Today In History

Today is Friday, Nov. 4, the 309th day of 2016. There are 57 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight

On Nov. 4, 1991, Ronald Reagan opened his presidential library in Simi Valley, California; in attendance were President George H.W. Bush and former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Gerald R. Ford and Richard Nixon — the first-ever gathering of five past and present U.S. chief executives.

On this date

In 1884, Democrat Grover Cleveland was elected to his first term as president, defeating Republican James G. Blaine.

In 1924, President Calvin Coolidge, who’d succeeded the late President Warren G. Harding, was elected to a full term of office; Nellie T. Ross of Wyoming was elected the nation’s first female governor to serve out the remaining term of her late husband, William B. Ross.

In 1939, the United States modified its neutrality stance in World War II, allowing “cash and carry” purchases of arms by belligerents, a policy favoring Britain and France.

In 1942, during World War II, Axis forces retreated from El Alamein in North Africa in a major victory for British forces commanded by Lt. Gen. Bernard Montgomery.

In 1952, Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower was elected president, defeating Democrat Adlai Stevenson. The highly secretive National Security Agency came into existence.

In 1956, Soviet troops moved in to crush the Hungarian Revolution.

In 1964, comedian Lenny Bruce was convicted by a three-judge panel in New York of obscenity charges stemming from his performances at the Cafe Au Go Go in Greenwich Village. (Bruce received a posthumous pardon in 2003 from New York Gov. George Pataki.)

In 1979, the Iran hostage crisis began as militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran, seizing its occupants; for some of them, it was the start of 444 days of captivity.

In 1980, Republican Ronald Reagan won the White House as he defeated President Jimmy Carter by a strong margin.

In 2008, Democrat Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the United States, defeating Republican John McCain.

Ten years ago: Katharine Jefferts Schori took office as the first female leader of the Episcopal Church and the first woman priest to head an Anglican province during a ceremony at the Washington National Cathedral. A blackout hit parts of Germany, France, Belgium, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Thought for Today

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” — Andy Rooney (1919-2011)