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Today in history

Today is July 21, the 202nd day of 2019. There are 163 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On July 21, 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin blasted off from the moon aboard the ascent stage of the lunar module for docking with the command module.

On this date:

In 1861, during the Civil War, the first Battle of Bull Run was fought at Manassas, Va., resulting in a Confederate victory.

In 1925, the so-called “Monkey Trial” ended in Dayton, Tenn., with John T. Scopes found guilty of violating state law for teaching Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. (The conviction was later overturned on a technicality.)

In 1944, American forces landed on Guam during World War II, capturing it from the Japanese some three weeks later. The Democratic National Convention in Chicago nominated Sen. Harry S. Truman to be vice president.

In 1955, during a summit in Geneva, President Dwight D. Eisenhower presented his “open skies” proposal under which the U.S. and the Soviet Union would trade information on each other’s military facilities and allow aerial reconnaissance. (The Soviets rejected the proposal.)

In 1980, draft registration began in the United States for 19- and 20-year-old men.

In 1994, Britain’s Labor Party elected Tony Blair its new leader, succeeding the late John Smith.

In 1999, Navy divers found and recovered the bodies of John F. Kennedy Jr., his wife, Carolyn, and sister-in-law, Lauren Bessette, in the wreckage of Kennedy’s plane in the Atlantic Ocean off Martha’s Vineyard.

In 2000, Special Counsel John C. Danforth concluded “with 100 percent certainty” that the federal government was innocent of wrongdoing in the siege that killed 80 members of the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas, in 1993.

In 2011, the 30-year-old space shuttle program ended as Atlantis landed at Cape Canaveral, Fla., after the 135th shuttle flight.

In 2017, White House press secretary Sean Spicer abruptly quit over President Donald Trump’s decision to name financier Anthony Scaramucci as the new White House communications director.

Ten years ago: The Senate voted to terminate further production of the Air Force’s topline F-22 fighter jets. Prosecutors in Cambridge, Mass., dropped a disorderly conduct charge against prominent black scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr., who was arrested by a white officer at his home near Harvard University after a report of a break-in.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama ordered employment protection for gay and transgender employees who worked for the federal government or for companies holding federal contracts, telling advocates at a White House signing ceremony he embraced the “irrefutable rightness of your cause.”

One year ago: Reacting to the disclosure that his former lawyer had secretly taped their discussion about a potential payment for a former Playboy model, President Donald Trump called such taping “totally unheard of & perhaps illegal,” but added that he “did nothing wrong.”

Today’s Birthdays: Movie director Norman Jewison is 93. Actor Leigh Lawson is 76. Singer Yusuf Islam (also known as Cat Stevens) is 71. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau is 71. Comedian Jon Lovitz is 62. Actor Lance Guest is 59. Actor Matt Mulhern is 59. Comedian Greg Behrendt is 56. Rock musician Koen Lieckens (K’s Choice) is 53. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney is 52. Soccer player Brandi Chastain is 51. Rock singer Emerson Hart is 50. Rock-soul singer Michael Fitzpatrick (Fitz and the Tantrums) is 49. Actress Alysia Reiner is 49. Actor-comedian Steve Byrne is 45. Rock musician Tato Melgar (Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real) is 42. Actor Justin Bartha is 41. Actor Josh Hartnett is 41. Contemporary Christian singer Brandon Heath is 41. Rock musician Johan Carlsson (Carolina Liar) is 35. Actor Rory Culkin is 30. Actor Jamie Waylett (“Harry Potter” films) is 30. Figure skater Rachael Flatt is 27.

Thought for Today: “There is no bigotry like that of ‘free thought’ run to seed.” — Horace Greeley, American journalist (1811-1872).

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