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August 17, 2013

Today in History for Saturday, Aug. 17, 2013

-- — Highlight in History

On August 17, 1943, the Allied conquest of Sicily during World War II was completed as U.S. and British forces entered Messina.

On this date

In 1807, Robert Fulton’s North River Steamboat began heading up the Hudson River on its successful round trip between New York and Albany.

In 1915, a mob in Cobb County lynched Jewish businessman Leo Frank, whose death sentence for the murder of 13-year-old Mary Phagan had been commuted to life imprisonment. (Frank, who’d maintained his innocence, was pardoned by the state of Georgia in 1986.)

In 1942, during World War II, U.S. 8th Air Force bombers attacked German forces in Rouen, France. U.S. Marines raided a Japanese seaplane base on Makin Island.

In 1962, East German border guards shot and killed 18-year-old Peter Fechter, who had attempted to cross the Berlin Wall into the western sector.

In 1969, Hurricane Camille slammed into the Mississippi coast as a Category 5 storm that was blamed for 256 U.S. deaths, three in Cuba.

In 1978, the first successful trans-Atlantic balloon flight ended as Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry Newman landed their Double Eagle II outside Paris.

In 1985, more than 1,400 meatpackers walked off the job at the Geo. A. Hormel and Co.’s main plant in Austin, Minn., in a bitter strike that lasted just over a year.

In 1987, Rudolf Hess, the last member of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle, died at Spandau Prison at age 93, an apparent suicide.

In 1988, Pakistani President Mohammad Zia ul-Haq and U.S. Ambassador Arnold Raphel were killed in a mysterious plane crash.

In 1998, President Clinton gave grand jury testimony via closed-circuit television from the White House concerning his relationship with Monica Lewinsky; he then delivered a TV address in which he denied previously committing perjury, admitted his relationship with Lewinsky was “wrong,” and criticized Kenneth Starr’s investigation.

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