Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Wednesday, August 5, the 217th day of 2015. There are 148 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 5, 1965, during the Vietnam War, “The CBS Evening News” sparked controversy as it aired a report by correspondent Morley Safer showing a group of U.S. Marines torching huts in the village of Cam Ne, considered a Viet Cong stronghold, using flamethrowers and Zippo cigarette lighters.

On this date:

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union Adm. David G. Farragut led his fleet to victory in the Battle of Mobile Bay, Alabama.

In 1884, the cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty’s pedestal was laid on Bedloe’s Island in New York Harbor.

In 1914, what’s believed to be the first electric traffic light system was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, at the intersection of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue. Montenegro declared war on Austria-Hungary at the start of World War I.

In 1924, the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” by Harold Gray made its debut.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established the National Labor Board, which was later replaced with the National Labor Relations Board.

In 1953, Operation Big Switch began as remaining prisoners taken during the Korean War were exchanged at Panmunjom.

In 1957, the teenage dance show “American Bandstand,” hosted by Dick Clark, made its network debut on ABC-TV.

In 1962, actress Marilyn Monroe, 36, was found dead in her Los Angeles home; her death was ruled a probable suicide from “acute barbiturate poisoning.” South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was arrested; it was the beginning of 27 years of imprisonment.

In 1969, the U.S. space probe Mariner 7 flew by Mars, sending back photographs and scientific data.

In 1974, the White House released transcripts of subpoenaed tape recordings showing that President Richard Nixon and his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman, had discussed a plan in June 1972 to use the CIA to thwart the FBI’s Watergate investigation; revelation of the tape sparked Nixon’s resignation.

In 1984, actor Richard Burton died in Geneva, Switzerland, at age 58.

In 1994, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington chose Kenneth W. Starr to take over the Whitewater investigation from Robert Fiske.

Ten years ago: British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced new deportation measures against people who fostered hatred and advocated violence. The NCAA announced it would shut American Indian nicknames and images out of postseason tournaments. Hunter Kelly, whose battle with a nervous system disease inspired fundraising crusade by his father, Football Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, died in Orchard Park, New York, at age eight.

Five years ago: The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan, 63-37, as the Supreme Court’s 112th justice and the fourth woman in its history. BP finished pumping cement into the blown Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. Thirty-three workers were trapped in a copper mine in northern Chile after a tunnel caved in (all were rescued after being entombed for 69 days). Ten members of a Christian medical team from the International Assistance Mission were gunned down in Afghanistan by unknown attackers.

One year ago: U.S. Maj. Gen. Harold Greene was shot to death near Kabul in one of the bloodiest insider attacks in the long Afghanistan war; the gunman, dressed as an Afghan soldier, turned on allied troops, wounding about 15, including a German general and two Afghan generals. American aid worker Nancy Writebol, infected with Ebola while in Liberia, arrived in Atlanta, joining Dr. Kent Brantly, a fellow patient being given an experimental treatment. (Both recovered.) Actress Marilyn Burns, 65, best known as the heroine of the 1974 horror classic “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” was found dead at her home in Houston. Former U.S. Surgeon General Jesse Steinfeld, 87, died in Pomona, California. The San Antonio Spurs hired WNBA star Becky Hammon as an assistant coach, making her the first woman to join an NBA coaching staff.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor John Saxon is 79. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Roman Gabriel is 75. Country songwriter Bobby Braddock is 75. Actress Loni Anderson is 70. Actress Erika Slezak is 69. Rock singer Rick Derringer is 68. Actress Holly Palance is 65. Singer Samantha Sang is 62. Actress-singer Maureen McCormick is 59. Rock musician Pat Smear is 56. Author David Baldacci is 55. Actress Tawney Kitaen is 54. Actress Janet McTeer is 54. Country musician Mark O’Connor is 54. Basketball Hall-of-Famer Patrick Ewing is 53. Actor Jonathan Silverman is 49. Country singer Terri Clark is 47. Retired MLB All-Star John Olerud is 47. Rock musician Eicca Toppinen (EYE’-kah TAH’-pihn-nehn) (Apocalyptica) is 40. Actor Jesse Williams (TV: “Grey’s Anatomy”) is 35. Actor Brendon Ryan Barrett is 29.

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