Today is Thursday, Oct. 31, the 304th day of 2019. There are 61 days left in the year. This is Halloween.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Oct. 31, 1941, the Navy destroyer USS Reuben James was torpedoed by a German U-boat off Iceland with the loss of some 100 lives, even though the United States had not yet entered World War II.

On this date:

In 1517, Martin Luther sent his 95 Theses denouncing what he saw as the abuses of the Catholic Church, especially the sale of indulgences, to the Archbishop of Mainz, Germany (by some accounts, Luther also posted the Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg), marking the start of the Protestant Reformation.

In 1926, magician Harry Houdini died in Detroit of peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix.

In 1941, work was completed on the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota, begun in 1927.

In 1959, a U.S. Marine reservist showed up at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow to declare he was renouncing his American citizenship so he could live in the Soviet Union. His name: Lee Harvey Oswald.

In 1964, Theodore C. Freeman, 34, became the first member of NASA’s astronaut corps to die when his T-38 jet crashed while approaching Ellington Air Force Base in Houston.

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered a halt to all U.S. bombing of North Vietnam, saying he hoped for fruitful peace negotiations.

In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by two Sikh (seek) security guards.

In 1994, a Chicago-bound American Eagle ATR-72 crashed in northern Indiana, killing all 68 people aboard.

In 1998, a genetic study was released suggesting President Thomas Jefferson did in fact father at least one child by his slave Sally Hemings.

In 1999, EgyptAir Flight 990, bound from New York to Cairo, crashed off the Massachusetts coast, killing all 217 people aboard.

In 2001, New York hospital worker Kathy T. Nguyen (nwen) died of inhalation anthrax, the fourth person to perish in a spreading wave of bioterrorism.

In 2005, President George W. Bush nominated Judge Samuel Alito (ahl-EE’-toh) to the Supreme Court. Civil rights icon Rosa Parks was honored during a memorial service in Washington, D.C.

Ten years ago: A registered sex offender was arrested in Cleveland after police found six decomposing bodies at his home. (Authorities turned up the bodies of 11 women at the home of Anthony Sowell, who was convicted and sentenced to death in 2011.) The New York Yankees won Game 3 of the World Series, defeating the Philadelphia Phillies 8-5 to give New York a 2-1 Series lead.

Five years ago: Commercial space tourism suffered a huge setback when a prototype passenger rocket, Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, exploded during a test flight, scattering debris over the Mojave Desert and killing one pilot while seriously injuring the other.

One year ago: President Donald Trump said the number of military troops being deployed to the U.S.-Mexican border could reach 15,000. Huge crowds of fans cheered as the Red Sox rumbled through downtown Boston aboard duck boats to mark the team’s fourth World Series championship in the past 15 years. Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, a star first baseman and outfielder who played for the San Francisco Giants for 19 of his 22 major league seasons, died at the age of 80.

Today’s Birthdays: Actress Lee Grant is 94. Former astronaut Michael Collins is 89. Former CBS anchorman Dan Rather is 88. Folk singer Tom Paxton is 82. Actor Ron Rifkin is 81. Actress Sally Kirkland is 78. Actor Brian Doyle-Murray is 74. Actor Stephen Rea is 73. Olympic gold medal long-distance runner Frank Shorter is 72. Actress Deidre Hall is 72. TV show host Jane Pauley is 69. Actor Brian Stokes Mitchell is 62. Movie director Peter Jackson is 58. Rock musician Larry Mullen is 58. Actor Dermot Mulroney is 56. Rock musician Mikkey Dee is 56. Rock singer-musician Johnny Marr is 56. Actor Rob Schneider is 55. Country singer Darryl Worley is 55. Actor-comedian Mike O’Malley is 54. Rap musician Adrock is 53. Songwriter Adam Schlesinger (SHLES’-in-jer) is 52. Rap performer Vanilla Ice (aka Rob Van Winkle) is 52. Rock musician Rogers Stevens (Blind Melon) is 50. Rock singer Linn Berggren (Ace of Base) is 49. Reality TV host Troy Hartman is 48. Gospel singer Smokie Norful is 46. Actress Piper Perabo (PEER’-uh-boh) is 43. Actor Brian Hallisay is 41. Actress Samaire (SAH’-mee-rah) Armstrong is 39. Folk-rock musician Tay Strathairn (Dawes) is 39. Actor Eddie Kaye Thomas is 39. Rock musician Frank Iero (My Chemical Romance) is 38. Actor Justin Chatwin is 37. Actor Scott Clifton is 35. Actress Vanessa Marano is 27. Actress Holly Taylor is 22. Actress Danielle Rose Russell is 20. Actress-singer Willow Smith is 19.

Thought for Today: “Success is a public affair. Failure is a private funeral.” — Rosalind Russell, American actress (1911-1976).

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