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Oct 21, 12:02 AM EDT

Today in History

Today in History

Today is Friday, Oct. 21, the 295th day of 2016. There are 71 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 21, 1966, 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed when a coal waste landslide engulfed a school and some 20 houses in Aberfan, Wales.

On this date:

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

In 1805, a British fleet commanded by Adm. Horatio Nelson defeated a French-Spanish fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar; Nelson, however, was killed.

In 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.

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 1941, superheroine Wonder Woman made her debut in All-Star Comics issue No. 8, published by All-American Comics, Inc. of New York.

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

In 1959, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened to the public in New York.

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

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

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

In 1986, pro-Iranian kidnappers in Lebanon abducted American Edward Tracy (he was released in Aug. 1991).

In 1991, American hostage Jesse Turner was freed by his kidnappers in Lebanon after nearly five years in captivity.

Ten years ago: Al-Jazeera television aired an interview with State Department official Alberto Fernandez, who offered a striking assessment of the Iraq war, saying in Arabic that the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq. (Fernandez issued an apology the next day.) Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, visiting Moscow, delivered a symbolic rebuke to Russia over shrinking press freedoms, even as she courted President Vladimir Putin for help punishing Iran over its nuclear program. The St. Louis Cardinals cruised past the Detroit Tigers 7-2 win in Game 1 of the World Series.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama declared that America's long and deeply unpopular war in Iraq would be over by the end of 2011 and that all U.S. troops "will definitely be home for the holidays."

One year ago: Vice President Joe Biden announced he would not be a candidate in the 2016 White House campaign, solidifying Hillary Rodham Clinton's status as the Democratic front-runner. Actor-comedian Marty Ingels, 79, died in Los Angeles. The New York Mets finished an NL playoff sweep of the Chicago Cubs to advance to the World Series as the Mets brushed aside the Cubs 8-3. The Blue Jays beat the Kansas City Royals 7-1 to close to 3-2 in the best-of-seven AL Championship Series.

Today's Birthdays: Actress Joyce Randolph is 92. Author Ursula K. Le Guin is 87. Rock singer Manfred Mann is 76. Musician Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MG's) is 75. Singer Elvin Bishop is 74. TV's Judge Judy Sheindlin is 74. Actor Everett McGill is 71. Musician Lee Loughnane (LAHK'-nayn) (Chicago) is 70. Actor Dick Christie (TV: "The Bold and the Beautiful") is 68. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 67. Actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson is 67. Musician Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go's) is 63. Movie director Catherine Hardwicke is 61. Actress-author Carrie Fisher is 60. Singer Julian Cope is 59. Rock musician Steve Lukather (Toto) is 59. Actor Ken Watanabe (wah-tah-NAH'-bee) is 57. Actress Melora Walters is 56. Rock musician Che (chay) Colovita Lemon is 46. Rock singer-musician Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator) is 45. Christian rock musician Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) is 43. Actor Jeremy Miller is 40. Country singer Matthew Ramsey (Old Dominion) is 39. Actor Will Estes is 38. Actor Michael McMillian is 38. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian (kahr-DASH'-ee-uhn) West is 36. Actor Matt Dallas is 34. Actress Charlotte Sullivan is 33. Actor Aaron Tveit (tuh-VAYT') is 33.

Thought for Today: "Happiness is not a horse; you cannot harness it." - Russian proverb.

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