On this date:
In 1812, author Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, England.
In 1904, a fire began in Baltimore that raged for about 30 hours and destroyed more than 1500 buildings.
In 1936, President Roosevelt authorized a flag for the office of the vice president.
In 1944, during World War Two, the Germans launched a counteroffensive at Anzio, Italy.
In 1944, Bing Crosby and the John Scott Trotter Orchestra recorded "Swinging on a Star" for Decca Records in Los Angeles.
In 1948, General Dwight D. Eisenhower resigned as Army chief of staff; he was succeeded by General Omar Bradley.
In 1964, The Beatles began their first American tour as they arrived at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport.
In 1974, the island nation of Grenada won independence from Britain.
In 1984, space shuttle astronauts Bruce McCandless the Second and Robert L. Stewart went on the first untethered space walk.
In 1986, Haitian President-for-Life Jean-Claude Duvalier fled his country, ending 28 years of his family's rule.
Ten years ago: The Soviet Union's Communist Party agreed to let alternative political parties compete for control of the country, thereby giving up its monopoly on power. An 811-foot tanker, the "American Trader," spilled hundreds of thousands of gallons of Alaskan crude oil off the coast of Huntington Beach, California.
Five years ago: Ramzi Yousef, the alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing, was arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan, after two years as a fugitive.
One year ago: Jordan's King Hussein died of cancer at age 63; he was succeeded by his eldest son, Abdullah. NASA launched the "Stardust" spacecraft on a mission to chase a comet in hopes of collecting a sample of comet dust.
"There are only two classes of mankind in the world -- doctors and patients."
-- Rudyard Kipling, English author and poet (1865-1936).