Today is Wednesday, Aug. 9, the 221st day of 2017. There are 144 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight: On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, a U.S. B-29 Superfortress code-named Bockscar dropped a nuclear device (“Fat Man”) over Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.
On this date:
In 1854, Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” which described Thoreau’s experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts, was first published.
In 1902, Edward VII was crowned king of Britain following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
In 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics as the United States took first place in the 400-meter relay.
In 1942, British authorities in India arrested nationalist Mohandas K. Gandhi; he was released in 1944.
In 1967, Ethel Le Neve, the mistress of notorious convicted wife killer Hawley Harvey Crippen, died in Croydon, England, at age 84.
In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found brutally slain at Tate’s Los Angeles home; cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his followers were later convicted of the crime.
In 1974, Vice President Gerald R. Ford became the nation’s 38th chief executive as President Richard Nixon’s resignation took effect.
In 1982, a federal judge in Washington ordered John W. Hinckley Jr., who’d been acquitted of shooting President Ronald Reagan and three others by reason of insanity, committed to a mental hospital.
In 1992, closing ceremonies were held for the Barcelona Summer Olympics, with the Unified Team of former Soviet republics winning 112 medals, the United States 108.
In 1997, Haitian immigrant Abner Louima was brutalized in a Brooklyn, New York, stationhouse by Officer Justin Volpe, who raped him with a broken broomstick. (Volpe was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.) An Amtrak train with more than 300 people aboard derailed on a bridge near Kingman, Arizona; 183 people were injured.
In 2002, Oscar-winning actor and National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston, 78, revealed that doctors had told him he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease (Heston died in April 2008). Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 600th homer, becoming the fourth major leaguer to reach the mark (the Pittsburgh Pirates won the game, 4-3.)
In 2014, Michael Brown Jr., an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was shot to death by a police officer following an altercation in Ferguson, Missouri; Brown’s death led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and other U.S. cities.
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush held a news conference in which he publicly prodded Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, his embattled war-on-terror partner, to hold free presidential elections, share intelligence and take “swift action” against terrorist leaders pinpointed in his country. China banned exports by two toy manufacturers whose products were subject to major recalls in the United States. David Beckham made his long-awaited Major League Soccer debut, entering in the 72nd minute of the Los Angeles Galaxy’s 1-0 loss to D.C. United.
Five years ago: The United States began a landmark project to clean up dioxin left from Agent Orange at the site of a former U.S. air base in Danang in central Vietnam, 50 years after the defoliant was first sprayed by American planes on Vietnam’s jungles to destroy enemy cover. At the London Games, Usain Bolt won the 200 meters in 19.32 seconds, making him the only man with two Olympic titles in that event. The U.S. women’s soccer team won the gold medal, avenging one of its most painful defeats with a 2-1 victory over Japan. Actor Al Freeman Jr., 81, died in Washington, D.C. Mel Stuart, 83, an award-winning film documentarian who also directed “Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory,” died in Los Angeles.
One year ago: Gunfire broke out during a demonstration in Ferguson, Missouri, on the second anniversary of Michael Brown’s death, disrupting what had been a peaceful gathering but apparently wounding no one. House Speaker Paul Ryan defeated Paul Nehlen, a longshot Republican challenger praised by Donald Trump, in a Wisconsin congressional primary. At the Rio Games, Michael Phelps earned the 20th and 21st Olympic gold medals of his career as he won the 200-meter butterfly and anchored the United States to victory in the 4×200 freestyle relay. Katie Ledecky earned her second gold in Rio by winning the 200-meter freestyle. The U.S. women’s gymnastics team won gold for a second consecutive Olympics.
Today’s birthdays: Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Cousy is 89. Actress Cynthia Harris is 83. Tennis Hall of Famer Rod Laver is 79. Jazz musician Jack DeJohnette is 75. Comedian-director David Steinberg is 75. Actor Sam Elliott is 73. Singer Barbara Mason is 70. Former MLB All-Star pitcher Bill Campbell is 69. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player John Cappelletti is 65. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Doug Williams is 62. Actress Melanie Griffith is 60. Actress Amanda Bearse is 59. Rapper Kurtis Blow is 58. Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull is 53. TV host Hoda Kotb is 53. Actor Pat Petersen is 51. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is 50. Actress Gillian Anderson is 49. Actor Eric Bana is 49. Producer-director McG (aka Joseph McGinty Nichol) is 49. NHL player-turned-assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour is 47. TV anchor Chris Cuomo is 47. Actor Thomas Lennon is 47. Rock musician Arion Salazar is 47. Rapper Mack 10 is 46. Actress Nikki Schieler Ziering is 46. Latin rock singer Juanes is 45. Actress Liz Vassey is 45. Actor Kevin McKidd is 44. Actress Rhona Mitra is 42. Actor Texas Battle is 41. Actress Jessica Capshaw is 41. Actress Ashley Johnson is 34. Actress Anna Kendrick is 32.
Thought for today: “The man who makes no mistakes does not usually make anything.” — Edward John Phelps, American lawyer and diplomat (1822-1900).