Today In History

Today in History

Today is Saturday, Aug. 7, the 219th day of 2021. There are 146 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 7, 1998, terrorist bombs at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.

On this date:

In 1782, Gen. George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart, a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and noncommissioned officers.

In 1789, the U.S. Department of War was established by Congress.

In 1942, U.S. and other allied forces landed at Guadalcanal, marking the start of the first major allied offensive in the Pacific during World War II. (Japanese forces abandoned the island the following February.)

In 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving President Lyndon B. Johnson broad powers in dealing with reported North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. forces.

In 1971, the Apollo 15 moon mission ended successfully as its command module splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.

In 1989, a plane carrying U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Texas, and 14 others disappeared over Ethiopia. (The wreckage of the plane was found six days later; there were no survivors.)

In 1990, President George H.W. Bush ordered U.S. troops and warplanes to Saudi Arabia to guard the oil-rich desert kingdom against a possible invasion by Iraq.

In 2000, Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore selected Connecticut Sen. Joseph Lieberman as his running mate; Lieberman became the first Jewish candidate on a major party’s presidential ticket.

In 2008, A U.S. military jury at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base gave Osama bin Laden’s driver a surprisingly light 5-1/2-year sentence for aiding terrorism, making him eligible for parole in just five months. (The U.S. later transferred Salim Hamdan (sah-LEEM’ hahm-DAHN’) to his home country of Yemen, which released him in January 2009.)

In 2010, Elena Kagan was sworn in as the 112th justice and fourth woman to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2012, Jared Lee Loughner agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison, accepting that he went on a deadly shooting rampage at an Arizona political gathering in 2011 and sparing the victims a lengthy, possibly traumatic death-penalty trial.

In 2015, Colorado theater shooter James Holmes was spared the death penalty in favor of life in prison after a jury in Centennial failed to agree on whether he should be executed for his murderous attack on a packed movie premiere that left 12 people dead.

Ten years ago: The Treasury Department announced that Secretary Timothy Geithner (GYT’-nur) had told President Barack Obama he would remain on the job, ending speculation he would leave the administration. Former New York Governor Hugh Carey, 92, died on Shelter Island, New York. Former Oregon Governor and U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield, 89, died in Portland.

Five years ago: An accident on a 17-story waterslide at Schlitterbahn Waterpark in Kansas City, Kansas, claimed the life of a 10-year-old boy. Jim Furyk became the first golfer to shoot a 58 in PGA Tour history during the Travelers Championship in Connecticut with a 12-under 58 in the final round. (Furyk finished tied for fifth at 11 under, three strokes behind winner Russell Knox.) At the Rio Games, U.S. swimmer Katie Ledecky crushed her own world record in the 400 freestyle with a time of 3:56.46.

One year ago: Thousands of bikers poured into the small South Dakota town of Sturgis for the 80th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally despite fears that it could lead to a massive coronavirus outbreak. (Federal health officials later said the rally led to dozens of coronavirus cases in neighboring Minnesota; the Associated Press found that at least 290 people in 12 states tested positive for the coronavirus after attending the rally.) The military recovered the bodies of seven Marines and a Navy sailor who’d been killed when a Marine landing craft sank in hundreds of feet of water off the Southern California coast; another Marine had died after being rescued.

Today’s Birthdays: Gospel singer Ben Moore is 80. Singer Lana Cantrell is 78. Former FBI Director Robert Mueller is 77. Actor John Glover is 77. Actor David Rasche is 77. Former diplomat, talk show host and activist Alan Keyes is 71. Country singer Rodney Crowell is 71. Actor Caroline Aaron is 69. Comedian Alexei Sayle is 69. Actor Wayne Knight is 66. Rock singer Bruce Dickinson is 63. Marathon runner Alberto Salazar is 63. Actor David Duchovny is 61. Country musician Michael Mahler (Wild Horses) is 60. Actor Delane Matthews is 60. Actor Harold Perrineau is 58. Jazz musician Marcus Roberts is 58. Country singer Raul Malo is 56. Actor David Mann is 55. Actor Charlotte Lewis is 54. Actor Sydney Penny is 50. Actor Greg Serano is 49. Actor Michael Shannon is 47. Actor Charlize Theron (shar-LEES’ THEHR’-en) is 46. Rock musician Barry Kerch is 45. Actor Eric Johnson is 42. Actor Randy Wayne is 40. Actor-writer Brit Marling is 39. NHL center Sidney Crosby is 34. MLB All-Star Mike Trout is 30. Actor Liam James is 25.