Today in history

By The Associated Press

Today is Sunday, Jan. 21, the 21st day of 2018. There are 344 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlights in History:

On Jan. 21, 1968, the North Vietnamese Army launched a full-scale assault against the U.S. combat base in Khe Sanh, South Vietnam, in a siege lasting 11 weeks; although the Americans were able to hold back the communists, they ended up dismantling and abandoning the base. An American B-52 bomber carrying four hydrogen bombs crashed in Greenland, killing one crew member and scattering radioactive material. North Korean commandos tried but failed to assassinate South Korean President Park Chung-hee at his official residence, the Blue House, in Seoul.

On this date:

In 1793, during the French Revolution, King Louis XVI, condemned for treason, was executed on the guillotine.

In 1861, Jefferson Davis of Mississippi and four other Southerners whose states had seceded from the Union resigned from the U.S. Senate.

In 1908, New York City’s Board of Aldermen passed an ordinance prohibiting women from smoking in public establishments (the measure was vetoed by Mayor George B. McClellan Jr., but not before one woman, Katie Mulcahey, was jailed overnight for refusing to pay a fine).

In 1915, the first Kiwanis Club, dedicated to community service, was founded in Detroit.

In 1924, Russian revolutionary Vladimir Lenin died at age 53.

In 1937, Count Basie and his band recorded “One O’Clock Jump” for Decca Records (on this date in 1942, they re-recorded the song for Okeh Records).

In 1942, pinball machines were banned in New York City after a court ruled they were gambling devices that relied on chance rather than skill (the ban was lifted in 1976).

In 1954, the first atomic submarine, the USS Nautilus, was launched at Groton, Connecticut (however, the Nautilus did not make its first nuclear-powered run until nearly a year later).

In 1958, Charles Starkweather, 19, killed three relatives of his 14-year-old girlfriend, Caril Ann Fugate, at her family’s home in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Starkweather and Fugate went on a road trip which resulted in seven more slayings; Starkweather was eventually executed while Fugate spent 17 years in prison despite maintaining she was a hostage, not an accomplice.)

In 1977, on his first full day in office, President Jimmy Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders.

In 1982, convict-turned-author Jack Henry Abbott was found guilty in New York of first-degree manslaughter in the stabbing death of waiter Richard Adan in 1981. (Abbott was later sentenced to 15 years to life in prison; he committed suicide in 2002.)

In 1998, Pope John Paul II began a historic pilgrimage to Cuba. Actor Jack Lord of “Hawaii Five-O” fame died in Honolulu at age 77.

Ten years ago: Democratic presidential rivals Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama accused each other of repeatedly and deliberately distorting the truth for political gain in a highly personal debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Five years ago: A day after being inaugurated for a second term in a private Sunday ceremony, President Barack Obama took a public oath, summoning a divided nation to act with “passion and dedication” to broaden equality and prosperity at home, nurture democracy around the world and combat global warming. British movie director Michael Winner, 77, who made 30 films, including three in the “Death Wish” series, died in London.

One year ago: A day after Donald Trump’s inauguration, more than 1 million people rallied at women’s marches in the nation’s capital and cities around the world to send the new president an emphatic message that they wouldn’t let his agenda go unchallenged. The Southeast saw the beginning of a weekend outbreak of tornadoes and severe thunderstorms; sixteen people were killed in Georgia, four people died in Mississippi and one death was reported in Florida. Karen Chen edged three-time champion Ashley Wagner to win the ladies’ title at the U.S. figure skating championship in Kansas City, Missouri.

Today’s Birthdays: World Golf Hall of Famer Jack Nicklaus is 78. Opera singer-conductor Placido Domingo is 77. Singer Mac Davis is 76. Actress Jill Eikenberry is 71. Country musician Jim Ibbotson is 71. Singer-songwriter Billy Ocean is 68. Former U.S. Ambassador to China Gary Locke is 68. Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is 67. Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is 65. Actor-director Robby Benson is 62. Actress Geena Davis is 62. Basketball Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon is 55. Actress Charlotte Ross is 50. Actor John Ducey is 49. Actress Karina Lombard is 49. Actor Ken Leung is 48. Rapper Levirt (B-Rock and the Bizz) is 48. Rock musician Mark Trojanowski (Sister Hazel) is 48. Rock singer-songwriter Cat Power is 46. Rock DJ Chris Kilmore (Incubus) is 45. Actor Vincent Laresca is 44. Singer Emma Bunton (Spice Girls) is 42. Actor Jerry Trainor is 41. Country singer Phil Stacey is 40. Rhythm-and-blues singer Nokio (Dru Hill) is 39. Actress Izabella Miko is 37.

Thought for Today: “Would to God that we might spend a single day really well.” — Thomas a Kempis, German monk and author (c. 1380-1471).

By The Associated Press