Today in History

Today in History

Today is Wednesday, July 24, the 205th day of 2019. There are 160 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On July 24, 1969, the Apollo 11 astronauts — two of whom had been the first men to set foot on the moon — splashed down safely in the Pacific.

On this date:

In 1858, Republican senatorial candidate Abraham Lincoln formally challenged Democrat Stephen A. Douglas to a series of political debates; the result was seven face-to-face encounters.

In 1862, Martin Van Buren, the eighth president of the United States, and the first to have been born a U.S. citizen, died at age 79 in Kinderhook, New York, the town where he was born in 1782.

In 1866, Tennessee became the first state to be readmitted to the Union after the Civil War.

In 1915, the SS Eastland, a passenger ship carrying more than 2,500 people, rolled onto its side while docked at the Clark Street Bridge on the Chicago River; an estimated 844 people died in the disaster.

In 1937, the state of Alabama dropped charges against four of the nine young black men accused of raping two white women in the "Scottsboro Case."

In 1959, during a visit to Moscow, Vice President Richard Nixon engaged in his famous "Kitchen Debate" with Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

In 1974, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon had to turn over subpoenaed White House tape recordings to the Watergate special prosecutor.

In 1975, an Apollo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific, completing a mission which included the first-ever docking with a Soyuz capsule from the Soviet Union.

In 1998, a gunman burst into the U.S. Capitol, killing two police officers before being shot and captured. (The shooter, Russell Eugene Weston Jr., is being held in a federal mental facility.)

In 2002, nine coal miners became trapped in a flooded tunnel of the Quecreek (KYOO'-kreek) Mine in western Pennsylvania; the story ended happily 77 hours later with the rescue of all nine.

In 2005, Lance Armstrong won his seventh consecutive Tour de France. (Those wins were stripped away after Armstrong's 2013 confession to using steroids and other banned performance-enhancing drugs and methods.)

In 2017, in a speech to a national Boy Scout gathering in West Virginia, President Donald Trump railed against his enemies and promoted his political agenda, bringing an angry reaction from some parents and former Scouts from both parties.

Ten years ago: Trying to tamp down a national uproar over race, President Barack Obama acknowledged using unfortunate words in declaring that Cambridge, Massachusetts, police had "acted stupidly" in arresting black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., adding he'd invited the Harvard professor and Sgt. James Crowley, the arresting officer, for "a beer here in the White House."

Five years ago: Air Algérie Flight 5017, an MD-83 carrying 116 people, crashed in northern Mali, killing all on board; it was the third major international aviation disaster in a week. A psychiatrist's patient opened fire at a medical complex in Media, Pennsylvania, killing his caseworker and grazing his psychiatrist before the doctor pulled out his own weapon and fired back, wounding the patient. Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice received a two-game suspension from the NFL following his offseason arrest for domestic violence after an altercation with then-fiancée (later wife) Janay Palmer in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

One year ago: The Trump administration said it would provide $12 billion in emergency relief to farmers hurt by trade disputes with China and other countries. Brian Kemp, a self-described "politically incorrect conservative" carrying the endorsement of President Donald Trump, won Georgia's GOP gubernatorial runoff; he would go on to defeat Democrat Stacey Abrams in the general election. A federal judge in New York ordered the release of an Ecuadorean immigrant, Pablo Villavicencio, who'd been held for deportation after delivering pizza to a U.S. Army installation in Brooklyn; the immigrant had applied to stay in the country after marrying a U.S. citizen with whom he had two young girls. Ivanka Trump announced the shutdown of her fashion line, which had been targeted by boycotts and prompted concerns about conflicts of interest.

Today's Birthdays: Actor John Aniston is 86. Political cartoonist Pat Oliphant is 84. Comedian Ruth Buzzi is 83. Actor Mark Goddard is 83. Actor Dan Hedaya is 79. Actor Chris Sarandon is 77. Comedian Gallagher is 73. Actor Robert Hays is 72. Former Republican national chairman Marc Racicot (RAWS'-koh) is 71. Actor Michael Richards is 70. Actress Lynda Carter is 68. Movie director Gus Van Sant is 67. Former Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is 66. Country singer Pam Tillis is 62. Actor Paul Ben-Victor is 57. Basketball Hall of Famer Karl Malone is 56. Retired MLB All-Star Barry Bonds is 55. Actor Kadeem Hardison is 54. Actress-singer Kristin Chenoweth (CHEN'-oh-wuhth) is 51. Actress Laura Leighton is 51. Actor John P. Navin Jr. is 51. Actress-singer Jennifer Lopez is 50. Basketball player-turned-actor Rick Fox is 50. Director Patty Jenkins ("Wonder Woman") is 48. Actress Jamie Denbo (TV: "Orange is the New Black") is 46. Actor Eric Szmanda is 44. Actress Rose Byrne is 40. Country singer Jerrod Niemann is 40. Actress Summer Glau is 38. Actor Sheaun McKinney is 38. Actress Elisabeth Moss is 37. Actress Anna Paquin is 37. Actress Sarah Greene is 35. NHL center Patrice Bergeron is 34. Actress Megan Park is 33. Actress Mara Wilson is 32. Rock singer Jay McGuiness (The Wanted) is 29. Actress Emily Bett Rickards is 28. Actor Lucas Adams is 26. TV personality Bindi Irwin is 21.

Thought for Today: "People who jump to conclusions rarely alight on them." — Philip Guedalla, British writer (1889-1944).