GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 12, 2012

Today in History

The Associated Press
Gloucester Daily Times

---- — Today is Tuesday, Nov. 13, the 318th day of 2012. There are 48 days left in the year.

Today’s highlight in history:

On Nov. 13, 1982, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, designed by Maya Lin, was dedicated on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

On this date:

In 1312, England’s King Edward III was born at Windsor Castle.

In 1789, Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letter to a friend, Jean-Baptiste Leroy: “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

In 1849, voters in California ratified the state’s original constitution.

In 1909, 259 men and boys were killed when fire erupted inside a coal mine in Cherry, Ill.

In 1927, the Holland Tunnel opened to the public, providing access between lower Manhattan and New Jersey beneath the Hudson River.

In 1937, the NBC Symphony Orchestra, formed exclusively for radio broadcasting, made its debut.

In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a measure lowering the minimum draft age from 21 to 18.

In 1956, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down laws calling for racial segregation on public city and state buses.

In 1969, speaking in Des Moines, Iowa, Vice President Spiro T. Agnew accused network television news departments of bias and distortion, and urged viewers to lodge complaints.

In 1971, the U.S. space probe Mariner 9 went into orbit around Mars.

In 1974, Karen Silkwood, a technician and union activist at the Kerr-McGee Cimarron plutonium plant near Crescent, Okla., died in a car crash while on her way to meet a reporter.

In 1985, some 23,000 residents of Armero, Colombia, died when a volcanic mudslide buried the city.

Ten years ago: Claiming Iraq was seeking the “path of peace,” Saddam Hussein’s government agreed to the return of international weapons inspectors. U.S. Roman Catholic bishops overwhelmingly approved a compromise sex abuse policy after the Vatican demanded they make changes to balance fairness to priests with compassion for victims.

Five years ago: Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto demanded the resignation of U.S.-backed President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, dashing Western hopes the two would form an alliance to confront strengthening Islamic extremists. French rail workers went on a nine-day strike over President Nicolas Sarkozy’s bid to strip away labor protections. CC Sabathia won the AL Cy Young Award to become the first Cleveland pitcher in 35 years to earn the honor.

One year ago: President Barack Obama dove into a day of summit diplomacy in his home state of Hawaii as he gathered with leaders of 20 other nations of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. A day after Silvio Berlusconi reluctantly resigned as Italy’s premier, economist Mario Monti accepted the monumental task of trying to form a new government that could rescue Italy from financial ruin.

Today’s birthdays: Actress Madeleine Sherwood is 90. Journalist-author Peter Arnett and producer-director Garry Marshall are 78. Actor Jimmy Hawkins is 71. Country singer-songwriter Ray Wylie Hubbard is 66. Actor Joe Mantegna is 65. Actress Sheila Frazier is 64. Actresses Frances Conroy and Tracy Scoggins, and musician Andrew Ranken (The Pogues) are 59. Actor Chris Noth is 58. Actress-comedian Whoopi Goldberg is 57. Actor Rex Linn is 56. Actress Caroline Goodall is 53. Actor Neil Flynn is 52. Former NFL quarterback Vinny Testaverde is 49. Rock musician Walter Kibby (Fishbone) is 48. Comedian Jimmy Kimmel and actor Steve Zahn are 45. Actor Gerard Butler and writer-activist Ayaan Hirsi Ali are 43. Actor Jordan Bridges is 39. Actress Aisha Hinds is 37.

Thought for today: “As you live, believe in life. Always human beings will live and profess to greater, broader and fuller life. The only possible death is to lose belief in this truth simply because the great end comes slowly, because time is long.” — W.E.B. Du Bois, American author and reformer (1868-1963).