Today in History

  • Associated Press
  • Thursday, August 14, 2014 10:30am
  • Life

Today is Wednesday, August 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year.

Today’s highlights:

On August 20, 1914, German forces occupied Brussels, Belgium, during World War I.

On this date:

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

In 1866, President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over, months after fighting had stopped.

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

In 1910, a series of forest fires swept through parts of Idaho, Montana and Washington, killing at least 85 people and burning some 3 million acres.

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.”

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 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. British conservationist George Adamson, 83, was shot and killed by bandits in Kenya. The situation comedy “Saved by the Bell” premiered on NBC-TV.

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

Ten years ago: Democrats labored to deflect attacks on presidential nominee John Kerry’s war record with fresh television ads touting his fitness for national command. In Athens, Michael Phelps matched Mark Spitz’s record of four individual gold medals in the Olympic pool with a stirring comeback in the 100-meter butterfly, then removed himself from further competition.

Five years ago: The only man convicted in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 returned home to Libya after his release on compassionate grounds from a Scottish prison. (Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, said to have only months to live because of prostate cancer, died nearly three years later, claiming his innocence.) Afghans voted for a president for the second time ever, but Taliban threats dampened turnout in the militant south. Ryan Alexander Jenkins, a contestant on the VH1 reality show “Megan Wants a Millionaire,” was charged with murdering his wife, Jasmine Fiore, whose body was found in Buena Park, California (Jenkins was found dead three days later, an apparent suicide). One-time Super Bowl star Plaxico Burress (PLEK’-sih-koh BUR’-ihs) accepted a plea bargain with a two-year prison sentence for accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub.

One year ago: A Pakistani court indicted former president and army chief Pervez Musharraf on murder charges stemming from the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Qatar-based Al-Jazeera Media Network launched its U.S. cable news outlet, Al-Jazeera America. Crime novelist Elmore Leonard, 87, died in Bloomfield Township, Michigan. Jazz pianist Marian McPartland, 95, died in Port Washington, New York, of natural causes.

Today’s Birthdays: Writer-producer-director Walter Bernstein is 95. Boxing promoter Don King is 83. Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, is 81. U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is 79. Former MLB All-Star Graig Nettles is 70. Broadcast journalist Connie Chung is 68. Musician Jimmy Pankow (Chicago) is 67. Actor John Noble is 66. Rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) is 66. Country singer Rudy Gatlin is 62. Singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 62. Actor-director Peter Horton is 61. TV weatherman Al Roker is 60. Actor Jay Acovone is 59. Actress Joan Allen is 58. Movie director David O. Russell (Film: “American Hustle”) is 56. TV personality Asha Blake is 53. Actor James Marsters is 52. Rapper KRS-One is 49. Actor Colin Cunningham is 48. Actor Billy Gardell is 45. Rock singer Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) is 44. Rock musician Brad Avery is 43. Actor Jonathan Ke Quan is 43. Actor Misha Collins is 40. Rock singer Monique Powell (Save Ferris) is 39. Actor Ben Barnes is 33. Actress Meghan Ory is 32. Actor Andrew Garfield is 31. Actor Brant Daugherty (TV: “Pretty Little Liars”) is 29. Actress-singer Demi Lovato is 22.

Thought for Today: “To the eye of failure success is an accident.” — Ambrose Bierce, American author-journalist (1842-1914?).

Copyright 2014, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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