Today is Wednesday, Aug. 7, the 219th day of 2013. There are 146 days left in the year.
Today’s highlight in history:
On August 7, 1782, Gen. George Washington created the Order of the Purple Heart, a decoration to recognize merit in enlisted men and noncommissioned officers.
On this date:
In 1882, the famous feud between the Hatfields of West Virginia and the McCoys of Kentucky erupted into full-scale violence.
In 1927, the already opened Peace Bridge connecting Buffalo, N.Y., and Fort Erie, Ontario, Canada, was officially dedicated.
In 1942, U.S. and other allied forces landed at Guadalcanal, marking the start of the first major allied offensive in the Pacific during World War II. (Japanese forces abandoned the island the following February.)
In 1947, the balsa wood raft Kon-Tiki, which had carried a six-man crew 4,300 miles across the Pacific Ocean, crashed into a reef in a Polynesian archipelago; all six crew members reached land safely.
In 1959, the United States launched the Explorer 6 satellite, which sent back images of Earth.
In 1963, first lady Jacqueline Kennedy gave birth to a boy, Patrick Bouvier Kennedy, who died two days later of respiratory distress syndrome.
In 1964, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, giving President Lyndon B. Johnson broad powers in dealing with reported North Vietnamese attacks on U.S. forces.
In 1971, the Apollo 15 moon mission ended successfully as its command module splashed down in the Pacific Ocean.
In 1989, a plane carrying U.S. Rep. Mickey Leland, D-Texas, and 14 others disappeared over Ethiopia. (The wreckage of the plane was found six days later; there were no survivors.)
In 1993, the public got its first glimpse inside Buckingham Palace as people were given the opportunity to tour the London home of Queen Elizabeth II. (Proceeds were earmarked to help repair fire damage at Windsor Castle.)
In 1998, terrorist bombs at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania killed 224 people, including 12 Americans.
In 2007, San Francisco’s Barry Bonds hit home run No. 756 to break Hank Aaron’s storied record with one out in the fifth inning of a game against the Washington Nationals, who won, 8-6.
Ten years ago: A bombing outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad killed 19 people. An Indonesian court sentenced Amrozi bin Nurhasyim to death in the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people (he was executed in 2008). West African peacekeepers entered Liberia’s rebel-besieged capital; President Charles Taylor picked Vice President Moses Blah as his successor.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush, speaking in Bangkok, Thailand, praised the spread of freedom in Asia while sharply criticizing oppression and human rights abuses in China, Myanmar and North Korea; the president then traveled to Beijing to attend the opening of the Olympic games.
One year ago: Jared Lee Loughner agreed to spend the rest of his life in prison, accepting that he went on a deadly shooting rampage at an Arizona political gathering in 2011 and sparing the victims a lengthy, possibly traumatic death-penalty trial. Syrian President Bashar Assad made his first appearance on state TV in nearly three weeks. Aly Raisman became the first U.S. woman to win Olympic gold on floor, and she picked up a bronze on balance beam on the final day of the gymnastics competition at the London Games. Movie critic Judith Crist, 90, died in New York.
Today’s birthdays: Writer-producer Stan Freberg is 87. Magician, author and lecturer James Randi is 85. Former MLB pitcher Don Larsen is 84. Actress Verna Bloom is 74. Humorist Garrison Keillor and singer B.J. Thomas are 71. Singer Lana Cantrell is 70. FBI Director Robert Mueller, and actors John Glover and David Rasche are 69. Rhythm-and-blues singer Harold Hudson is 64. Former diplomat, talk show host and activist Alan Keyes, and country singer Rodney Crowell are 63. Actress Caroline Aaron and comedian Alexei Sayle are 61. Actor Wayne Knight is 58. Rock singer Bruce Dickinson and marathon runner Alberto Salazar are 55. Actor David Duchovny is 53. Musician Michael Mahler (Wild Horses) and actress Delane Matthews are 52. Actor Harold Perrineau and jazz musician Marcus Roberts are 50. Country singer Raul Malo is 48. Actress Charlotte Lewis is 46. Actress Sydney Penny is 42. Actor Michael Shannon is 39. Actress Charlize Theron is 38. Musician Barry Kerch (Shinedown) is 37. Actor Randy Wayne is 32. Actor-writer Brit Marling is 31.
Thought for today: “Happiness, it seems to me, consists of two things: first, in being where you belong, and second — and best — in comfortably going through everyday life, that is, having had a good night’s sleep and not being hurt by new shoes.”
— Theodor Fontane, German author (1819-1898).