Today in History

Today is Tuesday, July 28, the 209th day of 2015. There are 156 days left in the year.

Today's Highlights in History:

On July 28, 1945, a U.S. Army bomber crashed into the 79th floor of New York's Empire State Building, killing 14 people. The U.S. Senate ratified the United Nations Charter by a vote of 89-2.

On this date:

In 1540, King Henry VIII's chief minister, Thomas Cromwell, was executed, the same day Henry married his fifth wife, Catherine Howard.

In 1655, French dramatist and novelist Cyrano de Bergerac, the inspiration for a play by Edmond Rostand, died in Paris at age 36.

In 1794, Maximilien Robespierre, a leading figure of the French Revolution, was sent to the guillotine.

In 1821, Peru declared its independence from Spain.

In 1914, World War I began as Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia.

In 1915, more than 300 American sailors and Marines arrived in Haiti to restore order following the killing of Haitian President Vibrun Guillaume Sam by rebels, beginning a 19-year U.S. occupation.

In 1932, federal troops forcibly dispersed the so-called "Bonus Army" of World War I veterans who had gathered in Washington to demand payments they weren't scheduled to receive until 1945.

In 1959, in preparation for statehood, Hawaiians voted to send the first Chinese-American, Republican Hiram L. Fong, to the U.S. Senate and the first Japanese-American, Democrat Daniel K. Inouye, to the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson announced he was increasing the number of American troops in South Vietnam from 75,000 to 125,000 "almost immediately."

In 1976, an earthquake devastated northern China, killing at least 242,000 people, according to an official estimate.

In 1984, the Los Angeles Summer Olympics opened.

In 1995, a jury in Union, South Carolina, rejected the death penalty for Susan Smith, sentencing her to life in prison for drowning her two young sons (Smith will be eligible for parole in 2024).

Ten years ago: NASA said space shuttle Discovery had escaped any serious damage from a potentially deadly piece of foam that broke off from the fuel tank during liftoff and looked safe to fly home in a week. The Irish Republican Army renounced the use of violence against British rule in Northern Ireland and said it would disarm. Lightning struck a group of Boy Scouts taking shelter from a storm in Sequoia National Park in California, killing an assistant troop leader and a teenage Scout.

Five years ago: U.S. District Judge Susan Bolton put most of Arizona's toughest-in-the-nation immigration law on hold just hours before it was to take effect. (In September 2012, Bolton ruled that police could enforce the so-called "show me your papers" provision of the law.) Airblue Flight 202, a Pakistani Airbus A321, crashed into the hills overlooking Islamabad, killing all 152 people aboard.

One year ago: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israelis to be ready for a "prolonged" conflict with Hamas in Gaza as both sides held out for bigger gains and a cease-fire in the three-week conflict remained elusive. Theodore "Dutch" VanKirk, 93, the last surviving member of the Enola Gay crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima, died in Stone Mountain, Georgia. Actor James Shigeta, 85, who played the lead in the 1961 movie musical "Flower Drum Song" and appeared in other movies and TV shows, died in Beverly Hills, California.

Today's Birthdays: Actor Darryl Hickman is 84. Ballet dancer-choreographer Jacques d'Amboise is 81. Musical conductor Riccardo Muti is 74. Former Senator and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Bradley is 72. "Garfield" creator Jim Davis is 70. Singer Jonathan Edwards is 69. Actress Linda Kelsey is 69. TV producer Dick Ebersol is 68. Actress Sally Struthers is 68. Actress Georgia Engel is 67. Rock musician Simon Kirke (Bad Company) is 66. Rock musician Steve Morse (Deep Purple) is 61. CBS anchorman Scott Pelley is 58. Alt-country-rock musician Marc Perlman is 54. Actor Michael Hayden is 52. Actress Lori Loughlin is 51. Jazz musician-producer Delfeayo Marsalis is 50. Former hockey player turned general manager Garth Snow is 46. Actress Elizabeth Berkley is 43. Singer Afroman is 41. Country musician Todd Anderson (Heartland) is 40. Rock singer Jacoby Shaddix (Papa Roach) is 39. Country singer Carly Goodwin is 34. Actor Dustin Milligan is 30. Actor Nolan Gerard Funk is 29. Rapper Soulja Boy is 25. Pop/rock singer Cher Lloyd (TV: "The X Factor") is 22.

Thought for Today: "Beware of monotony; it's the mother of all the deadly sins." — Edith Wharton, American author (1862-1937).

(Above Advance for Use Tuesday, July 28)

Copyright 2015, The Associated Press. All rights reserved.