Today’s Highlight in History:
On July 4, 1826, 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died.
On this date:
In 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted by delegates to the Second Continental Congress in Philadelphia.
In 1802, the United States Military Academy officially opened at West Point, New York.
In 1817, ground was broken for the Erie Canal in Rome, New York. The middle section of the waterway took three years to complete; the entire canal was finished in 1825.
In 1831, the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, died in New York City at age 73.
In 1872, the 30th president of the United States, Calvin Coolidge, was born in Plymouth, Vermont.
In 1910, in what was billed as “The Fight of the Century,” black world heavyweight boxing champion Jack Johnson defeated white former champ James J. Jeffries in Reno, Nevada.
In 1939, Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees delivered his famous farewell speech in which he called himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.”
In 1982, the space shuttle Columbia concluded its fourth and final test flight with a smooth landing at Edwards Air Force Base in California. Heavy metal rocker Ozzy Osbourne married his manager, Sharon Arden, in Maui, Hawaii.
In 1987, Klaus Barbie, the former Gestapo chief known as the “Butcher of Lyon”, was convicted by a French court of crimes against humanity and sentenced to life in prison (he died in September 1991).
In 1997, NASA’s Pathfinder spacecraft landed on Mars, inaugurating a new era in the search for life on the red planet. CBS newsman Charles Kuralt died in New York at age 62.
In 2013, Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansour, was sworn in following the ouster of Mohammed Morsi, the Islamist leader overthrown by the military after just one year in office.
In 2017, the United States confirmed that North Korea had launched an intercontinental ballistic missile, as the North had boasted and the U.S. and South Korea had feared. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called it a “new escalation of the threat” to the U.S.
Ten years ago: Former Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair was fatally shot in a Nashville condo by his mistress, Sahel Kazemi, who then killed herself. North Korea launched seven ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast. The Statue of Liberty’s crown was reopened to tourists for the first time since September 11, 2001. Serena Williams beat her big sister, Venus, 7-6 (3), 6-2 for her third Wimbledon title and 11th Grand Slam championship.
Five years ago: Germany summoned the U.S. ambassador in Berlin after the arrest of a man reported to have spied for the United States, heightening friction between the two countries over alleged U.S. eavesdropping in Germany. Richard Mellon Scaife, 82, the billionaire heir to the Mellon banking and oil fortunes and a newspaper publisher who funded libertarian and conservative causes and various projects aimed at discrediting President Bill Clinton, died in Pittsburgh.
One year ago: British police said two Britons who fell critically ill in the town of Amesbury were exposed to nerve agent Novichok, the same material used to poison a former Russian spy in a nearby area months earlier. A protest against U.S. immigration policy forced the evacuation of the Statue of Liberty on the Fourth of July, with a group unfurling a banner from the pedestal and a woman holding police at bay for hours after she climbed the base.
Today’s Birthdays: Actress Eva Marie Saint is 95. Actress Gina Lollobrigida is 92. Country singer Ray Pillow is 82. Singer Bill Withers is 81. Actor Ed Bernard is 80. Actress Karolyn Grimes is 79. Rhythm and blues singer Annette Beard (Martha and the Vandellas) is 76. Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is 76. Vietnam War veteran and peace activist Ron Kovic is 73. Rhythm and blues musician Ralph Johnson (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 68. Rock musician Domingo Ortiz (Widespread Panic) is 67. Singer John Waite is 67. Rock musician Kirk Pengilly (INXS) is 61. Country musician Teddy Carr is 59. Rock DJ Zonka is 57. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver is 57. Rock musician Matt Malley is 56. Christian rock singer Michael Sweet is 56. Actor-playwright-screenwriter Tracy Letts is 54. Actor Al Madrigal is 48. Actress Jenica Bergere is 45. Actor-singer John Lloyd Young is 44. Singer Stephen “Ste” McNally (BBMak) is 41. Actress Becki Newton is 41. Actor Mo McRae is 37. TV personality Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is 37. Rhythm and blues singer Melanie Fiona is 36. Malia Obama is 21.
Thought for Today: “All progress has resulted from people who took unpopular positions.” — Adlai E. Stevenson, American diplomat and politician (1900-1965).