On July 4, 1976, America celebrated its bicentennial with daylong festivities; President Gerald R. Ford made stops in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania, Independence Hall in Philadelphia and New York, where more than 200 ships paraded up the Hudson River in Operation Sail.
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 1826, 50 years to the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, former presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died.
In 1831, the fifth president of the United States, James Monroe, died in New York City at age 73.
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 1946, the Philippines became independent of U.S. sovereignty.
In 1959, America’s 49-star flag, recognizing Alaskan statehood, was officially unfurled.
In 1960, America’s 50-star flag, recognizing Hawaiian statehood, was officially unfurled.
In 1995, the space shuttle Atlantis and the Russian space station Mir parted after spending five days in orbit docked together.
In 2009, Serena Williams beat her big sister, Venus, 7-6 (3), 6-2 for her third Wimbledon title and 11th Grand Slam championship.
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.
Ten years ago: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez made a surprise return to his country after undergoing cancer treatment in Cuba. Otto von Hapsburg, 98, the oldest son of Austria’s last emperor and longtime head of one of Europe’s most influential families, died in Poecking, Germany.
Five years ago: NASA received a radio signal from the solar-powered Juno spacecraft confirming that it was in orbit around the planet Jupiter after a trip of nearly five years and 1.8 billion miles.
One year ago: In a Fourth of July speech filled with the combativeness of his political rallies, President Donald Trump vowed to “safeguard our values” from enemies within – enemies that he said included “the radical left, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters.” Protesters in Baltimore pulled down a statue of Christopher Columbus and threw it into the city’s Inner Harbor. Florida and Texas reported record daily increases in coronavirus cases, as new signs that the virus was surging in parts of the country cast a pall over Fourth of July celebrations. The world’s longest-surviving conjoined twins, Ronnie and Donnie Galyon of Beavercreek, Ohio, died at the age of 68.
Today’s Birthdays: Actor Eva Marie Saint is 97. Actor Gina Lollobrigida is 94. Country singer Ray Pillow is 84. Actor Ed Bernard is 82. Actor Karolyn Grimes is 81. R&B singer Annette Beard (Martha and the Vandellas) is 78. Broadcast journalist Geraldo Rivera is 78. Vietnam War veteran and peace activist Ron Kovic is 75. R&B musician Ralph Johnson (Earth, Wind and Fire) is 70. Rock musician Domingo Ortiz (Widespread Panic) is 69.
Singer John Waite is 69. Rock musician Kirk Pengilly (INXS) is 63. International Tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver is 59. Christian rock singer Michael Sweet is 58. Actor-playwright-screenwriter Tracy Letts is 56. Actor Al Madrigal is 50. Actor Jenica Bergere is 47. Actor-singer John Lloyd Young is 46. Singer Stephen “Ste” McNally (BBMak) is 43. Actor Becki Newton is 43. Actor Mo McRae is 39. TV personality Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino is 39. R&B singer Melanie Fiona is 38. Malia Obama is 23.