Today in History


By the Associated Press

Today is Monday, October 12, the 285th day of 2015. There are 80 days left in the year. This is the Columbus Day holiday in the U.S., as well as Thanksgiving Day in Canada.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On October 12, 1915, English nurse Edith Cavell was executed by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape from occupied Belgium during World War I. (The night before the sentence was carried out, Cavell met with chaplain H. Stirling Gahan, who later quoted her as saying: “I realize that patriotism is not enough. I must have no hatred or bitterness towards any one.”)

On this date:

In 1492 (according to the Old Style calendar), Christopher Columbus arrived with his expedition in the present-day Bahamas.

In 1870, General Robert E. Lee died in Lexington, Virginia, at age 63.

In 1915, former President Theodore Roosevelt, speaking to the Knights of Columbus in New York, criticized native-born Americans (as opposed to naturalized citizens) who identified themselves by dual nationalities, saying that “a hyphenated American is not an American at all.”

In 1933, bank robber John Dillinger escaped from a jail in Allen County, Ohio, with the help of his gang, who killed the sheriff, Jess Sarber.

In 1935, opera star Luciano Pavarotti was born in Modena, Italy.

In 1942, during World War II, American naval forces defeated the Japanese in the Battle of Cape Esperance. Attorney General Francis Biddle announced during a Columbus Day celebration at Carnegie Hall in New York that Italian nationals in the United States would no longer be considered enemy aliens.

In 1964, the Soviet Union launched a Voskhod space capsule with a three-man crew on the first mission involving more than one crew member (the flight lasted just over 24 hours).

In 1973, President Richard Nixon nominated House minority leader Gerald R. Ford of Michigan to succeed Spiro T. Agnew as vice president.

In 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher escaped an attempt on her life when an Irish Republican Army bomb exploded at a hotel in Brighton, England, killing five people.

In 1994, the Magellan space probe ended its four-year mapping mission of Venus, apparently plunging into the planet’s atmosphere.

In 2000, 17 sailors were killed in a suicide bomb attack on the destroyer USS Cole in Yemen.

In 2002, bombs blamed on al-Qaida-linked militants destroyed a nightclub on the Indonesian island of Bali, killing 202 people, including 88 Australians and seven Americans.

Ten years ago: China launched its second manned space flight, during which two astronauts orbited Earth for five days. Syria’s interior minister, Brig. Gen. Ghazi Kenaan, died in his Damascus office of what authorities said was a suicide. Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder (GEHR’-hahrd SHROH’-dur) announced he would not participate in Germany’s new coalition government, ending seven years in power.

Five years ago: The Obama administration announced it was lifting the six-month moratorium on deep water oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico imposed after the BP oil spill. General Motors CEO Dan Akerson and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (GYT’-nur) met for the first time in New York to discuss GM’s initial public offering as the automaker waited for approval from the Securities and Exchange Commission to sell the shares. At least 44 people were killed when a train hit a bus at a crossing in eastern Ukraine.

One year ago: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that a health care worker at the Texas hospital where Ebola victim Thomas Eric Duncan was treated before his death had tested positive for the illness in the first known case of Ebola being contracted or transmitted in the U.S. (The worker, later identified as nurse Nina Pham, was treated and declared free of Ebola.) The St. Louis Cardinals beat the San Francisco Giants 5-4 to tie the NL Championship Series at one game apiece. Mississippi State was the new No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll, replacing Florida State and making the fastest rise to the top spot in the history of the poll. (The Bulldogs were the first team in the poll’s 78-year history to go from unranked to No. 1 in five weeks.)

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Antonia Rey is 88. Comedian-activist Dick Gregory is 83. Former Sen. Jake Garn, R-Utah, is 83. Singer Sam Moore (formerly of Sam and Dave) is 80. Broadcast journalist Chris Wallace is 68. Actress-singer Susan Anton is 65. Rock singer-musician Pat DiNizio is 60. Actor Hiroyuki Sanada is 55. Actor Carlos Bernard is 53. Jazz musician Chris Botti (BOH’-tee) is 53. Rhythm-and-blues singer Claude McKnight (Take 6) is 53. Rock singer Bob Schneider is 50. Actor Hugh Jackman is 47. Actor Adam Rich is 47. Rhythm-and-blues singer Garfield Bright (Shai) is 46. Country musician Martie Maguire (Courtyard Hounds, The Dixie Chicks) is 46. Actor Kirk Cameron is 45. Olympic gold medal skier Bode Miller is 38. Rock singer Jordan Pundik (New Found Glory) is 36. Actor Brian J. Smith is 34. Actor Tyler Blackburn is 29. Actor Marcus T. Paulk is 29. Actor Josh Hutcherson is 23.

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