This Day in History

Today is Tuesday, November 20th, the 324th day of the year.  There are 41 days until the end of the year.

On this day:

In 1789, New Jersey became the first state to ratify the Bill of Rights.

In 1861, Julia Ward Howe penned the song "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

In 1943, U.S. Marines landed on Beach Red on Betio, the largest island of the Tarawa Atoll.  Almost 64-hundred Japanese, Koreans and Americans died in the fighting.

In 1947, Britain's future queen Princess Elizabeth married Phillip Mountbatten, Duke of Edinburgh. 

In 1966, the musical, "Cabaret," opened on Broadway.

In 1975, Spain's General Francisco Franco died at the age of 82.  He had been in power for nearly four decades.

In 1977, Barbara Walters interviewed Egyptian leader Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin.

In 1982, the University of California football team beat Stanford 25-to-20 after running back a kickoff in the final seconds of the game.  The Stanford marching band started taking the field as the kick return was taking place.  California players crashed into several band members as the winning touchdown was scored.

In 1984, the 50-billionth McDonald's hamburger was made.  The milestone was celebrated at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

In 1995, Olympic figure skating gold medalist Sergei Grinkov died at the age of 28.  He and his wife Ekaterina Gordeeva won two Olympic pairs skating gold medals.

In 1995, in a BBC Television interview, Princess Diana admitted to being unfaithful to Prince Charles.

In 1997, prodded by Russia, Iraqi President Saddam Hussein finally agreed to allow U.S. arms monitors back into his country, ending a three-week crisis that had raised fears of a military confrontation with the United States.

In 1998, Russia launched the first module of the $60 billion International Space Station from the Baikonur cosmodrome.

In 2003, in the glare of the media spotlight, Michael Jackson surrendered to authorities in Santa Barbara, California where he was arrested on child molestation charges stemming from accusations made by a 12-year-old boy.  The pop star posted $3 Million bond and returned to Las Vegas where he was shooting a music video. 

In 2003, music producer Phil Spector was officially charged with murder in connection to the death of B-movie actress Lana Clarkson who was found lying in a pool of blood at Spector's home in February of 2003.  He was later convicted at trial and is serving a prison sentence of 19 years to life.

In 2006, reacting to public criticism, News Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch cancelled a scheduled O.J. Simpson book and TV interview.  Both were promoted as Simpson's hypothetical account of how he would have murdered his ex-wife and her friend had he been the one responsible for the crime a decade earlier.  Murdoch called the project "ill considered." 

In 2006, former "Seinfeld" actor Michael Richards appeared on CBS' "The Late Show With David Letterman" to apologize for a racially offensive rant at the Laugh Factory comedy club in Hollywood a few days earlier.  Richards' tirade included profanity and repeated uses of the racially sensitive "N" word.  He said he let his rage get out of control after he was heckled by two African-American audience members.

In 2006, legendary director Robert Altman passed away at the age of 81.  Altman received an Honorary Oscar in March of 2006.  His directorial credits include 1970's "MASH," 1993's "The Player," 2002's "Gosford Park," and the 2006 release "A Prairie Home Companion."

In 2014, President Obama announced executive order on immigration, focusing on strengthening border security, deporting felons, and allowing illegal immigrants a means of staying.

In 2015, "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2" hit the theaters in the United States.  The final chapter in the series dominated the box office, hauling in an estimated 101-million dollars in its opening weekend.

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