Today in History
Today is Thursday, Aug. 23, the 235th day of 2018. There are 130 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 23, 1775, Britain’s King George III proclaimed the American colonies to be in a state of “open and avowed rebellion.”
On this date:
In 1754, France’s King Louis XVI was born at Versailles (vehr-SY’).
In 1785, U.S. naval hero Oliver Hazard Perry was born in South Kingstown, R.I.
In 1912, actor, dancer, director and choreographer Gene Kelly was born Eugene Curran Kelly in Pittsburgh.
In 1913, Copenhagen’s Little Mermaid statue, inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story, was unveiled in the harbor of the Danish capital.
In 1914, Japan declared war against Germany in World War I.
In 1927, amid worldwide protests, Italian-born anarchists Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were executed in Boston for the murders of two men during a 1920 robbery. (On the 50th anniversary of their executions, then-Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis issued a proclamation that Sacco and Vanzetti had been unfairly tried and convicted.)
In 1939, Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union agreed to a non-aggression treaty, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, in Moscow.
In 1960, Broadway librettist Oscar Hammerstein (HAM’-ur-STYN’) II, 65, died in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.
In 1973, a bank robbery-turned-hostage-taking began in Stockholm, Sweden; the four hostages ended up empathizing with their captors, a psychological condition now referred to as “Stockholm Syndrome.”
In 1982, Lebanon’s parliament elected Christian militia leader Bashir Gemayel president. (However, Gemayel was assassinated some three weeks later.)
In 1989, in a case that inflamed racial tensions in New York, Yusuf Hawkins, a 16-year-old black youth, was shot dead after he and his friends were confronted by a group of white youths in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. (Gunman Joey Fama was convicted of second-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison; he will be eligible for parole in 2022.)
In 2000, an estimated 51 million viewers tuned in for the finale of the first season of the CBS reality show “Survivor,” in which contestant Richard Hatch won the $1 million prize.
Ten years ago: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama introduced his choice of running mate, Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, before a crowd outside the Old State Capitol in Springfield, Ill. Two foreign journalists, Canadian Amanda Lindhout and Australian Nigel Brennan, were kidnapped near Mogadishu, Somalia; both were freed after 15 months in captivity. At the Beijing Olympics, the United States won gold in the women’s and men’s 1,600-meter relay track events. The U.S. women’s basketball team beat Australia 92-65 to win a fourth straight gold medal. Angel Matos of Cuba and his coach were banned for life after the taekwondo athlete kicked the referee in the face following his bronze-medal match disqualification.
Five years ago: A military jury convicted Maj. Nidal Hasan in the deadly 2009 shooting rampage at Fort Hood, Texas, that claimed 13 lives; the Army psychiatrist was later sentenced to death. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, the U.S. soldier who’d massacred 16 Afghan civilians, was sentenced at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington, to life in prison with no chance of parole. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, a Democrat, agreed to resign in return for the city’s help defending him against claims he’d groped, kissed and made lewd comments to women. (Filner later pleaded guilty to a felony for manhandling a woman at a fundraising event and two misdemeanor battery charges; he served three months of house arrest.)
One year ago: City workers in Charlottesville, Virginia, draped giant black covers over two statues of Confederate generals to symbolize the city’s mourning for a woman killed while protesting a white nationalist rally. A federal judge again blocked a set of voter ID requirements in Texas, rejecting a weakened version that had been backed by the Trump administration. (An appeals court later allowed the law to stay in effect; it allows voters without any acceptable photo ID to cast a ballot as long as they sign an affidavit.)
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Vera Miles is 88. Actress Barbara Eden is 87. Political satirist Mark Russell is 86. Pro Football Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen is 84. Actor Richard Sanders is 78. Ballet dancer Patricia McBride is 76. Former Surgeon General Antonia Novello is 74. Pro Football Hall of Famer Rayfield Wright is 73. Country singer Rex Allen Jr. is 71. Actor David Robb is 71. Singer Linda Thompson is 71. Actress Shelley Long is 69. Actor-singer Rick Springfield is 69. Country singer-musician Woody Paul (Riders in the Sky) is 69. Queen Noor of Jordan is 67. Actor-producer Mark Hudson is 67. Actor Skipp Sudduth is 62. Retired MLB All-Star pitcher Mike Boddicker is 61. Rock musician Dean DeLeo (Army of Anyone; Stone Temple Pilots) is 57. Country musician Ira Dean (Trick Pony) is 49. Actor Jay Mohr is 48. Actor Ray Park is 44. Actor Scott Caan is 42. Country singer Shelly Fairchild is 41. Figure skater Nicole Bobek is 41. Rock singer Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) is 40. Retired NBA player Kobe Bryant is 40. Actress Joanne Froggatt is 38. Actress Jaime Lee Kirchner is 37. Neo-soul musician Andy Wild (Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats) is 37. Actress Annie Ilonzeh is 35. Dance musician Sky Blu is 32. Actress Kimberly Matula is 30. NBA player Jeremy Lin is 30.
Thought for Today: “I know the world is filled with troubles and many injustices. But reality is as beautiful as it is ugly. I think it is just as important to sing about beautiful mornings as it is to talk about slums. I just couldn’t write anything without hope in it.” — Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960).