Today in History 10/21

Today is Sunday, Oct. 21, the 295th day of 2012. There are 71 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 21, 1962, the Seattle World’s Fair closed after six months and nearly 10 million visitors. (President John F. Kennedy, scheduled to attend the closing ceremony, canceled because of what was described as a “head cold”; the actual reason turned out to be the Cuban Missile Crisis.)

On this date:

• In 1797, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, also known as “Old Ironsides,” was christened in Boston’s harbor.

• In 1805, a British fleet commanded by Adm. Horatio Nelson defeated a French-Spanish fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar; Nelson, however, was killed.

• In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

• In 1912, classical music conductor Sir Georg Solti (johrj SHOL’-tee) was born Gyorgy Stern in Budapest.

• In 1917, members of the 1st Division of the U.S. Army training in Luneville, France, became the first Americans to see action on the front lines of World War I.

• In 1944, during World War II, U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen (AH’-kuhn).

• In 1959, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, opened to the public in New York.

• In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon clashed in their fourth and final presidential debate in New York.

• In 1967, the Israeli destroyer INS Eilat was sunk by Egyptian missile boats near Port Said; 47 Israeli crew members were lost.

• In 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Both nominees were confirmed.)

• In 1986, pro-Iranian kidnappers in Lebanon abducted American Edward Tracy (he was released in August 1991).

• In 1991, American hostage Jesse Turner was freed by his kidnappers in Lebanon after nearly five years in captivity.

Ten years ago:

• President George W. Bush said he would try diplomacy “one more time,” but did not think Saddam Hussein would disarm — even if doing so would allow the Iraqi president to remain in power.

• A car packed with explosives pulled up to a bus in northern Israel during rush hour, igniting a massive fireball that killed 14 people plus two suicide attackers.

• “Jackass: The Movie” had its world premiere in Hollywood.

Five years ago:

• Wildfires driven by powerful Santa Ana winds killed one person near San Diego and destroyed several homes and a church in Malibu.

• Vice President Dick Cheney said in a speech to The Washington Institute for Near East Policy that the United States and other nations would not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon.

• The opposition Civic Platform party ousted Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s government in Poland’s parliamentary elections.

• The Boston Red Sox won the American League championship in Game 7 of their series with the Cleveland Indians, 11-2.

One year ago:

President Barack Obama declared that America’s long and deeply unpopular war in Iraq would be over by the end of 2011 and that all U.S. troops “will definitely be home for the holidays.”

Today’s Birthdays:

Actress Joyce Randolph is 88. Author Ursula K. Le Guin is 83. Rock singer Manfred Mann is 72. Musician Steve Cropper (Booker T. & the MG’s) is 71. Singer Elvin Bishop is 70. TV’s Judge Judy Sheindlin is 70. Actor Everett McGill is 67. Musician Lee Loughnane (Chicago) is 66. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is 63. Musician Charlotte Caffey (The Go-Go’s) is 59. Movie director Catherine Hardwicke is 57. Actress-author Carrie Fisher is 56. Singer Julian Cope is 55. Rock musician Steve Lukather (Toto) is 55. Actor Ken Watanabe is 53. Actress Melora Walters is 52. Rock musician Che Colovita Lemon is 42. Rock singer-musician Nick Oliveri (Mondo Generator) is 41. Christian rock musician Charlie Lowell (Jars of Clay) is 39. Actor Jeremy Miller is 36. Actor Will Estes is 34. Actor Michael McMillian is 34. Reality TV star Kim Kardashian is 32. Actor Matt Dallas is 30.