Today in History

Today is Monday, Jan. 19, the 19th day of 2015. There are 346 days left in the year. This is the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 19, 1915, Germany carried out its first air raid on Britain during World War I as a pair of Zeppelins dropped bombs onto Great Yarmouth and King’s Lynn in England.

On this date:

In 1807, Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was born in Westmoreland County, Va.

In 1853, Giuseppe Verdi’s opera “Il Trovatore” premiered in Rome.

In 1861, Georgia became the fifth state to secede from the Union.

In 1937, millionaire Howard Hughes set a transcontinental air record by flying his monoplane from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey, in 7 hours, 28 minutes and 25 seconds.

In 1942, during World War II, Japan invaded Burma (Myanmar).

In 1944, the federal government relinquished control of the nation’s railroads to their owners following settlement of a wage dispute.

In 1955, a presidential news conference was filmed for television and newsreels for the first time, with the permission of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

In 1966, Indira Gandhi was elected prime minister of India.

In 1970, President Richard M. Nixon nominated G. Harrold Carswell to the Supreme Court; however, the nomination was defeated because of controversy over Carswell’s past racial views.

In 1977, in one of his last acts of office, President Gerald R. Ford pardoned Iva Toguri D’Aquino, an American convicted of treason for making wartime broadcasts for Japan.

In 1981, the United States and Iran signed an accord paving the way for the release of 52 Americans held hostage for more than 14 months.

In 1992, German government and Jewish officials dedicated a Holocaust memorial at the villa on the outskirts of Berlin where the notorious Wannsee Conference had taken place.

Ten years ago: Previewing his second inauguration, President George W. Bush pledged to seek unity in a nation divided by political differences, saying, “I am eager and ready for the work ahead.” Condoleezza Rice won strong but not unanimous endorsement as secretary of state from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which voted 16-2 to recommend her confirmation. The American Cancer Society reported that cancer had passed heart disease as the top killer of Americans age 85 and younger. Former chairman and chief executive of Citicorp Walter B. Wriston died in New York at age 85.

Five years ago: In a major upset, Republican Scott Brown captured the U.S. Senate seat held by liberal champion Edward Kennedy for nearly half a century as he defeated Democrat Martha Coakley in a special election. Eight people were shot to death in Appomattox, Va.; Christopher Speight later pleaded guilty to murder and was sentenced to five life terms. Hamas commander Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was slain at a posh airport hotel in Dubai (officials in Dubai have accused Israel of carrying out the killing). Former “Survivor: Palau” contestant Jennifer Lyon, 37, died in Sublimity, Ore.

One year ago: An Islamic militant group in Russia’s North Caucasus claimed responsibility for recent twin bombings in the southern city of Volgograd and posted a video threatening to strike at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Peyton Manning threw for 400 yards and two touchdowns to lead Denver to a 26-16 victory over New England and send the AFC champion Broncos to their first trip to the Super Bowl in 15 years. Russell Wilson threw a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down and Seattle’s top-ranked defense forced two late turnovers, lifting the Seahawks into their second Super Bowl with a 23-17 victory over the San Francisco 49ers for the NFC championship.

Today’s Birthdays: Former U.N. Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar is 95. Actor Fritz Weaver is 89. Actress Tippi Hedren is 85. Former PBS newsman Robert MacNeil is 84. Movie director Richard Lester is 83. Actor-singer Michael Crawford is 73. Actress Shelley Fabares is 71. Country singer Dolly Parton is 69. Former ABC newswoman Ann Compton is 68. TV chef Paula Deen is 68. Rock singer Martha Davis is 64. Singer Dewey Bunnell (America) is 63. Actor Desi Arnaz Jr. is 62. Actress Katey Sagal is 61. Comedian Paul Rodriguez is 60. Conductor Sir Simon Rattle is 60. Reggae musician Mickey Virtue (UB40) is 58. Rock musician Jeff Pilson (Foreigner) is 57. Actor Paul McCrane is 54. Actor William Ragsdale is 54. Basketball coach Jeff Van Gundy is 53. International Tennis Hall of Famer Stefan Edberg is 49. Rock singer Whitfield Crane (Ugly Kid Joe) is 47. Singer Trey Lorenz is 46. Actor Shawn Wayans is 44. Rock singer-musician John Wozniak (Marcy Playground) is 44. Actress Drea de Matteo is 43. Comedian-impressionist Frank Caliendo is 41. Actress Marsha Thomason is 39. Actress Bitsie Tulloch is 34. Actress Jodie Sweetin is 33. Actor Logan Lerman is 23. Olympic gold medal gymnast Shawn Johnson is 23. Rapper Mac Miller is 23.

Thought for Today: “Life is a foreign language; all men mispronounce it.” — Christopher Darlington Morley, American journalist (1890-1957).

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