Today in History

Today is Sunday, Aug. 25, the 237th day of 2013. There are 128 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On August 25, 1943, U.S.-led Allied troops liberated New Georgia in the Solomon Islands from Japanese forces during World War II.

On this date:

In 1537, King Henry VIII granted a royal charter incorporating the Honourable Artillery Company, the oldest regiment in the British Army.

In 1718, hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana, with some settling in present-day New Orleans.

In 1825, Uruguay declared independence from Brazil.

In 1916, the National Park Service was established within the Department of the Interior.

In 1921, the United States signed a peace treaty with Germany.

In 1944, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation.

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a measure providing pensions for former U.S. presidents and their widows.

In 1960, opening ceremonies were held for the Summer Olympics in Rome.

In 1981, the U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 came within 63,000 miles of Saturn’s cloud cover, sending back pictures of and data about the ringed planet.

In 1985, Samantha Smith, 13, the schoolgirl whose letter to Yuri V. Andropov resulted in her famous peace tour of the Soviet Union, died with her father in an airliner crash in Auburn, Maine.

In 1993, Amy Biehl, a 26-year-old Fulbright scholar from Newport Beach, Calif., was slain by a mob near Cape Town, South Africa. (The four men convicted in Biehl’s death claimed the attack was part of the war on apartheid; they were granted amnesty after confessing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.)

In 2009, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy died at age 77 in Hyannis Port, Mass.

Ten years ago: A pair of car bombs killed 53 people in Mumbai, India. Rwandans re-elected Paul Kagame in their country’s first presidential election with opposing parties. Tennis champion Pete Sampras announced his retirement during a news conference at the U.S. Open in New York. NASA launched the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, also known as the Spitzer Space Telescope, into orbit.

Five years ago: Democrats opened their national convention in Denver, where they prepared to nominate Barack Obama for president; in the first major address of the gathering, Michelle Obama declared, “I love this country” as she described herself as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother, no different from many women. Israel freed nearly 200 jailed Palestinians in a goodwill gesture hours before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began her peace mission to the region.

One year ago: Neil Armstrong, 82, who commanded the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing and was the first man to set foot on the moon in July 1969, died in Cincinnati. A huge explosion rocked Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery and unleashed a ferocious fire, killing at least 26 people. Alpha and long-shot Golden Ticket finished in a historic dead heat in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

Today’s Birthdays: Game show host Monty Hall is 92. Actor Sean Connery is 83. Actor Page Johnson is 83. TV personality Regis Philbin is 82. Actor Tom Skerritt is 80. Jazz musician Wayne Shorter is 80. Movie director Hugh Hudson is 77. Author Frederick Forsyth is 75. Actor David Canary is 75. Movie director John Badham is 74. Filmmaker Marshall Brickman is 74. Rhythm-and-blues singer Walter Williams (The O’Jays) is 71. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is 71. Actor Anthony Heald is 69. Rock musician Danny Smythe is 65. Rock singer-actor Gene Simmons is 64. Actor John Savage is 64. Country singer-musician Henry Paul (Outlaws; Blackhawk) is 64. Rock singer Rob Halford is 62. Rock musician Geoff Downes (Asia) is 61. Rock singer Elvis Costello is 59. Movie director Tim Burton is 55. Actor Christian LeBlanc is 55. Actress Ashley Crow is 53. Actress Ally Walker is 52. Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus is 52. Actress Joanne Whalley is 52. Rock musician Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) is 51. Actor Blair Underwood is 49. Actor Robert Maschio is 47. Rap DJ Terminator X (Public Enemy) is 47. Alternative country singer Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) is 46. Actor David Alan Basche (BAYSH) is 45. Television chef Rachael Ray is 45. Actor Cameron Mathison is 44. Country singer Jo Dee Messina is 43. Model Claudia Schiffer is 43. Country singer Brice Long is 42. Actor Eric Millegan is 39. Actor Jonathan Togo is 36. Actor Kel Mitchell is 35. Actress Rachel Bilson is 32. Actress Blake Lively is 26. Actor Josh Flitter is 19.

Thought for Today: “No matter what accomplishments you make, somebody helps you.” — Althea Gibson, American tennis champion (born this date in 1927, died 2003).

(Above Advance for Use Sunday, Aug. 25)

Copyright 2013, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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