Today in History: August 31, U.S. mission in Iraq ends
Today in History
Today is Wednesday, Aug. 31, the 243rd day of 2022. There are 122 days left in the year.
Today’s Highlight in History:
On Aug. 31, 2010, President Barack Obama ended the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, declaring no victory after seven years of bloodshed and telling those divided over the war in his country and around the world: “It is time to turn the page.”
On this date:
In 1881, the first U.S. tennis championships (for men only) began in Newport, Rhode Island.
In 1886, an earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 7.3 devastated Charleston, South Carolina, killing at least 60 people, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
In 1962, the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago became independent of British colonial rule.
In 1980, Poland’s Solidarity labor movement was born with an agreement signed in Gdansk (guh-DANSK’) that ended a 17-day-old strike.
In 1992, white separatist Randy Weaver surrendered to authorities in Naples, Idaho, ending an 11-day siege by federal agents that had claimed the lives of Weaver’s wife, son and a deputy U.S. marshal. (Weaver was acquitted of murder and all other charges in connection with the confrontation; he was convicted of failing to appear for trial on firearms charges and was sentenced to 18 months in prison but given credit for 14 months he’d already served.)
In 1994, the Irish Republican Army declared a cease-fire. Russia officially ended its military presence in the former East Germany and the Baltics after half a century.
In 1996, three adults and four children drowned when their vehicle rolled into John D. Long Lake in Union, South Carolina; they had gone to see a monument to the sons of Susan Smith, who had drowned the two boys in Oct. 1994.
In 1997, Prince Charles brought Princess Diana home for the last time, escorting the body of his former wife to a Britain that was shocked, grief-stricken and angered by her death in a Paris traffic accident earlier that day.
In 2005, New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin reported “a significant number of dead bodies in the water” following Hurricane Katrina; Nagin ordered virtually the entire police force to abandon search-and-rescue efforts and to instead stop increasingly hostile thieves.
In 2016, on Mexican soil for the first time as the Republican presidential nominee, a firm but measured Donald Trump defended the right of the United States to build a massive border wall along its southern flank, standing up for the centerpiece of his immigration plan during a joint press conference with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto.
In 2019, a gunman carried out a shooting rampage that stretched ten miles between the Texas communities of Midland and Odessa, leaving seven people dead before police killed the gunman outside a movie theater in Odessa.
In 2020, at a rally in Pittsburgh, Democrat Joe Biden resoundingly condemned violent protesters and called for their prosecution; he accused President Donald Trump of causing the divisions that had ignited the violence. Trump reiterated that he blamed radical troublemakers who he said were stirred up and backed by Biden.
Ten years ago: In a speech to an annual Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Chairman Ben Bernanke sent a clear message that the Fed would do more to help the still-struggling U.S. economy, but did not specify exactly what, or when. Writer Richard Bach, author of “Jonathan Livingston Seagull,” was seriously hurt after his small plane went down in Washington state.
Five years ago: Rescuers began a block-by-block search of tens of thousands of Houston homes, looking for anyone who might have been left behind in the floodwaters from Hurricane Harvey. The Trump administration ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and offices in Washington and New York, intensifying tensions between Washington and Moscow; Russia was given 48 hours to comply. Iraq’s prime minister said the northern town of Tal Afar had been “fully liberated” from the Islamic State group after a nearly two-week operation.
One year ago: President Joe Biden said the U.S. airlift to extract more than 120,000 Americans, Afghans and allies from Afghanistan to end a 20-year war was an “extraordinary success,” even though more than 100 Americans and thousands of Afghans who wanted to leave were not yet out; he defended his decision to withdraw all U.S. troops, saying he was “not going to extend this forever war.” Hundreds of thousands of people in Louisiana sweltered in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida with no electricity, no tap water and precious little gasoline; the mayor of New Orleans ordered a nighttime curfew after the storm left the city in darkness. The Texas Legislature passed a sweeping GOP rewrite of election laws after months of protests by Democrats; the measure would tighten already-strict voting rules, banning 24-hour polling locations and empowering partisan poll watchers.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Jack Thompson is 82. Violinist Itzhak Perlman is 77. Singer Van Morrison is 77. Rock musician Rudolf Schenker (The Scorpions) is 74. Actor Richard Gere is 73. Actor Stephen Henderson is 73. Olympic gold medal track and field athlete Edwin Moses is 67. Rock singer Glenn Tilbrook (Squeeze) is 65. Rock musician Gina Schock (The Go-Go’s) is 65. Singer Tony DeFranco (The DeFranco Family) is 63. R&B musician Larry Waddell (Mint Condition) is 59. Actor Jaime P. Gomez is 57. Rock musician Jeff Russo (Tonic) is 53. Singer-composer Deborah Gibson is 52. Actor Zack Ward is 52. Golfer Padraig (PAH’-drig) Harrington is 51. Actor Chris Tucker is 50. Actor Sara Ramirez is 47. R&B singer Tamara (Trina & Tamara) is 45.