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Jul 29, 12:01 AM EDT

Today in History

Today in History

Today is Saturday, July 29, the 210th day of 2017. There are 155 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On July 29, 1967, an accidental rocket launch on the deck of the supercarrier USS Forrestal in the Gulf of Tonkin resulted in a fire and explosions that killed 134 servicemen. (Among the survivors was future Arizona senator John McCain, a U.S. Navy lieutenant commander who narrowly escaped with his life.)

On this date:

In 1030, the patron saint of Norway, King Olaf II, was killed in battle.

In 1588, the English attacked the Spanish Armada in the Battle of Gravelines, resulting in an English victory.

In 1890, artist Vincent van Gogh, 37, died of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Auvers-sur-Oise, France.

In 1914, transcontinental telephone service in the U.S. became operational with the first test conversation between New York and San Francisco. Massachusetts' Cape Cod Canal, offering a shortcut across the base of the peninsula, was officially opened to shipping traffic.

In 1921, Adolf Hitler became the leader ("fuehrer") of the National Socialist German Workers Party.

In 1948, Britain's King George VI opened the Olympic Games in London.

In 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency was established. Jack Paar made his debut as host of NBC's "Tonight Show."

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, creating NASA.

In 1975, President Gerald R. Ford became the first U.S. president to visit the site of the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz in Poland.

In 1981, Britain's Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer in a glittering ceremony at St. Paul's Cathedral in London. (However, the couple divorced in 1996.)

In 1994, abortion opponent Paul Hill shot and killed Dr. John Bayard Britton and Britton's bodyguard, James H. Barrett, outside the Ladies Center clinic in Pensacola, Florida. (Hill was executed in September 2003.)

In 2004, Sen. John Kerry accepted the Democratic presidential nomination at the party's convention in Boston with a military salute and the declaration: "I'm John Kerry and I'm reporting for duty."

Ten years ago: British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrived at Camp David in Maryland for a private dinner as well as meetings with President George W. Bush. Tens of thousands of Iraqis celebrated after Iraq beat three-time champion Saudi Arabia 1-0 to take the Asian Cup. Alberto Contador of Spain won the doping-scarred Tour de France. Cal Ripken Jr. and Tony Gwynn took their places in the Baseball Hall of Fame. TV talk show host and newsman Tom Snyder died in San Francisco at age 71. French actor Michel Serrault died at age 79.

Five years ago: Standing on Israeli soil, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney declared Jerusalem to be the capital of the Jewish state and said the United States had "a solemn duty and a moral imperative" to block Iran from achieving nuclear weapons capability. At the London Olympics, 123-pound North Korean weightlifter Om Yun Chol won a gold medal by lifting a then-Olympic-record 370 pounds in the clean and jerk. Dana Vollmer of the United States set a world record to win the 100-meter butterfly in 55.98 seconds. Yannick Agnel rallied the French to the gold medal in the 4x100-meter freestyle relay in 3 minutes, 9.93 seconds, pulling ahead of American star Ryan Lochte on the final lap. French film director Chris Marker died on his 91st birthday.

One year ago: Pope Francis visited the former Nazi death factory at Auschwitz and Birkenau in southern Poland, meeting with concentration camp survivors as well as aging saviors who helped Jews escape certain doom. Former suburban Chicago police officer Drew Peterson was given an additional 40 years in prison for trying to hire someone to kill the prosecutor who put him behind bars for killing his third wife.

Today's Birthdays: Former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum-Baker is 85. Actor Robert Fuller is 84. Former Sen. Elizabeth H. Dole is 81. Actor David Warner is 76. Actress Roz Kelly is 75. Rock musician Neal Doughty (REO Speedwagon) is 71. Marilyn Tucker Quayle, wife of former Vice President Dan Quayle, is 68. Actor Mike Starr is 67. Documentary maker Ken Burns is 64. Style guru Tim Gunn is 64. Rock singer-musician Geddy Lee (Rush) is 64. Rock singer Patti Scialfa (Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band) is 64. Olympic gold medal gymnast Nellie Kim is 60. Actor Kevin Chapman is 55. Actress Alexandra Paul is 54. Actor/comedian Dean Haglund is 52. Country singer Martina McBride is 51. Rock musician Chris Gorman is 50. Actor Rodney Allen Rippy is 49. Actor Tim Omundson is 48. Actor Ato Essandoh is 45. Actor Wil Wheaton is 45. Rhythm-and-blues singer Wanya Morris (Boyz II Men) is 44. Country singer-songwriter James Otto is 44. Actor Stephen Dorff is 44. Actor Josh Radnor is 43. Hip-hop DJ/music producer Danger Mouse is 40. Actress Rachel Miner is 37. Actress Allison Mack is 35. Actress Kaitlyn Black is 34. Actor Matt Prokop is 27.

Thought for Today: "An idea is not responsible for the people who believe in it." - Don Marquis (MAHR'-kwihs), American journalist-author (born this date in 1878, died 1937).

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