Today is Friday, July 20, the 202nd day of 2012. There are 164 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History: On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon after reaching the surface in their Apollo 11 lunar module.
On this date:
In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States convened in Richmond, Va.
In 1871, British Columbia entered Confederation as a Canadian province.
In 1917, the draft lottery in World War I went into operation.
In 1942, the first detachment of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps — later known as WACs — began basic training at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. The Legion of Merit was established by an Act of Congress.
In 1944, an attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed as the explosion at Hitler’s Rastenburg headquarters only wounded the Nazi leader. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for an unprecedented fourth term of office at the Democratic convention in Chicago.
In 1951, Jordan’s King Abdullah I was assassinated in Jerusalem by a Palestinian gunman who was shot dead on the spot by security.
In 1954, the Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into northern and southern entities.
In 1960, a pair of Polaris missiles were fired from the submerged USS George Washington off Cape Canaveral, Fla., at a target more than 1,100 miles away.
In 1976, America’s Viking 1 robot spacecraft made a successful, first-ever landing on Mars.
In 1982, Irish Republican Army bombs exploded in two London parks, killing eight British soldiers, along with seven horses belonging to the Queen’s Household Cavalry.
In 1988, Massachusetts Gov. Michael S. Dukakis received the Democratic presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Atlanta.
In 1990, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, one of the court’s most liberal voices, announced he was stepping down.
Ten years ago: Twenty-nine people died in a blaze started by bartenders who were doing tricks with fire at Utopia, an unlicensed night club in Lima, Peru.
Five years ago: President George W. Bush signed an executive order prohibiting cruel and inhuman treatment, including humiliation or denigration of religious beliefs, in the detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects. Tammy Faye Messner, who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her husband, Jim, build a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire, then watched it collapse in disgrace, died at age 65 near Kansas City, Mo.
One year ago: Six Republican presidential hopefuls traded tweets in the first presidential debate conducted through Twitter, outlining their agendas across the popular social media service. The last fugitive sought by the U.N.’s Balkan war crimes tribunal, Gordan Hadzic, former leader of Croatia’s ethnic Serbs, was seized in a remote mountain forest in northern Serbia. NBA star Yao Ming announced his retirement in his hometown of Shanghai. German-born British painter Lucien Freud, 88, died in London.
Today’s birthdays: Rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef is 77. Actress Diana Rigg is 74. Rock musician John Lodge (The Moody Blues) is 69. Country singer T.G. Sheppard is 68. Singer Kim Carnes is 67. Rock musician Carlos Santana is 65. Rock musician Paul Cook (The Sex Pistols, Man Raze) is 56. Actress Donna Dixon is 55. Rock musician Mick McNeil (Simple Minds) is 5 Actor Frank Whaley is 49. Rock singer Chris Cornell is 48. Rock musician Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) is 46. Actor Reed Diamond is 45. Actor Josh Holloway and singer Vitamin C are 43. Actor Omar Epps is 39. Actress Judy Greer is 37. Singer Elliott Yamin (American Idol) is 34. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is 32. Actor John Francis Daley is 27. Country singer-ballroom dancer Julianne Hough is 24. Actress Billi Bruno is 16.
Thought for today: “Never miss a good chance to shut up.” — Will Rogers, American humorist (1879-1935).