Today in History

Today in History

Today in History

Today is Monday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2019. There are 71 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 21, 1892, schoolchildren across the U.S. observed Columbus Day (according to the Gregorian date) by reciting, for the first time, the original version of "The Pledge of Allegiance," written by Francis Bellamy for The Youth's Companion.

On this date:

In 1797, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides," was christened in Boston's harbor.

In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

In 1917, members of the 1st Division of the U.S. Army training in Luneville (luhn-nay-VEEL'), France, became the first Americans to see action on the front lines of World War I.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen (AH'-kuhn).

In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon clashed in their fourth and final presidential debate in New York.

In 1966, 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed when a coal waste landslide engulfed a school and some 20 houses in Aberfan, Wales.

In 1967, the Israeli destroyer INS Eilat (ay-LAHT') was sunk by Egyptian missile boats near Port Said (sah-EED'); 47 Israeli crew members were lost. Tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters began two days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Both nominees were confirmed.)

In 1976, Saul Bellow won the Nobel Prize for literature, the first American honored since John Steinbeck in 1962.

In 1985, former San Francisco Supervisor Dan White — who'd served five years in prison for killing Mayor George Moscone (mahs-KOH'-nee) and Supervisor Harvey Milk, a gay-rights advocate — was found dead in a garage, a suicide.

In 1996, President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military survived its first Supreme Court test.

In 2001, Washington, D.C., postal worker Thomas L. Morris Jr. died of inhalation anthrax as officials began testing thousands of postal employees.

Ten years ago: Northwest Airlines Flight 188, an Airbus A320, flew past the Minneapolis airport by more than 100 miles before turning around and landing safely; the pilots later said they'd been distracted while talking about their schedules. Authorities found the body of missing Florida 7-year-old Somer Thompson in a Georgia landfill (Jarred Harrell later pleaded guilty to kidnapping, rape and murder, and was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole). Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jack Nelson of the Los Angeles Times died in Bethesda, Maryland, at 80. The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-4 in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series to win their second straight NL pennant.

Five years ago: North Korea abruptly freed Jeffrey Fowle, an American, nearly six months after he was arrested for leaving a Bible in a nightclub. Former Washington Post executive editor Ben Bradlee, 93, died in Washington. The San Francisco Giants defeated the Kansas City Royals 7-1 in the first game of the World Series.

One year ago: A growing caravan of Honduran migrants continued through southern Mexico toward the United States, after getting past Mexican agents who briefly blocked them at the Guatemalan border. One of Taiwan's fastest passenger trains derailed on a curve along a popular weekend route, killing 18 people and injuring nearly 200 others. Bluegrass and country star Ricky Skaggs, singer Dottie West and fiddler Johnny Gimble were inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Joyce Randolph is 95. Rock singer Manfred Mann is 79. Musician Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MG's) is 78. Singer Elvin Bishop is 77. TV's Judge Judy Sheindlin is 77. Actor Everett McGill is 74. Musician Lee Loughnane (LAHK'-nayn) (Chicago) is 73. Actor Dick Christie is 71. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 70. Actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson is 70. Musician Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go's) is 66. Movie director Catherine Hardwicke is 64. Singer Julian Cope is 62. Rock musician Steve Lukather (Toto) is 62. Actor Ken Watanabe (wah-tah-NAH'-bee) is 60. Actress Melora Walters is 59. Rock musician Che (chay) Colovita Lemon is 49. Rock singer-musician Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator) is 48. Christian rock musician Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) is 46. Actor Jeremy Miller is 43. Country singer Matthew Ramsey (Old Dominion) is 42. Actor Will Estes is 41. Actor Michael McMillian is 41. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian (kahr-DASH'-ee-uhn) West is 39. Actor Matt Dallas is 37. Actress Charlotte Sullivan is 36. Actor Aaron Tveit (tuh-VAYT') is 36. Actor Glenn Powell is 31. Country singer Kane Brown is 26.

Thought for Today: "Silence is sometimes the severest criticism." — Charles Buxton, English writer (1823-1871).

Copyright 2019, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.