Today's Highlight in History:
On July 20, 1976, America's Viking 1 robot spacecraft made a successful, first-ever landing on Mars.
On this date:
In 1861, the Congress of the Confederate States convened in Richmond, Virginia.
In 1871, British Columbia entered Confederation as a Canadian province.
In 1917, the World War I draft lottery went into operation.
In 1923, Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa was assassinated by gunmen in Parral.
In 1944, an attempt by a group of German officials to assassinate Adolf Hitler with a bomb failed as the explosion only wounded the Nazi leader. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was nominated for a fourth term of office at the Democratic convention in Chicago.
In 1954, the Geneva Accords divided Vietnam into northern and southern entities.
In 1968, the first International Special Olympics Summer Games, organized by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, were held at Soldier Field in Chicago.
In 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first men to walk on the moon after reaching the surface in their Apollo 11 lunar module.
In 1982, Irish Republican Army bombs exploded in two London parks, killing eight British soldiers, along with seven horses belonging to the Queen's Household Cavalry.
In 1989, Burmese activist Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest by the military government of Myanmar.
In 1990, Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, one of the court's most liberal voices, announced he was stepping down.
In 2012, gunman James Holmes opened fire inside a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and wounding 70 others. (Holmes is serving a life prison sentence.)
Ten years ago: President George W. Bush, addressing the annual meeting of the NAACP in Washington, said he knew racism existed in America and that many black voters distrusted his Republican Party; Bush promised to improve the GOP's rocky relations with blacks. The Senate voted 98-0 to renew the landmark 1965 Voting Rights Act for another quarter-century.
Five years ago: Six Republican presidential hopefuls traded tweets in the first presidential debate conducted through Twitter, outlining their agendas across the popular social media service. The last fugitive sought by the U.N.'s Balkan war crimes tribunal, Gordan Hadzic, former leader of Croatia's ethnic Serbs, was seized in a remote mountain forest in northern Serbia. (Attempts to try Hadzic for alleged war crimes have been suspended indefinitely because he has cancer and has been deemed too ill to participate in his trial.) NBA star Yao Ming announced his retirement in his hometown of Shanghai. German-born British painter Lucien Freud, 88, died in London.
One year ago: The United States and Cuba restored full diplomatic relations after more than five decades of frosty relations rooted in the Cold War. The U.N. Security Council unanimously endorsed a landmark deal to rein in Iran's nuclear program. Banks in Greece finally reopened after being closed for three weeks. Zach Johnson won the British Open. Songwriter Wayne Carson, 72, died in Nashville, Tennessee. "Archie" cartoonist Tom Moore, 86, died in El Paso, Texas.
Today's Birthdays: Actress-singer Sally Ann Howes is 86. Author Cormac McCarthy is 83. Rockabilly singer Sleepy LaBeef is 81. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, D-Md., is 80. Actress Diana Rigg is 78. Artist Judy Chicago is 77. Rock musician John Lodge (The Moody Blues) is 73. Country singer T.G. Sheppard is 72. Singer Kim Carnes is 71. Rock musician Carlos Santana is 69. Rock musician Jay Jay French (Twisted Sister) is 64. Rock musician Paul Cook (The Sex Pistols, Man Raze) is 60. Actress Donna Dixon is 59. Rock musician Mick McNeil (Simple Minds) is 58. Country singer Radney Foster is 57. Actor Frank Whaley is 53. Rock singer Chris Cornell is 52. Actor Dean Winters is 52. Rock musician Stone Gossard (Pearl Jam) is 50. Actor Reed Diamond is 49. Actor Josh Holloway is 47. Singer Vitamin C is 47. Actor Omar Epps is 43. Actor Simon Rex is 42. Actress Judy Greer is 41. Actor Charlie Korsmo is 38. Singer Elliott Yamin (American Idol) is 38. Supermodel Gisele Bundchen is 36. Rock musician Mike Kennerty (The All-American Rejects) is 36. Actor Percy Daggs III is 34. Actor John Francis Daley is 31. Country singer Hannah Blaylock (Edens Edge) is 30. Dancer-singer Julianne Hough (TV: "Grease Live!") is 28. Actress Billi Bruno is 20.
Thought for Today: "Never miss a good chance to shut up." — Will Rogers, American humorist (1879-1935).