On August 9, 1974, Vice President Gerald R. Ford became the nation’s 38th chief executive as President Richard Nixon’s resignation took effect.
On this date:
In 1854, Henry David Thoreau’s “Walden,” which described Thoreau’s experiences while living near Walden Pond in Massachusetts, was first published.
In 1902, Edward VII was crowned king of Britain following the death of his mother, Queen Victoria.
In 1936, Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal at the Berlin Olympics as the United States took first place in the 400-meter relay.
In 1944, 258 African-American sailors based at Port Chicago, California, refused to load a munitions ship following a cargo vessel explosion that killed 320 men, many of them black. (Fifty of the sailors were convicted of mutiny, fined and imprisoned.)
In 1945, three days after the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan, a U.S. B-29 Superfortress code-named Bockscar dropped a nuclear device (“Fat Man”) over Nagasaki, killing an estimated 74,000 people.
In 1969, actress Sharon Tate and four other people were found brutally slain at Tate’s Los Angeles home; cult leader Charles Manson and a group of his followers were later convicted of the crime.
In 1982, a federal judge in Washington ordered John W. Hinckley Jr., who’d been acquitted of shooting President Ronald Reagan and three others by reason of insanity, committed to a mental hospital.
In 1992, closing ceremonies were held for the Barcelona Summer Olympics, with the Unified Team of former Soviet republics winning 112 medals, the United States 108.
In 1995, Jerry Garcia, lead singer of the Grateful Dead, died in Forest Knolls, California, of a heart attack at age 53.
In 1997, Haitian immigrant Abner Louima was brutalized in a Brooklyn, New York, stationhouse by Officer Justin Volpe, who raped him with a broken broomstick. (Volpe was later sentenced to 30 years in prison.) An Amtrak train with more than 300 people aboard derailed on a bridge near Kingman, Arizona; 183 people were injured.
In 2004, Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, addressing a court for the first time, asked victims of the blast for forgiveness as a judge sentenced him to 161 consecutive life sentences.
In 2014, Michael Brown Jr., an unarmed 18-year-old black man, was shot to death by a police officer following an altercation in Ferguson, Missouri; Brown’s death led to sometimes-violent protests in Ferguson and other U.S. cities.
Ten years ago:
Todd Bachman, the father of 2004 volleyball Olympian Elisabeth “Wiz” Bachman, was stabbed to death by a Chinese man in Beijing in an apparently random attack just hours after the start of the Olympic Games. (The assailant took his own life.) Mariel Zagunis led a U.S. sweep of the women’s saber fencing for the first American medals of the Games. Comedian Bernie Mac died in Chicago at age 50.
Five years ago:
President Barack Obama promised to work with Congress on “appropriate reforms” for the domestic surveillance programs that stirred criticism at home and abroad. President Obama signed into law a measure restoring lower interest rates for student loans. Infamous drug lord Rafael Caro Quintero walked free after 28 years in prison when a Mexican court overturned his 40-year sentence for the 1985 kidnap and killing of U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent Enrique Camarena.
One year ago:
North Korea’s army said it was studying a plan to create an “enveloping fire” in areas around the U.S. territory of Guam with medium- to long-range ballistic missiles. Prosecutors in Florida said golfer Tiger Woods had agreed to plead guilty to reckless driving and would enter a diversion program that would allow him to have his record wiped clean; he’d been charged with DUI in May when he was found asleep in his car, apparently under the influence of a prescription painkiller and sleeping medication.
Today’s Birthdays: Basketball Hall of Famer Bob Cousy is 90. Actress Cynthia Harris is 84. Tennis Hall of Famer Rod Laver is 80. Jazz musician Jack DeJohnette is 76. Comedian-director David Steinberg is 76. Actor Sam Elliott is 74. Singer Barbara Mason is 71. Former MLB All-Star pitcher Bill Campbell is 70. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player John Cappelletti is 66. College Football Hall of Famer and former NFL player Doug Williams is 63. Actress Melanie Griffith is 61. Actress Amanda Bearse is 60. Rapper Kurtis Blow is 59. Hockey Hall of Famer Brett Hull is 54. TV host Hoda Kotb is 54. Actor Pat Petersen is 52. Pro and College Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders is 51. Actress Gillian Anderson is 50. Actor Eric Bana is 50. Producer-director McG is 50. NHL player-turned-assistant coach Rod Brind’Amour is 48. TV anchor Chris Cuomo is 48. Actor Thomas Lennon is 48. Rock musician Arion Salazar is 48. Rapper Mack 10 is 47. Actress Nikki Schieler Ziering is 47. Latin rock singer Juanes is 46. Actress Liz Vassey is 46. Actor Kevin McKidd is 45. Actress Rhona Mitra is 43. Actor Texas Battle is 42. Actress Jessica Capshaw is 42. Actress Ashley Johnson is 35. Actress Anna Kendrick is 33.
Thought for Today:
“The truth is lived, not taught.” — Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss poet and author (born 1877, died this date in 1962).