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Today in history: July 21

Celebrity birthdays, highlights in history, plus more facts about this day
/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Friday, July 21, the 202nd day of 2006. There are 163 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 21, 1861, the first Battle of Bull Run was fought at Manassas, Va., resulting in a Confederate victory.

On this date:
In 1831, Belgium became independent as Leopold I was proclaimed King of the Belgians.

In 1899, author Ernest Hemingway was born in Oak Park, Ill.; poet Hart Crane was born in Garrettsville, Ohio.

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

In 1944, American forces landed on Guam during World War II.

In 1949, the U.S. Senate ratified the North Atlantic Treaty.

In 1954, the Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into northern and southern entities.

In 1955, during the Geneva summit, President Eisenhower presented his “open skies” proposal under which the U.S. and the Soviet Union would trade information on each other’s military facilities.

In 1961, Capt. Virgil “Gus” Grissom became the second American to rocket into a suborbital pattern around the Earth, flying aboard the Liberty Bell 7.

In 1969, Apollo 11 astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin blasted off from the moon aboard the lunar module.

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

Ten years ago: Dozens of memorial services were held across the country to remember the 230 people lost in the crash of TWA Flight 800. At the Atlanta Olympics, swimmer Tom Dolan gave the United States its first gold, in the 400-meter individual medley. The men’s 800-meter freestyle relay team also won.

Five years ago: Street battles raged for a second day in Genoa, Italy, site of a Group of Eight meeting, despite pleas for calm from protest leaders and global summit leaders alike.

One year ago: The House voted to extend the USA Patriot Act. Two weeks after the deadly London terror bombings, small explosions struck the Underground and a bus, but no deaths resulted. Two Algerian diplomats and their driver were abducted in Baghdad; al-Qaida later announced it had killed the diplomats. Sudanese security officers roughed up members of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s entourage; Rice demanded and got an apology.

Today’s Birthdays: Jazz musician-critic Billy Taylor is 85. Singer Kay Starr is 84. Movie director Norman Jewison is 80. Actor Paul Burke is 80. Former Attorney General Janet Reno is 68. Actress Patricia Elliott is 64. Actor David Downing is 63. Actor Edward Herrmann is 63. Actor Leigh Lawson is 61. Actor Wendell Burton is 59. Actor Art Hindle is 58. Singer Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens) is 58. Cartoonist Garry Trudeau is 58. Comedian-actor Robin Williams is 55. Comedian Jon Lovitz is 49. Actor Lance Guest is 46. Actor Matt Mulhern is 46. Comedian Greg Behrendt is 43. Rock musician Koen Lieckens (K’s Choice) is 40. Rock singer Emerson Hart (Tonic) is 37. Country singer Paul Brandt is 34. Actress Ali Landry is 33. Actor Josh Hartnett is 28. Country singer Brad Mates (Emerson Drive) is 28. Actress Vanessa Lengies is 21. Actor Jamie Waylett (“Harry Potter” films) is 17.

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