  • Associated Press
  • Thursday, August 21, 2014 1:18pm
  • Life

Today is Saturday, August 23, the 235th day of 2014. There are 130 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight:

On August 23, 1914, Japan declared war against Germany in World War I.

On this date:

In 1305, Scottish rebel leader Sir William Wallace was executed by the English for treason.

In 1775, Britain’s King George III proclaimed the American colonies to be in a state of “open and avowed rebellion.”

In 1858, “Ten Nights in a Bar-room,” a play by Timothy Shay Arthur about the perils of drinking alcohol, opened in New York.

In 1913, Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue, inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story, was unveiled in the harbor of the Danish capital.

In 1926, silent film star Rudolph Valentino died in New York at age 31.

In 1927, amid protests, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston for the murders of two men during a 1920 robbery.

In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in Moscow.

In 1944, Romanian Prime Minister Ion Antonescu was dismissed by King Michael, paving the way for Romania to abandon the Axis in favor of the Allies.

In 1960, Broadway librettist Oscar Hammerstein (HAM’-ur-STYN’) II, 65, died in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

In 1973, a bank robbery-turned-hostage-taking began in Stockholm, Sweden; the four hostages ended up empathizing with their captors, a psychological condition now referred to as “Stockholm Syndrome.”

In 1982, Lebanon’s parliament elected Christian militia leader Bashir Gemayel president. (However, Gemayel was assassinated some three weeks later.)

In 1989, in a case that inflamed racial tensions in New York, Yusuf Hawkins, a 16-year-old black youth, was shot dead after he and his friends were confronted by a group of white youths in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. (Gunman Joey Fama was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison; he will be eligible for parole in 2022.)

Ten years ago: President George W. Bush criticized a political commercial accusing Democratic nominee John Kerry of inflating his own Vietnam War record, and said broadcast attacks by outside groups had no place in the race for the White House. In Athens, Jeremy Wariner became the sixth consecutive American to win the Olympic title in the 400 meters, leading a U.S. sweep of the medals. The U.S. softball team won its third straight gold medal with a 5-1 victory over Australia.

Five years ago: Reality TV contestant Ryan Jenkins, suspected of killing his wife, former model Jasmine Fiore, was found hanging in a motel in Hope, British Columbia, Canada, an apparent suicide. Eric Bruntlett turned an unassisted triple play to finish Philadelphia’s wild 9-7 victory over the New York Mets. Stefania Fernandez, Miss Venezuela, won the 2009 Miss Universe pageant in the Bahamas; she succeeded fellow Venezuelan Dayana Mendoza, the previous year’s winner.

One year ago: A military jury convicted Maj. Nidal Hasan in the deadly 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, that claimed 13 lives; the Army psychiatrist was later sentenced to death. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier who’d massacred 16 Afghan civilians, was sentenced at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to life in prison with no chance of parole. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a Democrat, agreed to resign in return for the city’s help defending him against claims he’d groped, kissed and made lewd comments to women. (Filner later pleaded guilty to a felony for manhandling a woman at a fundraising event and two misdemeanor battery charges; he served three months of house arrest.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Vera Miles is 84. Actress Barbara Eden is 83. Political satirist Mark Russell is 82. Pro Football Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen is 80. Actor Richard Sanders is 74. Ballet dancer Patricia McBride is 72. Former Surgeon General Antonia Novello is 70. Pro Football Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright is 69. Country singer Rex Allen Jr. is 67. Singer Linda Thompson is 67. Actress Shelley Long is 65. Actor-singer Rick Springfield is 65. Country singer-musician Woody Paul (Riders in the Sky) is 65. Queen Noor of Jordan is 63. Actor-producer Mark Hudson is 63. Actor Skipp Sudduth is 58. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Mike Boddicker is 57. Rock musician Dean DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) is 53. Tejano singer Emilio Navaira (nah-VY’-rah) is 52. Country musician Ira Dean (Trick Pony) is 45. Actor Jay Mohr is 44. Actor Ray Park is 40. Actor Scott Caan is 38. Country singer Shelly Fairchild is 37. Figure skater Nicole Bobek is 37. Rock singer Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) is 36. NBA player Kobe Bryant is 36. Actress Joanne Froggatt is 34. Actress Annie Ilonzeh is 31. Dance musician Sky Blu is 28. Actress Kimberly Matula is 26. NBA player Jeremy Lin is 26.

Thought for Today: “I know the world is filled with troubles and many injustices. But reality is as beautiful as it is ugly. I think it is just as important to sing about beautiful mornings as it is to talk about slums. I just couldn’t write anything without hope in it.” — Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960).

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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