Today in History

Published 12:01 am Saturday, October 21, 2017

Today is Saturday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2017. There are 71 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 21, 1917, members of the 1st Division of the U.S. Army training in Luneville (luhn-nay-VEEL’), France, became the first Americans to see action on the front lines of World War I.

Email newsletter signup

On this date:

In 1797, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides,” was christened in Boston’s harbor.

In 1805, a British fleet commanded by Adm. Horatio Nelson defeated a French-Spanish fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar; Nelson, however, was killed.

In 1892, schoolchildren across the U.S. observed Columbus Day (according to the Gregorian date) by reciting, for the first time, the original version of “The Pledge of Allegiance,” written by Francis Bellamy for The Youth’s Companion.

In 1917, legendary jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie was born in Cheraw, South Carolina.

In 1941, superheroine Wonder Woman made her debut in All-Star Comics issue No. 8, published by All-American Comics, Inc. of New York.

In 1942, the MGM musical “For Me and My Gal,” starring Judy Garland and featuring the film debut of Gene Kelly, premiered in New York.

In 1959, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened to the public in New York.

In 1966, 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed when a coal waste landslide engulfed a school and some 20 houses in Aberfan, Wales.

In 1967, the Israeli destroyer INS Eilat was sunk by Egyptian missile boats near Port Said (sah-EED’); 47 Israeli crew members were lost. Tens of thousands of Vietnam War protesters began two days of demonstrations in Washington, D.C.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Both nominees were confirmed.)

In 1986, pro-Iranian kidnappers in Lebanon abducted American Edward Tracy (he was released in Aug. 1991).

In 1991, American hostage Jesse Turner was freed by his kidnappers in Lebanon after nearly five years in captivity.

Ten years ago: Wildfires driven by powerful Santa Ana winds killed one person near San Diego and destroyed several homes and a church in Malibu. Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech to The Washington Institute for Near East Policy that the United States and other nations would not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon. The Boston Red Sox won the American League championship in Game 7 of their series with the Cleveland Indians, 11-2.

Five years ago: Five years ago: Former senator and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, 90, died in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A Wisconsin man opened fire at the Brookfield spa where his wife worked, killing her and two others and wounding four other women before turning the gun on himself. The San Francisco Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals 6-1 in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series, forcing a final deciding game. Garth Brooks was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame along with trailblazing singer Connie Smith and keyboard player Hargus “Pig” Robbins.

One year ago: Cyberattacks on server farms of a key internet firm repeatedly disrupted access to major websites and online services including Twitter, Netflix and PayPal across the United States. The United Nations celebrated Wonder Woman’s 75th birthday by naming the comic book character as its new Honorary Ambassador for the Empowerment of Woman and Girls, a decision that prompted protests from both inside and outside the world organization (the designation was rescinded in Dec. 2016).

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Joyce Randolph is 93. Author Ursula K. Le Guin is 88. Rock singer Manfred Mann is 77. Musician Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MG’s) is 76. Singer Elvin Bishop is 75. TV’s Judge Judy Sheindlin is 75. Actor Everett McGill is 72. Musician Lee Loughnane (LAHK’-nayn) (Chicago) is 71. Actor Dick Christie is 69. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 68. Actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson is 68. Musician Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s) is 64. Movie director Catherine Hardwicke is 62. Singer Julian Cope is 60. Rock musician Steve Lukather (Toto) is 60. Actor Ken Watanabe (wah-tah-NAH’-bee) is 58. Actress Melora Walters is 57. Rock musician Che (chay) Colovita Lemon is 47. Rock singer-musician Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator) is 46. Christian rock musician Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) is 44. Actor Jeremy Miller is 41. Country singer Matthew Ramsey (Old Dominion) is 40. Actor Will Estes is 39. Actor Michael McMillian is 39. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian (kahr-DASH’-ee-uhn) West is 37. Actor Matt Dallas is 35. Actress Charlotte Sullivan is 34. Actor Aaron Tveit (tuh-VAYT’) is 34. Actor Glenn Powell is 29. Country singer Kane Brown is 24.