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August 25, 2013

Today in History for Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013

-- — Highlight in History

On August 25, 1943, U.S.-led Allied troops liberated New Georgia in the Solomon Islands from Japanese forces during World War II.

On this date

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

In 1944, Paris was liberated by Allied forces after four years of Nazi occupation.

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 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 in an airliner crash in Auburn, Maine.

In 1993, Amy Biehl, a 26-year-old Fulbright scholar from Newport Beach, Calif., was slain by a mob near Cape Town, South Africa. (The four men convicted in Biehl’s death claimed the attack was part of the war on apartheid; they were granted amnesty after confessing before the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.)

Ten years ago

A pair of car bombs killed 53 people in Mumbai, India. Rwandans re-elected Paul Kagame in their country’s first presidential election with opposing parties. Tennis champion Pete Sampras announced his retirement during a news conference at the U.S. Open in New York. NASA launched the Space Infrared Telescope Facility, also known as the Spitzer Space Telescope, into orbit.

Five years ago

Democrats opened their national convention in Denver, where they prepared to nominate Barack Obama for president; in the first major address of the gathering, Michelle Obama declared, “I love this country” as she described herself as a daughter, a sister, a wife and a mother, no different from many women. Israel freed nearly 200 jailed Palestinians in a goodwill gesture hours before U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice began her peace mission to the region.

One year ago

Neil Armstrong, 82, who commanded the historic Apollo 11 lunar landing and was the first man to set foot on the moon in July 1969, died in Cincinnati.

A huge explosion rocked Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery and unleashed a ferocious fire, killing at least 26 people. Alpha and long-shot Golden Ticket finished in a historic dead heat in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.

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