Today in History
Today is Friday, Aug. 21, the 234th day of 2020. There are 132 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 21, 1831, Nat Turner launched a violent slave rebellion in Virginia resulting in the deaths of at least 55 whites. (Turner was later executed.)
On this date:
In 1609, Galileo Galilei demonstrated his new telescope to a group of officials atop the Campanile (kahm-pah-NEE’-lay) in Venice.
In 1911, Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” was stolen from the Louvre Museum in Paris. (The painting was recovered two years later in Italy.)
In 1945, President Harry S. Truman ended the Lend-Lease program that had shipped some $50 billion in aid supplies to America’s allies during World War II.
In 1961, country singer Patsy Cline recorded the Willie Nelson song “Crazy” in Nashville for Decca Records. (The recording was released in October 1961.)
In 1963, martial law was declared in South Vietnam as police and army troops began a violent crackdown on Buddhist anti-government protesters.
In 1983, Philippine opposition leader Benigno S. Aquino (beh-NEEG’-noh ah-KEEN’-oh) Jr., ending a self-imposed exile in the United States, was shot dead moments after stepping off a plane at Manila International Airport.
In 1987, Sgt. Clayton Lonetree, the first Marine court-martialed for spying, was convicted in Quantico, Va., of passing secrets to the KGB. (Lonetree ended up serving eight years in a military prison.)
In 1991, the hard-line coup against Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev collapsed in the face of a popular uprising led by Russian Federation President Boris N. Yeltsin.
In 1992, an 11-day siege began at the cabin of white separatist Randy Weaver in Ruby Ridge, Idaho, as government agents tried to arrest Weaver for failing to appear in court on charges of selling two illegal sawed-off shotguns; on the first day of the siege, Weaver’s teenage son, Samuel, and Deputy U.S. Marshal William Degan were killed.
In 1993, in a serious setback for NASA, engineers lost contact with the Mars Observer spacecraft as it was about to reach the red planet on a $980 million mission.
In 2000, rescue efforts to reach the sunken Russian nuclear submarine Kursk ended with divers announcing none of the 118 sailors had survived.
In 2014, Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the Missouri National Guard to begin withdrawing from Ferguson, where nightly scenes of unrest had erupted since a white police officer fatally shot a Black 18-year-old nearly two weeks earlier.
Ten years ago: Iranian and Russian engineers began loading fuel into Iran’s first nuclear power plant, which Moscow promised to safeguard to prevent material at the site from being used in any potential weapons production. A Vincent van Gogh painting, “Poppy Flowers,” was stolen in broad daylight from Cairo’s Mahmoud Khalil Museum. (Although Egyptian authorities initially said they’d recovered the painting the same day at the Cairo airport, that report turned out to be erroneous; the painting remains missing.) Emmy-winning CBS News correspondent Harold Dow died at age 62.
Five years ago: A trio of Americans, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Spencer Stone, National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and college student Anthony Sadler, and a British businessman, Chris Norman, tackled and disarmed a Moroccan gunman on a high-speed train between Amsterdam and Paris. First Lt. Shaye Haver of Copperas Cove, Texas, and Capt. Kristen Griest of Orange, Connecticut, became the first female soldiers to complete the Army’s rigorous Ranger School at Fort Benning, Georgia. Mike Fiers pitched the second no-hitter in the major leagues in nine days, leading the Houston Astros to a 3-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
One year ago: Escalating an international spat, President Donald Trump said he had scrapped his trip to Denmark because the country’s prime minister had made a “nasty” statement when she rejected his idea of buying Greenland as absurd. Trump signed an order erasing the hundreds of millions of dollars in federal student loan debt owed by tens of thousands of disabled military veterans.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor-director Melvin Van Peebles is 88. Actor Clarence Williams III is 81. Rock-and-roll musician James Burton is 81. Singer Jackie DeShannon is 79. College and Pro Football Hall of Famer Willie Lanier is 75. Actor Patty McCormack is 75. Pop singer-musician Carl Giammarese (jee-ah mah-REE’-see) is 73. Actor Loretta Devine is 71. NBC newsman Harry Smith is 69. Singer Glenn Hughes is 68. Country musician Nick Kane is 66. Actor Kim Cattrall is 64. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL quarterback Jim McMahon is 61. Actor Cleo King is 58. Retired MLB All-Star John Wetteland is 54. Rock singer Serj Tankian (TAN’-kee-ahn) (System of a Down) is 53. Figure skater Josee Chouinard is 51. Actor Carrie-Anne Moss is 50. MLB player-turned-manager Craig Counsell is 50. Rock musician Liam Howlett (Prodigy) is 49. Actor Alicia Witt is 45. Singer Kelis (kuh-LEES’) is 41. Actor Diego Klattenhoff is 41. TV personality Brody Jenner is 37. Singer Melissa Schuman is 36. Olympic gold medal sprinter Usain (yoo-SAYN’) Bolt is 34. Actor Carlos Pratts is 34. Actor-comedian Brooks Wheelan is 34. Actor Cody Kasch is 33. Country singer Kacey Musgraves is 32. Actor Hayden Panettiere (pan’-uh-tee-EHR’) is 31. Actor RJ Mitte is 28. Actor Maxim Knight is 21.