Today in History — August 9

/ Source: The Associated Press

Today is Thursday, Aug. 9, the 221st day of 2007. There are 144 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 9, 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, the United States exploded a nuclear device over Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.

On this date:
In 1842, the U.S. and Canada resolved a border dispute by signing the Webster-Ashburton Treaty.

In 1848, the Free-Soil Party convened in Buffalo, N.Y., where it nominated Martin Van Buren for president.

In 1854, Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” which described his experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts, was first published.

In 1902, Edward VII was crowned king of England following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.

In 1930, a forerunner of the cartoon character Betty Boop made her debut in Max Fleischer’s animated short “Dizzy Dishes.”

In 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics as the U.S. took first place in the 400-meter relay.

In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found brutally murdered in Tate’s Los Angeles home; cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his followers were later convicted of the crime.

In 1974, President Richard Nixon’s resignation took effect. Vice President Gerald R. Ford became the nation’s 38th chief executive.

In 1982, a federal judge in Washington ordered John W. Hinckley Jr., who had been acquitted of shooting President Ronald Reagan and three others by reason of insanity, committed to a mental hospital.

In 1995, Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the Grateful Dead, died in San Francisco of a heart attack at age 53.

Ten years ago: Haitian immigrant Abner Louima was arrested in a street brawl in Brooklyn, N.Y.; he was brutalized in a stationhouse bathroom by Officer Justin Volpe, who sodomized him with a broken broomstick. (Volpe later pleaded guilty to federal charges and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.) An Amtrak train with more than 300 people aboard derailed on a bridge near Kingman, Ariz.; 183 people were injured.

Five years ago: Oscar-winning actor and National Rifle Association president Charlton Heston, 78, revealed that doctors had told him he had symptoms consistent with Alzheimer’s disease. Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants hit his 600th homer, becoming the fourth major leaguer to reach the mark.

One year ago: The White House said neither Israel nor Hezbollah should escalate their month-old war, as Israel decided to widen its ground invasion in southern Lebanon. Physicist James A. Van Allen, who discovered the radiation belts surrounding the Earth that now bear his name, died in Iowa City, Iowa, at age 91.

Today’s Birthdays: Former baseball manager Ralph Houk is 88. Jazz musician Jack DeJohnette is 65. Comedian-director David Steinberg is 65. Boxing Hall-of-Famer Ken Norton is 64. Actor Sam Elliott is 63. Singer Barbara Mason is 60. Actress Melanie Griffith is 50. Actress Amanda Bearse is 49. Rapper Kurtis Blow is 48. Singer Whitney Houston is 44. Actor Pat Petersen is 41. Football player Deion Sanders is 40. Actress Gillian Anderson is 39. Actor Eric Bana is 39. Rock musician Arion Salazar (Third Eye Blind) is 37. Rapper Mack 10 is 36. Latin rock singer Juanes is 35. Actress Liz Vassey is 35. Actress Rhona Mitra is 32. Actress Jessica Capshaw is 31.

Thought for Today: “The human heart dares not stay away too long from that which hurt it most. There is a return journey to anguish that few of us are released from making.” — Lillian Smith, American writer-social critic (1897-1966).