Today’s Highlight in History:
On Jan. 6, 2021, supporters of President Donald Trump, fueled by his false claims of a stolen election, assaulted police and smashed their way into the Capitol to interrupt the certification of Democrat Joe Biden’s victory, forcing lawmakers into hiding; most of the rioters had come from a nearby rally where Trump urged them to “fight like hell.” A Trump supporter, Ashli Babbitt, was shot and killed by a police officer as she tried to breach a barricaded doorway inside the Capitol. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, injured while confronting the rioters, suffered a stroke the next day and died from natural causes, the Washington, D.C., medical examiner’s office said. (In the weeks that followed, four of the officers who responded to the riot took their own lives.) Congress reconvened hours later to finish certifying the election result.
On this date:
In 1412, tradition holds that Joan of Arc was born this day in Domremy.
In 1838, Samuel Morse and Alfred Vail gave the first successful public demonstration of their telegraph in Morristown, New Jersey.
In 1912, New Mexico became the 47th state.
In 1919, the 26th president of the United States, Theodore Roosevelt, died in Oyster Bay, New York, at age 60.
In 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, in his State of the Union address, outlined a goal of “Four Freedoms”: Freedom of speech and expression; the freedom of people to worship God in their own way; freedom from want; freedom from fear.
In 1974, year-round daylight saving time began in the United States on a trial basis as a fuel-saving measure in response to the OPEC oil embargo.
In 1975, Wheel of Fortune, one of the the longest-running syndicated game show in American television, premieres on NBC on January 6, 1975. Created by television legend Merv Griffin and hosted since the early 1980s by Pat Sajak and Vanna White.
In 1982, truck driver William G. Bonin was convicted in Los Angeles of 10 of the “Freeway Killer” slayings of young men and boys. (Bonin was later convicted of four other killings; he was executed in 1996.)
In 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the leg by an assailant at Detroit’s Cobo Arena; four men, including the ex-husband of Kerrigan’s rival, Tonya Harding, went to prison for their roles in the attack. (Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy to hinder prosecution, but denied any advance knowledge about the assault.)
In 2001, with Vice President Al Gore presiding in his capacity as president of the Senate, Congress formally certified George W. Bush the winner of the bitterly contested 2000 presidential election.
In 2005, former Ku Klux Klan leader Edgar Ray Killen was arrested on murder charges 41 years after three civil rights workers were slain in Mississippi. (Killen was later convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to 60 years in prison; he died in prison in 2018.)
In 2006, velvet-voiced singer Lou Rawls died in Los Angeles at age 72.
In 2020, throngs of Iranians attended the funeral of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who’d been killed in a U.S. airstrike in Iraq; Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept while praying over the casket. Former White House national security adviser John Bolton said he was “prepared to testify” if subpoenaed by the Senate in its impeachment trial of President Donald Trump. (The Senate voted against calling witnesses.)
Ten years ago: A bomb exploded at a busy Damascus intersection, killing 25 people and wounding dozens in the second major attack in the Syrian capital in as many weeks. The Obama administration expanded the FBI’s more than eight-decades-old definition of rape to count men as victims for the first time and to drop the requirement that victims physically resisted their attackers.
Five years ago: Congress certified Donald Trump’s presidential victory over the objections of a handful of House Democrats, with Vice President Joe Biden pronouncing, “It is over.” An arriving airline passenger pulled a gun from his luggage and opened fire in the baggage claim area at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport in Florida, killing five people and wounding eight. (An Alaska man, Esteban Santiago, admitted to the shooting and was sentenced to life in prison.) Mother-and-daughter actors Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher were laid to rest together at Forest Lawn Memorial Park – Hollywood Hills.
One year ago: As final votes were counted in the preceding day’s Senate runoffs in Georgia, Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock emerged as the winners over Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, giving Democrats control of the Senate.
Today’s Birthdays: Country musician Joey Miskulin (Riders in the Sky) is 73. Former FBI director Louis Freeh is 72. Rock singer-musician Kim Wilson (The Fabulous Thunderbirds) is 71. Singer Jett Williams is 69. Actor-comedian Rowan Atkinson is 67. World Golf Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez is 65. Actor Scott Bryce is 64. R&B singer Kathy Sledge is 63. TV chef Nigella Lawson is 62. R&B singer Eric Williams (BLACKstreet) is 62. Actor Norman Reedus is 53. Food writer and blogger Ree Drummond is 53. TV personality Julie Chen is 52. Actor Danny Pintauro (TV: “Who’s the Boss?”) is 46. Actor Cristela Alonzo is 43. Actor Rinko Kikuchi (RINK’-oh kih-KOO’-chee) is 41. Actor Eddie Redmayne is 40. Retired NBA All-Star Gilbert Arenas is 40. Actor-comedian Kate McKinnon is 38. Actor Diona Reasonover is 38.
Rock singer Alex Turner (Arctic Monkeys) is 36.