On This Day: USS Reuben James sunk by U-boat

On Oct. 31, 1941, more than a month before the United States entered World War II, a German submarine torpedoed and sunk a U.S. destroyer, the USS Reuben James.
By UPI Staff  |  Oct. 31, 2017 at 3:00 AM
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Oct. 31 (UPI) -- On this date in history:

In 1517, Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation by nailing a proclamation -- the 95 theses -- to the door of a church in Wittenberg, Germany.

In 1864, Nevada was admitted to the United States as the 36th state.

In 1926, Harry Houdini, renowned magician, illusionist and escape artist, died of peritonitis in a Detroit hospital following a blow to the abdomen.

In 1931, with the Great Depression in full swing, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that 827 banks had failed during the previous two months.

In 1941, more than a month before the United States entered World War II, a German submarine torpedoed and sunk a U.S. destroyer, the USS Reuben James.

In 1941, the Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota -- consisting of the sculpted heads of U.S. Presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt -- was completed.

In 1968, U.S. President Lyndon Johnson announced a halt to the bombing of North Vietnam.

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In 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated outside her home in a volley of gunfire by Sikh members of her own security force. Her son, Rajiv, succeeded her.

In 1985, salvage divers located the remains of the booty-laden pirate ship Whydah, which sank Feb. 17, 1717, off Cape Cod, Mass.

In 1993, actor River Phoenix died of a drug overdose outside of a West Hollywood, Calif., nightclub, The Viper Room. He starred in Stand By Me and My Own Private Idaho.

In 2004, Iranian lawmakers chanted, "Death to America!" after a unanimous vote to allow their government to resume uranium enrichment activities.

In 2005, Samuel Alito, a 55-year-old federal appeals judge, was nominated by U.S. President George W. Bush to the U.S. Supreme Court to succeed Sandra Day O'Connor.

In 2008, U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus took over as head of the Central Command, in charge of military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Iran and other countries.

In 2010, Brazilians elected Dilma Rousseff as their first female president. The former energy minister and choice of outgoing President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva defeated Jose Serra in a runoff with 56 percent of the vote. Rousseff won a second term Oct. 26, 2014.

File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI.

In 2012, the Syrian Network for Human Rights in London said 421 people, including 39 children, died during a four-day United Nations-backed truce in Syria.

In 2013, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration announced airlines could soon allow passengers to use laptops, tablets, music players, e-readers, etc., on flights, with certain restrictions, and that cellphones and other devices must be kept in "airplane mode," disabling their wireless features.

In 2014, SpaceShipTwo, Virgin Galactic's effort in spaceflight for tourists, crashes during a test flight in the Mojave Desert, killing one of the pilots and seriously injuring the other.

In 2015, Russian airliner Metrojet Flight 9268 crashed after taking off from Sharm el-Sheikh International Airport in Egypt, killing all 224 on board. Investigators suspected a bomb on the plane caused the crash.

Mourners light candles and place flowers at Dvortsovaya Square in St. Petersburg, Russia, on November 1, 2015, in honor of the victims of the Russian Metrojet flight which crashed in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. File Photo by Gontar Nikolai/UPI
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