Today is Saturday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2011. There are 133 days left in the year.
On Aug. 20, 1911, The New York Times sent a message around the world by regular commercial cable to see how long it would take; the dispatch, which said simply, “Times, New York:
This message sent around world. Times,” was filed at 7 p.m. and returned to its point of origin 16½ minutes later.
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 Washington, Idaho and Montana, killing at least 85 people and burning some 3 million acres.
In 1920, pioneering American radio station 8MK in Detroit (later WWJ) began daily broadcasting.
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 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring” liberalization drive.
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.