Today in History

Today is Thursday, Jan. 7, the seventh day of 2016. There are 359 days left in the year.

 Today’s Highlight in History:

On Jan. 7, 1789, America held its first presidential election as voters chose electors who, a month later, selected George Washington to be the nation’s first chief executive.

On this date:

In 1610, astronomer Galileo Galilei began observing three of Jupiter’s moons (he spotted a fourth moon almost a week later).

In 1800, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, was born in Summerhill, N.Y.

In 1904, the Marconi International Marine Communication Company of London announced that the telegraphed letters “CQD” would serve as a maritime distress call (it was later replaced with “SOS”).

In 1927, commercial transatlantic telephone service was inaugurated between New York and London.

In 1942, the Japanese siege of Bataan began during World War II. (The fall of Bataan three months later was followed by the notorious Death March.)

In 1949, George C. Marshall resigned as U.S. Secretary of State; President Harry S. Truman chose Dean Acheson to succeed him.

In 1955, singer Marian Anderson made her debut with the Metropolitan Opera in New York, in Verdi’s “Un Ballo in Maschera.” The opening of the Canadian Parliament in Ottawa was televised for the first time.

In 1959, the United States recognized the new government of Cuba, six days after Fidel Castro led the overthrow of Fulgencio Batista.

In 1963, the U.S. Post Office raised the cost of a first-class stamp from 4 to 5 cents.

In 1979, Vietnamese forces captured the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh, overthrowing the Khmer Rouge government.

In 1989, Emperor Hirohito of Japan died in Tokyo at age 87; he was succeeded by his son, Crown Prince Akihito.

In 1999, for the second time in history, an impeached American president went on trial before the Senate. President Bill Clinton faced charges of perjury and obstruction of justice; he was acquitted.

Ten years ago: Jill Carroll, a freelance journalist for The Christian Science Monitor, was kidnapped and her translator shot dead in one of Baghdad’s most dangerous Sunni Arab neighborhoods. (Carroll was freed almost three months later.) A Black Hawk helicopter carrying eight U.S. troops and four American civilians crashed near the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar, killing all aboard. U.S. Rep. Tom DeLay, R-Texas, facing corruption charges, stepped down as House majority leader. (DeLay was found guilty in Nov. 2010 of illegally funneling corporate money to Texas candidates; his conviction was eventually overturned.)

Five years ago: A package addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano ignited at a Washington postal facility, a day after fiery packages sent to Maryland’s governor and state transportation secretary burned the fingers of workers who opened them.

One year ago: Masked gunmen stormed the Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo, a French newspaper that had caricatured the Prophet Mohammad, methodically killing 12 people, including the editor, before escaping in a car. (Two suspects were killed two days later.) Actor Rod Taylor 82, died in Los Angeles.

Today’s Birthdays: Author William Peter Blatty is 88. Magazine publisher Jann Wenner is 70. Singer Kenny Loggins is 68. Singer-songwriter Marshall Chapman is 67. Latin pop singer Juan Gabriel is 66. Actress Erin Gray is 66. Actor Sammo Hung is 64. Actor David Caruso is 60. Talk show host Katie Couric is 59. Country singer David Lee Murphy is 57. Rock musician Kathy Valentine is 57. Actor David Marciano is 56. Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., is 55. Actress Hallie Todd is 54. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is 53. Actor Nicolas Cage is 52. Singer-songwriter John Ondrasik (Five for Fighting) is 51. Actor Rex Lee is 47. Actor Doug E. Doug is 46. Actor Kevin Rahm is 45. Actor Jeremy Renner is 45. Country singer-musician John Rich is 42. Actor Dustin Diamond is 39. Singer/rapper Aloe Blacc is 37. Actress Lauren Cohan is 34. Actor Brett Dalton (TV: “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) is 33. Actor Robert Ri’chard is 33. Actress Lyndsy Fonseca is 29. Actor Liam Aiken is 26. Actress Camryn Grimes is 26. Actor Max Morrow is 25. Actor Marcus Scribner (TV: “black-ish”) is 16.

Thought for Today: “One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.” — Golda Meir, Israeli prime minister (1898-1978).

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