Today in 1776, word of the United States Declaration of Independence reached London.
Today in 1821, Missouri was admitted as 24th state in the union.
Today in 1846, Congress passed a law establishing the Smithsonian Institution, which has since become world's largest museum and research complex.
Today in 1943, General George Patton called an injured soldier "cowardly" – and slapped him. His problem? Private Paul Bennett, who had been evacuated against his will, admitted that he “can’t stand the shelling anymore.” What Patton ACTUALLY said? “You're going back to the front lines and you may get shot and killed, but you're going to fight. If you don't, I'll stand you up against a wall and have a firing squad kill you on purpose. In fact, I ought to shoot you myself, you goddamned whimpering coward.” That wasn’t the only slapping incident, of course. And while there were complaints about his behavior, it wasn’t until President Eisenhower found out that Patton apologized to his soldiers…by force.
Today in 1969, members of Charles Manson's cult murdered Leno and Rosemary LaBianca in their Los Angeles home. It was just one day after Sharon Tate and four others were slain.
Today in 1970, Jim Morrison went on trial in Miami for charges of "lewd & lascivious behavior." He was ultimately convicted and sentenced to six months in prison as well as a $500 fine. While he was appealing the conviction, Morrison was allowed to remain free and headed back to California to finish working with the rest of the Doors on the “L.A. Woman” album, which was released in April 1971. From there he went to Paris, where he lived until his death on July 3, 1971. Fast forward to December 2010, and he was posthumously pardoned over the incident.
Today in 1977, postal employee David Berkowitz was arrested in Yonkers, New York, and accused of being the "Son of Sam," a gunman whose yearlong series of six slayings had terrorized New Yorkers.
Today in 1984, Mary Decker tripped on the heel of Zola Budd during 3,000m Olympic run. While the event changed the course of events for both women, they’ve since mended fences publicly in what they say was a media manufactured controversy.
Today in 1985, Michael Jackson bought ATV Music (every Beatle song) for $47-million. The move infamously destroyed his friendship with Paul McCartney.
Today in 1993, Ruth Bader Ginsburg was sworn in as the U.S. Supreme Court's 107th justice, and second woman.
Today in 1994, President Clinton claimed "Presidential Immunity" in asking a federal judge to dismiss, at least for the time being, a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by Paula Corbin Jones, a former Arkansas state employee.
Today in 1995, Norma McCorvey, "Jane Roe" of the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, announced she had joined the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue.
Today in 1995, Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols were indicted on 11 counts in the April 19th bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. They later pled innocent. Michael Fortier was charged with four lesser offenses and pleaded guilty in a plea-bargain agreement that required him to testify for the prosecution.
Today in 1999, a gunman opened fire at a Jewish community center in Los Angeles, wounding three boys, a teen-age girl and a woman and an hour later killed Filipino-American letter carrier Joseph Ileto. The next day, suspect Buford O. Furrow took a 275-mile cab ride to Las Vegas, where he turned himself into authorities. He told officials that he was “concerned about the decline of the white race and wanted to send a message to America by killing Jews.” He later plead guilty to the crimes and was sentenced to a mandatory life sentence without possibility of parole. In 2009, Furrow openly renounced his racist views.
Today in 2006, Scotland Yard disrupted major terrorist plot to destroy aircraft travelling from the United Kingdom to the United States. All toiletries are banned from commercial airplanes.
Today in 2014, Unrest broke out in Ferguson, Missouri after the death of African American Michael Brown by a policeman.
Today in 2017, President Donald Trump declared opioid addiction a national emergency.
Today in 2019, disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein was found dead of an apparent suicide in his jail cell in New York, while awaiting trail for sex trafficking charges. To date, his infamous “black book – and more importantly, the famous names in it – haven’t been released.
Today in 2021, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned amid his sexual harassment scandal.