Today in history


Today is Sunday, August 9, the 221st day of 2015. There are 144 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, the United States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.

On this date:

In 1842, the United States and Canada resolved a border dispute by signing the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

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 1934, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order nationalizing silver.

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 1944, 258 African-American sailors based at Port Chicago, California, refused to load a munitions ship following a cargo vessel explosion that killed 320 men, many of them black. (Fifty of the sailors were convicted of mutiny, fined and imprisoned.)

In 1965, Singapore became independent as it was expelled from the Malaysian Federation.

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 1975, Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich, 68, died in Moscow.

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 1995, Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the Grateful Dead, died in Forest Knolls, California, of a heart attack eight days after turning 53.

Ten years ago: The space shuttle Discovery and its crew of seven safely returned to Earth, ending a 14-day safety test that was shadowed by the Columbia tragedy. Charles McCoy Jr. pleaded guilty to involuntary manslaughter and 10 other charges in a series of Ohio highway shootings and was sentenced to 27 years in prison. Author Judith Rossner, who wrote “Looking for Mr. Goodbar,” died in New York City at age 70.

Five years ago: Former Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens, 86, the longest serving Republican in the U.S. Senate, was killed in a plane crash in the southwestern part of his state while on his way to a fishing trip (four others also died in the crash outside Dillingham). A fed-up JetBlue flight attendant, Steven Slater, cursed out a passenger he said had treated him rudely, grabbed a beer and slid down the emergency chute of an Embraer 190 at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport.

One year ago: 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, spawning a national “Black Lives Matter” movement. President Barack Obama justified the U.S. military’s return to fighting in Iraq by saying Americans had to act now to prevent genocide, protect its diplomats and provide humanitarian aid to refugees trapped by Islamic militants. Actor Ed Nelson, 85, died in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Today’s Birthdays: Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Cousy is 87. Actress Cynthia Harris is 81. Tennis Hall of Famer Rod Laver is 77. Jazz musician Jack DeJohnette is 73. Comedian-director David Steinberg is 73. Actor Sam Elliott is 71. Singer Barbara Mason is 68. Former MLB All-Star pitcher Bill Campbell is 67. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player John Cappelletti is 63. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Doug Williams is 60. Actress Melanie Griffith is 58. Actress Amanda Bearse is 57. Rapper Kurtis Blow is 56. Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull is 51. TV host Hoda Kotb (HOH’-duh KAHT’-bee) is 51. Actor Pat Petersen is 49. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is 48. Actress Gillian Anderson is 47. Actor Eric Bana is 47. Producer-director McG (aka Joseph McGinty Nichol) is 47. NHL player-turned-assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour is 45. TV anchor Chris Cuomo is 45. Actor Thomas Lennon is 45. Rock musician Arion Salazar is 45. Rapper Mack 10 is 44. Actress Nikki Schieler Ziering is 44. Latin rock singer Juanes is 43. Actress Liz Vassey is 43. Actor Kevin McKidd is 42. Actress Rhona Mitra (ROH’-nuh MEE’-truh) is 40. Actor Texas Battle is 39. Actress Jessica Capshaw is 39. Actress Ashley Johnson is 32. Actress Anna Kendrick is 30.

Thought for Today: “Education is a private matter between the person and the world of knowledge and experience, and has little to do with school or college.” — Lillian Smith, American writer-social critic (1897-1966).

By the Associated Press

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