Today in History
Today is Friday, Aug. 17, the 229th day of 2018. There are 136 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 17, 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily during World War II was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.
On this date:
In 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round trip between New York and Albany.
In 1915, a mob in Cobb County, Georgia, lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, 31, whose death sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan had been commuted to life imprisonment. (Frank, who’d maintained his innocence, was pardoned by the state of Georgia in 1986.)
In 1942, during World War II, U.S. 8th Air Force bombers attacked German forces in Rouen, France. U.S. Marines raided a Japanese seaplane base on Makin Island.
In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi coast as a Category 5 storm that was blamed for 256 U.S. deaths, three in Cuba.
In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle II outside Paris.
In 1982, the first commercially produced compact discs, a recording of ABBA’s “The Visitors,” were pressed at a Philips factory near Hanover, West Germany.
In 1983, lyricist Ira Gershwin died in Beverly Hills, Calif., at age 86.
In 1985, more than 1,400 meatpackers walked off the job at the Geo. A. Hormel and Co.’s main plant in Austin, Minnesota, in a bitter strike that lasted just over a year.
In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide. The musical drama “Dirty Dancing,” starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze, premiered in New York.
In 1988, Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel (RAY’-fehl) were killed in a mysterious plane crash.
In 1996, the Reform Party announced Ross Perot had been selected to be its first-ever presidential nominee, opting for the third-party’s founder over challenger Richard Lamm.
In 1999, more than 17,000 people were killed when a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck Turkey.
Ten years ago: At the Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps and three teammates won the 400-meter medley relay for Phelps’ eighth gold medal. In tennis, Venus and Serena Williams defeated Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual of Spain in women’s doubles; Rafael Nadal defeated Fernando Gonzalez of Chile in the men’s singles; Elena Dementieva defeated fellow Russian Dinara Safina in the women’s singles. Matamoros, Mexico, pitcher Jesus Sauceda had the fifth perfect game in Little League World Series history as he struck out all 12 batters in a 12-0 win over Emilia, Italy. (The game went just four innings because of Little League’s mercy rule.)
Five years ago: The attorney for a young man who’d testified he was fondled by former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky said his client had reached a settlement, the first among dozens of claims made against the school amid the Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Nick Davilla threw six touchdown passes and the Arizona Rattlers defeated the Philadelphia Soul 48-39 in the ArenaBowl. Kansas City’s Miguel Tejada was suspended 105 games by Major League Baseball for violating its Joint Drug Program, one of the longest suspensions ever handed down.
One year ago: A van plowed through pedestrians along a packed promenade in the Spanish city of Barcelona, killing 13 people and injuring 120. (A 14th victim died later from injuries.) Another man was stabbed to death in a carjacking that night as the van driver made his getaway, and a woman died early the next day in a vehicle-and-knife attack in a nearby coastal town. (Six suspects in the attack were shot dead by police, two more died when a bomb workshop exploded.)
Today’s Birthdays: Former Chinese president Jiang Zemin is 92. Author V.S. Naipaul is 86. Former MLB All-Star Boog Powell is 77. Actor Robert DeNiro is 75. Movie director Martha Coolidge is 72. Rock musician Gary Talley (The Box Tops) is 71. Actor-screenwriter-producer Julian Fellowes is 69. Actor Robert Joy is 67. International Tennis Hall of Famer Guillermo Vilas is 66. Rock singer Kevin Rowland (Dexy’s Midnight Runners) is 65. Rock musician Colin Moulding (XTC) is 63. Country singer-songwriter Kevin Welch is 63. Olympic gold medal figure skater Robin Cousins is 61. Singer Belinda Carlisle is 60. Author Jonathan Franzen is 59. Actor Sean Penn is 58. Jazz musician Everette Harp is 57. Rock musician Gilby Clarke is 56. Singer Maria McKee is 54. Rock musician Steve Gorman (The Black Crowes) is 53. Rock musician Jill Cunniff is 52. Actor David Conrad is 51. Actress Helen McCrory is 50. Singer Donnie Wahlberg is 49. College Basketball Hall of Famer and retired NBA All-Star Christian Laettner is 49. Rapper Posdnuos is 49. International Tennis Hall of Famer Jim Courier is 48. Retired MLB All-Star Jorge Posada is 47. TV personality Giuliana Rancic is 44. Actor Bryton James is 32. Actor Brady Corbet is 30. Actress Taissa Farmiga is 24. Olympic bronze medal figure skater Gracie Gold is 23.
Thought for Today: “It is not love that is blind, but jealousy.” — Lawrence Durrell, British-born author (1912-1990).