Today in History

Today is Thursday, Feb. 4, the 35th day of 2016. There are 331 days left in the year.

Today’s Highlight in History:

On Feb. 4, 1945, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Soviet leader Josef Stalin began a wartime conference at Yalta.

On this date:

In 1783, Britain’s King George III proclaimed a formal cessation of hostilities in the American Revolutionary War.

In 1789, electors chose George Washington to be the first president of the United States.

In 1861, delegates from six southern states that had recently seceded from the Union met in Montgomery, Ala., to form the Confederate States of America.

In 1919, Congress established the U.S. Navy Distinguished Service Medal and the Navy Cross.

In 1932, New York Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt opened the Winter Olympic Games at Lake Placid.

In 1941, the United Service Organizations (USO) came into existence.

In 1962, a rare conjunction of the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn occurred.

In 1974, newspaper heiress Patricia Hearst, 19, was kidnapped in Berkeley, Calif., by the radical Symbionese Liberation Army.

In 1976, more than 23,000 people died when a severe earthquake struck Guatemala with a magnitude of 7.5, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

In 1983, pop singer-musician Karen Carpenter died in Downey, Calif., at age 32.

In 1987, pianist Liberace died at his Palm Springs, Calif., home at age 67.

In 1997, a civil jury in Santa Monica, Calif., found O.J. Simpson liable for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

In 2004, the Massachusetts high court declared that gay couples were entitled to nothing less than marriage and that Vermont-style civil unions would not suffice. The social networking website Facebook had its beginnings as Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook.”

In 2005, Actor and civil rights activist Ossie Davis died in Miami Beach, Fla., at age 87.

In 2010, the first National Tea Party Convention opened in Nashville.

Ten years ago: Thousands of Syrians enraged by caricatures of the prophet Muhammad torched the Danish and Norwegian embassies in Damascus. In Gaza, Palestinians marched through the streets, storming European buildings and burning German and Danish flags. A stampede at a Manila stadium resulted in 74 deaths. Thousands of mourners poured into the Georgia Capitol rotunda to pay tribute to civil rights activist Coretta Scott King. Feminist author Betty Friedan died on her 85th birthday in Washington, D.C. Troy Aikman, Reggie White, Warren Moon, Harry Carson, John Madden and Rayfield Wright were elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Five years ago: President Barack Obama appealed to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to focus on his legacy and begin an orderly process to relinquish the power he’d held for 30 years; however, Obama stopped short of calling for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. Iraq’s prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, said he would return half of his annual salary to the public treasury in a symbolic gesture that appeared calculated to insulate him against anti-government unrest spreading across the Middle East.

One year ago: As Boston continued to dig out from more than 3 feet of snow in the past week; the New England Patriots were finally honored with a parade celebrating their fourth Super Bowl win. Some fans defied police warnings and watched the parade from atop giant piles of snow.

Today’s Birthdays: Actor William Phipps is 94. Former Argentinian President Isabel Peron is 85. Actor Gary Conway is 80. Movie director George A. Romero is 76. Actor John Schuck is 76. Rock musician John Steel (The Animals) is 75. Singer Florence LaRue (The Fifth Dimension) is 74. Former Vice President Dan Quayle is 69. Rock singer Alice Cooper is 68. Actor Michael Beck is 67. Actress Lisa Eichhorn is 64. Football Hall-of-Famer Lawrence Taylor is 57. Actress Pamelyn Ferdin is 57. Rock singer Tim Booth is 56. Rock musician Henry Bogdan is 55. Country singer Clint Black is 54. Rock musician Noodles (The Offspring) is 53. Country musician Dave Buchanan (Yankee Grey) is 50. Actress Gabrielle Anwar is 46. Actor Rob Corddry is 45. Singer David Garza is 45. Actor Michael Goorjian is 45. TV personality Nicolle Wallace (TV: formerly co-host “The View”) is 44. Olympic gold-medal boxer Oscar De La Hoya is 43. Rock musician Rick Burch (Jimmy Eat World) is 41. Singer Natalie Imbruglia is 41. Rapper Cam’ron is 40. Rock singer Gavin DeGraw is 39. Olympic gold-medal gymnast-turned-singer Carly Patterson is 28.

Thought for Today: “Habit is necessary; it is the habit of having habits, of turning a trail into a rut, that must be incessantly fought against if one is to remain alive.” — Edith Wharton, American author (1862-1937).

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