Today in History
Today is Saturday, July 8, the 189th day of 2023. There are 176 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 8, 1972, the Nixon administration announced a deal to sell $750 million in grain to the Soviet Union. (However, the Soviets were also engaged in secretly buying subsidized American grain, resulting in what critics dubbed “The Great Grain Robbery.”)
On this date:
In 1776, Col. John Nixon gave the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence, outside the State House (now Independence Hall) in Philadelphia.
In 1853, an expedition led by Commodore Matthew Perry arrived in Yedo Bay, Japan, on a mission to seek diplomatic and trade relations with the Japanese.
In 1907, Florenz Ziegfeld staged his first “Follies,” on the roof of the New York Theater.
In 1947, a New Mexico newspaper, the Roswell Daily Record, quoted officials at Roswell Army Air Field as saying they had recovered a “flying saucer” that crashed onto a ranch; officials then said it was actually a weather balloon.
In 1950, President Harry S. Truman named Gen. Douglas MacArthur commander-in-chief of United Nations forces in Korea. (Truman would fire MacArthur for insubordination nine months later.)
In 1967, Academy Award-winning “Gone With the Wind” and “A Streetcar Named Desire” actor Vivien Leigh died in London at age 53.
In 1989, Carlos Saul Menem was inaugurated as president of Argentina in the country’s first transfer of power from one democratically elected civilian leader to another in six decades.
In 1994, Kim Il Sung, North Korea’s communist leader since 1948, died at age 82.
In 2000, Venus Williams beat Lindsay Davenport for her first Grand Slam title, becoming the first Black female champion at Wimbledon since Althea Gibson in 1958.
In 2010, the largest spy swap between the U.S. and Russia since the Cold War unfolded as 10 people accused of spying in suburban America pleaded guilty to conspiracy and were ordered deported to Russia in exchange for the release of four prisoners accused of spying for the West.
In 2011, former first lady Betty Ford died in Rancho Mirage, California, at age 93.
In 2016, on the first day of a two-day summit in Warsaw, NATO leaders geared up for a long-term standoff with Russia, ordering multinational troops to Poland and the three Baltic states as Moscow moved forward with its own plans to station two new divisions along its western borders.
Ten years ago: Breaking their public silence, three women who’d been held captive in a Cleveland home for a decade issued a YouTube video; in it, Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight thanked the public for the encouragement and financial support allowing them to restart their lives.
Five years ago: A woman who was poisoned in southwest England died, eight days after she may have touched a contaminated item containing the same type of military-grade nerve agent used to poison a former Russian spy and his daughter in the area in March. Divers rescued four of the 12 boys who’d been trapped in a flooded cave in northern Thailand with their soccer coach for more than two weeks. (The remaining eight boys and their coach were rescued over the next two days.) Actor and singer Tab Hunter died at the age of 86.
One year ago: Former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was assassinated on a street in western Japan by a gunman who opened fire on him from behind as he delivered a campaign speech — an attack that stunned a nation with some of the strictest gun control laws anywhere. The 67-year-old Abe was Japan’s longest-serving leader when he resigned in 2020. President Joe Biden signed an executive order to protect access to abortion, delivering impassioned remarks condemning the Supreme Court decision that ended that constitutional right. Larry Storch, the rubber-faced comic whose long career in theater, movies and television was capped by his “F Troop” role as zany Cpl. Agarn, died at age 99.
Today’s Birthdays: Singer Steve Lawrence is 88. Actor Jeffrey Tambor is 79. Rock musician Jaimoe Johanson is 78. Ballerina Cynthia Gregory is 76. Actor Kim Darby is 76. Actor Jonelle Allen is 75. Children’s performer Raffi is 75. Celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck is 74. Actor Anjelica Huston is 72. Writer Anna Quindlen is 71. Actor Kevin Bacon is 65. Actor Robert Knepper is 64. Country singer Toby Keith is 62. Rock singer Joan Osborne is 61. Writer-producer Rob Burnett is 61. Actor Rocky Carroll is 60. Actor Corey Parker is 58. Actor Lee Tergesen is 58. Actor Michael B. Silver is 56. Actor Billy Crudup is 55. Actor Michael Weatherly is 55. Singer Beck is 53. Comedian Sebastian Maniscalco is 50. Actor Kathleen Robertson is 50. Christian rock musician Stephen Mason (Jars of Clay) is 48. Actor Milo Ventimiglia (MEE’-loh vehn-tih-MEEL’-yuh) is 46. Singer Ben Jelen (YEL’-in) is 44. Actor Lance Gross is 42. Actor Sophia Bush is 41. Rock musician Jamie Cook (Arctic Monkeys) is 38. Actor Jake McDorman is 37. Actor Maya Hawke is 25. Actor Jaden Smith is 25.
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