Today’s Highlight in History
On Aug. 5, 1981: The federal government began firing air traffic controllers who had gone out on strike.
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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.
In 1936: Jesse Owens of the United States won the 200-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics, collecting the third of his four gold medals.
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: South African anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela was arrested on charges of leaving the country without a passport and inciting workers to strike; it was the beginning of 27 years of imprisonment. Movie star Marilyn Monroe, 36, was found dead in her Los Angeles home; her death was ruled a probable suicide from “acute barbiturate poisoning.”
In 1964: U.S. Navy pilot Everett Alvarez Jr. became the first American flier to be shot down and captured by North Vietnam; he was held prisoner until February 1973.
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 2010: The Senate confirmed Elena Kagan, 63-37, as the Supreme Court’s 112th justice and the fourth woman in its history. 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).
In 2011: The sun-powered robotic explorer Juno rocketed toward Jupiter on a five-year quest to discover the secret recipe for making planets. (Juno reached Jupiter on July 4, 2016.)
In 2020: Authorities said protesters in Portland, Oregon, barricaded about 20 police officers inside a precinct and tried to set it on fire; police used tear gas on the crowd for the first time since U.S. agents sent by President Donald Trump left the city the previous week. A city commission in Minneapolis blocked a November vote on a proposal to dismantle the city’s police department in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Ten years ago: A gunman opened fire, killing six people at a Sikh temple near Milwaukee before shooting himself dead during an exchange of fire with one of the first officers to respond. The robotic explorer Curiosity blazed through the pink skies of Mars, steering itself to a gentle landing inside a giant crater. Jamaica’s Usain Bolt pulled away from the pack and crossed the finish line to claim consecutive gold medals in the marquee track and field event at the Summer Games in London. Britain’s Andy Murray cruised past Roger Federer 6-2, 6-1, 6-4 in the men’s tennis singles final. Serena and Venus Williams won the women’s doubles title.
Five years ago: The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved tough new sanctions against North Korea for its escalating nuclear and missile programs. Eight-time Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt finished third in the 100-meter dash at the world track championships in London, which marked his farewell from the sport; the winner was American Justin Gatlin.
One year ago: Richard Trumka, who rose from the coal mines of Pennsylvania to preside over one of the world’s largest labor organizations, the AFL-CIO, died at 72. A Texas appeals court upheld the murder conviction of Amber Guyger, a former Dallas police officer who was sentenced to prison for fatally shooting her neighbor in his home.