Today in History - Oct. 15


Today is Thursday, Oct. 15, the 288th day of 2009. There are 77 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 15, 1969, peace demonstrators staged activities across the country, including a candlelight march around the White House, as part of a "moratorium" against the Vietnam War.

On this date:

In 1858, the seventh and final debate between senatorial candidates Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas took place in Alton, Ill.

In 1860, 11-year-old Grace Bedell of Westfield, N.Y., wrote a letter to presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln, suggesting he could improve his appearance by letting his whiskers grow.

In 1914, the Clayton Antitrust Act was signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson.

In 1917, Dutch dancer Mata Hari, convicted of spying for the Germans, was executed by a French firing squad outside Paris.

In 1928, the German dirigible Graf Zeppelin landed in Lakehurst, N.J., completing its first commercial flight across the Atlantic.

In 1945, the former premier of Vichy France, Pierre Laval, was executed for treason.

In 1946, Nazi war criminal Hermann Goering fatally poisoned himself hours before he was to have been executed.

In 1964, it was announced that Soviet leader Nikita S. Khrushchev had been removed from office.

In 1976, in the first debate of its kind between vice-presidential nominees, Democrat Walter F. Mondale and Republican Bob Dole faced off in Houston.

In 2003, 11 people were killed when a Staten Island ferry slammed into a maintenance pier. (The ferry's pilot, who'd blacked out at the controls, later pleaded guilty to 11 counts of manslaughter and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.)

Ten years ago: The humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders was named winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. Irish tenor Josef Locke, whose life inspired the 1992 film "Hear My Song," died in County Kildare, Ireland, at age 82.

Five years ago: The FDA ordered that all antidepressants carry strong warnings that they "increase the risk of suicidal thinking and behavior" in children who take them. Several thousand people opposed to gay marriage gathered on the National Mall in Washington to call for a constitutional amendment defining marriage as being between a man and a woman.

One year ago: Republican John McCain repeatedly assailed Democrat Barack Obama's character and campaign positions on taxes, abortion and more in a debate at Hofstra University; Obama parried each accusation, and leveled a few of his own, saying "100 percent" of McCain's campaign ads were negative. The Philadelphia Phillies beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 to win the NLCS 4-1 for the team's first pennant since 1993. Pop star Madonna and movie director Guy Ritchie announced they were divorcing after nearly eight years of marriage. Actress-singer Edie Adams died in Los Angeles at age 81. Longtime game show host Jack Narz died in Los Angeles at age 85.

Today's Birthdays: Former auto executive Lee Iacocca is 85. Jazz musician Freddy Cole is 78. Singer Barry McGuire is 74. Actress Linda Lavin is 72. Actress-director Penny Marshall is 67. Rock musician Don Stevenson (Moby Grape) is 67. Baseball Hall of Famer Jim Palmer is 64. Singer-musician Richard Carpenter is 63. Actor Victor Banerjee is 63. Tennis player Roscoe Tanner is 58. Singer Tito Jackson is 56. Actor-comedian Larry Miller is 56. Actor Jere Burns is 55. Actress Tanya Roberts is 54. Movie director Mira Nair is 52. Britain's Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, is 50. Chef Emeril Lagasse is 50. Rock musician Mark Reznicek (The Toadies) is 47. Actress Vanessa Marcil is 41. Singer-actress-TV host Paige Davis is 40. Actor Dominic West is 40. Singer Eric Benet is 39. R&B singer Ginuwine is 39. Actor Chris Olivero is 30. Christian singer-actress Jaci Velasquez is 30. R&B singer Keyshia Cole is 28. Tennis player Elena Dementieva is 28. Actor Vincent Martella ("Everybody Hates Chris") is 17.

Thought for Today: "We used to do things for posterity, now we do things for ourselves and leave the bill to posterity." — Anonymous.

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