Today in History
Today is Tuesday, Aug. 24, the 236th day of 2021. There are 129 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 24, 1814, during the War of 1812, British forces invaded Washington, D.C., setting fire to the Capitol (which was still under construction) and the White House, as well as other public buildings.
On this date:
In A.D. 79, long-dormant Mount Vesuvius erupted, burying the Roman cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum in volcanic ash; an estimated 20,000 people died.
In 1932, Amelia Earhart embarked on a 19-hour flight from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, making her the first woman to fly solo, non-stop, from coast to coast.
In 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty came into force.
In 1954, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed the Communist Control Act, outlawing the Communist Party in the United States.
In 1968, France became the world’s fifth thermonuclear power as it exploded a hydrogen bomb in the South Pacific.
In 1981, Mark David Chapman was sentenced in New York to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon. (Chapman remains imprisoned.)
In 1989, Baseball Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti (juh-MAH’-tee) banned Pete Rose from the game for betting on his own team, the Cincinnati Reds.
In 1992, Hurricane Andrew smashed into Florida, causing $30 billion in damage; 43 U.S. deaths were blamed on the storm.
In 2001, Tom Green, a Mormon fundamentalist with five wives and 30 children, was sentenced by a court in Provo, Utah, to five years in prison for his conviction on four counts of bigamy and one count of failure to pay child support.
In 2003, the Justice Department reported the U.S. crime rate in 2002 was the lowest since studies began in 1973.
In 2008, on the final day of the Beijing Games, Kobe Bryant hit two 3-pointers in a big fourth quarter to help the United States defeat Spain 118-107 and win the men’s basketball gold medal for the first time since 2000.
In 2019, police in Aurora, Colorado, responding to a report of a suspicious person, used a chokehold to subdue Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man; he suffered cardiac arrest on the way to the hospital and was later declared brain dead and taken off life support. (Three officers were placed on leave but returned to the force after prosecutors found insufficient evidence to support charging them.)
Ten years ago: A defiant Moammar Gadhafi vowed from hiding to fight on “until victory or martyrdom” and called on residents of the Libyan capital and loyal tribesmen across his North African nation to free Tripoli from the “devils and traitors” who had overrun it. Steve Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple Inc.; he was succeeded by Tim Cook.
Five years ago: A 6.2 magnitude earthquake reduced three central Italian towns to rubble and killed nearly 300 people. Astronaut Jeffrey Williams, commander of the International Space Station, marked a U.S. record-breaking 521st day in orbit, a number accumulated over four flights. (Upon his return to earth 13 days later, Williams had logged a grand total of 534 days in space).
One year ago: Republicans formally nominated President Donald Trump for a second term on the opening day of a scaled-down convention; during a visit to the convention city of Charlotte, North Carolina, Trump told delegates that “the only way they can take this election away from us is if this is a rigged election.” Anger over the shooting of a Black man, Jacob Blake, by police spilled into the streets of Kenosha, Wisconsin for a second night. Authorities in Portland, Oregon, said protesters repeatedly set fire to a police union headquarters building and were repelled by officers spraying tear gas. The World Health Organization said using plasma from the recovered to treat COVID-19 was still considered an “experimental” therapy; the statement came a day after President Donald Trump announced an emergency authorization of the treatment. University of Hong Kong scientists claimed to have the first evidence of someone being reinfected with the virus that causes COVID-19. Citing “significant errors” in jury selection, California’s Supreme Court overturned the death sentence for Scott Peterson but let his murder conviction stand in the killing of his pregnant wife.
Today’s Birthdays: Composer-musician Mason Williams is 83. R&B singer Marshall Thompson (The Chi-Lites) is 79. Actor Anne Archer is 74. Actor Joe Regalbuto is 72. Actor Kevin Dunn is 66. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is 66. Actor-writer Stephen Fry is 64. Actor Steve Guttenberg is 63. Baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. is 61. Actor Jared Harris is 60. Talk show host Craig Kilborn is 59. CBS News correspondent Major Garrett is 59. Rock singer John Bush is 58. Actor Marlee Matlin is 56. Basketball Hall of Famer Reggie Miller is 56. Broadcast journalist David Gregory is 51. Movie director Ava DuVernay is 49. Actor-comedian Dave Chappelle is 48. Actor James D’Arcy is 48. Actor Carmine Giovinazzo (jee-oh-vihn-AH’-zoh) is 48. Actor Alex O’Loughlin is 45. Actor Beth Riesgraf is 43. Actor Chad Michael Murray is 40. Singer Mika is 38. Actor Blake Berris is 37. Actor Rupert Grint (“Harry Potter” films) is 33.