Today in History

Staff Writer

The Associated Press

Today is Tuesday, August 25, the 237th day of 2015. There are 128 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On August 25, 1985, Samantha Smith, 13, the schoolgirl whose letter to Yuri V. Andropov resulted in her famous peace tour of the Soviet Union, died with her father, Arthur, and six other people in a commuter plane crash in Auburn, Maine.

On this date:

In 1718, hundreds of French colonists arrived in Louisiana, with some settling in present-day New Orleans.

In 1825, Uruguay declared independence from Brazil.

In 1916, the National Park Service was established within the Department of the Interior.

In 1921, the United States signed a peace treaty with Germany.

In 1944, during World War II, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation. Romania declared war on former ally Germany.

In 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a measure providing pensions for former U.S. presidents and their widows.

In 1965, former baseball player-turned-doctor Archibald "Moonlight" Graham, who'd briefly played in only one major league game (for the New York Giants), died in Chisholm, Minnesota, at age 87.

In 1975, the Bruce Springsteen album "Born to Run" was released by Columbia Records.

In 1980, the Broadway musical "42nd Street" opened. (Producer David Merrick stunned the cast and audience during the curtain call by announcing that the show's director, Gower Champion, had died earlier that day.)

In 1981, the U.S. spacecraft Voyager 2 came within 63,000 miles of Saturn's cloud cover, sending back pictures of and data about the ringed planet.

In 1989, Voyager 2 made its closest approach to Neptune, its final planetary target.

In 2009, Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, the liberal lion of the U.S. Senate, died at age 77 in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after a battle with a brain tumor.

Ten years ago: Hurricane Katrina hit Florida with 80 mph winds and headed into the Gulf of Mexico. The base closing commission voted to shut down the Army's historic Walter Reed hospital and move much of its staff and services to the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. The Miss America pageant announced it was leaving Atlantic City, New Jersey, its home for 84 years. (The pageant ended up moving to Las Vegas, but moved back to Atlantic City in 2013.)

Five years ago: North Korea welcomed Jimmy Carter back to Pyongyang as the former U.S. president arrived to bring home Aijalon Mahli Gomes (EYE'-jah-lahn MAH'-lee gohms), an American jailed in the communist country since January 2010 for entering the country illegally from China.

One year ago: A funeral was held in St. Louis for Michael Brown, the unarmed 18-year-old shot to death by a police officer in suburban Ferguson on August 9. At the Emmy Awards, ABC's "Modern Family" won best comedy series for the fifth time, while the final season of AMC's "Breaking Bad" captured the top drama award and a trio of acting honors for its stars, including Bryan Cranston.

Today's Birthdays: Game show host Monty Hall is 94. Actor Sean Connery is 85. Actor Page Johnson is 85. TV personality Regis Philbin is 84. Actor Tom Skerritt is 82. Jazz musician Wayne Shorter is 82. Movie director Hugh Hudson is 79. Author Frederick Forsyth is 77. Actor David Canary is 77. Movie director John Badham is 76. Filmmaker Marshall Brickman is 76. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal is 73. Rhythm-and-blues singer Walter Williams (The O'Jays) is 72. Actor Anthony Heald is 71. Rock musician Danny Smythe is 67. Rock singer-actor Gene Simmons is 66. Actor John Savage is 66. Country singer-musician Henry Paul (Outlaws; Blackhawk) is 66. Rock singer Rob Halford is 64. Rock musician Geoff Downes (Asia) is 63. Rock singer Elvis Costello is 61. Movie director Tim Burton is 57. Actor Christian LeBlanc is 57. Actress Ashley Crow is 55. Actress Ally Walker is 54. Country singer Billy Ray Cyrus is 54. Actress Joanne Whalley is 54. Rock musician Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard) is 53. Actor Blair Underwood is 51. Actor Robert Maschio is 49. Rap DJ Terminator X (Public Enemy) is 49. Alternative country singer Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) is 48. Actor David Alan Basche (BAYSH) is 47. Television chef Rachael Ray is 47. Actor Cameron Mathison is 46. Country singer Jo Dee Messina is 45. Model Claudia Schiffer is 45. Country singer Brice Long is 44. Actor Eric Millegan is 41. Actor Jonathan Togo is 38. Actor Kel Mitchell is 37. Actress Rachel Bilson is 34. Actress Blake Lively is 28. Actor Josh Flitter is 21.

Thought for Today: "Tradition is what you resort to when you don't have the time or the money to do it right." — Kurt Herbert Adler, Austrian-born conductor (1905-1988).

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