Today is Monday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2019. There are 71 days left in the year.

Today's Highlight in History:

On Oct. 21, 1892, schoolchildren across the U.S. observed Columbus Day (according to the Gregorian date) by reciting, for the first time, the original version of "The Pledge of Allegiance," written by Francis Bellamy for The Youth's Companion.

On this date:

In 1797, the U.S. Navy frigate Constitution, also known as "Old Ironsides," was christened in Boston's harbor.

In 1879, Thomas Edison perfected a workable electric light at his laboratory in Menlo Park, N.J.

In 1917, members of the 1st Division of the U.S. Army training in Luneville (luhn-nay-VEEL'), France, became the first Americans to see action on the front lines of World War I.

In 1944, during World War II, U.S. troops captured the German city of Aachen (AH'-kuhn).

In 1960, Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Richard M. Nixon clashed in their fourth and final presidential debate in New York.

In 1966, 144 people, 116 of them children, were killed when a coal waste landslide engulfed a school and some 20 houses in Aberfan, Wales.

In 1967, the Israeli destroyer INS Eilat (ay-LAHT') was sunk by Egyptian missile boats near Port Said; 47 Israeli crew members were lost.

In 1971, President Richard Nixon nominated Lewis F. Powell and William H. Rehnquist to the U.S. Supreme Court. (Both nominees were confirmed.)

In 1996, President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy on gays in the military survived its first Supreme Court test.

Ten years ago: Northwest Airlines Flight 188, an Airbus A320, flew past the Minneapolis airport by more than 100 miles before turning around and landing safely; the pilots later said they'd been distracted while talking about their schedules.

Five years ago: North Korea abruptly freed Jeffrey Fowle, an American, nearly six months after he was arrested for leaving a Bible in a nightclub.

One year ago: A growing caravan of Honduran migrants continued through southern Mexico toward the United States, after getting past Mexican agents who briefly blocked them at the Guatemalan border. One of Taiwan's fastest passenger trains derailed on a curve along a popular weekend route, killing 18 people and injuring nearly 200 others.

Thought for Today: "Silence is sometimes the severest criticism." -- Charles Buxton, English writer (1823-1871).

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