Today in History
By The Associated Press
Today is Friday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2021. There are 133 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On August 20, 1968, the Soviet Union and other Warsaw Pact nations began invading Czechoslovakia to crush the “Prague Spring” liberalization drive.
On this date:
In 1862, the New York Tribune published an open letter by editor Horace Greeley calling on President Abraham Lincoln to take more aggressive measures to free the slaves and end the South’s rebellion.
In 1866, President Andrew Johnson formally declared the Civil War over, months after fighting had stopped.
In 1882, Tchaikovsky’s “1812 Overture” had its premiere in Moscow.
In 1953, the Soviet Union publicly acknowledged it had tested a hydrogen bomb.
In 1955, hundreds of people were killed in anti-French rioting in Morocco and Algeria.
In 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Economic Opportunity Act, a nearly $1 billion anti-poverty measure.
In 1979, swimmer Diana Nyad succeeded in her third attempt at swimming from the Bahamas to Florida.
In 1986, postal employee Patrick Henry Sherrill went on a deadly rampage at a post office in Edmond, Okla., shooting 14 fellow workers to death before killing himself.
In 1988, a cease-fire in the war between Iraq and Iran went into effect.
In 1989, 51 people died when a pleasure boat sank in the River Thames in London after colliding with a dredger.
In 2017, actor, comic and longtime telethon host Jerry Lewis died of heart disease in Las Vegas at the age of 91.
In 2019, President Donald Trump abruptly canceled an upcoming trip to Denmark, which owns Greenland, after the Danish prime minister dismissed the idea of the United States purchasing the mostly frozen island.
Ten years ago: North Korean leader Kim Jong Il arrived in Russia’s Far East on a nearly weeklong visit. Jordyn Wieber won her first title at the U.S. gymnastics championships in St. Paul, Minn.
Five years ago: Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told a rally in Virginia that his party had to do a better job of appealing to African-American voters. At the Rio Games, the U.S. women’s basketball team won a sixth consecutive Olympic gold medal, routing Spain 101-72. Allyson Felix and LaShawn Merritt anchored the 4×400 relay teams to victory.
One year ago: Accepting the Democratic presidential nomination, Joe Biden vowed to move the nation past the chaos of Donald Trump’s tenure and return it to its leadership role in the world; capping a virtual convention amid the pandemic, Biden spoke to a largely empty arena in Delaware. A federal judge cleared the way for a New York prosecutor to get President Donald Trump’s tax returns. Trump’s former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was pulled from a yacht and arrested on charges that he and three associates ripped off donors trying to fund a southern border wall. (Trump, in his final hours in office, would pardon Bannon.) Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny became ill on a flight to Moscow from Siberia and was hospitalized in a coma. (Navalny would spend five months in Germany recovering from a nerve agent poisoning that he blamed on the Kremlin; he was arrested after his return to Russia.) Officials announced a $600 million settlement between the state of Michigan and Flint residents who were harmed by lead-tainted water. The Minnesota Timberwolves won the NBA lottery giving them the first pick in the upcoming draft. (The Timberwolves would select Georgia shooting guard Anthony Edwards.)
Today’s Birthdays: Boxing promoter Don King is 90. Former Sen. George Mitchell, D-Maine, is 88. Former U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is 86. Former MLB All-Star Graig Nettles is 77. Broadcast journalist Connie Chung is 75. Musician Jimmy Pankow (Chicago) is 74. Actor Ray Wise is 74. Actor John Noble is 73. Rock singer Robert Plant (Led Zeppelin) is 73. Country singer Rudy Gatlin is 69. Singer-songwriter John Hiatt is 69. Actor-director Peter Horton is 68. TV weatherman Al Roker is 67. Actor Jay Acovone is 66. Actor Joan Allen is 65. Movie director David O. Russell is 63. TV personality Asha Blake is 60. Actor James Marsters is 59. Rapper KRS-One is 56. Actor Colin Cunningham is 55. Actor Billy Gardell is 52. Rock singer Fred Durst (Limp Bizkit) is 51. Actor Jonathan Ke Quan is 51. Rock musician Brad Avery is 50. Actor Misha Collins is 47. Rock singer Monique Powell (Save Ferris) is 46. Jazz/pop singer-pianist Jamie Cullum is 42. Actor Ben Barnes is 40. Actor Meghan Ory is 39. Actor Andrew Garfield is 38. Actor Brant Daugherty is 36. Actor-singer Demi Lovato is 29. Actor Christopher Paul Richards is 18.