Today in History


Today is Friday, July 21, the 202nd day of 2023. There are 163 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 21, 1925, the so-called “Monkey Trial” ended in Dayton, Tennessee, with John T. Scopes found guilty of violating state law for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. (The conviction was later overturned.)

On this date:

In 1861, during the Civil War, the first Battle of Bull Run was fought at Manassas, Virginia, resulting in a Confederate victory.

In 1944, American forces landed on Guam during World War II, capturing it from the Japanese some three weeks later.

In 1954, the Geneva Conference concluded with accords dividing Vietnam into northern and southern entities.

In 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin blasted off from the moon aboard the ascent stage of the lunar module for docking with the command module.

In 1972, the Irish Republican Army carried out 22 bombings in Belfast, Northern Ireland, killing nine people and injuring 130 in what became known as “Bloody Friday.”

In 1998, astronaut Alan Shepard, the first American to travel to space, died in Monterey, California, at age 74.

In 1999, Navy divers found and recovered the bodies of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette (bih-SEHT’), in the wreckage of Kennedy’s plane in the Atlantic Ocean off Martha’s Vineyard.

In 2002, Ernie Els won the British Open in the first sudden-death finish in the 142-year history of the tournament.

In 2008, former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic (RA’-doh-van KA’-ra-jich), one of the world’s top war crimes fugitives, was arrested in a Belgrade suburb by Serbian security forces. (He was sentenced by a U.N. court in 2019 to life imprisonment after being convicted of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.)

In 2009, prosecutors in Cambridge, Massachusetts, dropped a disorderly conduct charge against prominent Black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested by a white officer at his home near Harvard University after a report of a break-in.

In 2011, the 30-year-old space shuttle program ended as Atlantis landed at Cape Canaveral, Florida, after the 135th shuttle flight.

In 2016, Donald Trump accepted the GOP presidential nomination with a speech in which he pledged to cheering Republicans and still-skeptical voters that as president, he would restore the safety they feared they were losing, strictly curb immigration and save the nation from what he said was Hillary Clinton’s record of “death, destruction, terrorism and weakness.”

Ten years ago: Belgium’s King Albert abdicated after a 20-year reign; his son Philippe took over as the fractured nation’s seventh king. Phil Mickelson won the British Open, shooting a 5-under 66 to match the best round of the tournament and win his first claret jug. Britain’s Chris Froome won the 100th Tour de France.

Five years ago: Reacting to the disclosure that his former lawyer had secretly taped their discussion about a potential payment for a former Playboy model, President Donald Trump called such taping “totally unheard of & perhaps illegal,” but added that he “did nothing wrong.” A store employee was shot and killed when a gunman who was being chased by police ran into a busy Los Angeles supermarket, where he held hostages for about three hours before handcuffing himself and surrendering; police determined that the employee, Melyda Corado, had been hit by a bullet fired by a police officer during an exchange of fire with the suspect.

One year ago: The House Jan. 6 committee made the case in its final hearing that Donald Trump’s lies about a stolen election fueled the grisly Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol. The panel delved into 187 minutes in which it said Trump did nothing to stop the violence but instead “gleefully” watched on television. President Joe Biden tested positive for COVID-19 and isolated with “very mild symptoms,” the White House said. A federal judge sentenced former Minneapolis police Officer Thomas Lane to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating George Floyd’s civil rights, calling Lane’s role in the restraint that killed Floyd “a very serious offense in which a life was lost” but handing down a sentence well below what prosecutors and Floyd’s family sought.

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Norman Jewison is 97. Actor Leigh Lawson is 80. Singer Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens) is 75. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau is 75. Actor Jamey Sheridan is 72. Rock singer-musician Eric Bazilian (The Hooters) is 70. Comedian Jon Lovitz is 66. Actor Lance Guest is 63. Actor Matt Mulhern is 63. Comedian Greg Behrendt is 60. Retired soccer player Brandi Chastain is 55. Rock singer Emerson Hart is 54. Rock-soul singer Michael Fitzpatrick (Fitz and the Tantrums) is 53. Actor Alysia Reiner is 53. Country singer Paul Brandt is 51. Christian rock musician Korey Cooper (Skillet) is 51. Actor Ali Landry is 50. Actor-comedian Steve Byrne is 49. Rock musician Tato Melgar (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 46. Actor Justin Bartha is 45. Actor Josh Hartnett is 45. Contemporary Christian singer Brandon Heath is 45. Actor Sprague Grayden is 45. Reggae singer Damian Marley is 45. Country singer Brad Mates (Emerson Drive) is 45. Former MLB All-Star pitcher CC Sabathia (suh-BATH’-ee-uh) is 43. Singer Blake Lewis (“American Idol”) is 42. Latin singer Romeo Santos is 42. Rock musician Johan Carlsson (Carolina Liar) is 39. Actor Vanessa Lengies (LEHN’-jeez) is 38. Actor Betty Gilpin is 37. Actor Rory Culkin is 34. Actor Jamie Waylett (“Harry Potter” films) is 34. Figure skater Rachael Flatt is 31.

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